The Sixers continued an alarming trend tonight, they played well for the third straight game and picked up their second win in the past week 102-96 over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The Sixers made a valiant effort to give away this game, their 19-point lead dwindled to 5 in the closing minutes, but they just didn't have enough ineptitude to pick up the loss.
The main reason they came away with the win was Andre Miller. The Hornets went on a 12-0 run and made it a two possession game before Miller drilled an ugly, flat, pull up jumper, then answered another Hornets hoop with a bank shot in the lane that he didn't call. Miller wasn't going to be denied at the end, an enthusiasm rarely seen out of him since he first donned the Sixers uniform exactly a month ago tonight. The team's record since the A.I. trade is now 6-12, their record before he left was 6-18, but 6 of those losses came while the team was in limbo, Iverson was inactive, but they hadn't traded him yet. If you take those six games out, they have the exact same record with Miller and Joe Smith in the lineup as they did with Iverson. They need to do worse.
When I first started the "Project Lottery" countdown I figured that the Sixers would need to lose 65 games to finish with the worst record in the league. At this point, that's not looking likely. If they win 6 more games it will become mathematically impossible. I'm not giving up hope, not because I have confidence that the Sixers will lose at an even higher rate than they have been, but because the league as a whole has so many weak teams. The Grizzlies, the team who currently holds the worst record, have a new coach who's trying to run a Suns-type offense. This is translating into a few wins. The Bobcats have pulled out a couple wins. The point is that these horrible teams have to play each other, so they're going to pick up some wins. I'll keep the countdown alive, but at this point I think 62 or 63 losses might just do it.
Back to tonight's game. Kyle Korver fueled the Sixers offense most of the night, and he's your player of the game. Korver finished with 25 points on 8 of 13 from the floor with 4 assists and 4 boards.
The best thing about blowouts, and this game really looked like a blowout, is the random stories the announcers tell to fill up the dead air. Tonight's story was about a footrace between Charles Barkley and referee Dick Bavetta. When Sir Charles was calling a game he basically said that Bavetta was too old to be a ref, Bavetta challenged him to a race, the length of the court 4 times. Charles is putting up $10,000 to Bavetta's favorite charity if he loses. Bavetta is 67 years-old, Barkley weighs nearly 600 pounds. My money is on the old guy.