They did it!
After months of misery, 28 games of loss, and never ending frustration, the Sixers won a basketball game. It's their first win since March 25, and given the atmosphere of the night it could not have come in a better game. True, from a practical draft pick stand point, this game would have been better for the Sixers to lose, but who needs practicality when you can have unbridled joy instead?
The game began with Matt Cord announcing Kobe Bryant's name to a raucous standing ovation from the Wells Fargo Center crowd. As much as I am usually in favor of supporting players and against booing them, that crowd reaction sucked. Kobe is a guy who played basketball at Lower Merion High School 20 years ago and since then has both in word and in action severed all ties with Philadelphia. Unless everyone in crowd were proud Lower Merion alumni supporting a fellow Ace, cheering him seemed all a bit hollow
The best possible reaction would have been acting as anonymous as Kobe's career has been the past few years by sitting there and neither cheering nor booing. But seeing as a Sixers crowd booed Andre Iguodala in his return to Philadelphia, the tone deaf reaction should not have come as much of a surprise.
Kobe took control of the early going, flashing back to his former self and beginning the game 3-3 from beyond the arc to the thrill of the crowd and basketball Twitter. But in-prime Kobe he is not anymore, and his regression came swift. Kobe followed his hot start by connecting on only four more field goals the entire game, finishing 7-26 from the field on the day and may have been one of the worst players in a game featuring teams who entering with a combined record of 2-34.
The good news about Kobe's hot start is he'll never think he's cooled off. Who is ready for 7-25 from the field?— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) December 2, 2015
Damn you, last minute desperation shot.
Kobe's end came in the fourth quarter at the hands of Jerami Grant. Grant swatted a Kobe shot attempt with a ferocity so hard it went careening into the stands with the ability to decapitate small children. Judging by the lack of audible gasps after the play I'm guessing no small children were decapitated tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, but it felt possible for a fleeting second.
Highlight rejection aside, Grant had himself a real fun game. He shot 6-7 from the field for 14 points, came down with 7 boards, had 4 assists, and blocked a team-high 4 Lakers shots. Grant is becoming an actual NBA player before our very eyes, and it is quite a sight to see.
Speaking of once-derided Sixers, Robert Covington continued his rise into the hearts and minds of Sixers fans everywhere. Covington led the Sixers and the game with 23 points on 8-16 from the field and 5-11 from beyond the arc. As a combined unit the Sixers were +18 with Covington in the game, by far the best of the team's best +/- of the game. At this current moment he is the team's best player and it goes without say that the more Covington plays the more games the Sixers will win in the future.
We could spend time discussing Brett Brown's lineup choices, the Jahlil Okafor-Nerlens Noel frontcourt, the play of Hollis Thompson, or any number of negatives that are probably a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But tonight is a time to celebrate, if not for management then simply for the players who have been playing their asses off and gotten close to a victory on multiple occasions before tonight. This win did not come out of nowhere, and it's satisfying to see the players' hard work finally pay off this season. We can talk tomorrow, but tonight, celebrate the Sixers' first win of the 2015-16 season!