Unbelievable -- that's the only word that comes to mind when I think back to tonight's game. What's even more unbelievable is the fact that the basketball gods read Liberty Ballers. How do I know? They answered my prayer!
Tonight I'll be watching the game with a life-long friend, who also happens to be a Lakers fan. We've witnessed some great moments together, including the Horry shot and the Fisher shot. Maybe the tides turn tonight, and we see an Iguodala buzzer-beater? Please?
That's a direct quote from my game preview. It must've been the "please" that put it over the top.
I cannot put into words how I feel now, or how I felt immediately after "the shot", so I'm going to try my best to re-enact the events leading up to "the shot". After that I think my brain just went completely numb, and I was so pumped for adrenaline I couldn't even think.
10:34 - The score is 78-66 Lakers when Donyell Marshall enters the game. About 99% of me has given up on the game to this point. Once Donyell enters, I sit up and give a solid "Donny-Ice!" shout. I go from being almost positive the game is over to, "Wait, this could get interesting."
9:07 - Marshall drills a three to cut the lead to 6. I react with an emphatic fist pump, and another "Donny-Ice" shout. I also glanced over at my friend Alex (Lakers fan) to make sure he knew the game wasn't over. My confidence was growing.
6:45 - Marshall steals the ball from Kobe, passes to Iguodala, Iguodala lays it in to give the Sixers a one point-lead! At this point, I'm ecstatic. Then, I look at the clock and think, "Uh oh, way too much time for Kobe and the Lakers."
5:24 - Marshall drills his second three of the night to push the Sixers' lead to six! My reaction to Donyell's second three was identical to his first -- fist pump, "Donny-Ice!", and glance. There was still too much time though...
2:39 - Lakers take the lead on a Lamar Odom floater. I'll admit, I thought this was the dagger for approximately 17 seconds...
2:22 - Donyell spots up from the same spot he hit his first two threes from and in that split-second I think to myself, "There's no way he makes this again." Sure enough, he drills it and the Sixers regain the lead. I react with the usual fist pump and "Donny-Ice" shout, but this time there's a huge smile on my face. I look over at Alex in shock, and start believing the Sixers might actually pull this off.
1:39 - Gasol ties the game at 91 with two free throws. I wasn't upset. I expected a nail-biter after the first 10 minutes of the quarter. I just wanted a chance to win it in the end.
0:06 - Kobe's dribbling at the top of the key. He has Iguodala all over him. Me and Alex are both on our feet at this point, and to no one's surprise Kobe drilled a long two over Iguodala's outstretched arm. Alex reacts with a cheer, scream, "yes!" or some other noise. After Kobe's shot I wasn't aware of my surroundings. I had an "awww shucks" smile on my face. I knew this was going to happen.
Then, the Sixers called timeout. I wondered, "Who's going to take the shot?", "Are they going for the win or the tie?", "Can Donyell please take the shot?"
After the timeout everything seemed to happen so fast. Me and Alex were both on our feet again, and I remember bending down and saying, "This is it dude." Once the ball was inbounded and it was clear Iggy would be taking the final shot, deep down i thought, "Here comes 6 seconds of false hope, an Iguodala brick and another stomach-punch loss."
Then Iguodala drilled it! Down two points, he pulled up for thee, the win, and he drilled it! This is the point where I jumped up, fist-pumped and screamed "YES!". After that I don't remember anything. It was such a good feeling. I haven't felt this good after a basketball game in nearly a decade. And It was all thanks to Andre Iguodala.
How much sweeter does it get to hit a game-winner against the NBA's best team, in their building, against arguably the best, and most clutch player on the planet? Someday when Iguodala is holding up a Finals MVP trophy, we can look back to this night and say, "That was the turning point in his career." It wasn't even the shot that did it for me. It was the shutdown defense on Kobe, and the rumors that DiLeo drew up a play to tie the game and Iggy said something to the effect of, "No coach, give me the rock. I'm going to win it."
This was the shot in the arm I needed, the fans needed, and the team needed, to finish off the rest of the season and head into the playoffs with some momentum. There's still four games left on this road trip including the one with Phoenix tomorrow. I have no idea how Iguodala and the Sixers are going to follow tonight's game, but I know one thing -- I can't wait to see it.
I just realized I wrote an entire recap based only on the Iguodala shot. Here are some bullet points regarding the rest of the game.
- Lou-Will was a stud tonight. He carried the struggling offense in the first half.
- Reggie Evans was all over the place doing "Reggie-things."
- Speights had no business being on the floor because of his poor defense. It was a good job of DiLeo to bench him.
- Andre Miller wasn't good at all.
- Thad was a beast offensively, but could not defend Lamar Odom. Even though he barely played in the fourth, I was still happy with his performance.
- Sammy was great once again on the glass and defensive end. However; he reverted back to taking way to may jumpers. Listen Sammy -- rebound and block shots. That's all we need you for. Catch a few alley-oops here and there and you'll be fine.
- Iguodala was garbage throughout the first three quarters. He manned up in the fourth and obviously won the game.
- Donyell was just as big as Iguodala. Donyell spaced the floor, hit threes and played solid defense. What more can you ask for? Free Donyell!