It almost happened.
On two separate occasions in the fourth quarter tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers trailed the Indiana Pacers by a mere three points. And on both occasions, Indiana would rip off 6-0 runs, quieting the crowd and killing the Sixers' momentum in the process.
The Pacers beat the Sixers tonight 101-94 in a game that was every bit as close as the score would indicate. Despite a 9-0 run to start the game and a 17-point lead early in the second quarter, the Pacers were never quite able to put the Sixers away.
In reality, the game wouldn't have been so close if Indiana hadn't been so free with the ball: A combination of careless offense and an active Sixers' defense led to 22 Pacers turnovers.
Evan Turner's return was much ado about nothing (two points in 21 minutes), but Lavoy Allen scored a season-high 13 in his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center. Paul George led five Pacers in double figures with 25 points.
Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 25 points (on 31 shots!) and a career-high 10 assists, while rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams flirted with a triple-double in the losing effort (12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists). An Ace of Spades award goes out to Byron Mullens (15 points, 3-for-5 from deep) whose three-point marksmanship created some matchup issues for Frank Vogel.
The Sixers gave an A-plus effort tonight, but their shooting (39% from the field) was remedial at best. If Brett Brown can motivate his squad to play this hard for the rest of the season, they'll have a good chance to steal a couple of wins down the stretch.
Full recap to come. Until then, we can all dream about what almost was.