The Sixers lost to the Orlando Magic tonight, 99-91. The Sixers dropped to 1-12 in their last 13 games, a tanktastic stretch of basketball that is looking more and more sustainable with each passing day. The Sixers haven't won a road game since New Year's Day, and if you're a bit fuzzy with your national holidays, New Year's Day fell on January 1st this year.
Today is March 10th.
Damien Wilkins and Thaddeus Young shined tonight for the Sixers. Baby ‘Nique, perhaps the world's staunchest detractors of ping-pong balls, is quickly becoming a thorn in the side of The Tanking Movement. His Andre Miller impression is uncanny, and he must be stopped. Wilkins scored 16 points on 6-12 shooting and collected 6 boards and 3 blocks. It's all innocent fun, until we ink Damien to a 3-year deal in the offseason.
Thaddeus Young was spectacular. Young scored 26 points on a tidy 13-17 from the floor, grabbed 12 rebounds, and chipped in 5 steals. Thad's effort in tonight's loss shouldn't be discounted. He had some really nice hustle plays down the stretch, and worked Orlando over with a variety of ThadHooks.
And then there was Jrue. Holiday continued his string of poor play with a 4-16 effort from the field. Maybe it's fatigue. Maybe it's Doug Fatigue. Maybe it's Sixers Fatigue. Could be all of those things. Could be none of those things. It's probably just a case of a really good player who is struggling right now. Jrue noticeably forced some things on the offensive end, and without the benefit of free throw attempts (0-2), that box score can get ugly in a hurry.
The Magic were led by St. Joe's standout, Jameer Nelson, who paced the Magic with 24 points, including 5 triples. Nikola Vucevic, the preeminent J.A. Happ of our generation, had 14 points (7-13 shooting) and 17 rebounds.
Tonight's loss was just like every other loss. There were defensive lapses. There was questionable shot selection. They didn't get to the line, etc, etc. When you looked at the schedule, you probably penciled this one as a victory. The Sixers couldn't possibly lose out, right? Right? It takes patience and timing and luck. And, right now, the Sixers are hitting their stride.
Tanking is an art, and ping-pong balls are their muse.
Next stop is Tanksville
Population: 12, or so
All aboard! Choo, choo