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Kicked In the Junk Again

Unforgivable. That's the only way to describe the final possession. Sixers up by two, 6.8 seconds left on the clock and Ray Allen gets a wide-open look at a three from the corner for the win. Absolutely unforgivable.

Let's get the blame out of the way. Thad, I love you, but it was your fault. Andre Iguodala is the best defender on your team. He's probably a top five wing defender in the league at this point. He had Paul Pierce locked down, and Pierce was inside the three-point line. There is no conceivable reason why you would leave your man to go double him. Especially when your man is Ray Allen who hit a three only 24 seconds earlier.

You could probably make a case that Sammy should've rotated out to the corner when he saw Thad go to help Iguodala, but that's a lot to ask of your center. The fact of the matter is, Thad should never have left Allen in the first place. He got caught up in the moment, tried to do too much, and it cost the Sixers a game they really needed.

In that situation, you just can't allow them to even think about shooting a three. It was a nice play by Boston, perfectly designed and executed. It played on the Sixers aggression and inexperience. In your mind, 6.8 seconds is a lot less time than it actually is on the floor. Thad probably didn't think Pierce had enough time to pump fake, drive and dish, but obviously he did.

This season is turning into a "what could have been" story for the Sixers. Think about this, for a second. Over the past 15 games, they're 10-5. They lost at New Orleans by 15 points, so forget about that one for a second. The other four losses went like this:

  • @ San Antonio: Tony Parker hits baseline jumper at the buzzer off long rebound.
  • vs. Dallas: Dirk hits game-winner at the buzzer over Reggie.
  • vs. New Jersey: Lopez follow dunk for the lead with 16 seconds left.
  • vs. Boston: Ray Allen three for the win with 1.6 seconds left.
Not to mention these other games:
  • vs. Orlando: Rashard Lewis three with 2 seconds left.
  • vs. Indiana: T.J. Ford jumper with 2 seconds left.
  • @ Denver: Kenyon Martin dunk with 9 seconds left.
That's 7 games in which the Sixers had the lead in the final 16 seconds and they lost all 7 of them. You can try to lay the blame on the Sixers' lack of a go-to-guy on offense, but tonight Iggy hit a huge shot to give them a two point lead. Against Dallas, he hit a shot to tie it with 8 seconds left. In San Antonio, Iggy tied it at 106 with a dunk. Lou gave the Sixers the lead with 17 seconds to go in Indiana. Iggy hit two foul shots with 14 seconds to go against Orlando to give the Sixers the lead.

Only the Nets game and the Denver game did not being able to get a late bucket make a difference. Every other game was basically decided on the last possession. It makes me sick to think of the wins they've blown late. I'd love to have some well-thought-out explanation for why this keeps happening, but all I can come up with is that they're too young and veteran players are taking advantage of their youth to get perfect looks at the hoop when the game is on the line.

The ending shouldn't take anything away from a monumental comeback against the champs. That's quite a feat, with or without Kevin Garnett. Unfortunately, the only thing anyone will be talking about tomorrow is the final 6.8 seconds, oh, and also the fact that Elton Brand never saw the floor in the second half.

That's all I have for now.

Player of The Game: Reggie Evans. He fueled the comeback.
Team Record: 23-24
Up Next: Indiana, Thursday night.
by Brian on Feb 3 2009
Tags: Basketball | Celtics | Post Game | Sixers |