The Philadelphia 76ers have been embarrassed virtually all season. After the Sixers lost to the Orlando Magic on Feb. 26 and got called out by Doug Collins, it seemed like they couldn’t be humiliated enough. They technically weren’t on Feb. 28, despite their 93-82 loss to the Chicago Bulls, yet Joakim Noah made the Sixers go down in infamy anyway.
Noah had one of the rarest triple-doubles in NBA history, as he racked up 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks. It was only the eighth time that a player was recorded with more than 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in a single game, with Noah only the sixth man to do so.
Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it twice, while Shaquille O’Neal and Elvin Hayes did it just once. Ironically, the only non NBA legend other than Noah to do this was former Sixers’ flop Shawn Bradley, who did it in 1998 with the Dallas Mavericks.
Noah's career is nowhere near as disappointing as Bradley's was, but he isn’t an Olajuwon or Abdul-Jabbar yet as well. In fact, if Andrew Bynum had been able to play, Noah may not have wound up as the best center on the floor last night. Therefore, it was even more inexcusable that the Sixers let Noah impersonate some of the great centers of all time.
However, most of the blame will go to Spencer Hawes for letting Noah run free all night. Hawes had 20 points and 15 rebounds himself, so he wasn’t completely useless. Yet his complete lack of defense and the Sixers’ overall lack of an inside game gave Noah all the room he needed.
Even though the Sixers improved on their loss to the Magic, they found a way to get into the history books and embarrass themselves. But since Hawes was the biggest scapegoat of the night instead of the entire team, this defeat won’t linger as long.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia can’t even have a normal loss these days. Since the All-Star break, the Sixers have been humiliated by the lowly Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves, blown off the court in stretches by the Miami Heat and New York Knicks, and have let Noah go into the history books. If the Sixers really can’t win anymore, they could at least have a little dignity left while they lose.