Check out Mike's report from upgraded seats at the Wach tonight after the jump.
- Thanks to my buddy Scott, we had seats 2 rows off the floor, right behind the seats in between the Sixers' bench and the scorers' table. So tonight's column will be special in that I was able to hear & see things I don't in my regular seats.
- Saw a couple OJ Mayo jerseys in the stands. I guess no one is brave enough to don a Gay jersey just yet. I did actually see someone in a Darius Miles Memphis jersey (seriously dude?).
- Reggie Evans & Darius Miles seemed pretty close. Jim Lynam also knows Miles somehow. They spoke for awhile at halftime. Sammy had Greg Buckner in a laughing fit before the game. The thing you notice about Sam in his more candid moments is that he induces laughter in just about everyone he speaks to, whether it's his teammates, the opponent, the referees or the ballboys. He's frustrating as hell on the court sometimes, but I think he's probably a genuinely nice guy.
- Don't know how I never noticed this before, but Royal Ivey is the guy in the center of the huddle after introductions, rapping or something during their routine.
- Marc Zumoff is super friendly. He introduces himself to everyone in the row in front of us, while making small talk. The line I heard was, "Oh your name is Kevin? You know something? You have the same name as our old trainer here! Yea, Kevin (inaudible)..." Yes. Very small talk.
- It's clear from the get-go that pesky forward Quinton Ross is going to give Iguodala problems. The dude was all over him. He only played 26 minutes, and I thought the Grizz could have benefited from his lockdown defense more in the 2nd half. Whatever.
- On this subject, Iguodala bitches at the refs ALOT. Thru 3 quarters he seemed incredibly frustrated, and Memphis was being very physical with him, but it seemed like during every break he was yapping to the officials about something. AI 2.0 indeed.
- During the play where Sammy drew his offensive foul in the 1st Q, Dileo shouted at him to "Go to the rim Sam." Instead, he popped out to the elbow to set a screen and picked up a foul. Later in the half as he walked to the bench after picking up another personal & subsequent technical foul, Jim Lynam said to him, "Horrible call." I thought this was cool because I always wonder what coaches say to players after they get hit with T's. Lynam took the more positive, assuring approach in this case. Something tells me they have to do that with Sam a lot. In the 2nd half, after a few minutes of pretty unproductive play, Lynam said, "Way to work hard Sam," as he exited the game. Guess that's why he's a coach and I'm sitting here.
- I'm mentioning stuff Lynam says as opposed to Dileo for 2 reasons. Lynam's voice carries, and Dileo's doesn't. I'm not going to compare his voice with the already legendary Cole Hamels in hilarity, but it's not far off, especially when he's yelling. But the other reason is that Dileo just doesn't say a whole lot while the game is in progress. He calls plays and shouts out defensive assignments, but I rarely heard him specifically address a player. He doesn't get into it with refs at all either. There was one foul whistled on Reggie Evans, who scoffed and looked to Dileo for affirmation as if to say, "C'mon that's not a foul, right?" Dileo just stood there. I have no problem with this because the guys play hard for him and obviously they are winning. But there comes a time when players do look to the coach to stand up for them. Dileo intellectualizes the games, and he has everyone's rapt attention during timeouts. Maybe working the refs is something that comes with time. Or maybe that's just not his style. It's just something to look at as the season progresses & big Ed has to decide whether Dileo will be the guy next season.
- Speights is extraordinarily playful while on the bench. He horses around with the ballboys nearly every chance he gets. Evans is the same way, but more so with his teammates, particularly Lou. Even though this game was close the entire bench joked around with each other and remained calm until the buzzer sounded. It didn't feel like a 1 possession game at the end of the 4th. You certainly couldn't tell by looking at the players. Maybe this was because there was literally no one at the game. To call the Wachovia Center half full tonight would be generous. (This felt like the type of game where a big home crowd would have carried an obviously tired team in the 2nd half when the visitors make their push. I hope people start attending, because a nice crowd really helps in games like this). Maybe it was because they were struggling with a Grizzlies team they were supposed to dominate. Or maybe it was because the team remains even-keeled in pressure situations, which would obviously be a good sign. To be determined.
- After almost every jumper Andre Miller hit, he gave Mike Conley a look that said "I might look old, but I can still take your ass to school youngin." The guy talks ALOT of trash on the court. There was one series where him & Buckner were going at each other. It ended with that ridiculous reverse layup by Miller, and the two just laughing at each other on the other side of the court. Some of the things he does on the court amaze me. Crafty doesn't begin to describe him. He's the most talkative Sixers on the court by far. He runs the offense even when he doesn't have the ball, and tells everyone where they need to be on defense. If I didn't think so before, tonight convinced me that Miller absolutely needs to be re-signed.
- Where's Theo? He looked great in the 1st half, but did not get on the court when his team really needed a defensive presence.
- Lou is struggling so badly that he's starting to hang his head after every missed jumper. When he returns to the bench it's impossible not to notice how every player in the vicinity gives him a pat on the back or rubs his head. They know they need him if they want to win, so it seems like everyone is making a concerted effort to keep his spirits up. Just another reason that you have to love the character of this group.
- Can't say enough about the clutch performance by Iguodala in the 4th. Maybe his worst offensive game thru the 3rd quarter, yet he finds a way to hit the jumpers that count or get to the line down the stretch, not to mention his D on Mayo. Truly the sign of a great player. And I believe we're very close to the day where we can confidently call Andre Iguodala a great player.