Andre Iguodala's Signature Philly Sports Moment

Andre Iguodala's Signature Philly Sports Moment

As overly dedicated Philly sports fans, we all probably watch too many hours of ball games every week. Multiply that over 52 weeks a year, times however many years you've been alive, and you've surely seen thousands and thousands of hours of your favorite athletes competing. But when you think back on any one player or any particular team's season, typically most of us only remember a couple of the game-changing plays.

Every superstar has their signature moment. Some even have a few. Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue is always the first play I think of when I recall the glory days of Bubba Chuck. The young rookie A.I. crossing up Michael Jordan is certainly at the forefront of my Sixers memories as well. Jimmy Rollins had the two-out walkoff in Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS against the Dodgers. Chase Utley had the deke and throw home in the game that crowned the Phillies WFC in 2008. Dr. J had the up-and-under brilliant layup against the Lakers. Ryan Howard had "Get me to the plate, boys." Mike Richards had "the shift" against Montreal in 2010. These are my memories of the superstars I've watched in Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb had the scramble and heave against the Cowboys.

Andre Iguodala, despite playing here for the better part of a decade, never really had a signature moment. Yes, he's hit a couple big game winners, a nice one against the Lakers in 2009, and the dagger against the Magic in the playoffs down in Orlanda that same year, but those shots were from mostly forgettable games/series from a forgettable team. I'd even go so far as to argue that the most memorable moment of Iguodala's career, for me at least, was his sick-nasty-ridiculous dunk from Iverson off-the-backboard in the dunk contest years back when he got robbed of a victory by Nate Robinson. Still bitter.

The often misguided vitriol towards Iguodala becomes tired. But his free throw shooting during clutch time truly was abominable.

So it was with great joy that I sat in the stands of the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night and watched Iguodala slam his place into the positive memories of Philadelphia sports fans in the most absurd of fashions. By not slamming at all.

It was story book alright, but mostly because anytime he got to the line late in games this season, anyone who watched them for even two games this season knew how awful he was down the stretch from the charity stripe.

Your thoughts on Dre aside for one night, you absolutely had to feel happy for him after hitting those two shots.

If Dre had hit two free throws to win a meaningless regular season game in March we'd probably remember that moment like it were yesterday, but he hit two free throws to propel his team on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade, a No. 8 seed over a No. 1.

And he had one heck of a story to go along with it.

After struggling from the line earlier in the Bulls series, Dre got some advice from teammate Tony Battie: think of something you love when you're shooting the freebies.

"Actually, I started thinking of my son when I shoot free throws,” Iguodala said when asked about what was going through his mind before he drained a pair. "So I’m kind of talking to him when I shoot free throws. It makes it a lot easier. You relax a little bit more and it kind of becomes like practice. You shut everything else out.”

"It’s like I’m teaching him how to shoot free throws, and when you’re teaching your son how to shoot free throws, you can’t miss. You’d look kinda crazy."

Iguodala's son now has some playoff game tape to watch if he ever wants to learn how to be clutch.

And No. 9 now has one truly memorable signature Philly sports moment.

*

Dre on hitting the free throws:

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

On his way to the locker room following his team's stunning 34-3 victory over the Steelers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacted, well, like you probably did.

Pederson had to be surprised by what had just transpired. After all, this wasn't the Browns or the Bears. This was the Steelers, who entered the game with the second-best odds behind New England, per Bovada, of winning the Super Bowl (the Patriots were first). 

And the Eagles didn't just beat them. They clobbered them.

But minutes later, when Pederson met the media for his postgame press conference, he tried his best to act like it was no big thing.

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief," Pederson said. "Belief in themselves. Trust the process. Believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. 

"Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet. The season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, Doug. It's OK to be surprised. Scratch that. Make that stunned. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But now? Forget that. 

At least for the next two weeks. The Eagles are on their bye week and don't play again until Oct. 9 at Detroit. 

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark," Pederson said. "That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach (Mike) Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. 

"But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”

Pederson is the only head coach in team history to win each of his first three games. It's only the ninth time the Eagles have started 3-0.

And of course, a big reason they've done so is their prodigy quarterback Carson Wentz, who became only the second rookie in team history to record a 300-yard passing game (Nick Foles is the other).

More impressively, Wentz now has attempted 102 straight passes without an interception, the longest streak ever begin an NFL career (per ESPN). Dallas'  Dak Prescott is at 99 after the Cowboys beat up the Bears.

But don't ask Pederson to admit he's amazed by Wentz or the fact he had the presence of mind to make plays like the riveting 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles (much more on that here).

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him," Pederson said. "We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”

As does the defense, which kept one of the league's most potent offenses out of the end zone

"They just weren’t going to be denied," Pederson said. "They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”   

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.