Two third quarters in last night's games was the difference in the Sixers making or missing the playoffs. One of those 3rd quarters happened in Cleveland, Ohio, where Jrue Holiday led an unconscious 24-2 run to turn a previously tied game into a blowout win for the Sixers over the Cavaliers. Jrue scored 19 points in the 3rd, including a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, in our nation's capital, the homely Washington Wizards outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 28-19, and Xavier's Jordan Crawford destroyed their playoff hopes with 32 points.
And all this a mere 8 hours after Liberty Ballers had become a Bucks blog. Figures.
The Wizards normally turn the ball over 15.3 times per game, but only 10 times last night. They average 43.7% shooting from the field on the season -- last night they exploded for a 55.7% clip. They scored their second-highest point total of the year with 121 tallies at home. Anomalies abound.
Jrue, meanwhile, hadn't hit more than five threes IN A GAME his whole career, but managed five in the third last night. At least it was Jrue who did the damage to our tanking dreams and not Boss or the ghost of Willie Green.
Four road games remain. Indiana, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit. The Bucks have five left. @Indiana, New Jersey, Toronto, Philly, @Boston. With a 2.5 game deficit, they'll have to win out to have a chance. If the Sixers go 2-2 (certainly possible) and the Bucks win out, Milwaukee gets the spot.
But something about Jrue's third quarter and how the team was acting made it feel like we're out of the woods of terribleness. Sometimes all it takes is a hot streak to find your way out of the rim-clanking darkness, and Jrue was as hot as they come last night (Jrue. He's so hot right now. Jrue.). I wouldn't be surprised if the Sixers turned it back on for this last run.
Chicago awaits. Screw you, Jordan Crawford.