Just thank Andre's adrenaline

Andre Iguodala is battling an Achilles' injury, but you couldn't tell judging by this first-half dunk and the 43 minutes he logged.
Andre Iguodala is battling an Achilles' injury, but you couldn't tell judging by this first-half dunk and the 43 minutes he logged. (RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: May 08, 2012

ANDRE IGUODALA'S sore right Achilles' prevents him from walking without a limp when he isn't on the basketball court. Strangely, in Sunday's 89-82 win over the Chicago Bulls that gave the 76ers a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series, Iguodala often was the Sixers player who seemed to have the most spring. He led the team with 12 rebounds and also chipped in 14 points, despite the limitations his Achilles' is imposing.

"The first half it was really bothering me, but then I think the adrenaline really carried me throughout the game," Iguodala said. "It's hard to get on your toes, that's the hardest thing. Some shots are flat-footed, which has kind of limited me. But as far as doing other things, trying to think the game, be in position, help out teammates and make it easier for them and sacrifice myself, it's just great for these guys to be in this opportunity."

Iguodala, who fought through just over 43 minutes of play, again was the defensive heart that coach Doug Collins needs. He limited Luol Deng to just 11 points and seemed to be able to somehow get in enough passing lanes to nab three steals.

He also made two huge foul shots down the stretch, giving the Sixers an 86-80 lead with 26.6 seconds to go. Foul shooting, especially in the fourth quarter, is not something the Sixers really are looking for from Iguodala, who shot a career-low 61.7 percent from the line this season.

"I was so happy for Dre today," Collins said. "He had 12 rebounds, but to step up to the line, up four, and make those two free throws was so great for him, here in front of our crowd and our fans. And for us to finish the game . . . "

The game turned earlier when Jrue Holiday, who was in a horrible shooting slump that had him missing 13 of his first 14, hit a three-pointer with 4 minutes, 13 seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 77-73 lead. After the make, Iguodala went to Collins and asked that the next play be called for Holiday, also. On the Sixers' next possession, after coming off a pick from Elton Brand, Holiday drained another trey for an 80-73 lead and a comfort the team hadn't felt all game.

"That's Dre being a leader," Holiday said. "I guess he saw I was in a groove. I hit a big shot and I was excited and he told coach to go right back to me. Again, Dre has been a leader this whole time, the whole year since it's been a shortened season. With the playoffs being a little crazy, especially for us, Dre's been that guy to really pump up the whole team."

For Iguodala, who has never won a playoff series, it's certainly not any time to celebrate.

"We just got to keep it business," he said. "We're not having fun, yet. We still have some work to do and we've got to stay focused."

Injury or not.

Six shots

The last time the Sixers won three consecutive playoff games was against Indiana in the first round of the 2001 playoffs . . . Chicago is averaging just 82.7 points in its three losses in the series . . . During the regular season the Sixers shot 30 or more foul shots in a game just four times. Yesterday's 22-for-31 effort marked the third time this series the Sixers have attempted 30 or more in a game . . . The Sixers won the past two games while scoring less than 90 points. They were 2-18 during the season when they scored less than 90. Also, Chicago was 31-2 when holding opponents less than 90 points . . . Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that Joakim Noah is day-to-day with his ankle sprain. He was wearing a protective boot and limping heavily . . . Game 5 is Tuesday in Chicago with a 9:30 p.m. Eastern start.


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com

 

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