Wanna Call It a Must-Win? Sixers Return Home For Important-Ish Game Against Nets

Wanna Call It a Must-Win? Sixers Return Home For Important-Ish Game Against Nets

It's hard to say the Sixers disappointed on their recent eight-game road
trip—if you asked me ahead of time how well I though they'd do on the
trip, I'd probably have said they'd go 2-6, which is exactly what they
did—but they certainly didn't exceed expectations. As a result, the team
has now gone an astounding 4-12 in their last 16 games, and appear a
couple well-placed losses away from an official Lost Season, though in
this stupid conference, we're still just two-and-a-half games out of the
eighth spot. Still, with Boston playing so much better of late, and the
Bucks having deposed of their unpopular coach, that eight spot's not
gonna be within striking distance for too long if the Sixers keep losing
75% of their games.

However, there is hope. The Sixers play 13
of their next 15 (!!) at the Wells Fargo Center, with only two
back-to-backs and only three opponents (Spurs, Knicks, Clippers) that
would appear to be totally out of Philly's class over that span. It's
not impossible that the Sixers could turn things around over that
stretch, but they need to start soon, and they really should do it
tonight against the rebounding (figuratively, anyway) Brooklyn Nets. The
Nets have won 5 of 6 (and three in a row) since disposing of coach
Avery Johnson, and appear to be turning around what was looking to be
close to a disastrous season. Still, Philly played them tough in their
last meeting (a 95-92 Net win), and games between these two Atlantic
opponents always seem to go down to the wire, regardless of which team
is actually good at the time.

The questions abound for the
Sixers as they enter this next bend in their season. Can Evan Turner
rebound to his late-November, early-December form, where he was looking
like a burgeoning star and legitimate second scoring option, before we
have to figure out if we're gonna pay him in the off-season? Can Spencer
Hawes keep serving as an important offensive cog, and not give so much
back on the defensive end to negate his contributions completely? Can
Arnett Moultrie add anything to this team? And biggest of all:
Can Andrew Bynum stay on the not-exactly-fast track to recovery, and get
back on the court in time to see what, if anything, he can do with this
Sixers squad around him?

As we've stated before, decision time
is coming up for the Sixers. Rumors had it yesterday that the team was
exploring trades for Oklahoma City backup point guard Eric Maynor, but
such a move would be a short-term solution for Philly—Maynor becomes a
free agent in the off-season, and will likely cost more than the Sixers
can afford to pay him—and if the team's not even gonna compete for the
playoffs this season (a very real possibility), going for the quick fix
could be disastrous, especially if it comes at a high price for the
team's future. If the Sixers continue to drop games at an alarming rate,
it should (hopefully) put the kibosh on Tony DiLeo making such deals,
which would probably be for the best anyway. If the team does start
winning games again, though...

Well, we'll cross that incredibly flimsy bridge when we come to it. 7:00 tip from the WFC. I hate losing to the goddamn Nets.

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

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USA Today Images

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Kyle Washington scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, rallying No. 20 Cincinnati to its ninth straight win, 81-74 over Temple on Wednesday night.

The Bearcats (16-2, 6-0 American Athletic) trailed by six points before Washington made two one-handed shots during a decisive 17-5 run that put them ahead to stay. Cincinnati led by as many as 13 points.

The Bearcats extended their best winning streak in three seasons and completed a series sweep of the Owls (10-10, 1-6), who were sloppy with the ball.

Troy Caupain had 18 points for the Bearcats, including seven free throws in the closing minutes.

Shizz Alston, Jr., led Temple with 25 points for the second game in a row, matching his career high.

Obi Enechionyia made a 3-pointer, a dunk and a 15-foot jumper as Temple opened a six-point lead at the start of the second half, its biggest of the game. Washington then led the decisive run by scoring on two shots near the basket.

Big picture
Temple: The Owls have been prone to bad first halves, but that wasn't the case this time. They led 28-26 at the break despite having nine turnovers and no offensive rebounds.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won their last 19 home games, their longest such streak since taking 19 in a row from March 2, 2013 through Feb. 15, 2014. Their last home loss was 77-70 to Temple in their league opener last season.

Poll implications
A ragged win over a struggling Temple team won't much help the Bearcats. They don't play a currently ranked team until next week, when they host crosstown rival Xavier, which is ranked No. 22.

Up next
The Owls have a week off before hosting Memphis next Wednesday. They split their series last season, with each team winning at home.

The Bearcats play at Tulane on Saturday. They beat Tulane 92-56 at home on Jan. 1.

You can play with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in NBA Jam

You can play with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in NBA Jam

He’s on fire.

Ever wonder what it would be like to play NBA Jam with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? Well now you can.

Thanks to a roster update, spotted by Kotaku, you can now have the fun of matching up Embiid with Simmons, or Embiid with Nerlens Noel or even the more daring combination of Jahlil Okafor with Noel.

Here’s what the player ratings look like for all of the aforementioned players in this reboot of one of the more popular games in the early-90s.

In addition to current NBA rosters, the game also gives you the ability to play with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Kanye West, and yes, even Harambe.

So fire up your computer and match up your favorite two Sixers, or politicians.