Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Sixers (Finally) Win: Laugh It Up While You Can, NBA

Finally Found A Bigger Jobber
So my Sixers (yes, still mine) avoided unfortunate history tonight with a road win in Minnesota, and from the start, it felt like a different kind of ball game. Minny got a little unlucky, Philly was able to ugly it up with turnovers, neither team was able to do much from behind the arc, and when it got to money time, Minny didn't have anyone hot enough to take over the game. That will be Andrew Wiggins in time, but the rook is still recovering from a nasty illness earlier in the week, so it was left to the machinations of Mo Williams, and there's a reason why Williams has been around more NBA locker rooms than socially transmitted diseases.

More telling was how G Michael Carter-Williams was the best player on the floor tonight -- shh, he's been good for about a week now -- and G Tony Wroten was still out, which kind of helps, in that it meant MCW was only possible answer at PG, and it made Dub all kinds of focused. Watching him feed C/F Nerlens Noel for the finish late, and watching Noel score with the left hand early in something that might actually turn into his go to move in a few years, was also pretty sweet. But let's not put too fine a point on this: Minny's young enough to lose to anyone, banged up their own damned selves, and it's not like this should be seen as anything other than an unfortunate amount of history avoided. It's still going to be work for this club to win 9 of their last 64 games to skip past Worse History, though this Bob Covington guy looks like he can actually shoot, and good God in Heaven, is that a refreshing change.

But I don't want to talk about that, really. Rather, there's this. In the town of Philadelphia, the Sixers are actually the second-best regarded pro team by the local fans, because everyone is, well, OK With This Plan. It's not Ruben Amaro derping his way to 65 wins a year with the Vienna of baseball teams, or the Flyers continuing to be the NHL's easiest heel to hobble by having a terrible and expensive team. It's not exactly a strong race, but Sam Hinkie's alone in second.

Finally, there's this. I don't want anyone in the NBA to feel sorry for Sixers, or their fans, right now. I don't want the club to be seen as lovable losers, as the try hard scrubs, as the unfairly burdened. I don't want anyone else on the bandwagon that isn't earning it, right now, with Henry Sims and Wroten and the other guys who won't be here when the club is having its vengeance.

Because the vengeance? It's coming. These kids aren't giving up. MCW looks like he's getting back to last year's form. KJ McDaniels looks a little better every week; so does Noel. Covington might be a spare part of use; so is Alexey Shved. Dario Saric was the youngest MVP of the month in his Euro league's history in November, and coach Brett Brown hasn't lost the locker room despite starting 1-17.

It was nice to see them win tonight, because winning is better than losing, and it gets everyone to stop talking about them. But they aren't going to be a laughingstock for very much longer, folks. Get your licks in while you can.

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