Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sixers Win, Flyers Lose

Last night, with baseball still at a standstill and the weekend still out of sight, I was excited to relax and take my first glance at the new-look Sixers. In the past, I have not taken in too much preseason basketball because: a) It's preseason; and b) The games usually aren't on TV.

Last night, however, the game was televised, albeit on NBA TV. Lucky for me, I get NBA TV (downstairs at least), so I cooked up some grub and got ready for the action.

First off, NBA TV is pretty cool, but the guys calling the game were, uh, odd. I think they were the local Boston broadcasters—in fact, they had to be because they kept dropping a bunch of Celtics knowledge and very little Sixers info. And the one guy had a lisp. Pretty bad. Kind of like Donkey Lips. Not that they were that bad. They weren't. But it was weird listening to the opposition's broadcast.

Admittedly, I only watched the first half, which I sincerely regret. The reason? At halftime, I was feeling lazy and wanted to lay in my bed, so I headed upstairs with every intention of watching the second half and falling asleep. Unfortunately, my plan was foiled when I discovered I do not get NBA TV in my room. Why? I have no idea. So instead of trekking my lazy ass back downstairs, I stumbled upon "Lucky Number Slevin," watched that for a time before switching over to the new episode of "South Park," and then back to the movie to watch its conclusion.

The moral of the story: I am lazy.

Anyhow, the first half started off rough for the Sixers, especially Elton Brand. On his first two touches, the $80 million man turned it over with a horrible pass and got blocked by Kevin Garnett. Not good. And the Celtics looked every bit like the defending champs, jumping out to a huge lead early on.

Things looked grim, but all of the sudden everything started to turn around. Sammy Dalembert was hitting the glass and the Sixers inched back. By the end of the first quarter, with both teams' starters playing most of the way in the opening 12 minutes, the Sixers were only down 6.

Then Lou Williams came in and starting lighting things up.

Sweet Lou knocked down a bunch of shots and the Sixers were hanging tough. And as fun as that was to see, I was really interested in seeing three players more than any others: Kareem Rush, Royal Ivey and Darius Miles.

Well, I got to see one of those guys early. Miles came in the game, and the first thing I thought was, "Damn, he's a hell of a lot thicker than I remember him." Perhaps two years off will do that to you.

Miles almost got a steal immediately, but was instead (wrongfully) called for a foul. He was underwhelming in his debut. Meanwhile, the Boston announcers were going wild over Eddie House dribbling up court without turning it over. With Louis Williams guarding him. I found this curious because Lou Will is far from a tough on-the-ball defender, but I digress.

Unfortunately, I saw very little of Ivey because he played sparingly in the first half. This saddened me because I heard he's been a beast in training camp on D. I cannot wait to see it.

From the sound of it, Lou Will (27 points) and Thaddeus Young (21) played tremendous as the Sixers toppled the Celtics 98-92.

Elton Brand also got a nice, if underwhelming, grade on his debut.

Meanwhile, my boy Theo Ratliff got posterized by Bill Walker.

And Kareem Rush did not play due to an ankle sprain.

While the Sixers looked good, the Flyers received some more bad news on defense. Randy Jones may need hip surgery. That would be a tough loss for a team that struggled mightily on the blue line last year and is looking for answers this year. Past Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn—who are both phenomenal—the Flyers are thin on defense.

The injury and uncertainty has opened the door for 18-year-old rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa, who will be on the Flyers on opening night Saturday against the Rangers. Sbisa was the Flyers first round pick in June's draft.

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