Somewhere near the bottom of the NBA scoreboard on Feb. 6, 2016, fans saw what appeared to be a no-big-deal game: Sixers 103, Nets 98.
Yeah it was noteworthy because the Sixers actually won a game. It was only their eighth win all year, after all.
But the Nets are and always will be the Nets, and if Philadelphia is gonna beat anyone, it might as well be New Jersey.
Here’s how this game was different: Both Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel had good games on the same night … and both played together down the stretch … and the Sixers won.
Okafor scored 22 points and racked up a career-high 17 boards to go with a very uncharacteristic 3 blocks. Noel had 18 points on 8-11 shooting to go along with 4 boards and 3 blocks.
So why the breakthrough? There have been reports that new sheriff in town Jerry Colangelo has pushed the idea of having Okafor play more power forward, allowing Noel to go back to his natural position at center where he can play rim enforcer.
Another reason is the two big men are simply gelling, thanks to the fact that they’ve now played several games together with a playmaker, Ish Smith, at the helm. A young, inexperienced team without a playmaker is like a car riding on ice with bald tires. It just goes wherever, and more often than not it crashes and burns. With Ish in the fold, both Jah and Noel are getting alley-oops and nice dishes on dribble-drives.Please, blog, may I have some more?