If for no other reason than to make sure to get a different headline on this blog (the last one says "Sixers master end-of-game situations" for goodness sakes!), we have to discuss Wednesday's ridiculous 99-98 overtime loss to the Orlando Magic. I could probably copy and paste from previous posts about previous games like this, but that wouldn't be as helpful in the entire process that is this 82-game season.
There are no answers within this blog. There just aren't any answers for these continual end-of-game meltdowns. But we'll at least talk about what happened and try to frame it in some sort of way that makes it understandable. First, you can check out the embedded video of Andre Iguodala, which is of his post-game interview.
Second, here's what folks were saying about the game: Dwight Howard called it "crazy" and "ridiculous." J.J. Redick said it was "kind of bizarre." Stan Van Gundy said "that was about as crazy of a game as you will ever see right there" and then went on to use the word crazy about a half dozen times when talking about the end of this game.
Third, the game itself. Not too much about the game is important other than the final 17 seconds of regulation and then overtime. With 17 seconds left and the Sixers ahead 90-86, Andre Iguodala switched onto Jason Richardson near the left wing and guarded him as he brought the ball to the top of the key. At this point, Richardson picked up his dribble and Iguodala appeared to reach in and catch a little piece of his wrist. You can see the referee immediately call the foul, and Richardson appears to subsequently elevate for a clean look at a three pointer. With the foul already called, and Richardson elevating for an open three pointer, the wheels of Sixers' doom were in motion. Richardson, as he often does, drained the three pointer, much to the delight of the people remaining from Orlando's sellout crowd. Game tied and Lou Williams missed a three pointer at the end of regulation. In overtime, the Sixers made a few plays, but delivered another four-point play to Orlando when J.J. Redick hit a three pointer from a spot close to Richardson's. Needless to say, two four-point plays in about a 3-minute span aren't a recipe for victory. In the final seconds of overtime, Iguodala missed a kind of in-between shot and then Evan Turner, who grabbed the rebound, drove into the lane and missed a difficult shot that looked kind of like a hook shot.
And there we have it, the fifth ridiculous loss of the season: both games at Washington, the game at the Atlanta Hawks, the game at the Detroit Pistons, and Wednesday's overtime loss.
Doug Collins looked different after this loss than any of the aforementioned losses. It was almost like this one was just too much for him to bear. He had mentioned that in his earlier coaching career, he probably would have thrown a chair or something after a loss like the ones at Washington. He looked like he wanted to throw a chair tonight. He wasn't quite so philosophical about the loss, moreso just insanely frustrated. The Sixers, realistically, should be 22-19, instead they're 17-24.That's quite a cause for frustration.
Here's some of what the team was saying after the game.
Iguodala on asking the referee for an explanation on the first four-point play: "I tried to ask him, but in the heat of the moment like that I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to be stood up. I kind of approached him and he kind of gave me the, 'Not now.’ And that’s fine, they go through a lot. Making calls is tough. He saw the foul and he called it. We can’t do anything about it."
Iguodala on what the team needs to change: "It’s tough, you know, we just have to continue to go out and try to take these games. We can’t let them boil down to that and then maybe we’ll get a little more respect down the stretch with how the game is called sometimes. I don’t think we’ve earned that respect – we play hard every night – but sometimes we get it. Not sometimes, we never get it."
And here's this from Lou: "It is where amazing happens, right? Sometimes you are on the winning end of that and sometimes you are on the losing end of that."
The problem with Lou's statement is that, this season, it doesn't seem like this statistic is as even as it should be. There something still missing in this team's ability to stay away from boneheaded plays at the end of games. It's not just a cruel coincidence that this has happened to the Sixers five times this season, but if you look at all the ways it's happened, it's really hard to pinpoint one specific cause for these collapses. Is it Iguodala getting the ball at the end of the game? Not really the problem Wednesday, he actually made quite a few important shots. Is it Lou continually being the one to shoot important free throws? Maybe, kind of, he did only make 1 of 2 Wednesday and if he had made both, well, then there couldn't have even been a four-point play. But that's kind of a stretch. These losses have come in all kinds of ways.
More Thursday from Charlotte,
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