MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Andre Iguodala has always exuded confidence as a 76er, although not in a flashy way.
Yet after the Sixers' wild 99-97 win over Memphis at the FedEx Forum on Saturday, Iguodala admitted that watching the ball constantly clang off the rim had put a dent in his confidence.
Iguodala hit the game-winner, a 20-foot jump shot at the buzzer, as the Sixers overcame an 11-point deficit. Later, in the locker room, he had a relieved look as he recounted the improbable turn of events.
Before the fourth quarter, Iguodala had been stone cold.
He shot just 2 for 12 in the first three quarters. Combine his 7-for-21 effort in Friday's 106-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and a 3-for-12 night Wednesday in a 102-85 defeat at Indiana and Iguodala had gone 12 for 45 (26.6 percent) in his previous 11 quarters.
Then came the fourth period, when he turned things around, shooting 7 for 9 and scoring 17 of his 23 points.
"I have to admit that once or twice in the game I lost confidence," Iguodala said. "I took a three in the third quarter and it looked good and missed, and I said that I can't hit anything."
Coach Maurice Cheeks pulled Iguodala for the final 4 minutes, 40 seconds of the third quarter and reinserted him to begin the fourth.
"While I was on the bench, I joked to myself that if I got 20 in the quarter, we'd win the game," Iguodala said.
As badly as things were going for Iguodala, it was important that Cheeks didn't leave him sitting on the bench.
"When you have a guy like Andre, you have to stay with him and believe in him, and that is what we were trying to do," Cheeks said. "We sat him, gave him a little rest, and brought him back in."
While Andre Miller continues to perform at a high level and Samuel Dalembert has become more consistent, Iguodala has had his share of off-games offensively.
To his credit, he has continued to defend well and help in other areas. Saturday was an example.
Iguodala guarded the talented Rudy Gay, who scored 19 points but shot 7 for 18 from the field. Gay, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, also had four turnovers.
"His defense on Rudy Gay was great the whole game," Cheeks said.
For the Sixers (11-16) to become a more consistent team, Iguodala has to have more quarters like his most recent one and fewer like the previous 11.
"Hopefully, I can continue this through the West Coast trip," Iguodala said.
The Sixers host Miami on Wednesday before playing six consecutive road games beginning Friday at Sacramento.
His teammates sense how important it is to have a confident Iguodala.
"I was trying to get him to keep his head in the game and try to get him easy buckets," said Miller, who scored 29 points. "You want the game to come to him, and in the fourth quarter he let that happen."
At times, Iguodala has pressed, and it's easy to forget that he will turn only 24 next month. What's important is that Cheeks and the team didn't lose confidence in him.
A report in yesterday's Akron Beacon Journal said the Sixers and Cleveland have discussed a possible deal for Miller.
An NBA source confirmed yesterday that the teams had talked but said there was no movement toward a deal.
Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski said last week he could not be certain that Miller or any player would not be traded.