That Felt Good: Sixers Grab Second Win of Road Trip in Los Angeles

That Felt Good: Sixers Grab Second Win of Road Trip in Los Angeles

Though probably the best win so far of their season, it was hard to feel
totally satisfied by the Sixers' upset of the Memphis Grizzlies in
Memphis the other day—the game was too weird, too fluky to really be
taken seriously, and felt way more like a Shit Happens loss for the
Grizz than a substantial victory for Philly. Well, not tonight—tonight,
the Philadelphia 76ers just outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers, with their
best players stepping up in a big way and taking their second game in
five tries on this road trip, a better start than we had
feared/anticipated when the team was losing everything in sight.

Jrue
Holiday and Evan Turner were simply magnificent tonight. Jrue was one
of the few Sixers that played well in their Saturday loss at Portland,
with 29 points and nine assists, but he turned the ball over seven times
and came up short several times down the stretch. Against LA, though,
his performance was just about flawless, picking the Laker defense apart
for 26 points and ten assists, this time with just a single turnover to
go with it. Every pass he made was on the money, every shot
well-intentioned, every move creative and considered. I also thought he
played good aggressive defense on Steve Nash, though Nash still ended up
with a double-double (12 and 10) because he's Steve Nash.

Evan
had a lot further to bounce back from tonight, coming off easily the
worst three-game stretch of his season, averaging just five points and
five rebounds over the three contests, and occasionally looking lost and
downright lethargic on offense. He looked much sharper tonight, though
it's easy to look sharper when you're hitting your jumper, as the
Extraterrestrial was all game, finishing with 22 points on 8-14
shooting, his best scoring night in weeks. Evan was also
near-kamikaze-like in his assault on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds
against the significantly oversized Laker frontlines, and also poured in
five assists (with just one TO) and sporadically inspired defense on
the likes of Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant (who, of course, still
poured in 36).

But incredibly, the best player for the Sixers
tonight just might have been Spencer Hawes. Spence's resurgent 2012
season took a bit of a stumble in the team's last two losses, including
the Warriors game where he played less than ten minutes and averaged
over a foul per two minutes, but he was the man tonight, scoring 13 on
5-9 shooting (including some huge shots down the stretch) and
getting the offense flowing with his season-high five assists, including
a couple gorgeous looks to Evan open and on give-and-go dives to the
basket. More impressively, Hawes held his own down low with Dwight
Howard, who struggled to just seven points on the night, and ended up
registering four blocks, just a week after swatting five in Memphis.
Maybe the mullet had to go after all.

Very good win tonight,
minus some inexcusable gaffes (J-Rich and Evan's respective 0-fers at
the free throw line with a chance to ice the game on separate occasions
was pretty awful) and some luck with L.A.'s three-point performance
(just 3-22 for the night, not a rate likely to be repeated at Staples
anytime soon). At this point with the Sixers, you'd way rather see the
team win a tough road game because their best players played awesome
basketball, not because Dorell Wright got insanely hot from behind the
arc. It's some promising shit for sure.

The Sixers get a chance
to keep on feeling good, feeling great tomorrow night, visiting Steve
Nash's old team, the Phoenix Suns. Can the Ballers stay undefeated in
2013? Does Evan Turner love the movie Pitch Perfect? Go Sixers.

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise. 
 
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
 
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
 
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
 
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
 
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night. 
 
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.