Sixers steal one in Cleveland
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 16, 2007
Dear old Phil Jackson would have said that beside this win should be put “an asterisk”.
Yes, because a questionable call helped us reach a 92-86 victory at the Quicken Loans Arena. Andre Iguodala’s drive on a fastbreak was credited with a field goal due to a (dubious) goaltending with 1 minute left: the ensueing three point play put the Sixers ahead 89-84 and Cleveland could never recover.
I honestly had the impression that Iguodala (in the picture) was fouled, but that the block by Gooden was clean: the ball was swatted before it hit the backboard.
Don’t get me wrong, Sixers’ win is deserved. And perhaps had they called only the foul, Iggy could have basically closed the game by hitting both of his free throws. But stil…
To be fair, no one of the Cavs argued the call that much, and in the post game comments I couldn’t find any controversial reference to that play: even Cavs’ beat writers don’t complain. This means I am probably making a big deal out of a BS, but I want to call it like I saw it.
The point is we got our fifth win in six games (10-14, .417) and we are tied with the 2007 Eastern Conference champs !! Nice… who could have said it?
I think the keys to this tough road win were:
1) a fantastic second quarter, in which we turned a 11 point deficit (31-20) into a 5 point lead (51-46 at halftime), scoring 18 fastbreak points and connecting 13/19 from the field, including 4 threes – one by Korver from outside the arena…
2) controlling the boards: Sixers had a 45-39 rebounding edge, always a good sign especially on the road, with Dalembert collecting 19 (season high) and Evans 14. Sam was huge in the paint again, bouncing back form the nightmare night he had facing Brad Miller: with his 16+19+ 3 blocks Sixers changed their look on both ends of the floor, and offensive rebounds gave us multiple possessions in the fourth.
3) defense on LeBron James: LeBron had 16 in the first half (8/12) and ended with 21. Iguodala, Young (!) and mostly Willie Green did a good job on him in the second half, limiting his power. I didn’t get why LeBron stopped driving to the basket in the fourth: he was often doubled and decided to kick out for his team mates who made only some of the (many) open shots they had. Both Hughes and Pavlovic had poor games, shooting a combined 3/18 that is self explaining.
4) Andre Miller’s consistency. Our point guard is playing really well, setting the tone from the beginning. Over the last 6 games he is averaging 15.1 PPG, 9 assists vs 2.8 turnovers, he is 34/62 from the field (54.8 %), 22/25 from the line (88%, remember he was around an unusual 54% at a certain point…). In this stretch, Sixers’ record is 5-1, and I think this is not a coincidence….
I didn’t like how we took care of the ball in the final minutes: once Iguodala dished the ball to Evans, and the forward got stripped while taking it to the rim (this happens around 4 times a game, by the way, but the point is: why give the ball to Evans in a key offensive possession ????), Iguodala had another charge that could have costed us the game, just like he did vs Minnesota. We have to fix this, seriously.
But the team is overall growing, and winning boosts confidence. Next comes our buddy Jim O’Brien and his surging Pacers !