Burn One: Sixers Lose to Bulls in Game I Sincerely Hope No One But Me and My Roommates Watched

Burn One: Sixers Lose to Bulls in Game I Sincerely Hope No One But Me and My Roommates Watched

Well, that was a thoroughly miserable experience. Watching sports is
rarely fun if your team is losing, but watching sports where it seems
like it's actually both teams that are losing but it's your team
that's losing the most is just the worst. I hoped the Sixers could close
out the Bulls in decisive fashion in this one, but the only thing
"decisive" about this game was how decisively crappy Andre Iguodala's
fourth quarter was and how decisively quickly everyone in the country
without a rooting interest in this game flipped the channel to the
series finale of The Voice.


You could probably tell about this one early, when the score was still
16-12 Sixers and there was already less than a minute to go in the first
quarter. (I squinted at my TV several times, convinced I was just
reading the clock wrong.) Little did I know that was about as good as
things were gonna get for the Ballers—they scored 10 points on 17% (!!)
shooting for the entire second quarter, and barely scraped the 20s in
the two quarters after that, as the Bulls managed to scrape together
some semblance of an offense, increasing the lead to about ten late in
the third, putting the game totally out of reach for the bumbling
Sixers. Final score: Bulls not a lot of points, Sixers even less.

The really remarkable thing about this game was how the Bulls managed to
look invincible in that second half while still playing totally
mediocre. Luol Deng achieved folk hero status in Chicago for his 24
point, 10-19 effort—which, while mildly impressive, would maybe be the
third best performance in a game involving two competent NBA teams.
Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, felt like he was having a career game, though
he ended up with 19 points on 9-20 shooting. 19 points on 20 shots!
That's not even a good game! But tonight, it was good enough that for a
stretch, he legitimately seemed unstoppable. That's the kind of game it was.

The number of Sixers I'd like to call out in this game is a large one,
since their best player on the court tonight was probably Jrue Holiday
(who scored 16 points on resounding 5-17 shooting), but I need to make
mention of the truly superlative fourth quarter we were privy to from
Andre Iguodala. My roommate Jason has a theory about 'Dre, which is that
there are only two things in this world he truly loves:

1. Dunking
2. Not leading the Philadelphia 76ers

I proposed that he add "Making 1 of 2 free throws" as a third thing, but
he countered that this could be folded into category #2, which was fair
enough.

Anyway, tonight was a pretty textbook example of passion #2 (without
nearly enough #1, IMO). He had a subpar game going into the fourth
quarter, what with Deng going off (sic) and the not much scoring or
assisting, but he did at least have a made three, and well what do you
expect he's Andre Iguodala. But the finale frame took things to the next
level for our All-Star swingman. The entire quarter, Andre did a total
of two good things:

1. He drew a shooting foul and made 2 of 2 free throws (!!!!!)
2. He stole the ball from Ronnie Brewer and dished to Spencer Hawes for a fast break layup (and one).

That's it. Here's how the rest of Iguodala's fourth quarter went, as the world was crumbling around the Sixers:

9:26: Pulled up for an 18-foot jumper while double teamed. Shot blocked by Omer Asik.
6:43: Pulled up for three-pointer from the wing with 18 seconds left in
the clock. Shot rims out badly and leads to Bulls fast break and bucket.

3:26: Tried to spin in the lane looking for a fast-break layup. Ball stripped and stolen by Ronnie Brewer.
2:50: Drove the lane to score against two defenders. Shot blocked by Luol Deng.
0:28: Missed wide-open catch-and-shoot three from the corner.

It was just one atrocity after another for 'Dre, who ultimately finished
with 11 points on 4-19 shooting, four boards and one assist.

Look, I know I shouldn't get on Andre Iguodala too much. I still like
'Dre, really I do—it's not like anyone else on this team stepped up
either—and I want nothing but good things for him in the future. I just
want them for him on another team at this point. It's not like we're
still in the process of deciding whether or not he can be a
fourth-quarter leader for the Sixers—we now know with a fair amount of
certainty that he can't. But it's unfortunate that just in case we were
unconvinced that he couldn't, he always seems willing to provide yet
another example. We are now firmly in "Change of Scenery" territory with
AI9.

Back to the game at large—well, whatever. If we win Thursday at home
then it's meaningless, if we lose Thursday then it's also meaningless,
but in a more depressing way. This game was the absolute pits and the
less we learn from it the better. One good thing, though: The nation
will certainly be rooting for the Sixers on Thursday, simply so that
this series can be over and they won't get sucked into watching any more
games like this. I SEE YOU JERMAINE PAUL!!

Battling for Phantoms job, goalie Alex Lyon solid in NHL preseason debut

Battling for Phantoms job, goalie Alex Lyon solid in NHL preseason debut

When the Flyers signed Yale goalie Alex Lyon last April, they knew they were getting a competitive guy who was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award.
 
What they didn’t know, however, was likely how he could stand on his head and keep an undermanned squad in an exhibition game with just three NHL players on his side.
 
The Flyers lost 2-0 to the Devils on Monday night against a New Jersey lineup that was far superior and kept the puck in Lyon’s end two-thirds of the game.
 
Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers open their home preseason schedule against the Islanders with a legit lineup.
 
Lyon, who posted a 1.64 goals against average and .936 save percentage last season in college, was outstanding against the Devils with 28 saves on 29 shots (one empty netter).
 
“I had shaky legs until the middle of the first and then I felt I had settled in,” the 23-year-old said. “I guess I didn’t expect that.”
 
Exhibition games don’t mean much but this was a performance worth noting because Lyon showed he will challenge Anthony Stolarz for the starter’s job with the Phantoms this season. 

“Alex Lyon had a solid performance right from start to finish,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “Great demeanor and presence. Just a real steady performance all the way through.”
 
The kid seemed undaunted by the Devils' lineup in what was his first-ever start against an NHL club. Notice anything different from college?
 
“The biggest difference is six months ago, I watching Travis Zajac on TV and now I am playing an exhibition game against him,” Lyon replied. “It was pretty cool going up against those guys.”
 
The Devils attacked him mostly with angled shots. So eager they were to test him, they put a shot on goal from their own blue line in the opening minutes of the game, which Lyon saved.
 
“Yeah, I think they were trying to throw some pucks and my rebound control wasn’t as good as it usually is,” Lyon said. “I think it’s because I was a little nervous. I was just trying to stop the puck to be honest, that is all I was thinking about.”
 
Lyon stopped two breakaway attempts from Beau Bennett, both coming in the opening two periods. The only goal from Nick Lappin came on a second rebound in the crease.
 
“They got their point shot through and I saw it clearly the whole way and didn’t react to it,” Lyon said. “I thought it was going to be tipped. There was a forest of sticks as Keith Allain (Yale coach) would say, in front of me.
 
“I was trying to get big in front of it and they took a couple of whacks and subsequently it bounced right to their guy.”
 
While exhibition games mean little to fans, it meant something to him.
 
“I told my roommate in Philly I was playing my first NHL game,” Lyon said. “Yeah, it’s preseason but going from college, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
 
Lyon won’t play Tuesday night against the Islanders.
 
On Provorov
Rookie defensive prospect Ivan Provorov, who logged a whopping 28:48 ice time during the loss in New Jersey, will play tonight against the Islanders.
 
The staff wants to get an idea of how he plays with heavy minutes in back-to-back games.
 
“I want to get him into two of the three (exhibitions), assuming he earned it,” Hakstol said. “He did a good job last night. His minutes got high but we wanted to get him into a good situation.
 
“He did a good job and the minutes didn’t seem to wear on him. It will be a challenge playing back-to-back. But that’s one for him and a few others where they have to meet the challenge.”
 
Provorov will be paired with Andrew MacDonald as Hakstol has one vet paired with one prospect in this game.
 
World Cup returnees
Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier both say they want to play games right now to keep themselves in game shape but Hakstol is biding time with them, insisting they get some rest off the ice.
 
“I feel like I’m in midseason form already,” Voracek quipped. “I don’t want to sit around. If I take more than 3-4 days off, I'll put on six pounds. ... I wouldn’t mind playing but obviously, we've got to get some rest. ”
 
Loose pucks
• Other defensive pairs: Nick Schultz and Travis Sanheim; Michael Del Zotto and Philippe Myers.  

• The lines: Jordan Weal will again center Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds; Andy Miele will handle Michael Raffl and Matt Read; Nick Cousins centers Scott Laughton and Dale Weise, which has been a line in camp; and Scott Gordon will center Chris VandeVelde and Roman Lyubimov.

• Steve Mason will be in goal and Stolarz will back him up.

• Forward Travis Konecny will not play.

MLB Notes: Bag of signed Jose Fernandez baseballs wash up near site of fatal crash

MLB Notes: Bag of signed Jose Fernandez baseballs wash up near site of fatal crash

MIAMI — As the baseball world mourned the death of Jose Fernandez, a beachgoer found a bag containing four baseballs signed by the Marlins 24-year-old pitcher.

WSVN-TV reports a black bag containing Jose Fernandez's checkbook and four autographed baseballs apparently washed ashore on Miami Beach not far from the site the pitcher's boat slammed into a jetty early Sunday. Fernandez and two friends were killed.

Ocean Rescue Division Chief Vincent Canosa tells WSVN the bag was given to a lifeguard and that it apparently came from the boat.

Fernandez had been scheduled to start Monday night's game against the New York Mets. Instead, his teammates honored him in an emotional pre-game ceremony. The players took the field, tears in their eyes, wearing black jerseys with the number 16 and Fernandez's name on back.

Rangers: Brother of Yu Darvish convicted on gambling charges
TOKYO — A Japanese court on Tuesday convicted the brother of Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish of gambling on baseball games, handing him a suspended prison sentence.

The Osaka District Court found Sho Darvish guilty of taking hundreds of bets on Major League Baseball and on professional baseball games in Japan last year.

The court said the 27-year-old younger brother of Yu Darvish was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, but it was suspended for five years. The court said the defendant's gambling was limited to his group of friends and was not linked to organized crime, according to local media reports.

The younger Darvish took bets of 10,000 yen ($100) on Japanese and American professional baseball games, accepting wagers totaling about 110 million yen ($1.1 million) through the LINE social networking application, Kyodo News reported.

Sho Davsish himself bet roughly 220 million yen ($2.2 million) on the games, Kyodo said.

His arrest last year led to an investigation of his brother, Yu Darvish, but the authorities found no involvement by the Rangers star.

Sho Darvish reportedly said during his trial that he regretted causing trouble to his family and that he planned to change his surname to make their relationship less obvious.

But on Tuesday, judge Hajime Hashimoto reportedly advised Darvish that what should change are his actions, not his name.