THEY DIDN'T DO IT AGAIN TELL ME THE SIXERS DIDN'T DO IT AGAIN

THEY DIDN'T DO IT AGAIN TELL ME THE SIXERS DIDN'T DO IT AGAIN

They did it again.

The f'ing Sixers.

Evan friggin' Turner.

SPENCER GODDAMN HAWES.

They did it again, and I don't know why we're still even surprised at this point.

I know always say this game was over, guys, you won't believe how over this game was before it wasn't over. But c'mon. THIS GAME WAS OVER. As if Lil Flip himself was caling it. Down double-digits with just over two to go, down four with less than ten seconds left...this thing was dead to rights, even by 2013-14 Sixers standards. Plus, Philly had gone so cold in the fourth quarter, Michael Carter-Williams had fouled out, and Evan Turner was one more missed-layup no-call away from quitting basketball and concentrating on his pro wrestling and/or hip-hop hypeman careers. OOOOOOVERRRRRRR.

But wouldn't you know it? Luke Rindour, career 87% free-throw shooter, going to the line with four seconds left and the chance to hit two to ice the game, and he misses one of two. Then the Sixers in bound to Spencer Hawes, contested and off-balance in the corner. And he goes and does this.

You wanna see that again in slo mo? I know I do.

Spencer Hawes, pirouetting and gun-holstering. He hit 43 three-pointers total his first three years as a Sixer. He was a 32% three-point shooter for his career his first six years. Now, just 14 games into this season, he's hit 26 threes, and is shooting 50% from behind the line. He's also still averaging a double-double, with 25 and 12 to throw on the pile from tonight, while shooting comfortably over 50% from the field, and getting a couple steals and blocks a game in there as well. If the election was tomorrow, Spencer Hawes' endorsement alone could get a Republican elected to the Oval Office at this point.

The craziest night had by a Sixer tonight, though, was easily that of Evan Turner. Evan had an absolutely brutal start to the game, going 2-6 for four points with three turnovers in the first half, and getting torched the entire game on the other end by vet Bucks forward Caron Butler, who eventually went off for a stunning total of 38 points--his best scoring night since 2009, and a night he really shouldn't be having at this point in his career. Evan's body language was predictably terrible, and it seemed like he might spend not only the rest of the game, but maybe the rest of the whole calendar year in the tank.

Then in overtime, he hit four of five shots--mostly shots he had been missing up until that point--and easily secured the game for the Sixers, inflating his stat line to a much more respectable 27 points on 10-18 shooting. (He got to the line eight times in regulation, which helped keep the Sixers afloat during his poor shooting spells.) It was as quick as I've ever seen an Evan Turner performance reverse polarity, and it proves once again that on those rare nights when Evan Turner hears the music, few in the league can match his moves.

There were other Sixers who had notable nights--MCW nearly had a triple-double (12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds) though he also got over halfway to double-digits in turnovers and personal fouls, while Hollis Thompson came to life for the first time this season, slamming a huge alley-oop early and hitting some huge shots throughout, including the three in OT that basically sealed the game. (Did you know Hollis Thompson could get up like this? I did not know Hollis Thompson could get up like this.)

But really, you just can't say enough about Spence and Evan tonight. With no Thad (and no MCW towards the end), and no real motivation to go out of their way to win this game, they still managed to deny the Bucks their first win in seven games, and snatch victory from the jaws of tanking for the millionth time already this season. Turner and Hawes are the two guys whose names are mentioned most frequently in trade rumors, and as much as it makes sense to trade them and I mostly hope the Sixers can, memories of games like this are gonna make me lonesome when they go. Well done, gentlemen.

And yeah, I know we have to start piling up the L's at some point, and given how crappy the East is this year, we have our work cut out for us if we wanna sink all the way to the bottom. But let's be real here--the Bucks are one of the league's worst teams, on the road, still missing some key players, and we once more needed divine intervention to beat them. These miracle wins aren't going to sustain all season, and when we start to lose the close ones, that's when we'll really start to bottom out. And won't that be exciting?

Until then, we really need to show some gosh-darn gratitude for how fun the 76ers have been--so much so that a night as ridiculous as tonight might not even register as a top-ten game for this team this season before all is said and done. A chance for more mischief tomorrow night in Indiana, though that's a much taller order than taking care of business at home against the crappy Bucks. Don't tune out yet, Philadelphia--the force remains strong with this bunch.

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz was on the fields at the NovaCare Complex wearing a helmet and ready to practice on Monday for the first time since fracturing his ribs on Aug. 11 against the Bucs.

He’s getting better. Just not quickly enough.

Despite being back at practice Monday afternoon, Wentz will not play in the Eagles’ preseason finale against the Jets on Thursday night. The original hope was that the No. 2 overall pick would be ready for the fourth preseason game.

“That’s a no-go for this week, but I’ll be ready for Week 1,” Wentz said.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said a CT scan on Wentz’s ribs showed one was completely healed, while the other was just 60 percent healed (see story).

Wentz said he expects to be fully healed by Sept. 11, when the Eagles open the season against the Cleveland Browns. But by then, he will have missed three of his four opportunities to play in the preseason. And, as the third-stringer, he won’t even be active on game days.

“It’s tough,” Wentz said. “With all injuries, it’s tough not being on the field, especially as a competitor coming in here, these preseason games were going to be big for me. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, but it just kind of is what it is.”

In his only game this preseason, Wentz went 12 for 24 for 89 yards and an interception. He also ran three times for 15 yards. During that game, he showed flashes of why the Eagles were so high on him, but it was just a taste.

After Thursday night, he will have spent the rest of the preseason as a spectator during games, taking mental reps instead of real ones.

Mental reps help, certainly. Wentz stands on the sideline and mentally inserts himself into the play. What would he do here? What would his read be there? What would he do with a certain protection?

“You’re really just trying to be locked in like you were the guy in the game,” he said.

Mental reps are great. But they don’t replace the real ones. Nothing does.

So while Wentz has been working to get better since going down with the ribs injury earlier this month, he’s lost valuable practice and game reps that he won’t get back. Pederson said once the season starts, the team can’t help him make them up because it will be too focused on getting the starters ready to play.

“You have to make the most of every opportunity you have in practice,” Wentz said. “I feel confident with where I am. Obviously, I missed the couple preseason games. I know when my number gets called, I’ll be ready.”

Pederson on Monday said he was less concerned about Wentz because Wentz is the third-string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. That was the plan before Wentz’s injury. Then the injury cemented that plan.

Does Wentz have any hope that he’ll play during his rookie season?

“I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “It’s not up for me to decide. We’ve been talking about this forever now. I know I’ll be ready to go and I’m excited for when I’m back out there. Practicing today, I’m excited for that too.”

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Showcase time for Ryan Howard has apparently come to an end.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin will go with Tommy Joseph rather than Howard at first base for Monday's series opener against Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark. It's an interesting decision because it likely means Howard will sit until at least the weekend. On Tuesday, the Phils face Max Scherzer, against whom Howard is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts. On Wednesday, they draw lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Howard is 1 for 10 with four strikeouts in his last three games. He was hot after the All-Star break but the Phillies were still unlikely to be able to find a suitor for him because of the scarcity of American League teams in need of a DH. With just three days before Sept. 1, it seems extremely unlikely Howard will be moved. A player is not postseason eligible unless he's on a team's roster by Aug. 31. Thus, Joseph should get more playing time in September.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field after striking the ball well three times on Sunday. Paredes has been productive lately, going 10 for 27 (.370) with two doubles and two homers in his last 14 games. He could be designated for assignment by the Phils soon if they need to clear a spot to add a prospect to the 40-man roster for a September call-up.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (.895 OPS in last 230 PA)
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, LF
9. Jake Thompson

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game, and an Eagles linebacker fighting for a roster spot says he'll do the same in their final preseason contest.

Kaepernick decided not to stand because of the divisive and violent racial issues that have been building in America. Tavarres has taken a similar stance, telling ESPN.com's Tim McManus on Monday that he nearly followed Kaepernick's lead by sitting out the anthem in Indianapolis.

"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres told ESPN. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.

"We've got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We've got that right. There's just a lot going on that people don't want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we're looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he's doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that's his opinion, he's entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it."

According to the report, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had players express their feelings about the topic during a meeting Monday and Tavarres was one of the players who spoke, along with team leader Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

Jenkins discussed the topic with USA Today over the weekend.

"At some point, I think guys in multiple sports across the country, guys are starting to realize if we do want a change, it is something we need to get involved in at some point," Jenkins said.

“I have already done some things. I have spoken to the police commissioner of Philadelphia. We are trying to come up with some plans to do some stuff on the ground and get some work done. A lot of what is going on in the country is outrageous. I try to be careful. I ask myself what is the outcome that I want to see and how do I go about that?

"At the end of the day when it comes down to relationships of African Americans in this country right now, my entire family is black. I can sit on my stage and act like these things don’t apply to me but my two brothers, my dad, my mom, all of them are dealing with the same thing."

Tavarres, meanwhile, is not a lock to make the Eagles' final 53-man roster, but their lack of depth at backup linebacker has created an opportunity for him. Dave Zangaro had Tavarres on the practice squad in his roster projection Monday. 

"In this situation, I've really got nothing to lose," Tavarres told McManus. "I'm a rookie free agent, haven't signed any major contract, so there's not a lot of money on the line, I don't have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what's at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn't stand my ground on this issue we have today?

"[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don't think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don't know if it's going to be burned, but it's a major issue and I'm definitely going to stand my ground for this one."