This was a game that showed how far the 76ers have arrived, but also the considerable distance they still have to travel.
Trailing by 27 points at halftime and 29 early in the third quarter, the Sixers got to within four points late in the fourth quarter, before losing 84-78 to the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center.
It showed that a seemingly hopeless game became awfully competitive as the Sixers fought and scrapped their way back.
The downside is that the Sixers should never have gotten down by so many points. Miami plays great defense, but it wasn’t that stifling.
The Sixers missed many easy shots, close to the basket.
One positive for the Sixers is that they weren’t overly proud of their second half effort. They were angry that they dropped their second straight game.
“In the NBA everybody has spurts,” said Andre Iguodala, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. “I’ve been here eight years and we have been down by over 20 points and come back.”
In other words, he didn’t’ expect the Sixers to lie down in the second half.
And he expected the Sixers to win.
It’s nice to have that confidence, but not so nice to test it to the limit.
So this will provide more frustration than pride, which is the way it should be. This was a game in which the Sixers outshot Miami, 93-74.
Even coach Doug Collins couldn’t believe that stat.
“We had 93 shots tonight, 93 shots at the basket,” he said.
And then Collins reeled off some other disconcerting statistics.
“We had 19 second chance points, He said. “We had 23 fast break points. We had more points in the paint (38-34).”
Collins also talked about the rebounding advantage, where the Sixers had 64 (including team rebounds) to 51 for the Heat.
“That’s where statistics sometimes will lie because all the numbers said we should have won that game,” Collins said.
The Sixers had no answer for LeBron James who had 29 points, seven rebounds and eight assists but the player who torched them was Udonis Haslem, who had eight of the Heat’s fourth quarter points.
Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade combined for zero fourth quarter points and each played all 12 minutes.
On most nights, that is curtains for the Heat, but they built such an overwhelming early lead and were able to survive, thanks to Haslem’s 4 for 4 shooting in the final quarter.
The Sixers made a great run, but all they got out of this game was a big L and a lesson learned that they aren’t good enough to sleepwalk through a half, regardless how hard they charge following intermission.