Vince Carter did just enough to squash
the Sixers hopes. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the Sixers playoff hopes are officially dead. They came into New Jersey tonight with a chance to cut their deficit to 3 games, but after their 86–82 loss to the Nets they’re 5 games out with 9 to go. This is the last time you’ll see me use the words “Sixers” and “playoffs” in the same sentence for the rest of the season.
Now that we’ve got that depressing bit of new out of the way, let’s take a look at tonight’s game. Vince Carter picked up two quick fouls in the first and went to the bench. He came back in about mid-way through the second and picked up his third, back to the bench. This was a golden opportunity for the Sixers and they never took advantage of it.
V.C. only played 7 minutes in the first half, this played a huge roll in this game. In the third quarter, Vince took over. He turned a 5 point Sixers lead into a 4 point deficit going into the fourth. The rest of the Nets took over from there.
If the Sixers need to point at something as a cause for this loss, they need look no further than their piss-poor performance from the free throw line. The Sixers, a 77% team from the foul line on the season, shot 11–22 from the stripe tonight. It cost them the game.
Andre Iguodala was in foul trouble all night, and found himself on the bench for a large chunk of the fourth quarter. When he finally got back on the floor, with 6:30 left, he tried to take the game over, scoring 7 points in short order, but it just wasn’t enough. Disappointing loss for the Sixers. Sammy Dalembert is the player of the game, another double-double for him (12 pts, 10 boards).
On a brighter note, I switched over to the Knicks game for the final seconds of regulation (including a miracle three by Nate Robinson to push it to overtime). In overtime, the Knicks completely folded to the Hornets. While the announcers couldn’t stop gushing about Mardy Collins, the Knicks missed bad shot after bad shot. Eventually falling 103–94. At least the Sixers weren’t the only team to get knocked out of the tourney tonight.
This season now becomes about finishing with a better record than the Knicks. Right now, I’m watching Isiah Thomas bitch about the “None-calls (sic)” that Marbury hasn’t gotten all year, in his post-game press conference. A quick glance at the stats shows Marbury’s average FTs per game this year is right in line with his career average. Thomas completely avoided talking about the Knicks choke job in OT (they were out-scored 11–2 in OT). The Knicks have lost 6 of 7 in their desperate attempt to miss the playoffs, and win me another coke from SML.
I’ll be in attendance for the Knicks/Sixers game at the Garden on Wednesday night. The teams are separated by 2 games in their race for insignificance. The good news for the Knicks is that every loss is another ping pong ball for the Bulls in what could be the deepest NBA draft in decades. The Bulls get to swap first round picks with the Knicks as part of the Eddy Curry deal.
Just saw a promo on MSG for the Knicks/Sixers game on Wednesday, the announcer mis-pronounced Iguodala’s name. Real professional.