Jahlil Okafor & Dario Saric
This week’s star marks the return of Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor. As the season winds down effort and energy are not always prevalent on teams under .500. However, this has not been the case with Philadelphia. Yes, the Sixers have experienced their fair share of double digit losses but more times than not the effort is there. This week that effort finally paid off as Philly went 2 – 1 during the seven day period.
In a 118 – 116 win, Philly snapped a five game road losing streak and received Herculean efforts from Okafor and Saric. Big Jah scored 23 points on just 12 shots, while Dario notched 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Just two nights later the effort was the same even if the results were not. In a 106 – 104 road loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Philly box score read almost like Deja Vu for both players. This time Okafor added four blocks to his 22 point performance, and not to be outdone Saric’s line would read 25 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
The effort, energy and production all came together at home in a 116 – 74 win against the Dallas Mavericks. In one of the few blowout wins this season, both players scored 10 points.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Dario’s Historic Second Half
Dario Saric was the forgotten selection of the Sam Hinkie era, but the forward’s Post All-Star performance shows he may wind up being the only selection worth remembering. What the former EuroLeague star has done since the All-Star break has been remarkable and historic.
In the last 25 years the only Sixers with a higher scoring average then Saric (19.6) post All-Star break are Allen Iverson (24.2 points per) and Jerry Stackhouse (19.7 points per). Okafor’s 20.3 points per last year in only six games are also worth mentioning, but such an output by Dario speaks volumes. Equally as impressive is the forward’s rebounding effort. The Croatian has the highest rebounding average (8.3) of any other Sixer in the last 25 years.
When you consider what the forward has accomplished in such combustible times, it is not unreasonable to expect better results when the storm passes.
THIS WEEK IN 1982 – 83 (THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR):
Back on Track
After a small blip on the radar the 76ers jumped right back on track with four wins this week. Beginning with a 97 – 93 victory at home versus the Washington Bullets, followed by an offensive explosion in Indiana. In a 132 – 128 win against the Pacers it was Philly guard Andrew Toney who stole the show. Toney scored a game high 42 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Moses Malone snatched a game high 22 rebounds as the 76ers grabbed the tough game.
Toney would again rescue the Sixers from defeat, this time at home and against a familiar foe. Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics were in town and Philadelphia was not at full strength, playing without an injured Dr. J and a sick Maurice Cheeks, Andrew was left to carry the load. The guard responded with a game high 33 points, including 12 points in the fourth quarter to lead Philly to victory.
The week would end in Milwaukee with Malone grabbing 15 rebounds and the Sixers grabbing a 105 – 97 victory.
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