The Sixers won their first game of the season at Target Center on Wednesday night after starting 0-17. The win also meant avoiding the record books for the worst start in NBA history (the New Jersey Nets started 0-18 in 2009-10).
Michael Carter-Williams finished with some cool stats - 20 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals - but didn't look all that great. He had 6 turnovers, bricked a handful of jumpers, and was rather one-dimensional in his scoring: drive right, finish right.
Robert Covington was a huge X-factor for Philadelphia, scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. I've heard of Covington before, but was surprised to see him rip the Wolves. I was playing "My Player" on NBA2K and Covington was my partner in crime on some D-League team . Good for him, bad for Minnesota.
K.J. McDaniels was probably the most impressive Sixers player of all. He does a little bit of everything and his explosiveness is eye-opening. The rookie from Clemson had a terrible shooting night (4-13) but still put his stamp on the game with four blocks, four offensive rebounds (9 total) and 12 points.
I'm not going to spend too much time analyzing the specifics of this brutal game - losing to the worst team in basketball is discouraging enough to begin with. It was a demoralizing experience; arguably the sloppiest game I've ever witnessed in person, filled with turnovers, loose balls and dreadful offensive execution. Obviously the Wolves are in a rough spot given the injuries to Rubio, Martin and Pekovic, but losing to this Sixers squad was, and will be for a while, an embarrassing moment for the franchise.
There were numerous instances where the Sixers simply outhustled the Wolves to gain possession or make a positive play. They wanted to win more, which is interesting because Saunders wanted to win too; evident by his reluctance to play the bench. Mo Williams and Corey Brewer played 39 minutes apiece, Thad Young logged 36 minutes, Dieng played a season-high 41 minutes (also matching his career-high) and Wiggins topped off the starting lineup with 30 minutes, but Dieng was the only one that really had a good game (15 points, 16 rebounds).
Off the bench? Shabazz Muhammad scored 4 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 17 minutes, while LaVine (15) and Hummel (14) were the only other guys to play double-digit minutes. Truthfully, I'm really not sure why Muhammad didn't get more run. For all of his flaws, he always competes and gives great effort.
Overall, there were 36 turnovers in the game and neither team could hit a shot with any sort of consistency. There were numerous airballs and bricks, both offenses stalled for long periods of time - the Sixers had 9 pointers in the second quarter and still won the game - and yet the pure sloppiness of it all wasn't the worst part. The Wolves effort and execution was. Whenever there was effort there wasn't execution and more often than not there was neither effort nor execution. The game was about as bad as I could imagine (and I'm not trying to be overly dramatic).
"It's tough. I know that's going be on everyone's mind, the whole team. No team wanted to be that team," Wiggins said after the game. Not much else was said.
Side note: everyone on offense looked genuinely confused. Part of that is on Rubio's absence, as well as Martin and Pekovic, but Flip Saunders and Mo Williams deserve plenty of blame. Nobody legitimately looked like they knew what to do offensively. And seriously... can anyone besides Rubio throw an entry pass to Dieng or Young on the block?
Below are GIFs of what many Wolves players and fans looked like during the final minutes and immediately after the game (and yes, this is how I currently feel as I'm writing this):
Here's what Saunders had to say (apologies for the shakiness/glitches):
I don't have much else to add, so here's a recipe for Apple Pie from the White House Kitchen. This was sent to me by @JoshsPseudonym, also known as Mr. Eggplant in this neck of the woods:
3 cups (about 13 oz ) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz. (2 and 1/2 sticks) cool room temperature, unsalted butter, cut into ??-inch pieces
6-7 tablespoons ice water
1 egg and 1 teaspoon salt for egg wash
3 lbs apples, such as Gala, Granny Smith or McIntosh, peeled cored and cut into half-inch wedges.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey, preferably local
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of one lemon
Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse five times. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-sized pieces, about 20 seconds. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until mixture just holds together. Divide dough and form into two equal-sized balls, then press each ball down to form a 5-inch disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to two days. On a lightly floured surface roll out each disc into a 14-inch circle. Place one circle between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate.
Grease a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan and gently place the other circle in the pan, leaving a one-inch overhang. Chill the dough in the pie pan for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 375. Remove the pie pan with the bottom crust from the refrigerator and let soften for five to ten minutes. Fold the edge of the overhang under itself and pinch the dough to form a fluted edge. Line with foil and fill with pie weights, rice, or navy beans. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and lift out foil and pie weights; allow pie shell to cool for 10 minutes.
In a large saucepan, sift together the sugar and cornstarch, then toss with apples, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Bring fruit mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened slightly, making sure fruit does not stick to the bottom of saucepan. Remove from heat and cool.
Whisk the egg and salt and brush the rim of the prebaked pie shell. Fill with the fruit filling and then lay the second dough circle over the filling, press very gently around the edges to make sure the egg wash seals the top pie dough to the bottom pre-baked crust. With a paring knife, puncture the top pie dough in a wide circle about 10 times with the tip of the knife to form steam vents. Brush top with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake another 30-40 minutes or until the pie filling is starting to bubble out the vents and the top pie crust is golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 1-2 hours before serving.
(The egg wash is an egg that is stirred and thinned out by adding salt, it is then used as a paint to give color to the finished baked product or to stick the two doughs together, in this case the top and bottom of the pie.)
Serves: 10 - 12
Main Ingredients: apples, honey, cornstarch, sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, cinnamon