If you were an NBA fan and you saw your team's "star" player smiling and joking around with his team down by 3 points with less than 10 seconds to go in the game and the opposing team going to the foul line for two shots, how would you feel? What if we make the stakes a little higher? Now imagine your favorite team is also in a fight for the final playoff spot, and the team you trail by a half game has already pulled off a big upset. If it was me, I'd be throwing things at my TV.
Vince Carter is obviously the player I'm talking about, and watching him play disgusts me. His team is losing. His team is fighting for a playoff spot. He's laughing. There's something extremely wrong with that, but for some reason it doesn't really surprise me coming from him.
Now, for the game. The Sixers won this game 91-87
with a tremendous defensive effort, keyed by Samuel Dalembert, in the fourth quarter. The Nets were held to 12 points, and for the second time in the past week, Sammy took over late in the fourth. On consecutive possessions he blocked shots that would've given the Nets the lead. Just like he did against Tim Duncan. Sammy finished the night with 11 points, 18 boards (9 offensive) and 5 blocks. He hurt his shoulder with a couple of minutes left, but stayed on the floor. No word yet on how serious the injury is.
Andre Iguodala provided the offense (28 points on 8/17 from the field, 2/3 from three, 10/12 from the line with 7 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block). Iguodala also secured the key rebound to ice the game. This is a huge key for the Sixers, who look to go small in the waning moments of the game. They need Thad and Iguodala to own the boards against bigger players.
Speaking of Thad, his shot is still off. He still seems to be rushing everything near the rim, but he didn't let this impact the rest of his game. He played 27 minutes tonight, grabbed 7 boards and finished with 4 assists. He spent most of the 4th quarter on Vince Carter and did a great job on him both on the perimeter and in the post. The Nets started the third quarter on a huge run, when Thad checked in he had an immediate impact. On the first two offensive possessions, the Sixers missed jumpers. Thad tipped the first miss in. On the second, he soared for the offensive rebound and fed a streaker for an easy layup. The Nets won the quarter easily, but Thad jump started the offense and gave the energy they needed to stay in the game.
It was good to see another sizable crowd at the Wach tonight. Hopefully the days 12,000 person crowds are behind us.
Tomorrow is an off day, then the Sixers go on the road to start another tough week. Monday @ Boston, Wednesday vs. Chicago, Friday vs. Phoenix and Sunday @ Cleveland. 2-2 is a lot to ask.Player of The Game:
Samuel DalembertTeam Record:
Atlanta won, Washington and Toronto didn't play. The Sixers remain 4.5 ahead of the Hawks, and move to within 1 game of the #5 seed and .5 games of the #6 seed. Toronto plays the Nuggets tomorrow, the Wizards play Detroit.