If you want to read good news about your 76ers, this isn't the blog post for you.
Watching last night's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks felt a little bit like watching the rest of the season unravel. It looked like bad, energy-less basketball, and it felt like the outcome was not of much concern to many of the Sixers. After the game, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said his team had energy and played smart and it was just disappointing they couldn't win the game. Honestly, Jordan might have been talking about himself -- he seemed more animated and focused than most of his players. At one point he stormed down the sidelines spewing expletives about some on-court mistake, but it seemed there was no one specifically to take the blame.
All this is to say that last night in Milwaukee, sitting a few feet from the bench, it became very clear how frustrated and despondent this team has become (or is? or can be?). Here are a few observations:
1.) During the fourth quarter, when Milwaukee built a 10-point lead, one of the Sixers was on the bench making a gesture for a timeout, clearly indicating his confusion as to why Jordan wouldn't call a timeout to stop the Bucks run.
2.) For much of the second half, certain players didn't even appear interested in the game. On one offensive possession for the Sixers -- on the other end of the court -- one player was staring off into the stands, disinterested.
3.) As has been written about, Jordan took out Lou Williams after he got called for a charging foul -- this was one of the game's very last plays -- and Williams did not join the team huddle for the drawing up of the next play. Williams went and sat on the end of the bench with his head in his hands. Assistant coach Randy Ayers actually had to call him over to join the huddle. Turns out he then checked into the game.
4.) During the first half, some players, while actually on the court, didn't seem particularly focused on the game. After making a play, they were actually looking over at other players on the bench: maybe while walking to the free throw line, or after having been called for a foul. There'd be some sort of exchange: a laugh, a shake of the head, some mouthed words. Seemed like one big, long inside joke.
At this point, after everything that's been said and written, it feels impossible to write all these things again. But sitting in Milwaukee last night, it became clear this situation is not improving. The Sixers could have beaten the Bucks anytime they wanted last night. That they lost last night's game seems improbable, but if you were there and noticed all these little things, it would make more sense why they did lose. And why they have lost. And why they'll likely keep losing until something is sorted out.