Is There Anybody Alive Out There? Sixers Play Hornets With a Combined Five Starters Missing

Is There Anybody Alive Out There? Sixers Play Hornets With a Combined Five Starters Missing

You expect to get a couple games like the one the Philadelphia 76ers are
gonna play tonight against the New Orleans Hornets, with a combined
five projected pre-season starters out of the two teams' respective
lineups with injury—you just figure (or at least hope) that they'll come
a little later in the season, after we at least get some idea of what
every team is like fully healthy. Unfortunately for the Sixers and
Hornets, they were granted no such luxuries, and tonight's game will
likely be a ragged affair featuring a lot of players that fans of the
other team's probably haven't heard of.

You probably know who's
absent from the Sixers' lineup, as Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson
remain out with no specific timetable for their return. On the Hornets'
side, neither of their two first-round picks from the last draft (big
man Anthony Davis, taken first overall, and combo guard Austin Rivers,
taken tenth), nor their max-extended shooting guard Eric Gordon, will be
playing tonight. Gordon's situation is eerily similar to Bynum's, as
both are out with nagging knee injuries that their respective medical
staffs seem to have difficulty gauging—though Gordon is taking more heat
for his, having been cleared medically to play, with Nawlins coach
Monty Williams basically calling Gordon a wimp for continuing to sit
out.

So it's probably not the star-studded affair that ESPN had
hoped for when the game was tabbed as one of their Wednesday night
telecasts. Still, even with so many key players out, the Hornets have
proven a decidedly tough out thusfar this season, getting contributions
from the likes of point guard Greivis Vasquez, swingman Al-Farouq Aminu
and defensive-oriented big Robin Lopez—a trio of one-time lottery picks
that struggled with the teams that drafted them, but appear to be
thriving in a more defined role on the Hornets. The solid,
defensive-minded New Orleans played San Antonio tough, squeaked out a
win against Utah, and even took one from Chicago on their home floor,
impressing in all three games.

The Sixers, on the other hand,
have only sort-of impressed once this season, the other two games being
blowout victories at the hands of the New York Knicks. A road game
against a lottery team like the Hornets should be the kind of win the
undermanned Sixers would hope to pick up, but if they think they'll be
able to cruise in the Big Easy, they will be quickly disabused of that
notion. Getting the offense (which has still yet to better 85 points in a
game) on track, including our struggling wing trio of Evan Turner, Nick
Young and Dorell Wright, will be the key, but it'll be no easy task
against either the Hornets or the Celtics, who the Sixers play on
Friday.

8:00 tip from New Orleans Arena. "We haven't played together, so we're trying to learn how to trust each
other," says Coach Collins. "We're trying to grow and win at the
same time while battling some injuries. We've had a little adversity
here." No kidding, but so have a lot of teams, and nobody's gonna give us sympathy wins.
Hopefully Spencer Hawes takes out his aggression over Mitt Romney's
election loss with a 28-point, 12-rebound, five-posterization night, at
the very least.

Sixers waive Carl Landry, Tibor Pleiss; officially sign Cat Barber

Sixers waive Carl Landry, Tibor Pleiss; officially sign Cat Barber

The Sixers made some roster tweaks on Wednesday night.

The team waived forward Carl Landry and center Tibor Pleiss, while officially announcing the signing of guard Anthony "Cat" Barber.

The Sixers were expected to cut Pleiss, who was acquired last Friday in a trade with the Jazz. On July 21, Barber and the Sixers reportedly agreed to a partially guaranteed deal.

Landy, a 32-year-old veteran, played one season with the Sixers after being acquired last summer in a trade with the Kings, a deal in which he was essentially a toss-in as it revolved around bringing Nik Stauskas to Philadelphia. Landry, who was under contract for 2016-17 at $6.75 million, battled injury to start 2015-16 and ended up playing in 36 games (12 starts), averaging 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Barber, 6-foot-3, 173 pounds, will fight for a roster spot at point guard during training camp. The 22-year-old went undrafted in June after declaring following his junior season at NC State in which he averaged 23.5 points per game, seventh most in the country and best in the ACC.

Ben Simmons working out with LeBron James

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Ben Simmons working out with LeBron James

Ben Simmons' fellow NBA rookies may not think too highly of him, but when the best basketball player on the planet is giving him pointers, he must be doing something right.

On Tuesday, a photo of Simmons and LeBron James dribbling side by side started making the rounds on Instagram. That's right. The Sixers' number-one overall draft pick and franchise savior is apparently training with the four-time league MVP and reigning world champion.

#Klutch @klutchsports

A photo posted by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Those workouts continued on Wednesday, when 12-time All-Star Dwayne Wade posted a photo of himself, Simmons and James, as well as Richard Jefferson and Jordan McRae. That's some good company for a first-year player to keep.

Good day of work!

A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

What does all of this mean for Simmons and the Sixers? Hard to say, but it can't be a bad thing that the rookie point-forward is spending time with a pair of future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Surely he must be learning something.

That's good news for the Sixers, who hope that Simmons can even come close to living up to the lofty comparisons some have drawn to James already.

Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph starts for 1st time against Gio Gonzalez

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Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph starts for 1st time against Gio Gonzalez

Tommy Joseph is back in the starting lineup … as he's expected to be for most of the final month of the season. Joseph bats fourth behind third baseman Maikel Franco.

Joseph did not start Tuesday night in the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. The 25-year-old is hitting .251 with 17 home runs and 34 RBIs.

The slugger has a significantly higher average against left-handed pitching than righties, despite clubbing 12 of his 17 homers against right-handed pitchers.

Joseph has yet to faced Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez.

In other lineup notes, Tyler Goeddel gets the start in left field and will hit eighth, while A.J. Ellis gets his second start as a Phillie. He'll catch Adam Morgan.

Here is the full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Freddy Galvis, SS
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Tyler Goeddel, LF
9. Adam Morgan, P

For more on tonight's game, read Steven Tydings' game notes.