God, where to begin with this game?
OK, let's start at the beginning. The very beginning. Jahlil Okafor scored the first bucket of the game 11 seconds in. Those 11 seconds were the only point in the game where the Sixers did not lead en route to a 114-89. Okafor started off on fire, hitting his first seven shots and going 8-for-9 in the first quarter with 17 points, and you may be saying to yourself "Well, that's what put the Sixers in a good position to win this game." While you'd be right, you'd also be wrong. Because in a perfectly time substitution, once Okafor departed the game, Nicki entered.
That's right. The Queen, Nicki Minaj arrived (with a friend). From then on, it was game over.
For the Sixers, tonight was a showcase for Jah and Ish. Jah finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, dominating both in the paint and outside, burying ridiculous jumpers from all over the place. The Blazers had no answer for Ish Smith either, who at various points in the game was literally running circles around Blazer defenders.
The Sixers played phenomenal basketball throughout, shooting 55% from the field, including 10-23 from three-point range. Robert Covington continued the Bobby Buckets Back Return Jamboree with 16 points off the bench, shooting 4-10 from three. Nerlens was a menace all night, wreaking havoc on the defensive end with four steals and four blocks.
After the Sixers led by as many as 24 at one point in Thursday's overtime loss to Chicago, the fear amongst Sixers fans remained for much of the game, but the memory of the loss also remained for the team, according to Brett Brown in his post-game presser.
"I think that Chicago game still hangs around, and I we came out and I think showed that we're going in the direction that we want to go and we feel like we have been going," Brown said.
Brown also praised the cohesive play of Okafor and Noel, which has been a consistent issue for the team all season.
"I think that Nerlens and Jahlil co-existed the best they have so far," Brown said.
Everybody looked great. Richaun Holmes looked great. T.J. McConnell was hitting pull-up threes. Isaiah Canaan didn't make me actively angry.
And now, the Sixers have a new number one fan. The Lakers have Nicholson. Brooklyn has Jay. We have Nicki.
Nicholson. Jay-Z. Spike Lee. Nicki. https://t.co/0FPFCA7K1o— Matt Carey (@RealMattCarey) January 17, 2016