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I caught myself doing a slight fist-pump three minutes into the second quarter of the 76ers game as Markelle Fultz nailed a 14-foot jump shot for his first points of the year. I found myself saying out-loud in an empty room that his shot “didn’t look THAT bad.”
It didn’t look that bad?
I’m happy that the 2017 NBA draft #1 overall pick’s 14-foot jump shot didn’t look THAT bad?
There would be no more fist pumps after that moment. Just depression. And frustration.
Three minutes into the second quarter Fultz notched his first points of the game after taking only three shots. Until that point he was largely invisible, just a nondescript player bringing the ball up the court, immediately looking to give it up to either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid, and then almost hoping to disappear into the comfortable area beyond the three-point line where he could observe the action undisturbed.
By the time Fultz made his first not-as-quite-herky-jerky-but-still-slowly-developing jump shot, Jayson Tatum already had 12 points and was making his impact felt on both ends of the court.
Tatum poured in another 11 points to pace the Celtics in their decisive season-opening victory over the Sixers. Fultz would spend almost the entire second half on the bench drinking Gatorade.
The chasm between the two players has never been deeper, darker, or more evident than it was last night. If you fell into the black abyss and screamed out “trust the process,” it would echo back 10-times over before you finally hit the hard, cold ground.
Going into the 2018 offseason, Flyers forward Jordan Weal was considered by many to be a frontrunner for the vacant 3C position behind Sean Couturier and former #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick. As training camp unfolded, Weal found himself being supplanted by a somewhat surprisingly strong stretch of play by Mikhail Vorobyev. Fast forward to the regular season and Weal was a healthy scratch in three of the first five games, including two straight to start the season. It seemed inconceivable that coach Dave Hakstol would turn to Weal with the game on the line. That’s exactly what he did. Following a 6-5 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers – the team’s first home win – there were plenty of questions centered around the second line center, notably the decision to make Weal the third shooter:
Crossing Broad: When you make the decision to use [Weal] in the shootout, is that decision based on how the game is going, or is that something you’ve though out in advance?
Hakstol: A little bit of both. If you remember, Jordan had a great stretch for us last year where he was our first shooter. He was really effective, then he went cold. He struggled a little bit after that. He was a guy that coming into the game was in my top 4. As the game goes on, we made the final decision. I knew who 1 and 2 were gonna be coming into tonight. Like I said, I had a top 4, he was in that top 4. It seemed like an obvious decision to me as we got to that three spot.
So what was Weal thinking on that play? When asked if he had a pre-determined move, he said, “[It’s] Not every day you see the opposite hand goaltender there, so, I’ve always wanted to be lefty, so I thought I’d try something that only lefties can do on the regular guys and Jake’s move is so effective when he comes down with speed. Just sneaks it in under the stick there, so I thought I’d give it a try… I’ve done it in the past, but every time Jake does it, I love it. It only works when you’re coming down on the blocker side. I thought I’d give it a go.”
NOT TODAY, CATS.
Weal wins it in the shootout! pic.twitter.com/cy64mVHtH0
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 17, 2018
There was a belief that Weal’s confidence in the shootout could’ve had something to do with him netting his first goal of the season. Another reporter asked if the fist pump after his regulation goal was an expression of some relief. “Yeah,” he said, ” it was just a bunch of hard work again by our line. We’ve been on the same page getting pucks and going to work, playing below the the goalline.”
Confidence was a common theme in exchanges with his coach:
Reporter: Ron [Hextall] has talked about Jordan Weal as being a guy who gets in his own head. Did he need a game like tonight or do you think the confidence was there?
Hakstol: I think he had that game two nights ago where he felt good. He didn’t have the numbers to show for it like he did tonight. But that game came Saturday afternoon. He played very well, his line played very well. The challenge for him was to come out and do that again tonight. That line did exactly that. They went out and played a hell of a game. Jordan, give him alot of credit, I believe he played really well tonight. Not just offesnively because there’s some numbers behind his name. I thought he was good in the faceoff dot in our defensive zone. He knew what he was doing if he won a draw, lost a draw, and I thought through the game his coverage was good. Pretty complete game.
Captain: Continue Reading
Sports Betting Updates
The NBA season is upon us and hope springs eternal for all most fan bases. The sportsbooks aren’t emotionally invested in your teams and don’t care if your first round draft pick is once again shelved to start the season. I, however, take the over/under numbers they set and cross-reference it with the human element: old faces in new places (Melo on the Rockets), moronic trades for watered-down stars (Trae Young isn’t even diet Steph Curry),
Week 6 is upon us, and there’s a diverse range of betting options in New Jersey. FanDuel Sportsbook and BetStars, in particular, are offering strong promos. A part of any betting strategy that often gets overlooked is the value being offered by the books, whether that’s straight price or promos and incentives that can be used to your advantage. Here’s a rundown of the best NJ online sportsbooks and most compelling offers for Week 6:
Not according to me, but according to “a panel of ESPN cross-sport experts” who put together a list of the top coaches in the United States.
*Specifically, the exercise was based on these parameters:
You’ve been handed the reins of a major North American professional sports franchise (and congratulations to you!). You now get to choose one coach who will lead your franchise to long-term greatness. Who’s your first choice?
More on the criteria from ESPN:
We stressed this was not a single-game exercise but was about “building a program,” and that respondents were permitted to consider age as part of their criteria.
Meanwhile, the ESPN analytics team devised a “résumé grade,” comparing achievements of leaders across the four major sports based on a formula factoring in win-loss records (regular season through Oct. 14), tenure and championships.
Your boy popped up at #39 overall.
“Let’s get it back to the Eagles,” as Matt Nahigian would tell Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes.
Doug Pederson spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s home game against Graham Gano and the Carolina Panthers.
Most significant were a couple of injury updates provided by the head ball coach:
- Team has a plan at defensive tackle after releasing Destiny Vaeao. Haloti Ngata (calf) is “getting close” and is day-to-day in terms of readiness. Tim Jernigan keeps “progressing” but is not yet ready to practice. Pederson is “hopeful and optimistic” regarding Jernigan, which I would assume means he does play sometime this season.
- Treyvon Hester is a part of the defensive tackle puzzle and they’ll continue to progress with him each week.
- Jason Peters is doing fine and will practice today. RE: the biceps injury – “There’s something there. He definitely can play. No concern with injuring him any further.” Doug also said there’s no need to give Peters a rest to deal with niggling injuries.
More notes after the jump:
Need something to cheer you up after last night? Good. Because I have just the thing for such occasion– an adorable picture of Carson Wentz and Mike Trout taking a stroll through Haddonfield yesterday. Same pants, same stance, same unspoken love for each other that sustains you following a tough loss.
I wonder if they watched the game together.
H/T to reader Jared
Good thing. Because it looks like they’re gonna need all the practice they can get.
I’m not here to cast doubt on anyone’s work ethic, or to overreact. The Sixers are going to be very good, fun and exciting this year. They’ll win a lot of games. Maybe 54 or more. But last night was such a kick in the pants because it was a reminder that, oh yeah, nothing has changed since last year.
The Process was not about being good or even great– it was about being transcendent. Being the Warriors. Winning multiple championships. This year, this specific year, is the one where the Sixers were presumed to be able to make that move into a true contender. Unfortunately, there’s nothing they or anyone can do about the Warriors, a super team for the ages, but the Celtics are a different story. They cut right through the Sixers’ path and have cemented themselves as the best team in the East, by a wide margin. These losses to the Celtics aren’t just run-of-the-mill defeats, a temporary advantage to one side in the midst of a bitter rivalry. No. Not even close. No matter how hard TNT tries to make that case. The Celtics are a class above the Sixers, and they’ve improved tremendously since last year by returning their two best players (though I think I can make a case for Jayson Tatum).
The Sixers, meanwhile, are virtually the same. Continue Reading
I shut off my computer immediately after the final buzzer last night because I knew social media was going to be a wretched hive of bullshit hot takes and overreaction.
Let’s keep it simple:
The Boston Celtics are an excellent team. Brad Stevens’ squad is incredibly athletic on the perimeter and stacked with multiple guys who can create their own shot and do a lot of dynamic things on the offensive end. Some of their bench players really should be starters on other teams (Terry Rozier) and they continue to play a defensive brand of basketball that just stifles the Sixers (and pretty much everybody else in the Eastern Conference).
So Joel Embiid is accurate when he says post-game, “This is not a rivalry. I don’t know our record against them, but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass. This is not a rivalry.”
You need to beat a team before it comes a rivalry, and the Sixers are not there yet. Right now the Sixers are Pittsburgh and the Celtics are Penn State. There’s history there, sure, but the last few meetings have been pretty lopsided.
That’s the storyline moving forward. You lost to the best team in the conference on opening night. The rest of the season is about bringing yourself level with Boston and you’ve got 81 remaining games to figure it out.
It’s like the Sixers season never ended.
It wasn’t a good season opener for the squad, who fell to the Boston Celtics last night 105-87. The result was the same as the playoff series a year ago, and the game felt very similar as well.
The Sixers started out with six unforced turnovers. They finished with 16 total turnovers. The team also couldn’t hit threes, going 19.2% from behind the arc. Robert Covington went 2-of-7, while JJ Redick went 2-of-8.
Ben Simmons looked outstanding and was one of the only bright spots for the Sixers last night. He scored 19 points with 15 rebounds and eight assists. He did hit some jumpers as well! Markelle Fultz also did hit some jumpers, going 2-of-7 on the night, but still looked a little lost on the court.
It’s just the first game of the season and it won’t say everything about the Sixers, but it might have been the best opportunity for the team to beat Boston. Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving didn’t have great games but should improve later on. The Sixers should as well, but it’ll be very tough to beat a team like the Celtics with that much depth. So much for people calling it a rivalry.
The Sixers host the Bulls Thursday night in their home opener at 8 PM on TNT. That’s Jimmy Butler’s former team and apparently he’s interested in Philly. The team, on the other hand, isn’t.
Per league source, the Sixers have next to no interest in Jimmy Butler. Was told, “ his antics, in addition to asking price, make him undesirable.”
This in response to Butler’s reported interest in philly(@ZachLowe_NBA prediction column).
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) October 16, 2018
The Roundup: Continue Reading