Great, Another Basketball Game: Sixers Visit Toronto for Ugghhhhhhh

Great, Another Basketball Game: Sixers Visit Toronto for Ugghhhhhhh

Last night was a bummer of an NBA basketball game, for sure. The Sixers
and Nets played about level for two quarters, then the Nets decided to
play a little bit better and the Sixers said "eh, you guys have fun with
that." Unlike other bad losses the Sixers have suffered recently to the
likes of the Spurs and Thunder, where the team fought hard and were
simply outplayed by better teams, this one really seemed like the Sixers
got down, got dispirited, and just kinda gave up. I've been upset and
disappointed at various points of this Sixers season, but that third
quarter was the first one that made me downright depressed.


They get to make up for it tonight in Toronto, but let's face
it—there's no such thing as an easy or likely win for the Sixers at this
point. They're six games under .500, they were lower than the Kings and
Pistons in Marc Stein's latest Power Rankings (and not unjustly so),
and they haven't won two games in a row since November (!!). This isn't a
good basketball team, surely, though as Michael Levin of Liberty
Ballers puts it, losing tonight will mean that they're not just mediocre, but an "Eddie Jordan-level of bad." And that ain't good.

Again,
maybe it's all for the best. No good or even average team also means no
panic trades at the deadline, no hope or expectation for the
post-season, no getting beat in the first round by the Heat or the
Celtics, and no real pressure on Andrew Bynum when/if he returns to play
for the Sixers. Meanwhile, it also might mean a half-decent draft pick
come June—in a historically weak draft, sure, but that's still better
than no pick at all, which is what they'll have if they make the
playoffs. Maybe this is all as our lord Malik Rose intended.

7:00
tip from the Air Canada Centre. Oh, just in case this post was too
sunny for you as is, it's worth pointing out that if they lose this
game, the Sixers will only be one game up on the Raps—who have won 8 of
their last 11 after starting their season 4-19. ONE TWO THREE FOUR
FIVE....

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.