Four-for-Four: The Fight or Flight Edition

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Indulge me for a moment, as I may be grasping at straws here. Nevertheless, as the 76ers were closing out their second win in four games against the Celtics in the TD Garden Arena Friday night, I came upon the realization that there might be something inherent with this Sixers team that could prove invaluable in the coming years.

The team’s coach, Brett Brown, grew up in Portland, Maine before attending Boston University for his undergrad. Though not the prototypical Boston accent, the draw with which Brown speaks reeks of New England roots and his vast knowledge of basketball is thanks in large part to growing up in a hotbed of hoops during the peak of the Celtics dominance.

Nerlens Noel, the injured big-man who once tweeted ‘4-4-14’ in a cryptic message circling the date of the 76ers last road game against the Celtics of the season, grew up in Malden, Massachusetts: a hop, skip, and a jump away from TD Garden. Noel is a noted fan of the Patriots, and one can only figure he grew up following the Celtics to go along with other Boston sports allegiances. Though the bouncy 19-year old did not make his NBA debut Friday night against Boston, there was something to that 4-4-14 tweet that made the date special.

Then, there is Michael Carter-Williams. The lanky point guard and likely Rookie of the Year has had to take on as many lumps as an NBA player can over the course of his first year in the league. The 11th overall pick in 2013 has shined more than he has struggled, and has taken the record-threatening losses in stride like a veteran. MCW grew up in Hamilton, Massachusetts which is just under an hour north of Boston. Prior to Friday’s game, the guard gushed over what it meant to him to play in front of family and friends, and even admitted some emotional play in the team’s first game in Boston that threw him off his rhythm. Those jitters were nowhere to be found on Friday, as Carter-Williams went off for 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead Philadelphia to a win.

So, to recap, the coach, point guard, and big man of the future are all from the same region as the franchise’s biggest rival. Coincidence? Maybe. Benefit? No doubt about it. The way things are set up with the Atlantic Division of the NBA as far as draft picks and current age of roster should see the Celtics and 76ers rising in terms of competitiveness along a similar trajectory. Though one cannot predict the future of how lottery balls fall and what free agency moves the teams make, both organizations made it clear prior to the season that now was the time to undergo an overhaul rather than seeing their teams fizzle into irrelevancy. With the Knicks and Nets sporting aging rosters and the Raptors still deciding whether or not they want to play on the big stage, the scene is set for the Celtics and 76ers to converge on a crash course for who will reign supreme in the division. I’m not sure about you, but I feel a whole lot more comfortable having arguably the three most important people within the organization feeling as comfortable as possible in a city that has caused nightmares for the Philadelphia sports teams over the years. There’s nothing to substantiate how a player performs in his hometown or how a coach goes about constructing a gameplan to topple the team he followed as a kid, but something tells me the 76ers New England Trio might just try to make TD Garden a home away from home before it is all said and done. By the way, the 76ers are 2-0 in Boston this season. Just saying…


Remember like a dozen sentences ago when I said Michael Carter-Williams came off much more like a veteran than a rookie? That’s not even the half of it. A relieved MCW spoke to the media following the team’s win over the Pistons that snapped a 26-game win streak. Carter-Williams has always spoken with such poise and purpose, so his media availability is usually a spectacle on its own. With MCW sitting in his locker, national media members in attendance to potentially witness a new NBA record for futility were instead treated to just another nugget of what makes the potential NBA Rookie of the Year so special.

Yep, that’s a poster with every NBA official and his or her name on it beyond MCW’s shoulder. Carter-Williams recognizes all too well his place as a rookie in the league and is clearly doing everything that he can to develop any sort of edge in the future or present that will set him apart from his opponents. Tough to say just how much memorizing the names of refs will do for the rookie going forward, but it certainly can’t hurt.


On Thursday, the 76ers and their PR Department set forth a very peculiar event known as ’76 Minutes of Mayhem’. It was essentially an outreach to the fans complete with giveaways and appearances of the Dance Team. For some reason or another, there were also giant-headed versions of historical figures who looked as if they belonged in a horror movie of some sort. The results were expectedly hysterical.

The amount of laughter 76ers fans might get from this season if the team develops into a contender is definitely something to monitor. If nothing else, it has been a memorable stretch for a team that probably won’t break the 20-win mark.