The Sixers' season got underway on Wednesday night and they wasted no time flipping the script on everything fans of this team knew about the planet called Earth we live on. They scored 19-straight points to start the game before Miami notched a single bucket.
Michael Carter-Williams got an open-court dunk for the first NBA points of his career to get the scoring going. Evan Turner dunked on LeBron James. Tony Wroten did Tony Wroten things. And the Sixers started a remarkable 11-11 from the field. Yes, Brett Brown's Sixers were on fire.
The euphoria ended and we all clanked back to reality when Evan Turner missed a three ball with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter, leaving the score at 26-6 at that point.
Once the Sixers finally missed a shot, these two teams reverted back a bit to what you'd kind of expect from a Philly-Miami game. The first half ended with Philadelphia up by a score of 51-49. So, don't worry too much about those asteroids headed towards Earth you thought you saw during the first quarter. The world is not ending.
One real bright spot: MCW on a triple double watch in the first game of his career with 11 points, 7 dimes, and 6 steals at the midway point. Alright, kid.
The Sixers may lose this first game, and go on to have a truly awful season, but at least we'll always have the first five minutes of tonight. Basketball can be joyous. Anything is possible.
[shoutout to Ben for cutting the video right quick]
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.