Awful Start, Deron Williams Prove Too Much for Sixers in OT Loss

Awful Start, Deron Williams Prove Too Much for Sixers in OT Loss

Deron Williams killed the Sixers all night long on Wednesday night, finishing with 34 points and 11 dimes, including the easy layup with seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

"Deron Williams, to say the least, was absolutely sensational tonight," Doug Collins said after the game. "That's probably the best performance we've seen from a guard tonight. He just absolutely was not going to let them lose that game."

Sometimes you run into guys having night's like Deron does. You take your punch to the chin and come back ready to play tomorrow.

Still, Sixers had their chances to take the game in the extra frame, but Deron was too much for them to handle on this night.

As Jrue Holiday pointed out after the game, Williams stepped up in the clutch when the Nets needed big shots, but he was also 14-28 shooting. So when you take 28 shots, 34 isn't all that outlandish.

Deron was the best player on the court on Wednesday night in a game that was sloppy all around. It was probably the Sixers weakest effort of the season. They got out to an awful start to the game, with three quick turnovers, and kind of never really found their groove all night long.

Despite playing poorly for most of the night, and missing Thad Young for a portion (not to mention Spence and Nik), the Sixers still somehow found themselves in a position to get a win late.

After looking like they were one stop away from a W in regulation-- Deron did it to them with seconds to go in the 4th -- the Sixers later found themselves down two bucks in overtime with a potential win slipping away. Even then, they showed some fight, perhaps the only real takeaway from an ugly loss.

Jrue Holiday took the ball hard to the rock, got a call, and hit two bounce-around free throws to pull within two points with about two minutes left in overtime. A stop at the other end set up a Lou Williams jumper to tie things at 88 apiece. Then, somewhat inexplicably, the Nets threw the ball away to Jrue Holiday who took it straight down the floor for the easy go-ahead dunk with 1:17 remaining in OT.

Defense could have won it once again, but Deron proved too much again, as he did all night long.

The Nets went right back to Williams, who got Jodie Meeks on an isso and hit the game-tying jumper with a minute to play. The Sixers came back down the floor and settled for a... mildly-contested Jodie Meeks three-ball? Didn't like that shot selection at that situation (unless it goes in, natch).

Deron came right back at them and hit a dagger three-ball to put New Jersey up for good, 93-90.

So trailing by 3 with 26.8 seconds left and the ball, the Sixers went back to Lou who hit the biggest shot of the night for the Sixers at the end of regulation. He got a decent look, but had a tall Kris Humphries in his face. It was off target and the Nets would go on to win 95-92.

Live by the Lou, die by the Lou.

The Sixers may have been in this game, but this was a poor effort. Coach Collins admitted after the game that the Nets had control of the game all night long, won every phase of the game, and earned the road win.

Despite the great promise this team has shown this season, tonight was another reminder that while they have options that aren't Andre Iguodala with the clock ticking down, they still don't have a legit closer on a consistent basis.

*

NOTES: The attendance of 13,138 was an improvement over Monday's poor showing of 10,108, but was still lacking. Andy Reid was in the building in a suite. No word on whether this had to do with it being Dollar Dog Night at the Wells Fargo Center or if he was scouting for a defensive coordinator.

Kris Humphries heard some unique taunting from the WFC crowd. My favorite was the "REG-GIE BUSH! REG-GIE BUSH!" chants. I chuckled.

Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup

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Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup

BOX SCORE

DETROIT – Back on March 26, the Detroit Tigers made the trip to Clearwater to play the Phillies during the final week of the Grapefruit League schedule.
 
Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ starting pitcher that day at Bright House Field. The Phillies ended up losing that game by a run when their bullpen came undone in the late innings. But earlier in the game, the Phils had pretty good success against Verlander. They knocked him around for three runs in five innings. They had seven hits against him, four for extra bases.
 
Two months later, the Phillies came face to face with Verlander again on a warm Tuesday night in Detroit.
 
This time, the Phils had no chance.
 
They were manhandled by the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in suffering a 3-1 loss to the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
 
“Verlander pitched well,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He had a good fastball and we weren’t catching up to it.”
 
Yes, Verlander had good fastball and he knew it. Sixty-five of his 108 pitches were fastballs. He averaged 94 mph with the pitch and topped out at 97. That’s how hard his final pitch of night was. He blew it by the Phillies’ best hitter, Odubel Herrera, for his 10th strikeout of the night.
 
In all, Verlander pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just three hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses; the Phils entered the game averaging just 3.24 runs per game.
 
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last five games and it dropped them to 25-21. They have opened this challenging road trip, which finishes with three against the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the game, with two straight losses heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. Aaron Nola will get the ball against Anibal Sanchez.
 
Can Nola be a stopper? The Phillies could really use a victory. To get it, they will need some offense. They got just about none until Verlander left the game Tuesday night.
 
“We just couldn’t get enough going,” Mackanin said. “Verlander really relied on his fastball and we couldn’t capitalize.”
 
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for the third straight time for the Phillies. (He has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.) But with no run support, Hellickson couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he needed excellent defensive support – which he did not get.
 
Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.
 
In a close game with not much offense going against Verlander, Hellickson needed strong defense behind him. He did not get it from third baseman Maikel Franco in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and no outs, J.D. Martinez hit a bounding ball to Franco’s right. Franco tried to backhand the ball with a quick snap of his glove. Fielded cleanly, Franco probably could have started a double play. Instead, the ball got by him, was generously scored a double and led to a run. The Tigers scored twice in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
 
“Yes, it’s makeable,” Mackanin said of the ball that got by Franco. “He got to a certain spot and then he stopped and tried to snag it instead of taking one more step toward it. I don’t think he could have gotten in front of the ball but he could have gone through it instead of stopping and trying to snag it. I thought he could have done that.
 
“It’s a potential double-play ball. He needed to take one more step instead of reaching for it.”
 
Tommy Joseph had the best at-bats against Verlander. He lined out twice to the pull side and had a base hit in the seventh. In the ninth, the Phillies rallied for a couple of hits against Francisco Rodriguez. Joseph scorched a liner to left for a sacrifice fly and the Phillies’ only run.
 
“He hit the ball on the nose four times, really good at bats,” Mackanin said of Joseph. “If that ball he hits in the ninth inning finds a gap, we have the tying run at second.”
 
Joseph has seven hits in his first 23 at-bats and has made some hard outs. He will start at first base again Wednesday and also on Friday as the Cubs will start lefty Jon Lester. After that, he could get starts against right-handers because he’s simply out-hitting Ryan Howard, who went 1 for 4 and saw his average climb to .159.
 
Before the game, Mackanin said Joseph could take playing time away from Howard if he continues to hit.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.

Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

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Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

Villanova’s chances at repeating as national champions just got much better.

Josh Hart is returning for his senior season.

The Wildcats’ leading scorer from last season’s title-winning team tweeted this Tuesday night:

Shortly after, Villanova officially announced the news.

Hart was in the midst of going through the NBA draft process, attending the combine in Chicago and working out for teams. By not hiring an agent, he was able to test the waters without jeopardizing his final year of college eligibility. Hart had until Wednesday to make a decision, which is coming back to the defending champs.

“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”

As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. He put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s 95-51 Final Four win over Oklahoma, before following it up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national title game in which the Wildcats thrillingly won at the buzzer, 77-74, on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer.

Hart and Jenkins, the team’s two leading scorers, return along with key pieces Jalen Brunson (9.6 ppg), Phil Booth (7.0 ppg), Mikal Bridges (6.4 ppg) and Darryl Reynolds (4.5 rpg).

“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.”