Mazel Tov, 76ers: Philly holds Cleveland to 79, wins Bynum Bowl easily

Mazel Tov, 76ers: Philly holds Cleveland to 79, wins Bynum Bowl easily

With these Philadelphia 76ers, every day is Rosh Hashanah. The Sixers' maintained their unlikely Atlantic Division lead tonight with a win at the Wells Fargo Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers--yet another of the come-from-behind variety, as the Sixers dogged their way to a 29-14 deficit at the end of the first quarter, only to outscore Cleveland by 30 in the middle two quarters, and holding on for the fourth. Final score: Sixers 94, Cavaliers 79.

Evan Turner was again the team's leading light offensively, and his consistency is starting to scare me a little, you guys. In six games this season, he's scored between 18 and 25 points every time, never shooting lower than 43% from the field. He's rebounded (a season-high ten tonight), he's distributed (five tonight, three or more in all but one), and he's turned the ball over a hell of a lot (six times tonight, now averaging 3.5 a game), but he's brought it each time out. Every time it looks like it's going to turn into the dreaded Bad Evan Turner game, he hits a couple short fadeaways or baseline J's and he's off. We'll talk more about this later, trust.

The two big takeaways from the team at large tonight were that they finally were able to string together a couple solid defensive quarters--Coach Brown largely attributed it to them finally learning to get back in transition, though I think a whole handful of no-calls on Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving also helped the Sixers' case a bit--and they shared the ball beautifully. Four Sixers finished the game with four or more assists tonight, and six scored in double figures, showing a togetherness that Coach Brown also trumpeted post-game as a big part of the team win.

Tony Wroten was also a beast, picking up the team's energy with a couple easy scores in the early second quarter, and getting the crowd hyped with his best Carlos Boozer howling at the moon impression on just about about every Sixers make in the second half. He finished with a career high 18 points--it seems like Tony sets a career high just about every night this season--on 7-14 shooting, to go with four dimes (one a beautiful open-court no-look) and just two turnovers, excellent efficiency from Wroten after being installed by Coach Brown tonight as the backup point guard.

I also want to take a second to talk about James Anderson. The Sixers' starting two guard has taken a lot of heat early this season as the one cog in the Sixers' rotation who's not really doing his part, shooting just 6-18 from three. He didn't really turn that around tonight, making just one of three from beyond, but he did a ton of other stuff, hustling down loose balls and rebounds, making the extra pass, running the break and getting out to shooters on defense. He finished with 11 points on 5-7 shooting, with five boards and two assists.

Anderson was also responsible for my favorite play of the night for the Sixers--an offensive rebound got kicked out to him beyond the arc, and rather than jack the trey with two defenders rushing at him, he passed it off to another guy at the line, who continued to kick it around the perimeter until it ended with Darius Morris in the corner, who drove the base line--and found James Anderson again, open for three in the opposite corner. Swish. That's some good shit right there. Team shit.

Also worth noting: Thad put up some numbers (16 and 8), but more importantly, had the block of the year on the Cavs' Dion Waiters:

Oh yeah, and that guy Bynum was there. He was booed early and often and had a pretty mediocre game, scoring four points and grabbing five boards in limited minutes. The second of his two buckets came on a very pretty post move that showed that if the guy can ever get his body right, he still has a lot to offer, but the whole right-body thing might just be a bridge too far for Andrew at the moment. Too sad to really feel all that righteous about.

By the way, the five best Bynum jeers I heard tonight:


Not sure I really understand my #1, but it's always hilarious to compare dudes to Ike Turner. Trump card.

For his part, the Big Human seemed to kinda enjoy the hatorade. Jason Wolf has the pretty telling quotes:

Aw man, Drew, I really would have enjoyed rooting for you. You've got the touch.

Anyway, the now 4-2 Sixers face this Cavaliers team again tomorrow night, this time in Cleveland. Let's hope Evan brings his lucky headband / yarmulke. It looks surprisingly good on him, I'd say.

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Ben Simmons is on track to return to the Sixers in January, Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. 

Previous reports indicated that Simmons, who suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in the Sixers' final training camp scrimmage on Sept. 30, would be out three months. Friday's news jives with that, but this is the first time the Sixers have given a timetable.

"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd (Bayless). Jahlil (Okafor) is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."

With long-term ramifications in mind, there had been some speculation that Simmons' camp wanted him to sit all season. 

This is rather encouraging news and it means the Sixers may avoid watching another of their top picks miss his entire first year.

Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

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Union offering great deals on field level seats ahead of MLS Cup Playoffs

Playoff soccer is returning to Chester for the first time in five years, and while fans prep for the Union’s first postseason games since 2011, there is no shortage of seating options for Union tickets on the primary market.

Perhaps most importantly, fans won’t have to break the bank to be on hand as the Union compete for their first MLS Cup in franchise history. Union field level seats are available for both the team’s final home regular season game against the New York Red Bulls and the Eastern Conference Semifinal on October 30 should they advance past the knockout round.

The team’s official website lists feet-on-the-pitch seating starting from $155 per ticket for this weekend’s game against the Red Bulls. The first-place Red Bulls head to Talen Energy Stadium with a first-round bye secured, but Union head coach Jim Curtin expects them to bring the pressure with them on Sunday. Fans can look on up close – and for relatively cheap - as the Union look to hand the Eastern Conference leaders their final loss of the regular season.

The Union will take on either New York City FC or Toronto FC in the knockout round either next Wednesday or Thursday. Pending a victory on the road, they’ll return to Talen Energy Stadium to host an Eastern Conference Semifinal game on October 30. Field level seating is still widely available for the team’s first home playoff game since 2011 and start from $178 per ticket.

2016 marks the franchise’s second MLS Cup Playoffs berth in its seven-year existence. They clinched a first-round bye in 2011 but fell to the Houston Dynamo by a 3-1 aggregate in the Conference Semifinals. The Union bring a much different vibe into the playoffs this season, however, after a formidable stretch from September on nearly drowned their postseason hopes. The team won its last game on August 27 against Sporting Kansas City, losing four games and drawing in two others since. 

Despite the team’s recent struggles, there is a sense of renewment that will carry them into the MLS Cup Playoffs. Records are cast aside and the slate is wiped clean, beginning a new path on the long and often tumultuous road to a national championship.