Wake-Up Call: Another Slow Afternoon Start Costs Flyers a Point

Wake-Up Call: Another Slow Afternoon Start Costs Flyers a Point

Another early afternoon game, another poor start for the Flyers. They were able to ratchet the effort up in the second second and third periods and overcome a 2-0 first period deficit, forcing OT and a shootout, but Boston scored on each of their shootout attempts, while the Flyers converted two of three, taking the OTL point as consolation. Despite the efforts that led to the comeback, it's hard not to think the first 10 minutes set the Flyers back in their chances at grabbing a win over the Bruins.  
The loss moves the Flyers to 3-8-2 in afternoon games. As the broadcast team pointed out, the sample size is enough to be more than a coincidence. Also, unlike the shootout, day games are a part of playoff hockey. Hopefully the Flyers can use their remaining matinees to develop some new practices and patterns. 
The good news is, they were able to salvage a hard-fought point. The Bruins played some excellent hockey, and this could have been a blowout. The game was rough from the start, with big hits, fights, and plenty of stickwork, and the Flyers managed their comeback while shorthanded, losing Andreas Lilja in the first period and Max Talbot in the second. More on that here, with video. 
Already without Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina, the remaining blueliners had to take on extra minutes. Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle each topped 27 minutes of ice time, as did Claude Giroux. 
Nearly 10 minutes ticked off the clock before the Flyers registered their first shot on goal. Quality opportunities were hard to come by all day, as the Bruins played tight defense, forechecking very well and marking up in their own zone. At times it seemed like the ice was 100 yards long. The Flyers had trouble clearing the zone, connecting on outlet passes, getting through the neutral zone, and putting quality shots on net. Although the Flyers didn't have their game together early, the Bruins deserve credit for taking them off the tracks for much of the game. 
The early hole came courtesy of goals by Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Kelly scored on a rebound after Ilya Bryzgalov stopped the initial shot; Nick Grossmann was unable to tie up Kelly on a play that developed quickly and a rebound that went right to him as he approached the net. 
With three minutes left in the first, Patrice Bergeron was given plenty of room to work with behind the net, and he found Seguin waiting with an unchecked stick. The talented 20-year-old had no problem taking it from there. Neither goal was a bad one on Bryz. 
The Flyers had more life in the second, and Matt Read defibrillated their effort with his 20th of the season, tying him for the league lead in rookie goals. The goal came on the power play, with Read stationed in front of Thomas in position to deflect a Danny Briere shot. 

Jake Voracek would score a similar goal with less than five minutes to go in the game, tying it up for good. This time it was a Coburn attempt that was deflected, with a sweet between-the-legs tip by Vorch. Watch the second angle here:

After overtime went scoreless, the skaters went nuts in the shootout. The first five attempts—three by the Bruins and two by the Flyers—all scored, with Read and Giroux each netting theirs. But, Tim Thomas was able to hang in on Danny Briere's attempt, and the B's got the extra point. 
Full Highlights (definitely some good ones in here):

Instant Replay: Sixers 113, Bucks 104

Instant Replay: Sixers 113, Bucks 104

BOX SCORE 

The tone was set in the opening minutes of the third quarter. 

The Sixers quickly made up a halftime deficit and rolled from there, outscoring the Bucks, 67-50, in the second half for a 113-104 victory over Milwaukee on Monday.

The Sixers have now won four of their last five games with their only loss in the stretch coming the game Joel Embiid sat out. 

Milwaukee used a 19-4 run to take a 54-44 lead, but the Sixers scored the final basket of the first half and the first eight points of the third quarter to tie the game. 

Embiid scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high tying five blocked shots.

Inside the box score
• The Sixers scored 18 of their 24 first-quarter points from the 3-point line, connecting on 6 of 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Philadelphia hit on 14 of 37 three-point attempts, while Milwaukee was just 5 for 14. 

• Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points in the first half, but battled foul trouble after the break and finished with 23 points for the game. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:04 left in the third quarter and was whistled for his fifth foul just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter. 

• Eight Sixers scored in double figures, led by Embiid with 22. Dario Saric added 17, Ersan Ilyasova scored 12, Gerald Henderson and Robert Covington had 11 and Sergio Rodriguez, Jahlil Okafor and Chasson Randle each added 10. 

McConnell MRI negative
The Sixers will be without their starting point guard for the time being, as T.J. McConnell left the team to return to Philadelphia to receive treatment for a right wrist strain and did not play against the Bucks (see story).
 
An MRI taken on McConnell’s right wrist came back negative, according to Sixers coach Brett Brown.
 
“He has a strain,” Brown said. “There’s no structural damage. In relation to what that means with regards to his return to play, I don’t know that yet.”

Sergio Rodriguez started in McConnell’s place and scored 10 points with seven rebounds and six assists. 

Monster jam
Embiid threw down a thunderous dunk to give the Sixers a 77-76 lead with 1:00 left in the third quarter. He then forced a turnover on the other end and later blocked a shot attempt by Matthew Dellavedova at the third-quarter buzzer. 

Noel sits
Sixers center Nerlens Noel was a late scratch from Monday’s game due to a sprained left ankle. 

Up Next
The Sixers will host Toronto (27-13) on Wednesday and Portland (18-25) on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center before traveling to Atlanta to face the Hawks (24-17) on Saturday. 

MRI on T.J. McConnell's wrist comes back negative; Nerlens Noel has ankle sprain

MRI on T.J. McConnell's wrist comes back negative; Nerlens Noel has ankle sprain

The Sixers will be without their starting point guard for the time being, as T.J. McConnell has left the team to return to Philadelphia to receive treatment for a right wrist strain and will miss Monday's game vs. the Bucks in Milwaukee.
 
An MRI taken on McConnell’s right wrist came back negative, according to Sixers coach Brett Brown.
 
“He has a strain,” Brown said. “There’s no structural damage. In relation to what that means with regards to his return to play, I don’t know that yet.”
 
McConnell is averaging 4.8 points and 5.4 assists in 38 games. He has started Philadelphia’s last seven games, a stretch during which the Sixers have gone 5-2.

With McConnell out, Sergio Rodriguez will start at point guard Monday against Milwaukee.

Rodriguez started 29 of the first 30 games he played this season, his first in the NBA since 2009-10. The 30-year-old is more of an offensive threat than the defensive-minded McConnell, averaging 8.8 points and 5.8 assists.  

“You immediately go to losing that defensive energy T.J. is known for,” Brown said. “Sergio is a more gifted scorer. T.J. is a more gifted defender. To have Nerlens (Noel) and Joel (Embiid) behind the scenes, we can make up some ground with Sergio.
 
“People understand Sergio’s pedigree. He’s a 30-year-old legend in Europe. He has a wealth of experience. He’s a medalist and an MVP of the Euro league. He also was our starting point guard for a while. We’re happy to give him back that responsibility.”

No Noel
In addition to McConnell, the Sixers on Monday will also be without the services of Nerlens Noel, who is dealing with a left ankle sprain. Noel came down with a season-high 12 rebounds in Saturday's loss to the Wizards.

Still restricted
Sixers center Joel Embiid will still be on a 28-minute restriction Monday against the Bucks.

Embiid sat out Saturday’s 109-93 loss to Washington after playing 28 minutes in a 102-93 win over Charlotte on Friday. He has reached 30 minutes just once in his 27 games this season.