There's No Place Like Home Against Washington: Sixers-Wizards on a Friday Night

There's No Place Like Home Against Washington: Sixers-Wizards on a Friday Night

Well, after the Sixers' first loss in seven games—and arguably their
toughest of the young season—we couldn't ask for a much better
bounce-back game than this. The 1-9 Wizards, easily the worst team in
the league to start the season, are visiting tonight in the first game
of a home-and-home with Philly, very possibly the two easiest games the
Sixers will play all season. The Wiz caught a little momentum with their
first win of the season earlier this week against the Raptors, but lost
that quickly with a 14-point loss to a Bulls team without MVP Derrick
Rose, in which the team managed only 62 points in four quarters.

Of course, no game in the league is truly a gimme, and the Wizards did
give the Sixers some trouble early last year, most notably in that
heartbreaking game early in the season where a couple Evan Turner missed
free throws late allowed the Wiz to tie the game up and get the win in
overtime. But that was a different Sixers team, and all indications this
season would lead you to believe to the Sixers being the vastly
superior team—not to mention the two pre-season games the teams played,
both Sixers wins.

The Wiz might have an advantage up front, however, since as with the
Jazz and Knicks, they boast size that will difficult for us to match up
with. JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche might not be the brightest bulbs
in the box, but they make for a fairly imposing frontcourt, and starting
center Spencer Hawes is questionable for a second straight game with
his bad back. The Ballers will likely need a big contribution from
rookie big Nikola Vucevic, and a solid defensive effort from Jrue
Holiday (and possibly 2010 draft partner Evan Turner) on Wizards point
guard John Wall—off to a slow start in '11-'12, but always a threat with
his blinding speed and impressive court vision.

7:00 tip from the WFC. “We’re not going to blame the schedule or
anything like that,” Elton Brand said of the team's 85-79 loss in New
York on Wednesday. “Every
team has a tough schedule this season and you have to give (the Knicks)
credit.
They outplayed us when it counted.” Easy to say about Carmelo and
Amar'e—harder to say about the Wizards. Let's hope we won't have to.

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

ap-temple.jpg
The Associated Press

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

After winning its first American Athletic Conference championship Saturday, Temple learned its postseason fate Sunday and it does not involve a New Year's Six bowl game.

The Owls will play Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple also finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and No. 23 in the AP poll.

At 10-3, Temple has its first back-to-back 10-win season in program history. It's also the first time the Owls have been ranked in consecutive seasons. Head coach Matt Rhule now has 28 wins as Temple's head coach, tying him with Bruce Arians' for the sixth-most in school history.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers (13-10-3) at Predators (11-8-4)
6 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

The Flyers have won a season-high four games in a row. They'll try to make it five Sunday night when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the second game of a back-to-back set.

Let's take a look at five things you need to know.

1. Streaking like 2014?
Not only do the Flyers have a chance to extend their season-best winning streak, but they're also looking to win their most consecutive games since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five straight.

The Flyers have put up strong showings in the back ends of back-to-backs, going 4-1-1 thus far.

“You just have to have the work ethic night in and night out," Steve Mason said Saturday after the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. "And, I think we were struggling to find that. There are games when we were swarming and giving teams no other option, and other nights we were chasing the puck.

"We have another tough test going to Nashville to play. So, we’re going to have to follow up with another great effort.” 

2. A Provorov encore?
Ivan Provorov's confidence has to be at his highest of the season.

In Saturday's win, the 19-year-old blueliner scored two goals in a 31-second span to double his goal total through the first 25 games.

Provorov said he thinks defense first, but the offensive production is a good sign.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster."

3. Predators finding stride
After losing eight of their first 11 games, Peter Laviolette's Predators have gotten on track, going 8-3-1 since.

Nashville ranks in the top half of the league in goals per game (3.00 — tied for fifth), goals against per game (2.61 — 15th), power-play percentage (22.6 — sixth) and penalty-kill percentage (84.5 — 10th).

Last time out, the Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the third period for a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, so they should be extra focused.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: On Saturday, Brayden Schenn scored just his second goal in his past 18 games. Schenn can be streaky so maybe he feeds off that goal. He's also a career plus-4 against the Predators, with two goals and three assists in eight games.

Predators: Let's go P.K. Subban, who isn't exactly a favorite among Flyers fans. He's off to a nice start in his first season in Nashville with six goals and 10 assists, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is 7-7-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 career games against the Predators.

• Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is 3-2-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Claude Giroux is four assists away from passing Rick MacLeish (369) and Eric Lindros (369) for fifth on the Flyers’ all-time list.