KJ McDaniels (Image c/o Sixers.com)
Just a year ago, the Philadelphia 76ers shocked everyone by defeating the LeBron James-led Miami Heat to open the season on their way to winning their first three games of the year. Michael Carter-William had a once-in-a-lifetime rookie debut and for a brief moment all the talk of “tanking” was forgotten.
This season, it seems thing are going much more according to the Sam Hinkie Plan.
The Sixers were 0-2 going into their home opener at the Wells Fargo Center against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. MCW would sit on the bench this time still recovering from shoulder surgery and of course LeBron is now playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But in the end, the Sixers still couldn’t find a way to get their first win of the season, losing 114-96 after once again keeping it close for the first three quarters only to fall apart in the fourth.
For the second game in a row, the Sixers kept the score tight for three quarters and looked like they might be able to get a win. Against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday the team went into the fourth quarter with a 74-73 lead only to see it disappear in the final 12 minutes, being outscored 20-7 and not getting a basket in the final 8:19 of the game.
The almost exact same scenario played out against the Heat. Miami went into the fourth on Saturday with an 87-83 lead and the Sixers had been playing tough and looked as if they might be able to mount a comeback. But instead the team gave another one away, committing eight turnovers and being outscored 27-13 in the fourth.
Chris Bosh led all scorers with 30 while Tony Wroten once again took the lead for the Sixers, scoring 21 points along with 10 assists. Meanwhile Nerlens Noel only scored two points and grabbed five rebounds in his home debut, surely not the homecoming he was looking for.
For his part, head coach Brett Brown decided to look at the good instead of the bad, telling Dei Lynam of CSN Philly.com:
“We were good for three periods. We didn’t roll over. I have seen fantastic signs in our first three games, but the NBA and its players are that good; it is so unforgiving if you make two or three mistakes, the game is gone.”
Next up for the Sixers is the 3-0 Houston Rockets, led by the impressive tandem of James Harden and Dwight Howard. I think it’s safe to say everyone should look a bit further on the schedule for the Sixers to get their first victory of the still young season.