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. Hawks – Monday, October 29, 2018
Last night, the 3-3 Sixers took on the 2-3 Hawks. The Sixers won 113-92, making the Sixers 4-3 and the Hawks 2-4.
My wife Erin and I headed to the game from our new home in Northern Liberties. It was her first game of the year, so we celebrated our arrival with some Chickie’s & Pete’s, which is right near our section (116). We ate our food and went to our seats about 15 min before tip-off to watch warmups and people-watch some of the odd Halloween characters in the crowd.
It was definitely a weeknight-against-a-bad-team vibe in terms of stadium buzz, which was nowhere near the pregame population/buzz/excitement from the home opener.
I actually found this somewhat refreshing – the home opener after the Celtics loss felt very important to win, where this felt like a run-of-the-mill regular season game. It’s nice to feel like we’re getting back into the groove of the season.
The anthem tonight was sung by Mike from the Sixers Dunk Squad, and Eagles DBs Tre Sullivan and Ronald Darby – already back from London! – rang the bell.
Something new to the pregame routine this season – a closeup right before tip-off of in-arena announcer Matt Cord, who remains a fan favorite. I am very much in favor of this, as Matt brings it every night and fans should know the face behind that extremely distinct voice.
Vince Carter, who is 41 years old, started this game for the Atlanta Hawks. You may remember him from moments such as this, or this, or this. Again, this man is starting for an NBA team in 2018. Incredible.
Other 1st quarter observations:
- Embiid had a classic “welcome to the league” block on Hawks rookie Trae Young which was even funnier live than on tape.
- The Chick-Fil-A Challenge (make a layup, free throw, three pointer, and half-court shot in 1 min) participant hit the first 3 shots on his first try and looked poised to hit the half-court shot. Unfortunately, none of the surprisingly close shots went down but the crowd was loving it!
- The Sixers started pretty slow against an inferior Hawks team and ended the quarter down 20-25.
- We got a few Embiid-Muscala minutes early (and ended up getting many more later). I like this pairing a lot and want to see it more.
Truth be told, I missed much of the 2nd quarter from the stands because I was chopping it up with PFO’s very own Jason Blevins and Matt Schorr. We #TalkedAbout many Sixers related topics as we watched the 2nd quarter go by… but you don’t read this column for any of that – you want to know what happened from the stands! I’m sorry, but I failed you – it won’t happen often. Erin, who has made friends with our seat neighbors over the years and was a little too happy to be rid of me, summarized the 2nd quarter and halftime show as follows:
“Dario hasn’t been doing well and honestly you didn’t miss a whole lot. We’ve been playing down to their level for the entire half. They’re very sloppy – especially #12 [Taurean Prince] – and we ended up tied with them because we played just as sloppy. The halftime show wasn’t particularly memorable…some dance group. They did a good job, but I think everyone in the stands was up getting food so there wasn’t much of a reaction.”
Sounds about right – the Sixers ended the half tied 47-47.
The Sixers blew the game open in the 3rd, outscoring the Hawks 31-13. There were some great moments from Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz in this quarter, and the crowd got into it, particularly with Fultz. The “SHOOOOOT IITTTTTT” reaction that the crowd makes when Fultz has the ball and is open hasn’t gone away entirely, much to my chagrin. This felt like one of Fultz’s best quarters as a Sixer thus far from the stands – but there is still this pervasive nervousness of wanting him to succeed to the point where it’s distracting. Although he drained a three that the crowd nearly begged him to take, I hope in a month or so, our fans aren’t continuing to harass Fultz at every open shot opportunity. It’s distracting, even as a fan – I can’t imagine how annoying it is as a player.
Other 3rd quarter observations:
- Fultz had a killer slam which brought me and many others to our feet. Slam dunks remain the most fun.
- There is this fan game that the Sixers play where a fan tries to make three shots seated from chairs – two within layup distance from each side of the hoop and one from the free throw line. I’ve never tried to shoot from a chair but nobody ever does well with it – I’d imagine it has something to do with not being able to use your legs. The fan that participated tonight missed a ton from the first spot and the crowd just TURNED on him, booing even after he made it from the first spot and moved on to the second layup spot. When time ran out, the crowd really let this guy have it. This stuff never ceases to make me laugh. Philadelphia, baby!
- I looked up at the scoreboard with 5:36 min left in the 3Q and Ben Simmons had 17-7-7. I would have bet my life he was going to get a triple-double. He did not – he left in the 4th, one assist short. The lesson here is never gamble, even if you’re pretending to in your own head.
- Speaking of Ben – while he was taking free throws at some point this quarter, one fan was really belting out a “TRUST THE PRO-CESS.” This caught my attention because the whole stadium really used to do this a lot, even on weeknight games against bad teams, but really hasn’t so far this season (to be fair, it is October). It made me stop and look back for a moment how far this team has come in a few years and how nice it is to have a healthy Embiid and Simmons leading a team with real expectations. “The Process” isn’t fully complete until the Larry O’Brien Trophy is brought back to Philadelphia, but we’ve certainly come a long way.
The Sixers ended the quarter up 78-60.
I didn’t even have to change this sentence from my home opener post, so I’ll use it again: Since the Sixers blew the game open in the 3rd quarter, the final quarter was mostly garbage time. I honestly hope I get to re-use that one every time. These are my favorite types of wins. There was even a Jonah Bolden sighting!
One highlight from the stands – the dance cam kid is BACK! For the last few years, this young man has absolutely torched the Sixers Dance Cam with his ability to Floss at a breakneck pace. However, tonight he broke out the Shoot and kept switching back between the Floss and the Shoot – and the crowd loved it. Call Sill Bimmons – the Dance Cam Kid is making “the leap” this year!
Sixers WIN 113-92. 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!