Losing Time: Sixers Tangle With Knicks in Relatively Non-Existent Rivalry

Losing Time: Sixers Tangle With Knicks in Relatively Non-Existent Rivalry

Watching the quality new ESPN 30 for 30 doc about the 90s rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers, a question I'd often wondered about returned to me: How is it that there's so little history between the Knicks and the 76ers? Depsite being two of the historically dominant teams in the East, since the 1960s, they've only played each other four times in the playoffs (as many times as the Sixers have faced the Lakers in the finals), and not once in the conference finals. It's weird how the the peaks of one team always seem to intersect with the valleys of the other--the Sixers were just coming down from the Wilt era when the Knicks won their two titles, the Knicks started missing the playoffs as Dr. J elevated the Sixers to finals contenders, the Sixers were stuck in between the Barkley and Iverson eras when the Ewing Knicks crested in the mid-90s, and then the Knicks started to bottom out as AI made the Sixers legit in the early 00s.

Well, at least for the moment, the Knicks and Sixers appear to finally be on equal footing. Sharing a dismal 23-43 record, both teams are strictly in lottery-bound, look-towards-the-future mode. There are, however, two essential differences between the two teams' current situations. One is that despite their current dismal state, the Knicks are presumably in a state to turn their franchise around shortly, with the cap space to lure one or two major free agents in the off-season. The other is that Sixers is the only one of these two teams with much to look forward to in the upcoming draft, with the Knicks having shipped their first-round pick to Utah some years ago. So while one of these teams is relatively content to continue on their current path to oblivion, the other actually has motivation to play well and convince league leading lights that their team is a worthy landing spot. Try to guess which is which!

The Knicks proved that they're still trying at least a little bit last Saturday, as they traveled to Dallas and blew out the new-look Mavericks--they of the 13-game winning streak and Western Conference #2 seed--on their home court. Whether that means that they're actually starting to gel as a team or just that they're due for one freakin' whopping regression to the mean is, as of posting, still up for debate. Meanwhile, the Sixers presumably tried their hardest against the Miami Heat last night, but when you're playing Jason Kapono for the better part of a half (who, to his credit, did actually make some threes--his first in the 2010 calendar year, somehow), trying is a relative concept. The Heat won the game by 13, marking the Liberty Ballers' fourth loss in a row.

7:00 tip tonight from the Wach--time to start making memories. "It's impossible," says Sixers reserve swingman Rodney Carney about the prospects of the team tanking. "You get out there, your natural instincts are to try to compete to win
the game...We want to win every game we can, regardless of some higher draft pick
we could get. We don't worry about that, and we don't want to think
about it, either." Hey Rodney, if the last week or so is what you guys look like when you're following those natural instincts, then by all means, be true to your school. Just don't tire yourselves out too much on our behalf. 

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).