Celtics Outlast Sixers in Game Seven

Celtics Outlast Sixers in Game Seven

They battled. They defended. They struggled from the field and the free throw line. Ultimately, they dropped Game 7 to the Celtics in Boston 85-75. We'll rehash what the game and series meant as it relates to the future of the franchise at a later date, but right now I think we can all agree that this team exceeded expectations.
Rajon Rondo posted a triple-double (18-10-10) and Kevin Garnett contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the C's. Brandon Bass shot incredibly well once again - hitting 6-10 from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe.
The Sixers were led by Andre Iguodala, who scored 18 points and held Paul Pierce to just 15 points on 6-14 shooting. Elton Brand played well, scoring 15 points and pulling 6 rebounds. Evan Turner struggled from the floor, shooting just 3-8 and posting a -23 on the night.
The Sixers trailed for much of the game, but somehow managed to stay within striking distance. It looked like things would go their way after Pierce was whistled for his sixth foul - a charge taken by Thad Young late in the fourth quarter. 
However, Rondo stepped up and hit a long two and then a three from a step or two beyond the arc. As ABC color analyst Jeff VanGundy pointed out, if you're the Sixers those are shots you want Rondo taking. Give him credit though for stepping up and knocking them down.
Ultimately, the Sixers could not execute enough in the half-court. If we're being honest though in Garnett, Pierce and Rondo the Celtics had the three best players in the series. The fact that the Sixers pushed Boston - albeit an aging Boston team - to seven games was an accomplishment in and of itself. 
Decisions loom on the horizon. Do you resign Spencer Hawes? Do you amnesty Elton Brand? Do you consider trading Igoudala? These are questions to be answered. Tonight the Sixers came up a bit short. They were unable to overcome their limitations. With that being said, this team and this fan base has a lot to be proud of.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P