Hold on just one second. Can you repeat? My mind is all over the place from an incredibly hard Comparative Literature class (I thought we were just going to read Harry Potter and the Hunger Games and debate which is better - I was wrong). Did you just say the Sixers beat the Rockets? Did you say Spencer Hawes put a tip-slam right in Dwight Howard's face? Tony Wroten did what now? James Anderson dropped how many points? I'm not Ed Helms but WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!
It's true, guys. Coming off a beating at the hands of the
WWF NBA Regular Season Belt holder San Antonio Spurs, the Sixers pulled off a fourth quarter comeback and defeated the Houston Rockets in overtime, 123-117.
In agreement with the Miami Heat and Spurs strategy in resting one of the better players against the Sixers, the Rockets sat James Harden tonight on their first leg of a back-to-back. Just like Morris Chestnut, two can play that game as Michael Carter-Williams also took the night off with a bruised arch, leaving everybody's savior Tony Wroten to make his first career start.
The first half went about as expected as there wasn't too much defense happening for either teams and the ball was moving up and down the floor at an incredibly fun pace.
Wroten looked a little shaky early on as his committed two turnovers within the first thirty seconds. Not exactly an ideal beginning to your first starting nod as an NBA player. Luckily for the Sixers, Wroten settled down as the game carried on and had a quiet line of nine points, seven assists, and six rebounds the half.
While Wroten was stealthy in putting together a crafty first half box score, James Anderson was taking to the squad that released him earlier in the offseason. Putting together a perfect 6-6 first half field goal percentage, Anderson was locked in.
The Sixers offensive attack and getting great looks at the rim made up for their lack of defensive stops on the other side of the floor in the first half. It caught up with them in the third quarter.
Unable to produce on the offensive side of the ball like they did in the first half, the Sixers took a big hit in the third frame, especially at the hands of Jeremy Lin who knocked down three triples in the first twelve minutes of the second half. Not only was Lin feeling it from beyond but his teammates Omri Casspi and Chandler Parsons also joined in on the (Rocket) launching (sorry, I had to), leading to six three-pointers during the third quarter.
With the Rockets up ten going into the fourth, it looked like the magic the Sixers put up in the first half was completely out of secret stuff.
Keeping at their strategy of finding good shots, the Sixers were able to get their offensive game back on track and started to get some stops defensively as they chipped away at the Rockets' double-digit lead. Jeremy Lin's three-point was nowhere to be found, Dwight Howard was getting denied by Spencer Hawes in the paint (only writing this because I saw it - I'd never believe anybody if I didn't see it with my own eyes), and the Sixers were getting live-ball turnovers and only allowed two offensive rebounds.
Climbing all the way back, the Sixers were down one, with the ball and forty seconds remaining. Brett Brown drew up an incredible inbounds play which the team executed to perfection. Anderson went up to the top of the key and backdoor cut the hell of of Lin, received the pass and had what seemed to be a clear look at an easy lay-up when all of a sudden Parsons came flying from the weak side to swat the ball away. It was at that moment I figured the Sixers were done. I was oh so wrong.
After Patrick Beverly netted two free throws with eighteen seconds left on the clock, the Sixers had a shot at tying it up with the last possession. Wroten went one on one, taking the ball into the lane but there was no clean look so he continued to dribble baseline. With just seven seconds left, Wroten was completely lost so he just heaved a pass to well-guarded Anderson at the top of key who gets off a prayer and puts it right in not only to tie the game up, but to add on to his career high 36 points! Your 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers.
Overtime was neck and neck as Howard and Lin woke up from their fourth quarter naps combining for the Rockets' first eight points that gave them a 115-114 lead with under a minute left. It was at this time that the greatest play in the history of ever occurred.
Evan Turner got a clean look right at the cup but couldn't finish. With Howard on their side, the Rockets had to get this rebound, right? NOPE! Spencer Hawes was in the right place at the right time and threw down a putback dunk right in Howard's face, completing what will not only be an NBA.com Top 10 play of the night, but of humanity's entire existence.
As impressive an offensive possession as that was, an ever sexier defensive stop came right after. The Rockets got Howard isolated with Spencer. Taking a huge gamble, Thaddeus Young came sprinting from the weak side and took the rock right away from Howard, who wasn't even paying attention to what was going on behind him. Thad left the entire weak side open, banking on Howard not even looking to pass and it paid off. Call me crazy or just a hater, but I honestly think that play doesn't happen if Collins is still the coach. I could never see him telling Thad to leave his man wide open on the block with the game on the line in hopes of getting a steal.
All that was left was a perfectly executed foul game and the Sixers were victorious over a title contender for the third time this season.
Have fun with this, guys. Basketball is fun. Trust Hinkie.
- Was that the quietest triple-double of all-time? Wroten is the best thing to ever happen. Especially in the first quarter, Tony was all over the court, getting passed the defense and finding the open man. I didn't realize he had five assists after the first but wasn't shocked by it either. Just one of those "oh, that makes sense" moments. According to the man himself, this was his first triple-double at any level.
- James Anderson's shot chart in the first half was the embodiment of why I love this team so much. He was 6-6, four of those makes coming from right at the rim and two threes. Eat that, Doug Collins. Six total threes for the game doesn't hurt my opinion either.
- Although his counting stats are impressive, we saw bad Evan for most of the game. The only reason his field goals attempted isn't greater than his points are because he sunk two pointless free throws with two seconds left and already up two possessions.
- Dwight Howard had a great stat line but I'm thoroughly impressed with the job Spencer did on him defensively. I get that he's never going to be able to consistently stop Howard but Spence held his own. He wasn't giving Howard anything free and even swatted him away at least twice.
- Speaking of Spencer, the Sixers were able to keep attacking the rim because of Spence's ability to knock down the deep ball. Dwight had to go out and guard Spence at the perimeter each possession, freeing up the paint for the Sixer wings to take the ball to the cup. And even though Dwight went out with him, Spence still dropped three triples. Mmmmhhhmmmmmm.
- Omer Asik only played four total minutes. The Sixers aren't a great match-up to play Asik and Dwight together so I wouldn't put too much into this. Just noteworthy.
Check out The Dream Shake for all your Rockets needs.
Next up are the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. They are probably my least favorite team in the NBA to watch but I'll be there in my imaginary Tony Wroten jersey ready for more.