It is the holiday season Sixers fans. The time of year when teams begin to establish their pecking order in the current NBA season. It is also the time of year when I am bombarded with questions about the Sixers...Not because I write about them, but because everyone thinks I am Spencer Hawes.
It never fails, every time the Sixers have a tall white guy, I become their unwilling body double. Over the years I have been mistaken for Jason Smith, Spencer Hawes and Jason Kapono, despite looking nothing like any of them. Sometimes I play along. I find just nodding my head and walking away is easier than explaining, although I tried out for the Sixers, I did not make the team, and played for seven years overseas. After our interaction, I can see the disappointment on their faces.
The other day in Macy's, a man came up to me and told me that I've been playing much better lately. I thanked him for the compliment assuming he was talking about my recent online domination in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
The man did have a good point...Not about me, but the play of Spencer Hawes. Hawes is currently on a stretch of impressive basketball. As I mentioned in a previous article, the Sixers needed a big, bruising, hard-nosed center in order to compete against the elite teams of the Eastern Conference. Could Hawes be that missing piece?
Thus far this season Hawes is averaging 7.1 points and 5.2 rebounds. Not the kind of numbers that make you want to go buy a 00 jersey, but it is the timing of these big games that have been a factor in the Sixers' recent surge.
In the Sixers recent 8-4 run, Hawes is averaging nearly 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He has also been imposing in the middle, anchoring a Sixers team that has, before last night, held opponents to 43.6 shooting from the field.
And speaking of last night was there a more frustrating game to watch? "I could just tell. It was one of those nights. When you've been around 40 years, you just after a while feel like there's no reason to say a whole lot," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. After a win against a depleted Magic team, the Sixers came into Chicago without their game faces and were annihilated 121-76. This gives the critics reason to jump back up on their soap boxes and condemn the last three weeks as a "lucky streak".
There are a few things I noticed about last night's game.
* Was anyone else waiting for Evan Turner to finally have a breakout game? If there was a night to do so, it was last night. He was back in his hometown, playing in a lopsided game. With the starters resting for most of the second half, Turner had an opportunity to do something special. The cards were all stacked in his favor. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. I still believe that Turner will be a dominant player in this league at some point, however, I'm just not sure when.
* Did the Bulls miss last night? Overall they shot 64 percent from the field, including 70 percent in the 3rd quarter. Not that it would have mattered much. The Sixers looked like they were playing in quicksand.
* Would the Sixers have better attendance if they signed Brian Scalabrine? Wherever he goes the fans fall in love with him. He's the NBA equivalent to the high school manager, who after three and a half years serving drinks finally gets his shot to dress in a varsity game. Fans in Chicago went crazy when he began ripping off his warm-ups and entered the game. The kicker is that Scalabrine is better than everyone reading this, and probably the writer.
* Jealous moment of the night...Midway through the third quarter my wife, who was alternating between wrapping presents and researching last-minute gifts online, looked up after Kyle Korver drained another three and whispered, "I wish Korver was still playing for the Sixers." I agreed, saying that he was a consistent dead eye shooter. Unfortunately, she was referring to Korver's appearance.
I don't want things to get weird here, but did anyone in the NBA besides maybe LeBron and Kobe hit the genetic lottery like Korver? He is a phenomenal shooter, athletic enough and according to my wife..."Exotically handsome". If we can somehow package him and Scalabrine, I guarantee the remainder of the 76ers games this year would be filled to capacity...with both Scalabrine fans and teenage girls.