The 76ers, who at one point led by 13 points in the 3rd quarter and were up by 6 heading into the final frame, were able to hang on to beat the Portland Trailblazers 101-100 at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night.
After Portland came back and took a 3 point lead with 4 minutes left to play, the 76ers returned serve, reeling off a 14-7 run to give them a 4 point lead with only 7 seconds left in the game. But a Damian Lillard 3 pointer and a turnover coming out of the inbounds gave the Blazers a chance to win the game on the final possession.
The Blazers got the matchup they wanted, with LaMarcus Aldridge posting up Spencer Hawes. Despite Aldridge getting good position on Hawes, Hawes was able to force him over his left shoulder into a turnaround jump shot, which Aldridge missed, preserving a 101-100 win for the 76ers.
"It was nice to finally win a game like this," Collins said. "I'm proud of our guys. It was a very, very nice week for them."
"It feels good," Holiday agreed, when talking about pulling a win out at the end of the game. "I feel like we've had a lot of close games where the ending was different from that, such as Miami. Just coming through at the end of the game like that is awesome."
The 76ers once again had much better offensive execution, with 101 points on 86 field goal attempts, including 31 assists on the 43 made field goals.
"When we're moving like that, it's very hard to guard," Holiday said after the game. "I think everybody staying active and not being stagnant really helps us get a lot of open shots."
Doug Collins said he noticed one point in the fourth quarter where ball movement died down, but he wasn't all that worried about it.
"I thought we started trying to do it on our own. And when I say that, that's not selfishly. That's like 'I'll do it,' which I don't mind," Collins explained. "I don't mind the aggressiveness and the assertiveness. But we're just better [when the ball is moving]."
Spencer Hawes continued his torrid pace of late, adding 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists on the night. He averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game over the 4 game home stand, shooting 58.3% from the field over that stretch.
"We've all seen it before [with Spencer]," Holiday said. "He's been stepping up to the plate, especially going up against the caliber of big men that have come up in here."
Holiday himself continued his hot play on the offensive end with 27 points (11-21 shooting) to go along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while committing only 1 turnover. Holiday is averaging 22.5 points and 9 assists on 50% shooting over the last 4 games while committing only 2 turnovers per game. Holiday had averaged 12 points on 26.7% from the field over his previous 5 games, all 76er losses.
Damien Wilkins had another strong game, with 12 points on 8 field goal attempts, to go along with 6 assists. Thaddeus Young also chipped in 19 points and 5 rebounds, and Dorell Wright added 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench.
Turner, the only starter not to score in double figures, had only 2 points on 1-8 shooting, playing a shade under 25 minutes on the night.
The 76ers finished up their 4 game home stand with a 3-1 record, with wins over Brooklyn, Indiana, and Portland, with their only loss being a tight 4 point loss to Miami, who had won 19 straight games heading into the contest. They will begin a 4 game road trip Wednesday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers, while also making stops at Denver, Sacramento, and Utah. Denver has won 12 straight games and 28 of their past 34 games, the latest on a controversial game winner by Andre Iguodala in overtime.
Andrew Bynum done for the season
The 76ers issued a press release at half time officially announcing that Andrew Bynum was done for the season. He is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on both knees Tuesday to clear out loose bodies.
Bynum will become a free agent this offseason after having never played a game for the 76ers.
"I feel badly that I didn't get a chance to coach him this year, I think that he would have been an incredible player for us this year, and I just want to wish him well," Collins said after the game.
"It's sad. It's been a tough year for our franchise, and it's been a tough year for Andrew [Bynum]," Collins continued. "As a man who suffered injuries as a young player, it's devastating. I can only imagine what's racing through his mind right now."
"But we've sort of sensed that as the season was going on -- [he'd] make a little progress, then the minute it picked up a little bit it seemed like it would be slowed -- and I just think it got to the point in time where Andrew had to get something done," Collins continued. "Let's wish him and the surgeon [good luck] tomorrow, that he has great results, that Andrew can rehab himself, and that he is going to have a productive career."
"That's something that sucks to hear just from an athlete or a friends perspective," Holiday said. "I'm just praying for him."
Spencer Hawes was a little more direct.
"It's tough, but at the same time, it's what we've been saying all year: we never played with him," Hawes explained. "We know how bad he wants to get back out there, but sitting around [and thinking about it] isn't going to bring him back any quicker."
Andrew Bynum's contract insurance
A big deal has been made over the revelation that insurance has kicked in on Andrew Bynum's contract and will pay a good chunk of his salary. This is being used as proof that the 76ers knew something was up before making the trade.
Which is the wrong way to look at it. Most big money NBA contracts are insured, and this is no different. The details of the insurance came out now because it was now becoming obvious that Bynum would not play a game for the 76ers this season, not because they had been hiding it all this time.
If Bynum's contract wasn't insured, that's when you would have had news on your hands. Preexisting conditions are typically not covered under these insurance contracts.
76ers mishandle Bynum announcement
One thing that really bothered me was how the 76ers handled the Bynum announcement, and the (lack of) availability of either Tony DiLeo or Andrew Bynum to answer questions and provide clarification.
Before the game, the media had tracked DiLeo down courtside to ask him questions, primarily about Bynum. DiLeo was only able to say that we should have an announcement provided to us that night. When we asked whether anybody would be available to comment, we were told he didn't think so.
Sure enough, we got a release at half time with some quotes from DiLeo on it. Outside of Doug Collins' post game press conference -- which has a time limit on it and where Collins spends most of the time talking about the game that was just played -- there was no proper venue to get questions addressed.
With the 76ers traveling out west until next Wednesday (they practice today on the road), and DiLeo about to head out for the NCAA tournament, media availability to address what this situation is going to be sparse.
For an announcement of this magnitude, and with the number of questions fans naturally have about it, somebody should have been available to answer the questions from the media, and by extension, the fans.
Portland's road struggles
The Blazers are 9-24 on the road this season, a stark contrast to their 22-11 home record. The main change has been on the defensive end, where the 100.5 points per game, 49.1% shooting, and 37.6% from three point range they give up on the road would all be near the bottom 5 in the league overall.
The 76ers have similar road struggles, sitting at 6-23 for the season on the road, compared to 20-17 at home. For the 76ers, their offense drops the most -- from 94.3 points per game at home to 90.5, and shooting 43% on the road vs 45% at home.
"I tripped. I was going down, I think I tipped the ball too. It all sucked," Jrue Holiday, explaining the turnover on the inbounds pass with 7 seconds left to play.
Post Game Videos
Holiday and Hawes discuss win
Holiday and Hawes discuss loss of Bynum
Andrew Bynum 76er highlights (courtesy of Deadspin)