05/05/12 12:12 am EST
|Andre Iguodala, SF 40 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS | +7There was a lot not to like–the 3-pointer he missed from the top of the key with 2:51 left and the Sixers down 71-70 that felt absolutely crucial–but Iguodala kept Luol Deng, probably the Bulls last, best, offensive threat, from doing much of anything for a second straight game. In 37 minutes, LD scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting. I like points too guys, but that helps.|
|Elton Brand, PF 26 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +9Elton Brand was not very good tonight. At all. If we hadn’t won, he’d be in store for a good old fashioned Philadunkia haranguing right now. “If” being the operative word.|
|Spencer Hawes, C 32 MIN | 7-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | +11Spencer Hawes went from hero to goat to hero. He started with the redonk 3-pointer–off balance, shot clock expiring–and a deep two, proceed to miss eight straight shots–many from point blank–then closed like Mariano Rivera (RIP), fueling the Sixers’ nutty comeback with ten points in the games final 10:15. You sir, win MVP honors tonight.|
|Evan Turner, SG 41 MIN | 5-12 FG | 6-8 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +5For the second straight game, Turner was outstanding. When the Sixers could get nothing else going offensively, in the dregs of the that third period, ET kept them afloat. He said he wanted the Bulls (sort of), and by god is he backing that up. The foul shooting was, in a word, humongous.|
|Jrue Holiday, PG 31 MIN | 5-10 FG | 7-9 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 17 PTS | +5Jrue, like everybody else on the team, was dreadful until he came on at the end. But boy did he come on. We touch on this in greater detail below, but, along with Turner, his foul shooting at the end was enormous. This was the kind of game the Sixers lost two months ago. Tonight they didn’t, as he’s as big a reason as any why.|
|Lou Williams, PG 28 MIN | 5-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +3He missed a lot of shots, but that 15-footer he hit with 4:11 remaining–the one that cut the score to 71-68–was as big as they come. That was the moment the team seemed to look around at one another and ask “why not?”|
|Lavoy Allen, PF 16 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6Not much to say here. Obviously.|
|Thaddeus Young, F 21 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -4Thad didn’t do much on the glamour end of the court, but his handiwork on the glass slammed the door shut on many (potential) second chance point opportunities for the (not so) incredi-Bulls|
|Jodie Meeks, G 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5I’m told he’s a great locker room guy.|
After the jump, six things we saw
- Sweet mother of god what a comeback. Down 67-53 with 10:15 remaining, and given the level at which our offense was playing, looking like we had about as much of chance of winning as Newt Gingrich does of taking the Republican nomination, the 7-6 came absolutely rip-roaring back. Spencer Hawes, who had one of the most deeply bizarre games I’ve ever seen any basketball player on any level have, scored ten points, our defense absolutely emasculated the Bulls, and we tore off a 26-7 run to get the win. Wow.
- The craziest aspect of the comeback, among all the crazy aspects of the thing, was its timing: the explosion came on the heals of a third quarter where the 7-6 shot 4-of-21 and managed only 11 points. And those numbers probably overstate our O’s dynamism in that stretch. We just looked dreadful. I frankly don’t even want to think about it. I’d much rather talk about…
- Our free throw shooting down the stretch. Down 71-68 with 3:28 left, Spencer Hawes stepped up to the line and hit both. Then up a point with 1;28 remaining, Evan Turner took his turn at the strip and buried each of them. Up a point, again, with 20 seconds left, and with a John Lucas III 3-pointer in the very recent past, Turner again hit both FTs. Then, up three with 13 seconds left, Holiday nailed a pair of freebees to ice it. All tolled the Sixers went 9-of-10 from the line in the final 3:28 and shot an OKC-like 28-33 overall.
- This game was, for lack of better words (I’m just dumbstruck by excitement, and beer, at the moment) what I thought it was gonna be. Defense. After a surprisingly fast and loose start to this series, these two rough and tumble teams who hang their hat on their D played the sort of game we expected. We combined to shoot under 36 percent from the floor and each withstood extended offensive droughts. With nobody on either roster who can regularly get their own shot, expect more of this from here on out.
- What in the name of god was Thibodou (no time for spell check at this hour) thinking when he sent Noah back out there after his ankle turned the way it did? Thibs, up 11, sent his most important player back out onto the court, and exposed his ankle to what has to be further injury. I think there’s a good chance we’ve seen the last of Joakim in this series. Which means…
- The Sixers are going to win this series. Well, let me walk that back a minute: the odds are suddenly, overwhelming in the Sixers favor in this series. Teams that win game 3s to go ahead win, I believe, about 75 percent of such series. Four times in NBA history has an eight seed beat a one. We might be celebrating number five soon. (Knocking, furiously, on wood.)