Dr. J Has High Hopes for 2011-12 Sixers After Home Opening Victory

Dr. J Has High Hopes for 2011-12 Sixers After Home Opening Victory

Philadelphia is a town that loves to talk about the legendary teams from years past that helped turn our city into the sports-crazed town it is today. The Broad Street Bullies are almost mythical deities at this point. The '93 Phils were the most lovable bunch of dirtballs I've ever cheered for. Buddy Ryan's Eagles are revered like no other team that won so little when it truly mattered. The Allen Iverson-led Eastern Conference Championship team brought an entire city together more so than any in my lifetime.

The new Sixers ownership wasn't kidding with their new tagline -- at least the "Proud" portion of it -- as they showcased their historical greatness in a way never seen at the Wells Fargo Center.

The organization made a big deal about revamping their entire pregame production, including player intros. The Sixers' players that got the loudest ovations for their home opener on Friday night were youngsters Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Well, that's if you don't count the legends in the building. Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and later Andrew Toney were treated to tremendous applause from the near-sellout crowd of 19,408 at the Wells Fargo Center.

After Bernie Parent, Eric Lindros, Bobby Clarke, and a gaggle of other Flyers legends got tremendous standing O's at the Winter Classic Alumni Game just a few days ago, us Philly sports fans are getting spoiled a bit in terms of getting to cheer our heroes long after their playing days have ended.

The Doc didn't just take in the 96-73 Sixers victory over the lowly Detroit Pistons, he also shared his thoughts on the current iteration of the 76ers, touting them as a team that can really benefit from flying under the radar. Erving said that the fact that they don't have to deal with the hype of teams like the Heat or Lakers, that it can really afford them the luxury of focusing solely on their game.

"Forget about the hype," Julius said. "Just win."

The Doctor also talked about the shortened season and how the condensed schedule will benefit teams with a lot of youth like the Sixers.

"Aside from Elton, they're a bunch of babies out there," Erving said, in a positive way. "They can play back-to-back-to-backs" and not be as exhausted as older teams.

Where did the Doc think this Sixers team could finish this season? Try third in the East.

It wasn't simply about a night for the old legends to come in and see what the kids today play like while the fans are wowed by their being in the building, however. The presence of greatness was not lost on the current Sixers' squad.

"To see some of my old teammates back, it was great to see them be here tonight," Doug Collins said. "For our guys to have a chance to be around greatness, for our fans to recognize those guys. I was so happy Andrew Toney was here. Trying to get him back in the mix. It was a proud night for our franchise. I know the game wasn't pretty. They're not all going to be pretty, but at the end of the day we were able to find a way to win."

Elton Brand, the elder statesman of the team, realizes this isn't the type of thing that happens frequently, "It's a special feeling when you see Dr. J at the game, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney. It was a great feeling to see those guys come back. They haven't been around much at all, at least while I've been here."

Evan Turner, who finished the night with 8 points and 8 boards off the bench, summed the night up pretty nicely.

"It was cool for them to take the time to come to the game. We want to give them a reason to come back," Turner said.

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Draymond Green says what we all really think about Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has caught the eye of a Golden State Warrior.

At Golden State's shootaround Sunday night at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, Warriors power forward Draymond Green said what we all think about Joel Embiid.

"He has a chance to be really f------ good," Green said.

Green and the Warriors will miss Embiid Monday when they tip off against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid will miss two more games to minimize the risk of aggravating his left knee injury. The Sixers are targeting Friday against the Knicks for his return (see story).

Embiid hasn't played since the Jan. 27 game against Houston and has missed 16 of their last 17 games. Still, the 22-year-old has shown, when healthy, he's a special player that Sixers can build around.

In 31 games -- with minute restrictions and missing 27 games, too -- Embiid is averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists. He's shooting 46.6 from the field, and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Despite running a tremendous Twitter campaign for the NBA All-Star Game, he missed out being an All-Star in his first year. He won the NBA's Rookie of the Month for October, November, December and January. Yeah, we all agree with Green.

But how much of Embiid has Green seen?

"I haven't had a chance to watch him," Green said. "I think he has a chance to be damn good. He's figuring it out. He's versatile. He can do a lot of things."

For more from the Warriors on the Sixers' potential, watch the video above.

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

Best of NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky ties career high with 32nd win as Blue Jackets top Rangers

NEW YORK -- Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg each scored twice to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots to tie his career high with his 32nd win. Josh Anderson also scored and Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists to help the Blue Jackets win for the fourth time in five games.

Columbus won for the second time in two days after its bye week and moved past the Rangers into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets won three of five in the season series -- including both games at Madison Square Garden -- after losing seven straight meetings coming in.

Rick Nash scored a tying goal for the Rangers early in the first period. Jesper Fast scored in the final second, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 26 saves (see full recap).

Surging Blackhawks beat Blues on late Anisimov goal
CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.

Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.

Patrick Kane assisted on Anisimov's winner and scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Chicago, which pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.

Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight (see full recap).

Gaudreau's 2 goals helps Flames down Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist to help the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Sunday.

Micheal Ferland also scored for the Flames. They have earned at least one point in six straight games, going 5-0-1 in that stretch to move into playoff position in the Western Conference.

Victor Rask scored on the power play for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost six of seven to fall into last place in the Metropolitan Division.

Brian Elliott made 34 saves for the Flames, with his best coming with roughly 15 minutes to play when he stopped Jeff Skinner from point-blank range.

Eddie Lack finished with 21 saves. He made his second straight start for Carolina (see full recap).

Turris, Anderson lead Senators past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kyle Turris scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday night.

Zack Smith had an early short-handed goal for the Senators, who have won four of six.

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 31 saves. The Panthers have lost three straight after sweeping a five-game road trip, and dropped their last four home games overall.

Turris put Ottawa ahead when his wrist shot went over Reimer's glove at 9:58 of the second for his 21st goal of the season.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal by Smith. Reimer blocked a shot from Erik Karlsson, but Smith grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 6:28 of the first. Smith has 12 career short-handed goals (see full recap).