Feb 7, 2012, 3:32 AM EDT
When the Phillies would win a wild game the past few seasons, often times I would come home late after covering the game from Citizens Bank Park and flip on Comcast to watch a bit of the 2:00 am replay to see what that one nasty Cliff Lee hook looked like on television or to hear what Wheels had to say about Hunter Pence’s goofiness or what the crowd sounded like after an acrobatic J-Roll snag deep up the middle.
I had never done that for a Sixers game. Until they beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Monday night, 95-90, at the Wells Fargo Center. This Sixers team has me wondering how Marc Zumoff and Malik Rose would call the big Lou bucket like I’d wonder how Franzke and L.A. called a Chase Utley inside-the-parker.
Yes, I watched the Sixers beat the Lakers twice last night. The first time in person. The second time on the late-night television replay.
This team has become that fun. [plenty of video highlights below]
There were a couple of fascinating aspects to Monday’s win that were worth a second look. First, there was Kobe’s insane first half in which he was making ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot. It wasn’t like the Sixers were playing awful D on him, but it didn’t matter.
Kobe was hitting shots from the parking lot.
Doug Collins told his players as much at the half. “Kobe was incredible in that first half. They had five threes and he had four of them. Three of them were off-the-charts tough and I said, ‘We’re not going to overreact to that.’”
And they didn’t. They stayed within their game, but put a bit of added pressure on Kobe in the second half and used team defense and forced the other Lakers to beat them. Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, and Jason Kapono were not up to the task.
Kobe surpassed his former teammate, Shaq, to move into the fifth spot on the NBA’s All-Time scoring leaders list. Once he passed Shaq midway through the second quarter, however, Kobe went ice cold, hitting only two other field goals the rest of the game.
One of them was a fricking sick bucket though, reminiscent of a certain Dr.’s up-and-under reverse layup against a certain L.A. team. Compare the two layups here.
Then there was the absolutely ridiculous rebounding differential. The Lakers had 55 boards to the Sixers 30.
Yet, the Sixers still found a way to win.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever won a game where I’ve gotten out rebounded by 25,” Collins said. “But they just keep playing.”
And you know what allowed the Sixers to stay in the game despite such an insane differential on the boards? They committed only four turnovers as a team the entire game. There have been games this season were Andre Iguodala alone committed turnovers on the first four possessions of the game (*not entirely true, but almost).
That’s some amazing ball care. The four turnovers tied a franchise low. On a whole this season, the Sixers have taken very good care of the ball. But on Monday night they were simply fantastic.
And finally, Lou Williams.
Sitting by the coaches podium in the media room amid a pool of reporters waiting for Coach Collins to address them following the win, Sixers CEO Adam Aron shared his thoughts to no writer in particular, “I’ve got your story for you in two words, ‘Lou. Williams.’”
His idea may not sell many newspapers but his sentiment certainly rang true.
Lou. Williams. Went. Off. And it was one of the most exciting displays we’ve seen from any Sixers player in years.
Did it help that LouWill’s red-hot fourth quarter came against Kobe Bryant after one of the best to ever play the game lit it up just a few short quarters earlier? Absolutely it added to the electric atmosphere.
Fans at the Wells Fargo Center were on their feet for the final few minutes thanks to LouWill awaking them. The “Beat L.A.!” chants were goosebump inducing. Even Doug Collins said it brought him back.
“To hear the fans out there chanting ‘Beat LA!’ it took me back to 1980 when I was a player. That’s pretty nice to hear,” Coach Collins said of the crowd.
Kobe went off early, LouWill went off late.
“I wouldn’t put my name in the conversation with Kobe, but tonight I made shots,” Lou said with a smile after the game.
There were plenty of smiles to go around in South Philly last night.
Watch Lou Williams impressive run in the fourth quarter:
Lou was feeling the luv after the game:
— Spencer Hawes (@spencerhawes00) February 7, 2012
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