After yet another amazing, come-from-behind victory on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, this one a 107-104 decision over the Chicago Bulls, the 76ers are 3-0 this season (see Instant Replay).
Yes, the Sixers are 3-0 with victories over the Heat, Wizards and Bulls.
Anyone see this coming? No, really … anyone?
The Sixers are off until Monday when the high-scoring Golden State Warriors come to town. In the meantime, here are a few items we caught during Saturday’s game.
1. MCW vs. D-Rose
This point-guard showdown was far more interesting than Michael Carter-Williams’ battle against John Wall on Friday night in Washington. Because the Bulls operate their offense more traditionally, Derrick Rose and Carter-Williams squared off more often. Wall and the Wizards tried to push the pace and when the Sixers contained the fast-break chances, Wall’s chances dried up.
On Saturday night, Rose picked up MCW full court and pressured him the entire length of the floor until the rookie made some plays. After that, Rose was content to allow Carter-Williams to walk it up.
So how did it go down? MCW held his own. Here’s the tale of the stat lines:
Carter-Williams: 26 points, 10 assists, four rebounds
Derrick Rose: 13 points, six assists, four rebounds
2. Big trouble down low
Taj Gibson is still a thorn in the Sixers’ side. In the first-round playoff series two years ago, Gibson gave Thad Young fits with his size and muscle in the paint. Young was often ineffective in the series against the Bulls when guarded by Gibson and had trouble keeping him off the boards.
Gibson came off the bench and closed out the game at power forward for the Bulls, logging 24 minutes to go with 12 points and seven boards. Five of those rebounds came on the offensive glass.
3. Noah’s jumper
What is that thing? To say Noah’s jump shot is unorthodox is to disparage unorthodoxy. Noah’s shot is simply a freak of nature.
It looks like a combination of a dry heave and a magician finishing a trick with elan and flamboyance. It’s as if smoke should appear when Noah releases the ball and doves should fly toward the rim.
But guess what? When he takes them, Noah makes them. He fired up three shots from 15-plus feet in the game on Saturday night and made two of them.
4. Thad Young’s jumper
Developing a mid-range game has long been the focus of Young’s summer workouts. Two years ago he spent the offseason in Houston working with former Sixers coach John Lucas where he took outside shots while wearing a weight vest and undoubtedly taking punches from Lucas.
Last season the talk was that Young had working on shooting three-pointers and was looking to add the long shot to his repertoire. He ended up going 1 for 8 from three-point range last season. The year before he was 1 for 4.
Saturday night, Young was 3 for 4 from long range. This came a day after Young attempted 20 shots against the Wizards with just two from outside the paint.
So maybe he has that jumper now?
An NBA scout summed the Sixers up like this: “They are going to get blown out in some games. That’s the way it is with the style they play. But they also are going to win some games. Maybe not a lot, but with their style they just keep coming and coming. They also present a ton of matchup issues even though they have no half-court game.”