You and I have never met, but you’ve made me a happier man this year. I take that back, not just happier, but happy.
I’m a pretty big Sixers fan, and as you may have heard, that wasn’t very easy last season. It wasn’t so much that the team lost games, it’s that they went down the wrong way. No one played defense and no one executed on offense. To be honest, I’m not even sure the players knew what they were supposed to be executing on offense anyway.
It’s not worth blaming anyone, and I won’t name names, but the guy at fault was definitely wearing braces. And no, it wasn’t Rodney Carney.
Last year, when I’d talk about the games on Twitter like I enjoy doing, no one even knew what game I was talking about. Not anymore, this year fans are aware again, and that’s half the battle.
This year though Doug, this year has been different, and I think it’s all thanks to you.
I just got back from the biggest Sixers win in two years, a 105-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The same Bulls that beat the Sixers by 45 points a few weeks back. To be sure, a 45 point loss is never to be taken lightly. But the Sixers, this year took it personally. Doug, I think they do that now because of you.
At one point, when the Sixers were up 12 points in the second half, I found myself alone in my section, on my feet. I was screaming and cheering, and inexplicably near tears. I couldn’t believe they could win this game.
“Not in our house,” said Jrue Holiday, who came out intent on showing that Derrick Rose wasn’t the only point guard on the floor worth talking about.
“Not in our house,” said Andres Nocioni, who broke and dislocated his middle finger in the first half, but was still in the game, sinking game winning free throws in the final seconds of the game.
“Not in our house,” said Jodie Meeks, who shook off a few weeks of invisibility to do his best Ray Allen impression.
Doug, I don’t know if you knew, but the Sixers didn’t win very much in their house last year. This year, you have them protecting their house. The Sixers are 10-6 at home this year. The fans haven’t quite caught on yet, but they will. They’ll be there. They’re just apprehensive.
Elton Brand is reborn, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. The guy with the braces wasn’t even starting him for a while there.
Doug, on several occasions this year, I saw Spencer Hawes playing defense. I saw Thad doing it too, and I don’t see him taking those three pointers anymore. I have seen #9 shooting them, but we’ll talk about that in a different letter.
It’s true, Evan Turner hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet. He’s learning a valuable lesson though, if you don’t perform, you don’t play. He may be frustrated now, but if he ever becomes the player we’re hoping for, this will be an experience he’ll learn from.
You may hear some people say that you should lose some more games. That you shouldn’t make the playoffs, just to exit in the first round. Don’t listen to them though Doug. Somewhere along the way they forgot the reason teams play sports; to win. I’d love to see a a playoff game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Celtics or the Heat. Keep playing the guys who give you the best chance to do that.
Thanks for caring so much Doug, and for working so hard. I’m sure your bosses appreciate it. It’s pretty clear the players appreciate it. I just wanted you to know that the fans do too.