Sixers 114, Nuggets 102: Unexpectedly Easy

On his way... - Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers played pretty well on New Year's Day. The Nuggets, not so much.

Well, it's official: I'm a mush. The end of my preview reads, "There aren't any guarantees. Well, except that the Nuggets will beat the Sixers tonight. That's pretty much a lock." So much for that.

It's funny, at least personally, it felt like the Sixers didn't even play that well for long stretches in Denver tonight. For instance, even though they shot the ball well (47% overall, 39% from three), those numbers feel like they could've been higher. Then again, anything seems possible with the way that the Nuggets played tonight.

Although the Sixers lack the necessary talent to submit even an average NBA offense, Brett Brown generally has his team playing as one unit. All five Sixers are consistently trying to push the pace, shoot threes, get to the rim, etc. Tonight, the Nuggets were frankly a disjointed mess, one chock full of difficult shots and misguided isolation attempts.

A couple of weeks ago, after the Sixers were blown out (and really, "taken to the woodshed" is probably more apt) in consecutive games by Portland and Brookly, morale was pretty low. Fast forward to today, and it looks as if those games were the exception to the rule, at least up until this point of the season. Of course, the Sixers are still a bad team that plays very poor offense and defense. Results withstanding, I do believe they've been more enjoyable to watch than, say, last year's team.

They may not play good offense, but from an entertainment standpoint, it's been a lot of offense. And seriously, who doesn't like to watch offense? People that don't like fun, that's who. Anyway, we're 31 games into the season, and this team has provided more fun than I thought we'd get all year. That's cool.

  • Michael Carter-Williams flirted with a triple-double, submitting 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. I don't think he played particularly well, which is sort of the problem with Brett Brown's "Go, Go, Go" offense. It's difficult to properly evaluate MCW, because his counting stats are inflated on a nightly basis. That's not a knock on the kid, though. He's exceeded expectations.
  • There is one thing that Carter-Williams is consistently doing that needed to stop yesterday, his penchant for complaining to the officials after EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS DRIVES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST SHUT UP AND PLAY.
  • Seriously, with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, Carter-Williams embarked on a drive from the top of the key. Jordan Hamilton stayed on his hip for the duration of the move, which ended on a Darrell Arthur block. After, Carter-Williams threw his hands over his head in disgust right in front of the referee, the type of exaggerated reaction reserved for a player that doesn't receive a whistle after getting absolutely mugged. The broadcast went to the replay, and there wasn't even close to anything resembling a foul, and in fact, Arthur and Hamilton both cleanly punched the shot. Luckily, the official didn't hand over a technical foul. Honestly, he was within his rights to.
  • I love everything about Carter-Williams' competitiveness, but this is a legitimate problem. Referees aren't going to give you the benefit of the doubt on 50-50 calls if you're essentially lying to them on a consistent basis. Plus, I don't think anyone, whether it's general manager, coach, or fan, expects Carter-Williams to be a "Hardenesque" foul-drawing machine in his rookie year. I really hope Brown has a talk with him and more or less says, "Look, you're doing a good job for us this year. Keep playing hard, keep playing with an edge, but stahhhhppp with the refs."
  • Two weird Nuggets notes: Andre Miller received the first DNP-CD of his career and wasn't happy about it. Also, Nate Robinson didn't attempt a shot until 9:14 left in the game, another first.
  • Thaddeus Young shot six threes! He only made one, but he's really starting to embrace the extra point, which is a good sign. Lavoy Allen even dialed up from distance.
  • Allen, Hollis Thompson and James Anderson scored a combined 36 points on 24 shots. The Sixers are going to win a decent amount of the time when that happens. Nice job by those three, particularly Thompson. He continues to improve as a cutter.
  • Presented without comment: "I'm on my way to being one of the best in the league" - Evan Turner
  • There was a lot of Malik Rose love tonight on the internet. Well deserved.
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