The Sixers square off against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in a pivotal, no DQ Loser Leaves Town match.
The good guys are fresh off a methodical 108-98 loss to the Raptors. I was in attendance on Wednesday; just hours after the news of Kwame Brown's release, and it was like the Wells Fargo Center just took a judo chop to the esophagus. The place was a morgue. Tanner wore all black, his wardrobe punctuated by a tasteful Aaron McKie jersey. A fitting tribute. My wife bought four beers, the fourth being for "our friend Kwame," and I, well, I'm still coming to grips with the news.
Tributes aside, the Sixers implemented a curious laissez-faire defensive scheme on Wednesday. It was an interesting strategy, both courageous and hands-off, as Toronto enjoyed healthy look after healthy look from behind the arc. The only thing that was truly covered at the Wells Fargo Center that night was my hand in Chickie and Pete's crab seasoning.
The Sixers enter tonight riding a season-high four game losing streak, and there are signs that this team is finally finding their tank legs. But in the dreadful Atlantic, however, that four-game losing streak makes them the second hottest team in the division.
Up until this season, the Milwaukee Bucks of Milwaukee have been our brothers from another mother. The Bucks are the Sixers Midwest chapter, a well-spoken and polite fraternity whose idea of hazing is forcing pledges to watch Ervin Johnson You Tube clips on repeat. Not ideal, but not quite a brand on your upper thigh either.
Both teams have shared a unique bond since their meeting in the '01 Eastern Conference Finals. They've traded with each other. They've vacationed in the Frozone together. They've battled for that coveted #8 seed, like two hungry college kids fighting over the last package of Ramen*.
*A friend of mine swears that eating uncooked Ramen gives you worms, but I digress.
But Hinkie and co. have distanced themselves from their incestuous relationship with the Bucks. You can only share sloppy seconds with your NBA friend so many times before you eventually just start kissing each other. While the Sixers move into the future with a definitive plan (the early season success not withstanding), the Bucks are still rolling with the same crew and hanging out at the same bars.
"Hey Sixers ... the Hawks and I are heading to Pocket Eights, shooting a little stick. OJ Mayo will be there. Heard he's bringing a few of his friends. You in?"
Oh, geez ... man, I don't know... I already told Utah that I would check out this new jazz club with him.
But despite the Bucks' efforts in the off-season, they currently sit at just 2-8 - three wins behind the Sixers. So maybe green is the new black?
It has been a rough opening few weeks for Milwaukee, who have been plagued by some bad luck. Larry Sanders, who signed a hefty contract in the off-season, tore some ligaments in his thumb after an altercation at the nightclub, and Ersan Ilyasova, Brandon Knight, and Caron Butler have been dealing with nagging injuries.
The Bucks are led by assistant coach and founding father of the Remember This Guy series, Scott Williams, who recently signed a 14-year deal to remain on the bench through 2027. Also on the bench is Nick Van Exel, who has persuaded Nate Wolters to shoot free throws left-handed, and from eighteen feet away. Wolters, to his credit, is shooting 73% from the line.
Opposing Team Jersey That I Would Buy
Hi there, Alvin Robertson jersey. Looking good in green, baby. You're scratching me right where I itch.
Da Bad Guys
Tip-off is at 7 PM. Happy weekend, everyone.