Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Philly Phree-fall
The Philadelphia 76'ers fall from grace is complete. Once upon a time they fought for legitimacy among the Eastern Conference elite. Now, they're tied with the New York Knicks and one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in a fight for the last playoff spot. They were crushed by the Celtics last night and now find themselves three full games out of the division lead they'd held from the moment the doors opened on this season.
Philly has a lot of nice pieces on its roster, but there's no "head" on the body to make it go. Andre Iguodala might seem like a prime candidate to become that leader, but he is either unwilling or unable to assume that mantle right now. That leaves the Sixers with some decisions to make. Will they, once their season ends, make a move to try to bring that kind of leader in? Or will they hope certain players blossom?
It's too late to save Philly this season. They haven't shown the kind of resolve necessary to pull out of this tail spin. Doug Collins and squeeze that dry rind all he wants... there's no more juice left.
2: This is how Melo saw it going down
The New York Knicks welcomed Derrick Rose to Madison Square Garden as the MVP started to work his way back from a strained groin. But Rose was clearly not quite ready to be "Derrick Rose" yet, posting 29 points but shotting just 8-26 to get there
Meanwhile, this has got to be how Carmelo Anthony envisioned life in New York last year when he forced his way out of Denver. A nationally televised game, the Knicks totally relying on him to account for literally half the offense (43 of the Knicks 100 points, plus three assists), and hitting the game-winning shot on top of it all. The only way that could have gone better for Melo would have been if that three he made with eight seconds left in OT was a buzzer beater. This way he could do crazy celebratory things like jump onto the scorer's table and raise his hands as he soaked up the adulation from his kingdom.
The reality of it all was the Knicks blew a giant first half lead, then had the fight back to force OT. And they wouldn't have even done that had Rose made one of his two free throws just before an Anthony three to send it to OT. But it's how you finish, and the Knicks finished with Melo burying three's to tie and win the game. The back pages will salute him for a day... and Melo can wake up feeling like he hoped he'd feel every day until today: satisfied that he's the headline maker in New York.
Melo wins it for New York
Gerald Green can fly
Derrick Favors put Tiago Splitter on a poster
4: Line of the Night: Gerald Green: 32 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Carmelo Anthony's 43/7/3 night was actually the line of the night, but I decided not to cut-and-paste what I wrote about him.
Green is a reclamation project for New Jersey. He started with Boston, went to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett trade, and then fizzed completely as he bounced from team to team, and then to the D-League, Europe, Summer League, back to the D-League, and now New Jersey. He's had a couple of big games for the Nets and more than a few highlights, but Green is fighting a history of bad habits. Is this a turnaround based on lessons learned? Or is this desperation turning into production that will fade once the money starts rolling back in?
5: You can quote me on that
"This was one of the top. Overtime, Easter Sunday, everybody's watching, everybody's in the Garden, so this ranks as one of the top."
-Carmelo Anthony, on where his game winning shot ranks among his other game winners
"This team is taking it to another level. They make you look bad. Did it to Miami last Sunday, did it to Indiana and now they did it to us. They are going to be a handful and I wouldn't want to play them in the playoffs. When Boston locks in they are really tough to play against. It's going to be very interesting. I wouldn't blink on Boston."
-Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins, after his Sixers were blown out by Boston
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