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. Cavaliers – Friday, November 23, 2018
Yesterday, the 13-7 Sixers took on the 2-14 Cavaliers. The Sixers lost 112-121, taking the Sixers to 13-8 and the Cavaliers 3-14.
My wife Erin and I got a ride down to the stadium to meet my brother Jimmy, mother Cinda, and father Tom for the game. We browsed around the store and got some new shirts – lots of good stuff this year. We also ran into my cousin Nicki and her family (husband Joe and children Joe Jr. and Riley) and chatted for a bit about life & the Sixers. Instead of heading to Section 116, we headed to Club Box 24 – a nice kick off to the holiday season.
Almost immediately, my brother Jimmy launches into a rant about how the Sixers need to keep Markelle Fultz and how he still believes in him as a Philadelphia 76er. I’m less optimistic and think a fresh start might be for the best (unless he is able to head to the G-League for a bit). Here is Jimmy’s full take about the Fultz situation – feel free to yell at him on Twitter if you disagree:
Nobody knows what to think or believe about Markelle Fultz at this point, but I think it’s going to end up all good in the end. Keep in mind that this kid can not legally drink a beer yet and hasn’t necessarily had “poor” production. I believe in him as a player, and I think he will be able to be a valuable asset to the Sixers by either the end of this season or the start of next season.
For Fultz to achieve success the fastest way possible, 3 things need to happen:
1: Find a new agent
Raymond Brothers has been making noise lately and the Sixers are clearly not on the same page as he is. I also believe he is giving Markelle bad advice as a 20-year old number-one-overall-pick in the NBA who doesn’t really know how to handle the spotlight. A new agent that would help Fultz find his confidence is necessary.
2: Find out what is wrong with him health-wise
Nobody knows if his shoulder is hurt, or his wrist, or whatever, but the Sixers need to be on top of this as they seemingly had no clue that he was “injured” until Brothers said something. If he is not injured, then great, but I have some suspicion that his shoulder is hurt. I mean look at the man shoot, and then tell me it doesn’t look like his shoulder hurts. He should do whatever it takes to heal, and then just shoot when he feels okay.
3: Send him to the G-League
Fultz should go to the G-League to ease back into playing basketball but, more importantly, to build his confidence up. Let him go into the G-league and put up 30 every game until he feels like he could shoot effectively in the NBA. When he returns to the Sixers, put him on the bench to start off, and maybe, just maybe if he proves that he can shoot like he did in college, put him in the starting lineup for Chandler and move Simmons to the 4.
I’m not saying that this will all work out by the end of this season, but there is a slight chance it could if everything goes well. Fultz probably won’t make a significant difference to the Sixers for another year or two, but I don’t think they should give up on him.
As we took our seats, still chatting about Fultz, Mike from the Sixers Dunk Squad sang the National Anthem and actor Ryan Phillipe rang the bell.
I was mesmerized by Colin Sexton this quarter and very much wish the Sixers had him instead of Zhaire Smith, who has reportedly lost 20 pounds due to a potential season-ending food allergy. Nothing against Zhaire, but being down another lottery-pick talent amidst the Fultz frustrations is really…well…frustrating.
Other 1st quarter observations:
- The Sixers were bad this quarter and couldn’t find consistent ways to score when the Embiid post-up was double-teamed.
- Kyle Korver got a nice reception when he checked in. There are rumors the Sixers may target him in a trade…I personally don’t think we need another guy who can’t defend.
- TJ McConnell got a lot of love when he checked in from the crowd & remains a fan favorite.
- As I mentioned earlier, these Views tonight weren’t coming from Section 116, but from a Club Box where we got some group tickets. I got the sense a lot of groups in the box were families celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday and not your usual game-going fan. Far be it from me to tell people how to watch a basketball game, but when the four people behind you are talking about Kendall Jenner being in the building incessantly for 10 minutes every quarter, you get the sense they don’t care much about what’s going on out there. I blame this loss solely on the teens behind me that made bad Tristan Thompson jokes and stupid Kardashian references the entire game.
- The Sixers lost the quarter 23-31.
The best part of this game (and quarter, which the Sixers actually won) was when an incognito Cavs fan won a 55 inch TV and Franklin promptly swatted that victory right out of there. I sure do love when mascots dunk on fans of other teams.
- This was the only quarter the Sixers won, and a lot of that seemed to be due to Landry Shamet making threes and Ben Simmons moving well off-ball. The Sixers will need that and more when Embiid is denied touches in the post.
- The Sixers Showdown dance cam, where fans have to mimic a Sixer dancing, was pretty good tonight. TJ McConnell imitating the Dance Squad was chosen and fans really got into this awful dancing style.
Little Dicky was in the building, tossing t-shirts into the crowd. I guess being a rapper has its perks.
- The Sixers won the quarter 31-23, tied 54-54 at the half. At this point, while pleased to win the quarter, I was annoyed we were having such a close game against such a bad team.
Peter Rabbit, a bucket drummer, put on a very entertaining show.
Shamet took over for Redick almost immediately due to foul trouble (when does that ever happen?) and did pretty well. Ben Simmons played well this quarter too. Still though, the Sixers were unable to pull away during the quarter. The defense wasn’t necessarily there tonight, and the Cavs seemed to be making everything from deep (ended the night 50% from 3PT as a team).
Other 3rd quarter observations:
- This was a good stadium gimmick quarter
- The Kimball “Shoot from Your Seat” contestant made quick work out of a usually difficult contest, leaving ~15 seconds on the clock.
- “Sixers vs. Sixers” made its return, with Ben Simmons smoking Joel Embiid in naming flavors of ice-cream 11-2. I could watch these all day.
- ShopRite returned with their not-so-promising “Price is Right” promotion. I’ve covered this a few times , so I won’t bore you. All I have to say is The Price is Right, but the Shop is Wrong!
- The Sixers lost the quarter 29-30 and were down 83-84 headed into the 4th.
I should have known we were in trouble when someone from the the dunk squad got injured and had to be helped off.
This quarter was ugly – the Sixers gave up 37 points and couldn’t close either of these gaps:
- Down 5pts with 10 min to go
- Down 8pts with 6 min to go
Frustrating to snap the undefeated at home streak against the worst team in the league…but all good things come to an end.
Sixers lose. 112-121. No Fresh water. No $1 pretzels.
Next time I’m in 116, I’ll share some more views. Until then: 1-2-3-4-5-Sixers!