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. Bulls – Wednesday, April 10, 2019
(Final Game of the Regular Season)
Yesterday, the 50-31 Sixers took on the 22-59 Bulls. The Sixers won 125-109, finishing the regular season with a record of 51-31 (3rd seed in the East) while the Bulls finished 22-60 (4th worst record in the league, 12.5% chance at winning the no. 1 overall pick).
Earlier in the day, it was announced that many Sixers would be out for the final game of the season (all 5 starters, James Ennis III, and Jonah Bolden). That meant the available roster for “fan appreciation” night was this wrecking crew:
I was pumped. Meaningless game meant run for our fun, young former Blue Coats – Zhaire Smith, Shake Milton, and Haywood Highsmith. For some reason, the game started at 8pm (if it was nationally televised, then LOL at those ratings).
RJ and I drove down to the stadiums and parked in the Jetro lot (cause we’re #FromHere). As we got to our seats, the starting lineup was announced, which looked to feature some heavy Zhaire minutes (he’d end the night with a team-high 32). Given the injury to James Ennis III, there’s a slight chance that he gets a chance to play in Round 1. We’ll see!
With the starters resting and the Sixers unable to improve (or ruin) their 3rd seed playoff position, we were in for a fun night.
Nina Mielcarz sang the anthem and some guy named Dave who runs a car dealership rang the bell.
The Sixers started out well and won the 1st quarter 32-20. The always-energetic TJ came out firing and had 10 points by the end of the 1st, including this sleek reverse lay-up:
Other 1st quarter observations:
- The cash-grab phone-booth gimmick was first up tonight, and our contestant only got $50. Pretty shameful!
- Zhaire Smith had a nice put-back dunk and has now fully convinced me that he deserves some test-the-waters playing time in Round 1:
- Fan-favorite Boban Marjanovic hit a wide-open 3 and would hit another later in the game. What’s more fun than watching someone who is 7-foot-3 shoot from distance?
The Sixers continued their successful play in the 2nd and won the quarter 30-22, taking a 62-42 lead into halftime. There wasn’t a ton to note this quarter. I’ll be honest – much of this game felt like “garbage time” since the stakes were exhibition-level low and there were a lot of bench players on the court. For the Bulls, it featured players with names like Walter Lemon Jr. and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. I mean who are these guys? Seriously, can you imagine the Sixers having a guy named Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot? Maybe on Bryan Colangelo’s watch but not Elton Brand’s! 🙂
Other 2nd quarter notes:
- The Big Head Race occurred this quarter and actually reflected the speed of the players involved:
- Shake Milton made some nice plays this quarter, and he’s generally been enjoyable in limited minutes this year. If he can figure out what he’s doing defensively, he could make a for a good backup guard next season:
- There was a lengthy “Shoot for your Season” at halftime. Although no fan made the half-court shot, I was impressed with the effort. There many close shots and some actual running starts! You see, the NBA court is quite large and for some reason many fans shoot a half-court shoot like it’s a foul shot…and barely get the ball to the foul line in doing so. These fans didn’t make that mistake!
- Note: One day I will shoot for my season and totally forget this rule-of-thumb, freeze up under pressure, and shoot it like a foul shot. But until that day, I’ll gladly criticize others from the comfort of the stands for their half-court shot strategy.
The Sixers won this quarter 35-22 and if it didn’t feel like garbage time yet, we had extremely-new Sixer Greg Monroe hit his first career 3 pointer. You read that correctly:
Other 3rd quarter observations:
- Haywood Highsmith finally checked in during this quarter and would end the night with 2 points in 15 minutes. I very much believe in his upside (shades of Robert Covington) and look forward to his continued development with the team in practice and this coming off-season.
- The gimmicks this quarter included a skills challenge where a contestant missed about 4 layups in a row (and rightfully got booed) and the ShopRite Price is Right guess-the-price gimmick. If you’ve read this column this season, you already know – the price was too high!
- Jonathon Simmons, who generally stinks, played some serious hero ball this quarter (and most of the game). He ended up with a decent night stat-wise – 20 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts, 3-6 from 3pt and 8-14 from the field. Despite this seemingly career game, I don’t think we’ll see any Jonathon Simmons minutes in the playoffs this year (barring injuries).
The Sixers took their foot off the gas in the 4th quarter and lost it 28-45. However, they still won the game by 16 points. This quarter was the nadir of garbage time and really nothing interesting happened. Here’s a courtesy “highlight” of Zhaire Smith finding Amir Johnson for a layup:
Sixers WIN 125-109. Say it with me: “Fresh water. $1 pretzels.”
Next up, the playoffs! The Sixers will host the Nets this weekend for the first round. Finally the “real” season can begin!
Next time I’m in 116, I’ll share some more views. Until then: 1-2-3-4-5-Sixers!
Note: The Sixers are now 15-4 while Eric Marturano has attended games this season. Every thing every fan does matters – don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.