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.

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 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.