Monday, December 8, 2008

Carter, Richards, Donyell … and Duke Lost!

It's official, no duo in the NHL, not even those two Pittsburghers, have been more dangerous than Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Right now, the Flyers are certifiably hot. They've scored points in 12 of their last 13 games, going 9-1-3 over that span, and the two best players have been the captain and Carter.

On Saturday night, as I was in and out of consciousness all day, I watched as Richards and Carter struck again. For much of the game, the Flyers were getting outplayed by the Hurricanes. Carolina looked fresher, seemed to work a little harder and had plenty of chances, but it was the Flyers who struck first when Mike Richards scored his fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Count em, 4. That puts him atop the NHL in shorthanded goals, tied with teammate Simon Gagne, and Carter is right behind them with 2. It was the Flyers' 11 shorty of the season, by far the most in the league. It's almost as if they are more dangerous than the team with the extra man. It's frightening.

Almost as frightening as Jeff Carter right now. Presently, there is not a player in the NHL who has a more potent shot than Carter. He'll fire from anywhere, any time with uncanny accuracy. After the Hurricanes imposed their will to tie the game, Carter had enough, and scored his league-leading 19th goal to give the Flyers the win. It was essentially Carter, Richards and Antero Niittymaki stealing a victory. Right now, Carter and Richards are just too good, and if you add the play of Simon Gagne with the incredible defense of Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers should have at least a quartet in the All-Star game, assuming they don't fall off the face of the planet.

In other news, I don't understand the Sixers at all. They beat the Pistons in Detroit on Friday, thanks in large part to a huge game by Donyell Marshall, who not only hit some shots and had a dunk, but also had an awesome block in the 4th quarter. Oh, and Theo had a tremendous block in the game as well, sending back a floater attempt by his former teammate Allen Iverson. Moral of the story: Get Theo and Donyell some more run.

Then the Sixers lose to the Nets at home. What gives? The most obvious answer is that this team is still trying to figure out how to play with one another. But man, it's taking an awful long time, and that comes down to one man and one man only: Maurice Cheeks.

I'm a big Mo Cheeks fan. For years, I've been saying the biggest travesty in sports is that Cheeks is not in the Hall of Fame. But man, he's been hard to figure out this year. His infatuation with Willie Green is mind-boggling, and he's yo-yo-ing minutes for several players. The team looks hesitant to run and the defense has been atrocious. Basically, the team that played the final half of last season is nowhere to be found. Some nights, the Sixers look tough. Others, they look miles away from even a playoff squad.

That's on Mo. And if this team can't turn it around, if he can't find minutes for Reggie Evans, Kareem Rush and the rest, Mo may need to look to in mirror and ask himself if he's really up for this challenge. I hope he is. I always thought he was underappreciated for what he did in Portland, much like he was underappreciated as a player, but right now, this team looks confused from night to night. That's on Cheeks.

Oh, and for all of you people with hard-ons for Duke, the people who insist somehow that the Blue Devils, who have done nothing but underachieve for the past decade, will challenge the Tar Heels this year, Duke lost to Michigan on Saturday, 81-73. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


  1. Went to the game against the Nets on Saturday night and I'm thinking Mo has to turn this thing around (by end of season LATEST) or risk losing his job, right?

    He loves Willie G, but also loves playing him with Lou. That lineup gets schooled all damn day. Case in point, NJ noticed that 6'1" Lou Williams was guarding 7'0" Yi Jianlian so they went at Lou 3 possessions in a row. Yi scored twice and hooked Jarvis G-Tech Hayes up before Mo realized what was happening and called a timeout. In fact I'm not sure Mo realized anything other than New Jersey got back-to-back-to-back easy scores.

    He's got to establish some sort of half-court offense for this team and do it soon. Iggy can NOT play with Elton at this point in time and for a combined $160 mil. guaranteed they need to get on the same page soon.

  2. And as I was alluding to in the beginning of that post, the Rotations are a mess and need to be worked out. There's no excuse for Lou and Will consistently playing the 2 and 3 together and getting abused by other teams offenses even if they are scoring. And there's no excuse for Mo continuing to trot Kareem Rush out there for 5 minutes every other game to miss 2-3 shots and then back to the bench to stay cold.

  3. Great mustache, awful coaching. Couldn't agree with you more there Jolin' jolly roger.