Young Sixers make true fans proud
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on November 17, 2007
Well, I’m glad they were, because they missed one of the most exciting comebacks in the franchise history, the 92-88 win vs the Blazers (that “lifts” our record at 3-6, 0.333). Gotta believe Mo Cheeks when he says: “I’ve never been involved in a game like that”.
It’s the story of how a scrappy-but-proud team turns a 25 point deficit into a 4 point win, the story of a new franchise record set (25/33 from the field in the second half, 76% !) and another record tied (27 points in the first half…).
Hey, I admit, I never believed this could happen (who could had?), but nonetheless I stuck to my team until the end (=3.30 AM guido time). It was worth.
The FIRST QUARTER was ugly: Sam Dalembert picked up two quick fouls (…) and had to be pulled out immediately, leaving the painted zone to a dominating LaMarcus Aldrige, who had 8 points in the quarter. Sam’s substitute, Jason Smith picked another two quickly (…). When you see Calvin Booth and Kevin Ollie on the floor in the first, you know it’s gonna be a long night. And so it was. So after 9 turnovers (!), a missed dunk (Carney) and a general sense of misery, it was 14-21 Blazers.
I have a hard time trying to describe the SECOND QUARTER. I don’t call that basketball. Sixers went on a 9.09 draught, missing their first 14 shots (it was 6/31 overall at one time). I thought the crowd would start booing, instead fans chosed to be sarcastic, litterally exploding when notorius scoring machine Reggie Evans finally made a layup to end that pitiful show: that bucket was followed by a three by Steve Blake that made it 16-41 with 3.39 to go. Yes, -25.
Sixers couldn’t even spell “defense”, especially under the basket, but used a little 11-2 run at the end of the quarter to avoid making history (see above, “records”) and closing it on a 27-45 deficit.
Half time stats were something worth reminding: 12/40 from the field (Green 0/7, Carney 2/7, 3/17 as a team in the second quarter), 13 turnovers, 4 free throws attempted. Dalembert played 3.31 minutes. Trail Blazers shot 45%, connected 4/7 from 3 pt (…) and had 10 assists vs Sixers’ 5.
The beginning of the THIRD QUARTER seemed a completely different story. Cheeks chosed to go small and Sixers led by Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala cut the deficit to 12 points (38-50). As soon as some hopes to at least watch a basketball game were rising, Blazers went on a 8-0 run, with a long two pointer by Blake and a pair of “and one” plays by Brandon Roy (fantastic, btw) and Aldridge. So it was soon -20, again. The end.
Louis Amundson appearance (advice: you are NOT in the D-League anymore, son, you are too small to block shots in the NBA, so try to be in position for the rebound and box out instead of jumping around…) made me think it was already garbage time. But Lou Williams had different ideas, dropping 14 consecutive points on the Blazers, including a three at the quarter buzzer (56-73).
Sweet Lou‘s amazing show continued at the beginning of the FOURTH QUARTER, immediately scoring on the first two possessions, but he got plenty of help from his young teammates.
On one of the most exciting plays of the night, Jason Smith blocked a shot by Przybilla, opening the court for Lou Williams, that assisted Thaddeus Young for a dunk (64-75): the three fellas combine for a total of 61 years of age and 114 games played in the NBA. Sixers, and the crowd, were definitely back in the game.
I won’t bother with the play-by-play recap until the end (you can read it here), I would only like to mention that it was Sixers strong TEAM DEFENSE and BENCH that put us in a position to win the ball game. They put pressure on Blazers, were all over the floor, deflecting balls, blocking shots, pushing them to turnovers that let us run to the other side of the court for easy, fast, spectacular baskets.
The partial of the last 12 minutes was 36-15, and Roy & Aldridge were the only Blazers to score points in the period…
It was nice seeing Andre Iguodala giving Sixers their first lead (89-88, 1.00 to go) and the same Andre put the stunned Blazers to rest scoring on a 19 footer (finally ! the same kind of shot that wasn’t falling in the last games !) for the deciding 91-88.
Jarret Jack misfired on a tough three pointer (tough because we were playing strong defense) and Young’s final rebound sealed the victory.
The unbelievable end made all of us forget the whole first half and also some ugly “ball management” mistakes in the second. “Five times in the – fourth – quarter the Sixers made it a one-point game, only to fall short of taking the lead”… before that, in the third, in the middle of our possible-start-of-a-comeback we went twice to Reggie Evans (= two turnovers) and once to Dalembert for a 18 footer…
I have to give Mo Cheeks all the credit: he made the team react when everything seemed over, and left Ollie and all the youngs in, Miller, Evans & Sam out.
I would also like to bash once more Willie Green: he had a horrible game and an idiotic turnover with Sixers down one that almost made me cry. He is really stupid, if we think in terms of basketball smartness.
When Kevin Ollie replaces someone and I feel released, you have an idea of what kind of night it is. A night for the ages.
Dear old passion and pride.