Losing sucks, especially when you feel your team had a chance to win, but even though the Sixers lost, I feel that the "good" outweighed the "bad".
The first positive sign was the return of Thaddeus Young. He looked much better than anyone could have hoped. He did botch a wide-open dunk and missed a few open jumpers, but all in all he looked like the Thad of old. It was extremely important for him to return before the playoffs, giving him a chance to regain his wind -- and tonight was a big step towards that.
The second positive sign was, even though the Sixers lost, they didn't look nearly as bad as they have during their five-game losing streak. The ball was in Andre Iguodala's hands not once, but twice, with a chance to win the game. I can live with that.
What I can't live with is Tony DiLeo's play-calling on the final possession. With 1.8 seconds remaining, shouldn't a coach be able to get his star a better shot than a contested, fadeaway, 40-foot-heave? Yes. Which is why I say a little prayer every night that DiLeo returns to his front office job.
So, even though tonight was a potential preview of the Sixers first round match-up, it really wasn't. The Celtics didn't have Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett. Thad looked exhausted at the end of the game. I don't expect tonight's game to be anything similar to what we see come this weekend. It seemed like all parties involved had this one in cruise-control, including the Philadelphia crowd.
There's two more things I want to point out before I wrap this up.
- Lou Williams looked impressive yet again. I love when he refuses to settle for jumpers.
- The Sixers lost this game because of one thing and one thing only -- defense. The perimeter defense was awful and the overall defense wasn't much better. One player in particular disappointed greatly -- Andre Iguodala. He wasn't glued to PP34 like he should have been and Pierce went off for 31 points on 12-16 shooting. Unforgivable.
The Sixers have to win tomorrow to have a chance at the sixth seed -- not likely.