Ward Boss: Carolina Wins Despite JVRRead Brilliance

Ward Boss: Carolina Wins Despite JVRRead Brilliance

If it feels like the Carolina Hurricanes never, ever beat the Flyers, it's because they very rarely do. Even more rare is a Flyers loss in regulation. Unfortunately, the Canes didn't come to play with that in mind on Monday night, controlling most of the game led by goalie Cam Ward and some opportunistic forwards on their way to a 4-2 win.

James van Riemsdyk had a hell of a game for the Flyers scoring the first goal and assisting Matt Read on the second. It was Ward's night though, and aside from a stretch of the second period, the Flyers trudged their way through a game they'll need to forget in a hurry.

Notes and highlights below. If nothing else, worth a look at JVR's sick move on the assist.

The Flyers got off to a rough start, conceding the opening goal to a hungry Hurricanes power play unit. Ward was sharp early, setting a tone that it would take some skill to beat him tonight. The Flyers looked to be finishing the second period strong before letting up a late goal, but got rough—a hopeful sign that they weren't going to slink their way through the next 40 minutes.

They came out with a fast start in the second period, with Claude Giroux narrowly missing a goal on a pretty move, catching full iron instead. Not long after, van Riemsdyk dunked one on Ward, banging home a wraparound with some power behind it.

The Canes would extend their lead again though on a nice shot by Chad LaRose, who beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a quick wrister off his opposite foot. On the one hand, you want to see Bryz stop a head-on shot like that. On the other, it was a perfect shot taken in a blink, and LaRose earned every bit of it.

Read brought the Flyers to within one when he buried a great opportunity created by van Riemsdyk on the power play. Riemer beat his man with a sweet move behind his own back as he went behind the net, then threw a blind backhand in front to a salivating Read. The white hot rookie didn't miss, tallying his sixth goal in his last five games.

Up Next:
Another team the Flyers usually kick the crap out of—The New York Islanders—will play host on Wednesday. Hopefully the Flyers don't lose their third straight to a benthos-dwelling team.

Photo: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

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.