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, all the time

Finishing games. It's the last step good teams have to make to become great teams, in most cases. In the Sixers' case, it's been the difference in their level of play over the past month plus.

Take a look at the fourth quarter stats from their last 6 wins:

95-90 win over Boston - Sixers win fourth quarter 29-19
91-87 win over New Jersey - Sixers win fourth quarter 23-12
115-113 win over Denver - Sixers win fourth quarter 23-20
103-96 win over San Antonio - Sixers lose fourth quarter 23-20
110-106 win over Chicago - Sixers win fourth quarter 40-20
83-82 win over Detroit - Sixers win fourth quarter 17-15

That's 5 out of 6 their past 6 wins the Sixers not only held their opponents under 25 points in the fourth, but they overcame a deficit at the end of three quarters to pull out a win. Pretty amazing for a team who shoots so poorly from the free throw line to be finish teams off like this. Again, valuable crunch-time experience for these guys heading into the playoffs.

I know there is a lot of talk on the message boards about how this is really Billy King's team, and Ed Stefanski is taking credit for Billy's work. My answer to that is this: If Kyle Korver was still on this team, Mo would be playing him in the fourth quarter. You can't deny that. Yes, Korver was a great shooter. Yes, he stretched the floor, but he could not defend. This team is finishing games because they are absolutely locking teams down in crunch time. Trading Korver, which was undoubtedly a Stefanski move, has molded this team and it opened up the rotation to get Thad in there for the fourth, and get Carney key minutes as well. That move is largely responsible for the growth of this team, and I don't think it would've happened had Billy King not been replaced.
by Brian on Mar 25 2008
Tags: Basketball | Playoffs | Sixers |