When a team has a 5-point lead and the ball with under a minute to go, most fans can kick back and enjoy the remaining seconds in peace.
But when you're a fan of the Sixers and the other team is the Celtics, you hold your breath and keep holding until one of us posts a recap. If you're still alive, that proves you can hold your breath for a long time.
Although the C's got within a possession of a tie, the boys in white jumped on the broad shoulders of Andre Iguodala and let him ride them to the gates of victory. Up 3, Andre took Sasha Pavlovic off the dribble, met Kevin Garnett, sneered at him, and scooped a running layup with a kiss high off the glass that would have made Allen Iverson circa 2000 blush. The Sixers played keepaway from Boston as time expired and the book was sealed on this game with Doug Collins giving Doc Rivers a hug that was far too big. That's so Doug.
After two crushing losses to the Celtics earlier in the season and a tough defeat at the hands of Kevin Durant two days ago, it's got to feel great for the players to pull one out at home against the best team in the East. But this is the same team who just lost at home to the Clippers who just lost tonight to the Nets, proving in the NBA (and in life?), anybody can beat anybody. Rajon Rando has not been himself lately, the Kendrick Perkins trade was just a bad idea, and the underwhelming combination of Sasha Pavlovic and Carlos Arroyo were forced into 33 minutes of playing time.
Am I downplaying this win? Probably, it's in my nature. Am I still excited about it? Probably. There's a bunch of stuff I loved seeing in the game tonight and some things I didn't. Find out which is which by tapping on the jump.Good - How good is Iguodala? He came a few stats away from his 4th triple double in a few weeks, all the while holding Paul Pierce to just 7 shots, tying his lowest FGA on the season. This is the fifth straight time Andre has gotten the better of Paul in their head to head matchups. Pierce had always killed the Sixers but it's really been Andre who has shut him down the past few years. Not to mention 9 rebounds and 8 assists with 13 points on 11 shots and the silkiest kiss off the glass Philly has seen in years. What a complete stud. When Evan Turner gets consistently good (next year), they'll be godly.
Bad - Speaking of Turner, he's missed his last 6 shots since recording double digits in three straight games. He only got 14 minutes. It seems that when Jodie Meeks is playing well, Doug doesn't make a conscious effort to get ET involved in the game. Obviously some of that is on Turner, but we've seen what he can do given the opportunities and sometimes he just doesn't get them. He should start making his own opportunities, which will happen occasionally but won't be seen fully until...next yaer.
Good - Jodie Meeks. Kid played some tough ball tonight. He looks so much more comfortable dribbling and in the open court. He won't be signing up for any Larry Hughes/Allen Iverson Flight Brothers reunion tours, but he's shoring up one of the weakest parts of his game mid-season. And that's cool. Let's not forget the D he slapped on Ray Allen, a notorious Sixers killer. Allen scored 5 points on 11 shots. Orestes Meeks can rest easy tonight, his son played quite a game.
Good/Bad - Spencer Hawes was a monster on the offensive end and by the boards. He's been a bit more fiery than we're used to seeing the big man and I like it. Clearly having something to do with the new haircut, Spence went for 14 and 10, adding 3 assists and a late-game block that bucket=stop=bucket'd the Sixers into position to win. On the flip side, he and Nenad Krstic were going back and forth to see who could play the least amount of defense for the longest time, and they both won. Tonight's team defense was great, but Spence still has trouble keeping his man off the rim.
Good - The Sixers bench gets a lot of credit -- with good reason, for Thaddeus Young is blossoming quite nicely and Louis Williams takes a lot of shots -- but it's often at the starters expense. Tonight, Doug stuck with his starting 5 almost the entire game, as none of the five played less than 31 minutes and all were in the happy end of the +/-. Even late in the game, it was the starters Collins went to when they needed to surge ahead. A good bench is terrific, but you only go so far as the best players on your team, and it's nice to see a few of them are actually in the starting lineup.
Bad - Jeff Green played well? Huh?
Meh - Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand have yet to be mentioned. There's a reason for that. They were rather forgettable in tonight's performance. Not that they played bad, just that their matchups were so doggedly fought that neither guy came up on top. Jrue held Rondo to just 5 assists and didn't let him get to the foul line once. But Jrue himself scored 9 points on 13 shots, which, despite a 7/2 assist to turnover ratio, isn't the kind of efficiency we expect from him. Elton was giving and receiving kidney punches to/from Kevin Garnett all night and I've my reasons to believe he enjoyed it. He grunted along all game to a standard 14 and 5.
So the Sixers are once again three games over .500 and despite the fact that they'd be tied for 9th in the West, are just a half game back of the Knicks for the 6th seed and a chance at the reeling Miami El Heat in the first round. Atlanta lingers naughtily only three games ahead of the Sixers for the 5 spot. There could be some moving and shaking as early as tomorrow, when the Milwaukee Bucks come to town. New York doesn't play until Sunday when they travel to Indiana.
Great win tonight and kudos to anyone who predicted it happening. Let's get right back on the horse and do it again tonight. This kicks off the five-game road trip that ventures into Western territory. The Sixers don't return home until March 23rd against the Hawks.
Happy living for-the-weekend celebrating!