Ilyasova’s shooting percentage was not good this week (46 percent), but in the Sixers lone win he delivered. At first glance Ersan does not present the image of fierce competitor, but perception is not always reality.
The forward has proven in his short time in Philadelphia that he can be counted on, night in and night out to give the requisite effort necessary to win. His performance against the New Orleans Pelicans (23 points & 8 rebounds) was instrumental in Philly’s win. With Philadelphia holding a 71 – 69 lead going into the fourth it was Ilyasova, not the Pelicans all world player Anthony Davis, who would seal the win.
Ersan led all players with 10 fourth quarter points AND four rebounds, and the 76ers went home winners (99 – 88) for just the fifth time this year. However, his 17 rebound game against the Memphis Grizzlies and specifically Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and JaMychal Green was equally impressive in defeat.
The Sixers were without Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, rather then fold Ilyasova stood tall and battled.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Minutes to Spare
There have been few healthy players available to Brett Brown and the Philly coaching staff. With the New Year quickly approaching it is feasible that many players who are getting minutes now will rarely see the court going forward.
On the flip side Dario Saric (24.6 minutes per), Nik Stauskas (26.4 minutes per) and Ilyasova (27.5 minutes) have benefited from the increase of minutes they have received due to the depleted roster. The players have settled into their roles and in the case of Ilyasova have flourished.
Once the minute restriction is lifted for all players the confidence these three players have built during this stretch should allow the Coach Brown to finally see the fruits of his labor, in the form of wins and losses.
THIS WEEK IN 1982 – 83 (THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR):
A beating and shellacking
Philly opened the week with a Sunday match-up against the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, in L.A and in the midst of an eight game winning streak.
With Moses Malone by their side Philly put the Lakers on notice that this year would be different than the ones before. Malone would provide the board and paint work tallying 29 and 14. Dr. J also chirped in for 23 points with 14 rebounds. Toney struggled through foul trouble, but still netted 21 points, yet it was his defense on Norm Nixon (held the All-Star to 5 for 14) that led Philadelphia to a 114 – 104 win
Next was an opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to the Atlanta Hawks, and boy did they seize the moment. In a 132 – 85 win versus the Hawks the 76ers had 41 assists and placed seven players in double figures.
That winning feeling did not last long as Philly headed to the Boston Garden to take on the Boston Celtics. Led by Larry Bird (33 points & 14 rebounds) the Celtics won every quarter on their way to handily defeating Philadelphia 123 – 97. Defense did not make the trip to Beantown as the Cs shot 50 percent from the field and out rebounded Philly 64 to 33.
It took a monster performance from Dr. J to get Philly back in the win column the following night at home against the visiting Detroit Pistons. The good Doctor would revert back to his ABA form, dropping 44 points and grabbing 11 boards. For good measure Erving would also register eight blocks and seven assists.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: