A lost season hit its low point last night in Philadelphia, when an Orlando team that is now 4-28 in its last 32 games blew out the Sixers, resulting in a postgame borderline meltdown from Doug Collins. Over an excruciating 10 minutes, Collins did the following:
• Passed the buck for Philly’s awful game almost totally onto the players, saying he’s only in charge of “execution,” while implying the players are responsible for everything else. That includes “effort,” Collins said. And more: “I did not think our guys prepared themselves during the [All-Star] break to come back and play.”
• Went out of his way to specifically mention that Nikola Vucevic grabbed 19 rebounds, while Spencer Hawes snagged just one in 21 minutes. In related news: Vucevic was a member of the Sixers last season, and he was even in the rotation before Collins tossed him through the always-revolving turnstile that leads to Collins’s doghouse. Vucevic played less than three minutes total in Philly’s 13 playoff games. The Sixers’ front office, acting to a large extent under Collins’s directive, traded Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Andre Iguodala, and a future first-round pick away in the Andrew Bynum deal.
On November 4, in New York, the Sixers lost to the Knicks, 100-84. Nick Young played 32 minutes, scored five points on 2-10 shooting, and had a plus/minus of -29. Minus. Twenty-nine. That’s when it hit me: This is happening. Nick Young isn’t on Twitter or in photos or video lowlights. He’s on the Sixers. He’s a Sixer. He is part of my life now, and like a ghost that haunts your apartment, you need to make peace with these things. So, I decided to live-blog the Sixers game against New Orleans last night. I fully anticipate this to read like a Sullivan Ballou letter from Ken Burns’s The Civil War. Spoiler: That guy dies. Cue up “Ashokan Farewell.” Let’s go.
After the Clippers' win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, Chris Paul asked Nick Young and Nick Young's shirt to accompany him to the postgame press conference and hang until Blake Griffin was done primping. Swaggy P listened, sat in Blake's seat, and proceeded to let the star of this show, his shirt, provide laughs for Chris, the reporters, and anyone with an Internet connection.
Ivan Johnson and Nick Young. Two of the most interesting players in our beloved National Basketball Association, less because of their abilities and skills and more because it's fun to imagine what goes on in their heads while they do puzzling things.
I've long been thinking that these two men needed to have a formal meeting. Thank goodness for Tuesday night.
I have been staring at Nick Young's box score, on and off, for the last couple of hours. Numbers are supposed to help us understand players, their performances, and their contributions and deficiencies. But to look at Nick Young's stats from the Clippers' Monday-night victory over the Thunder and say, simply, that he had zero assists, would be like saying Jack Kerouac's On the Road is a story about a guy who needs a lift. There's so much more to it than that.
Young was "wandering through the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in a leather jacket, baseball cap, flip-flops and socks" when he came across the ceremony. Members of the wedding party recognized Young, and he was invited in. The DJ then announced his presence and he gave an impromptu toast. "I just said, ‘Congratulations to the bride and groom,’ I didn’t know nobody," Young said. "I went in there and gave a speech. I was a wedding crasher. Will Ferrell. I didn’t have nothing else to do."