Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

In addition to Joe Blanton and the Phillies taking on the New York Mets
across the street, the Sixers also take on a team from up that city up
the turnpike. After a loss on Tuesday night against a Celtics team that
played solid defense, Doug Collins' squad will face a team that's not
exactly known for its defense in the New York Knicks, winners of their
last four contests.

The Sixers will once again be without Lou Williams, who could be
sidelined until the playoffs, but Evan Turner stepped up in a big way on
Tuesday night, taking advantage of those available minutes. He also
didn't have to worry about Collins giving him a quick yank back to the
bench, so Turner had the time to feel comfortable and do some things
with the ball in his hands.

From CSNPhilly.com:

I don’t know a lot,” Doug Collins said after the [Celtics] game. “But
I do know what players’ strengths and weaknesses are. Evan is really,
really good when he has the ball in his hands.”

“It definitely
helps,” Turner concurred. “I was able to get a rhythm. Tonight I was
able to come off ball screens and be able to run in transition and
stuff like that.”

It was perhaps the best Evan has played all season, "just
[expletive]-ing getting after it, all night too. And against a really
good defense. Usually his good nights come against the Warriors, Suns,
etc," as one of my Sixers aficionados put it.

Perhaps facing the Knicks' defense tonight could allow ET to put a
pair of real nice games together. It would be especially nice if he
could do it against a team only .5 game back from them in the standings.

Carmelo Anthony didn't want to put too much stock into this one game
with the playoff-bound Sixers, "We don't' want too much pressure saying
if we don't win it's the end-all, but at the same time it would be a
good game to get on the road and a big test."

Does the battle for the sixth seed really matter all that much to the Sixers?

"It's pick your poison, you want Boston? or you want Miami? If we
could finish 6th, that'd be great, because 6th is better than 7th, but
it's not because you get an easier opponent," Coach Collins said before
the game today.

"The seeding to me would be great for our guys from the standpoint of
saying, 'Hey guys, you know what, when it's all said and done at the
end of the year, we had the sixth best record in the East.' That would
be nice."

It's Philly vs. New York tonight. Hopefully the results are better than Tuesday's awful showing from our local squads.

Tip of scheduled for 7:00. We'll be in the Wells Fargo Center if you'd like to chat along in the comments.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

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 coexist 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 foot 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.