Either getting older or getting more numb.
Fast. Very fast.
That’s the only conclusion I can reach about my ever-devolving state as the “more at risk” minutes tick along in lock step, apparently, with the 2021 NBA playoffs shelf life for the 76ers.
Gotta be honest, Wednesday night’s 109-106 Game 5 loss to Atlanta didn’t faze me or surprise me.
Or, gasp, even bother me.
A 26-point lead … blown.
An overrated player disappeared. A star struggled. Role players were hit-or-miss. The coach mismanaged the whole deal.
Sorry, but, I mean, who didn’t see this coming?
It’s a storyline that has played out either completely or partially the same throughout this second-round series … with the Hawks, in a plot twist, cast in the role of the Sixers in the opener.
I’ve seen this act for so long now, ever since Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons became the core of Philly’s pro franchise, that it just ceases to get a rise outta me.
Whether I’m listening to my father get all fired up about what happened in the Wells Fargo Center at THE most crucial juncture of this best-of-seven series, if not the entire Embiid-Simmons tenure, or the callers to, and hosts of, sports talk radio scream for the heads of Doc Rivers and Simmons, it hits at all once:
What’s up with me?
Why am I not feeling, acting the same way?
The repetitiveness of it all wears on me, I know that. We’re not hearing any new complaints, any new suggestions, any new anything. It’s all been said and done – or not done – before.
Oh, we get some revisionist history thrown in there, like the gripes coming in how the Sixers tried to force the ball inside to Embiid late, putting him in 1-on-3 situations.
Huh? Every situation Embiid found himself in with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter was his own doing. Trip after trip down the floor, he’d get the ball at the top of the key, even behind the arc, and he’d drive to the basket regardless of how wide open he was when he first received the ball. This wasn’t one or two times. This was repeatedly, and, frankly, his lack of success to generate any offense that way was the key factor in a double-digit lead just evaporating.
Well, that and a lot of Swiss cheese defense. Trae Young is great and all, but, c'mon ...
It gets old. The sliding scale of excuses has now shifted from covering Simmons’ lack of aggression and shooting flaws to Embiid’s gas tank. Meanwhile, the bitching about Ben grows after an outing which, clearly, he was a lesser evil than Tobias Harris.
It gets annoying. Say the Sixers rebound and win the series – keep in mind, Philly fans, that this “worst loss in your life” did NOT end the team’s season – and what do you think will happen then?
The same stuff. Knock the opponent. Boast on the Sixers. Praise Joel. Rip Ben. Sweat out the series.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Now if a championship somehow emerged from one of the cycles, OK.
Otherwise, ho-hum. They’re just boring me or numbing me to death.