Jrue Holiday shined on a team that lacked any light
It might have been excruciatingly difficult to sit back and watch the Philadelphia 76ers go through a train wreck of a season, but it's impossible to deny there were memorable games in their 82-game schedule.
I want to preface this by saying it's not difficult to write stories about how poorly the Sixers played, but it's also the easy way out.
I've written a couple of those and being a Philly fan myself, I'd like to try and make this one as positive as possible. There will be parts where negativity creeps in, but the majority of the article will highlight good moments of the season.
I definitely didn't mean to get deep and the emotional side of things is over. Let's move on to what we all know and love.
The game of basketball.
In particular, let's take a look at some of the Philadelphia 76ers' most memorable games of the 2012-13 season.
Hawes opened the season with an exceptional game
Playing the Denver Nuggets in the season opener was a huge opportunity for Philadelphia.
One that the Sixers didn't let slip away.
To start, Andre Iguodala was making his return to Philadelphia after being traded to Denver during the summer. The former Sixer finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. Successfully shutting him down was big for the Sixers. They realized they needed to play together, and they did it in style.
The other important part was that Philly set the tone for the game and season by beating the Nuggets in the way they did. Denver had the No. 1 offense in the NBA in the 2011-12 season, scoring 104.1 points per game. The Sixers must have heard that information and wanted to remind people that they had the third-best defense in that same season.
Setting an example with an 84-75 win against such an explosive team had many wondering about this squad's potential.
Holiday proved that he has what it takes to be a star in this league
Jrue Holiday used the majority of the first half of the season to show that he belonged next to other elite point guards in the league. He then used this matchup with the New York Knicks to prove that he might already be just as good as any other point guard.
The Sixers traveled to Madison Square Garden and handled the Knicks, 97-80. Philadelphia was clicking on all cylinders, but it was Holiday's game that left a lasting impression.
While watching, you couldn't help but feel as if this guy was the real deal.
He scored a career-high 35 points on 16-of-25 shooting and finished with six assists and five rebounds. It was as if he could do no wrong that night and made people believe that he might be able to put together performances such as this on a more consistent basis.
Destroying the Knicks in New York City was great.
Dropping 35 points and solidifying himself as one of the league's next big things was downright special.
This was the beginning of the end
No one sees a season fall apart until it's too late to do anything to stop it.
Losing to a good Los Angeles Clippers squad seemed harmless. The fact that Philly got handled and lost by 17 points was still just that, a fact. It didn't feel as if there were going to be problems based on this one game.
Well, how wrong that logic was.
One would need a successful fortune teller to guess that Philly would self-destruct and ruin its year in the games to follow.
The loss put the club at 22-28. Not too good, but not in awful position either.
Fast-forward 12 games and you'd find the Sixers with a 23-39 record, meaning they went 1-11.
Doing that immediately took Philly out of the playoff race and gave its season a feeling of irrelevance.
And to think that it would start at home against the Clippers after a poor 41.7 percent shooting night is crazy.
Once again, Philly was without Bynum. This time, though, they knew it was for the season
Putting a 101-100 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on the list might seem strange, however, it happened to be a big moment when you connect it with a man by the name of Andrew Bynum.
Countless reports of his rehabilitation being delayed and pushed back finally came to an end on this date. The news was in and Bynum was going to miss the rest of the year after needing to get another knee surgery.
Philadelphia and fans of the Sixers never were surprised by the news. It felt as if it had been leading up to that moment all season, and it was only a matter of time before Bynum announced that he wouldn't play at all.
It meant that Bynum played in zero of the team's 82 games.
That's almost a feat in itself.
Collins was a positive for the Sixers
Being that it was the last game of the year, the Indiana Pacers decided to rest the majority of their better players because they were headed to the playoffs. Still, Philadelphia sent head coach Doug Collins out on a high note with a 105-95 victory.
Regardless of your feelings for Collins and what he represented and was about, he must be viewed as a major positive for Philadelphia. He reminded the team that defense was a possible foundation, that it was possible to play without its long-awaited center and that it has a truly special point guard in Holiday.
Remember, Holiday had a career year and it happened under Collins.
His departure was more bitter than sweet in this one, but seeing him go out with a win was certainly a good thing and a moment the Collins deserved.