By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
New York 109, Philadelphia 102 – Box Score
While a significant portion of the Sixers fanbase rails against Sam Hinkie’s departure, there are nonetheless a handful of meaningless games left to be played in the 2015-16 season. Seeking their first 2-game winning streak since March 2015, Philadelphia ultimately fell short against the Knicks, falling to 0-1 in the Jerry/Bryan Colangelo era.
Carmelo Anthony had 20 points for New York, despite sitting out a large portion of the second half, including all of crunch time, while Kurt Rambis led some of the young guys find their way.
“Looking at a player with an estimated 10% or 20% chance of being a star over the next three or four years can’t be written to zero—that’s about as high as those odds ever get.”
With Anthony sitting late, it was actually Robin Lopez who dominated the Sixers throughout the evening. He led the Knicks with 24 points, 15 rebounds (8 offensive) and 3 blocks; a huge offensive rebound from Lopez on a missed free throw in the final minute denied the Sixers a chance to tie the game with a three.
“Otherwise, it’s a big game of pitty pat, and you’re stuck just hoping for good things to happen, rather than developing a strategy for how to make them happen.”
The main reason the Sixers were even in the game was a tremendous shooting display from Robert Covington. The gem of Sam Hinkie’s roster turnover strategy dropped a career-high 30 points, to go along with 11 rebounds. Covington hit 7 of 13 shots from behind the arc, and also converted a three-point play with a drive late in the fourth quarter to briefly make it a one-possession game.
“When I returned upstairs, the undrafted Robert Covington was gone, having agreed to play for another club’s summer league team, eventually making their regular season roster. He torched the D-League that year, haunting me all the while. When he became available 17 months later, we pounced. But I shudder, even now, at that (nearly) missed opportunity.”
Ish Smith also had a solid performance, recording 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Meanwhile, Nerlens Noel played well in his return to the starting lineup (aside from missing that late box-out on Lopez), tallying 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
“We have had the good fortune of drafting relatively early, giving us access to some especially talented players, including Jahlil Okafor (#3), Joel Embiid (#3), and Nerlens Noel (#6).”
Harvey Grant was in the building to watch his two sons play, and Jerian Grant got the better of younger brother Jerami with 16 points 5 rebounds, and 6 assists, plus a big jumper to make it a two-possession game after the Covington three-point play. Jerami struggled, going just 1-7 from the foul line.
In the end, maybe the Sixers should have heeded these words from Warren Buffett-via-Hinkie:
“I am not attuned to this environment, and I don’t want to spoil a decent record by trying to play a game I don’t understand just so I can go out a hero.”
And oh yeah, stay classy Sixers ownership.
Two fans who were shooting half court shots for season tickets at the game were wearing Hinkie shirts and told they couldn't wear them
— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) April 8, 2016