Even It Up: Sixers Face Celtics in Do-or-Die-ish Game Four

Even It Up: Sixers Face Celtics in Do-or-Die-ish Game Four

Do you know what the stats are of teams coming back from 3-1 deficits
when they have to play two of the last three on the road? Well...neither
do I, but it doesn't seem like they'd be very good, does it? This is
the do-or-die situation the Sixers face going into Game Four of their
second-round series against the Celtics tonight at the Wells Fargo
Center. Based on their game three performance, "die" certainly seems the
more likely option for these 76ers, but let's not put all that stock in
one game and remember that two times already this series—on the road,
no less—the Sixers pushed the Celtics to the brink, even managing to
steal a game. It's certainly not too late to hope they can manage to
split on their home court.

It would help if some of their players played well. The list of
Sixers who came up short on Wednesday is too long and depressing to
recount here, but suffice to say, only Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young
really got excused from taking a trip to Principal Collins' office after
the game Wednesday.  We'll need some big bounce-back performances from
several of our guys, especially Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes (assuming
Hawes still has something to bounce back to at this point), and we'll
need someone, anyone to put up something resembling defensive resistance
against Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. We'll ask nicely.

"We're going to compete. We're going to play hard. I know that," Doug Collins said before the game tonight. "I hope we play better. That's the key. We know that they're going to come out with the idea that if they get this game tonight then they're not going to have to come back here in their minds. They'll think they can get some rest."

"We've just got to do a better job defensively. We gave them 50 points in the paint, 21 fast break [points]. We can't give them those kind of baskets."

8:00 tip from the WFC. Did you know that the team that wins Game
Four at home after going down 2-1 ends up winning the series 88% of the
time? Maybe not, but that would be pretty cool if it was true!

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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AP Images

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.