81 games down, one to go. And then, the playoffs.
The Sixers extended their winning streak to 15 games last night with a 121-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks. That sets a new franchise record, previously held by the 1982-83 world championship team, a squad that won 14 straight that season.
But it was surprisingly a tough game. Dario Saric exited just 13 seconds in with a lip laceration and a broken tooth. He has a dentist appointment this morning. Ben Simmons also battled foul trouble early and throughout the game, and despite that finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.
JJ Redick had to lead the team with 28 points. Philly’s two former Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli, also spearheaded a big night for the bench. Ilyasova finished with 26 points, which tied his season-best, with eight boards, and Belinelli scored 20 points.
Game 82 will be the most important regular season finale for the Sixers in a long time. They’ll take on the Bucks, who could possibly be the Sixers’ first round opponent at the end of the night. Tip off is set for 8 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia + and ESPN. A win or a Cavaliers loss to the Knicks ensures the Sixers the #3 seed. A loss and a Cleveland win would slip the Sixers to #4 to face Indiana. Here’s the Eastern Conference standings as of today:
As for Philly’s possible opponents, Miami hosts Toronto and Washington is at Orlando. Here are the possible scenarios for those three games tonight after Washington defeated Boston:
As for the 3-8 seeds in the Western Conference, it’s a mess. Minnesota and Denver play a win-and-in game at 8 PM.
REMINDER: Come out to our live viewing party podcast tonight at 6 Feet Under Gastropub! It starts at 7 PM.
Sticking with the Sixers for a little bit, as the team has officially unveiled their playoff campaign earlier this morning.
— x – Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 11, 2018
Outside of the playoffs, a day after Simmons said he would vote himself for Rookie of the Year, Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell wore a hoodie with the Adidas logo on it with a definition of the word “rookie.”
“An athlete playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team.”
Notice the third word in that sentence. Since Simmons did not play last season, he is still a rookie. And whereas Adidas appears to be on Team Mitchell, Dictionary.com is on Team Simmons?
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 11, 2018
They’re smart you know. They are an online dictionary.
Simmons clapped back:
Ben Simmons just responded to Donovan Mitchell’s hoodie, and it’s glorious pic.twitter.com/IM6fqmsOQe
— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) April 11, 2018
To make everything better, Mitchell spoke to ESPN’s Chris Haynes about the Rookie of the Year discussion:
“I really don’t care,” Mitchell told ESPN. “The biggest thing for me is that we’re in the fourth seed and fighting for the third seed. If I’m worrying about individual awards, I’m giving up on my teammates and what we’re trying to build here. Clearly, I’m not the one losing sleep over this. I don’t care.”
We also got a Joel Embiid update. Head coach Brett Brown said it’s very unlikely he’s ready for Game 1.
In much more important news, we might have a preview of his mask:
MASKED EMBIID READY pic.twitter.com/UUgN2gw3s4
— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) April 11, 2018
The Stanley Cup playoffs get underway tonight, and so does the Flyers-Penguins series. Game 1 will begin at 7 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBCSN nationally. This will be a fun series, as it always is.
If the Flyers pull out a series victory, it will more than likely come from superb play from goalie Brian Elliott.
A good chunk of the Flyers young guys will participate in their first playoff series, including Ivan Provorov and Nolan Patrick:
“You’re seeing the evolution of a young player getting better,’’ Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. “This is a young guy who still has some growth to do. But he’s understanding the pro game more, he‘s understanding playing in a team concept more. When these young players come up they’ve all had the puck their whole lives. And there’s parts of the game where they don’t get it. Especially the high-level guys. T.K. had the puck his whole life. Thirteen years old he probably had the puck the whole game. Now it’s, `OK, I’m not going to have the puck the whole game, there’s other areas I can improve on. And to his credit he’s taken a lot of pride in doing things the right way, playing the game the right way.’’
Said Konecny, “I think I let that junior mentality rule when I first came into the league. It’s hard. You’re used to having the puck, creating opportunities every single shift. But for now it’s a lot about learning how to play without the puck, reading the play, slow the game down a little bit. I’m just trying to simplify my game, limit mistakes but keep my creativity there. It’s tough. But you’re not in juniors anymore.’’
For Lindblom, who played among men in Sweden’s top professional league, buying in wasn’t the problem. Feeling as if he belonged was. Shortly after the Phantoms season began, he was placed on the same line with Matt Read, an NHL veteran and someone who has gone through his own trials. Read gave him plenty of hockey advice – getting his shot off quicker, tightening the spacing that is required in the North American game. But, said Lindblom, “it was more about confidence. He was always trying to talk me into getting more comfortable.
“We talked a lot: Hockey, life, how it works up here. He was a good guy to have around. He helped me a lot.’’
Just like the Eagles, who won the Super Bowl, the Flyers are embracing an underdog role. Hungry dogs skate faster.
Here’s some other reasons why the Flyers will win the Stanley Cup.
Michal Neuvirth took part in practice yesterday but won’t be ready for the first two games of the series. As for Sam Morin, Hextall said he’s still rehabbing from an injury, but he would like to see him play in the playoffs somewhere on the run. Jordan Weal and Robert Hagg will probably be the two healthy scratches to start the series.
Big week for rookies in Philadelphia.
rookie [roo k-ee]
An athlete playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team pic.twitter.com/KMKGQ9TsRL
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 11, 2018
Prior to that dinger, JP Crawford got his first hit after 18 at-bats, which drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Aaron Nola went…wait for it…EIGHT INNINGS!!!! He gave up one run on three hits and struck out six on 103 pitches. Hoby Milner got the save.
“AARON NOLA ISN’T AN ACE!” pic.twitter.com/eDCMy3IQpp
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 11, 2018
The final game of the series is tonight at 7:05 PM. With the Flyers and Sixers on the two NBCSP channels, the Phils will be on PHL 17, one of their old homes. That’s how it should have been last week. Nick Pivetta will try to get the Phillies above .500 against Luis Castillo.
Who are some running backs the Eagles could target in the NFL Draft? LSU’s Derrius Guice is one of them.
The Eagles were initially interested in Jeremy Maclin before signing Mike Wallace.
Jalen Brunson will enter the NBA Draft.
Brunson follows teammate Mikal Bridges, who announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft yesterday. Bridges could be a very good fit for the Sixers.
In other sports news, Kevin Durant will opt out of his contract this offseason. But he’ll stay with Golden State and rework his deal with the team.
After more than 380 games in the G-League, 32-year-old rookie Andre Ingram made his NBA debut with the Lakers. He scored 19 points in the loss to the Rockets.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited Meek Mill in jail, along with Michael Rubin.
Thursday Night Football Color Rush uniforms are done:
Bill Wanger of FOX Sports says alternate uniforms on Thursday Night Football are going away. Hardcore fans don’t need gimmicks to watch. The game schedule will also be stronger. #NABShow
— Jason Barrett (@sportsradiopd) April 10, 2018
In the news, West Chester University is on alert after a shooting occurred near campus.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t run for re-election in November.