Return of the Vooch: Sixers Go for Three Straight Against Magic

Return of the Vooch: Sixers Go for Three Straight Against Magic

Who would've guessed that out of that four-team blockbuster deal from
over the summer—which included two franchise-type players in Dwight
Howard and Andrew Bynum, an All-Star Olympian in Andre Iguodala, and a
couple accomplished NBA vets in Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington, the two
players traded that would arguably be of greatest impact to the 2012-13
season would be Earl Clark and Nikola Vucevic? Clark, an NBA washout
since his lottery selection by Phoenix in 2009, has stabilized the
Lakers on both offense and defense since replacing Pau Gasol in the
starting lineup, and Vucevic looks like a steal for the Magic as their
new starting center, posting double-doubles in 15 of his last 17 games.

Of
course, the team that the Magic "stole" Vucevic from was the one he
visits for the first time tonight since being traded—the Philadelphia
76ers. Vooch started his rookie season with the Sixers last year (after
being drafted with the 17th pick in 2011) looking like a nice find, but
found his way into Doug Collins' doghouse for reasons largely
undisclosed and did not play at all in the post-season but for three
minutes of garbage time. He was deemed expendable this
summer—understandably so, considering the player we believed to be
getting—and dealt away for Bynum, who has posted 100% fewer
double-doubles than Vucevic this season from his position at the end of
the bench.

No regrets there, but it'd still be annoying if Vooch
had a really good game tonight and the Sixers lost, just on principle.
Of course, the Sixers have gone a whole week without losing a basketball
game now, winning an incredible two games in a row over that timespan,
against the Wizards and Kings (combined record as of writing: 28-67),
respectively. They could make it an absolutely astounding three in a row
tonight with a win against the Magic, one of the few other teams in the
NBA crappy enough to deserve being listed alongside the Wizards and
Kings, and losers of nine in a row going into tonight. If they can't
make it three straight against these hosers, they can't make it three
straight against nobody.

7:00 tip from the WFC. Apparently these two teams don't shoot a lot of free throws between them, so you might make it back home from this one in time for the end of RAW, if that's an important thing to you.

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

I'm not sure if they could win nationally, but there is absolutely no doubt that a Wentz-Simmons ticket would dominate the Delaware Valley.

An intrepid Philadelphia sports fan was up at the Presidential Debate last night at Hofstra University and made a sign showing his support... for the Eagles and Sixers.

I don't know though, I'm pretty sure Simmons was born in Australia.

Pinpoint touch passes show Carson Wentz has a killer changeup, too

Pinpoint touch passes show Carson Wentz has a killer changeup, too

Now the kid has a changeup, too.

A couple of the most impressive passes Carson Wentz threw Sunday weren’t fired to the receiver. They didn’t show off Wentz’s rocket-launcher right arm.

They were touch passes. Lobs. Looping things of beauty that floated high into the air above the coverage and settled softly into the hands of a receiver on the run.

Wentz, the Eagles’ 23-year-old wunderkind of a quarterback, displayed remarkable touch on a couple of his biggest passes in the Eagles’ 34-3 win over the Steelers at the Linc on Sunday.

It’s just the latest evolution in the development of the remarkable young Eagles quarterback.

He doesn’t just fire it. He floats it, too.

“It is a challenging thing,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Because in practice, if you’re not working on those types of throws, it just doesn't happen.

“It’s sort of a math problem in your head as a quarterback because you have a receiver that's running away from you at full speed and you are trying to put a touch pass on a 20-, 25-yard throw and so you have to judge it just right.

“That's a lot harder to do than just zipping it right at your target.”

On the 73-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles, Wentz stood in the pocket, looked to his left and started scrambling to the right when he spotted Sproles racing down the right sideline with a step on Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.

In full stride, running to his right, Wentz threw across his body and lobbed the ball from the Eagles’ 25-yard line to a point near the 50-yard line. Sproles caught the ball without breaking stride and did the rest, eventually scoring a TD that turned a 10-point lead into a 17-point lead early in the third quarter.

In the third quarter, Wentz connected similarly with tight end Brent Celek on a 24-yard gain, this time lobbing the ball above linebacker Vince Williams and in front of safety Sean Davis for a first down inside the Pittsburgh 30-yard line to set up another touchdown.

After three games, Wentz is 3-0 with five touchdown passes, no interceptions, 65 percent completions and a 103.7 passer rating. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to open his career with three wins without an interception.

A lot of young quarterbacks want to fire every ball as hard as possible. But Wentz’s ability to change up and lob the football to his receivers makes him even more dangerous. Kind of like a young fastball pitcher who suddenly shows up in spring training with a killer changeup.

“It can be hard because you are so geared on throwing everything fast and hard,” Pederson said. “That throw to Celek was a thing of beauty. The week before, the Monday night (game), to Jordan Matthews, the little touch pass was great. The little floater to Darren for the long touchdown run was another one that was a touch pass with accuracy.

“Those are hard throws to make. Having been in that position before, those are hard. The guy is running away from you and you are trying to put air on a throw but still judge the distance and the speed of the receiver. Those are tough things to do. He really has a good feel for that and it just makes him an all-around solid quarterback.

“That’s just who he is and (shows) his ability to make really all the throws.”