Reporting Howard Eskin
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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most Sixers fans have to go back at least a decade to find a win as sweet as Friday night’s game 4 victory over the Celtics. Down 15 points at halftime, the team battled back and won the game 92-83.
There wasn’t just one thing that won the game for the Sixers. Lou Williams offensive outburst in the third quarter and Lavoy Allen’s defense on Kevin Garnett were both crucial in the comeback. But it was Andre Iguodala’s jump shots in the closing minutes that finished the job.
Iguodala had been quiet on the offensive end up until that point, but he said he wasn’t worried. “I didn’t really get any good looks . I got like two open looks in the first half. I hadn’t shot a high volume of shots. I knew it was just a matter of time before, if I just get a look, I’d be fine,” Iguodala told 94WIP’s Howard Eskin in an interview on Saturday morning. It was the second time this post-season that Iguodala has won a game with clutch shots. In the game 6 clincher against the Bulls, Iguodala hit two free-throws with two seconds left on the clock to win the game.
Lavoy Allen’s defense forced Kevin Garnett into a 3-12 shooting night. ”He doesn’t look like the strongest guy. But he has, what I call, dumb strength, like, it has nothing to do with the weight room,” he laughed as he said. “It’s just a guy who is just strong for no reason at all. He did a great job for us last night,” he said.
With the playoffs comes the national stage, and often times announcers who aren’t as familiar with the Sixers as the home fans and media are. One source of debate has been how to pronounce Iguodala’s name properly. “You know what, I have no clue. Because my mom says one way, and my dad says the other way. And they don’t realize that they do that. It’s pretty strange. My dad says ‘Ig-wa-dalla’ and my mom says ‘Ig-a-dalla.’ But it’s easier to say ‘Ig-a-dalla’,” he said.
Iguodala has been one of the most criticized athletes in Philadelphia over the last several years. He said that hasn’t stopped him from wanting to perform, or stopped him from growing. ”It’s not hard. You know, I think, I’ve said this before many a times in interviews, I probably want to leave a stamp on my teammates. To show them how to play the right way. And help them with their basketball career,” he said. “When I think of all of the teammates I’ve had, and they’ve left a good mark or a bad mark. And the teammates who have left a really good mark, I think about what they’ve done for me. And I think about that for the rest of my basketball career, like Aaron McKie.”
“You get a little bit older. And, you kind of understand the role you have to take in order for the team to have some success. And with the type of team we have, that’s something I need to do. Making sure that emotionally I’m stable for the guys. When we’re on the court, things are getting a little hectic, things are getting out of whack, how do I respond? They kind of look at me a little bit, and I’ve learned that over the years. That’s just part of growing up, as a professional athlete. You’ve got to get better as a teammate, not only just your game, but how you react to situations, and how you are mentally, and that’s been a part of it,” Iguodala said.
After last night’s game, there was a lot of love for Iguodala on Twitter, where his handle is @MindOfAI9. Recently, Steve Blake of the Lakers received a death threat on Twitter when he missed a potential game winning shot in the final seconds. When Eskin asked what the worst tweet Iguodala’s ever seen was, he kept it clean. “You probably don’t want to know,” Iguodala said. “The clean version is ‘I hope you don’t exist after tonight.’”