Apathy is infectious. Most game days, I can't wait to get home, I rush through dinner and sit down to watch the game. Last night, I took my time. As tired as the Sixers seemed against the Nets, as much as they didn't seem to care, well, it took it's toll. Unfortunately, after about five minutes of the Raptors game, I wished I'd taken a later train. There was nothing enjoyable about watching the Sixers last night, nothing at all.
There were two spurts last night where the Sixers actually looked awake. One on each end of the floor. Each lasted at most 2 minutes. Jrue got hot in the third quarter, hitting three straight shots. Unfortunately, Calderon answered each with a jumper of his own, so it was a stalemate. The other time was on the defensive end, coming out of a timeout, I can't remember the quarter. Turner was playing that spaz defense he plays on the perimeter where he gets up on his man, crouches down and starts wildly waving his arms around. The defensive intensity lasted a couple possessions, I believe both resulted in points after missed shots and offensive rebounds, but I'm not certain.
Outside of those four minutes, I don't really know how to describe the Sixers last night. Saying they were going through the motions would be a gross exaggeration, because they were rarely in motion. On the offensive end, they couldn't even run their safest, most-pitiful play, giving the ball to Hawes 22 feet from the hoop. No one could set a screen. No one could get open off the ball (they seemed like they were barely trying). I guess you could say they looked tired, but honestly, they didn't. They looked like they didn't care, we have to hope they were tired and that was the cause.
Last night was probably an all-time low for me as a television spectator. Early in the third quarter, I was literally yelling at the screen for Evan Turner to please, for the love of God, just take a 20-footer. Every time he caught the ball I was hoping he'd stop wasting everyone's time and just throw up a brick instead of dribbling 20 times, executing multiple slow-motion spin moves and getting blocked by a defender who doesn't even need to leave his feet. Turner is helpless. Absolutely helpless. Probably hopeless, as well.
Every year, the Sixers go through a stretch like this. A stretch where they can't beat anyone, where they don't appear to be running any offense at all. Where they give up on defense (I was counting how many times a Sixers just stood in the lane and watched a Raptor dunk without even moving toward him. I had to stop at six - three times it was Turner). It's always painful, it always makes me wonder why I invest so much time caring. The good news: In the past, it's always ended (save the Eddie Jordan year). That ray of light is somewhat dimmed by the fact that this team has much, much less talent on it than the teams of the past seven years did, or at least without Bynum they do.
Believe it or not, I was actually still watching at the end of the game. When Calderon threw an alley-oop to Landry Fields with 15 seconds left on the clock, I was actually a little pissed. That's the type of move that gets elbows thrown. Then I realized the Sixers didn't even care. They were probably just happy to get another chance to heave up a bad shot (which Jrue did at the buzzer). I sometimes wonder if anger, or pride, or embarrassment will ever enter into the equation for these guys when they get in a slump like this. I guess we'll find out...or maybe they'll just get hot from 20 feet one night and snap out of it. Who knows.