The Sixers Have Become Tough to Watch

The Sixers Have Become Tough to Watch

It doesn't seem all that long ago that the Sixers were a .500 basketball team. But rattling off a stretch of games like they have -- 5-straight losses, only having won three of their last sixteen -- and all of the hope surrounding this season is getting swept away like all of that rare confetti at the Wells Fargo Center.

They're 15-22 and on the outside of the playoff picture looking at a tough climb in. Even a healthy Andrew Bynum by the middle of February could leave them out of the postseason at the rate they're going now.

When this team has gone through struggles in the past, Doug Collins would typically come out after a game and make statements like, "We played hard, I thought we played good defense, but we were just outmatched tonight by a really good Boston team. They hit their shots. We didn't."

He can no longer say those things with a straight face. Aside from the "not hitting our shots part."

After the Brooklyn game on Tuesday night, in fact, Doug didn't really have much to say at all. Asked what he told his team following the ugly loss, Collins said he had nothing to say to the boys. He just let it simmer.

I think Marc Zumoff put it best during the telecast when he said, paraphrasing, that "the Sixers are allowing the Brooklyn Nets to do anything they want on the offensive end."

This is the Brooklyn Nets we're talking about. Not exactly a perennial contender.

At least when Collins used to praise the team for its effort on a nightly basis, fans could appreciate that and point towards growth. Aside from Jrue Holiday turning into an All-Star, and I'm a bit partial towards Thad Young's nightly effort, this team is as inconsistent as can be.

Evan Turner's play kind of personifies all of that. In year's past, when ET would go through one of his funks, they had enough pieces to fight through it to an extent it as a team. But now, with ET being such an integral part, when he goes bad the whole team goes bad. And Evan's been going bad pretty damn frequently.

And that's just not fun to watch.

I tuned in last night for the contest against the Toronto Raptors. I fell asleep before the 3rd quarter was over.

Doug Collins sure doesn't seem to have the answer. I don't have any answers. Do you have any answers? Is it time to shake up the roster? Can they wait until they get Bynum back before doing that?

All I know is this isn't fun anymore.

Penn State not going to College Football Playoff, likely headed to Rose Bowl

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USA Today Images

Penn State not going to College Football Playoff, likely headed to Rose Bowl

Penn State's wild comeback win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship was not enough.

The Nittany Lions were not selected to the four-team College Football Playoff, finishing fifth in the rankings.

Undefeated Alabama takes the top spot and will play No. 4 Washington. No. 2 Clemson will face No. 3 Ohio State.

Penn State earned its signature win of the season, handing felllow Big Ten member Ohio State its only loss of the season. 

However, Penn State sputtered in the beginning of the year, losing to unranked Pittsburgh and was thrashed by Michigan — who finished sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings — 49-10.

The Nittany Lions likely will play in the Rose Bowl, facing either USC or Colorado. The official announcement will be made later Sunday.

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric came into the NBA knowing his rookie season would be one of ups and downs. He would have successes based on his talent and struggle because of the newness of the league and matchups.

Saturday’s performance against the Celtics was one of those highlight nights. Saric scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tying career-highs, for his third double-double. He was efficient in his performance, playing 27 minutes off the bench in the Sixers' 107-106 loss.

“I thought that was his best game as a 76er,” Brett Brown said.

Saric had struggled the night before against the Magic. He barely made a dent in 16 minutes, posting just two points (1 for 5 from the field) without a single rebound. The poor showing was on his mind Saturday, as he got ready for the second game of the back-to-back. He went in early to get up extra shots, met with coaches, studied film and thought about the matchup throughout the day.

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said. “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

Saric showed his aggressiveness in crunch time in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven points and five rebounds in eight minutes. He nailed a three to cut the Celtics' lead to 92-91 with 4:28 to play. Then with 1:09 remaining, Saric’s free throws cut the Celtics' lead to two points. On the other end of the court, he snagged the rebound off an Isaiah Thomas miss and scored a game-tying layup from Jahlil Okafor.  

“He played great,” Okafor said. “He’s working hard every day, getting used to the NBA process. It was good to see hard work paying off for him.”

Saric has been adjusting to new roles throughout the season. He was thrown into the starting power forward spot when Ben Simmons was injured, and then moved to the bench when the team acquired Ersan Ilyasova. On Saturday, Brown also played Saric at small forward in Robert Covington’s (knee) absence, a shift the Sixers may try again.

“He’s a good teammate,” Brown said. “He’s biding his time. He understands he’s a rookie. Incrementally, he’ll be given these opportunities. Tonight he did and he responded and you’re seeing continued growth.”

Saric still is early in his NBA career, and Saturday's showing was a game he can look back on and study for the rest of the season. 

“I feel like tonight … you’d walk away and say, ‘Shoot, that’s a hell of a player for playing 20 games in the NBA and he did what he just did against a hell of a team,’” Brown said. “I’m proud of what we saw all over the place from Dario.”