WHEEEEEEEE Sixers Continue Winning Ways, Beat Sinking Knicks 106-94

WHEEEEEEEE Sixers Continue Winning Ways, Beat Sinking Knicks 106-94

This is fuuuuuuun. After losing eight games out of ten, the Sixers have now won three in a row, all against good (yeah, yeah, decent)
teams, all with You Know Who playing lights-out ball. Even with a short
rotation (only eight guys played minutes, and Jodie Meeks played just
6:57) and with two of those guys being offensively invisible (eight
combined points for Jrue Holiday and Nik Vucevic, with Jrue going just
2-14 from the field), the Sixers still were able to pull away late in
the third and early in the fourth, winning by a 106-94 score that was
out of reach for New York the entire fourth quarter.

Efficient shooting nights from our power forwards (27 points on 12-21 FG
for the Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand combo) was a key, as was Jrue's
defense on waning Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin, but today, three guys on
the Sixers really provided the story. Andre Iguodala had a typical
near-triple-double, posting 19 points (on 7-11 shooting with two big
threes), eight assists and seven rebounds, along with four steals and D
that held ("held") Carmelo Anthony to 22 points on 5-13 shooting. ("I
think he's the best perimeter defender in the NBA," Coach Collins said
after the game. "That's cool," said 'Dre in response.) And Sour Patch
Lou Williams was way more sweet than sour today, going off for 12 points
in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter, busting the
game wide open for the Ballers.

But you know the guy's name that I want to be talking about. Evan Marcel
Turner (and no I didn't even have to Wikipedia that, yikes) was a beast
once more today, proving that it's not just within the friendly
confines of the Wells Fargo Center where he can dominate from the
two-guard position. Turner was absolutely everywhere in the first
quarter, pacing the Sixers through Jrue's tough shooting start, and
delivering two absolutely gorgeous dimes to Andre Iguodala in the open
court (only one of which he was given an assist for, damn MSG scorer).
He nearly had a double-double at halftime and got scorching hot again in
the third, scoring 13 points in the quarter and ending with an awesome
24 points and 15 rebounds, in addition to playing solid D on a rotating
cast of Knick guards (and also power forward Steve Novak, for some
reason). Five TOs is a couple too many, perhaps, but we're certainly not
gonna press it.

That's three games in a row now of incredible play from Turner—three
more than he'd had in nearly two months leading up to the Boston game.
You want more numbers? Here are more numbers: In four games since being
moved to the starting lineup against Milwaukee (where he scored two
points on 1-12 shooting, dragging down a lot of these numbers) Evan is
now averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds on 49% shooting—fine numbers for
a power forward, incredible for a shooting guard. His 66 points
combined in the last three games are more than he had in the 14 leading
up to them, and his 11 free throws (!!) made in the last three are as
many as he had in the 21 games (!!!!) before that. To do it today on the
road, against a division rival, in a team win...you can't say enough
about it.

[VIDEO: watch Turner's sweet over-the-shoulder dish to set up Dre's huge slam]

Of course, you don't want to get too used to this level of production
from ET, given just how much the Knicks' own breakout star has fallen of
late. Jeremy Lin's stat line today wasn't quite unseemly—14 points and
seven assists, though on only 5-18 shooting and with six turnovers—but
clearly, the honeymoon is over with Linsanity. The Knicks have lost five
straight now, with Lin averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 assists over the
losing streak—not bad numbers, but along with four turnovers a game and
on just 39% shooting, while the Knicks' offense has stagnated and their
defense has gone the way of the slap bracelet. Hearty boos rained down
on the 'Bockers from the MSG faithful today—directed largely at Carmelo
Anthony, whose return has more or less coincided with the team's return
to losing ways (though a suddenly much-tougher schedule didn't help
either). Even as a Sixer fan, it's kind of sad to see, and it's a
sobering reminder that as good as the Extraterrestrial and his Sixers
are playing right now, all may be due for a tiny regression at some
point.

One other note about today's game: The Sixers' quest for a thirty-point
scorer—dating back to when Elton Brand scored 33 against the Knicks in
February of 2011—looked like it may finally have been coming to an end,
with Lou's 28 and Evan's 24 midway through the fourth both threatening
to break the seal. Naturally, both players dried up immediately, with
Lou ending the fourth on an 0-6 stretch, and Evan only taking (and
missing) one shot in the quarter. I still have no idea what to make of
this team's inability to find a 30-point scorer, though Turner summarily
shrugged off my question about the streak after the game, and given the
team's 43-32 overall regular season record since that EB performance,
maybe he's right to do so.

A couple days off now for the Liberty Ballers, before they face the
Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday—hopefully with their starting center,
Spencer Hawes, back in the lineup for the first time since February 6th.
With their win this afternoon, the Sixers are now tied for fourth in
the standings with Indiana, though Philly of course gets the edge as a
division leader, and they're just 1.5 games behind Orlando—who,
incidentally, play the Pacers this evening. A week ago, I was thinking
that as long as the Sixers made the playoffs and didn't have to face the
Heat in the first round, I'd be fine with it. Now I'm looking at
standings and projecting potential first-round (and second-round!!)
matchups again. I repeat: This is fuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).