At times, it felt like the Process era at the Wells Fargo Center last night. It was quiet and sleepy. The arena was half-empty and at least one team played like total shit.

But unlike 2015, that team was not your home town 76ers. It was the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, a wretched abomination of a 19-win squad that might do well to hire Sam Hinkie and attempt to replicate the Sixers’ rebuild.

One of the positive things about last night’s snowstorm was that the most annoying season ticket holder in the building did not make it to the game. There’s a lady who sits to the right of the press area who yells at the opposing team’s bench:




She does this at least 12-14 times per game, even when the second unit is on the floor and the starters are on the bench. Derek Bodner sits closest to this woman and usually gets up and tries to move a few seats to the left, just to create some distance.

So it’s a shame she wasn’t able to get to the arena last night, but, you know, safety first.

While the crowd obviously was not incredibly loud, the Sixers generated their own energy, starting well enough against a sub-.500 team and kicking it up the notch in the second half, building a 30-point lead that allowed Brett Brown to take his starting unit out of the game with about two minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

All five first unit members played limited minutes while contributing 15, 15, 15, 14, and 13 points:

And everybody on the bench scored. James Young and Demetrius Jackson got a run. It was just a weird game all-around, with the playoff-bound Sixers thoroughly dismantling a lesser team and taking questions afterward about looking at the standings and thinking about possible postseason matchups.

We’ve come a long way in four short years. It feels like the days of Casper Ware and Alexey Schved were aeons ago. It feels like the days of Jason Kapono and Willie Green and Sharone Wright were multiple aeons ago.

If the playoffs began today, the 40-30 76ers would host the Indiana Pacers in a 4/5 matchup for the ages:

Brett Brown has admitted in the past that he keeps an eye on the standings, not necessarily in terms of looking ahead, but more of a due diligence thing.

He touched on that before the game:

“It’s completely a thought, but it’s not so much who I would like to play, it’s with all of the math that’s now available, there are predictors out there that say you’ve got a really good chance of playing Washington or Indiana, as an example. You pay attention a little bit to that, get a little more clarity as it gets close, obviously. But yes, we’ve been on this for, I think (the media) had asked it a week ago, we’ve been on this for awhile. The closer it gets to the end of the season, the more clear the math gets on who is the best possible matchup.”

They’re talking about it and thinking about it, no real superstition or “jinx” mentality with Detroit still technically alive, but on life support for the 8th seed in the east.

Robert Covington was also asked if he looks at the scores and standings every night:

“Absolutely. Absolutely. You gotta see where we fall in there right now. It’s crazy just to see that slot, third through seventh, that it’s one or two games that could dictate how things fall. So we have to put ourselves in the best position possible and if we continue to do what we’re doing, and if things keep going the way they’re going, it’s a possibility we can get home court advantage.”

Joel Embiid got the same question, and the Q/A series revolved around his health and whether he’d like to get a rest or play every game in pursuit of home court.

Brown had earlier said that he’d like to find a game to get Embiid a rest, but Joel doesn’t seem interested in that:

“Well, I’m playing in every game.”

“We didn’t come this far to rest me. I was always complaining about playing every game, and in back-to-backs, and I’m sure the fans were, too, so now that we’re here.. I mean, I understand maybe (sitting) the last game before the playoffs, but other than that, I want to play every game because it’s my first chance I’m getting to do it. If I play every game for the rest of the season, I think I’ll be at 71. The goal going into the season was never close to that, not even close to that. I feel good about myself. I’ve been happy the whole season and I’ve been doing my job. I know that when I play we have a better chance to win.”

Rest Embiid for the playoffs or let him do his thing? That’s probably going to be the biggest storyline as we head into the postseason.

Covington’s role

I wrote a lot about Robert Covington last week, and why people are sort of all over the place when evaluating what he brings to the team. I didn’t have a “hot take” one way or the other, I just wanted to lay out what I see in his defensive contributions that I don’t think people understand.

Long story short, he’s not an amazing, quick, suffocating, 1v1 defender. He’s not going to slide with Dwyane Wade and blanket him into oblivion. What he does is switch with versatility, guard different guys, deflect passes, and play a team game.

I asked Brett about that pregame, the idea that Covington gets a lot of criticism when his shot isn’t falling, and asked him if fans and media are looking at the wrong things:

“I think you are. I think you are. I feel that when you look at how we use him, he’s our Swiss army knife defensively. Don’t go away from the fact, you might see him playing some four in the playoffs if we’re lucky to get there. Who knows how that all works out. But he guards point guards, he can guard a four-man, he can guard twos and threes. We feel his lack of performance – if you wanna call it that – the most when he doesn’t make shots, but I see him as being one of our elite defensive players that I rely on to make big plays, especially late. I think some of the criticism that I’m told he receives – I was actually told by our (public relations staff) that I might get asked about this – if it’s true, what they’ve told me, then I don’t think it’s entirely fair.”

Same exact question to Covington in the locker room – do you get a fair shake for your defensive contributions when the shot isn’t falling?

“No.. some people do (look at it fairly), some people don’t. It’s a good and bad thing that people pay attention to, but people really don’t pay attention to the game completely. I don’t get caught up in the criticism that comes with it. It’s part of the game. Everybody it entitled to an opinion. Just got to continue not to let it get to you and that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve hit these stretches before and you just got to play through it because if you let it get to you you’ll go crazy, especially with these fans (laughs).”

A follow-up: is there something we should be focusing on, paying more attention to on the defensive side of the floor?

“It’s a lot more to it. You have to think about the deflections, the loose balls, steals and helping my team in so many different ways. A lot of people don’t really pay attention to that part. As a unit we understand what we have to do to really make up for mistakes at times.”

Something to think about. Covington was 6-9 last night and is shooting 49% in March.

As for the game itself, there’s really nothing worth mentioning. They clubbed Memphis. The highlight was T.J. McConnell going up for a jump ball and fouling Jarell Martin in the process.