In the past, we've always prepared a Festivus themed post celebrating what is arguably the greatest sitcom created holiday of all-time (Chrismukkah is up there). Instead of coming up with an unrelated single post, the basketball gods gave us the gift (it's a Festivus miracle!) of having an afternooner against the Brooklyn Nets that could be doubled up as a Festivus celebratory piece. Get your poles ready and gather the family around the table, it's time to air our grievances and wrestle the head of the household out of frustration from the 95-92 Sixers loss.
The start of the game was pretty encouraging and honestly upset me a little knowing that we shouldn't be allowed to experience such joy on such a glorious holiday. The Sixers came out in their blue alternate uniforms, Jerry Stackhouse was in the building (Dave wearing his jersey proudly) and Lavoy Allen was grabbing every rebound. The Sixers got out to an early lead, which would be the only time the blue shirts would be in control of the game.
The Nets immediately went on a gut-wrenching 18-0 run (eventually broken up by a Nick Young three-pointer) and stayed in the driver's seat for the remainder of the contest. The Sixers kept it close and had opportunity after opportunity to take the lead at multiple points throughout the game but squandered each and every one of those, whether it be an inability to get a score, bailing out the Nets with a cheap foul, or Joe Johnson hitting healthy threes from outside of suburban Sandusky, Ohio.
While some might take them keeping it close as "FIGHT ONWARD! KEEP WORKING! WE'RE RELENTLESS!", I saw it more as failing to capitalize on golden opportunities presented to them because of a multitude of reasons (bailing out the Nets with a cheap foul or inability to get a score in key situations to name a few). Two late three-pointers courtesy Jrue Holiday (who was the bright spot of this game) and Dorell Wright gave the Sixers a shot at victory by playing the foul game, it ultimately wasn't enough and the Sixers left Brooklyn without anything of tangible value. Coming away with a win from the last game on the east coast until January would have been nice but remember, we can't have nice things.
With that out of the way, what better time than now to take part in my favorite tradition of the Festivus holiday: The Airing of Grievances.
I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about 'em!
Remember in NBA2K9 (I'm not sure if they still do it, I haven't played a basketball video game since that one) when you'd take a timeout, you had an option to apply a "point-of-emphasis" during the break? It had 4 or 5 options including rebounding, ball control and, my personal favorite, shot selection. Well, if real life were a video game, I'd have to imagine Doug Collins has never once pressed A when "shot selection" was highlighted. The Sixers kept up their tradition of taking countless long two-point jumpers after wasting away the shot clock. We all know that this is statistically the worst shot anybody can take in basketball but it also assists in ensuring that the team practicing this style will not attempt very many free throws.
That little nugget of information couldn't have been more true in today's game in Brooklyn. With exception for a small stretch in the third quarter where the Sixers were living in the paint, too many long two-point shot attempts were going up and therefore free throw opportunities were few and far between. Overall the Sixers shot 10 free throws against the Nets' 30. While some may point to that and say officiating bias, it was the style of play (and the Sixers being forced to foul at the end) of both teams that lead to the disparity.
The Sixers have an incredible knack for draining the shot clock and not getting the best available shot that I'm pretty sure they take the over in Vegas every night on long-two's attempted. If Tony in Blue Chips shaved points (it's a tough class, they don't just watch the tube), I wouldn't put it past these guys to make a little wager on a very obscure, definitely non-existant prop bet.
Whew. That was tiring yet refreshing to air said grievances. But now that the first tradition has gone by the wayside, it's time for the Feats of Strength. In years past we always had you guys decide on who Jordan (miss you, Godfather) would have to pin in order to end Festivus. This year we'll change it up a little. Since we just had the Liberty Ballers meet-up on Friday (we're 1-0, we gotta ride the hot-hand), we got to meet a few of you guys and the entire time I was secretly observing who would make for the greatest wrestling match. After many pro/con lists and a Boy Meets World marathon, I decided that our good friend Sohil taking on Mr. Brandon Lee would only make the most sense. They're already rivals, and a steel cage match is the only way to determine who can reign supreme. May the odds be ever in your favor, Katniss SohilDeenLee.
Well now that Festivus is officially complete, it's time for the Sixers to head on their annual Disney on Ice West Coast Road Trip, beginning Wednesday in Memphis against Mr. Speezy himself.
Happy Festivus to all!