You'll hear more later from Our Fearless Leader about the Philadelphia 76ers' 79-78 Game 6 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, a series-clinching victory that marks just the fifth time in NBA history that a No. 8 seed has taken out its conference's top-ranked squad. For now, though, let's hear from Andre Iguodala, who scored a game-high 20 points in the win, dished out a team-high seven assists without a turnover and made Philly's biggest play of the game.
After Omer Asik missed the second of two potential game-icing free throws with Chicago up 78-77 and seven seconds left in the fourth quarter, Iguodala grabbed the rebound and barreled down the center of the floor, an arrow pointing straight at both Asik and the rim. Asik fouled Iguodala on his layup attempt, putting him on the foul line with 2.2 seconds left and a chance to win the game and the series. He hit 'em both, Philadelphia celebrated its first trip to the second round since 2003, and he got to have a postgame chat with NBA TV's Cheryl Miller.
After telling Miller about his thought process as the Bulls big man stepped to the line ("Well, Asik's a bad shooter; I knew I'd have a chance to get the rebound") and on his end-to-end push, Iguodala — a 73.7 percent career free-throw shooter who has seen his stroke fall off over the past two years and posted a career-low 61.7 percent from the stripe this year — talked about stepping to the line himself with a chance to win it, and how a teammate's words stuck in his head.
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"On the free throws, Tony Battie gave me some advice," Iguodala said. "He said, 'Think of something that you love when you're shooting free throws,' because I've been struggling all year. I thought of my son, and it was easy after that."
Last month, Iguodala and his 76ers teammates were the subject of a great feature by Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins, a story that delved into the difficult position in which Iguodala has found himself in his time in Philly. He's a perfect complimentary player — an elite athlete and defender, a tireless worker, good leader and solid citizen, just a monstrous collection of gifts — whose greatest crimes in the eyes of many fans have been saying yes to an $80 million contract and "not being a max player" ... which is to say, not being a 30-point-per-game scorer. (Or, more to the point, not being Allen Iverson.)
"We have a lot of players in this league who make max dollars and think, All I have to do is score and I don't care if we win or lose," Iguodala told Jenkins. "But I believe in karma, and if you're a good teammate who spreads the ball and plays defense, it will turn."
On Thursday night, it turned for Iguodala, in large part because he kept a good thought.
Is the clip above not working for you? Feel free to check out the postgame comments elsewhere, thanks to cubanmark301.
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