The start of the game brought some memories of the Sixers’ start to the season with a victory over the Heat. The Sixers looked good. I figured the lead would fade at some point, however. What I didn’t figure was that the Sixers would still be leading by halftime. They were up 52-50. It was a tight game. An exciting game. Nothing close to the blowout I anticipated in my preview. A blowout that we all anticipated probably, as we were watching the Eagles game.
Blazers looked in control in the fourth. The Sixers were down by 5 going in. They brought it to within 1 point, then the Blazers made a little run. It looked like an “At least the Sixers wouldn’t get blown out this time.” thing. The Blazers were up 84-77 and the crowd in Portland was starting to rise. And then, Sixers went on a run. A glorious run. A 13-0 run that gave them a six point lead. They led 90-84.
Blazers responded by finally scoring. At some point, it was tied at 92. There’s 1:29 left. Hoo-boy!
Thad Young scores! Sixers up 94-92. Sixers foul
Brook Robin Lopez and he makes both FT’s. Tied at 94. There’s 54 seconds left. Mercy. I’m expecting a tough loss. Eagles had already finished their game. I heard it was close but I’m no Eagles fan so I wouldn’t know much. I say this because many Eagles fans who transitioned to watch the Sixers game kept mentioning “two heart breakers” and stuff.
Okay, Thad scores on a tip-in. Sixers up 96-94. Another foul sends Wesley Matthews to the line. He makes only one. And that’s it. Sixers have the ball now, and at this point, there’s less than 24 seconds left, so Blazers will have to foul. Michael Carter-Williams heads to the line. He makes only one free throw. 97-95 point lead. Okay, then the battle for the rebound of that miss went out of bounds with Allen and Lopez both going for it; it warranted a replay. As the replay unfolded details, it appeared that Lavoy smacked the ball out of Lopez’s reach. In the initial reaction, I gave the ball to the Blazers, as the refs did. After viewing the replay, which was a lot closer than I thought, I still felt like it was Blazers’ ball.
So, Sixers win the call, and get the ball back. That change of heart by the refs pretty much sealed the Blazers’ fate. Sixers have the ball, with 20.3 seconds left. Sixers toss it in and Hawes goes to the line. He makes both, to make it a 99-95 game. There were now 19.3 seconds left and the Blazers’ had the ball. They waste no time, scoring a quick two with 18.8 seconds left. Now, it’s 99-97. Sixers hand it to Turner and he gets fouled. He’s off to the line. DON’T SCREW UP.
He makes both! At this point, there’s 14.3 seconds left. Sixers up 101-97 Blazers once again quickly score. 7.9 seconds left, Sixers up 101-99, and it’s time to inbound.
Before we continue, let me just say, I am a supporter of the tank. However, what happened next in the game would lead you to believe otherwise. Lavoy made a terrible pass to Michael Carter-Williams, who was double teamed. The Blazers steal the ball and have a chance. Now, apparently, coach Brown was trying to get a timeout. The refs weren’t having it. In any event, the Blazers had a chance to tie or win with 5.4 seconds left. I was hurt and shocked.
The Sixers defense had to hold. It just had to.
Wesley Matthews got the ball and you knew immediately that the Blazers had OT in mind as they were going for two. His layup fell short and the Sixers won. Michael Carter-Williams was knocked in the head by Thad Young and we had a few tense moments of “OMG”, as we watched him suffer in pain on the floor. But he walked off the court so he better be okay.
So that was it. The Sixers won. In Portland. Against the best team in the West, by record. And I was impressed. The Sixers won four straight, all of them on the road, making me eat my words about how bad they would be. The first three were against not so good teams, so I didn’t think that much of it. This win though, was solid. Very solid. Now, the tanker in me wasn’t too trilled, but I love my Sixers and while I want to see them lose, I hate embarrassments. I’d rather take the win than a 40 point loss…I think.
Anyway, player of the game has to go to Thad Young who has been on a tear lately (I believe ever since the trade rumor of him wanting to leave came up). He finished with 30 points on 14-20 shooting as well as six rebounds, a few steals, and a couple of assists.
The normally brutal road trip wasn’t so bad for the Sixers. They finished 4-1. Not bad, boys. Not bad. They get to go home to face the T-Wolves who just tonight (Kevin Love) blew a close game to the OKC Thunder.
Everybody reserve your spot for the Sixers Championship Parade, I'll be the one standing next to Important Contributor James Anderson.
— Michael Levin (@Michael_Levin) January 5, 2014
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