Moements of Summer League: The Sixers Debut of Maurice Harkless

Moements of Summer League: The Sixers Debut of Maurice Harkless

Fans of the Philadelphia 76ers devout enough to tune in for the team's
Summer League kickoff against the Indiana Pacers were treated to a
fairly miserable game of basketball, one where only 57 points were
scored by the two teams combined throughout the first two quarters, but
one which picked up a little towards the end and featured a handful of
memorable plays. Most importantly, it was the pro debut of Sixers
first-round pick Maurice "We're Probably Gonna Call You 'Mo' Because it
Sounds Better" Harkless, who started and played about 23 minutes for the
Sixers despite being hamstrung by a bad hip flexor. (Arnett Moultrie,
the Sixers' other first-round selection, sat with an ankle sprain and is
not expected to play in the Summer League.)

As could probably be expected for a 19-year-old not playing at 100%,
Harkless failed to set the world on fire in his debut as a Liberty
Baller, but had some moments. He looked pretty lost on offense for most
of the first half, unable to either properly post up or secure
separation from a defender—though his shot-happy guards didn't help him
out much on that front. He was hesitant to catch-and-shoot, and his
drives to the basket, while well-intentioned, were a little bit awkward
and his shots were well off. He missed his first three shots, though he
ended the first half with an easy dunk and a sprawling layup, which at
least got him on the board before halftime.

He had some better moments in the second half. He spotted up for a
wide-open catch-and-shoot three in the third quarter and drained it
easily, and followed up a nice move to the basket he made with a tip-in
of his own miss. He finished with nine points on 4-9 shooting, with five
rebounds and an assist. Overall, he didn't flash a ton of
athleticism—probably the wonky hip playing a part with that—but he did
show off one physical advantage with his Durant-like arms. What was
remarkable about his dunk was how little he had to jump to slam it—it
seemed like he was basically at the rim already, and just needed to
tippy-toe to send it home. It seems like those arms could present a real
issue to opponents on defense, and he was unsurprisingly handsy trying
to strip the ball on a couple defensive possessions (though he got
burned a couple times gambling, so he might want to watch that).

So an INC for Mo Harkless thusfar. Nobody else really impressed
tremendously in the 69-63 loss—Jacob Pullen and Xavier Silas both took a
lot of shots and made some of them, Clay Tucker played way too many
minutes, why the hell is Solomon Jones even on this team—but Justin
Holiday had a couple fun moments, showing a nice stroke from beyond (2-5
from deep) and socirng on a crafty hand-switching drive to the basket
that reminded of his younger brother Jrue. The other J. Holiday also
grabbed seven boards and collected two steals, and will be interesting
to watch for the rest of the Summer League. You gotta root for the older

The Sixers take on the Jazz on Tuesday at 11:00 on NBA TV. Times will be had.

Eagles Inactives: Bennie Logan (groin) out vs. Vikings

Eagles Inactives: Bennie Logan (groin) out vs. Vikings

Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan (groin) is inactive for the team’s game against the Vikings at the Linc on Sunday afternoon.

Logan missed practice all week but was listed as questionable and was said to be a game-time decision. Beau Allen will start in his place, but the Eagles will likely use more Allen, Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao and Vinny Curry at tackle.

While Logan is inactive, Ron Brooks (calf), Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and Mychal Kendricks (ribs) are all active. The trio was listed as questionable coming into the weekend.

Joining Logan among the inactive players are: OL Dillon Gordon, OL Josh Andrews, OL Isaac Seumalo, CB C.J. Smith, S Terrence Brooks and WR Bryce Treggs.

Despite Tregg’s getting extended reps this week in practice, he’s still not playing.

For the Vikings, wideout Stefon Diggs (groin), who was listed as questionable, is active.

Vikings inactives: WR Laquon Treadwell, WR Jarius Wright, LB Kentrell Brothers, C Nick Easton, G Willie Beavers, DT Sharrif Floyd, TE MyCole Pruitt.

Union-Red Bulls 5 things: Aim to finish strong against streaking New York

Union-Red Bulls 5 things: Aim to finish strong against streaking New York

Union vs. New York Red Bulls
4 p.m. on TCN 

Having all but officially made the postseason for the first time since 2011, the Union, who are already locked into a first-round road match, could rest players Sunday in the season finale against the New York Red Bulls (15-9-9). But that doesn’t mean the Union (11-13-9) will be mailing it in.

Here are five things to know.

1. Playoff recovery
The Union had hope that last Sunday’s home match against mathematically eliminated Orlando City SC would work as a slump buster, breaking the club’s five-game winless run. 

Instead, with a 2-0 loss, it just extended the Union’s slump to six.

“We had a good meeting with the group, we talked a lot about accountability,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Everybody does have to look in the mirror.”

With their last win coming in late August, the Union seem fresh out of ideas. Passing up the ripe opportunity to gain confidence against Orlando City, the club must now host the best team in the Eastern Conference as a pre-playoff test.

“We shot ourselves in the foot in a big spot and we came up a little short,” said Curtin, whose club flubbed an outside chance to host a first-round game and will be on the road regardless of Sunday’s outcome. “It’s the past, though. We have to look forward to the challenge that Red Bulls will present. They are the perfect team to play in terms of a tuneup, to get up to speed with the tempo of a playoff game. It’ll be good for our guys, we’ll use that to get prepared.”

2. Refreshing the lineup
Because Sunday’s match comes just days before the Union’s midweek postseason game, Curtin could look to rest some starters against the Red Bulls, especially the injured ones.

“There are discussions,” he said. “You have to do what’s best. Maybe it’s a new face, a change or a tweak. We won’t change our formation, we won’t change the style that we play but maybe there’s a new body that comes out on the field and gives us a little bit of a lift.”

But Curtin’s team doesn’t just need a lift, it needs healthy bodies. C.J. Sapong suffered a concussion against Orlando City and will likely sit out Saturday. If he does, Charlie Davies could see a chunk of playing time. Davies has only played 81 minutes in eight games since being acquired by the Union in August.

Tranquillo Barnetta and Chris Pontius are also banged up with lower-body ailments.

“Charlie’s been a little bit sharper each day in training,” Curtin said. “It’s tough to forget that he as recently as a month and a half ago was beating cancer so, the sharpness and the fitness is starting to come back. He wants to start, he wants to play, like any striker does, but we have to be smart about what makes the most sense for the team to get a result this weekend.”

3. Mighty Red Bulls
With the Red Bulls already locked into a first-round playoff bye, claiming the top seed in the East, they could float into Sunday’s match like it’s an exhibition — resting starters and providing minimal effort. 

But while riding an unbeaten streak that dates back to early July, the Red Bulls aren’t likely to pull their foot off the gas just yet.

“It’s a challenging game for us,” Curtin said. “It’ll be a high tempo, playoff atmosphere. With Red Bull already securing their bye, I envision them playing their full-strength lineup because they don’t want to rest guys for two weeks, and then you could have some rust. We expect their best.”

Though the Red Bulls want to keep things moving Sunday, the Union also want to finish the season strong. Although the match doesn’t hold the importance it could have for either club, Curtin’s team, winless since late August, is grasping for anything it can to catapult itself into the postseason with momentum. 

“We want to finish the season the right way for our fans,” Curtin said. “We want to come out with some confidence after the game.”

4. Keep an eye on …
Union: With Sapong hobbled from a concussion, Sunday’s match could put Charlie Davies’ effort on display. The forward, who has been seldom used as he regains conditioning after beating cancer earlier in the year, was acquired by the Union for this exact scenario — providing quality attacking depth.

Red Bulls: Although the match is practically meaningless for the Red Bulls, it could mean something for Bradley Wright-Phillips. The 31-year striker could claim his second golden boot in three seasons. He currently leads MLS with 23 goals — one ahead of David Villa. He has a goal and an assist against the Union this season and 11 goals in his last nine games.

5. This and that
• The Union are 0-1-1 against the Red Bulls this season but did score a win in the U.S. Open Cup round of 16.

• The result of Sunday’s match will leave the Union with one of three postseason road opponents — New York City FC, Montreal Impact and D.C. United. The match will be played the following Wednesday or Thursday.

• With a win on Sunday, the Union would match a club-high in wins with 12 — a record set in 2013.