Did It Happen This Sixers Season or Not? A 15-Question Quiz
See how you score!
Andrew Unterberger is a famous writer who invented the nickname 'Sauce Castillo' and is now writing for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez, as part of the 'If Not, Pick Will Convey As Two Second-Rounders' section of the site. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AUGetoffmygold and can also read him at Billboard.
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Yesterday, a friend asked me if as a Sixers fan, I was still only scared of facing the Bucks in the playoffs, as I had expressed earlier in the season. I laughed.
Not because I either was or wasn't still a believer in the Sixers only having one real challenge in the East. I just can't believe I'm in a place where someone would expect me, or anyone else, to answer a question like that again. I've sort of been able to wrap my head around the NBA season coming back to Disney, and my reaction to getting to watch them play again is the exact opposite of Billy Corgan when he has to ride the Big Mountain Thunder Railroad one more time. But like. Are we really just picking the season up right where we left off, narratives and arguments and all? Do I have to have opinions about this team again? Hilarious.
It's sorta hard for me to believe we're basically popping the VHS back in at the same spot we left it at after what will then be four-plus months of it sitting on the shelf. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, I've already read the Wikipedia entry on how this movie ends. And if we really are gonna try to pick it right back up, do we even really remember what happened over the first 90 minutes, or are we gonna spend the last half-hour asking obnoxious questions about character and plot developments we've long since spaced on?
Anyway, to test our collective sharpness and get our memory jogging after three months with no basketball, I've devised a 15-question quiz. Simple format: I'll mention 15 things that could have conceivably happened with this Sixers team this season, and you answer whether it did or not. 10/15 is passing, 13/15 you're the assistant general manager, 15/15 you're SixersAdam. (9/15 or fewer, congratulations on being free and maybe just stick with Netflix and basic cable for the summer.)
Q1: Ben Simmons did in fact hit a three-pointer this regular season.
A: Yes! Though I bet if you tried to convince me that the only one he ever hit was that half-ender in the preseason and he refused to even consciously shoot one again during the season proper, I'd believe you pretty quickly. But no, Ben Simmons did actually hit two three-pointers in regulation play this season -- one against the Knicks at home, and one against Cleveland on the road -- and is currently shooting a higher percentage from three on the season than Luka Doncic.
Q2: Glenn Robinson III did in fact hit a three-pointer this regular season.
A: Also yes! Following his and Alec Burks' Lawrence of Arabia journey down I-95 to finally join the Sixers after being left in Brooklyn by Golden State, Glenn Robinson III proceeded to miss his first 10 threes as a Sixer. (He did pause his cold streak briefly to publicly grouse about not knowing his role on his new team.) But then he broke out of his slump with a red-hot 3-5 game against the Lakers, ultimately finishing his first 12-game tour with the Sixers shooting an only-mostly-miserable 29% from deep.
Q3: Zhaire Smith did in fact hit a three-pointer this regular season.
A: Not as such. Zhaire has only lifted three triples in the 32 total minutes he's played as a Sixer this season, and has yet to hit a one. In the J.J. Redick timeline he at least got ahead of Burks in the Sixers rotation by the playoffs, but in this chronology, only time will tell if he's given the chance to expand upon the Meaningful Minute he played in last year's postseason.
Q4: Joel Embiid put up 50 against the Hawks at home.
A: Very close! But not quite -- he only got to 49, still a career high. (I feel like I held onto some And He Would've Gotten 50 Too If... excuse at the time but I can't remember what the "If" was. Maybe just "If he'd scored one more point.") Until rewatching this video I'd also forgotten that he got to 49 with 30 seconds to go, on a play where Furkan Korkmaz passed up a wide-open layup to get Embiid one more look, and where Jo dribbled into a long three essentially as the shot clock expired, then did the cup-to-the-ear thing along with an extended Milly Rock. (It literally says "Milly Rock" in the ESPN video title!) How have we gone three months without this guy? How do we do that every summer?!??
Q5: Joel Embiid was held entirely scoreless by the Raptors during a game.
A: Oof, yes, though I double-checked the box score just to make sure I was remembering it right. Still not quite sure how that happened, outside from magnetic rims and repulsive Marc Gasol, but in a season of gut-punching road losses, Joel posting the first bagel of his career North of the Border -- do they have bagels in Canada? -- was perhaps the hardest for me to stomach.
Q6: Al Horford literally went a week without scoring for the Sixers.
A: Nope, but you had to think about it, didn't you? He did score under ten points seven times in nine games during one brutal February stretch -- including a big ol' goose egg in a home win against Chicago -- but generally, most of his season was spent more in the realm of consistently disappointing than outright catastrohpic. His numbers were ticking up without Ben Simmons in the lineup, so he's probably the one person in Philadelphia who's not hyped at the photos of how jacked Ben has gotten.
Q7: Anna Horford got into a public Twitter fight with a local Sixers blogger.
A: Couldn't swear by it but think this one's a no too. Despite the proud tradition of Sixers relatives getting into it with Liberty Ballers alums, the closest Al Horford's Twitter-popular sis came to this I believe was calling the fanbase "confusing af" in response to video of the not-WFC crowd booing Embiid, getting into it with a since-deleted Tony Bruno tweet in response, and generally implying shade over her bro coming off the bench. Maybe saving this specific subplot for the playoffs.
Ike Reese, who once jumped on Mike's back after the Sixers won the Lottery, joins the show to talk about his afternoon show on 94WIP, Ben Simmons and the Sixers after the layoff in the weirdo Orlando playoffs, and his experience on the air in the last two weeks during the George Floyd protests.
Q8: Shake Milton tied an NBA record for the most consecutive three-pointers made.
A: This part really does feel like a late-season fever dream, but yes this in fact did happen. Over the course of three games -- one of course being which Shake's instantly iconic 37-point performance against the Clippers in Los Angeles, a.k.a. the Shake Milton game -- Shake drained 13 triples in a row, tying Brent Barry and Terry Mills for the all-time mark. Perhaps most remarkably, that stretch wasn't followed by a stretch of him going 1-23 from deep (a.k.a. the Korkmaz Komedown), but rather an entirely respectable 7-18 mark over his next four games.
Q9: Furkan Korkmaz hit a buzzer-beating three on the road to defeat the Sacramento Kings.
A: Not quite! The happiest Saturday night of Furkey from Turkey's life did indeed come on the West Coast, but it was against the Blazers, not the Kings. Most remarkably, this shot brought the Sixers to 5-0 for the season, pretty much the last time we thought that the Sixers were finally gonna have a full season cashing in on the good karma we'd bought with seven years of injuries and out-of-body-weirdnesses. (BTW, bonus points if you could name the two teams Furk's back-to-back 30-point games happened against this season: the Grizzlies and the Bulls.)
Q10: Reports surfaced in February quoting sources that it was "conference finals or bust" for Brett Brown if he wanted to keep his job beyond this season.
A lot of things happened with this team in February, but I don't believe this was one of them. In fact as far as I can remember (or Google) there hasn't been anything so far this regular season to fan the flames of the Fire Brett Brown crowd -- beyond the team's perpetually underwhelming performance, anyway. That said, I'd put the over-under on this one actually surfacing for July 15, about a week before the season is supposed to pick up again.
Q11: The Sixers went a month without a road win.
Better believe it, y'all. In between their Simmons-led MLK Day win in Brooklyn and their short-handed March 5 victory in Sacramento, they lost nine consecutive road games over the span of a month and a half. Of course, we made sure to wash the good taste out of our mouths with that one immediately after with a Saturday night loss to a Golden State Warriors starting Mychal Mulder, Juan Toscando-Anderson, Sage the Gemini and the ghost of Šarünas Marčiulionis -- which, appropriately, stands as our final road outcome to date.
Q12: The Sixers went a month without a home loss.
Also true, at least -- multiple times. In fact we haven't lost a home game yet this year, still standing at 29-2 after winning our last 15 straight at the not-WFC. (I could've sworn they picked up a third home loss in there somewhere, but I guess that was J.J. Redick timeline.)
Q13: Matisse Thybulle racked up more total steals than field goals on the season.
No, but it was pretty close for a while -- by the end of January, Matisse was at 68 field goals and 64 steals. His pickpocketing slowed down a little from there, and now it's 96 field goals to 80 steals. Probably too much of a discrepancy to make up for in eight regular season games, though we'll see how raging Matisse's lust for swipes is after three months in TikTok storage.
Q14: Norvel Pelle started three games for the Sixers this season.
No, but I absolutely talked myself into this being true before double-checking for myself. For this team who put a truly wild amount of their offseason resources into their backup center position to have to reach for a two-way guy to man the middle for at least three jump balls this season -- feels right, doesn't it? Still time, I guess, though if it happens let's hope it's due to locked-in playoff seeding and not Jo and Horf getting their limbs mangled in some runaway Rock 'n' Roller Coaster cart collision.
Q15: The Sixers beat every team in the Eastern Conference at least once.
Yep. In fact, the only team that they played multiple times and haven't beaten is the Dallas Mavericks. Everyone else, West or East, they've either beaten or should have had a game still to go against. Lost to most of 'em at least once too, of course -- but nobody's bullying us this season, and every game is a home game at the Happiest Place on Earth.