Andre Iguodala drained a step-back three with 34 seconds remaining in the fourth to pull his Sixers within one. Moments later though, Carmelo Anthony did the exact same thing in the face of Iguodala, reversing his effort and the Sixers’ fortunes.
That very sequence encapsulates a devastating 97-92 Sixers’ home loss at the hands of the now 6th seeded New York Knicks. Of course, the Sixers are now the current 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Though, Wednesday night’s loss wasn’t really about the seeding, because it was still very unclear who will be the 2 and 3 seeds at season’s end. It was, however, a measuring stick for both teams with the mystique of the playoff standings providing the drama.
For three quarters, it looked as if the Sixers didn’t realize the magnitude of the game, unlike the Knicks who were blazing; especially Carmelo Anthony. But, by the middle of the 4th quarter, with a gigantic boost from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers were poised to pull out a miraculous victory up until the very end.
Despite how bad as the sluggish, lethargic Sixers looked in the first half, they managed to stay in the contest, trailing by 8 at the half.
The third quarter was the Carmelo show! He hosted, produced and stroked his way to 15 points in the quarter as he pushed the Knicks to a 69-50 lead that had most of the Wells Fargo Center in disbelief. the rest were Knicks’ fans who more than made their presence felt.
Anthony ended the game with 31 points, scored with style. His performance was proof of why the Knicks nearly traded Madison Square Garden to get him.
What the Sixers’ lacked in style they more than made up for it with heart, led by Thaddeus Young. Young did it all in the 4th quarter. He drove, he scored, and provided the hustle and swagger of team desperate of it. He was a one man wrecking crew that brought the Sixers back; and they even took the lead for a brief moment late in the 4th.
He had help from Elton Brand, who had a huge game. putting up 24 points, while grabbing 9 boards.
In the end, the Sixers woke up from their slumber too late, and collectively couldn’t stop Anthony, who made Amare Stoudemire seem like an afterthought.
The Lou Williams factor was once again crucial in the loss, just as it was against Boston on Tuesday night. Other than Young’s stellar effort, the Sixers’ bench did virtually nothing, including Even Turner, who scored 4 points in 21 minutes of work.
The playoffs are just about a week away, and it could be felt of Wednesday night in the stands. Without Williams’ bench presence the Sixers have look depleted for two straight games in relation to their Eastern Conference opponents.
Williams should be ready to go, but in addition the 2 for 18 three point shooting must go out of the window.
The Sixers have three games left to try to reclaim the 6th seed and more importantly prove themselves ready for the postseason.