Heat in the Hot Seat: Sixers Look to Continue Comeback in Game Two

Heat in the Hot Seat: Sixers Look to Continue Comeback in Game Two

Wouldn't you just know it? The Heat win game one of their first-round series against the Sixers, and they're still the ones who have to get defensive in the post-game press conferences. After their 97-89 victory—which saw them comeback from a 12-point deficit after the first quarter, but which also saw them squander a 16-point lead to near nothing in the final minutes—it's the Heat who've had to talk about making adjustments. The series scorecard still reads 1-0 Miami, but you can fairly well bet that it's not Philly, who many pundits have had getting swept from the get, who will be feeling the pressure when the two teams meet for Game Two in Miami tonight.

Undoubtedly, the Sixers will have to make some adjustments of their own, including switching up defenses on LeBron (who claims to have studied 'Dre's defense on him from game one well enough to be able to beat up on him this time out), throwing different bodies (or just any bodies at all) at Bosh, who shredded the Sixers for 25 on Saturday, and attacking the two-three zone defense the Heat started going to as Game One went on, an alignment that has screwed up the Sixers all season. Personally, I'd like to see more of Evan Turner, who played good defense on LeBron in limited minutes over the weekend, and is one of the better Sixers at attacking certain spots on the court, potentially making him a key cog against the zone.

7:05 tip from the American Airlines Arena. "We did a great job of keeping the 'Big Three' down," said Thaddeus Young after the team's game one near-miss. "We take away a lot (from this game)." Indeed we do, but the question remains—can we take a win away at some point?

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 of 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 previous time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a massive 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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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.