After an emotional outpouring of 33 Sixer points in the third quarter, things were looking bright heading into the fourth.  But the 76ers went stone cold from the floor (including an 0-7 streak at one stretch), scoring just 16 points and squandered away an opportunity for what would’ve been one of the most impressive victories of the season. 

Jason Terry’s season-high 30 points crippled the Sixers lackluster fourth quarter energy. Dallas escaped with a 101-93 victory.

Terry was mainly torching Jodie Meeks but damage was also done on Lou Williams and occasionally Jrue Holiday.  Terry, who most are predicting to take home the NBA’s Sixth Man award, connected on 13-of-18 shots including three first half triples that paced Dallas to with a seven point advantage (51-44) heading into the locker rooms.  In short, J.E.T. was simply lethal.  It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Doug Collins commanded his stopper Andre Iguodala to stay glued to Terry that the Sixers could slow the Mvas sharp shooter down some, but by then it was too late.

There were two key moments in the fourth quarter where our Sixers had a chance to swing the momentum in the favor of a willing home crowd, but failed.  I rarely pinpoint losses on single players, but if I’m Evan Turner, I’m going to be tossing and turning in my sleep tonight.

Let me paint the picture.  It’s still early in the fourth quarter, about eight minutes left and Dallas is leading 85-82.  After Iguodala corralled a loose ball, Evan Turner was streaking to the basket for what looked like an easy alley-oop opportunity…except the rookie bobbled the ball into the Mavericks hands.

Don’t sweat it though, because no surprise, AI9 would pick Jose Barea’s pocket only this time he gave the ball to Turner early, knowing that the rookie would pass the rock back to him.  What did ET decide to do this time?  Sail the ball five feet over the backboard on what looked like an alley-oop attempt, but I can’t be so sure what the hell he was doing.  Dirk then preceded to make a jumper giving the Mavs a five point cushion and more importantly run time on the clock.  Huge opportunities wasted.

The Sixers weren’t tapping out yet though.  A Speights deep jumper — Yeah, Collins actually played him in the fourth against a contender — and a Jodie Meeks three helped cut it down to 94-91 with one minute left.  The 76ers passed the ball around the arc for 15 seconds before anyone dared to make a move.  Jrue Holiday mistakenly passed up a three point chance and instead chose to drive baseline, where he missed a bunny.  The rebound was tipped out near half court and because no one for the Sixers rotated back on D, a swooping Jason Terry pick up the ball and at the other end slammed home the exclamation point with 53 ticks remaining to seal the game.  Jason Kidd pitched in a triple-double (13 points, 13 assists and 10 boards) showing why he’s in the discussion for the greatest point guard ever.  Kidd had ZERO turnovers.  Sixers color man Eric Snow said it best “No one controls the game quite like J-Kidd.”

The last paragraph depicts Philadelphia’s kryptonite so far under Doug Collins; who is the go-to threat in dire fourth quarter circumstances?  In months past its been Lou Williams.  Tonight however Williams wasn’t himself hitting just 1-of-8 shots for five points.  Iguodala was having one his better offensive games (15 points) but down three points he really isn’t the best option due to his unsightly free throw percentage (70.5%).  That leaves us with Jrue Holiday or Jodie Meeks.

If I were Collins, my play call would have gone to the streaky Meeks, who had hit four prior three pointers.  I guess Doug Collins was trying to work the angle that the Mav’s were struggling from the line. But it was tough all night long scoring in the paint for the Sixers.

It a shame that the sensational third quarter has to go to waste.  Something came alive in Jrue Holiday’s game.  He shrugged off a lone first half point for 13 in the third, demonstrating a flurry of pretty jumpers.  The Sixers trailed by 11 at one point close to halftime but rallied for a 20-9 run.  A Thad Young steal and an Andre Iguodala dunk tied it up at 69 apiece with 4:08 left in the third.

The first half saw 18 lead changes and Thaddeus was doing an exemplary job of flustering the slower Maverick big men, including  some nice double-downs on Dirk, who finished with a modest 22 points. Nowitzki seriously has the game of basketball down to a science.  A couple of his patented back-down and then step-back floating shots looked impossible, but they sailed right through the net.  Still a guy of his size could’ve done more serious damage against the home team, so props to the Sixer defense.

We have one signature close win.  It was February 6thagainst the old Carmelo-less Knicks, a game where Elton Brand absurdly went off for 33.  When can we see a game like that from him again?  He looked old and haggard in last night’s fourth quarter.  The whole deal went limp, starting off the period going 1-for-8 from the field.  Fourth quarters for this team against superior opponents feels like we are the younger brother.  No matter how close we get, no matter how many great stops we have, our older brother finds a way to swat our shot at the end, laughing in our face.   

In the postgame presser, Collins said he was “proud” of the effort against a top notch team.  Being proud isn’t going to win us one playoff game in any series we are in.  This Dallas loss should be harped on.  Jodie Meeks was our leading scorer with 16.  That shouldn’t happen.  Someone else needs to be consistent offensively for all four quarters and we need to find someone who wants to be “the man” at clutch time. 

That is if we ever want to be more than ‘proud’ after a big game.

Philadunkia Notes:

  • Jason Terry single handedly outscored the usually stellar Sixers bench 30-29, while Shawn Marion also pitched in 10.
  • Dallas had 40 points in the paint compared to the Sixers 28.
  • Dallas connected on over 53 percent of their shots.  Their size did enough damage in the first half to pin the Sixers down.
  • Here’s a look at the Sixers shot chart for the 4th Q.  It’s amazing how many 12-15 footers they missed on their way to shooting 6-18 in the stanza.
  • We know that not every team has a bevy of 7-footers like the Mavs, but last night served as yet another reminder of how badly the Sixers need help in the middle.
  • Jrue Holiday finished with a healthy 14 points, six assists and seven rebounds, but nearly all of the scoring was in the third quarter.
  • The Sixers were horrible from the FT line last night…14-24 overall.  Included in that garbage effort from the stripe was a 3-10 4th quarter. 
  • Spencer Hawes was the only 76er with a positive +/- and it was +1.
  • Of course has the highlights of the Sixers stone cold loss

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