While most of the city argues about the Eagles offseason moves or prepares for pitchers and catchers to report to Phillies spring training, the Sixers next big event seems to be the NBA Draft. Just don’t tell that to the players.
In the midst of a 7-game losing streak, down 16 in the 3rd quarter to the Houston Rockets and in the second of back-to-back road games, the Sixers had every reason to mail it in, get on the plane and get ready for Boston on Friday. Instead, led by their young players, a fiery Samuel Dalembert, and an injured Andre Miller, they came all the way back to defeat the Rockets 111-107.
What was impressive about this win? It’s impressive because Andre Miller played after nearly having his eye gouged out the night before in San Antonio. Because the cruch-time line-up consisted of Miller, Igoudala, Dalembert, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, the latter 2 being young players whose development is a big part of the team’s future. Because Young played those crunch-time minutes with a giant bulge on his forehead after a meeting with Rafer Alston’s elbow. Beacuse Dalembert has been playing like a man possessed (15.2 ppg, 13.6 rpg in his last 5) and at 26, is showing a great deal of fire and emotion on the court for the first time in his career.
Why does it matter? Not because this win will propel the Sixers to make a run at the playoffs – it won’t. Rather, in a city that is starved for athletes who care as much as they do about their teams, the young players on the Sixers are showing that not only do they have the talent to win some games for this franchise, but if they don’t, it will never be from lack of effort. Watching Iggy and Sammy dance around yelling like they had just won a playoff game after their game-sealing alley-oop was a great moment. Too bad most people were watching T.O. crying on YouTube to see it.