Nov 23, 2013, 12:25 AM EDT
They did it again.
The f’ing Sixers.
Evan friggin’ Turner.
SPENCER GODDAMN HAWES.
They did it again, and I don’t know why we’re still even surprised at this point.
I know always say this game was over, guys, you won’t believe how over this game was before it wasn’t over. But c’mon. THIS GAME WAS OVER. As if Lil Flip himself was caling it. Down double-digits with just over two to go, down four with less than ten seconds left…this thing was dead to rights, even by 2013-14 Sixers standards. Plus, Philly had gone so cold in the fourth quarter, Michael Carter-Williams had fouled out, and Evan Turner was one more missed-layup no-call away from quitting basketball and concentrating on his pro wrestling and/or hip-hop hypeman careers. OOOOOOVERRRRRRR.
But wouldn’t you know it? Luke Rindour, career 87% free-throw shooter, going to the line with four seconds left and the chance to hit two to ice the game, and he misses one of two. Then the Sixers in bound to Spencer Hawes, contested and off-balance in the corner. And he goes and does this.
You wanna see that again in slo mo? I know I do.
Spencer Hawes, pirouetting and gun-holstering. He hit 43 three-pointers total his first three years as a Sixer. He was a 32% three-point shooter for his career his first six years. Now, just 14 games into this season, he’s hit 26 threes, and is shooting 50% from behind the line. He’s also still averaging a double-double, with 25 and 12 to throw on the pile from tonight, while shooting comfortably over 50% from the field, and getting a couple steals and blocks a game in there as well. If the election was tomorrow, Spencer Hawes’ endorsement alone could get a Republican elected to the Oval Office at this point.
The craziest night had by a Sixer tonight, though, was easily that of Evan Turner. Evan had an absolutely brutal start to the game, going 2-6 for four points with three turnovers in the first half, and getting torched the entire game on the other end by vet Bucks forward Caron Butler, who eventually went off for a stunning total of 38 points–his best scoring night since 2009, and a night he really shouldn’t be having at this point in his career. Evan’s body language was predictably terrible, and it seemed like he might spend not only the rest of the game, but maybe the rest of the whole calendar year in the tank.
Then in overtime, he hit four of five shots–mostly shots he had been missing up until that point–and easily secured the game for the Sixers, inflating his stat line to a much more respectable 27 points on 10-18 shooting. (He got to the line eight times in regulation, which helped keep the Sixers afloat during his poor shooting spells.) It was as quick as I’ve ever seen an Evan Turner performance reverse polarity, and it proves once again that on those rare nights when Evan Turner hears the music, few in the league can match his moves.
There were other Sixers who had notable nights–MCW nearly had a triple-double (12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds) though he also got over halfway to double-digits in turnovers and personal fouls, while Hollis Thompson came to life for the first time this season, slamming a huge alley-oop early and hitting some huge shots throughout, including the three in OT that basically sealed the game. (Did you know Hollis Thompson could get up like this? I did not know Hollis Thompson could get up like this.)
But really, you just can’t say enough about Spence and Evan tonight. With no Thad (and no MCW towards the end), and no real motivation to go out of their way to win this game, they still managed to deny the Bucks their first win in seven games, and snatch victory from the jaws of tanking for the millionth time already this season. Turner and Hawes are the two guys whose names are mentioned most frequently in trade rumors, and as much as it makes sense to trade them and I mostly hope the Sixers can, memories of games like this are gonna make me lonesome when they go. Well done, gentlemen.
And yeah, I know we have to start piling up the L’s at some point, and given how crappy the East is this year, we have our work cut out for us if we wanna sink all the way to the bottom. But let’s be real here–the Bucks are one of the league’s worst teams, on the road, still missing some key players, and we once more needed divine intervention to beat them. These miracle wins aren’t going to sustain all season, and when we start to lose the close ones, that’s when we’ll really start to bottom out. And won’t that be exciting?
Until then, we really need to show some gosh-darn gratitude for how fun the 76ers have been–so much so that a night as ridiculous as tonight might not even register as a top-ten game for this team this season before all is said and done. A chance for more mischief tomorrow night in Indiana, though that’s a much taller order than taking care of business at home against the crappy Bucks. Don’t tune out yet, Philadelphia–the force remains strong with this bunch.
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