Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Got Linked On

Last night, the Sixers lost to the Thunder 109-103. They were never outscored by more than four points in a quarter and even managed to best Oklahoma City by fie in final frame. Yet with the game rarely ever getting to a double-digit margin, there was not a single moment I thought the Sixers would win the game. Not a one.

Yes, they played tough and they played close, but at no moment did the outcome feel in jeopardy for the Thunder. And really, that makes sense on a lot of levels. The Thunder have two players who are better than anyone on Philadelphia's roster — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Uncoincidentally, Durant and Westbrook each scored 31 points. KD did it by getting to the line and going an absurd 16-16 from the charity stripe, adding 7 rebounds, 2 assists and three steals. Westbrook also got to the line plenty, going 9-11 there, but really just got to anywhere he wanted at any time, going 11-19 from the field and capping off his night with a double-double thanks to 12 assists … not to mention five rebounds.

When you take into account that Andre Iguodala wasn't playing for a second straight game, it's easy to see why the Thunder controlled things pretty much the entire way.

I have to give the Sixers credit. They battled and clawed and kept the game close. They were legitimately in it until the final minute. And several players had really good games. Jrue Holiday finished with 17 and 11 and two steals. Evan Turner had 15 and 8. Elton Brand finished with 17, 9 and 5. And Jodie Meeks went the hell off late, scoring 17 points on 6-9 from the floor and 4-5 from three, including some clutch ones down the stretch that help keep things interesting just when it looked like the Thunder might pull away. But as we all know and expected, even this team's good isn't good enough. Jrue had 6 turnovers to go with his double-double, and Brand had five himself. Lou Will shot just 2-11, scoring on 6 points. And the overall defense was atrocious.

There's no shame in losing to a team like the Thunder, even if they've been a little slow out of the gate. It's an up-and-coming franchise with a ton of talent. And it was nice to the Sixers not get trounced by a good, young team on the road. But that's what we're going to get from this team — good effort and lousy results. At this point, the most intriguing thing about the Sixers is whether or not they trade Iguodala before it's all said and done. Sure, there are other reasons to watch, but it's not going to be pretty.

Let's get linked on …

-Impressive Flyers rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has given Philadelphia fans enough reason to love him already with his play — 2.91 GAA, .926 save percentage and an 8-2-1 record — but if you need any more reasons, read this Puck Daddy interview with the 22-year-old Russian.

-Speaking of the Flyers, Claude Giroux signed a very affordable three-year extension, earning $2.75 million, $3.5 million and $5 million over the next three seasons.

I really like that guy.

-More good Philadelphia sports news: Michael Vick was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his great game against the Colts, and Shane Victorino won his third straight Gold Glove, the lone Phillie to receive the honor this year.

-Oh yeah, and Mike Mauti was named Big 10 Co-Defensive Player of the Week along with Wisconsin cornerback Antonio Fenelus, via BSD.

-Nice read on Fran Dunphy and Temple's transition from the legendary John Chaney to the former Penn coach.

-And another good read on Rasual Butler the Roman Catholic and La Salle star now playing in his 8th NBA season.

-John Wall and Michael Beasley went off last night. Wall had a triple-double — 19 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds — the first of what's sure to be many for the No. 1 overall pick.

And Michael "You Ugly as Shit, Donte" Beasley dropped a career-high 42.

-Beasley also did this to my man Theo Ratliff the other night.

-But that's not nearly as impressive as what Bill Walker did.

-A Q&A with Moses Malone:

I was on the playground all night. I ain’t never go to parties or nothing. I’d get out of school at three and be out there playing until one in the morning with one streetlight. For real.

You’ve got to be determined that you want to be the best, but you don’t have to talk about it. You see someone talking about how great they are, they ain’t great. When I played, I never talked about what I was gonna do. I just did it.

-Familiar names could join the Phillies organization: word on the street is Juan Samuel is the favorite to take over for the departed Davey Lopes, Ryne Sandberg is in contention for the Iron Pigs' managerial opening, and Mickey Morandini may be joining the ranks somewhere.

Oddly enough, all of them were second basemen.

-Linebacker U: Paul Posluszny has been a tackling machine for the Bills, and Derek Wake (8.5) and Tamba Hali (7) are among the NFL's sack leaders. Tamba was an end at Penn State, and Wake played a little end but mostly linebacker in college, but both are 3-4 edge rushing linebackers in the NFL.

-Perhaps the most brilliant question ever asked: How much will the NFL fine Austin Collie?

-UNC's Harrison Barnes is the first freshman named to the AP's Preseason All-American team.

-Nice hat, Clinton.

The Redskins take on the Eagles Monday night, by the way.

-Two idiots from Ohio try to diminish Joe Paterno's 400 wins, then get owned.

Just because Ohio sucks in every conceivable way doesn't mean everything everywhere else sucks. I know Ohio State is going to kick the living shit out of Penn State on Saturday, but I would get even more joy out of toppling the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe than I did watching Penn State beat Michigan for a third straight year. Don't take your bitterness toward LeBron out on Paterno, assholes. No wonder the guy left.

-Update: Juan Samuel is the Phils new third-base coach, with Sam Perlozzo moving to first.

Flyers play the Hurricanes tonight, and JVR will be a healthy scratch yet again.

Also, NFL Thursdays begin tonight with the Ravens taking on the Falcons. Adjust your fantasy team accordingly.

And college basketball really kicks off tomorrow, with Temple, Nova, UNC and St. Joe's all tipping off.

And this concert on Tuesday at the Electric Factory was awesome.

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