November 3 Philadelphia Daily News:
“As much as the Sixers‘ elder statesmen, namely Lou Williams and Elton Brand, wanted to spoil the home debut of heralded rookie John Wall, it wasn’t to be, thanks mainly to another rookie not many have even heard of.
Wall was fantastic in leading the Wizards to their first win last night at the Verizon Center, but his effort may have gone to waste had it not been for a miraculous three-pointer by Cartier Martin with 0.3 seconds left that sent the game into overtime, where the Wizards pulled out a 116-115 win over the Sixers to keep them winless in their four games.
As the losses mount, particularly after a season in which they piled up 55 of them, the frustration also accumulates. It may be at an all-time high right about now with the way this one was decided.
Consider that the Sixers shot 55 percent from the floor (44-for-80), forced 23 turnovers and scored 40 points in a thrilling fourth quarter – and still lost the game, thanks to Martin.
After falling behind by as much as 10 in the fourth, the Sixers, thanks mainly to Lou Williams’ 20 points in the quarter, were able to climb back into it and even pushed the lead to as many as six a couple of times. But when you are struggling as much as the Sixers have lately, no lead, at no time, is safe.
Williams, who finished with a game-high 30 points, drilled two foul shots with 3.1 seconds left for a 106-103 lead. After a Wizard timeout, Wall inbounded the ball from the left sideline to Martin, who had come off a screen from Andray Blatche on Andre Iguodala. Martin (six points in 9 minutes) caught the ball at the top of the arc and went up awkwardly, leaning into Iguodala in the hopes of getting a foul. None was called, but his heave hit nothing but net with 0.3 seconds left.
“The guy came back and I actually hit the ball,” Iguodala said. “I just couldn’t foul him without him taking a dribble. He made a tough shot.”
As disheartening as Martin’s shot was, the Sixers still had a good chance to win when Elton Brand (21 points, nine rebounds) banked in a 14-footer with 14.5 seconds left for a 115-114 lead.
When the Wizards got the ball on the ensuing possession and Wall gave it up on the right wing to Blatche (23 points), the 17,803 fans seemed to groan in unison, as they wanted their rookie to win or lose the game. But Blatche took the ball strong to the basket and got fouled by Brand with 7.1 left. He calmly sank both free throws for the 116-115 final margin.
Iguodala’s off-balance 20-footer at the end was off and Washington sewed up its first win in three games.
“Once again, turnovers,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “In the third quarter we had 10 [of their 23 for the game]. I’ve been talking to them since Day 1 about turning the ball over, trying to make the home-run play . . . We gave them 34 points off turnovers. We couldn’t come up with one stop when we needed it. We just didn’t get it done.””
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