Let's forget about Greg Oden for one night. I realize that in the grand scheme of things tonight's 118-115 double overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland could hurt this team more than help them. Let's just ignore that fact and take a look at the game.
The Sixers traveled to Cleveland today for the second game of a back-to-back to take on the team that's tied for the best record in the East. A team led by arguably the best player in the Eastern Conference, maybe the entire league. Let's face it, a team they had absolutely no business beating. They came out and were in an 8-0 hole before you could blink. The Cavs were all over the boards. Cheeks had to take a timeout before his team could even break up the shutout. You'd expect a team to quit. You'd expect them to play out the string. What you wouldn't expect is for every member of the team to dig his heels in and fight for 58 minutes. That's exactly what they did.
I don't have a bad thing to say about anyone. Rodney Carney was flawless. Dalembert was huge on the inside. Miller ran the team. Hunter helped out on D and fought for boards. Willie Green didn't take one bad shot (mainly because he sat out for the second straight game with a sore knee.) Mo Cheeks trimmed down his rotation to 8 players...that's right. 8 players in a double overtime game on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. Everyone did his part, and Andre Iguoadala did the work of two men. Not only did Iguodala man up LeBron James for 52 minutes, he also put the team on his back and carried them to this win.
Iguodala, the obvious player of the game, finished with a career-high 34 points on 10-18 from the field, and 12-12 from the line. He also chipped in with 9 assists and 4 rebounds. The numbers are impressive, but they don't even come close to telling the whole story. The Sixers should've lost this game in regulation. They were down by 6 with two minutes to go. From that point they went on 9-3 run, Iguodala scored 7 of the points, including a highly-contested 3 with 17 seconds to go and a tough runner on the right side of the lane with 8 seconds left on the clock. That shot sent it into the first overtime.
Iguodala was 8-8 from the line in the overtimes, sealing the game for the Sixers. LeBron tried to bring the Cavs back from the brink in the 2nd OT, hitting a trio of 3's within 8 seconds, but it was too little too late. Great win for the Sixers (did I just say that?) Well, maybe a great win for Iguodala's development.
Games like tonight's 118-115 win at Cleveland give Philly fans a reason to think Iguodala will join the elite. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)