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. Timberwolves – Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Yesterday, the 28-16 Sixers took on the 21-22 Timberwolves. The Sixers won 149(!)-107, improving to 29-16, while the Timberwolves fell to 21-23.
A bunch of interesting storylines surrounded tonight’s game. Obviously, playing the Timberwolves meant tonight was the night that our boys, Cov and Dario, were back in town (Dario played, Cov did not play due to a right ankle bone bruise). Tonight was also the return of Jerryd Bayless, who was mercilessly booed from the opening introductions to the final buzzer (more on this later). Additionally, tonight was:
- Brand-new Sixer Corey Brewer’s debut
- Mark Zumoff appreciation night
- The first night that the city of Philadelphia could turn its full attention to the Sixers with the Eagles unfortunately eliminated from the NFL playoffs this past weekend.
Needless to say, with so much intrigue, the buzz in the stadium was palpable. RJ and I got some food from Campo’s and met up with our pals Jake and Maggie before the game started. RJ and I headed to our seats a few minutes before tip, and let me tell you – Corey Brewer is going to fit right in with Headband Ben Simmons. Brewer has worn a headband for most of his career, but on a Sixers team where only Ben and Jimmy semi-regularly wear headbands, he jumps out immediately.
The anthem was sung by local singer Nina Mielcarz, and Marc Zumoff rang the bell. Game on.
The Sixers got off to a great start this quarter, winning 40-27. Nearly everyone who checked in played well, but the ones that popped for me early were our two favorite Australians: Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden. Headband Ben Simmons had a killer runaway jam, and Bolden was contributing on offense while holding things down on defense (not only in this quarter, but throughout the game). Bolden now has me believing he miiiight be able to gun for Wilson Chandler’s spot in the starting rotation.
Other 1st quarter observations:
- Wilson Chandler is definitely a guy fans love to hate, and I hear anti-Chandler takes just about anytime I’m in the arena. For some reason, fans need a guy to hate, and he seems to be that guy for this current iteration of the Sixers (the former guy, Jerryd Bayless, was also in the building tonight). My theory is his undershirt is a little lame and thus makes him an easy target as an older, non-star player. Who knows though!
- The first break came pretty late, with 6:33 to go in the 1st. During it, they played the Cap Race video, which is the thing where sections of fans yell at a video screen cheering cars on, as if these video cars can hear them. This gimmick should be reserved for 8-year-olds celebrating their birthday at a Phillies game – and nobody else. It makes me sad.
- Speaking of gimmicks, the SEPTA Fan Cam made an appearance this quarter. This is the thing where the DJ plays train-related music, and the jumbotron puts a SEPTA frame around random fans dancing. It’s a little better than the Cap Race since you get some fun dancing out of it, but it’s beneath the gimmicks I know this arena is capable of. I need MVP gimmicks only!
The Sixers didn’t let up this quarter, scoring 43 right on the heels of a 40 point 1st quarter. For those of you adding at home, that’s 83 points in a half. The Wolves defense looked absolutely lost, while the Sixers were getting everything they wanted. It almost (key word: almost) made me think they should re-hire once defensive-genius Tom Thibodeau!
- Between quarters, the Big Head race occurred. This is the thing with 3 giant cut-out heads being passed down rows in a race. Go figure – the Mark Zumoff big head won tonight.
- A rare gimmick moment happened this quarter for the StubHub Row Trivia. In-arena emcee Christian Crosby thought that he only had to ask three questions for the StubHub row trivia (but he actually needed to ask five). So, after three questions, Crosby starts to congratulate the person who had answered two up to that point correctly, but quickly realizes he has two more questions left – back to the quiz! The other contestant, who had only answered one correctly up to this point, runs the next two questions, leaving the fan who thought they won in a state of shock, now beaten 3-2 (they also still looked bewildered from thinking they had initially won). It was a hilarious comeback and a great moment in stadium gimmick history.
- Jimmy Butler clearly relished playing his former teammates this game. I wish I wrote down a specific example (I had one job!), but he would do stuff like annoy a shooter taking an extra shot during a deadball by getting too close or knocking the ball away. It was pretty obvious he wanted to get under the skin of many Timberwolves, and there was no love lost between Jimmy and his former team.
- The Sixers won the quarter 43-31, leading 83-58 at the break.
HALFTIME: Shout out to the good-looking people of PFOPhilly!
Although this was the Sixers’ “worst” quarter (tied 32-32), with the giant 1st half lead they built, it felt like they couldn’t miss and the game was a lock. Even better, the instantly classic moment in Process Lore of TJ slapping Dario on the butt after a made shot occurred:
Other 3rd quarter observations:
- Sixer vs. Sixer occurred this quarter and, folks, it was a barn burner between Joel Embiid and TJ McConnell on the subject of colors. Joel came out the gate strong, naming 12 different colors, but TJ was able to list off 14 before time expired and get the win. TJ used the popular “rainbow” strategy, which is just naming red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet as fast as you can to score a quick 7. I would love to one day see a tournament of Sixer vs. Sixer on the same broad subject (colors, ice cream flavors, etc.).
- The ShopRite Price is Right game was played, and again I learned that 2 out of 3 items I buy at ShopRite are overpriced. When will they learn that this is bad advertising?!
- I noticed towards the end of the quarter that Furkan Korkmaz, Corey Brewer, and Amir Johnson had yet to check in. This would change shortly, with the Sixers entering the 4th up 115-90.
- Because I am hilarious, I leaned over to RJ and said “first to 110 wins” at this point. I wanted you to know that – and now you do.
Although this was garbage time, the Sixers continued to wax the Timberwolves, winning the quarter 34-17. Many (soft) fans left, but those who remained seemed to exclusively hate Jerryd Bayless, booing him every time he touched the ball.
Listen – I’m all for booing people when they deserve it, but treatment of Bayless felt very much out of place, especially on the same night that two former Sixers who are also members of the opposing team were being honored and cheered for. Jerryd Bayless didn’t play much for the Sixers and had a pretty bad contract, but he simply wasn’t worthy of the level booing he received last night. People were jeering him with the Sixers up 30+ points like he’s a division rival star who took out a full page ad in the Inquirer of his middle finger.
Jerryd Bayless is no villain, and he’s no jerk nor heel – he’s just a guy that didn’t work out for the Sixers. A few rounds of boos early in the game played as funny…but these late game blowout boos played as classless. To that end: I’d like to personally apologize to Jerryd Bayless on behalf of Sixers fans for the treatment he received tonight in Wells Fargo.
To my fellow fans: It’s not his fault some large-collared doofus signed him for too much money and then he got hurt.
The unusually cruel treatment of Jerryd Bayless was the only knock on an otherwise perfect evening for the Sixers. On a night where my favorite Sixer (Cov) and guy I once dressed up as (Dario) returned, I can’t believe I’m writing this much about Jerryd Bayless…but guess what? I’m now in his corner too. Welcome back, Jerryd!
Some final notes:
- We got to see Corey Brewer (who hit a three!) check in. This may or may not mean anything, but I like his headband. Perhaps he will encourage Ben to embrace the Headband Life permanently.
- Landry Shamet ran point guard for a large part of garbage time! I very much like this development and would like to see more.
- The Dance Cam kid made a valiant return tonight – and had a solid challenger!
- There was a point where the Sixers had a 40 point lead with 7:23 to play, which is pretty funny. They ended the game up 42 points.
Sixers WIN 149-107. 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!