When people talk about Samuel Dalembert the conversation often goes something like this:
Did you see Dalembert last night? Yeah, he looked clueless out there on the court. I know, and he needs to shut his mouth about playing time, too. I don’t know what the hell Billy King was thinking when he signed him to that long-term contract. The Sixers should try and trade him.
I know I have personally been in a few conversations just like that about Sammy. Well tonight I thought I’d switch it up and give the Haitian Sensation some love for a change.
The Sixers took a big step towards locking up a playoff spot with their win against the New Jersey Nets tonight, and Sammy was as big a part in that win as anyone. His line: 40 minutes, 15 points, 13 rebounds 5 blocks and only 1 turnover. Those numbers don’t even tell the whole picture of how good of a game Dalembert had. Besides the blocks he probably altered another 10 shots and used his quick hops to contest and then grab the board after a miss. This was most prominent during crunch time.
In the last 4 minutes of the game, the Sixers defense was very strong. They poked balls away, hustled back against the break and funneled people right at Sammy who didn’t disappoint. The best part was Dalembert’s ability to stay on the court. With Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Richard Jefferson constantly getting into the lane, Sam successfully contested and changed shots while not making dumb fouls. With a likely playoff matchup against Dwight Howard and Orlando, playing smart and staying on the court will be the most important thing he will have to do for the 76ers to have any chance.
Slammin’ Sammy D gets a big Kudos from me tonight, and hopefully I will get more opportunities to praise him.
Other game notes:
The Sixers showed some of the best offensive execution down the stretch. With relentless penetration off pick-and-rolls, Miller and Iguodala were able to get into the teeth of the defense and make accurate passes to wide open shooters and teammates under the basket. It is always a concern when the 76ers need to score in the half court, but they showed they are capable against the Nets.
Lou Williams seemed to have come out of his funk, scoring 7 points in the last few minutes to seal the win. Lou is clearly a fan favorite, and everyone has been hoping he would snap out of it and play to his potential. Hopefully this game will springboard him into the playoffs with the right groove.