Which is the greater sum of two parts? Andre Iguodala + Jrue Holiday or Kevin Durant + Russell Westbrook?
The evident answer was the only difference between the Sixers’ heartbreaking overtime loss and them pulling out another huge late season victory.
Kevin Durant was as clutch as it gets; as he tied the game with a deep trey with only 6 seconds remaining in regulation.
That lead to the eventual victory for the Oklahoma City Thunder (now 40-23) as they knocked off the re-energized Sixers (now 33-31) 110-105 in OT Wednesday night.
A win that slipped away could have meant so much for a Sixers’ team that now believes that they can play with the best in the NBA.
It would have been their fourth straight win. It would have been their 8th win in 9 tries. It would have been another statement to the Eastern Conference and to the entire league that they are for real. It would have been back to back wins on back to back nights.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, it WAS a devastating loss that highlighted the ineffectiveness of Andre Iguodala in a number 1’s role and his deficiency as a closer.
With the Sixers up 3 with 14 seconds to go, Iguodala decided to pump fake to avoid the defense of Kevin Durant. What promptly ensued was a rejection that led to the tying three by Durant that knotted the game at 101.
On the very next Sixers possession, with a chance to win the game, Iguodala bull-rushed his way into Thunder defenders despite having teammates, including Thaddeus Young ready for a catch and shoot situation.
Offensive foul called – on to overtime.
Although, the Sixers had many chances in overtime, the game was, in essence, over when the Thunder managed to send the game into the extra session.
The Sixers defiantly stayed with the Thunder all night long as they actually started the game with a 12-2 opening first quarter run.
From that point on, both teams were in a dogfight.
But, a dogfight is much easier when you can bite with Kevin Durant, who dazzled with 34 points and 16 rebounds. His Robin to his Batman was amazing in his own right as Russell Westbrook scored 27 while dishing out 12 assists.
The Sixers combated their attack with stellar team play. As, once again 5 players scored in double figures. Jrue Holiday was big with 22 points and 8 assist. Elton Brand grabbed 15 big rebounds as he chipped in with 13 points.
Though, no one shined brighter than Lou Williams, who scored 22 points in just 23 minutes of work, including a brilliant fourth quarter performance that almost helped seal a Sixers’ victory.
Of course it was just not quite enough as in the end Durant and Westbrook were just a tandem that the Sixers couldn’t overcome.
Yet, they could have if they, with the help of Iguodala, wouldn’t have lost their basketball IQ.
Iguodala, who recently has played well, and more importantly great team ball, once again showed that he believes that he can be the MAN. Yet, true to from he proved that he didn’t have the closer’s mentality that a team builds upon.
A wasted effort, not just for Iguodala, who was terrific again for 47 minutes. Too bad the game was 48.
The good news Sixers have a chance to beat another top team against the Celtics at home on Friday night. They have battled with Boston all year long, but have come short each time.
Undoubtedly, they will be fueled by the sour taste of Wednesday night’s loss.
The focus should be simple, close the game like you started; in the sum of it all….. FINISH!