Sixers, Williams both go down

Jrue Holiday of the 76ers drives around the Bucks' Andrew Bogut during the first half in Milwaukee.
Jrue Holiday of the 76ers drives around the Bucks' Andrew Bogut during the first half in Milwaukee.

The injured guard missed the fourth period and overtime, and the team struggled.

Posted: April 03, 2011

MILWAUKEE - This game could have easily been a 76ers victory.

Early on, Milwaukee looked somewhat disinterested; during the first half, the Sixers built a double-digit lead. Even after a soggy third quarter, the Sixers still had multiple possessions at game's end, any of which could have won the game.

None did.

The Bucks and Sixers alternated misses during the final couple of minutes of regulation. In overtime, the Bucks finally broke the offenseless stalemate with some explosive scoring by point guard Brandon Jennings, who until that point hadn't made a field goal.

The Bucks won in overtime, 93-87.

For the Sixers, Saturday's loss felt a little like a bucket of cold water after Friday night's playoff-clinching victory over the New Jersey Nets.

With just five games remaining in the NBA's regular season schedule, the Sixers dropped to 40-37. The Bucks stayed alive for a potential playoff berth and improved to 31-45.

Part of the Sixers' offensive inability came from poor shooting: point guard Jrue Holiday missed a jumper at game's end and swingman Andre Iguodala went 0 for 2 with 2 turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime. And part of their woes came from the absence of combo guard Lou Williams, who strained his right hamstring at the end of the third quarter. Williams, the team's most effective one-on-one option, did not return; he will be evaluated by team doctors on Sunday.

"It hurts because he's a guy that can create off the dribble," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "With Milwaukee, they don't let you run plays, they really disrupt you so you have to be able to attack them off of the dribble."

With a chance to break the 79-79 tie, Collins put the ball in Holiday's hands.

"We went to Dre a couple of times and he wasn't able to knock down a shot," explained Collins.

On that final offensive set of regulation, Holiday worked off of a pick-and-roll and then attempted a pass to Thaddeus Young, who was rolling toward the hoop. Either the ball slipped out of Holiday's hands or the pass was considerably off target, because instead of finding Young, the ball ricocheted off of the backboard.

Milwaukee missed the final shot of regulation.

"We just couldn't get that one bucket to get us over the hump," said Sixers power forward Elton Brand, who scored a game-high 20 points. "We tied the game, our defense was solid, we just couldn't get that one shot to put us over the hump. But we had some good looks at it; we just couldn't knock it down."

Jennings entered overtime 0 for 6 from the field. In overtime, he made a three pointer, a layup, a 10-foot running bank shot, and two free throws. Jennings' overtime production surpassed the entire Sixers' team.

"We got enough defensive stops to win the game, I thought the difference was in third quarter they picked up their level of physicality on defense," Collins said. "They pushed us off our spots and I talked to our guys a little bit about it, I said that's what playoff basketball is going to be about."

There was a victory here for the taking; the Sixers just couldn't find a way to take it.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.


 

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