I wasn’t always so harsh on the Sixers. I was once a pretty big fan. Charles Barkley is one of my favorite athletes of all-time, and even up through the Iverson years I was pretty aware of what was going on. I don’t know if this makes me fair-weather, or if it is impossible to devote as much effort to fandom as you get older, but the Sixers fell off my radar. I don’t hate basketball or anything like that. I once went to an overnight basketball camp where I had to eat suspect food. That’s commitment to the game. It was at that camp where I saw Ron Anderson put on probably the best display of casual shooting I’ve ever seen in my life. And, to this day it makes me think these guys should shoot better in the games. Anyway, after a good six or seven year hiatus from a live Sixers game, I stumbled into a free ticket on Wednesday night. Sixers vs. Hawks. How could I say no?
Before we get to the game, I should probably mention that on the way down I witnessed a remarkable feat of bad driving and/or criminal activity. We’re coming around the curve where the Media bypass separates from Baltimore Pike (there are always accidents there by the way), but all of a sudden this car darts across both lanes of traffic. Someone in front of us almost comes to a complete stop, we see skid marks on the road, but it is all still sinking in. One vehicle is parked on the shoulder and this other one is taking off down Route 1. Hit and run? Seems so, because the fleeing vehicle’s back bumper is hanging off on the left side, and the left side rear tire is a wobbly mess.
For a second I think I am going to be interviewed by police for this incident, so I break out my cell camera to get a shot of this guy’s plate. Right when we are about to get close enough the bumper peels off and is dragging on the road and hanging on by a thread. License plate—no longer visible. Of course, we start laughing hysterically, because now the guy has no choice but to pull over. It’s one of those things where you are dying to know the outcome, but sometimes you have to get to the Sixers game.
Observations from the Wells Fargo Center:
1. Not a great crowd. And, in person you feel a little bad about it. There’s shame in a half-empty building in what is supposed to be a good sports city. The Sixers aren’t terrible. I hope people come out for the playoffs.
2. Has anyone ever proposed widening the court? With 10 of these beasts out there it looks incredibly crowded in person. By the way, had great seats, Thanks Rand.
3. During warm-ups I almost said, “Is that Xavier McDaniel,” but then I remembered he’s probably been retired for about 20 years. I think it was Marvin Williams.
4. The Hawks wear “ATL” on front of their jerseys. Not a fan. Is that so they make it back to the airport if they get lost? Pretty sure there is room for “Hawks” on there.
5. The Hawks appeared to have an assistant whose soul job it was to keep Kirk Hinrich’s glasses clean. I’m being serious. It may be the only job in professional sports I am qualified for.
6. Jrue Holiday looked like the best Sixer, and maybe the only definite keeper on a team full of tweeners and role players.
7. If Evan Turner hit double-digit minutes I was going to get a t-shirt jersey, but I think he ended up in about the 5 minute range, all in the first half. I’m fairly sure I could beat him in Around the World.
8. Spencer Hawes is big, kind of slow, white and not a great rebounder. Shouldn’t he have better hands? And, why is the offense running through him in the 1st quarter?
9. I think there is an unwritten agreement amongst many NBA players to not really play defense. In key moments, maybe the 4th quarter, but most of the it was just standing around and waiting to get the ball back. As a result, the Hawks hung 60 in the 1st half.
10. The Hawks are a dog team and they will get killed in the playoffs. Started the 4th quarter with a lead scored about a point a minute until the Sixers had it in hand.
11. There is a movie coming out called HOP (learned this after the game). There are creepy animated bunnies in it, and they were roaming around the Wells Fargo tonight. Didn’t think a bunny could be creepy? Go see this movie.
12. Rand caught a t-shirt from the t-shirt cannon/cheerleader fest. I’ve probably been to 100(?) games where stuff has been thrown into the stands. This is the first time I’ve seen someone catch something. Kudos to Rand for stepping in front of a kid, and kicking a grandma in the shins.
13. The Sixers have a very talented group of dancers and the trampoline dunking industry has come a long way since the last time I checked in.
14. Andres Nocioni is the greatest Argentine scorer since Tevez. That’s not true at all, but I just wanted everyone to know I still remember who Tevez is.
15. Elton Brand may be a shell of himself, and one leg may be smaller than the other, but he’s out there busting his ass. And, the whole Sixers team is for the most part. I have no idea how they win games, and no idea how they scored 105 Wednesday night.
So, there you go. A once a decade look into the Sixers franchise. They’re looking at a possible first round match-up with the Heat, so get ready for basketball to take over the city again. Someone call Pat Croce.