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!!

Best of MLB: Yankees edge Royals for win in 13 innings

Best of MLB: Yankees edge Royals for win in 13 innings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brian McCann delivered a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning and Dellin Betances shut down the Kansas City Royals in the bottom half to give the New York Yankees a 5-4 victory Wednesday night.

Royals reliever Chris Young (3-9) gave up a single to Didi Gregorius and a double to Starlin Castro to lead off the decisive frame. Matt Strahm came in against McCann for a lefty-lefty matchup, and the New York designated hitter lofted a fly ball to left to score the go-ahead run.

Ben Heller (1-0) pitched a perfect 12th to earn his first major league win, while Betances wrapped up a winning series for the Yankees by working around a leadoff walk for his seventh save.

Castro hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. Kendrys Morales hit one for Kansas City (see full recap).

Mets stay hot with win over Marlins
NEW YORK -- Kelly Johnson's three-run double in the eighth inning broke a tie and lifted the surging New York Mets to a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.

Yoenis Cespedes began the rally by singling off reliever A.J. Ramos (1-2) to start the inning. Curtis Granderson walked. Wilmer Flores flew out to center, advancing a hustling Cespedes to third. After Jay Bruce flew out to right, Travis d'Arnaud walked to load the bases, bringing up Johnson.

Johnson, who was 25-for-79 with the bases loaded in his career with 74 RBIs, drove the ball into the right field corner. He emphatically clapped his hands and swung his arms into the air after reaching second base.

Addison Reed (4-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the win, the Mets' third in a row. Jeurys Familia closed for his 44th save, establishing a new franchise record (see full recap).

Dodgers, Rockies split doubleheader
DENVER -- Andrew Toles hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers overcome a late six-run deficit in a 10-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night for a doubleheader split.

Trailing 8-2, the Dodgers scored three times in the eighth and added five more in the ninth. Toles capped the final inning with an oppose-field homer off closer Adam Ottavino (0-1) for his first career slam.

Luis Avilan (1-0) threw a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 40th save, getting David Dahl on a called third strike to end it.

In the opening game, left-hander Tyler Anderson (5-5) threw 6 1/3 stellar innings as the Rockies cruised to a 7-0 win for their first home shutout this season (see full recap).

Phillies' offense sinks even lower in 9th straight loss to Nationals

Phillies' offense sinks even lower in 9th straight loss to Nationals

BOX SCORE

Four … three … two …
 
Good thing the Phillies aren’t scheduled to play Thursday night or they might get one hit.
 
The Phils capped off three pathetic offensive performances in as many nights by being two-hit in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
 
The Phils were swept in the three-game series and they wasted three solid starts from Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff and Adam Morgan as they were held to four, three and two hits, respectively, in the three games.

Stay tuned Friday night to see if the Phils get one-hit by the Braves.
 
The National League East-leading Nationals have beaten the Phillies nine straight games since May.
 
The Phillies’ woeful showing at the plate in the series dropped their team batting average to .238, second-worst in the majors. Their on-base percentage is .296, worst in the majors.
 
“Nine hits in a three-game series just isn’t going to cut it,” manager Pete Mackanin said after Wednesday night’s loss, the Phillies’ seventh in the last nine games. "We’re not hitting the ball. We need more offense.”
 
It’s going to be interesting to see how general manager Matt Klentak addresses that in the offseason. The Phils have the money to add free agents, but the team is committed to building from within and using the free-agent market to find a finishing piece or two. The way things are right now, the Phils aren’t close enough to being good where a finishing piece would make a huge difference. They need some of the players that are here now – at least the ones that are staying – to make improvements and some of the talent that is in the minors to get to the majors and start making a difference before they’re ready for that put-them-over-the-top free agent.
 
The Phils were within striking distance to turn Wednesday’s game around. Cesar Hernandez walked in a one-run game to lead off the bottom of the ninth. That brought Odubel Herrera, the Phillies’ only All-Star in July, to the plate.
 
Would Mackanin ask Herrera to move Hernandez into scoring position with a bunt, or give him a shot to shoot one in the gap and possibly score Hernandez from first?
 
“I thought about bunting Herrera,” Mackanin said. “The fact that we’re not hitting and he’s one of our top average hitters, I decided not to bunt him, took a chance.”
 
Herrera, who has struggled since the All-Star Game, bounced into a double play on the first pitch he saw from lefty Marc Rzepczynski. Maikel Franco then grounded out to end the game. And the series.
 
Herrera, who has been doubled-up just twice this season, said he would have bunted if asked. But he was happy to swing away.
 
“I was ready to hit and do some damage,” he said.
 
The Phils didn’t do much damage in the series. But the Nationals did. And they did it early. They scored five first-inning runs in the series. Jayson Werth hit first-inning home runs in the first and third games.
 
Werth’s first-inning bomb Wednesday night was just that – a 453-foot shot into the camera well high above the wall in dead center against Morgan.
 
Even Werth was impressed with how far he hit the ball.
 
“I’ve been in some pretty cool places in this ballpark but never there,” he said.
 
Freddy Galvis tied the game with a homer against Gio Gonzalez in the fifth, but the Nats went ahead in the seventh when they rallied for a two-out run against Morgan. The lefty allowed a two-out double to Anthony Rendon to extend the inning and an RBI single to Wilson Ramos on a full-count pitch.
 
“I’ve got to be able to finish,” Morgan said.
 
Morgan did have the best of his 16 starts in the majors this season, giving up just the two runs and three hits. He enjoyed working with new catcher A.J. Ellis and Mackanin said he liked the way Ellis called the game.
 
Morgan pitched well enough that he could have had a different fate. The same could be said for Thompson and Eickhoff the previous two nights.
 
Four hits. Three hits. Two hits.
 
As Mackanin said, “Nine hits in a three-game series just isn’t going to cut it.”

Jon Dorenbos advances to America's Got Talent finals

Jon Dorenbos advances to America's Got Talent finals

Jon Dorenbos' magic run continues.

The Eagles' long snapper on Wednesday was voted into the finals of NBC's America's Got Talent.

Dorenbos performed this incredible trick Tuesday night to advance.

Shortly after receiving the results, Dorenbos expressed his gratitude.

Dorenbos will play in the Eagles' preseason finale on Thursday night. He'll get some time off from the show, as he was part of the first semifinals. The second semis round starts next week.

This is all super cool. Dorenbos' magic has lots of meaning. If you don't know about his story, read it here.