I like to think that many of us here at Liberty Ballers are optimists. Heck, I like to think of myself as an optimist. I always want to dwell on the positive, to expect the best out of people, to believe that the next day is going to be even better than the last.
That holds true when it comes to the Sixers. Every night, somebody could show something that they haven't shown before, or produce in a way that benefits both the present and the future. I like to believe that every night could be the winning night...
...which is why it saddens me so much to tell you that tonight is not that night. The Sixers are going to lose tonight. They may even lose badly. This is not a prediction. This is a spoiler.
Tonight, the Sixers will visit Oakland, CA to play the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors come into tonight with the NBA's best record at 24-5. They have an MVP candidate in Steph Curry, a breakout star in Klay Thompson, a brilliant swiss-army knife in Draymond Green, and an international treasure in Andre Iguodala.
Now, I know what you relentless optimists are saying. "Matt, they lost two straight last week!" "Matt, Andrew Bogut's out!" "Matt, stop talking to yourself, this is getting weird!"
I know. I've been there. I live there. Tonight, however, is not that night.
Nerlens Noel left practice Monday afternoon still feeling the effects of the left ankle sprain he suffered Saturday night against Utah, and has to be considered unlikely to play tonight, putting a massive dent in a Sixers defense which has been excellent as of late.
Given the Sixers' propensity to leave wide-open shooters on the perimeter (a skill that was displayed prominently last Friday night against Portland), taking out the Sixers best interior defensive weapon against a team of dead-eye shooters doesn't seem to be the best recipe to shock the world. Crashing the lane to compensate for Noel's absence will only lead to the Splash Brothers dumping more buckets on hapless defenders than the Harlem Globetrotters.
That's not the only reason the Sixers are going to lose, but it's one of the big ones. And that's fine. It's a long season. Not every night has to be a classic. It's a west coast game. You're going to be out late tomorrow night. If you're gonna miss one, this is probably one to miss.
Las Vegas agrees. The Sixers are 18-point underdogs in this game, the largest point spread in the NBA this season. To put this in perspective, as far as underdog stories go, this spread makes Rocky look like Andre The Giant.
I'd love to be wrong. I really would. I'd love for everyone to send me gloating tweets after the game, taunting me on my wrongness. You've all had a tough 2014. You deserve this.
But I'm not wrong. Tonight's gonna be a tough one to watch. Spoiler alert.