By Chris Sheridan
I got an e-mail from a reader who attended the “City of Brotherly Love vs. Chocolate City” charity game last weekend, and the more I read, the more I wondered why this dude hadn’t chosen journalism as a profession. He has a tremendous eye for detail.
His name is Travis Hill, his Twitter is @THillTeev, and here is what he wrote.
“I went to the DC-Philly charity basketball game at Coolidge High in Northeast DC Saturday night and it was one of the best basketball games I’ve ever seen. I went to one of these games a month ago and it was what you’d expect – no one tried at all, no one played defense, and no one cared about the score. Saturday night was the total opposite.
The DC team had Kevin Durant, John Wall, Jeff Green, Demarcus Cousins, Nolan Smith, Jarrett Jack, Sam Young, Greg Monroe, and a couple random non-NBA guys. The Philly team had Kyle Lowry, Lou Williams, Mardy Collins, Flip Murray, Hakim Warrick, Jason Thompson, and some random non-NBA guys.
Everyone assumed the DC team would win in a blowout. That did not happen.
Here are some highlights:
- The game was scheduled to start at 6 PM. We got there at 5. It started around 7:30. During this time, they blasted nonstop unedited rap music REALLY LOUDLY.
- During warmups, while everyone else was shooting around, Kevin Durant walked over to the stands and spent 15 minutes signing autographs and taking pictures with kids. He did not smile or speak during this entire time.
- There was an MC giving live play-by-play (Goodman League Commissioner Miles Rawls).
- There were maybe three female security guards total for the game. They needed a LOT more. For example, the game was delayed by about 15 minutes because fans were sitting on the players’ benches – the play-by-play guy kept saying “we can’t start this game until all the fans on the benches get up and find other seats” — yet no one moved, until finally the security guards came down and persuaded people to move.
- The MC did starting introductions – the first player introduced was Hakim Warrick … but he was in the bathroom.
- When introducing DeMarcus Cousins, the MC explained “I like to call him Mr. Bad Attitude” — and for the entire game he called Cousins “Bad Attitude.” Cousins never smiled once during the game.
- He introduced Nolan Smith as being from the University of North Carolina.
- During the game, he said about 3-4 times that Lou Williams “grew up on the streets of Philly.” He said this once while Williams was shooting a free throw — Lou turned to him and yelled, “dude I grew up in Georgia.” The MC then said, “whoops, correction. I’ve now learned Lou Williams is from Georgia.”
- To start the game, Durant was being covered by Flip Murray. He scored 8 points in the first minute. That was the last we heard of Flip Murray.
- From that point on, Team Philly dominated the 1st quarter. Everyone on their team was playing as hard as they could, while the DC guys clearly expected to be playing a casual pickup game. Philly guys were constantly running fast breaks, hustling back on defense, taking charges, working the officials. Lots of plays like this one. Philly was up 46-29 at the end of the 1st.
- John Wall randomly showed up at the end of the 1st quarter. He did not stretch or warm up or anything — he just entered the game. In the 2nd quarter, I am pretty sure he did not make a shot — he was probably 0-15. The MC started saying things like, for example, “that is PATENTED for him” every time he’d miss a shot.
- In the 2nd half Wall was totally unstoppable. He finished with 38 points — I’d bet all of them were on layups. I’d say Wall’s 2nd half stats were probably something like: 18-18 on layups, 0-9 on non-layup FG attempts, 2 total passes, 1 assist (memorable alley oop to Durant). Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams flipped back and forth covering him — it was the equivalent of me or you covering him. He would just sprint right past them every time – they had no chance of stopping him.
- Jarrett Jack started the game for DC and played the whole 1st quarter. Wall replaced him, and Jack never re-entered the game.
- Sam Young showed up in the middle of the 2nd quarter. He brought a lot of hustle for DC and helped them get back in the game. He did not play a single minute in the 2nd half.
- Delonte West and Tony Allen also randomly showed up in the 2nd quarter in street clothes. They sat on the DC bench.
- Tyreke Evans, Michael Beasley, and Gerald Henderson were also on the rosters. None of them showed up.
- The Philly team had about 4-5 random non-NBA guys on their bench who did not play the whole game. These guys were like Nate Robinsons — they went crazy every time the Philly team scored or did something positive, but knew they were not ever getting in the game. Whenever DC would do something cool, the MC would say, “awwww and the philly bench has gone MUTE!!!”
- Hakim Warrick had at least 15 dunks, all of them ferocious. I am pretty sure he did not have any other points except maybe a free throw or two.
- Prior to halftime, the MC repeatedly asked that no one come on the court. Within 30 seconds of the halftime buzzer, there were at least 50 random people on the court. The same thing happened at the end of the game.
- Halftime score was 85-75 Philly.
- Halftime was 5 minutes long. TeamDC casually shot around during this time. Team Philly sprinted to the locker room like a college team, and then sprinted back out with about 15 seconds to spare.
- The Coach of the DC team was Big Tigger, former host of BET’s 106 and Park. During the 1st half he subbed a lot, giving everyone a chance to play. The 2nd half lineup was Wall, Nolan Smith, Jeff Green, Durant, and Cousins. Tigger did not sub once the entire half, except in the 4th quarter when some woman whom I suspect was Greg Monroe’s mom (no confirmation on that) started screaming at him from the stands to sub. Tigger tried to defend himself, then reluctantly put Monroe in the game for Cousins. He put Cousins back in about 90 seconds later.
- Cousins played really hard the whole game despite rarely getting the ball. The highlight was when he took a charge against Lou Williams in the 4th quarter while Lou was going up for a dunk on a fast break. The MC still did not stop calling him “Bad Attitude” though.
- Philly’s lineup in the 4th quarter was Lowry, Lou Williams, Mardy Collins, Warrick, and some non-NBA guy named Tynsdale, who played great defense on Durant. The MC referred to him as “Tynsdale” for the entire game… until at one point with about 4 minutes left he missed a shot and the MC said “and shot taken… by the unknown dude.” From then on he was always called “the unknown dude.”
- Durant finished with 56 points. And he played a pretty mediocre game. If he played well, he easily could have scored 100.
- Durant had a really cool and-1 in the 3rd quarter, and then did an extended Mark Jackson-esque shimmy. He also at one point was starting to heat up — hit a couple 3s and had a couple dunks… and then the ref called a foul when he blocked someone’s shot, and he screamed “THAT’S BULLSH*T!!” and then berated the official Kobe-style. Durant did not want to lose.
- In the 4th quarter, the play-by-play guy at one point arbitrarily announced “both teams now in the double bonus.” No one had been keeping track of fouls.
- Lou Williams finished with 53 points. I’d say 20 of these came during a 4-minute stretch in the 4th quarter where Lou just terrorized Nolan Smith. It was an amazing display. Team DC then called timeout and put Jeff Green on Williams — Lou then didn’t score the rest of the game.
- The MVP of the game was definitely Kyle Lowry, who might be my new favorite player. I don’t know his stats, but I’d bet scored at least 40 points and may have had a quadruple double (points, rebounds, assists, steals).
- Lowry was working the officials from the first minute. After the first foul was called on Team Philly, he got in the official’s face complaining, and everyone in the crowd collectively thought “what the hell is Kyle Lowry doing? This is a pickup game.” Soon enough, everyone was complaining to the refs after every call like an NBA game.
- Lowry was basically a player-coach — constantly telling everyone where to go. He subbed out for a couple minutes early in the game and was like Pat Riley yelling at everyone from the bench.
- Lowry at one point fouled Nolan Smith 4 times in less than 7 seconds. Lowry’s intensity was at 100% the entire game — it lifted everyone else’s intensity too. Nolan responded by playing a full-court press on Lowry for the next 10 possessions.
- Every time Lowry scored he would give the crowd a stylish, celebratory gesture as he sprinted back on defense — for example, after 3’s he would make unique “3” signs with both hands. Hard to explain with words.
- Maybe the best moment of the game was when the guy next to us started to heckle Lowry while someone else was shooting free throws. Lowry immediately spun around and yelled, “you think you can do better? Come on down here, I got an extra jersey. Seriously, come down and play.” The guy and Lowry then had a back-and-forth that lasted for about a minute. One of the best parts of the game was the constant interaction between the players and the fans.
- This guy next to us (a huge, fat man) was hilarious. He later told us that he had gone to the DC-Baltimore game a couple month ago and tried to give Jeff Green some weed rolled up in a $5 bill. Green looked at it and said “uhh, no thanks man.” The next Nevin Shapiro?
- The game was tied with about 90 seconds to go, and Lowry hit a go-ahead 3. The teams exchanged a couple baskets (i.e. Wall dribbled through Philly for a couple layups) and then Lowry was fouled with about 12 seconds left. He hit both FTs to put Philly back up 3. Tigger called timeout and Durant missed a 27-ft contested 3 to tie it, then Lowry got the rebound and hit 2 more FT’s to ice it. Philly won 172-169 (Wall had a final uncontested dunk at the buzzer).
Here is some video:
And some more: