76ers

Most surprising Sixers' moments of 2019-20: Part I

Most surprising Sixers' moments of 2019-20: Part I

While the NBA season is suspended, we take a look back at the most surprising moments of the Sixers’ season. In this edition, Sixers Pre and Postgame Live host Amy Fadool and Sixers reporter Paul Hudrick pick their moments.

Fadool: Simmons will always remember his first

Where would a compilation of surprising Sixers moments from this season be if not for the shot heard 'round the basketball — and social media — world?  

While the actual shot heard ‘round the world refers to the start of the American Revolution in 1775, many hoped Ben Simmons' first three-pointer would lead to a revolution of his shot-taking ability. Spoiler alert: It didn't. However, let's not diminish the excitement from that night. We were a little over a week away from Thanksgiving and the Sixers were facing the Knicks in their 14th game of the season.  

It was a close game until the fourth quarter when the Sixers really turned it on, but at the end of the day, none of that really mattered. This wasn't the Sixers-Knicks game nor was it just the Sixers' ninth win of the season. No, it was the “Ben Simmons three-pointer game.” Through his previous 11 games of this season, he hadn't even attempted a three-pointer. He hadn't really attempted a spot-up three in his career. Sure, there were the long range, prayer type of shots at the end of the half or as the shot clock was winding down, but those weren't serious shots.

It was a much different story on the evening of Wednesday, November 20, 2019.  Simmons calmly buried a catch-and-shoot three-point jumper from just behind the right corner line — and it came less than four minutes into the game. If you were there, you know how crazy the fans reacted. If you were watching like so many, you heard Marc Zumoff exclaim: "Yes! He did it! Ben Simmons!"

Nothing else mattered in that moment.  Of course, Simmons himself seemed nonplussed even after his teammates cheered and hollered from the court to the bench.  Yes, Simmons has shot and made another three since, but you always remember your first.

Hudrick: Are you Furkan kidding me?

It almost feels hard to believe or like it happened five years ago, but the Sixers started the season 4-0 with a golden opportunity to beat a banged-up Portland team to make it 5-0.

Early on that night, the Sixers didn’t take advantage of a starting lineup that featured Mario Hezonja and Anthony Tolliver. Through three quarters, the Blazers shot the lights out. They hit 57.8 percent from the floor and a scorching 14 of 27 from deep. 

A strong third quarter offensively allowed the Sixers to shrink Portland’s lead from as much as 21 to 10. Thanks to the efforts of Al Horford — yes, that Al Horford — Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson, the team made inroads and was in the thick of it deep into the fourth.

With 10.1 seconds left, Ben Simmons knocked down two huge free throws to give the Sixers their first lead. It felt like a huge comeback had been capped off and the Sixers’ record would remain unblemished.

Then when Anfernee Simons hit a corner three with 2.6 seconds left, it felt like it was over.

But all Simons’ shot did was set up an improbable hero and perhaps the most improbable story for the Sixers this season.

With Horford, Harris and Richardson on the floor, Brett Brown drew up a play for Furkan Korkmaz to get a corner three. It’s the kind of coaching move that looks brilliant if it works ... and not so much if it doesn’t. 

On this night, Korkmaz made Brown look like a genius.

Watching the game, it was one of those, “Nooooo! … Yessssss!” type moments. It propelled Korkmaz, who was nearly back in his native Turkey playing professionally, to become a rotational piece for Brown. It’s also been a great story for a team that hasn’t had many this season.

And it gave us gold both in memes and Furkan puns — which, yes, is a pun.

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Buddy Hield's Instagram comment adds fuel to Sixers trade rumblings

Buddy Hield's Instagram comment adds fuel to Sixers trade rumblings

NBA players know their social media activity is monitored around the clock, so any likes, comments, or follows that reach the public are noteworthy.

Which is why one Buddy Hield Instagram comment has Sixers fans on high alert.

On Wednesday night, Hield posted a fairly normal social distancing Instagram post for an NBA player, of him working out. Nothing too crazy... until a Philly-area Instagram user with the handle @1kevaan dropped a "Trust the Process" in the comments, and Hield actually responded:

Now, it's no secret that Trust the Process is a Sixers rallying cry. After years of ignoring the phrase during the tanking years, even the team embraced the slogan, and allowed Embiid to introduce himself as "The Process" before games.

So Hield - a 27-year-old digital savvy basketball player who started playing in the NBA right around the same time "Trust the Process" reached the masses - not knowing what the phrase means is unlikely.

It's possible that Hield didn't think to connect the phrase to the Sixers while typing his response. It's equally possible that he did, because Hield's Instagram activity earlier this season pointed fans towards the idea of a Hield-to-Philly move in the first place.

Hield liked an Instagram post posing the idea of a Hield-for-Al Horford swap back in February, and hasn't removed the like in the month-plus since, which at least suggests that it wasn't inadvertent:

Hield signed a four-year extension with Sacramento back in February, but the Kings regressed in their first year under head coach Luke Walton, and The Athletic reported in February that Hield, unhappy with his role, might be eyeing a move.

In terms of contract length and salary hit, the Hield and Horford deals are strikingly similar, and Hield's game would be an instant improvement for the Sixers' offensive spacing: he's a two-guard who shoots a career 41.1 percent from deep, and can create his own shot. Plus, he's substantially younger than Horford.

Will the move happen? If the Kings deem their relationship with Hield unfixable, it's possible. Horford hasn't fit well in Philly, but he's still a savvy veteran with a good track record. And Hield would certainly check the boxes for the Sixers' front office.

We'll see!

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Sixers broadcaster Marc Zumoff calls a day in the life of guy stuck at home

Sixers broadcaster Marc Zumoff calls a day in the life of guy stuck at home

The city of Philadelphia absolutely wishes we were currently watching the Sixers right now in the middle of a championship run.

Alas, live games are on hold for the time being, so there's a Marc Zumoff-sized void in our lives.

But given all of the extra free time broadcasters and media personalities have lately, Marc Farzetta was able to create the dream of longtime Sixers play-by-play man Zumoff calling his daily life at home.

"Farzetta rises from his slumber!" Zumoff begins as Farzetta gets out of bed. "Farzetta scoops, packs, and sips. Yes!" Zoo continues as Farzy makes his daily espresso.

Not only is Zoo doing the play-by-play, but he passed it over to his broadcast partners Alaa Abdelnaby and Serena Winters for the assist at one point.

The execution is as crisp as a Ben Simmons alley-oop to Joel Embiid. Hopefully we'll get plenty more Zoo, Alaa and Serena in our lives sometime soon.