Mike was at the Wach tonight to witness another deflating Sixers defeat. His first-person report follows after the jump.
- 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.
ONTO THE GAME:
- 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 anyone bit.
- 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 freezing.
- 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 town.
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.