How about that? I write about the 76ers and they don’t lose. Remarkable. Perhaps, I dipped into a little bit of my reverse-jinx superstitions. The win against the Orlando Magic, however, was ugly. Like real ugly. With about 4 minutes to go, the Sixers let their 15 point lead dwindle down to about 4 and it made the game much closer than it should have been. This was against the Magic’s second stringers!
Doug Collins was furious, as he should have been. The Sixers defense held the Magic to a mere 69 points, allowing only 9 in the 3rd quarter (a record low for any quarter this season.) Dwight Howard’s stats were all below average, but somewhere late in the fourth, the lead started to slip away and our bench looked undermanned. Lavoy Allen made some huge mistakes down the stretch that led to ugly turnovers and ugly looks at the rim. It’s not fair that he’s being thrown into this mess preemptively, but never the less that’s the ordeal we are in until Spencer Hawes and Vucevic returns. Francisco Elson, who was recently signed to help provide some depth at the center position, still hasn’t seen many minutes. I’m curious about that.
But it’s not about our stellar month of January anymore, it’s about the daunting February ahead.
This is probably the toughest stretch for the Sixers. For the many who criticized our schedule as being the easiest in the league, this patch suffices as the true measuring stick for how well the 76ers actually are. During Sunday’s Heat/Bulls game, Magic Johnson (a.k.a. the worst analyst in basketball) ranked is top 5 teams in the East. Were the Sixers there? Of course not. It went Bulls, Heat, Indiana, Celtics, Hawks.
Maybe I’m just a bitter fan, but how can you rank a team #1 as they are being dominated by your #2 team during the broadcast that displays these rankings?? And then Indiana #3?? For real Magic? I could see including them in the top 5 because they certainly are an improvement, but we BEAT them earlier in the season, by 10+ points, and you still don’t even mention us. Instead, Magic included the old, sad, Celtics at #4 with their record currently at 9-9. The Celtics are probably going to improve that record, but they aren’t coming into the Eastern Playoffs above the #6th seed. That’s a joke.
So, this is about the point where we find out how good the Sixers really are. We’re injured, games are being packed into a short schedule, and we have 5 top 5 teams to play in the next 2 weeks.
Tonight starts with the Bulls. Friday we host the Heat. The very next day, we travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks. That’s the #1, #2, and #3 seeds in the East. Monday, we host Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, followed by the Spurs and the suddenly revived Clippers. It’s a tough task and I’m anxious about how the wounded Sixers will handle this. Our defense probably accounts for 70% of our wins and we’re going to be more dependent on it than ever.
Currently the Sixers stand at 16-6, first place in their division. If they walk away 1-5 with that sole win being over the Heat, I’d be happy.
And because we like to have fun here, I’ve got some Youtube gems. Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune recently did an interview on Dan LeBatard’s Highly Questionable. He basically admits to being drunk on the show and then tells a story about Vanna White giving him the stink finger. It’s pretty delightful.
The other gem I have is a video from Kobe Bryant’s recent Nike campaign entitled “Kobe System.” Kanye West makes the clip.