Unusual, happy finish for the last game at The Spectrum
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on March 14, 2009
I think everyone, from DiLeo to Doctor J, from Iguodala to Mike Gminski Moses Malone, from the ghost of James Naismith to Harvey Pollack, sensed the fifth buzzer beater loss coming when Chicago inbounded the ball down one with 22 seconds to go.
A finish we got very familiar with through the season, unfortunately.
Instead, Sam Dalembert had perhaps the biggest play of his career and blocked a shot by Derrick Rose, securing Sixers’ 104-101 W over the Bulls, in the last game played at The Spectrum, to cap an emotional night for Sixers’ fans and a close, good, intense game.
Sixers (32-31, .508) seriously risked a pretty unbelievable fourth quarter collapse, letting a 11-point lead (86-75, with the second of two consecutive fantastic dunks by Marreese Speights, 9.25 to play) turn into a 2-point deficit (94-96, 3.11 left).
That happened because Bulls went 5/5 from downtown to start the final quarter (!!), and tied the game with their sixth three, by Ben Gordon, with 36 seconds to play, 101-101.
That was pretty tough to swallow because Sixers played excellent defence on that play, forcing Salmons to shot a prayer that barely hit the rim at the 24th second. But Dalembert completely lost Brad Miller, who got the offensive rebound and dished the ball to a wide open Gordon at the top of the key. Tied at 101. Tough break indeed.
Then Iguodala demanded the ball in the low post (I liked to see that determination), guarded by Hinrich. Andre had easily driven past his smaller opponent few plays before, scoring on a nice lefthanded layup to put the Sixers up three (101-98, 1.06) and simply wanted to do it again.
This time he was fouled, but could make only one of his two free throws (…), setting the score at 102-101 with 22 seconds to go, and getting me and many of us ready for another last second, disheartening loss.
But Dalembert came, to make Rose’s night dark. After his block, Iguodala grabbed the bell and launched it to Thaddeus Young, all alone in the other half court, for the 104-101 dunk (? Uhm, actually more a two handed layup, LOL), 16 seconds to play.
Bulls had no timeouts left and couldn’t draw a play: on the last possession, Green guarded Gordon well enough to push him to shoot a contested three that rimmed out, sending the sellout Spectrum crowd home happy.
There are some other interesting things I would like to underline about this game.
1) Sam Dalembert not only had the decisive rejection, but previous to that he altered two shots by Rose and Tim Thomas in the last two minutes. On both occasions, he avoided committing a foul. When he is able to do that, he clearly gives the Sixers another dimension defensively. (And then again, why he does this 3-4 times a year? But I’m digressing…)
2) Green was put in down the stretch FOR DEFENSIVE PURPOSES. He was guarding Rose, that repeteadly beat Miller in the third quarter (10 quick points in less than five minutes).
I must say I like this move, especially if it comes when Lou Williams is in an off-night, and yesterday was the case (2/6 and 5 turnovers in 23 pretty meaningless minutes). Green did a good job on Rose – and on Gordon on the final shot – so I think this could become a standard set up when we don’t need Williams’ scoring.
3) Thaddeus Young was perhaps stimulated by the presence of Doctor J, because he played simply woderful basketball. His 31 points are the second straight career high, as he had 29 vs Toronto, remember?
Thad scored, pretty much at will, in many ways, as usual: drives, outside shots, low post moves, hooks… he was unstoppable, especially in the third quarter (14 pts), and helped Sixers close the period with a 15-2 run, 80-69.
Young showed once more that he has the complete package, and by the way he knocked down also Sixers’ only three (1/3 as a team…).
Nice win, historical night. and wild finish:
Sixers play Miami on Sunday, and I’m afraid that Wade will score +40 on us…