January 27 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Marreese Speights packed a game’s worth of stats into just over 17 minutes of playing time.
After watching his team struggle through a mediocre first quarter, 76ers coach Doug Collins inserted Speights and called for a play he’d seen on game film that worked against the Toronto Raptors.
It worked again. It worked for the entire second quarter.
Speights, a big man who is never shy about shooting, led the team in both scoring and rebounding as the Sixers defeated the Raptors, 107-94, Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.
Speights scored 23 points – 17 of those in the second quarter – shot 10 for 12 from the field, and grabbed nine rebounds. The aforementioned play, which seemed to include a little curl cut for Speights against Toronto’s zone defense, pulled the Sixers out of their first-quarter rut and propelled them toward the season’s first victory over Toronto.
The Sixers improved to 20-25. The Raptors dropped to 13-33.
“I was watching the Spurs and Toronto game, and one of the sets [the Spurs] run, Toronto was struggling stopping it when they play zone, so we ran that play almost the entire second quarter,” Collins explained. “And Mo rolled to the basket.”
Speights said that in the first quarter, during which he did not play a minute, he noticed holes in Toronto’s zone defense, holes his teammates weren’t filling on the offensive end.
“Oh, yeah, I saw it because they were playing zone and our big men really weren’t rolling to the goal, so I was looking at the whole first quarter to see what I could do to get some buckets,” said Speights, who entered the night averaging 5.4 points a game. “So I went out there and rolled and got a couple of easy ones.””
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