Finally, I knew he had it in him. All he needed was the opportunity to shine. On Wednesday night, Marreese Speights showed what he is truly capable of doing.
The Philadelphia 76ers were on the road facing the NBA’s only D-League affiliated team, the Toronto Raptors. Because the Raptors have so many D-League alumni on their team it can be very hard to get all of the players on the same page on offense and defense. Therefore, they need to keep things simple. On defense they employed the zone much to the delight of 76ers coach Doug Collins and Speights.
Speights completely annihilated the zone defense. According to Collins, Philadelphia ran the same play for almost the entire second quarter and that is when Speights did his heaviest damage.
He scored 17 of his season-high 23 points in the second frame. Everything came easy for him on the night as he was 10-12 from the field while also pulling down nine rebounds, six of which were offensive as the 76ers defeated the Raptors 107-94.
I wrote early on that Speights had the potential to be a solid player this season if he was simply given the opportunity. On Wednesday night the opportunity was there and he seized it. He did all his damage in just 17 minutes.
Raptors Head Coach Jay Triano had this to say after his team dropped its ninth consecutive game: “I thought our defense was very porous all night.” Obviously.
This was Philadelphia’s sixth win in a row.