The Philadelphia 76ers have been a bit less of a joke lately, going 4-8 with a bottom-10 point differential over the past 3 1/2 weeks since trading for MVP candidate Ish Smith, as opposed to 1-30 with the league's worst net rating on Christmas. But even when you're just a garden-variety bad team in line to be the worst team in the league for the third straight year, you're still kind of a joke, which is why on Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons," they were ... y'know ... a joke:
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Apu: "One tube of sunblock. That will be $30.
Customer: "Once again, keeping the bald man down."
Apu: "I do have a Philadelphia 76ers hat that you could wear for free."
Customer: "I'll pay, I'll pay!"
Ah, yes. A gentle nudge in the ribs that probably didn't feel especially good to the Philadelphia faithful, but wasn't particularly hurtful, either. Then again, a bit of post-broadcast clarification from the writer of the episode, New Jersey native Michael Price, provided an extra twist of the knife for Sixers fans who wouldn't otherwise have known just how close they came to avoiding being the butt of the goof:
To be fair, Latvian rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis isn't the only reason the 2015-16 New York Knicks are closer to respectable than wretched; the return of Carmelo Anthony and wholesale upgrades to what had been a talent-poor roster have also had plenty to do with it. Still, Porzingis' penchant for putback dunks, deep 3-pointers and generally looking like he could become a future star have made this one of the more enjoyable and exciting Knicks teams in recent memory, a far cry from last season's worst-in-franchise-history club. Add in the fact that he's saving the Knicks from getting ragged on in cartoons, and all of a sudden you've got to start wondering if Kristaps' Rookie of the Year case is even stronger than it seemed.
As if Porzingis hadn't done enough damage to the Sixers this weekend, he also visited real-life pain on Philly when Brett Brown's crew squared off against the Knicks in a Monday Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee:
Porzingis finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal in 34 minutes of work in the Knicks' 119-113 double-overtime victory over the 76ers. He sat out of the two overtime periods after hurting his right foot trying to grab an offensive rebound; he's now listed as questionable for the Knicks' Wednesday meeting with the Utah Jazz. As much as Knicks fans would love to see the 7-foot-3 forward back in the lineup, you'd understand it if they felt discretion is the better part of valor; after all, losing Kristaps for an extended period of time could put New York on the sort of downward spiral with which fans are oh so familiar, and nobody wants to be the next contestant on that Apu hat joke screen.
Hat-tip to Posting and Toasting.
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