Mike was at the Wach tonight to witness another deflating Sixers defeat. His first-person report follows after the jump.
ONTO THE GAME:
- Donyell Marshall & Tyson Chandler were very friendly with one
another, both during pregame & halftime. They spent 2 seasons
together on the Bulls.
- Rasual Butler's grandmother sat in the row in front of us. Very
nice lady. He's a local guy from Lasalle, and actually put up a
double-double with 2 huge 3's in the 4th.
- You can add this on to reasons I hate Sam Dalembert. The first is
that he's my landlord. Seriously. He owns the apartment unit in the
building I live in on 10th & Chestnut. Before I started making rent
checks out to his accountant, I made them out to him. So every other
night I have to watch him throw the ball out of bounds or shoot a
turnaround 15ft jumper, I also get to go home and then make out a
check to him. Anyway, tonight The Landlord & Kareem Rush were going
1-on-1 at each other for a good 5 minutes during warm-ups. This
included Sam hoisting 20ft jump shots from just inside the 3pt arc. I
will now stab myself in the eye with a spoon.
- Chris Paul makes it a point to talk to just about every one of his
teammates during warm-ups. At one point he was deep in conversation
with Sean Marks. Just as he does on the court, he makes everyone feel
involved. Everyone on that team looks extremely happy. Sitting
behind the visitor's bench, you can tell pretty quickly during
warm-ups and then during breaks in the game which teams enjoy playing
with each other. The Hornets are definitely one of those teams.
Right before tip-off, their 5 starters actually huddle together by the
scorer's table. I haven't noticed anyone do that before.
I looked down at my notes with a couple minutes left in the 1st
quarter, and realized I hadn't written anything. It was generally a
pretty uneventful game. It was another scarce crowd, that was
completely uninterested until the final half of the 4th quarter. The
Sixers never looked to me like they were going to win this game. Even
when they cut the lead to 1, they had an air of indifference about
them that I couldn't quite place. It wasn't that they weren't playing
hard, it just seemed like everyone in the building was resigned to a
loss. I'm telling you, the atmosphere in the stands is starting to
affect their play on the court.
- I noticed David West sits on an exercise ball during every timeout,
and whenever else he gets a rest. I guess it's good for his back or
something. Anyway, he was on fire in the 1st half. It wasn't bad
defense by Thad or Reggie either. He was just hitting some very tough
shots. Before the game it was announced that he won Player of the
Week honors, so Philly wasn't his only recent victim.
- The Sixers actually played really solid D on Chris Paul until the
last few minutes of the game. This seems to be becoming a trend,
where they keep the opponent's star player in check until they blow it
at the end. On the big Paul 3 that put the game out of reach, Andre
Miller left Paul to double West. Lou was supposed to rotate onto
Paul, but he didn't. Game over.
- Speaking of Lou, I think it's safe to say at this point that we are
witnessing one of the worst all-around seasons in the past decade by a
Sixer. He is finding new ways every night to absolutely kill his
team. Tonight it was the missed jumpers, the missed foul shot in
crunch time, and the failure to rotate onto CP3. It was reported by
Stefanski that Lou drew interest from other teams before the deadline,
which is baffling to me because I would have unloaded him the second
- About half the crowd left when Paul hit the mid-range jumper to put
the Hornets up 11, only to miss the brief comeback that ultimately
fell short. Every time this happens, the ushers are forced to open
the doors early and the cold air that blows into the building makes
the entire arena absolutely freezing. Our seats are only 14 rows off
the court, so I don't know how the players aren't able to feel this
too. I remember when AI played here he commonly complained that the
building was too cold. I haven't heard it mentioned since, but I
thought it was worth mentioning that the building is indeed still
- Even when Lebron & Kobe were here earlier in the season, I didn't
hear the kinds of "Oooohs" and "Aaaahs" that Chris Paul generates from
the crowd. And the loudest instances weren't even when he made a
no-look pass or drained a tough shot. The most amazing part of his
game in person is easily his ball handling. He dribbles into & out of
situations, including triple teams, that are just incredible. And
then he always seems to know where every single one of his teammates
are on the court. He's a pitbull, and is at the point of his career
where any fan of the NBA must make an effort to catch him when he's in
Mike will get a well-deserved respite, the Sixers don't play at home again until next Wednesday, against Toronto. Hopefully, they'll be back above .500 by then.