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Games like this kill me. Absolutely kill me. By all rights, the Sixers should have won this game. They came out running and built an early lead. They withstood a run by the Cavs and got to the fourth quarter with the game tied. They locked down on defense in the fourth. They executed their offense in the fourth. They just left too many points on the floor in the final two minutes and wound up losing 91-88.

The first three quarters don't really need to be rehashed. I only want to talk about the very end of the game, because Mo Cheeks did exactly what he should have done. With the game in the balance, Mo called the exact same play three times down the floor in a row, Andre Iguodala in the post. The first time, Iguodala abused LeBron and converted on a tough shot, he may have been fouled. The second time, the Cavs had Devin Brown on him. Iguodala blew right past him and went to the hoop hard. He was first elbowed in the head and then slapped in the face, no foul was called. Delonte West hit a three on the other end while Iguodala was peeling himself on the floor at the other end to tie the game. The third time, Iguodala found Thad Young at point blank range, Thad blew the layup.

Forget about the missed call, they happen and they happen even more frequently on the road. The missed layup was a killer. The Sixers wouldn't score another point, not one single point in the final 2 minutes of the game. The thing that kills me is that I want Thad taking that shot. He's probably the best guy on the team at converting in close. It just didn't fall.

Willie Green was, well, pitiful again. 2/9 from the field, 0/3 from three for 4 points. Mo also made a late move on the final possession. Joe Smith went to the line with about 6 seconds left and the Cavs up by 2 points. The Sixers had no timeouts left, obviously they were going to need to push the ball and hit a three. Mo didn't put Carney in the game, he got lucky because the Cavs took a foul with 2.9 seconds left, but it's pretty clear that Carney needs to be on the floor right away in that situation. It probably didn't make a difference, but he needs to be on top of those late-game substitutions.

A final note on Andre Miller. I don't know why, unless he demanded the assignment, but Andre Miller spent a large part of this game covering LeBron James. In fact, I think he did the best job out of anyone on LeBron, and he had him for several key minutes in the fourth quarter. This guy just keeps asserting himself on both ends of the floor and he's really been a pleasure to watch.

Player of The Game: Andre Miller
Team Record: 37-37 (back to .500)
Playoff Race: Toronto lost, Atlanta won, Washington plays the suddenly struggling Lakers later tonight. The Sixers are alone in 7th, 2 games behind Wash. for 5th, a half game behind Toronto for 6th and now 3.5 ahead of Atlanta for 8th. 4th is out of the question, at this point. 4 games to make up with 8 remaining is too much.
by Brian on Mar 30 2008
Tags: Andre Miller | Basketball | Cavaliers | Sixers |