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This game shouldn't have gone to overtime, I'll get into that in a second, but it did, and you know what? A win is a win. 101-96 over Miami counts just as much as 124-84 over the Knicks. It wasn't pretty, but when the door was left open a crack, they broke through and came away with the W.

This game should've been put away in the fourth, and the blame for the game going to overtime really has to fall on Mo Cheeks. The Sixers were clinging to a 2-point lead with less than 3 minutes to go and they absolutely needed a hoop on several consecutive trips down the floor. In total, they had 5 possessions from the 2:30 point to the end of the game, they managed two points on two Andre Miller free throws. Andre Iguodala touched the ball once in those five possessions, and he got the ball out near half court, pinned against the sideline where a trap came and easily cornered him, eventually leading to a turnover with about 26 seconds left in the game, allowing the Heat to bring the ball down and hold for the final shot of the game, which could've been the game-winner.

Cheeks' first mistake was to have Reggie Evans in the game for this entire time period. OK, if you want the defensive rebounding, then go offense for defense. The Sixers used a timeout in there when they had possession, they could have and should have subbed in Thad Young. His second mistake was not making sure his best player was controlling the ball. Iguodala should've been bringing the ball up the court. If a double comes when you're bringing it up, in the middle of the floor, you have a ton of options and you're probably going to wind up with someone wide open. If the double doesn't come, no one on the Heat can stick with Iguodala off the dribble, he would've been able to pick and choose his shots, or gone right to the hole. Poor coaching down the stretch.

Cheeks didn't correct his mistakes early in overtime, and again, it could have and probably should have cost them the game. He started overtime with Dalembert, Evans, Miller, Iguodala and Lou Williams on the floor. After a stagnant minute and a half, Cheeks got Evans out of there in favor of Thad. Miami scored the first 5 points to take a 96-91 lead before Andre Iguodala took over. The Sixers ended the game on a 10-0 run over the final 1:46 of the game, with Iguodala scoring 6, Lou Williams knocked down a pair of free throws and Andre Miller threw one down on a breakaway!!! Read that again, Andre Miller dunked, with two hands, on a breakaway. That's something I've never seen in his time in Philly. Miller also did an excellent job denying the ball from Dwyane Wade in overtime, that shouldn't be overlooked.

The game was within reach because the Sixers did a horrible job handling the ball (23 turnovers) and couldn't hit their free throws (19/27, 70%).

One thing you have to give credit to Miami for, they aren't actively trying to tank. They did their best to win this game, Pat Riley out-coached Mo Cheeks, the Sixers young legs just came through, which is notable in and of itself. Check out the minute totals for the Sixers' top three players over the back-to-back, last night and tonight:
  • Andre Iguodala: 89 minutes
  • Andre Miller: 87 minutes
  • Sam Dalembert: 78 minutes
They can rest now, after going 2-2 over a 4 games in 5 nights (3 on the road) stretch, the Sixers are off until they play host to the Magic on Wednesday night. The Nets won and the Hawks lost tonight, meaning the Sixers are all alone in the #8 spot, 1 game ahead of Atlanta, .5 games behind the Nets.

Player of The Game: Andre Iguodala
Team Record: 25-32

by Brian on Feb 23 2008
Tags: Andre Iguodala | Basketball | Heat | Sixers |