Feb 17, 2013, 11:41 PM EDT
As a 22-year-old first-timer (and third-stringer) at the All-Star Game, all you can really hope to do is get a couple buckets, provide maybe one memorable highlight play, and generally try not to embarrass yourself. Our All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday did precisely that at tonight’s ASG, going 3-6 in his 15 minutes of game…
Feb 16, 2013, 9:37 PM EDT
Respect to Jrue for representing the Sixers well at the Taco Bell Skills Competition this year. He beasted the first round of the Skills Challenge, finishing it in a second-best 29 seconds, but ran into a buzzsaw in Damian Lillard, who beat him by less than a second than a first round. In the second…
Feb 16, 2013, 10:24 AM EDT
It’s hard to read the on-court relationship of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner sometimes. For every time Jrue drives to the basket and hits Evan at the elbow or in the corner for a wide-open three, it seems like there’s two or three times where they both try to take the ball up into the…
Feb 15, 2013, 6:11 PM EDT
Jrue Holiday has been the best thing (occasionally, the only good thing) about watching the Sixers this season, and for his efforts to make our team watchable—usually in vain, but at least the boy tries—he was invited to hobnob with the NBA elite at All-Star Weekend this year. Not only will he be playing in…
Sixers at the Break: The Five Pleasant Surprises and Ten Crushing Disappointments of the ’12-’13 Season So Far
Feb 14, 2013, 10:28 AM EDT
Suffice to say, this season hasn’t gone to plan for the Philadelphia 76ers. After a blockbuster trade in the off-season, the team was supposed to retool around their new franchise center, with our other young players stepping up to fill the shoes of our recently departed core pieces and our newly acquired veterans filling in nicely around them as complementary role players. At first, everything went as anticipated—with one very large exception, as the centerpiece of the team’s future showed up late to the party, and then showed up really late, and then maybe decided he wasn’t gonna come at all. Things unraveled from there.
Feb 13, 2013, 6:09 PM EDT
No gift for the Sixers right now could be greater than the gift of not having to play basketball for a little while. (Well, getting the Funny-Looking Kid With the Big Hair back and healthy and with a newfound lust for life would be nice too, but Christmas is still at least a couple months away.) They’ll get to enjoy that all-too-rare privilege soon enough, as All-Star Weekend will grant all of them but Jrue Holiday a week free of their depressing professional responsibilities, but first they have to go through the motions of a game in Milwaukee, against the 25-25 Bucks.
Feb 11, 2013, 6:55 PM EDT
We might have had a chance with no Chris Paul—the Clippers staring point guard and perennial MVP candidate had missed about two-and-a-half weeks’ worth of Clipper games with a bone bruise, missing nine games, in which the Clippers went just 3-6, after starting the season a sparkling 33-11. But he’s back now, the Clips handled the Knicks at MSG yesterday pretty easily, and they’re just a much better team than the Sixers, especially with 3/5 of the team’s projected starting lineup still out with injury. The Sixers are gonna need big games from…well, just about everyone to have a chance in this one. Viewing without heavy intoxication is not necessarily recommended.
7:00 tip from the WFC. In other cheery news, Andrew Bynum talked to reporters today and findings are: He’s 20 pounds overweight, still feels pain doing basic drills, and would not use the word “optimistic” when discussing anything except for maybe his favorite Radiohead songs. Could still be a while!
Feb 11, 2013, 10:13 AM EDT
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Philadelphia 76ers trading Evan Turner this season, regardless of return, will be something I personally consider unforgivable. However, I acknowledge this is an emotional and highly irrational reaction of mine, based on the emotional investment I’ve made in following the highs and lows—more lows than highs, if we’re being honest—of his career up until this point. Trading him at this point for me would be like trading an occasionally irritating family member for Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations—even if there’s a chance it could make the group better, it’s just not something you even consider.
Feb 9, 2013, 11:13 PM EDT
Even down three of their five starters—or at least, three of the five guys you’d have thought might have started for this team when things were looking a lot sunnier at season’s beginning—you had to feel pretty good about the Sixers’ chances of beating the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. The game wasn’t pretty, and was often a lot closer than it should have been, but ultimately, the Sixers were able to take care of business, keeping the ‘Cats at arm’s length for most of the second half, with Jrue Holiday basically closing the door on them in the fourth with a couple key buckets. Evan Turner got off the schneid a little with his 16 points, Spencer Hawes ground out a respectable 17 and 9 game, and recently signed backup PG Jeremy Pargo impressed is his Sixers debut, scoring 12 with six dimes in 29 bench minutes.
But tonight was all about Lavoy Allen.
Feb 9, 2013, 6:54 PM EDT
Let me make this clear in no uncertain terms: I support no trade scenario that Tony DiLeo could possibly devise that would include the shipping out of Evan Turner. Forget Basketball Reasons—I have lived and died with every song thing Evan Turner has done for the last two-and-half seasons now, and I am 100% unwilling to give up on him, regardless of the impact it may have on our basketball team. If, as that fink Marc Stein reports, the Sixers are shopping the Extraterrestrial, and if they end up dealing him, I will never trust this franchise (or myself, or anything) ever again.
Feb 6, 2013, 9:35 PM EDT
Ugly, ugly game. Few games against the ground-and-pound Indiana Pacers are pretty, but this one was especially hideous, with the Pacers closing off all driving lanes and playing the Sixers physical inside, forcing a whole lotta jump shots, which the Sixers obliged by not hitting. Remember how I said Jrue and Evan needed to have great games for the Sixers to win? Yeah, didn’t happen: Evan’s jumper was off all night, and he scored just two points with four turnovers, one of his worst games of hte season. Jrue was better but not much, shooting an astounding 7-22 with only three assists on the night. A game that was close at half got less so when the Pacers started hitting jumpers and the Sixers continued clanking, and the Sixers lost their first in four games, 88-69.
Feb 5, 2013, 1:20 AM EDT
Last night’s game against the Magic was about as unenjoyable as a 17-point win can be—not only was the game an unwatchable affair against a crappy team’s JV squad (any win by less than 40 would’ve felt at least a little underwhelming), but the Sixers lost Thaddeus Young in the second quarter with what has since been identified as a left hamstring sprain. No specific timetable has been given on Thad’s return—coach Doug Collins says he’ll be out “a while”—but based on the returns of players like Manu Ginobili and Luol Deng from similar recent injuries, it’ll probably be at least ten days, maybe about two weeks until we see Thad suiting up again. (Unless it’s a full tear of the hamstring, in which case the prognostication becomes a lot more dramatic.)
Feb 4, 2013, 5:53 PM EDT
Who would’ve guessed that out of that four-team blockbuster deal from over the summer—which included two franchise-type players in Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, an All-Star Olympian in Andre Iguodala, and a couple accomplished NBA vets in Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington, the two players traded that would arguably be of greatest impact to the 2012-13 season would be Earl Clark and Nikola Vucevic? Clark, an NBA washout since his lottery selection by Phoenix in 2009, has stabilized the Lakers on both offense and defense since replacing Pau Gasol in the starting lineup, and Vucevic looks like a steal for the Magic as their new starting center, posting double-doubles in 15 of his last 17 games.
Jan 30, 2013, 5:16 PM EDT
The careers of John Wall and Evan Turner, the respective #1 and #2 picks in the 2010 draft have made for some interesting contrast. Out of the gate, Wall was the far more accomplished player, averaging 16 and 8 and making first-team All Rookie as Turner struggled badly to contribute in his rookie season. The next year, Wall either regressed a little or failed to show the evolution most projected for him, while playing on one of the league’s worst teams, and Turner improved steadily on a playoff-bound squad. These days, most would still take Wall over ET, but the gap between the players has narrowed considerably—in a recent ESPN ranking of the best players under 25, Wall finished #26, while Turner finished just two spots lower at #28.
Jan 28, 2013, 9:57 PM EDT
Well phooey. With a 33-point first-quarter that saw just about everything go right for them, the Sixers looked like they were in pretty good shape to finally win a second straight game (imagine!) tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies, and even after the Grizzlies cut the lead to shreds and then took the lead in the second, the Sixers persevered and gave themselves several opportunities to win the game. But in the end, gravity was not on their side tonight, and the Grizzlies eked out a 103-100 win that left Malik and Zumoff reaching for the peach schnapps.
Jan 28, 2013, 5:49 PM EDT
It’s become almost as overquoted as the Phillies having won more recently than the Eagles (not true anymore, right?), but it remains nearly as stunning: The Philadelphia 76ers have not won back-to-back games since November. (Like, of 2012.) Not like they’ve won a ton of games period over that stretch—just eight games total since we won three in a row at the end of November—but damn, not having a single winning streak of any length for nearly two months is pretty damn embarrassing. Even for a team as subpar as these Sixers, it can’t be totally impossible to win two in a row, right?
Jan 27, 2013, 4:15 AM EDT
So apparently a lot can change over the course of an NBA season. Not that the Sixers are a lot better then when they first faced the Knicks in a humiliating home-and-home, losing both games by dramatic margins, or that the Knicks are necessarily all that much worse, but suffice to say, the third time was the charm for the 76ers, as they rode excellent scoring nights from their top three perimeter scorers to a blowout just as bad as those the Knicks inflicted on the Sixers not all that long ago, winning 97-80 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates.
Jan 25, 2013, 11:35 AM EDT
When Golden State’s David Lee was interviewed after a recent Warriors win about the possibility of being honored with an All-Star nod, he said that what would make the nomination so special was that it would come because his team had played well, reflecting better on him by comparison. Needless to say, this was not the case with our own Jrue Holiday, but if I were him, I would find the honor of being chose in spite of my team far more flattering and special than being honored because of my team. If you’re chosen as an All-Star when your team has a 16-24 record and hasn’t won consecutive games since November, you must have been really, really good this season.
Jan 22, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT
Chances are decent–better than they should be, anyway—that if Jrue Holiday doesn’t earn his first All-Star bid this year (and for the record, Grantland’s NBA guru Zach Lowe has him as the goddamn starter), it’ll be because one of the guard spots is taken by one of the Milwaukee Bucks’ backcourt two-fer, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Neither have stats as good as Jrue in really any relevant category (Jrue has ‘em beat in points, assists, FG% and 3PT%), save one—wins, as the Bucks have a respectable 21-18 record, while the Sixers are currently at 17-24 and slipping.
Jan 22, 2013, 2:06 PM EDT
I approached ESPN’s list of the Top 25 Players Under 25 the same way I’ll be approaching the roll-out of the All-Star reserves later this week: Bracing myself for self-righteous outrage. I figured no way would Jrue Holiday be ranked high enough for my liking, the rest of the NBA world being continually prejudiced against him for his team’s lack of success and/or his underwhelming peripheral advanced stats. I just hoped he managed to crack the Top 25.
Jan 21, 2013, 10:14 PM EDT
The MLK Miracle, we coulda called it. In a second-half performance that seemed like it might result in the second straight incredible comeback victory at the WFC, the Sixers battled from a seemingly decisive 17-point Spurs lead to an astounding seven-point advantage late in the fourth quarter. But like the Seahawks in their NFC Divisional Round game, the Sixers left too much time on the clock, and like the Japanese after Pearl Harbor (according to Roger Sterling, anyway), they didn’t know how to handle success. A double-digit stretch of consecutive scoreless possessions left them vulnerable to a late Spurs surge, and the four-time champs capitalized, pulling out the 85-80 victory.
Jan 21, 2013, 5:50 PM EDT
There was a time, when I was not so brokenhearted, when the Sixers beat the Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center. It was a Friday night in January 2009, and it was glorious. Andre Iguodala posted a 21/8/5, the team shot 50% from the floor (to San Antonio’s 37%), and the Ballers ran the Spurs out of the building by the end of the quarter, ending with a 109-87 win, their sixth in a row to that point. It was a night that reminds you how much more fun it is to watching winning basketball than the losing variety.
Jan 18, 2013, 10:39 PM EDT
Hands up if you saw this coming. With the Sixers trailing 60-43 at half—yes, they gave up 60 points to the friggin’ Raptors in 24 minutes of basketball—you’d be forgiven for giving up on this one (as I was seriously tempted to do) and finding something more purposeful and less character-building to do with your Friday night. After all, the Sixers haven’t exactly been known for big comebacks this season—generally, when they’re down, they stay down, and the game’s basically over halfway through the fourth quarter. But it wasn’t so in this one, and the reason why has two names: Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young.
Jan 18, 2013, 5:56 PM EDT
Hard to believe that the Sixers actually lost to the Raptors by 18 recently—except not really, because the Sixers were losing to everyone by 20 in those days. They get their chance to make up for it tonight in front of a rockin’ Wells Fargo Center crowd (uh-huh) when they host the Raptors in the two teams’ fourth and final meetup this season. (The Sixers won the first two, but neither was by 18 points, so who cares about those games.) The Sixers have only played twice in the last eight days, so they should be rested, at the very least. Maybe Evan Turner will actually go long on his jumpers tonight!
Jan 15, 2013, 9:44 PM EDT
It’s tough to take consolation in the ol’ “Got beat by a better team” explanation tonight when facing a team like the 11-26 Hornets, but it’s true. After all, the Hornets are a whole lot better than their 11-26 record, something analysts always say when their squad is getting beat by opposing teams with crappy…
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