Sixers vs. Cavaliers doesn't exactly have much of an organic grudge match feel to it. The two play in different divisions, have rarely been particularly good at the same time, and have little shared history beyond the disastrous (for the Sixers, anyway) Brad Daugherty-Roy Hinson trade 27 years ago. The Cavs have been had good moments and bad moments this year and are expected to eventually do better, the Sixers have had good moments and bad moments and are expected to eventually do worse.
The only thing really giving this Friday night matchup is That No Longer That-Funny-Looking Kid With the Shorn Hair, Andrew Bynum, in his first time playing on the Wells Fargo Center since...well, whenever the Lakers played here in 2011-'12, I guess. Bynum of course was supposed to play for the Sixers last year, didn't, and has since signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It sounds like a perfect time for Philly fans to indulge all their worst, most ESPN-baiting impulses, and boo the everloving crap out of Andrew Bynum any time he touches the ball, breathes, or otherwise allows his existence to be felt tonight at the WFC. And no doubt, some will do just that, still smarting at the $50 they wasted on a Bynum #33 Shirsey or the hours they wasted watching Bynum highlights on loop, just waiting for The Day.
I imagine that it won't be all that satisfying, though. If Bynum is a villain, he's not a very powerful one at the moment--despite him playing in four games this season, his knee issues have not abated, and his pre-game media quotes have been far more pitiable than infuriating. Indeed, an hour before gametime, it's not even sure that he'll play at all against the Sixers tonight.
For their part, Bynum's Sixer ex-teammates appear to sympathize.
#Sixers Turner on expected Bynum reaction: 'They boo us sometimes. I can only imagine.'
— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) November 8, 2013
"We practiced one day with him," Evan Turner said of Andrew Bynum. "He's had rough luck. He's a big human."
— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) November 8, 2013
Yeah. Hard to get too worked up at this point. Besides, as I talked about earlier, we're probably better off that things went the way they did. I'd still like to win the game and I'll still be pissed if Bynum somehow explodes for 25 and ten, but it's looking like the chances of that are pretty slim at the moment.
Anyway, Sixers are 3-2, and with a loss tonight, they'll have officially nullified their ridiculous 3-0 start, and perhaps starting the tankapalooza of a season we expected all along, just six games late. Long as Spence and Evan keep playing the way they have been, giving us all sorts of options with them as the season progresses, and long as MCW continues to progress in the ways we want him to, that's fine by me--though I am in the building tonight, so I wouldn't complain about an exciting win either.
7:00 tip from the WFC. Bynum lives, but not all that well. Let's not make it more than what it is. You'll make Evan sad.