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Sixers/Celtics Game Thread

First Quarter

  • Both teams come out with lots of energy
  • Irving is off – not surprising. He misses badly on several shots
  • Great defensive plays by the Sixers, blocking the Celtics in the paint
  • the Sixers went cold – very cold and the Celtics went up by 7
  • Simmons brought the team back with some great drives
  • the score is tied at 21 at the end of the quarter

Takeaways – Embiid is not dominating. So far, Horford has him in check. Fultz missed the only shot he took.

Second Quarter

  • Hayward hit two jumpers
  • Baines defended Embiid well, rebounds for a Smart hit
  • The Celtics go up again
  • Roxier blocks Embiid??
  • Embiid bad pass for a Tatum layup
  • Embiid hits a 3, but Shammet misses. Fultz hits a 2 and then misses one
  • the Sixers are now 2 or 9 for the quarter
  • Simmons has a great drive – down 32 – 28
  • the game settles down a bit
  • Simmons puts on a passing clinic
  • JJ hits a pai of 2’s
  • More Sixer turnovers
  • JJ movement is having an effect on Celtic defense
  • Half time Celtics up 47 – 42

Takeaways – The Sixers can’t hit the broadside of a barn from outside. Embiid has been erratic. They are living off great individual effort by Simmons and great defense, especially in the paint. RoCo h has had a terrible first half. Fultz settled down a bit towards the mid point of the 2nd quarter. It is amazing that the Sixers are in this game the way they are shooting.

Third Quarter

  • Nice block on Simmons
  • Baynes hits a 3 – Uggh
  • Kyrie finally gets 2 from the line after an Embiid foul
  • Irving his a 3 – Tatum dunks
  • Sixers still cold – Celtics are now up by double digits
  • Sixers can’t seem to get into rhythm
  • after a time out – the sixers get a few – RoCo hits a 3
  • TJ has a nice drive
  • uggh – the Sixers lost mojo and again are down by 11 at the end of 3

Takeaways – this was a Celtics quarter. They did not have to work as hard on offense to get good shots and make them. The Sixers lost control of the defensive boards at a critical moment. The Sixers are not out of it, but will have to find a way to establish their will in the 4th. BTW, Hayward had a good 3rd. Irving still looks out of it.

Fourth Quarter

  • Embiid hits one of two from the line
  • Brown hits 2 quickies and the Celtics are up 82-67
  • Sixers defensive breakdown leads to Irving layup
  • Baynes is having a good 4th – rebounding and hi a corner 3
  • So far in the 4th, the Sixers don’t look like they have a run in them
  • Simmons has a drive, JJ hits a 3 – and the Sixers cu the lead to 89 – 77 – Celtics timeout – the Celtics have missed a few, and the Sixers found some rhythm.
  • Sixers cut it to 11 – but missed on 2 straight offensive sets
  • Embiid hits two- now 94-85
  • Tatum hits an amazing 2 over Embiid – Sixers have started to sputter
  • Rozier hits a 3 – ouch – with 3 to go.
  • Hayward just hit a corner 3 – that is pretty much it with less than 2 minutes to go. Celtics up 103 – 87

Takeways – The Sixers could not shoot from outside and could not feed the ball effectively into the paint. Fultz played with spirit, but did not make a difference. Simmons had a great game, but could not carry the team. They need better ball movement if they want to compete against the Celtics. They are working too hard to score. Their defense broke down in the 2d half as well. Hmmm — was this due to JJ getting minutes from Fultz? They did have some nice steals – especially Simmons and RoCo. But in general, the Celtics were able to find open shots and hit them when it counted. The Sixers missed open shots all night.


Are Novels Dangerous?

In fact, a more interesting question might be whether noels are even relevant these days. Media offers so many channels to engage us, that books cannot dominate our attention the way they once did. The odd thing, though, is that they remain relevant. Books still sell, and novels still get the attention of lots of people.

Is this a good thing? Literary types shudder at such a question. “Of course it is!” they reply. But why? What is it about fiction that enhances one’s life?

Leo Benedictus offers his thoughts on the matter. His post starts off this way

On the evening of Wednesday February 17, 1762, Kitty Hunter, aged 22, was introduced to Henry Herbert at a society ball at the house of Lord Middleton in London. Herbert was the 10th Earl of Pembroke, 27 years old and married with a two-year-old son. Afterwards he skipped dinner with his wife’s family, saying he would dine at a tavern, but instead spent the night composing resignation letters and procuring a sailor’s outfit and a black wig. The next day he and Kitty eloped to the Netherlands, thrilling England. Nine months later the affair was over. Kitty returned home, alone and pregnant, to begin child support negotiations with the earl and his family. What possessed her to run away with a married man she’d known for a few hours? An acquaintance, Elizabeth Montagu, had a theory. Too many novels were to blame.

Damned scribbles!

Ben Carson’s Secret History of the US

In any other administration, a cabinet member like Ben Carson would stick out like a sore thumb. In this one, he has been relatively quiet. Errr …. until he decided that he wanted to explain why Ms. Ford has come forward to accuse US Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh of attempted rape. You see, it is all the fault of the fabians.

If you understand that, according to Carson, you understand everything.  Never mind that fabianism was a British — not American — phenomenon.  Surely Ford is a fabian!!!

Time for an investigation?

A Peek at the Galaxy Note 9

I am still getting used to the idea that a mobile phone can cost 4 figures. But if you want a mobile phone that is essentially the only computing device that you need, spending $1000 on one might be justified.

This link takes you to a nice video chat about the Galaxy 9 where you can dig into the details. The bottom line — there are lots of reasons to like the device, if you want to exit the Apple world, want all the bells and whistles in your phone, and have $1000 to burn.

Did I mention that you can get up to a terabyte of storage in this thing?

When is Truth Truth?

The latest Rudy head scratcher pretty much speaks for itself. Here he is being interviewed by Chuck Todd on TV, talking about whether Donald Trump should agree to be interviewed by the special prosecutor

“I am not going to be rushed into having [Trump] testify so that he gets trapped into perjury,” Giuliani said when asked by Todd about why Trump’s legal team’s negotiations with Mueller have dragged on. “And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.”

“Truth is truth,” Todd interjected.

“No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth,” Giuliani replied.

Hmmm … you don’t have to be a genius to spot the problem here. You can’t help but wonder whether Rudy cares about what he is saying. And you can’t help but wonder what the Donald thinks of his lawyer.

Standards are no longer being lowered by these two. To lower standards you need standards. And when truth isn’t truth, the word “standards” becomes meaningless.

Thinking Slower, Solving Problems Faster

Dan Kahneman’s model for better understanding human cognition opens our eyes to how humans can “upgrade” how we interact with the real world. The key point is that we act based on our beliefs about reality (our “System 1 or S1). These beliefs are fixed. But we solve problems by asking ourselves questions that open up mental room for new beliefs to form  (using our “System 2” or S2).

So what is the big deal? The big deal is that Dan offers us a way to build confidence in problem solving. We all have the capacity in S2, but we are not all using that capacity. Nor do we all believe that using this capacity adds value. As we grow more comfortable with the idea that beliefs drive us forward, we will get more comfortable with how to use S2 to update our  belief structures without unduly stressing ourselves.

Here is an interesting example. In the modern world, we rely on the advance of science and technology to develop solutions to our real world problems. Given the nature of our problems, we need these advances. And we tend to believe they occur. But in fact, we have not asked ourselves how this happens. Not asking this question leaves open the more important question or whether we can build institutions that more systematically develops science and tech based solutions to urgent problems.

But some folks are asking those questions, and are coming up with ideas about how to better link problems to research. This is just getting started.

Need Some Good News about the Future? Read This!

There is always reason to be nervous about the future. That is especially true these days as we face global issues that might make our planet significantly less inhabitable.

So what is the good news?

Step one – keep in mind that accelerations in improved standards of living have been facilitated by access to cheaper and more efficient energy sources. From the 18th to the 20th century, we went from wood to coal to oil and gas. In other words, upgrading our capacity to find and use energy is imperative. No, that is not the good news. It is just background.

Step two – We are just waking up to the problems with our heavy reliance on oil and gas. The two problems most often mentioned are that there are limited supplies of these resources, and they emit carbon into the atmosphere that causes climate change. BTW, there is a third that is less mentioned. To further raise living standards, we need more energy in the 21st century than oil and gas can provide us. Yes, that was just more background.

Step three – The solutions to our reliance on oil and gas are emerging. And here is the good news — the use costs of solar and wind energy are falling faster than anyone expected. And those costs are expected to fall further which will make building gas fired power plants non-competitie.

In other words, the switch to renewables as our major source of energy may occur a lot faster than anyone thought possible. That will have major positive implications for climate change.

And, btw, this leaves out another story that is unfolding. New nuke technology may give us access to a lot more power than we thought possible. I refer to thorium plants as well as fusion reactors. Neither of these technologies is close to coming online. But both hold promise of vastly expanding our access to clean power over the next half century.

And btw, battery tech is evolving rapidly as well. At present , it is still expensive, with a limited life span. Those problems are being addressed. Batteries are not just getting cheaper, they are getting better.

So cheer up! All is not lost … yet.