There are no moral victories in professional sports. The Sixers are finding out the hard way that close just isn’t good enough.
They played the Nuggets down to the wire back in mid-January and lost in overtime at the hands of ex-teammate Andre Miller. A week later, Deron Williams was the villain in another overtime home loss, this time to the Nets. Chris Paul hit a dagger for a one-point win earlier this month and Kevin Love beat them with free throws at the buzzer days before the All-Star break.
And Wednesday night, the Sixers had the Thunder down by eight in the fourth quarter, only to lose by four. Sensing a trend in close games here?
“Maybe we need to do things to where we don’t even get in that position in the first place,” Jrue Holiday said. Such as? “Score down the stretch.”
Ah, scoring. It’s been the thorn in the Sixers’ side throughout February, when they haven’t topped 100 points a single time and have posted a 6-9 record. When crunch time hits, the balanced Sixers haven’t found a go-to guy to get a hoop or get to the foul line.
“It’s not difficult because everybody can make a basket. We just haven’t done it yet so word’s going to be that we don’t have anybody that can make a basket,” Andre Iguodala said. “So we can’t focus on that.”
The inability to score in fourth quarters has mostly reared its head against the NBA’s elite. Only six of the Sixers’ 21 wins have come against teams that currently have a winning record.
“I couldn’t get us a basket. I tried my ass off, but I couldn’t get us a basket,” Doug Collins said after Wednesday’s loss. “As a coach, from my standpoint, I feel badly about that. That’s my job. And when we can’t get it, I take a lot of responsibility for that.”