Thursday was a good day off the court and a bad day on it for the Sixers. Hours before the primetime tip-off against the Los Angeles Lakers, reports surfaced, and were then confirmed, that the Sixers ended the Jahlil Okafor saga. Philly shipped the exiled big man, Nik Stauskas, and a 2019 2nd round draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets for Trevor Booker. That draft pick previously belonged to the New York Knicks.
Our Sixers reporter Kevin Kinkead broke down the trade, with analysis from the team:
From a Philly point of view, Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas weren’t even playing. They had zero value in the eyes of Bryan Colangelo and were not part of the future. Take that into consideration and the Sixers basically flipped a 2nd round pick for Booker, who gives you something this year without having to make a long-term financial commitment. His contract expires at the end of the season.
From a Brooklyn point of view, they acquire two players who were, not long ago, selected in the top-ten of the NBA draft. It was a low risk way to try out a pair of guys who have fallen from grace, in hopes that a change of scenery and system works out for them. Similar to Booker’s situation, if Okafor doesn’t fit in Brooklyn, they let him walk.
After the dust settled behind Okafor sprinting out of the locker room, the team battled the Lakers on TNT last night. LA topped Philly 107-104 as the Lakers nailed a three-pointer with .8 seconds left to seal the win.
Joel Embiid dropped a game-high 33 points in 36 minutes, however, it was Richaun Holmes who had himself a game. Off the bench, had 13 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes, including key baskets as the right time.
Embiid’s best moments:
Lonzo Ball made a heads-up pass on the penultimate play of the game that set-up the game-winning three-pointer. He was boo’ed by the fans all night long, but not by our Kinkead, who thinks we all should leave Lonzo Ball alone:
Remind me again why Lonzo Ball gets the scrutiny and hate. Is it because his dad is an asshole? Yeah, I think that’s it. That’s basically it. LaVar Ball is an asshole, so we boo his son and say things like, “Lonzo is a bust,” or, “Lonzo is a joke.” Some people want the kid to fail because his father is loudmouthed, obnoxious, and invested in a way that’s seemingly counterproductive to his son’s success.
I’m trying to recall things that Lonzo may have said or done that would justify the Wells Fargo Center booing the hell out of him tonight. I don’t think he’s slandered any all-time greats or pimped out his clothing brand or criticized his coaches. By all accounts, he’s a quiet and respectful kid who just shows up and plays basketball…
Not sure how Embiid feels about Lonzo, but he is a fan of LaVar:
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) December 8, 2017
Watch Sixers’ players try to do their best Brett Brown impersonation.
The Eagles are getting last prep in for the Rams game this Sunday. Zach Ertz was cleared and was a limited participant in practice yesterday. He’ll play on Sunday.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai will also play on Sunday. Unlike a year ago, he isn’t as much of a liability this season. MMQB has a great feature on the young lineman filling in for Jason Peters:
…Vaitai’s play since stepping in for Peters in late October has been a welcome improvement over 2016, when the fifth-round pick out of TCU was pushed into a starting role, subbing for Johnson, for which he wasn’t quite ready. A few weeks ago, Eagles coach Doug Pederson praised the play of Big V—his nickname in the locker room, for the obvious reasons of his 320-pound frame and his tongue-twisting first name—and said he’d been giving him less help in protection schemes. This year, Vaitai says, the difference is simply the experience he gained from playing last year.
There are expected to be a lot of Eagles fans at the game on Sunday. NFL on FOX wants to have some Rams fans there and put out a casting call for them.
That said, I don’t think last night’s successful shutdown of McDavid and his line was all MacDonald’s doing. Nor was it Provorov as well. No, it was the whole five-man unit.
Whichever line was out there against him – while Edmonton, with the last line change, would often try and get McDavid out against Filppula’s line, Hakstol often countered a McDavid shift by changing lines and going with Couturier’s line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds – did a fine job of being responsible for their coverages to take away Edmonton’s best offensive option.
The Flyers remained committed to this style for the entire 60 minutes, and it worked. It was probably the best overall team effort since shutting out the Blues in St. Louis on Nov. 2.
Last night, the Flyers extended the newfound winning streak to three games with a 4-1 win over the Canucks. Philly is now 11-11-7, despite the 10-game losing streak. Jakub Voracek had three assists in the win.
The NHL is letting Seattle get to the next step of expansion:
Seattle has requested to fill out NHL expansion application. NHL has approved that, and will allow Seattle to conduct season ticket drive.
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) December 7, 2017
Ryan Shazier of the Steelers underwent spinal surgery, ending his season, and putting his career in jeopardy.
According to our Philip Keidel, the NFL needs to take a page out of the NBA’s playbook to avoid Shazier’s situation in the future:
Drums are beating about whether football will survive if the game cannot be played without so much malice. The answer, of course, is that it won’t. Parents are already holding their children out of football by the thousands over concerns that the sport cannot be played safely. Fans of the sport at the professional level are also considering whether just watching the game is morally or ethically acceptable.
It doesn’t need to be this way. If NFL players want to know how to make the necessary transition from barbaric spectacle to entertainment, they need only look to their peers in the NBA.
In more NFL news, the Browns announced the firing of front office executive Sashi Brown, while also committing to Hue Jackson for another season. Just a few hours later, the team hired a new general manager. Cleveland not only has that going for them, they also have a parade upcoming, if they get the results on the field:
A Cleveland man asked for $10,000 on GoFundMe to organize a Browns "Perfect Season" 0-16 parade.
Excedrin contributed the final $7,683 and will be the sponsor of the parade should the Browns complete the feat.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 7, 2017
Week 14 in the NFL began with the Falcons scoring 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to earn a 20-17 win over the Saints. The win helps the Eagles in the battle for the top two seeds in the NFC.
Early in the fourth it looked as though the Falcons may have blown the game as Sean Payton was signaling:
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 8, 2017
But it turned out it was the other way around.
Shipping update from the Crossing Broad store.
In non-sports news…
A mayor in Iowa was arrested for using dead people’s handicapped placards.
The first trailer for the new Jurassic World movie debuted last night.
Starbucks will sell a Christmas Tree Frappuccino.