It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Robert Covington looked amazing. Nerlens Noel looked like he expected to be playing with a football.
Covington scored a game high 20 points, shooting 6/10 from beyond the arc. including 5/6 shooting in the first half in his first NBA start. He also had six rebounds and three steals. He continues to impress in his short Sixers tenure, and while the sample is still small, looks like a legitimate find.
Noel, on the other hand, was held scoreless for the first time in his NBA career, and played arguably (although I doubt anyone will actually mount an argument) the worst game of his young career. He shot 0-8 from the field, and turned the ball over five times. To be blunt, he could do nothing right. His suspect hands continue to haunt him, anything he did on offense looked stilted and uncoordinated, and his defensive positioning was completely ineffective.
The bottom line is that Noel is still very raw. He's going to have ups, and he's going to have downs like tonight. Is it a problem? Absolutely. Is it a PROBLEM, written in all caps and permanent ink? Not by a longshot. Patience is the name of the game with Nerlens Noel. It's absolutely frustrating to watch right now, but the bones are there. He needs some serious refinement.
Stop me if you've heard this before. The Sixers proved to be a tough matchup for the first three quarters before falling apart in the fourth quarter. After entering the game's final quarter down only 3, the Sixers allowed the Nets to go on a 17-4 run to put the Sixers away.
And then, at the end, our greatest fears were realized, as FORMER SIXERS GREAT Brandon Davies checked in and immediately scored. Seriously, it was, like, six seconds later. Davies finished with four points in less than two minutes of work.
The Sixers will hop back on the train tonight and attempt to rebound tomorrow night back at Wells Fargo Center against one of the powerhouses of the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies. Hoo boy.