15 Signs The Sixers Are Going To Lose To A Team They Should Beat
Anyone who has been around knows all of these.
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It felt like a loss. You didn't really want to believe it -- this was the Wizards, after all, and the Sixers should be able to beat them pretty handily, even on the road, right? But when it was announced that Thomas Bryant was going to be out for the game -- Washington's lone credible starting center -- and then when the stat started circulating yesterday that Philadelphia hadn't won, it was pretty obvious that it was going to be Like That. After Washington scored the first point of the game, I was basically ready to write this one off.
It's fine. I promised, not all that long ago, that having seen them demolish the Miami Heat in the one game of the season it was clear that they really cared enough to fully lock in, I wasn't going to get upset after losses where the team's blase attitude doomed them against an inferior opponent. Games like this happen, and they definitely happen to the Sixers, and they definitely happen to the Sixers when they're playing the Wizards in Washington. I hate it but it's OK.
All that said, if you've been watching the Sixers for as long as most of us have, you know by now that there are signs to help you spot a game like this early on. Here are 15 warning signs you can look out for, most of which were plainly viewable in the game last night. Unlike Mike and Spike, I don't advocate skipping the games entirely -- under any circumstances, really -- but I do approve of making an early transition to I'm Not Mad It's Funny Actually when appropriate.
1. The Sixers get out to a considerable early lead, but cough it up much quicker and with much less resistance than you'd expect.
2. Someone on the team that normally hits their free throws at a decent rate goes 0-2 from the line.
3. The team should be able to play for the last shot of the quarter, but either turn the ball over or run their play way too early, and the opposing team ends up scoring at the other end before time expires.
4. The team gets out on the fast break early and often, but no matter how lopsided the man advantage is, it invariably leads to a turnover or a congested drive that needs to be worked back out around the perimeter.
5. Someone gets fouled on the way to the basket, but can't convert what should be an easy finish for an and-one -- then splits free throws at the line.
6. An exhaustive defensive sequence and superlative five-man effort leads to an opposing miss, then an offensive rebound, which turns into an easy putback or a kickout for a wide-open three.
7. Joel Embiid starts passing up decently uncontested looks at jumpers to drive into congested lanes.
8. Al Horford gets mad enough about something to nearly earn himself a technical foul.
9. Brett Brown is shown on camera for a good half-minute looking up at a replay with absolutely incredulity, hoping for confirmation that he isn't (or maybe that he is) insane.
10. A reliable role player gets a wide-open look at a three in a key moment during a late-game comeback drive and bricks it badly.
11. An opposing shooter makes you utter the words "Well, he has to miss eventually" before we even get to halftime.
12. Two Sixers go for a rebound at the same time, and the ball bounces off both of them and out of bounds.
13. A key player for the opposing team is already missing, giving the Sixers a matchup advantage that they should (in theory) be able to easily exploit throughout the context, which they subsequently fail repeatedly to exploit.
14. The Sixers go into the game just one win away from securing a relatively meaningless achievement that nonetheless means an enormous amount to me emotionally (like, say, having a record that puts them on pace for a 60-win season).
15. The Sixers are playing in motherfucking Washington.