Oh man, did you guys see when that one skier girl’s knee buckled and she caught her ski in the snow, and it totally popped off and then she slid down the mountain at like 50 MPH for the next 20 seconds? Because I did, as I subconsciously moved my eyes across the other TVs at the bar after coming to the realization that the Sixers were so outclassed and uninterested in the game that they let Marreese Speights look like Karl Malone.
Blowout victories do feel good. We’ve had no shortage of opportunities of late to wring our hands and knot-up our delicate undergarments. Injuries, inconsistencies, and coaching calamities, questions about the personnel, the staff, the identity of the team — yeah, lots of hysteria. So dropping a laugher — it can’t be overlooked. It can, however, be hard to pull lots of meaning from a game like this. I might try — or I might describe more stuff that happened at the bar. We’ll take this journey together.
Speaking of laugher, I mean… Marreese Speights? Drawing MVP chants from the crowd? Dropping customary midrange jumpers, making less customary spin moves in the lane, draining a three pointer in rhythm with 18 seconds left on the shot clock? My goodness. I honestly didn’t think we’d ever use this graphic, but here you go:
Mo was going to get substantial minutes with Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal sidelined, and hot damn did he make the most of them. 17 points and +19 in the 2nd quarter? Why the hell not. He had five rebounds and a block during that stretch too. I think Speights is a guy that many of us have relished demeaning this season; it might be the mystical aura of crazy-crazy swirling about him, or it might be because of his limitations as a basketball player that are generally on display in spades. Tonight? He was great. Absolutely. I’m done talking bad about the guy for at least 10 games.
David Lee’s return to the floor as a reasonably healthy man, meanwhile, is something worth relishing, ketchuping, mustarding, whatever. He looked great tonight as a glue guy — grabbing boards, making extra passes, just generally helping the offense operate like a well-condimented frankfurter.
Speaking of, there was a long-haired dachshund (might have been a mutt, I'll be honest) walking around this bar, cruising under bar stools like they weren’t there, looking for french fries that’d fallen overboard. Her name was Sadie; we thought her name was “Seedy” for a second, which would have been apropos for a scavenging bar dog. She was pretty cool.
But I digress. Um, what else we got here? Well, Stephen Curry went on one of those tears in the second quarter that basically decimated any semblance of hopes and dreams that the Sixers might have entertained conjuring, with a few of those “this shot is going in because Curry” threes off of high pick and rolls, and dropping three dimes in the quarter after the five he spent in the first. He continued on in the third, because being up 66-33 to start the second half just isn’t good enough.
Andre Iguodala looked pretty good tonight, right? 11-7-6-2-2 with one TO? We like that, right? Strong, not overwhelming, but very balanced and steady — much like the 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPAs we were drinking and oh crap I’m talking about the bar again, sorry folks. I should really get cable service hooked up.
The elephant in the room here is how clearly terrible the Sixers are. Michael Carter-Williams aka Michael Carter Holy Grail is a gem, to be sure, and I’m not principally opposed to Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. But my oh my, there is not much talent on this team otherwise, and even less cohesive sensibility as a team. If you were going to construct a team to lose basketball games, I think this might be an archetype worth bookmarking. If Holy Grail were any less than a Rookie of the Year candidate, they might not yet be at 10 wins.
And when your obvious goal as an institution is to lose, then well… you might lose back to back games by 43+ points like they've done the last couple of days. There’s personal pride that one can take to compete at the highest level as individually possible, but I’m not sure how far that can take you when nobody else in the world really cares if you win the game, and the guys who might care are watching Mo Speezy skunk them. This is the NBA, and I’ve got no problem with tanking — I just feel for those guys, whose only consolations are fame and fortune. Well, ok, that sounds pretty good on paper, but loss and hopelessness is hard on the soul, and I don’t wish them upon (almost) anyone.
As for the Warriors: any other takeaways? The Jackson debate will rage on regardless, the bench questions are still there, and the team's tenuous grasp on the 8th seed is still scary and disappointing. One blowout win against a beaten team isn't going to get us over any of those humps. So we move on to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, try to beat them by 43, and then maybe we can jump to drawing conclusions. Until then, I'll be at the Napper Tandy.