January 20 Philadelphia Daily News:
“As award shows will quickly be upon us, let us present the award for most bizarre losses in a single season to the 76ers.
For the fifth time, the Sixers found a way to gift-wrap a win and present it to the opposition, this time a 99-98 overtime debacle to the Orlando Magic last night.
Someone would have had to accept the award for coach Doug Collins after the game, as he pulled his team together in the locker room, told them, “We fought so hard and gave them eight points in two possessions. Bring it in.”
With that, after a quick meeting with the media, the coach grabbed his bag, flung it over his shoulder and took his red face with bulging veins out of the new and glorious Amway Center.
The reasoning for his ire was pretty simple, culminating in two plays.
Lou Williams had given the Sixers a 90-86 lead with 22.1 seconds left in regulation when he made one of two foul shots. The Magic got the ball to Jason Richardson, 25 feet from the basket beyond the top of the key. Richardson, who at that point was 1-for-9 from the field, rose and got slapped on the arm by Andre Iguodala. The bomb fell. Richardson’s ensuing foul shot tied the game and sent it into overtime.
In overtime, after Iguodala had given the Sixers a 96-95 lead with 1 minute, 59 seconds left, J.J. Redick drained a trey from almost the same spot as Richardson, while being bumped by Williams. Redick finished off his four-point play and, ultimately, sent Collins storming out of the building into the warm Orlando air.
“It’s another lost opportunity, late-game mistakes,” said forward Elton Brand, shaking his head in bewilderment. “It’s a heartbreaker, and it’s happened numerous times this season. We just won two [close] games, and it seemed like we got over the hump.””
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums