Well, that sucked.
Honestly, it was worse than the score even indicates.
The Sixers are treading water in an odd transition period before the newly-acquired James Harden enters the lineup following the All-Star Break. It’s understandable for any Sixers fan out there to feel embarrassed and I won’t blame you for doing so, but it’s going to be a different world when Harden finally takes the court. Again, it was a garbage affair. I don’t want to absolve the Sixers’ players of blame for such a poor showing, but I also want to help keep Sixers fans steady if I can.
Some notes and observations from this rancid loss:
- James Harden rang the bell at The Center this evening while wearing a ‘fit that’s a cross between David Byrne in the “Once in a Lifetime” music video and Magneto:
"You should've killed me when you had the chance, Charles" https://t.co/oebsInTqEQ— shamus (@shamus_clancy) February 16, 2022
- Al Horford had two fouls less than four minutes into the first quarter and was subbed out. Good. A small victory in an otherwise disastrous outing.
- In the first half, the Celtics made 63.2 percent of their threes (12-19). Conversely, the Sixers made just 26.7 percent of their threes (4-15). The Sixers never recovered. It was over. In the modern NBA, the game essentially comes down to who shoots better from three. It’s fairly simple. I don’t mean that to be a boomer take. The Sixers should’ve made more of their threes if they wanted to win! They should’ve defended the way Boston did! Sure, there’s luck and variance that comes into play with one-game shooting stats, but those are the breaks of the game. The Sixers finished a putrid 8-32 from three all together. I feel like Trent Dilfer. “You can’t miss shots in the National Basketball Association and still win.”
- I hope all the Sixers fans who slogged through their work day, paid their hard-earned money for tickets to see their favorite team play a historic rival and spent $37 for a warm 25-ounce Bud Light enjoyed seeing the game’s referees making things about themselves. Ref Show to the max! Did the Sixers lose this one because of the refs? Of course not. Do I enjoy enduring their nonsense regardless? Of course not.
- Hey, Daryl Morey, prepare to work the phones for that buyout market. More players who can dribble the ball is always welcome in a city that constantly feels bereft of them. Perhaps Paul Millsap can be a legitimate answer at the backup five, but I’d chase another big too. I love Paul Reed’s energy, but I’m not ready to give him a sizable role in a playoff series. This mini rant was brought to you by another ill-fated night of Point Furkan Korkmaz. The idea of Korkmaz is great in my head, especially when you think about pairing a fearless shooter alongside a guard of Harden’s caliber, but it falls flat when he’s a “shooter” who’s made 29.0 percent of his threes this season.
- Boston is so killer on defense. They cloned Marcus Smart with the Derrick White trade.
- Doc Rivers. Come on. Stagger your star players! The game was just getting totally out of hand early and he was beholden to the schedule he keeps about when Joel Embiid should return to the game from the bench. I’m hoping the Harden addition makes him realize he has a luxury in that he can keep at least one of Harden, Embiid and Maxey on the court at all times, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
- Tobias Harris can’t get buckets on Payton Pritchard. He’ll be the fourth option come next week. We’re almost at the finish line.
- Even when the Sixers were getting smoked and things began to get carried away throughout the first half, Embiid was hustling his ass off. Going balls-to-the-wall in the transition game, trying his mightiest to deter every shot and continuing to battle his way to the free throw line. For all the gripes the national media has about Philadelphia fans, and we’ve seen that today more than most days online, they do appreciate effort. Remember that. The crowd gave Embiid roaring cheers when he snaked his way through defenders before throwing down a vicious slam dunk in the second quarter despite losing big time: