How This Game Was Won

Who'd have thought it? Not I. Not when the score was 38-13. Certainly not then. Not even when it was 78-71, to be honest. I had listened when Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said it took so much energy just to get back into a game after trailing by so much. I thought, well, they've spent all their energy getting back into this, just like Cheeks said.

I was wrong. And perhaps, watching on Comcast from home, you didn't think it would happen, either.

But it did. And afterward, everyone said a similar thing: This game was won by the Sixers' second unit -- Willie Green, Royal Ivey, Reggie Evans, Lou Williams, Kareem Rush -- with the energy they brought in the second quarter.

(Oh, and let's toss in Thaddeus Young, what with his career-high 25 points and those 10 rebounds.)

Aside from Green, who finished with 14 points, their contributions -- on the stat sheet -- were small. Ivey played 11 minutes and had one point, one rebound. Evans played 10 minutes and had three points and six rebounds. Williams played 11 minutes and had four points and two rebounds. Rush played 13 minutes and had one assist and one rebound.

But the energy to change the momentum, and the belief that the game wasn't over, was the key thing on the floor. During the first quarter, which ended in Indiana's favor 38-13, frustration seemed to be the main emotion on the court.

Two weeks ago the Sixers were beating the Hawks by 23 points and ended up losing. Last night, point guard Andre Miller said sometimes it can be tough building such a big lead because it's difficult -- near impossible -- to sustain the energy it took to build the lead. Elton Brand echoed that sentiment, saying they knew tonight was possible because someone had already done it to them.

So what does this win mean? Is it just another win in a season (the Sixers hope) filled with wins? It's hard to say at this point. But after tonight's game, Green did say that later on this season they would look back and know this was a win on which they could hang their hat.

(What's frightening, if you're starting center Samuel Dalembert, is that you only played 11 minutes, had four points and four rebounds, and yet your team still managed a big-time road victory over a decent team.) 

Until tomorrow ...


p.s. And I would like to point out my title for this blog post was intended to play off the phrase "How the West was won." Yup ... cleverness.