It's might seem over-dramatic to call the 39th game of an NBA season a must-win situation, but that pretty much described the 76ers 95-94 victory on Friday over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.
Not only are the Bucks the third straight potential contender for a lower-tier Eastern Conference playoff berth that the Sixers have met. But the Sixers feel as if they have used their ration of devastating defeats.
Had Earl Boykins' corner three-pointer gone in at the buzzer then the Sixers would have had trouble rebounding from this one.
So even though he had a game-high 25 points, and hit the three-pointer that gave the Sixers a 95-94 advantage, Lou Williams said a loss in this situation would have been difficult to digest.
"There are no moral victories," he said. "We had to have this win."
Losing this game would have been as difficult to come back from as last week's 112-109 overtime loss to the host Detroit Pistons. That loss stung so much that the Sixers had another clunker in Tuesday's 111-103 loss to visiting Indiana.
So a win is a win. But...
It still has to be a little troubling that the Sixers can't put an opponent away. They led by 15 points with under five minutes to go in the second quarter, but held just a 55-49 halftime lead. And that was with shooting 20 for 32 in the first half (62.5 percent), their best shooting half of the season.
Of course there were some positives. Besides the clutch play of Williams, Andre Iguodala, after struggling on Tuesday (1 point, 0 for 7 from the field), had 15 points, 7 assists and six rebounds.
He still looks as if at times he is favoring his leg due to Achilles tendinitis, but Iguodala looked much more confident and aggressive on both ends of the court.
Despite what the detractors say, the Sixers need Iguodala. Jrue Holiday was talking about how much confidence it gives the team to have Iguodala on the court, especially on the defensive end.
Of course, the Sixers need more consistency. They have won as many as three in a row just once this season.
A win over an injury-plagued Bucks team may not seem like much, but a loss would have been the type of setback that would have been extremely difficult to bounce back from.