Christmas comes at the buzzer
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 23, 2007
Andre Iguodala did his best Santa Klaus impersonation and sank the Grizzlies with a tough fallaway shot at the buzzer over Mike Miller, giving Sixers a 99-97 win in Memphis and all fans a happy Christmas (11-16, .407).
Iguodala’s last second 18 footer (in the picture !) capped a fantastic fourth quarter, in which he shot 7/9 from the field and scored 17 points, after going 2/12 with 6 points in the previous three.
That’s exactly what a franchise player is supposed to do. I wrote this several times and I am happy to see him playing like this. The point is he can do it almost on a daily basis, but he rarely does (did?). Let’s hope that the first buzzer beater of his NBA career becomes a turning point of his, and Sixers’, season.
The sweet end of the game – and the red uniforms – could make us forget all the things that happened before, good and bad ones, but I think it’s fair to remind them all. Let’s start with what didn’t work :
1) Dalembert could NEVER stop Pau Gasol in the low post. You can read by yourself Gasol’s stat line (31 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 65% FG…), what is worse is that Gasol scored 7 points in the last 1.20 minutes of the game, and all on Sam.
First came a three point play off an alley hoop from Navarro, and it was Dalembert fouling him (from 92-87 Sixers to 92-90, 1.18 to go), then a left handed layup after an isolation play to bring Grizzlies within 1 (96-95, 15 seconds to play), then an IDENTICAL shot to tie the game at 97 with 5 seconds left. Sam, take a look at the tape, you got schooled again: you can/have to do better than this.
2) Korver missed two clutch chances to ice the game. First a wide open, “easy”, three pointer that could have given us an eight point lead with 1.25 left: on the next possession it came Gasol’s “and one” play, so instead of a possible 95-87 it became 92-90. Then, after being fouled with 15 seconds to play, he missed the second of two free throws, that could have given us a three point lead: it remained 97-95 Sixers, and Gasol tied it moments later.
You would expect better from a 90% FT shooter… especially considering he committed the same mistakes in similar situations last year.
3) Carney played like garbage, again. He “had” to start because Willie Green was out due to a “muscle strain”. Well, in front of his many Memphis friends he showed he still lacks personality and fundamentals (is it actually true that he went FOUR FULL YEARS to college? I am starting to doubt it, he is still unbelievably raw and unconsistent).
Some Carney’s “highlights”: he started on Mike Miller, got beaten twice off the dribble, missed a couple of shots and was pulled out after 8 completely meaningless minutes in the first.
In the second, just before the half time buzzer, he had a nice steal on Stoudamire but he turned it over immediately and fouled Damon on the loose ball: 52-47 Grizzlies after the ensuing free throws.
In the third he got blocked by Mike Miller (!!!) – I found a nice picture of this but it’s Christmas time and I decided to keep it in my computer… – and missed a layup on a one-on-one fastbreak because he doesn’t know to go left and stubbornly tried to score with his right hand.
Then he missed his sixth consecutve shot in a row on another fastbreak but somehow managed to put it in the hole, off his own miss, just under the basket. He ended the quarter, and his embarassing game, airballing a jumper at the horn: 2 points, 1/8 from the field in 19 minutes and a dramatic sensation that he’s really a complete bust. Send him to the D-League, NOW.
Sam, Kyle, Rodney: take Iguodala to dinner and thank him.
So let’s conclude with the sweet notes:
1) Andre Miller played another wonderful game, reaching his season high already in the third (27) and knocking down a clutch mid range shot (94-92 with 28 seconds left). He was amazing, he understood that the team needed his scoring and he did that, drawing a lot of fouls with his set of pump fakes and post moves.
2) Thaddeus Young was very good, contributing on both ends of the floor and hitting a couple of perfect shots from the line under pressure (96-93, 22 seconds to play). He showed some balls and had only a couple of turonovers that are more than forgiveable for a rookie.
I had a special look also on fellow serbian Darko Milicic but the guy is still a mystery to me: four nice blocks in eleven minutes but also four fouls and only one rebound. It looks like he doesn’t care about what’s happening on the floor and maybe he doesn’t care at all about basketball. Pretty sad, the guy is apparently wasting all his talent.
Merry Christmas Sixers fans worldwide !!