The Sixers return after the eight-day All-Star break as they travel to Chicago for an 8 p.m. matchup tonight. Brett Brown’s team has 27 games left in the regular season and currently sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s the rest of the schedule:
Eight of their first 10 games are on the road. Five of those road games are against current playoff teams (Washington, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Miami twice). After that, the Sixers are on the road only six times against five non-playoff teams. They also have six back-to-backs during this span, including one this weekend against Orlando and Washington.
There’s certainly some question involving the team in this final run to the playoffs. How many games will Joel Embiid play? And will he play in every back-to-back? With how he was in January and February, I’m hoping he plays about 25 games if nothing goes wrong.
Will we see a boost in bench scoring with the signing of Marco Belinelli? He scored 18 points in his debut against Miami last Wednesday, and went three-of-five from the 3-point line. If Brett Brown can get guys like him, T.J. McConnell, and Trevor Booker going, this team might be able to climb a few spots in the Eastern Conference.
Finally, will we get a firm answer with Markelle Fultz’s status? He was out shooting short-range jumpers yesterday at practice. Nothing new. I doubt that he plays this season. I would guess we might get an announcement on the status for the rest of the season in March.
But let’s just Trust The Process. But also think – what if Sam Hinkie picked Giannis Antetokounmpo instead of Michael Carter-Williams?
Catch up with all the Crossing Broadcasts you may have missed over the past week.
Baseball is back! The Phillies open up Spring Training this afternoon at 1 p.m. in Clearwater against the University of Tampa. Jerad Eickhoff will get the start. The game will be streamed on tampaspartans.tv.
Today’s lineup is already up:
The first Phillies lineup of 2018. pic.twitter.com/acVNh2dKDj
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) February 22, 2018
Pitcher Jesmuel Valentin hopes to make the Phillies after being motivated after Hurricane Maria struck his hometown of Manati in Puerto Rico:
Valentin, who enters spring training in competition to make the Phillies as a reserve infielder, used those images as motivation when he represented Puerto Rico earlier this month at the Caribbean Series. The island finally had a distraction from Maria’s damage. It seemed as though everyone was watching, he said. And Valentin’s squad delivered, defeating the Dominican Republic to capture Puerto Rico’s second straight title.
“Giving that joy was one of the biggest motivations for us,” Valentin said. “We didn’t go there just to have fun and play, but we were thinking about giving as much as we can and putting our Puerto Rico name as high as we can to let everyone know that not even a hurricane can stop us.”
Valentin, 23, played a key role with a pair of hits and a run scored in the series-clinching win. He batted .287 this winter in 24 games at second base, shortstop, and third base. It was his first action in eight months, and Valentin proved that he was healthy. His season ended in May, after just 29 triple-A games, when he underwent shoulder surgery. It was a crushing blow in a season that began with a terrific spring training and was expected to end with Valentin’s major-league debut.
“It was a tough year for me last year,” Valentin said. “Knowing what I did in spring training, I think I opened a lot of eyes. I thought it was going to be my debut year. Then that happened. But God has a purpose. Now I’m here. I have a big chance, I just have to keep doing the same thing I did last year — don’t put pressure on myself, and keep playing the same baseball that I’ve always played.”
What are the best (and worst) Phillies promotions this season?
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery played the entire season with a torn rotator cuff.
This is Alshon Jeffery after surgery today
Played entire season and won SuperBowl with torn rotator cuff….
according to @RapSheet
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) February 21, 2018
So that means Wentz’s final TD is even better:
Despite tearing his ACL on this called back TD run, Carson Wentz STAYED IN to finish the drive with a TD pass to Alshon Jeffery. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/l1YAafP68g
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 13, 2017
However, Jeffery appears to be out for six months, which means he probably won’t play in any preseason games.
Doug Pederson gambled a ton on fourth down, and it paid off for the most part.
He was also a guest on The Rich Eisen Show. And he almost went for something that wasn’t Philly Special:
What if Doug Pederson hadn't called #PhillySpecial?
It almost happened…
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 22, 2018
Speaking of Philly Special, the Eagles are trying to trademark that special play call.
Which safeties should stay or go this offseason?
Mel Kiper Jr. has the Eagles picking a slot receiver in the first round.
The Vikings Foundation sent Eagles fans that made donations to the team a special gift from the Super Bowl.
They’ve also been different to say the least. They have not had to kill a penalty in three games.
In college hoops, No. 3 Villanova crushed DePaul 93-62. Phil Booth made his return to the Wildcats.
On Hawk Hill, George Mason defeated St. Joe’s 79-76 at the buzzer.
The Patriots WIN at the horn, AGAIN!!! pic.twitter.com/UGq7l0wlgD
— Mason Men's Basketball (@MasonMBB) February 22, 2018
Tonight, Drexel hosts Delaware in CAA play.
The Union shutout the Montreal Impact 5-0 in the second game of the Suncoast International last night. The preseason wraps up on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the regular season begins next Saturday at home against the New England Revolution.
The team appears to be looking at a Czech midfielder before the start of their season.
In other sports news, the U.S. women’s ice hockey team defeated Canada in a shootout to win the gold medal. On a side note, shootouts should never decide any playoff or tournament game. That’s dumb.
The Spurs might not have Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the season, as tensions with his camp and the team continue to get worse.
My goodness, David de Gea:
Mark Cuban hasn’t had the best of weeks. After the SI story about workplace misconduct, he was fined $600,000 for his comments on tanking.
Tim takes on the “stick to sports” topic as well.
One ball boy got attacked by an opposing player for celebrating a goal in Brazil.
In the news, Alex Trebek will moderate a Pennsylvania governor’s debate.
There was a town hall on gun control in Florida last night.
H.R. McMaster might leave the White House.