The Sixers lost to the Houston Rockets tonight, 120-98. With the defeat, Philly lost their 26th consecutive game and tied the '10-'11 Cavs for the longest losing streak in NBA history.
The 26ers scored the first basket of the game. But by 8:12 P.M., Brett Brown had called his first timeout and the Sixers traveling secreatry was already securing a reservation at the Applebee's in Terminal C of Houston International. Houston didn't have trouble scoring. They didn't have trouble rebounding (57-39 advantage). They didn't have trouble doing much of anything. Everyone on the Rockets just ran around freely, with little resistance. The Sixers defense is the NBA equivalent of renting out a Chuck E. Cheese for your 8th birthday party.
"Where's Chandler? I was supposed to be watching him. Anyone seen ‘em?"
I don't know. Did you check the ball pit?
"Eh, I'm sure he's fine."
But despite the defensive struggles, the Sixers clawed their way back in a very Sleepy (Floyd) second quarter. It was a sloppy performance on both sides, which plays right into the Sixers hands. The sloppier the better. The Sixers can't win an actual NBA basketball contest, but they'd be damn competitive in a lunchtime pick-up game. The Sixers already had nine turnovers midway through the second yet trailed by just a bucket.
But talent soon intervened. The Rockets, predictably, pushed their lead to 63-49 at the break. As the old adage goes, "Slop can only take you to the second quarter on the road." I think John Wooden said that.
James Anderson, well-documented Rocket Killer, looked for his shot early and often. He had 19 points by halftime, and finished with 30 points on 11-18 shooting (6 triples). His backcourt mate, Michael Carter-Williams, had a game to forget. Still suffering from a Syracuse hangover on Saturday, MCW struggled mightily with his shot. His jumper - yikes. Drunk guys at McFadden's pee with more accuracy. He shot just 2-11, but did record 10 assists.
I'm comfortable in calling tonight Casper Ware's breakout party. After knocking down a first quarter triple - his first NBA points - he picked James Harden's pocket at the end of the quarter, and hit a half-court shot at the buzzer. Gorgeous. The sequence should be all over the top-plays list. He is also the shortest 5'11" player I've ever seen.
The second half saw Houston extend their lead to twenty. In one particularly embarrassing display, Terrence Jones went coast-to-coast, as the rest of the Sixers flanked beside him. They weren't so much trying to stop Jones, but rather ushering him to the basket.
"Right this way, good sir."
Houston scored 37 points in the third quarter, and, by my count, 35 came on the fast-break. If I made the mistake of trying to type something, I'd look up and find Houston on another three-on-one. James Harden, who, like Casper Ware, is a half-decent player in his own right, registered a triple-double in the waning moments of the third. He needed just 31 minutes to do so. Harden finished with 26 points (9-17), 10 boards, 10 assists. Ho hum.
The final frame was glorified garbage time. Both teams traded buckets. James Anderson hit a triple. Henry Sims (18 points; 6-11 from the floor) hustled. I searched for adoptable dogs on the SPCA's website.
The Sixers host Detroit on Saturday night, with the longest consecutive losing streak record in the balance. Things will get better.*
*UPDATE* Things are already getting better. The Bucks won.
Thad Young Update
Thad had 15 (6-16 shooting) and nine rebounds.
Byron Mullens Ankle Update
Mullens left the game with an ankle sprain.
Channeling his inner Tommy Lee Jones in Cobb, Moses said he would average 20 and 20 right now. Love Moses, but love this poster even more.
"Sponge Bob is one of the greatest philosophers of all time."
Nyunole's Deep Thoughts