When the Philadelphia 76ers emerged victorious over the Chicago Bulls by
a convincing 98-82 margin back at the beginning of February, it was
(and remains) the biggest win of the season for the Sixers, that
long-overdue "statement win" against an elite team that proved that
Philly deserved to be taken seriously in the Eastern Conference. Great
as that win was, the Sixers' play since—going 6-9, with only two wins
over plus-.500 teams—makes it look less like a statement and more like a
fluke, especially considering that the Bulls were missing two starters
at the time.
Meanwhile, while the Sixers have wilted since their big W, the Bulls
have kicked into another gear since the loss, going 12-2 in their 14
games since. Perhaps more importantly, they finally have their full
starting lineup (as well as their entire second unit) healthy and
gelling together, and currently sit at 30-8 for the season, the best
record in the NBA. If the Sixers won tonight, it might not quite be the
"statement" the first win was, but it would almost certainly be the more
impressive, harder-fought win—and lord knows the Ballers could use it.
Of course, as in the teams' first meeting, the Sixers will have to do so
without Spencer Hawes. No excuses in this lockout-shortened,
injury-heavy season, but man would it be nice to have our big man back
tonight—the Bulls weren't able to use size to much advantage in game
one, but with the Bulls' starting wings back to put pressure on the
team's perimeter defenders, you have to think that the interior is gonna
be vulnerable with Lavoy Allen, Nik Vucevic and Elton Brand
constituting the team's last line of defense. (In fact, if we ended up
seeing a healthy dose of Tony Battie tonight, I wouldn't be surprised.)
7:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center. Our second national telecast in a
row tonight, with Dan Shulman and Doris Burke on the call tonight for
ESPN. The Sixers have certainly earned these nationally televised games,
but they have to win a bunch of 'em—against tougher, less sentimental
competition than the Golden State Warriors—to keep 'em. Go Sixers.
If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.
He might also start the entire Braves series.
The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.
Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.
Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P
Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.
1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P
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Howie Roseman solidified his hold on Executive of the Year Tuesday when he re-signed guard Darrell Greene to the practice squad and released JaCorey Shepherd from the practice squad. Shepherd was signed on Wednesday when Greene was previously released.
The Eagles were undefeated with Shepherd on the practice squad this year.
But they're also undefeated with Greene on the practice squad.
Roseman did not return messages requesting comment about Shepherd's seven-day stint with the Eagles.
Once Roseman realized he had actually NOT signed Lito Sheppard, the deal was voided.
The Eagles don't play this coming weekend so we were hard-pressed for any actual news.