Welcome to Views from 116. In case you forgot, this column is a perspective from the stands for the fans. Let’s get to it.
Sixers vs. Suns – Monday, November 19, 2018
Yesterday, the 11-7 Sixers took on the 3-12 Suns. The Sixers won 119-114, taking the Sixers to 12-7 and the Suns 3-13.
We arrive at the stadium, grab some food, and chat about how the Sixers really need a convincing win. The excitement from this weekend was great, but I would like to cruise to a win against a bad team at home by 15-20 points (Spoiler: this did not happen). My hope is that as Jimmy Butler continues to get acclimated to the team and vice versa, the Sixers start winning big against the doormats of the league.
We went in to watch warm-ups and saw our old friend Richaun Holmes (who’s mother Lydecia gave a great interview with PFO’s The Burner this summer). It was quite a “Process-y” night with Richaun Holmes, Isaiah Canaan, and short-term Sixer Mikal Bridges suiting up for the Suns. Although Jimmy Butler’s arrival signaled the “end” of The Process in Philadelphia, there are still plenty of Process-era Sixers around the league…and they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
The anthem was sung by Jessy Kyle (a local recording artist) and boxing legend Bernard Hopkins rang the bell. Mikal Bridges, who won multiple championships at local basketball powerhouse Villanova University, got a warm reception from the crowd during introductions (including this 2018 MBA alum).
What stood out to me almost immediately was Deandre Ayton’s sheer size. Rarely does an opposing center match Joel Embiid in size and athleticism, but Ayton looked like Embiid’s equal out there (looking of course is one thing, playing is quite another). Ayton showed some flash and promise out there tonight and shot/rebounded well (17 pts on 8-11 shooting with 9 rebs). He also got into foul trouble due to his inability to guard Embiid. He’ll be an interesting player to watch grow in this league.
Other 1st quarter observations:
- The Sixers got off to a slow start at home against a bad team and the crowd REALLY let them have it with about 3 min to go. Bad defense, sloppy play, and turnovers – a losing combination.
- Around the 8 min mark, there was this dumb “Cap Race” video where different sections of the stadium were assigned different colored video cars and whoever “cheered the loudest” and made their car win got their section their own personal t-shirt toss. Call me crazy but I think the video had nothing to do with cheering. Take this lame video-board gimmick back to Citizen’s Bank Park where it belongs!
- JJ Redick had to leave the game with a bloody nose and Shamet was able to fill his minutes nicely. I think when Redick eventually leaves in the coming years, Shamet will be well-positioned to take his place as the team’s resident sharpshooter.
- Isaiah Canaan checked in around the 4 minute mark and got a warm reception. Trust the Process!
- The Sixers lost the quarter 26-36.
The first quarter was so bad, when they decided to drop Dunkin Donuts cards from the sky attached to parachutes between quarters, I fully expected it to be hot coffee instead. Embiid started to turn it on this quarter, and the Sixers closed the half only down by 5 (57-62).
- Not a great night from the stands in terms of stadium gimmicks – the “Big Head Race” was over before it started and, even worse, RJ and I missed the Blue Coats Giveaway by juuuuusst 1 section (same row!).
Markelle Fultz didn’t look great in his minutes during this quarter (and was eventually replaced with TJ McConnell in the 2nd Half). His development remains an enigma.
- Funny moment: Embiid totally bricked a wide open windmill dunk attempt. Stuff like that always makes me laugh.
Embiid really started to heat up this quarter and was seemingly scoring at will. It’s incredible that he has gone from “I hope he can play basketball for us one day” to “he can’t help but score 30 points.” Truly, we are lucky fans.
Other 3rd quarter observations:
- Great stadium gimmicks this quarter!
- One fan made quick work of the “shoot from your seat” contest, draining all three shots within the time limit for a prize.
- There was the perennial gem of “Sixers vs. Sixers” in which JJ Redick named many more holiday foods than Mike Muscala. I guess they had more food based quizzes going on at Duke than Bucknell.
- ShopRite returned with their not-so-promising “Price is Right” promotion. You might remember that last time I saw this, the fan contestant lost due to the fact that ShopRite’s price was consistently higher for whatever item the contestant was guessing for. Well, this fan won because they correctly guessed that every price was too high. I now have full confirmation from this advertisement that ShopRite has high prices! The Price may be Right, but the Shop certainly seems Wrong!
- Yet again, the free frosty hit.
- TJ McConnell and Joel Embiid fueled the Sixers’ surge this quarter, finally ending with a 92-86 lead.
Much like Friday’s game, my confidence in the Sixers’ ability to win this game was driven by the Dance Cam Kid & his worthy New Challenger.
Although the Suns hung around a bit too long and pushed RJ and my game of “First to 108 wins” to become “First to 112 wins,” the Sixers were able to pull out the win. They remain the only team in the league that is UNDEFEATED at home this year.
Sixers WIN 119-114. Say it with me: “Fresh water. $1 pretzels.”
Next time I’m in 116, I’ll share some more views. Until then: 1-2-3-4-5-Sixers!