. It's taken me about 7 hours to be able to sit down and write this. The irony is this may have been the best game the Sixers have played all season. They scored 106 points on San Antonio, in San Antonio. The erased a 22-point deficit. They outscored the Spurs 56-42 in the second half.
For about 24 minutes, I thought I was watching the '07-'08 Sixers. Then, in the final 2 seconds, I was brought crashing back down to Earth. We all were.
I started out with the positives, but we have to talk about the negatives. I'll give you bullets:
- 15/26 from three (outscored by 33 points on threes)
Actually, that's about it. On two-pointers, the Spurs a hair over 50%, the Sixers shot 65% from two, 33% from three. The positives far outweigh the negatives.
- 40 rebounds to 32.
- 11 offensive rebounds to 10.
- Only 8 turnovers committed
- 16/19 from the line (the Spurs were 9/14)
- Excellent games from both Andres, Thad and Theo off the bench, again.
- Tony Parker held in check (7/17 from the floor)
- No Ginobli flop charges
- Improved effort and productivity from Speights
- The Spurs' announcers finally got his name right in the third quarter after saying "Spites" about 40 times in the first half.
- The marginalization of Willie Green (slowly, but surely, his minutes are disappearing)
I've been hard on Speights recently, but I think Coach DiLeo's strategy paid some dividends tonight. Speights has seen his minutes dwindle and then disappear. When he got in the game tonight, he was a man on a mission. He grabbed six boards, 3 offensive, and generally hustled his ass off. I thought he'd see more minutes in the second half than he did, after the effort he put forth in the first, but no such luck.
Theo continues to impress (and continues to make Sammy expendable), he did a great job on Duncan (they didn't double when Theo was guarding Duncan, which was key to the comeback). He's still a monster shot blocker, and he's actually capable of catching tough passes on the interior and converting them.
If you want to question something from tonight's game, I'd point a finger at the minutes Royal Ivey played in the fourth quarter. I assume DiLeo left Ivey in to help defend the perimeter, but he really didn't help much in that respect. I don't think anything would've helped their three-point defense. The Spurs were just unbelievably hot from deep.
Along those same lines, DiLeo did make a critical error, in my judgement, with 30 seconds left. With the game tied at 106, Tony Parker missed a jumper and Lou grabbed the rebound. He made a quick outlet to Miller who pushed the ball up the court. The Spurs recovered quickly, though, and Miller was 1 on 4, so the break wasn't there. DiLeo didn't call a timeout, instead the Sixers got up the floor and they went five on five. Miller tried a dangerous pass to Iguodala at the top of the key, it got picked off and that was all she wrote.
DiLeo should've taken a time out as soon as it was apparent the break wasn't there. Tie game, 30 seconds left, and the Sixers had Miller, Lou, Ivey, Iguodala and Theo on the floor. They had plenty of timeouts left. He should've taken a timeout and he should've gotten Thad and Speights in the game to have the best offensive lineup possible on the floor. With Ivey and Ratliff out there, you're basically playing 3 on 5 for the most-important possession of the game.
I never thought the Sixers would come back after that disastrous first quarter. To come all the way back and have the ball for the win with 30 seconds to go is nothing short of miraculous. Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala earned every penny of their contracts in this one. Miller dropped 20 of his 28 on the Spurs in the second half, including 16 in the third when the Sixers outscored the Spurs 31-18. Iguodala had another monster game, 25 points, 8 boards and 8 assists.
They also did something else they haven't done all year. They won 4 of the 5 "four factors" battles, and still lost the game. Check out the worksheet
, it's up to date.Player of The Game:
I'm going with Miller, He was unconsious in the second half and finished the game 12/14 from the floor with only 1 turnover (unfortunately, it was THE turnover.)Team Record:
Houston on Tuesday. The road trip is over, but things don't get much easier.