Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

In our preview, we hoped we'd be spared a shootout tonight in Colorado. The Avalanche have fared well in the trick-shot competition, and we all know the Flyers' history in it. Well, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, we probably should have just kept it out of mind, because there it came, stomping down buildings along the way.

But, also like Mr. Stay-Puft, the shootout was actually kind of awesome, even though the Flyers lost. Regular readers of the site know I'm not a big fan of ending a game in shootout, and I'm not going to rehash those reasons here. Tonight, it felt like a fitting way to end a close but somewhat unremarkable 3-2 game, and the goals weren't hard to look at.

Notes and video of the action below.

Scott Hartnell got back on his goal-scoring track, netting his 16th of the season and seventh on the power play late in the first. With the Avalanche down Gabriel Landeskog for 4 minutes, the Flyers worked the passing lanes well and found open man after open man, culminating in Jake Voracek sliding a pass across the crease to Hartnell for the dunk.

The Flyers had yet to lose a game they'd been leading after the first period this season. That streak is over, due almost entirely to a poor effort in the second period. They were great in the first period, then flat in the second. The Hartnell-Briere-Jagr line had some trouble getting going in particular.

Landeskog would get his revenge, scoring the first of two Colorado goals in the period. TJ Galiardi had the other, although it was a total fluke play. Brad Malone appeared to be trying to get the puck back to the point, but it hit Tom Sestito's skate, then deflecting into traffic in front of the net and bouncing in.

The Flyers had some good fight in them for the third, but they couldn't crack JS Giguere until there were just 18.1 seconds left on the clock. With a flurry around the net, Briere emerged from his office behind it and slammed the puck in. At least, it appeared to everyone watching the telecast that he did. The official scoring still has Wayne Simmonds credited with the goal as of this posting. Simmer was once again ready to hammer away on the doorstep.

After a scoreless OT (much of which was played with the teams skating three a side), the shootout came. The outcome of this one might have been the same if neither goalie had taken the striped ice. All three Avalanche shooters beat Bryzgalov, and the first two Flyers (Briere and JVR) beat Giguere. But Matt Read narrowly missed the equalizer, putting a real nice attempt on net, but catching iron like a young Gordon Bombay.

Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and he'd have missed completely…

Aside from the lapse on the first goal, the Flyers played some solid defense in this one. Hard to find anyone in white and orange to blame for the second, and the shootout, well, yeah, you'd like to see Bryz come up with at least one.

Overall, the shootout goals were all pretty nasty though. JVR scored on his first ever attempt, and it was a beaut, Clark.

How about this play from Braydon Coburn?

Harry Z tried to check Galiardi, missed, and went face-first into the boards. Wasn't pretty, but he seems to have been OK.

The Flyers are now a dismal 19-36 in shootouts…

Video Highlights, sadly including only the final goal of the shootout (we'll see if we can get the rest):

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”