Check out Mike's report from upgraded seats at the Wach tonight after the jump.
ONTO THE GAME
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.