Several things about tonight's overtime loss to the Thunder were pleasant surprises, if not downright shocks. First, Thad was a man. Not just the rebounding, but late in the fourth and also in overtime, he demanded the matchup with Durant. On the final play of regulation, he stifled Durant, wouldn't let him loose to get the ball. A few more positives to take from this loss to follow.
Number two on the list is the play of Evan Turner on both sides of the ball. Turner's defense on Russell Westbrook was unbelievable. I don't know how he did it, but he shut down Westbrook's drives and really threw a wrench into the Thunder offense, especially late in the third and throughout the fourth.
Finally, the Sixers did something tonight I didn't think they were capable of as currently constructed. They were in a game against a really good team without Jrue's scoring. Jrue never got going tonight, his jumper remains off (he's been just terrible with his jumper since the first half of the Toronto game) and on top of everything, he was limited due to questionable foul trouble. Turner's play was really the reason they were able to do it without Jrue's scoring. I hope Turner can keep this type of play up for a while. Jrue's 13 assists and 2 turns were a big help, he isn't unaware his jumper is in the crapper right now.
Three shots really could've given this game to the Sixers. The first was the three Jrue launched with the team down 2 with maybe 1:30 left in the fourth. It was the right time for that shot, he got a clean look early in the clock and let it fly. Would've brought the house down. The second was the wide-open three Jrue set Dorrel up for in the corner late in the fourth. Wright passed on the three, took one dribble in and missed the deep two. The third was the wide-open 10 footer Lavoy had in the lane in their final possession of regulation. He hesitated, and missed. Wasn't meant to be, I guess.
One final thought. This is the first game in a long time where I've been angry at the refs. It's tough to see Westbrook and Durant get every ticky-tack call while the Sixers get mauled near the hoop and the whistles are silent. It's tough to watch as a fan. I can't imagine what it must be like as a player. I'd probably go in the opposite direction if I was on the floor. If they're going to call the foul no matter what, then I'm putting Durant on his ass the next time he comes in the lane. Thad sort of did that in transition, grabbing him on the run to make sure he couldn't get the shot off.
It's a loss. Losses are always frustrating. Forget about it, come out tomorrow night and right the ship against the Suns.
Player of The Game: Thad
Team Record: 7-6
Up Next: vs. PHO, tomorrow night. The rare back-to-back with both games at home.