When Calvin Booth outplays Shaq…
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 27, 2007
Philadelphia whipped Miami basically for two quarters, saw an early 21 point lead (47-26, 3.57 left in the second) reduced to 3 in the fourth (84-81, 5.10 to go) and finished on a strong 12-4 run to win 96-85 (12-16, .429) in front of the second largest crowd of the year at the Wachovia Center, 18.430 fans (was it the Shaq effect or the “New Sixers” effect? We’ll see…).
One thing to be clear: I didn’t watch the game. At least not yet. It was broadcasted on NBA TV and I have League Pass, that didn’t include it: the game was nowhere to be found on the net. But I followed it live on Yahoo.com (by the way, they refresh the boxscore quicker than on Nba.com and the play-by-play update is very precise), that at least gives you an idea of how it went.
So I’m writing this recap basing on that + having seen the highlights: that’s why I will stick only to undisputed facts right now, waiting for an eventual update of the post with comments later. I really hope I will not break my streak of 25 consecutive Sixers games watched.
Facts are: Iguodala and Miller dominated the first quarter (25-17) in which Sixers shot 12/19, Heat 8/26. Iguodala scored 10 on 5/7 from the field, Miller 12 on 6/8: our point guard wouldn’t score anymore, choosing to set up his team mates for the rest of the game. He finished two rebounds short of a triple double in another excellent performance.
Carney started in Green’s place for the second game, Dalembert picked up two quick fouls and had to leave after only 1.27 played: his sub, Calvin “jeez, I am ugly” Booth, was the biggest surprise of the night. Booth had four blocks in the first quarter alone (!!) including one on Shaq and one on Wade, who was 2/7 from the field in the period.
Lou Williams gave the Sixers a big spark off the bench in the second, scoring 11 points (two on a great dunk off an alley oop pass from Miller) and finding team mates for easy baskets. Sixers reached the biggest lead of the night (+21) when Reggie Evans hit a couple from the line (how ironic is that ? he was perhapes stimulated by facing Shaq…), Miami got a little bit closer but Sixers gained momentum before entering the locker room because Korver hit a long jumper at the buzzer: 55-38.
Halftime stats had Sixers shooting 50% (20/40) vs Heat 34% (16/46, includng 0/6 from three point land). Iguodala had 19 (7/11 + 4/4 FTs), Miller 12 + 4 rebounds + 6 assists, Lou Williams 11 (3/5 + 5/5 from the line). Philadelphia had a small rebounding edge (22-20) – despite Dalembert collecting more fouls (3) than minutes (2.23) – and only 6 turnovers, vs Miami 8. Ricky Davis was Heat’s top scorer with 8 points (4/8), Wade was held to a nice 7 points off 2/9 from the floor, Shaq had 5 + 5 rebounds.
Dalembert and Carney had a couple of baskets each at the beginning of the third (67-50 Sixers) but Wade started to warm up and closed the period going all court to beat the buzzer and trim our lead to ten: 74-64. He scored 12 in the third, getting some help offensively from Cook (8).
Two quick threes by Iguodala and Korver (finally effective) seemed to put the game on ice immediately in the fourth (80-64) but here Heat showed some pride, going on a furious 17-4 run that made it a three point game with 5 minutes to go, like I wrote above. Cheeks called time out and Sixers came out of it in the best way: four dunks, two by Sam, one by Iguodala, one by Williams to close the game: 93-81 with less than two minutes to play.
Lou Williams had the wildest one, he drove past Wade (in the picture !) and threw it down over Udonis Haslem: it’s #1 in the “Top 10 plays” of the night on NBA.com.
These are facts, that having seen – or not – the game won’t change. More facts following are:
1) believe it or not, Sixers are 1/2 game away from the 8th seed in the East: currently Cavs are ranked there at 13-16… Cool? Sad? Well, cool for us, sad for the Conference, I guess.
2) Sixers got a great confidence boost from the last two games and now will head West for a 6 games-10 days trip that includes stops at Sacramento (humiliated by Celtics last night, they will look for an immediate revenge), Portland vs the red hot Blazers (that will likely extend their open winning streak to 12 vs Minnesota before facing us… not to mention they have to delete that unbelievable loss at the Wachovia center from their minds), L.A. Lakers and Denver, house of our buddy Allen Iverson…
3) speaking of confidence, do you think it’s accidental that Iguodala had his season high (28) after he won the Memphis game on that buzzer beater?
4) Sixers are 7-3 in the last 10 (!) and I say coming back home in January at 15-19 would be really great. I expect more a 14-20 record at the end of the trip: I realistically think we will win at Seattle and can steal one between Sacramento (uhm… tough) and Denver. Ending the trip at 3-3 would mean this team is WAY better than everybody (included me) predicted. Of course I can’t wait to post my apologies here !!
(in the meantime, I made a new “Calvin Booth” category on this blog… talking about the lowest point ever for the site, LOL)
Update: I didn’t watch the game but three Sixers plays made it to the daily “Top 10″ of NBA.com, with Lou Williams’ dunks at #1 (the one over Wade/Haslem) and #4 (the alley oop) and Korver’s catch-and-shoot jumper at the half time buzzer at #10. Nice