Andrew Bynum's Public Welcome to Philly Presser Was a Circus (But the Circus Is Awfully Fun)

Andrew Bynum's Public Welcome to Philly Presser Was a Circus (But the Circus Is Awfully Fun)

The whole scene at the National Constitution Center was a bit surreal on Wednesday afternoon.

Andrew Bynum met Sixers Head Coach Doug Collins for the first time earlier in the morning. Just hours later, surrounded by screaming Sixers fans, Bynum was actually asked -- by a reporter, no less -- if he could envision what a parade down Broad Street would be like.

I don't know, but he should probably meet his new teammates first.

[Press Conference Photo Gallery | VIDEO: Bynum: Making Philly His Home]

His prior knowledge of the Sixers team he's joining? "Not much," he said, admitting he looked over the roster *yesterday* and said, "Wow! we're actually pretty deep."

It was a circus. And Adam Aron was the ring leader.

That said, the circus is pretty fun, isn't it?

The crowd of a couple hundred fans that wrapped around the rotunda was impressive and they greeted Bynum with tremendous applause. They even greeted Adam Aaron like some sort of hero with crazy "Thank! You! Adam!" chants -- unheard of; what city am I in?

"I've never experienced something like that," Bynum said of walking through the crowd to the podium. "That's pretty cool, man, the fact that all these fans came out. I'm looking to get it in. This is a golden opportunity for me."

He couldn't get the grin off of his face when he first sat down.

"I just lit up."

The decision to hold the Welcome to Philadelphia press conference for Bynum and Jason Richardson was a unique one, but as far as spectacles go, it most certainly succeeded.

For this one day, Bynum was the pride and joy of Philadelphia sports fans. By all accounts, he doesn't seem too foolish though, realizing that moments like this can be fleeting.

"Hopefully we see all these people back. We want to see them in the arena," Bynum said.

That will be the true test of whether or not Bynum has top-tier star power in Philly. A couple hundred fans showing up and screaming in a museum on your first day at work is pretty remarkable, granted, but whether they truly embrace Bynum as a franchise player worthy of filling an too-often half-empty arena every night remains to be seen. For his part, Bynum is embracing being the man for the first time in his career.

"I haven't been treated like this yet. I've always played with Kobe and Pau and they've kind of been the forefront guys. I've kind of been in the background so now it's a new opportunity and I'm looking forward to it."

He seemed to be excited about getting to have the ball in his hands more frequently and was most confident when talking about adding his size and skill in the middle to the previously lacking Sixers.

"I know this team struggled in the playoffs with rebounding and defense. I can bring that all day to this team. Kind of push us over the top and maybe come out of the East."

Perhaps the only current Sixer with a similar confidence is Evan Turner, but when was the last time a Sixer had that much confidence and could readily deliver on it on a nightly basis? Gotta be No. 3.

As mentioned above, Bynum has yet to meet most of his new teammates, but he is familiar with Spencer Hawes and says he's looking forward to playing alongside him. "I love playing with the twin tower floor. I'm going to fit right in with that with Spencer and myself. Looking forward to it."

Finally, as the circus was ending, all of the basketball questions were asked, and more people started showing up at the National Constitution Center to see the Bruce Springsteen exhibit than a 7-footer. I asked Bynum if he still had that custom-painted purple and gold Dodge Charger (photos).

"I sold it, man. I sold that thing."

As far as cars go though, that one would have fit in nicely at the circus.

The circus is only exciting once in a rare while though. Both Sixers fans and Andrew Bynum hope that excitement translates from the three rings to the hardwood.

Photos by Kevin Drennen for CSN

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."

This time, Steve Mason bailed out by Flyers' teammates

This time, Steve Mason bailed out by Flyers' teammates

Steve Mason was not his sharpest Thursday night and he's the first to admit it.

"There's nights where you're not feeling as sharp as you'd like to," Mason said. "This is a situation the guys in front never quit. They earned the two points for sure."

Mason yielded five goals for the third time this season, but made enough saves to secure the Flyers' seventh straight win, a 6-5 victory over the Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center.

The win streak is the longest the Flyers have had since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when "Mr. Universe" Ilya Bryzgalov was their goaltender. Mason finished with 28 saves.

"The guys bailed me out," Mason said, "When your goalie is not making the saves that you need, but the guys keep battling in front, from a personal standpoint, it's huge to see."

Making his 16th start in the Flyers' last 17 games, Mason appeared to show signs of fatigue against Edmonton. He's started the last six games, winning all six.

His current six-game win streak is a career-high, and the five goals allowed Thursday is the first time he's allowed more than two goals during this current streak. 

Entering Thursday, Mason was 5-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in his previous five starts, and 8-3-1 with a 2.11 GAA and .930 save percentage since Nov. 12. So Thursday is just a small blemish on Mason's impressive résumé of late.

"I didn't think he looked tired," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "This win's a little bit indicative of the type of team we have. A couple nights ago, Mason was the best player. He picked up a lot of guys around him and tonight maybe wasn't his best.

"But it was pretty good. The guys battled hard. They picked up some of the slack. That's what it takes. Every guy's not going to be at their best every night.

"You'd like them to be, and I know the guys want to be at that level, but when one piece isn't working, the other part has to pick it up."

The Flyers' offensive outburst came two days after Mason stole two points against the Florida Panthers, and nine days after the goalie stole another two points against Boston.

Twice on Thursday the Flyers faced two-goal deficits, and both times they found a way to erase them. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first time in Flyers' history they were able to win a game in which they were down two goals twice.

"Once we got it to 5-4," Mason said, "I tried to lock it down as best I could. There's nights where you're not feeling as sharp as you'd like to.  … Coming back in a couple of days, from a personal standpoint, I got to be more sharp."

After going falling behind 2-0, the Flyers tied it, 2-2, with three goals in 72 seconds in the second period, the quickest three-goal burst since Feb. 14, 2009, vs. the Islanders. 

Then, the Flyers fell behind 5-3 before Voracek sparked a three-goal third period with his 10th of the year at 6:31. Claude Giroux tallied his second of the game, and Michael Raffl pushed the Flyers to victory with his sixth of the season at 18:31 of the final stanza.

"It's a great feeling to come back from behind," Flyers rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov said. "You never want to be in that position, but that's the way it sometimes go. We stuck with it and came from behind and won the game. It's a great effort."

Of the five goals allowed Thursday, the first goal Mason allowed was the only one that can be pinned on the netminder. It was not a great goal to give up, on the second shot of the game, too. Afterward, he said the read was the backdoor play, but Leon Draisaitl slipped it through Mason's five-hole for his fifth goal in as many games.

"Some nights you can be better than the other nights," Provorov said. "And that's what the team's all about. We play for each other. If someone has a mistake, we all help him out and play for each other. That's why we win games."

"That's how you become a great team," Voracek, who tied a career-high with four points, said. "Mase playing the last six games the way he did, it wasn't his night.

"We came big for him. It's how you get into the playoffs, and it's how you have success in the playoffs. It's a good thing we won the game and get rolling now."