Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver, Rodney Carney: Out. Lou Williams, Bobby Jones, Kevin Ollie: In. If you’re a Sixers fan, you couldn’t have been happy when you tuned in and saw that your top two scorers were sidelined with injuries. I know I wasn’t. Little did we know that (a) the heart on this Sixers team has flowed down from Iguodala into the deepest crevice of the bench and (b) Indiana is a horrible, horrible team. The Sixers’ bench warmers took it to the Pacers tonight and came away with a 90–86 win.
The game was ugly, there’s no denying that. Two bad teams going at it, and it really wouldn’t have been close at all if not for the play of Jeff Foster. The out-of-control big man had 15 points and 9 rebounds, but 6 of those boards came on the offensive end. The Sixers held the Pacers to 32.7% from the field, while shooting 44.8% themselves.
The Pacers moved a half-game further away from the playoffs, but honestly, this team doesn’t belong anywhere near the post season. More importantly, in the battle for bragging rights, the Sixers moved ahead of the Knicks via tie-breaker at this point, soon to be a half-game after the Knicks finish getting their ass handed to them by the Bulls (it’s 94–59 right now with 5 minutes to go in the fourth quarter).
Andre Miller led all Sixers with 19 points, 11 dimes and 5 boards. Lou Williams had a career-high 18 points on 6/11 from the field. Joe Smith logged a double-double off the bench, 17 and 11. And Sammy Dalembert asserted himself in a matchup with Jermaine O’Neal, finishing with 15 points, 12 boards, 3 blocks and holding O’Neal to 7/22 from the field.
Your player of the game is Lou Williams, he was electrifying throughout the game, and hit some big shots down the stretch. Nice to see the youngster growing into a solid contributor.
There will be no Willie Watch tonight, because Willie impressed me in this game. His shooting was atrocious (3–9), but this was a game that he would’ve dominated in the past, in a bad way. With the stars out of the lineup, Willie has always looked to take all the shots left on the court in their absence. Tonight, he started slow, and decided to play a role. He did his best on defense, and didn’t take any bad jumpers after the half. It’s a small victory for Willie, but realizing that he isn’t on, and not trying to shoot himself out of it is a moral victory and it’s also the only way the Sixers were going to win this game. Good work Willie.
Stat of the night: Indiana from three-point range: 3/20 (15%); Sixers from three-point range: 0/2.