Just Get The Winning Record Already: Sixers Play Raptors for Elusive 41st Win

Just Get The Winning Record Already: Sixers Play Raptors for Elusive 41st Win

Ugh. After a blowout win against the Nets a week ago that brought the Sixers to 40-36, looking like a fairly safe bet to soon secure their first winning season in over half a decade, the Liberty Ballers dropped their next three--the last loss of which, to the Knicks, might have cost them their chance at the sixth seed. (Which we might not even want anyway. BUT STILL.) Now we have but three games remaining, all at home, and two against teams well below .500, needing more victories than losses in order to get that damn above-average mark for the season. (I know, I shouldn't care, but dammit, how hard is it to win 42 games?)

First up tonight: The Toronto Raptors, presumably the easiest out of the bunch. The Raps are a meager 21-57 for the year, kept out of the Eastern basement only by the historically terrible Cavaliers, and a particularly woeful 6-31 on the road. They've played the Sixers tough this season, and actually won the first two matchups, but those were in the Bad Old Days of 2010, and in their one 2011 meeting, the Sixers were able to pull away at the end for an 107-94 victory. Expect Thaddeus Young, ever the shredder of piss-poor defenses, to have another big night, after gashing the Knicks for 25 points off the bench on Wednesday.

7:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center. “We haven’t shot the ball well,” Collins said of the Sixers, who have indeed shot just 40.6% over their three-game skid. “I told our guys to stop worrying about our shooting. Let’s guard and everything else will take care of itself.” Against the Raptors especially, no doubt. Let's get it done.

You'll love Dario Saric even more after watching him on PST's Quick 6

You'll love Dario Saric even more after watching him on PST's Quick 6

We love you, Dario Saric.

For you being you, and not just a significant part of the Sixers' process.

And if you don't enjoy the Croatian Sensation, you most certainly will after watching him open up during a fun game of "Quick Six" on CSN's Philly Sports Talk.

From orange juice and beer, to his gluteus and T.J. McConnell's hair, Saric discussed plenty.

The questions had him feeling all over the place. But he was terrific.

Dario Saric, Philadelphia Sixers, Philadelphia 76ers, Philly Sports Talk

For the full video, watch above.

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.