Heroes tonight included the ever-professional Carl Landry, who ripped off a 16-8-1 line from the bench, Hollis Thompson, who had one of this fortnightly games where he looks like he belongs in the league, and Nerlens Noel, who filled up the defensive stat sheet. But mostly, this one was all about the Nets, who got all of 15 points from their bench, and serve as an abject reminder that no matter how bleak the tanking has been in the Dark Lord Hinkie Era, there's always the worst pain of rooting for teams with no plan at all.
But as usual in this netherworld which honestly has to end next year -- with a healthy Joel Embiid, a present Dario Saric, a studly point guard, and some measure of shakeout among the redundant and not versatile enough young bigs -- even the night when you feel relief are ones that are tempered with the sad. Tonight, that was when Jerami Grant's foot caught Robert Covington's face with a critical hit, and the swingman wound up going off on a stretcher. For a team that was already dealing with the news that Jahlil Okafor was going to miss the rest of the year with a patella tendon issue. It's more of a setback to the team's development than it's won-loss record, as Landry/Noah is a much better pairing right now up front, but this season has been about everything but wins and losses.
Hopefully, Covington and Grant (who was evaluated for a concussion and also did not return to the game) won't miss much time, because both men have some hope of being useful benchies for future Sixers squads that are more than candidates for Worst Team Ever. Besides, there's chance in hell that the team can actually manage a winning streak this year -- yup, they haven't strung back to backs -- and to do that, they'll need to handle Detroit tomorrow, at home, coming off a loss to Charlotte that slows down their personal dream of getting two home dates against the Cavs in the first round to add to their ticket and concession sales. Detroit Dreams Big!
And if it's not the Pistons tomorrow, maybe it's the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday, because honestly, we're far from out of the woods on getting Win Number 10 and avoiding Tied With Infamy. Especially if Covington gets shut down, because our chances of Good Hollis are, well, not great.
But hey... history averted, and maybe also paralysis and gruesome injury. Go team!