Sixers finish West trip in winning fashion
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on March 25, 2009
And sweep the Blazers !
Pretty amazing way to end a tough five game road trip: a 108-114 OT W over Portland to lift us up to a 36-33 record (.522).
So here was the situation for the Sixers at tip off: fifth game in seven nights (!). Second night of a back-to-back. A raucous, sellout crowd. An opponent with a 28-6 home record, coming from its own 3-2 road trip.
Not exactly the best scenario, right?
But Sixers pulled out a heck of a game, a total team effort on both ends of the floor, coming out of Portland with one of the biggest wins of the season, in a key moment of the year.
I just managed to finish watching the game replayed – this time without any idiot friend telling me the final score… – and I am still pumped. Crazy game, it would took too many words to recap.
To give you an idea of how weird of a night it was, let’s start saying that Sixers had only a five point lead after the FIRST QUARTER (26-31), in which they shot 13/16 (81%) !!!!
In the SECOND QUARTER, despite Blazers’ big men literally partying under our rim, we progressively extended the lead: thirteen on a jumper by Thaddeus Young (36-49), sixteen (the biggest) on a three point play by Williams: 40-56 with 1.20 left.
Lou had nine points in the period, but what shocked the Blazers (and not only them perhaps, LOL) was the mighty Reggie Evans adding ten: Portland shooting 1/14 from behind the arc obviously was also a big factor to explain the 44-58 halftime score.
In the THIRD QUARTER Blazers shooters started getting hot, and with a 12-0 run the game was open soon (56-58, 7 min to play). Blake had all of his three made threes in this period, while Sixers relied mainly on Thaddeus Young, who was 8/9 at the end of the third, including a nice three: 72-75.
The FOURTH QUARTER was amazing, Marreese Speights put us up seven (72-79) but here Portland went on a stunning 13-0 run that included a four point play by Rudy Fernandez (dumb foul by LW), who scored eleven points in less than three minutes.: 85-79 with the crowd going crazy.
Sixers didn’t lost composure and continued to play hard and play defense: Iguodala was guarding Roy, making him things extremely tough, Young had to keep the taller Aldridge, and had his hands full as well.
The major problem for us was r-e-b-o-u-n-d-i-n-g t-h-e b-a-l-l: I lost the count of the offensive boards we allowed (I checked it at the end: 20 !! Leading to 30 second-chance points…), with our bigs forgetting to boxe out or grabbing the damn rock.
After a couple of wild possessions (a stupid alley oop attempt by Iguodala swatted by Outlaw, and a rushed shot by Young, blocked by Aldridge) it came down to the final plays.
Blake drove in the paint and found Oden for a nice dunk (98-96, 30 seconds to play), Iguodala was fouled under the rim by Aldridge and calmly swished both free throws, to tie the game at 98 with 20 seconds left.
Roy wanted the last shot, with Ivey guarding him, but he couldn’t do anything better than airballing a fallaway turnaround jumper as time expired. Overtime, and good D by Ivey on the play.
In OVERTIME we jumped to a four point lead, Blazers had the last run/comeback (103-102 on another three by Rudy) but we eventually closed the game with three baskets by Miller, Iguodala (high flying dunk off a feed by Willie Green, to finish a great fastbreak) and Young, who tipped in a missed layup by Miller: 103-108.
Dalembert (pathetic all night, 4 boards in 33 minutes, are you kidding me ??) finally woke up and had a block and a rebound to ignite those plays, and Green also played a big part, with a steal on Roy immediately after that dime to Andre.
How about some boxe out drills ? No less than two hours per day.
It’s nice to make those free throws, uhm? We won the game at the line, more than doubling them (39-16) with Iguodala going 4/4 at the end of regulation, great sign.
SIXERS4GUIDOS’ BONUS STATS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS – I watched the game with Portland’s commentators (Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, if I recall well) and I swear, they are among the biggest homers I’ve ever listened to. They make their Celtics’ colleagues look fair… pretty annoying – Roy was 2/7 with 4 points at halftime – Check this: Sixers won five of the last seven games in Portland - At the beginning of the third we had a 21-0 lead on fastbreak points – Reggie Evans tied a season high with 12 points – This is Bust a Bucket’s recap of the game: Blazers’ fans are complaining about the officiating but I think it’s their own coach to explain better what happened. From the AP report:
Portland coach Nate McMillan didn’t think it was dead legs as much as the Blazers’ offensive mind-set. The Blazers tied a season high by taking 34 3-point shots. The passive attack resulted in only 17 free throws for Portland, as opposed to 39 for the Sixers.
“We played the perimeter instead of going to the basket, and it cost us” McMillan said.
Sixers went back home after the game and face the T’Wolves on Wednesday. Expect DiLeo going deep in the rotation after this huge, long, winning effort.
Check T’Wolves blog for coverage about Minnesota, that has lost sixteen of its last eighteen games (…).