We're playing with house money. We really are. We got lucky with Rose and Noah's injury against Chicago and are now giving the Celtics a run. Holiday and Turner are getting significant experience and court time starting together, Iguodala is getting some of the recognition he deserves, and perhaps Spencer Hawes made himself some money with his two games against Chicago.
We might be playing with house money, but that one hurt. A lot.
I couldn't imagine a sequence of events more frustrating. If Hollywood were drawing up a script specifically to piss me off, that would have been it. We said it before the game, but momentum is worthless. After that incredible game 4 comeback, the Sixers came out and took control for most of the first half. They led 50-47 at half time, and led 55-49 early in the third. They were up 57-53 with 2 free throws and the ball, and got nothing out of it.
They carried that game 4 momentum through the first 2+ quarters and were on the precipice of being in legitimate position to push the Celtics to the brink and return to Philadelphia with a chance to close the series out.
Then that happened. I don't even have words to describe that. And that's bad, since I'm a writer.
That was crap. Nothing typified "that" more than the 9 second half turnovers, including 4 turnovers in 5 possessions after Iguodala's botched clear path debacle. The lazy passes. The lack of ball movement. Slow rotations on defense. Poor decisions. Forced jump shots.
This loss wasn't attributable to talent level, which is what makes it so frustrating. Boston is capable of winning a game simply because of their superior talent level, but we didn't experience that tonight. This was a loss due to poor execution.
Brandon freakin Bass scored 27 points. On 13 field goal attempts! Greg Stiemsma added 10 points on 5 shots. When Brandon Bass wasn't getting completely uncontested jump shots he was getting driving lanes so wide open even Spencer Hawes could have driven down them.
The guards made bad decisions. The bigs were dominated. The turnovers were inexplicable. And now, having blown another game that they seemingly had control over, the Sixers return to the Wells Fargo Center facing elimination.
I honestly don't have words for this one, guys. I try to be an analyst most of the time, especially when I'm credentialed at the games. But tonight I was all fan. There were so many expletives coming from my mouth that I felt bad for anybody walking their kids 100 feet away on the sidewalk in front of my house.
If Friday night was a blur because of how amazing the comeback was, tonight was a blur because of how quickly it unraveled. I said after the game that I was going to re-watch the second half to try to get a feel for how exactly everything unravleled, but I couldn't. I could only get about 5 minutes in, the wound is too fresh. I'll give it another try tomorrow night.
Player of the game: Elton Brand, I guess. Jrue Holiday was on fire in the first half, then disappeared in the second half and committed costly turnovers, looking lost during the most pivotal moments. Lavoy Allen was a candidate, but he got beat on the glass a couple of times and was continually beaten by Bass. Spencer Hawes' numbers don't look terrible until you realize he was scoreless in the first half when the game was close. Evan Turner was reckless. Louis Williams was a walking mistake. And Andre Iguodala started the collapse with, shock, a pair of missed free throws that weren't even close.
Next up: Wednesday, at the Wells Fargo Center, with the season on the line.