The Sixers had an 18-point lead. They blew it.
The Trail Blazers used a 19-0 run early in the fourth quarter for a 114-110 come-from-behind victory in Portland. It was awful to watch. Portland also didn’t have Damian Lillard and outscored the Sixers 42-25 in the final frame.
Despite Joel Embiid scoring 29 points and hitting six three-pointers, CJ McCollum went off for 34 points. Shabazz Napier had 23 points and a really sick assist, and Jusuf Nurkic put up 21 points and 12 rebounds despite having five fouls in the fourth quarter. Amazingly, the refs never called a foul on him in the fourth.
But don’t blame the refs, it was another bad Sixers collapse.
That's the third 16+ point second-half lead that the Sixers have blown in nine days. That's gotta stop.
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) December 29, 2017
How does this happen again? Games that look like the Sixers have a grasp of gets out of hand quickly, and results in a major collapse.
And it happened on a night where Dario Saric scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting. A great night of shooting went to waste because of a god awful collapse.
Let’s bring up the Brett Brown hot seat question. If this continues, his status should be closely examined.
Finally, let me explain how bad Jerryd Bayless was. We were already screwed with Reggie Miller on the call. Bayless made it worse. He had two rebounds, a steal, a turnover, two fouls, a late three-pointer that didn’t count, and a -20 in 19:59 of playing time.
I am a:
🔘A way to get Jerryd Bayless off this team
— Chris Jastrzembski (@CFJastrzembski) December 29, 2017
The Sixers take on the Nuggets in Denver Saturday night at 9 PM. They’ll play the Phoenix Suns the following night at 8 PM. Joel probably won’t play in one of those games.
One injury note: Robert Covington left for the second straight game after injuring his left middle finger.
The Flyers also returned to action for the first time in five days. And they picked up where they left off, a loss. They fell to the Florida Panthers 3-2, and couldn’t get anything going on offense until the 12:28 mark of the third period. Scott Laughton and Shayne Gostisbehere had the two Flyers goals, and Brian Elliott made 24 saves on 27 shots.
Gostisbehere has a close relationship with the Panthers organization when he played for their Junior Panthers team:
“The Panthers did a great job of instilling hockey in Florida. It’s not a hockey state per se. but as the game grew they offered kids my age a chance to play it. All my best friends are still playing hockey. And I’m here. It’s cool. It’s very unique. People ask me where I’m from, whether I’m from Canada. And I say I’m from Florida and you get a look.’’
He was the first player from South Florida to play an NHL game. A few have trickled in since, but it has done little to spike prolonged interest in the Panthers, who just three seasons ago finished first in the Atlantic Division with 103 points. That year, the Panthers finished ahead of just six teams in average attendance.
Tampa Bay, by contrast, has finished in the top 10 over the last four seasons, even when the team failed to reach the playoffs last season.
“I mean, Florida has been a bandwagon state for a while,’’ Gostisbehere said. “Especially down south. I’m pretty sure if you go to Miami Heat games right now they’re not going to be packed. But a couple of years ago they were.’’
The Flyers play tonight in Tampa Bay against the Lightning at 7:30 PM. With Michal Neuvirth off IR, could he get the start in goal?
The Eagles had a walk-through practice yesterday, but Brandon Graham did not participate. On Tuesday, Doug Pederson said his injury was “day-to-day.” Wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t play Sunday.
Kevin Kinkead delves into Alshon Jeffery’s bad Monday night and if he and Nick Foles need to build more chemistry.
Remember when Patrick Robinson looked awful in training camp? Well now he’s one of the more important pieces on defense:
The slot takes a much bigger toll on your body than playing outside, particularly when you’re in your eighth pro season like Robinson.
“It’s just a matter of being consistent with your body,’’ he said. “Sometimes guys, they start out pretty good. Cold tub every day. Then, as the year goes along, they start to slack off. You start to get a little lazy.
“When I was younger, I didn’t really need to do any of that, to be honest. Now I try to go in the training room and do the cold tub. Do my stretching. And get a lot of rest. I try to get as much rest as I can.’’
Dannell Ellerbe is starting to feel comfortable after his first game with the Eagles after weeks of practice.
Frank Fitzpatrick profiles Carson Wentz’s surgeon, James Bradley.
An interesting post on how important home field advantage is to the Eagles without Wentz.
Jimmy Kempski ranks the playoff teams he would want to face, from most to least desirable:
5) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons didn’t just get hot during the playoffs last year. They were really good all season long and rode their success to a near Super Bowl win. Matt Ryan was the NFL’s MVP in 2016, and the Falcons had outstanding skill position players around him in Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. That set of triplets is still there, and this remains a dangerous team with big-time weapons.
However, when comparing this year’s team to last year’s, for whatever reason, the Falcons have not been as potent offensively. In 2016, they led the NFL with 540 points scored. In 2017, they have 331 points scored with one game to play. That’s 10th in the NFC, behind the Redskins. That is a drastic difference.
Divisional playoff tickets will go on sale Thursday morning at 10 AM. They’ll only be available through Ticketmaster, and there’s a limit of four per household.
Here’s some fun Eagles videos for you. Happy Friday:
— NFL (@NFL) December 28, 2017
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 28, 2017
In college hoops, Temple opened up AAC play with an 85-75 home loss to Tulane. Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston Jr. each led the Owls with 17 points. It’s their third loss in the last four games.
Today, Penn hosts Toledo at 4 PM at The Palestra. On Saturday, La Salle hosts Saint Louis in their A 10 opener, Drexel plays Elon on the road in their CAA opener, top-ranked Villanova plays guest to Butler, St. Joe’s faces off against George Washington in their A 10 opener, and Temple is at Houston.
In other sports news, James Harden committed two offensive fouls late as the Houston Rockets blew a 26-point lead to the Boston Celtics. He ripped the refs afterwards.
The New York Giants brought back Dave Gettleman as their new general manager after spending four years as GM of the Carolina Panthers. One decision he’ll have to make involves Brandon Marshall, who missed the final 11 games of the season with an ankle injury that required surgery.
A photographer who took pictures of the Minnesota Twins says she was sexually assaulted by third baseman Miguel Sano.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 29, 2017
The Americans play Canada today at 3 PM at New Era Field, the home of the Buffalo Bills.
It was also a bad day for this guy:
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) December 28, 2017
The Miami Marlins are now listening to offers for Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto.
In the news, despite the extreme cold, the Mummers Parade is still on.
At least 12 people died in an apartment fire in the Bronx.
Apple apologized for slowing down iPhones and is offering battery replacements for $29.