26 March 2011
Not the biggest, but to me one of the most 'promising' wins of the season.
The 105-100 W over Atlanta sent some messages to the rest of the League.
First off, Sixers (37-34, .521) won't be an easy opponent in the first round of the playoffs, regardless of who they'll meet.
Second, they are not done with their rise yet, and the fading Hawks, losers of 14 of their last 21, 3-7 in the last ten, better watch out, as their edge is now reduced to just 2 1/2 games.
Third, they are deep. Very deep.
SEVEN players in double figure for the 17th time this season, if I am not mistaken. 39-14 advantage in bench points against Atlanta. I cannot stress enough how I like this, really.
As for depth (read it again before busting my balls, I'm talking only depth...), Sixers remind me of many teams I used to like a lot: the 2004 Pistons, the Divac-Webber-Bibby-Peja Kings, where a guy like Gerald Wallace was sitting at the end of the bench, etc etc. Teams that could use effectively a ten man-rotation.
Of course, this is not a team that can have real chances to beat Chicago, Boston or Miami in the first round in a seven game series. But the Hawks? Oh, yes. And not only judging from this game, obviously. (more after the jump)
Sixers turned a 66-77 deficit into a 99-88 lead in exactly twelve minutes (from -3.18 in the third to -3.16 in the fourth), using a 25-6 run to open the final quarter and take a game that was getting tougher as the minutes were passing.
They overcame a monster game by Josh Smith by shooting 9/15 from three through the first three quarters and getting to the line 17 times in the fourth (!) after shooting only one free throw in the first 36 minutes (!!).
It was Lou Williams to change momentum in the decisive period, helped by Thad Young once more, and also a limping Iguodala, who had some nice plays in the final minutes.
I never thought I could have got so excited by the Sixers at this moment of the season after that terrible start, and I'm fully enjoying it. Thank you guys for nights like this.