Inside the Standings: The Phillies' Assault on .500, and Remaining Postseason Chances

Inside the Standings: The Phillies' Assault on .500, and Remaining Postseason Chances

Quite remarkably, the Phillies have gotten their act together recently, and are making a late push toward respectability in the standings. They Fightins are 16-10 since the trade deadline, an even better 7-3 over their last 10. August is on the verge of becoming the club's best month this season -- this with relative unknowns like Kevin Frandsen and Erik Kratz playing huge roles.

The real good news here however is the pace they are on, which is very close to what we set out for them way back at the All-Star break. The Phils have posted a 24-17 record since July 13, which is a strong .585 winning percentage, and has them on track to finish the season at least .500.

A .500 record won't cause much excitement in this town, where we've become accustomed to the Phillies being a perennial World Series favorite. It's more of a bigger picture goal we had in mind for the team. The second-half winning percentage required to reach that mark when projected over a 162-game season equates to around 95 wins, and a trip to the playoffs.

If you believe there is something to be said for carrying momentum into next season, there would be your reason to hope this club is looking at a quick turnaround.

Of course, their winning ways have also inspired some Wild Card talk despite the fact that the Phillies are still 10 games out. I honestly thought we were done with all that stuff over a month ago, but at the time there were a lot more teams out in front. The pack has thinned significantly, with Milwaukee, New York, and Miami all falling behind.

On Monday's edition of Daily News Live, DN's Rich Hofmann outlined one potential miracle scenario for the Phils. If they were to go 28-6 the rest of the way, and the Cardinals went 17-18 over that span, it would force a one-game playoff for the second Wild Card spot. Of course, that presumes a team such as L.A. or Pittsburgh don't hang on to their leads, either.

Personally, that sounds a little ridiculous to me, and I find it hard to entertain it with any seriousness. That doesn't mean I don't think the Phillies have anything to play for though. That .500 mark is well within reach, and if on their way they happen to make a run at the postseason, I think we're all ready for a little excitement.

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy announced that the team has added two players to its 2016-17 roster. 

The Owls will announce the two new transfers, junior’s Isaiah Lewis and Steve Leonard, Thursday night at the Liacouras Center at the team’s Cherry and White Night. 

Lewis comes to Temple after playing for Casper College in Wyoming last season, where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists per game. Before his stint at Casper College, the 6-4 guard also played at Lee Junior College in Texas, and averaged 10.0 points and 4.7 assists per game.

Leonard, a 6-6 guard from Collegeville, Pa., played two seasons at Ursinus College. He averaged 5.6 points over 43 games during his career at Ursinus. 

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

CAMDEN, N.J. — The irony of Nik Stauskas’ reputation as a three-point shooter is that he doesn’t view himself that way.

Stauskas was drafted eighth overall by the Kings in 2014 after shooting 44.1 percent from three over two years at Michigan. But that’s not how he envisioned himself being in the pros.

“It’s crazy,” Stauskas said after practice Thursday. “I know I was a great shooter coming out of Michigan, but I don’t consider myself a shooter. I consider myself a gamer. I don’t think I’m an effective NBA player when I just stand and spot up and shoot threes. That’s really not my game.”

Stauskas has struggled to find offensive consistency in the NBA. The third-year two-guard averaged 32.4 percent from long range in his first two seasons. He wasn’t reliable as a knockdown shooter and bounced in and out of the starting lineup last season.

Rather than being a finesse player, Brett Brown encouraged Stauskas to get aggressive. Brown wanted to a see an edge from Stauskas and not hold back at the basket.

Stauskas displayed that side to his game on opening night against the Thunder. In 23 minutes off the bench, he scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. His only miss came on a three-point attempt. His 83.3 shooting percentage was a single-game career high.

“He was cocky,” Brown said. “He was in attack mode. He was not afraid to put it to the floor and get to the rim. I feel like he’s got a real chance to have a breakout year. We need him to have a breakout year.”

The Sixers picked up the options on Stauskas, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on Thursday.

“I think the statement the club made on his contract lets him probably have a little bit more comfort on what we think of him,” Brown said. “I was really happy with his swagger last night.”

Stauskas is figuring out his role on the Sixers this season. It is one that can change often given injuries. A key to being successful, whether he is on the perimeter or at the rim, is feeling confident and in a rhythm on the floor.

“I had fun out there,” Stauskas said. “More than anything, I think yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve really enjoyed myself out there and had a smile on my face.”