Dang, Jodie Meeks!! To be honest, I totally didn’t think you had it in you to score 31 points in a game. You probably never will again, either, but it was still pretty cool. You know what would’ve been even cooler? Doing that against a team with a real defense.
Lately, all I’ve been hearing from the Sixers is “We want to win the Atlantic Division, that is our goal.” Well, that’s great, except setting a goal that stops right before the playoffs doesn’t necessarily get you a prize at the end of the day. I know a lot of teams in a lot of sports that won their divisions and sat at home to watch the championship game.
At times I’ve seen spurts in almost every player that resemble superstar quality characteristics, but they are temporary at best. Every game this year, when it’s tight going into the 4th quarter, we’ve lost. It’s a formula I am all too familiar with. You can set your watch to it. We surprise the ‘good’ team by hanging with them for a majority of the game, and then either get out hustled or lose sight. In the game against the Knicks last week, no one, and I mean NO ONE looked like they wanted the ball down the stretch. Except Lou Williams, of course, but he’s entirely too easy to defend against. All Lou has is the shake, and if the shake don’t get em, nothing will.
Having 6-7 players that can get 20 points on any night may be a remarkable feat, but it’s also served as a double-edged sword in games against worthy opponents. With 5 minutes left in the 4th trailing by 6, you need someone to point to and say, “Pick us up.” Playing team ball puts us into the position to win a game, but it doesn’t win the game. If Doug Collins was able to identify 1 or 2 of those 6 “20 point any-nighters”, there would be a definitive threat that the offense could run through.
My vote would be Thaddeus Young, who never seems to get rattled by anything, and Andre Iguodala, who is supposed to be that guy anyway. It’s a role that he has often shunned, which is why people hate him. The times when you screeeeeaaaaaammm for him to dunk, he makes a great assist, and that’s OK for three quarters, but not down the stretch. Elton Brand looks great, but I’d rather have him waste his energy on those incredible blocks and controlling the defense. He’s not going to drive the paint and slam it down (as seen in ESPN’s Top 10 when Amare Stoudemire blocks his shot), he’s just not quick enough for that.
My hope was that Evan Turner would blossom into that elite player role, and it’s happening, but only little by little. He has proven to be a great starter, something he has publicly addressed his desire for since the start of the season, but I have yet to see him take on the challenge of a 4th quarter closer. Maybe he hasn’t had the opportunity. He’s certainly not timid, but the offense rarely runs through at the end of a game.
My point is, something needs to happen in these final weeks before the playoffs begin. Whether we hold the Atlantic Division or not, we’re most likely going to be in the playoffs. There isn’t much of a comfort zone between the 4th and 8th seed, and in the playoffs, there is no zone whatsoever. Good news is, Stoudemire is out.
I got pretty awesome seats to last week’s Sixers/Celtics game. I have 2 stories.
The club box seats I had were directly in front of the press box where Marc Zumoff and Malik Rose do their play-by-play during the game. It also happens to be….. DIRECTLY BEHIND LUSCIOUS SWEETS! I couldn’t find an opportunity to converse with the man, but I did happen to take this picture, much to his suspicion. I’m making you a local legend, sir.
At one point, I happened to grab a $12 cheesesteak (I mention the price, because the size does reflect the monetary value) and get a seat at the dining bar directly behind the regular seats. Malik Rose walks up the stairs during a break, catches me stuffing my mouth with the largest bite I could manage, and says, “Hey, how’s it going?”
How’s it going?? HOW’S IT GOING?? I had a mouthful of beef and couldn’t even utter a word. I just stood there like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet and stared blankly. That was my moment to talk to Malik Rose in person! I could have asked him about Marc Zumoff and the Kia commercial. I could have gotten an autograph. I could have gotten a picture. Instead, I got caught gorging on a heap of fake meat and artificial cheese. Total bummer.
The other story I have from that night is about the legendary Will Smith. He showed up for the second half of the game and it was pandemonium from there on out! It’s cool to have a big star like him involved in the Sixers. He even cheers. Smith is at games so often that it makes you wonder if he will ever have work again. Naturally, when he arrived, they had “Getting Jiggy With It” blasting throughout the stadium. There’s something hilarious about seeing a person rapping along with their own song without actually performing it. Then, the Sixers’ Dancers came out and did a routine to “Wild Wild West!”
Man, that song is corny.
I’ll commend Will Smith for being such a presence in Philadelphia, though. He graciously signed autographs and took pictures for what seemed like a majority of the game. I can’t imagine being so famous that I can’t enjoy anything, ever, ever.
That’s it for today, folks. I’ve almost reached 1000 words. Get Chase Utley some HGH stat! There, 1000.