The passive aggressive ostracizing of forward/center Jahlil Okafor continues to benefit Ersan Ilyasova, and the forward continues to take advantage. The Turkish baller has relished in the upheaval surrounding the 76ers’ big men, with not just sharp shooting but with yeomen rebounding as well.
These last seven days have been no different.
Philadelphia finished the week with a hard fought win in Denver against the Nuggets. With so much celebration around Joel Embiid and his five made field goals, it was Ersan who provided Philly with 16 first half points and seven rebounds. The four man would finish up with 23 points, matching his season high, and 13 rebounds in the 124 – 122 win.
Ilyasova’s numbers for the week were very impressive (18.7 points/9.7 rebounds/+ 5.7) but his marksmanship from three (60 percent) is also worthy of applause. It was difficult to ascertain just what Ersan would bring to the Philadelphia line-up when he was acquired via trade. Whether by design or luck General Manager Bryan Colangelo deserves credit for the acquisition that has paid dividends in tenfold.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Ilyasova’s board work has flown under the radar, but has been a welcomed surprise. To simply say the forward averages a double-double would be a vast understatement.
The Turkish Thunder has stepped his rebounding game up tremendously since joining the Sixers. In the previous two seasons (132 games) Ersan grabbed 10 or more rebounds just 11 times. This season the forward has accomplished that feat seven times in just 32 games.
His offensive rebounding is also worthy of mention. In the last two contests, against three of the leagues better rebounders in Rudy Gorbet (12.0 per), Kenneth Faried (7.9 per) & Nikola Jokic (7.6 per) the forward managed four and five offensive rebounds. Both were game highs, as he finished with 12 (against. the Jazz) and 13 (against the Nuggets) rebounds respectfully.
If the four can continue to rebound at such a high level, there will be little reason to keep him out of the starting line-up.
THIS WEEK IN 1982 – 83 (THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR):
Texas Three Step
Philadelphia was in San Antonio to take on Artis Gilmore and the Spurs. The usual suspects were accounted for in this contest, as Gilmore went for 27 points, 19 boards and five blocks. The Iceman George Gervin posted 22 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Dr. J (28 points & seven rebounds) and Moses (27 points & 17 boards) were up to the challenge, but it was Andrew Toney who stole the show.
Toney would score 23 points in total, yet it was his 13 point fourth quarter and team leading eight assists that darkened those bright Texas stars. The 76ers would take the game 124 – 122, bringing their season record to a blistering 22 – 5.
Just two nights later Moses Malone would return to Houston with his new club and leave with a win 104 – 93. The good Doctor’s 29 points were a team high.
Things would get a little more difficult the following night in Dallas against the Mavericks.
The 76ers entered the fourth quarter leading 87 – 82 after being down by double-digits. However that lead would quickly evaporate. Once again it was Andrew Toney to the rescue.
The guard scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, spearheading a 126 – 116 victory. In all he would drop 36 points on only 24 shots.
The Sixers went undefeated on a three game Texas road trip this week. The holiday season also provided the men a little rest as they would go six days in between games.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: