You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Orlando Summer League.
The last time our Sixers had a winning streak of 3+ games, it was the dreaded "Early February Lottery Collapser" in which Eddie Jordan led us to 5 meaningless victories that almost made Ekpe Udoh a Sixer. With a much more invigorated fan base (read: a fan base), Quin Snyder looks to storm the gates of Oklahoma Orlando City and pry a third win out of the cold, dead hands of Sam Presti himself.
With better games out of Marreese Speights and Evan Turner, more of the same out of Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks, and the intriguing hmmmmmm of Cedric Simmons, the Sixers are tied with the Bobcats atop the OSL standings at 2-0. All of this without the services of All-World Person and Player, Ndudi Ebi. Speaking of the Bobbies, they defeated these very Thunderer(er)s(?) yesterday on Jeremy Pargo's Henry Rowengartner floater with time expiring. OKC boasts an impressive lineup spearheaded by last year's number 3 pick and avid beard-grower James Harden and spearcaboosed by the worst player to be drafted since the NBA trimmed the 3rd to 7th round fat, Ryan Reid.
Let's dig in.
Holiday wasn't as dominant as ya'll expected against Oliver Lafayette, proving the age-old axiom: "Never count your chickens when they're guarding Oliver Lafayette." With Russell Westbrook's understudy, Eric Maynor, Jrue's got a pass-first point guard with some height and quicks. This isn't going to be a walk-all-over-him game and I expect Jrue will treat it as such because he's nice like that. There's the chance Jrue will have to check Harden and Weaver at times -- keep a keen eye out for that.
Kevin Durant on the Sidelines
I think this is just terrific. A young superstar who has improved immensely every year since high school wants to take out the clipboard about 25 years too early and hang out in the RDV Sportsplex during his summer break. The kid says all the right things, performed admirably at the draft, and if we bloggers aren't careful, he'll be coming for our jobs next. A game of pickup vs. KDThunderup for the rights to this blog? I think I'll take my chances.
Latavious Williams/Cedric Simmons
I've become labeled as Simmons' boy based on a few observations about his raw ability over the past few days. I think I'm okay with this. Daddy's Little Girl of the D-League and Raw's younger cousin, Latavious Williams, embodies all that an athlete with limited basketball ability can be at this point in his career. It's exciting enough to watch him play, but if the 'Tave can get some minutes opposite Ced, it'll be a like watching undercooked steaks fight each other, then battle for rebounds -- naturally something we'd all pay for.
Gametime is at 3:00pm EST, and I know some of us have actual "jobs" but I'd like you to prioritize a bit better and hang here for the thread -- what's more important, really? The thread will be up closer to tip-off, but until then, check out the rundown of OKC's summer league team at Ridiculous Upside and everything else Summer League.
Also, I'm obligated to mention LeBron James in this post, because every time an NBA blogger doesn't, an angel loses its wings, falls to earth in a fiery blaze, and crashes on Bryan Cranston's house. True story.
Also also, if you've got the time to go through this mammoth of a thread, check out some of the tangentiest tangents I've ever heard of in the Tampa Bay Rays SBN blog DRaysBay. If I had to give it a rating, I'd go with "Not suitable for sensitivities. Or, in some instances, logic." NSFSOISIL -- Looks like I have a job cut out for me in the MPAA Ratings Board.