It’s over folks. Mercifully for some, unfortunately for others (myself included) the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers 2006–2007 has come to an end, and what better way to end it than with the quintessential Willie “Garbage Time” Green performance. It ended not with a whimper, but a bang: 122–119 over the Raptors.
This game embodied everything that is Garbage Time. He heaved shots left and right, eschewed the pass for the forced huck, turned the ball over, got hot, got cold and basically dominated with his inadvertent brilliance.
Yes Sixers fans, Willie Green is your player of the game in this the 82nd and final contest, a win over the playoff-bound Toronto Raptors, in Toronto. Again, the Sixers’ number one and number two options on offense, Andre Iguodala and Kyle Korver, respectively, sat out. Again, Willie Green took advantage of the added touches. Tonight, however, he was hot, and when he wasn’t hot, he was lucky.
Green finished with a career-high 37 points on 14 of 25 from the floor. Green’s legend grew tonight, and the dichotomy that is Garbage Time was flayed wide open for all to see. Willie was 5 for 7 from three point range, remarkable on the stat sheet, less so when you take into account that two of the three made threes banked off the backboard. Willie played 36 minutes, grabbed all of the headlines, the player of the game award from yours truly, and also finished with only 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 7 turnovers, and 4 personal fouls.
Joe Smith solidified himself in the eyes of Mo Cheeks and Billy King as a viable option for the team’s mid-level exemption next year with another huge game, 26 points, 11 boards and a block in 41 minutes. Andre Miller flirted with a triple-double: 29 points, 8 assists and 9 boards. All told, five Sixers scored in double figures, but this game was about one man.
Perhaps GMs around the league tuned in to see this game. Perhaps, one or two of them saw Willie Green for what he is not. Perhaps, one of those GMs would love to trade for Willie. We can hope, can’t we. Willie Green, if I had hair you would’ve made me pull it out over and over again this season, but tonight for 36 magical minutes you had me on my feet cheering, “Garbage! Garbage! Garbage! Garbage!”
And so it goes, until November.