Sixers shine on defense

The Sixers' Jrue Holiday shoots past the Cavs' Tyler Zeller (40) and Anderson Varejao.
The Sixers' Jrue Holiday shoots past the Cavs' Tyler Zeller (40) and Anderson Varejao. (STEVEN M. FALK/ Staff)
Posted: November 20, 2012

Lost in the shuffle of Andrew Bynum's bowling fiasco is the fact that the 76ers have been one of the NBA's top defensive teams in the season's first few weeks.

They have allowed just 90.1 points per game, which entering Monday was tied with Indiana for the league's second-best figure, just behind the New York Knicks (90.0).

"At the end of the day, we got enough stops to beat them," coach Doug Collins said after Sunday's 86-79 win over Cleveland.

Collins singled out the defensive efforts of Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, but added, "We've got to get smoother on the offensive end. We're making things way too hard on ourselves."

The Sixers (6-4), who host Toronto (3-7) on Tuesday, held the Cavaliers to more than 20 points below their average.

"It would be so easy to lose these games, and our guys have not done it," added Collins, whose team has won five of its last seven. "I'm incredibly proud as we try to find a way to have some kind of rhythm."

Offensive rhythm, that is. Collins' team is averaging just 88.9 points per game, which is 28th among 30 NBA teams.

The Sixers did not practice Monday. They try to extend their winning streak to three games against a Raptors team that is 1-4 on the road.

In the victory over Cleveland, the speedy Holiday held Kyrie Irving to a season-low nine points - about 15 below his average - on 4-for-14 shooting. In the fourth quarter, Irving tried a shake-and-bake move, but Holiday wouldn't bite.

"It kind of hurt my feelings, because he really tried to break my ankles," Holiday deadpanned. "He went back to street ball, where it was just one-on-one. Thank God, he didn't make a shot."

None of the Cavs made many shots. The Sixers held Cleveland to 35.7 percent shooting from the floor, and its starting backcourt was just 6 for 27 (22.2 percent).

The Sixers are 4-0 when they hold opponents to 40 percent shooting or lower.

Notes. Test results came back normal, so guard Nick Young was cleared to play Tuesday, the Sixers said. Young, who is averaging 9.5 points in 23 minutes per game, left Sunday's contest with an elevated heart rate. . . . Holiday leads the Sixers in scoring (18.6 points per game) and assists. He is third in the league with 8.6 assists per game. . . . Collins on Evan Turner, who had 19 points and nine assists against the Cavs: "I told him, 'Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.' Evan is a perfectionist. He works harder in the offseason than anybody else on the team. He puts a high ceiling on himself. I want him to enjoy playing."


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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