Winners and sinners from the Sixers week:
Sixer: Jrue Holiday, who scored 19 of his 24 points in the third quarter of Wednesdays victory at Cleveland, and notched the go-ahead basket with 31.8 seconds left in overtime Saturday at Indiana, as the Sixers beat the Pacers, 109-106. Holiday, who finished that game with 17 points, added the nights final basket on a breakaway dunk.
Game: The victory over the Pacers was the Sixers first of the season by fewer than five points, and just their fourth in 22 games decided by seven points or fewer. That it came on the road against a quality team makes it all the more impressive, and it brought them to the brink of a postseason berth. They can clinch a playoff spot by winning one of their three remaining games.
Prank: Andre Iguodala seldom shows a sense of humor in public, but during the Cleveland game he did, flipping up the cushion on Lou Williams chair on the bench, causing Williams to take a tumble. Thats high comedy for the NBA.
Quote: Doug Collins, after Tuesdays 102-97 loss to Indiana: Theres two things we havent done this year win close games and get to the free throw line. Closing out games (is a matter of) mental toughness. Getting to the free throw line (is a matter of) physical toughness. And we have not done a good job, all season long, in those two areas.
Game: Somehow the Sixers managed to lose to Orlando Monday, even though the Magic didnt have Dwight Howard, Glen Davis and Hedo Turkoglu.
Defense: The Sixers allowed the Magic to shoot 11-for-18 from the 3-point arc in a 113-100 loss, and one night later saw Indiana nail 13 of its 24 attempts from downtown. Very unusual for the Sixers, who, for the most part, defend the three very well.
Stretch: Leading Indiana, 70-65, with just over a minute left in the third quarter, the Sixers surrendered a 3-pointer to Dahntay Jones, then turned the ball over to set up the tying basket, on a layup by Leandro Barbosa. The Pacers went on to score 15 of the fourth quarters first 22 points to take command.
Gordie Jones is an award-winning journalist who has worked in the Philadelphia market for 28 years. He also co-authored a book about the 76ers' 1982-83 championship team with former Sixers general manager Pat Williams.