If At First You Don't Succeed: Sixers-Knicks, Take Two at WFC

If At First You Don't Succeed: Sixers-Knicks, Take Two at WFC

The bad news: The Sixers face off against the Knicks for the second time
in as many days and games today, a team that's 2-0 with a +36 scoring
margin, +16 of which came against the Sixers themselves yesterday
afternoon in New York. The good news: Tonight, the Sixers finally, at
long last, welcome back their once-projected starting center, their
big-ticket off-season acquisition, their man in the middle who has long
been riding the pine with injury as the Sixers and their fans anxiously
await his return.

That's right: Kwame Brown is starting at center for the Philadelphia 76ers tonight.

With
Jason Richardson likely out with his rolled ankle, Evan Turner slides
down to the two, Dorell Wright plugs in at the three, and with Lavoy
Allen having struggled somewhat in his two starts at the pivot thusfar
this season, Kwame will take his first bow, starting or otherwise, for
the Liberty Ballers tonight as their top center. Kwame missed the
Sixers' pre-season with a calf injury, but finally appears good to go
tonight. Andrew Bynum? We'll see him when we see him.

The Sixers
could certainly use some help on defense against this high-powered
Knicks offense, though the problem of what to do about Carmelo Anthony—a
problem that Thaddeus Young certainly came nowhere near solving
yesterday, and which Kwame seems unlikely to help with much—will likely
continue to vex the 76ers. At the least, we can hope the Sixers give the
Knicks more of a showing on the other end, where they've yet to eclipse
85 points in two games, with rotation wings Evan Turner (25% FG), Nick
Young (26%) and Dorell Wright (35%) all struggling badly with their shot to start the season.

The
Sixers will need help from those guys, at the very least to take the
burden of Jrue Holiday, the team's one effective offensive player
thusfar this season (non-Hawes division). With averages of 20.5 points
and nine assists a game, Jrue's off to a very strong start in Year One
of his four-year extension, but he's not gonna hand out double-digit
dimes (as he did in game one) or sink five threes (as he did in game
two) every night, and with J-Rich out indefinitely, Evan, Dorell and
Nick are gonna have to do a big job picking up the slack. And if Spence
wanted to stay out of foul trouble and give us another Game One-type
offensive performance, that would be similarly appreciated.

7:00
tip from the WFC. It's certainly not too late to derail this early
Dream Season that the Knicks are having—what's a New York team without a
little early-season dysfunction, anyway? In Kwame We Trust.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.