The December 76ers can be summed up by one quote from The Waterboy:
With the 101-95 loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Sixers have lost seven of their last eight games, 2-9 since the calendar turned to December, and 4-11 since Thanksgiving.
For the second straight game, the Sixers did not have the services of Joel Embiid due to back soreness, but that in no means is a good excuse for this slump. They lost to the Chicago Bulls by two on Monday night, so this should’ve been a win, right? Nope.
Robert Covington led the Sixers with 17 points, while Ben Simmons was an assist short of another triple-double, recording 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with his nine dishes. Zach Randolph led all players with 27 points, with Buddy Hield not that far behind with 24.
The team begins a home-and-home Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center with the Toronto Raptors. That will be the team’s last home game until the new year. Let’s hope we see more of Ben Simmons taking jumpers, because he might need to start carrying the team a little more.
Remember Jahlil Okafor? The Sixers traded him and Nik Stauskas to the Nets for Trevor Booker nearly two weeks ago. He hasn’t played in five of the team’s six games since the trade, and he’s blaming the Sixers for not being in game shape. So much for that vegan diet of his.
But he’s now entered damage control mode. This from his Instagram story:
Pro Bowl rosters were announced last night, and the Eagles had six of their own named to the NFC team Four of them are first-time selections.
- RG Brandon Brooks (1st Pro Bowl)
- DT Fletcher Cox (3rd Pro Bowl)
- TE Zach Ertz (1st Pro Bowl)
- S Malcolm Jenkins (2nd Pro Bowl)
- RT Lane Johnson (1st Pro Bowl)
- QB Carson Wentz (1st Pro Bowl)
The Steelers led all teams with eight Pro Bowlers.
But one notable exception was center Jason Kelce, who was leading voting at the center position earlier this month. His teammates thought he was robbed of a selection:
Kelce got snubbed so bad I’m starting to wonder if the voters are all trash cans.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) December 20, 2017
Kelce was robbed though pic.twitter.com/VVCrl3glni
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 20, 2017
Long also thought Brandon Graham should’ve been in:
BG never having been to a Pro Bowl is an example of why it’s kind of an arbitrary deal. Great football player.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) December 20, 2017
Kelce and Graham, along with Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Mills, Jake Elliott and Kamu Grugier-Hill are all Pro Bowl alternates.
As for the rest of the team, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz hasn’t been happy with his performance of the defense, even though the team has continued their winning ways.
“One thing that has hurt us, particularly in this last game, were penalties and third down,” Schwartz said. “The first three series of the game, I think we started 0-for-6 on third downs. You talk about a good formula for giving up points, there’s one right there. When I say 0-for-6, that might not be the stat count because the penalties don’t count in those official stats, but they count on defense…
“When we’re playing our best, we don’t give teams a second chance. I’ve said that a few weeks in a row now. I’m getting a little bit tired of saying it, but we have to get back to that. We have to get back to playing clean football, not giving people stuff for free.
“There’s a lot of things the opponents do to us. They can run and pass and play-action and everything else. I think what’s more important in this is what we’re doing. When we play our best, we don’t give up touchdowns.”
Carson Wentz made his return to NovaCare Complex yesterday. But even though he won’t play for the rest of the year, he’ll still get involved with Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld.
“Today he was back in the building, in the quarterback room, and just being himself,” Reich said. “That’s a tight-knit room. These rooms, our players are close. The three of those [QBs] are really close. So, first and foremost, take care of rehab. Second, support Nick [Foles] and Nate [Sudfeld].”
From covering Training Camp this summer, Reich is right. I spoke to Dane Evans, the team’s fourth string QB during the preseason, and he discussed the close-knit and competitiveness the QBs had, especially with ping pong. Evans and Foles, along with Matt McGloin, made sure Wentz didn’t have easy chances to win. It’s a fun group from what Evans told me.
Anthony SanFilippo recaps Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, which ended their six-game winning streak.
Despite playing in every game this season, rookie defenseman Robert Hagg hasn’t recorded a goal. He’s not worried about that, and would rather worry about his team rather than himself.
“I’m not trying to build my game through stats,” Hagg said after practice Tuesday. “I’m just trying to help the team win. If my stats say I’m horse[bleep] out there, I don’t care, honestly.”
They don’t. What they say is he is already, in his rookie season, among the NHL’s most consistent hitters and reliable defenders. Hagg was credited with six hits in Monday’s 4-1 loss to Los Angeles, maintaining his status among the top five defenders in that category.
Impressive as those numbers are, the impressive aspect is what they accomplish. Armed with an active stick that can flick pucks clear of danger with a single hand attached, Hagg designs his hits to separate pucks rather than shoulders. He’s amassed just 12 penalty minutes. Radko Gudas, despite playing in 20 because of injuries and a 10-game suspension, has 57 penalty minutes.
“Hagger’s playing hard,” said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol. “You look at [Monday] night. We were off our game. We didn’t play a complete game. Individually, I thought he played hard. He did all of the things that we would like to see out of him. Throughout he was a consistent player, a heavy player throughout that entire game.”
The Flyers host the Detroit Red Wings tonight for Wednesday Night Rivalry at 8 PM on NBCSN. Don’t ask me how this is a rivalry game, because just mentioning the 1997 Stanley Cup Final is ridiculous. It’s the team’s last home game of the calendar year.
As Temple prepares for tomorrow’s Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (what a name for a bowl), the school’s winningest senior class doesn’t want to end the season with a losing record. And head coach Geoff Collins has been setting the tone for the week.
Collins was named Temple’s head coach two weeks before last year’s bowl game, but he didn’t coach in it, opting to observe. Tight ends and special teams coach Ed Foley, who was named the interim head coach when Rhule departed, coached the team.
While the media hasn’t been able to view much of practice, word is that the players have been energetic, with Collins leading the way.
Collins says he and his staff haven’t shied away from mentioning the disappointing results of the last two bowl games. He feels that in practice, he feels the players seemed to have responded.
“I am pleased with how they prepared [and] handled their business on and off the field, so it has been a good week of preparation,” Collins said.
The team had some fun as well on the beach yesterday.
— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) December 19, 2017
— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) December 20, 2017
The kid crowd surfing in the first picture is long snapper Corey Lerch, one of my buds from high school. He’s the next Jon Dorenbos.
One college basketball game on the schedule for today, as St. Joe’s takes on St. John’s at 4:30 PM on ESPNU in the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase in Connecticut.
Today is the start of the new early signing period for high school football recruits.
In other sports news, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has stripped Alex Guerrero, an associate of Tom Brady and his TB12 therapy center, of his special team privileges. Is there a growing rift between Brady and Belichick?
Oklahoma freshman Trae Young tied the NCAA record of 22 assists in last night’s win over Northwestern State. He was also the first player in two decades to register at least 20 points and 20 assists in the same game.
After their move to the Barclays Center, a basketball arena, proved to be really bad, the New York Islanders will move back to Long Island near Belmont Park.
North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell and UConn head coach and Norristown native Geno Auriemma earned their 1,000th career victories in women’s college basketball.
Speaking of local in the college game, former Imhotep wide receiver and current Maryland Terrapin D.J. Moore is foregoing his senior season and will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back on IR.
LANE WITH THE ONE-HANDED SNAG 😱 pic.twitter.com/Tqua5kjYd0
— SB Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) December 20, 2017
Steph Curry’s ankle injury will force him to miss the Christmas Day NBA Finals rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Former 49er and current rugby player Jarryd Hayne has been accused of rape in a civil lawsuit.
Marlins Man is not happy with Derek Jeter and his moves with the Miami Marlins.
Charlie Villanueva got his housed robbed. And they took his toilet.
— Charlie Villanueva (@CVBelieve) December 20, 2017
This Detroit Mercy commit broke a rim.
— Ian (@ian_ash1) December 20, 2017
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ son scored his first career point for Northwestern. Never forget.
I’ll just leave this here pic.twitter.com/dAG9jssF5t
— Charlie Hall (@charlie_hall23) December 20, 2017
In the news, part of I-95 in Bucks County was shut down early this morning after a sign mishap involving a malfunctioning crane.
The Senate passed the new GOP tax plan and will go back to the House for another vote.
A top European court has ruled that Uber should be regulated as a taxi company.
Cardinal Bernard Law, the former Boston archbishop who resigned during the church’s sex abuse scandal, has died at 86.
Heather North, the longtime voice of Daphne during the Scooby Doo incarnations up until 2003, has died at 71.
McDonald’s is going to sell a McVegan burger in Europe.