Sixers Face Unpredictable Bucks in MLK Matinee

Sixers Face Unpredictable Bucks in MLK Matinee

At first blush, the Milwaukee Bucks of today's MLK Day matinee would appear to be the
latest in a long line of shabby Sixers opponents at the Wells Fargo
Center, another chance for an easy Philly W that says little about
whether or not the team actually deserves to be considered among the
cream of the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are just 4-7— with all seven
of their losses coming from their seven games on the road—and rank in
the bottom half of the league in both offense and defense, far behind
the Sixers' top-rated D and third-rated O. Of their four wins, only the
Spurs ranks as impressive, and losses include the Kings, Suns and
Bobcats.

Naturally, there's a "however" coming, and it's this:
Center and nominal franchise player Andrew Bogut has missed five of the
Bucks' games this year, all of which were losses for MIlwaukee. The team
is 4-2 in games where Bogut plays, and he is expected to play today
against the Sixers after missing the game against the Mavericks with
post-cocussion symptoms. As we've detailed here countless times,
opponents with size have caused problems for the relatively small Sixers
this year, most recently in Washington on Saturday, where
skilled-but-sloppy seven-footer JaVale McGee went off for 23 points, 18
rebounds, and five blocks.

Still, the Sixers have statistically been the superior team all year,
and of course are thus undefeated at the Wells Fargo Center in five
games at home. A key to the victory today will be winning the point
guard battle, as Bucks one-time rookie sensation Brandon Jennings has
been having his best year as a pro so far (18 and 5 on reasonable 44%
shooting) while Jrue Holiday has struggled greatly in his last couple
games, shooting poorly (36% over his last three games) and failing to
distribute effectively (just eight assists to go with seven turnovers
over that span), even causing Coach Collins to yank him early in the
Sixers' blowout win against the Wizards on Friday. ("I made a couple
careless turnovers and they aren't acceptable," an understanding Holiday
said after the game. "He did what a coach is supposed to do.")

2:00 tip from the WFC. It took the Sixers 25 games to get into double
digits in wins last year, they can nearly halve that in 2012 with a win
today. IIIIINNNN THE NAAAAAAME OF LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!

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.