With about three minutes and thirty seconds left in Wednesday night's season ending tilt at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Gerald Green caught the ball in the left corner. Green, he of a .451 true shooting percentage, took one lazy dribble behind the three-point line and launched a fadeaway three with 11 seconds left on the shot clock. Dorell Wright, frankly terrified of surrendering any type of look to Green, met him at the summit and blocked his jump shot.
Within the flow of the game, all of this felt extremely normal. A weird time was had by all in Indiana, and the Sixers won 105-95.
Then again, there was no reason to expect a ho-hum, grind it out 10-15 point win from the home team, about what the usual result would be when these two teams match up. That's because George Hill, Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert were all in suits on the bench, resting up for the playoffs. The lone Pacers starter who drew the short straw and played was Lance Stephenson, whose "Born Ready" nickname was changed to "Born much later than West, Hill, and Hibbert" for the night. Oh to have young legs!
So the Sixers, who were playing their regular starters, had an advantage. And for most of the game, the play on the court looked very much like the Sixers had an advantage. They were quicker to every ball, creating and making open shots, and you know, looking a lot like a starting unit going up against bench players. Almost everyone contributed and played well.
Then the Pacers made a second-half run. Green (14-23 shooting for 34 points, 6-12 from three) started heating up, Evan Turner started over-dribbling, and the Sixers as a team started getting a little careless with the basketball. The lead was whittled down to single digits, only a couple of possessions. But Dorell Wright (23 points, 8-15 shooting) and the oft-maligned but surprisingly decent Damien Wilkins (15 points, 6-11 shooting, a timely three-point play) wouldn't let the Sixers be denied.
A couple of quick notes:
- Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes played a combined 13 minutes. Collins said something about Jrue not wanting to play in the post-game presser. It didn't sound like there were a lot of hard feelings, but who knows? I'll just operate under the assumption that Holiday is dead tired, because it's a known fact that he's dead tired.
- Arnett Moultrie and Lavoy Allen both had double doubles, doing a ton of work on the offensive glass with nine combined offensive boards. It seemed like both of them had zero problem getting inside position all night. The 14 point, 12 rebound effort was Moultrie's first career double-double. Yippee!
- With the clock running out, Moultrie showed poor sportsmanship in shooting a 21-foot jumper with 2 seconds left. This was a fitting way for the season to end. Not the poor sportsmanship part, but the fact that it ended on a long two-point jumper.
- This was funny:
Thought Kwame Brown was heading to the scorer's table to check in. Instead, he returns to the bench with a piece of candy. #BenchWoes— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) April 18, 2013
- That's it for the season, everyone. Now never speak of it again.