Sixers hold off Magic in emotional Game 3
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 25, 2009
And I’m glad that my 4-1 Magic prediction can already be filed under the “BS” category.
Sixers lead the series 2-1 after the 96-94 W in Game 3 that I just finished watching.
It was a typical playoffs game, intense, overall well played, that gave me a lot of mixed feelings through the quarters, from joy & pleasure to angryness & fear. Real stars shined, role players stepped up, (supposed) stars choked. We saw everything this night.
Basically it was a 48 minutes rollercoaster run, with the happy end that is making everything sweet now, at 5 AM, while I’m typing this recap.
Let’s start from the finish: Thaddeus Young scored the decisive basket with 2 seconds to go on a lefhaded layup (in the pic), after Sixers inbounded the ball with 7 seconds left.
I honestly think he traveled before the spin move that preceded the release of his shot, but maybe he didn’t have complete possession because a defender tipped the ball out of his hands before, I have to review it more times before having a clearer idea.
Anyway I think Sixers’ victory is completely deserved as we led for the whole night and showed we are a feisty team, with a fighting attitute, that never gives up and can give anybody troubles. So yes, we are still the underdog, but Orlando realized (assuming that was necessary) they have to play their butt off if they want to advance to the second round.
WHY WE WON THE GAME?
1) total team effort. DiLeo used ten players, EVERYBODY gave a significant contribution: not coincidentially all Sixers scored. Evans & Ivey, the guys that got less minutes, had several good, hustle plays, especially on defense, being instrumental in building our early lead.
2) the two Andres taking it to another level. Miller’s and Iguodala’s stat lines speak for themselves. They carried us for 48 minutes.
Iguodala missed two big free throws that could have actually closed the game with 42 seconds to go and Sixers up three (94-91) , but that was the only thing I can blame him for.
It’s a pretty scaring sign, because this is a deja vu from Game 1 (minus the game winner…), I know, and the fact that he was 9/11 from the line before bricking those two won’t help his confidence much. But I won’t complain after such a happy night, I’ll take Iggy’s 29-7-4, the 9/15 from the field and live with it. Andre, take Thad to dinner, he saved your ass (LOL).
Miller came close to a triple double and there is NOTHING he did bad that I can remember.
3) bench edge. Again, our second unit outpalyed Magic’s reserves. We outscored them 21-10. Orlando used basically only eight players. Anthony Johnson went back being the old bum he is, Pietrus had a couple of threes in the third, but that’s pretty much everything THEY (not he) did.
4) signs of life from players previously MIA. Green finally had a decent game, with hot start (3/3 in the 1st) and a huge basket down the stretch (94-91 lead). Dalembert managed to keep his fouls in control and stayed on the court for a good 30 minutes, rebounded the ball well and patrolled the paint (3 blocks). Well done, we need both of them if we want to keep the dream alive.
Howard – that can not be considered human, I think – had a career high 36 points and was an unstoppable freak, but believe me, Sam couldn’t do much better.
Sixers’ FIRST HALF half was fantastic, we scored 60 points (vs Orlando’s 49) on 57% shooting (23/48), outrebounded Orlando 18-13, shot 12/13 from the line, kept them to 45% (15/33) with only 3/7 from three point, had a 17-4 edge in bench points, 9-2 in fastbreak points. Howard (15 pts) was the only effective weapon they had.
In the THIRD QUARTER we extended the lead to seventeen (72-55, 74-57 on a tough fade away shot by Iguodala with 6.17 left) before Orlando went on a 17-2 run that included three treys and silenced the crowd. We run too isolation plays (I wrote that down on my notes, and was happy to hear DiLeo saying the same thing to the ESPN at the end of the period, LOL), turned the ball over (four in six possessions) and when the horn sounded it was a three point game, 80-77.
The FOURTH QUARTER started with an ‘interesting’ Sixers lineup of basically 2 and 1/2 playmakers (Ivey, Miller, Williams) + Young and Ratliff. Howard continued torching us, with an incredible series of dunks, and Lewis, lost by Williams on a pick and roll, tied the game on a three pointer with 6 minutes to go, 86-86.
We went on our own little run, 6-0, with great team defense and some easy points in transition, but Lewis connected on another, this time contested, three: 92-91 (1.45) and I was fearing an awful finish.
Despite Green’s nice runner (94-91), that feeling became even worse when Iguodala missed the two aforementioned foul shots and mostly when Howard – a 59% FT shooter this season – went 3/4 from the line in the next two possessions and tied it with 7 seconds left (94-94). Then came Thad, to fix everything, and I could lie on the sofa, completely exausted, without any strenght left – even to party.
While Howard (12/14 at the line) suddenly turned into “the black Mark Price”, Sixers missed FIVE freebies in the fourth (Lou 0/3, Iguodala 2/4), and that is something that always drives me nuts.
Turkoglu continues to suck (2/12, 5 fouls, 5 turnovers), Lewis was held in check again, rookie wonder Courtney Lee had a ‘normal’ night: Magic trail 1-2 and surely are in troubles.
Good night morning from Italy, home of the happiest Sixers fan. The sun is rising. In every sense.