This is the type of game that really would've gotten us excited a couple of months ago. Hopefully, it's the type of game we're going to see a couple of times in the playoffs. It's not really the fact that the Sixers won a close game against a good team that encourages, it's the fact that they played tough. They bodied up one of the most physical teams in the league, and really pushed them around in this overtime win. (game capsule).
Here's your rotation chart:
It's tough to get pumped up after a win, even after a really good win like the one we saw tonight, after months of terrible play. But still, it feels good. It feels good to see the Sixers sack up for an important game. Not just show up, but show up and play with an attitude. With toughness. It feels good to see them being the ones who give the hard fouls. Who push guys out of the way. Who fight for loose balls. It happens so rarely, you have to wonder if any of them have it in them. Tonight, a bunch of them did.
I don't think it's a coincidence that Spencer Hawes saw only 17 minutes of action. Hawes was his typical soft self, and for some unknown reason, Doug Collins had him warming the bench and put Lavoy Allen into the rotation. Allen's stat line won't wow you, but the fact that he doesn't fall over every other time down the floor, or simply crumble when someone backs him down, did wonders for the team.
Another great thing about this game is the Sixers found a way to score without the crutch of Hawes playing quarterback 20 feet from the hoop. Hawes was a non-factor, and they put a hurting on one of the better defensive teams in the league. They did it by attacking the hoop, for the most part.
Great job by Lou tonight off the bench. The two threes he hit in overtime were clutch and he had a couple of nice defensive plays as well. Iguodala seemed pissed that Granger went off against them last week. Tonight, he decided to remind Granger why he warmed the bench for Team USA. 2/12 for 4 points in 41 minutes for Indy's "leader." Collins actually put the ball in Jrue's hands for some big possessions in the fourth and overtime. At the end of the fourth, he drove baseline and missed a shot, but it looked like a blatant foul that was missed. In overtime, with the Sixers down one, Jrue drove into the paint and put the Sixers up for good. He put a capper on it when Lou grabbed a rebound lying on the floor and kicked it ahead to Jrue for a lefty dunk. Overall, really nice game from Jrue. When the offense was sputtering early in the fourth, Thad kept them in the game with a few trips to the line and a ton of hustle. Any one of those guys could've gotten player of the game, but they didn't.
Player of The Game: Brand. When the Sixers offense went cold in the second half, Brand stepped up in a big way. It was reminiscent of the Atlanta game that he singlehandedly won for them. Without Brand, they lose this game by double digits in regulation.
Team Record: 33-30
Up Next: @ NJN, Monday night.
Playoff Race: Chicago beat Dallas, Miami lost to Washington. The Bulls are basically a lock for the #1 seed now. The Bucks beat the Nets, the Knicks were off. So this is where we stand. The Sixers magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 1. They're currently tied with the Knicks at 33-30, but the Knicks hold the tiebreaker. With three games remaining (@NJN, @MIL, @DET) the Sixers magic number for the #7 seed is 4. The Knicks finish their season with three national games, @ Atlanta Sunday afternoon on ESPN, vs. the Clippers Wednesday on ESPN and then @ Charlotte Thursday on TNT. Looking at the schedule, you'd have to consider the Sixers the favorites to finish with the #7 seed and play Miami in the first round. Let's not worry about that right now. First things first, beat the Nets. Get in the playoffs.