Joel Embiid wasn’t supposed to play last night against the San Antonio Spurs because of a hand injury he suffered in Phoenix.
He played. And posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds to go along with four blocks in the first quarter to help the Sixers prevail over Brett Brown’s former team, 112-106, for the first time in his career. It was the Sixer’s first win against the Spurs in 13 tries, dating back to 2011.
Ben Simmons tied a game-high with 26 points (Patty Mills also scored 26), and JJ Redick added 20. The Spurs did not have many of their key contributors, including Kawhi Leonard.
It was a big win for this team. Beating the third place squad in the Western Conference shouldn’t be too easy, even if they’re without Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Rudy Gay, and Tony Parker. But it also matters in the playoff hunt. The Sixers are now a half game behind the Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Fifth place is only 2.5 games out of the Sixers’ reach, where Milwaukee now stands. Detroit is sixth with the same record, but don’t have the tiebreaker. Speaking of the Pistons, the Sixers will play them Friday night at home, before flying overseas to take on the Celtics in London.
Your reminder that one week from today, we’ll be having a live podcast from Carlino’s in Ardmore from 7 until 9 PM. Talking Philly sports and eating some damn good food. Come!
More Sixers! Kevin dove into some more numbers, with a focus on three-point shooting and other categories.
Markelle Fultz shot some free throws as he continued to work on returning to game condition.
With the Eagles not playing this week, they’re practicing in pads, something the players wanted. It’s also a great time for Nick Foles to settle down and get caught up before the postseason begins, as Zach Berman writes:
Foles has taken stock of the situation he’s in and the opportunity that’s in front of him. Foles packs much into his work week, and the pressure is magnified as the starting quarterback. Since Foles joined the lineup, he’s needed to help the Eagles secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage all while adjusting to receivers he hasn’t had much work with and taking more practice snaps than he’s had all season. So he hasn’t stopped to think much of his last playoff appearance until this week.
“It has been a whirlwind. A lot’s gone on the last couple of weeks,” Foles said. “I had some time to reflect – me [in 2013], playing in this game, what that season was like, the atmosphere, the visualization of it all. Because that’s important. It’s going to be here before we know it.”
The team finished third in the league with 133.2 rushing yards per game. They’ll need their runners to be more effective in order to help Foles succeed.
Bleeding Green Nation takes a look at the head coaching scene around the NFL, and which coaches might be possible replacements if the Eagles lose some of their guys.
The Giants will interview Jim Schwartz this weekend. He’s also being looked at for the Cardinals’ job.
The MMQB thinks Howie Roseman is the Executive of the Year.
Good news: There were fewer dropped passes this year! But Nelson Agholor actually had more drops.
The team also officially signed four players to reserve/futures contracts, including two players that attended training camp this year.
Anthony recaps the Flyers’ bad game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The team made one transaction, calling up… Tyrell Goulbourne …from the Phantoms. Kind of a head-scratcher.
They’re back home tonight against the New York Islanders. Puck drop is around 7 PM.
The Phillies signed 10 players as non-roster invitees.
Ruben Amaro Jr. played his dad on the most recent episode of The Goldbergs:
Here’s former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. (playing his father, Ruben Amaro Sr., on tonight’s episode of The Goldbergs) being told to sit down and shut up. pic.twitter.com/gvNjtbSduq
— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) January 4, 2018
In college hoops, St. Joe’s got their first Atlantic 10 victory with an 87-81 win over VCU at Hagan Field House. Freshman Taylor Funk scored 19 points.
La Salle fell to A10 favorite Rhode Island 74-62. Isiah Deas led the Explorers with 17 points, who didn’t have A10 leading scorer B.J. Johnson for the third straight game.
Tonight, Temple hosts No. 19 Cincinnati at the Liacouras Center. Tipoff is at an unusual 9 PM start time on ESPN2.
In other sports news, Marquette sophomore guard Markus Howard scored a school record and tied a Big East record with a 52 point performance in a 95-90 overtime win over Providence.
Congratulations to UCF, who are college football’s national champions, according to UCF:
— 2017 National Champions (@UCF_Football) January 3, 2018
AD Danny White is planning a parade and a national championship banner. Coaches are also getting paid their national championship bonuses. As much as I think they should be in the College Football Playoff, this is childish. Congrats on a fake national championship!
Insane. Ball family came to Lithuania, Absolute chaos in Vilnius airport pic.twitter.com/vZALO33BSw
— Donatas Urbonas (@Urbodo) January 3, 2018
— Betsafe LKL (@betsafeLKL) January 3, 2018
Enjoy this version when they announced their intention to go to Lithuania:
I am dying, call an ambulance. 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/EnDNAwVYN1
— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) December 12, 2017
I really like what Kyle Kuzma said about the Lakers’ 133-96 loss to the Thunder:
“We gave up,” Kuzma said. “You could see, they got basket after basket, we had no resistance on them on the defensive end and offensive end. When things got tough, we tried to do it individually, and you can’t do that in this league.
Here’s a pretty bad column from Rod Watson of The Buffalo News pretty much telling Bills fans to stop caring about their team making the playoffs and care about what’s going on in the real world. Pretty hot take.
Isaiah Thomas returned to Boston and got a standing ovation from the Celtics faithful. They also saw a 102-88 win over the Cavaliers.
Things don’t look good for Rich Rodriguez after he was fired by Arizona on Tuesday.
The Dallas Mavericks have a new Chinese name. They’re now the “Lone Ranger Heroes” after the actual translation came out to be “Little Cows.”
Grambling States’ Shakyla Hill posted a quadruple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals and 10 assists in the Tigers’ 93-71 win over Alabama State.
In the news, it’s snowing here.
CBS News fired political director Steve Chaggaris due to allegations of “inappropriate behavior” in the past.
Paul Manafort is suing Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice over the Russia probe.
A Fresno State student was found dead at a frat house near campus.
The Bay Area got a early morning wake up call with a 4.4 magnitude earthquake.
$1 nacho fries are coming to Taco Bell.
Kinkead: I’m still disappointed the rolled chicken tacos are no longer in rotation.