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.

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS -- Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to co-exist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right Jones fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.