January 17 Philadelphia Inquirer:
The rookie at the line, the game in the balance.
We’d seen this scene before.
We’d seen it played out with this particular rookie, Evan Turner, way back in November, and we’d seen it played out with guard Lou Williams just last week: a player toeing the line, needing just a free throw or two to win the game.
And what we’d seen previously was a whole lot of missed free throws, which lost games.
On Monday afternoon, Turner made his free throws, Williams made his shots, and the 76ers won the game, defeating the Charlotte Bobcats, 96-92, in overtime.
The Sixers improved to 17-23. The Bobcats dropped to 15-24.
One could dwell on the bad of Monday’s victory, like the fact that the Sixers surrendered a 13-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, or that the Bobcats’ inside game made the Sixers look like middle schoolers, or that the game really never should have gone to overtime.
But considering that halfway through this season the Sixers have been able to lose all kinds of games, including ones they should have won, the particulars of the down-the-stretch tension are not quite as important as the ways the Sixers ultimately produced victory.
They did so by counting on Williams, who last week missed two free throws that would have given his team a victory over the Detroit Pistons, to provide the second-half scoring as well as the last-second punch.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever lost [us] a game,” Williams said of the Detroit game. “[When] that happened in Detroit, I really took that one hard . . . so I just said, ‘I apologize, I lost this one, but I’m going to help us win more than I help lose.’ ”
The Sixers did so by giving Turner, who earlier this season missed two crucial free throws in an overtime loss against the Washington Wizards, the confidence to try it again.
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