This was a big game for the Philadelphia 76ers. It marked the return of Andrew Bynum, and the crowd made sure to give him a warm Philadelphia welcome. Bynum admitted he felt like a shadow of himself on the court and it showed tonight as he scored only four points in 18 minutes. The 76ers proved they were better off during the post-Bynum era as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-79 to improve to 4-2 on the season.
For the first time this season, the Sixers played crippling defense in holding the Cavs to 33 percent shooting and they got a career-high 18 points from Tony Wroten. But the real story for the sixth game in a row was another strong showing from Evan Turner.
This was the fifth out of six games that Turner shot over 50 percent from the field. To put it in perspective, he only did that 18 times the entire previous year. This was also Turner’s most complete game of the season. To go along with his 22 points, he had a season-high 10 rebounds and tied a season-high with five assists. He might have had a triple-double if Lavoy Allen could have knocked down a few jumpers.
The biggest thing I noticed about ET’s game tonight was his growth and maturity. Turner turned the ball over six times tonight, which was a season high. But in the past under Doug Collins, he would hang his head after one turnover or one missed shot in fear of getting pulled. Under new coach Brett Brown, Turner is trusted and he is appreciated. He can play his game and so far the results have been spectacular.
He has stepped up and been a vocal leader on this team, and his body language has made a complete 180 turnaround. His teammates can now look to him to pick them up when they make a mistake instead of the other way around. It remains to be seen if general manager Sam Hinkie will try to trade turner, but thus far he has handled this rebuilding process like a class act and he should be commended for his maturity through the first six games of the season. Let’s hope the trend continues tomorrow night in Cleveland.