Coulda Happened: Sixers Stage Improbable Comeback Against Spurs, Lose Anyway

Coulda Happened: Sixers Stage Improbable Comeback Against Spurs, Lose Anyway

The MLK Miracle, we coulda called it. In a second-half performance that
seemed like it might result in the second straight incredible comeback
victory at the WFC, the Sixers battled from a seemingly decisive
17-point Spurs lead to an astounding seven-point advantage late in the
fourth quarter. But like the Seahawks in their NFC Divisional Round
game, the Sixers left too much time on the clock, and like the Japanese
after Pearl Harbor (according to Roger Sterling, anyway), they didn't
know how to handle success. A double-digit stretch of consecutive
scoreless possessions left them vulnerable to a late Spurs surge, and
the four-time champs capitalized, pulling out the 85-80 victory.

This
was the kind of game in which you see the difference between young
teams and old teams. The Sixers were able to get back in the game by
running on and attacking the Spurs in the third and fourth quarters, San
Antonio having gotten a little fat off their early success. But when it
came time to execute down the stretch, it was the Sixers who seemed
tight and indecisive, while the Spurs were their time-proven cool, calm,
collected selves, getting easy buckets out of their offense while
Philly hoisted up quick jumpers and turned the ball over repeatedly. It
happens, and the Sixers (one guy in particular) will learn from the
experience, but it's still disappointing.

As much as you hope
Eastern Conference coaches got to watch Friday's win against Toronto
before making a decision on Jrue Holiday's All-Star candidacy, you kinda
hope they turned off this one before the last quarter. For the first
time I can remember in a while—maybe all season—the team was absolutely
rolling while the Damaja was on the bench, and as soon as he was
re-inserted, the offense got loose and sloppy, and a couple turnovers
(Jrue finished with six) and missed shots (he went 7-20 for the game,
with his only Q4 bucket coming in garbage time) later, the Spurs had
erased the Philly lead, taking control shortly thereafter. Holiday still
ended with 15 points, eight assists and four steals, but rather than
making every play down the stretch like he did against Friday, he
learned that taking over a game against the Spurs is a much more
challenging proposition than one against the Raptors.

Still, the
Sixers get a lot of credit for making this a game at all, when it
looked for all the world in the first half that this was gonna be
another 23-point Spurs cruise-control victory. Most of that credit has
to go to Evan Turner, who was an absolute game-changer in the third
quarter, infecting the rest of the Sixers squad with his energy and
aggressiveness, scoring a couple layups in a row, crashing the boards
like crazy, and then running the offense beautifully while Jrue rested
in the fourth. He finished with one of his best stat lines of the
year—18 points on 8-15 shooting, with 12 rebounds and seven assists,
doing all the things we know ET to be capable of doing while in form. Of
course, he missed the biggest shot of the game—a corner three with
about 90 to go that could've put Philly up two—but ultimately, it was an
encouraging game from a player who's looked disturbingly disengaged at
times lately.

Ultimately, I think you take more good from this
game than bad. The fact that the Sixers did not go gently into that good
night, as they did so many times in weeks past, is undoubtedly a good
thing, and hopefully gets them feeling that even a large second-half
deficit against a team as good as the Spurs isn't insurmountable if they
play to their strengths and play as a team. Most Sixer losses of this
nature have come because it felt like they were the less talented team,
but that wasn't what it felt like tonight—it just felt like they were
the much less experienced team, which is true, and which (hopefully) can
be improved over time.

Turnaround opportunity tomorrow night against the Bucks. The season doesn't have to be totally lost just yet.

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

We finally know who the Eagles will select this Thursday in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

No need to tune into the draft broadcast, or even visit the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to partake in all of the festivities. Just look at Corey Davis' Twitter feed:


Done deal. Get him a cheesesteak and a midnight green uniform.

But in all seriousness, Davis made an appearance Monday on ESPN and retweeted this tweet to Trey Wingo.

Davis would certainly make an immediate impact on the Eagles' offense. He would join a receiving corps already bolstered in free agency with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

But the Western Michigan product might not be on the board at the 14th overall pick, and the Eagles could look elsewhere on Thursday night.

The700Level's Andrew Kulp wrote about Davis at length here.

h/t to bleedinggreennation.com.

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

So, you think you know where every player will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft?

Well, here are some odds, courtesy of Bovada, to help you gauge your early predictions for the draft in Philly this week.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
We start with McCaffrey, probably the most talked about prospect in Philadelphia entering the first round on Thursday.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz compared McCaffrey to Darren Sproles. Stanford head coach David Shaw thinks not only would McCaffrey be a good fit in the Eagles' offense, but would also be a great fit in the city of Philadelphia.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of McCaffrey being selected over the 9.5 pick, and has 11/10 odds of him being selected under the 9.5 pick.

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro has McCaffrey being selected at No. 15 overall by the Indianapolis Colts -- the pick after the Eagles, who are slotted at No. 14 -- in his mock draft.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette has consistently been in the top 10, or sometimes even the top five, of mock drafts.

Many teams covet Fournette for his combination of strength and speed. The LSU product is 6-foot, 240 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of Fournette getting selected over the fourth pick and 11/10 odds of him getting drafted after the fourth pick.

How many RBs/WRs will be selected in first round?
Since Bovada has the same odds for the number of running backs and wide receivers going in the first round, we combined the two.

If you're living under a rock and haven't been following NFL mock drafts since the season ended, there have been three running backs and wide receivers consistently selected in the first round -- WR Mike Williams, WR Corey Davis, WR John Ross, RB Dalvin Cook, RB McCaffrey and RB Fournette.

Here are the identical odds for both position groups:

Over 2.5 with 1/5 odds.
Under 2.5 with 3/1 odds.

How many defensive players will be selected in first round?
This one can get tricky, because you'll have to bank on a few teams getting desperate and drafting some quarterbacks to hit the under.

Over 18.5 with 1/1 odds.
Under 18.5 with 5/7 odds.

How many Alabama players will be selected in first round?
Alabama is the gold standard for NFL players. Every year, the university churns out first-round talent on the opening night of the draft.

In Zangaro's afformentioned mock draft, he has five Alabama players being selected.

Here are the odds:

Over 4.5 with 11/10 odds.
Under 4.5 with 2/3 odds.