Losing This One Could Be Tough: Sixers Face East-Worst Magic at Home

Losing This One Could Be Tough: Sixers Face East-Worst Magic at Home

You gotta respect the Orlando Magic's commitment to losing. They trade
one of the five best players in the league away and get nary a big-name
player or top-flight prospect in return, then they trade their best
player (only JJ Redick, but still) before the trade deadline for a
couple of scraps, none of whom are even starting for this 15-41 team.
Yes, the Orlando Magic are tanking the right way, losing 28 of their
last 31 games, all but guaranteeing themselves one of the league's worst
records and best chances at a top draft pick this summer—and probably a
couple more summers to follow.

That said, the Sixers have been
giving them a run for their money recently. Like Orlando, Philly has
lost their last five straight, and appear to basically be coming apart
at the seams—though at least we have arguable team MVP Thaddeus Young
back now, and if the practice session that the Funny-Looking Kid With
the Big Hair engaged in a couple days ago caused one or more of his
limbs to disintegrate...well, nobody's reported about it yet, anyway.
The Sixers actually have to be considered the favorite tonight, taking
on the utterly miserable Magic at home.

Still, given Coach
Collins' craftiness in his tanking efforts lately, we can't count the
Sixers out of losing this one completely. Look for Kwame Brown to get
the start because of "matchup concerns," for Jeremy Pargo to get 30
minutes because of a "gut feeling" and for Damien Wilkins to play at
crunch time because "he has a dad that was pretty good at basketball."
You hearing us, Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan? WE'RE COMING FOR THAT
NUMBER THIRTY SPOT.

7:00 tip from the WFC. In other news, John Mitchell writes that "Playing Bynum Won't Help the Sixers,"
which makes me wonder what will help the Sixers at this point. Voodoo?
Time travel? Opposite Day? Is there an Opposite Day coming up?

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).