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Sixers 96, Heat 114: An Ode to Brandon Davies

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Yes, this is happening.

Mitchell Leff

Never have I seen a player that I've had so much consternation for become someone I actively root for. I still wonder if I'm doing it sarcastically or if I've actually turned sides. I still sometimes find myself saying, "What does he actually do well". Yet, time and time again he does something awe-inspiring, whether it be heroic or horrifying.

Could he just be another embodiment of the true underdog? In a town that reveres a fictional sports figure like Rocky, is he just another lovable loser that we wish rises to the top? Heart, hustle, grit, and all the intangibles that describe beloved, blue collared athletes in this town... Could he be the next one?

He's no Answer, Minister or Doctor. He may never be more than what he is now. However, he's still present and he's outlasted others who have clearly shown more. Does that mean anything?

The more I question it, the more I can't help but think that my sarcastic remarks of him being a "folk hero" will actually become a reality. If on cue, the universe worked its magic and on the night of his "game", I was there to see it live. At one point he was just perfect; anything he did was gold. A quick dive to the basket here and a tough rebound there. Even when he hoisted a shot beyond the arc, my shock was met with a swish.

This was it. This was the game. And whether I just waxed poetry about an eventually unmemorable player in a losing effort, is inconsequential. He may never do anything like that again, but he did it then.

For one moment, Brandon Davies was the best player on the court.

Odds and Ends

  • Davies final stat line: 7-9 for 18 points (1-2 beyond the arc), 3 boards, 3 stl, 100% Awesome.
  • Tony Wroten had himself a pretty good night posting a double-double (21 pts, 10 assists). I think Derek put it best.
  • Nerlens Noel struggled against the Heat, (2 pts on 4 shots, 5 reb, 3 ast 1 stl, 1 blk). Offensively, he was more or less non-existent and lost. Defensively, while he managed cause a few steals and affect shots around the basket, he (and the team) struggled rotating on defense and in transition. We expect growing pains this year.
  • K.J. McDaniels continued to impress going 2-4 with 8 points and 3 blocks in 20 minutes. The dunks and blocks are making him a fan favorite and adding a catch and shoot to his arsenal is encouraging. However, he, (again) like most of the team, found struggles on the defensive end. I expect McDaniels to crack the starting lineup by December.
  • The team really misses Michael Carter-Williams. As of now, there are probably only 2 capable ball handlers in Wroten and Alexey Shved. Both are trying admirably but there's much left to be desired, especially when they begin to stall or tire out.
  • Speaking of fatigue, it was apparent that the team was struggling with the after effects of the back-to-back. The energy and pace slowly decreased as the game went on. While they didn't have an offensive drought like the previous night, their play began to become lackadaisical, with careless turnovers and possessions and even worse defense.
  • Sixers managed to shoot an improved 19-26 (73%) from the charity stripe. For a team shooting 55% the 2 games prior, this is a good sign.
  • In the end, for the 3rd straight game, the Sixers competed for 3 quarter before hitting a wall in the fourth. Brett Brown is still trying to find answers while the team is still trying to find another gear to play the full 48 minutes. Keep working hard fellas.
  • If you missed the pre-game presentation (like I unfortunately did), check it out!
  • The Sixers could still be win-less by the end of next week with a few more tough opponents coming up. Year 2 is real.