The 0-17 Sixers travel to the Midwest to face off with the Timberwolves in a cross-conference tilt with early playoff implications.
When I was 23, a work buddy of mine suckered me into playing on his Sunday Night Men's League at the Healthplex in Springfield, PA. I quickly discovered that he was much a better basketball player than GM. In two seasons, we went a combined 0-25. We lost by sixty plus points multiple times. Guys on the team (not me) got into a fight with each other in the 3rd quarter of one game. The ref had no choice but to eject the entire team. He was doing us a favor, since we were down a billion at the time.
Two guys once argued over who had more points at halftime of a game. We were trailing 34-8 at the time, so the math shouldn't have been that difficult. Our starting two guard played in jorts, tried to install the Triangle Offense, and once shot a PUJIT that went over the backboard.
By the second season, I spent my free team seeing a sports psychologist and listening to "Kiss From a Rose" on repeat. I rarely left my room, but on the seldom occasions that I did, it was to order the entire value menu from Wendy's. Confidence was low. My sweatpants were covered in ketchup. Driving home from a 55 point shellacking at the hands of the Baby Blue Team one night, I tried to remember the last time I had won any competition of any kind. I think I had beaten my nephew in Old Maid a few years back, but who could really be sure.
Every team made the playoffs. There were six teams in the league, and we were playing the #3 seed. Half of our team no-showed because can you blame them? We played with just four guys. Before tip-off, my buddy huddled us up:
Guys...if we win ... no, no, when we win...I promise you ... I promise you ... Those potato skins at Bennigan's will taste better than they ever have in your whole life. I promise you. I've gone to Bennigan's after a win, and tonight you will, too.
Well, we still lost. But we only lost by three points and those potato skins at Bennigan's tasted better than usual that night.
The Sixers will win their game of the season tonight. Rebuilding is one thing. I can handle the losses. I'm built for this. But when my wife, who currently has seven Hallmark Christmas movies on DVR, is now cognizant of the losing streak, that's when - to channel my inner Owen Hart (R.I.P) - enough is enough, and it's time's for a change.
I have my Post Game Thread already queued up: "Ding Dong the Streak Is Dead: Red Hot Sixers Win First Game in a Row." (working title). I have that Post Game Thread already queued up. I wrote that Tuesday morning. That's how confident I am. I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE CONFIDENT OF ANYTHING IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I know collectively that we're all on board with the rebuild. Some may be more lenient and tolerant of the product taking the floor right now than others, and I get that. I understand. But a team and an SB Nation community can only handle so much losing. It wears on you. You need to whet your appetite every so often. You need a win or two to keep you regular. Losing builds character, but optimism is why we keep coming back. So close your eyes and think about tonight. Think about the euphoria in that post-victory Reaction Thread. Think about the celebratory gifs, the rec'd comments, the all caps, the copy and pasting of the updated Eastern Conference standings.
I have looked into the future, Liberty Ballers Community, and all roads point to a victory. The national media says that the Sixers are the worst team ever. Hell, the national media said that last year's Sixers team was the worst team ever.
But not tonight. Not tonight. Tonight, the Sixers are immortal. Tonight, the Sixers will win a game not because "they're due." But because tonight, on this night, the Sixers are the best damn team in the NBA.
76ers vs Timberwolves coverage