To quote Andrew Unterberger from his recap of the Sixers big win over the Bulls this weekend: "We’re in uncharted waters here, people. Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend."
Three wins. Zero loses.
And three different NBA power rankings put your Philadelphia 76ers at the top of the league. The most powerful NBA squadron in all the land.
First the NBA mothership:
1. Philadelphia (3-0)
Pace: 103.2 (1), OffRtg: 106.6 (7), DefRtg: 102.1 (17), NetRtg: +4.5 (9)
As crazy as this seems, maybe it's just the model for when you change your ratio of mid-range attempts to 3-point attempts from 1.7 (last season) to 0.8 (this year). Brett Brown is letting his team push the ball and shoot early in the clock. But ultimately, they're taking the right kinds of shots, getting to the basket a lot more than they did under Doug Collins too. And they're shooting pretty well at the basket.
This week: vs. GSW, vs. WAS, vs. CLE, @ CLE
Then Yahoo! Sports:
1. Philadelphia 76ers (3-0; last week's ranking: 30): After entering the season with what was considered the league's weakest roster, the Sixers and rookie Michael Carter-Williams beat reigning champion Miami, Washington (on the road) and Chicago. Reality could hit soon, but, for now, the Sixers can enjoy the top spot.
I know they aren't the best team in the league. They're probably not actually any good. But I don't care. After an offseason full of tanking talk, the Sixers had three comeback victories over the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. So for one week, they get this lofty honor.
Which makes me wonder. Has a team ever gone from worst in the League one week to the very top spot the next?
If the Sixers beat the Warriors tonight to go 4-0 to start the season, I may have to purchase a Spencer Hawes jersey.
PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).
Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).
“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).
Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.
Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.
“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”
It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration.
A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.
Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.
Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.
General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.
Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.
After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored.
Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.
Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.
Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs.
After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career.
Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P