Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, shall we?
It’s Wednesday night, November 13th, 2013.
The Sixers are hosting the Houston Rockets, both teams come in with their best players on the bench with injuries.
The Rockets best player at the time and still currently, James Harden.
The Sixers’ best player at the time……Michael Carter-Williams.
The game itself was actually tight the entire game and ended up being decided in OT.
Philadelphia scored 17 to Houston’s 11 in the extra frame and capped off a 123-117 victory.
If I gave you ten thousand guesses to tell me who lead all scorers that night you still wouldn’t have a shot.
Go ahead and guess.
Stop reading right now, close your eyes and take a couple guesses , I’ll wait.
Alright, time’s up.
Raise your hand if you had James Anderson edging out Jeremy Lin with 36 points that night to Lin’s 34. Anybody?
So why the hell do we care about that game you ask yourself?
Well my good friends, that night just under four long and painful years ago, marks the last time your Philadelphia 76ers were over the .500 mark.
That’s 1,451 days to be exact. That means the last time the team Markelle Fultz plays for was over .500, he didn’t even have his driver’s license yet.
That makes this game against the Pacers (5-3) a lot more important than just the ninth game of the season. Tonight gives the Sixers an opportunity to conquer a small milestone towards the large ultimate goal of becoming NBA Champions. It won’t come easy however.
The Pacers have been an early surprise this season and just like the Sixers they are also riding a three game winning streak into tonight’s affair. Indiana is coming off their best win of the season Wednesday night in Cleveland, beating the Cavs 124-107. All of the Pacers’ starters were in double figures and one familiar face from those 2013 Sixers, Thad Young, led Indiana with 26 points.
With Paul George in OKC Victor Oladipo has taken over scoring for the Pacers posting 23.8 points a game, up 8 points from the 15.8 per game he had last season. Ben Simmons may be locked on him all night. Actually, he is posting career highs in almost every stat category.
Both teams will be hoping to add big men back in their line ups tonight. The Sixers’ Richaun Holmes may possibly be returning from a broken wrist and Indiana’s Myles Turner is looking to come back from a concussion.
I hope Myles Turner plays, the match up of him vs Embiid is one that basketball fans drool over. Joel was steller on Wednesday night down the stretch and I expect him to carry that momentum into tonight.
Did he dominate all game long like I had thought he would? No, but was was he unguardable when the Sixers needed him the most? Absolutely.
Embiid had 11 of his 21 in the fourth quarter against the Hawks and ever point came from scores at the rim or the free-throw line.
That’s the Jo-Jo I’m looking for tonight if Turner does come back. Right away test Turner. He hasn’t played since opening night and Embiid will have a loud home crowd behind him. Don’t give Myles a moment to get acclimated.
Official prediction time:
We see a hard fought game tonight that has playoff basketball atmosphere. It’s Friday night, the game is sure to be sold out, so the Wells Fargo is going to be rocking! It will be tight entering the fourth quarter but I see Simmons taking over just as he did on two nights ago vs Atlanta and the Sixers pull out the win. 108-104.
Redick is going to bust out of the 1-6 from three slump he was in against the Hawks and he is going to cash in four three pointers tonight. I got my first look at Simmons in person this week, shout-out Johnson for the tickets, and he is even more impressive live. Expect him to continue his dominance tonight and look for him to take a few more shots from the elbow. He is beginning to build confidence in that shot which is going to make defenders push further out on him. I’m not sure anyone can guard him one on one that high.
Tomorrow morning we should wake up to a winning basketball team and I hopefully will never type the name Michael Carter-Williams ever again.