Morning Extras: When The Spectrum Goes, Where Go Its Tenants?

Morning Extras: When The Spectrum Goes, Where Go Its Tenants?

When logging on to Sixers.com yesterday I was greated with a lovely photo asking me to meet the Sixers Dancers. It seems the Sixers need to do something to get people in the stands, and close up encounters with the dance team may translate to a few more courtside sales. Hey, lonely men can dream...while watching some NBA hoops. Oh and by the way, that 'dance party' is like three blocks from my house, so anyone going to meet the Sixers dancers give me a call...so I can hide my daughter.

Anyway, the point: When clicking through to the main page, I saw a small banner on the top right that asked me to "Remember the Spectrum" with the birth and death date (1967-2009). Man, the concrete isn't even cold yet.

So the Spectrum will be gone in just a few months. I can remember a lot of memories from that building. I once had to scour the bowels of the arena to find the Beastie Boys bottles of water while they played 2-on-2 basketball before a concert at the Center. (Result: Fail). I was in the top row when the Phantoms won the Calder Cup.

Oh yeah, what the hell is going to happen to the Phantoms? I've looked online and the only thing I can find is a great breakdown from JULY that Wyshynski had over at Puck Daddy. If you Google search the term 'where will the phantoms play' and sift through the Phantom of the Opera links, there is a message board thread – people still use those? – giving some suggestions. I asked our own Matt P, who seems to be the resident hockey expert around here, and he wasn't sure that a decision has been made yet.

So, what is going to happen to the Phantoms? And the Kixx? And the in-season, smell up a city-block circus. And the Monster Truck rally that I've never been to but takes place every year on the weekend of my birthday. Where will all the excitement go?

LINKY DINKY DO:

• Maybe the Sixers should move back to the Spectrum. According to this report, they don't need as many seats as they get at the Center. The Sixers are 28th out of 30 teams in attendance. Phils hangover? This is an exciting young team who made the playoffs last year? I thought people cared about basketball in this town? (Note: I have turned down free tickets many times in the past two years. I'm as bad as anyone).

• The Flyers (whose website does not ask you to remember the Spectrum) lost to the Pens in a shootout. They were losing, they were winning, they were tied, they lost. Nobody could score in the shootout...it was riveting.

• Jayson Stark has the hot stove shopping lists. Phils: Bullpen depth, right-handed-hitting outfielder, a starting pitcher if they can't re-sign Jamie Moyer. He thinks Doug Brocail might be a good fit.

• So a few days ago I wrote that there was no way Andy Reid would be fired because we're all so happy now to have a title we don't care about coaches being fired anymore. Gonzo doesn't agree, officially calling for Big Red to be spit out into the trash (as long as he doesn't end up on my shoe...)

• Hillary Clinton might be Secretary of State. I still think it should could be John McCain.

• A great feature on the Haverford track coach, in the New York Times.

PHOTO PHUN:

Wednesday:

Winner, as called by Meech: am i PUSHING or PULLING, commoooon powertits - Will

Today, with a link:
• CC could be going to New York. They just aren't sure which New York. Which leads me to this photo of the day.

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- A 17-point game came down to the final possessions. 

The Knicks squeaked out a 110-109 victory, holding on to this one after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to the Sixers on Jan. 11. 

The Knicks squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth as the Sixers slowly chipped away at their lead at the line. The Sixers got within one, 106-105, when T.J. McConnell drained a three after a series of Sixers’ free throws. 

Jahlil Okafor scored a go-ahead basket during a hustling Sixers possession with nine seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 109-108 lead. 

In the end, it was Carmelo Anthony, who had been running up the scoreboard all night (37 points), that nailed the game-winning jumper over Robert Covington. Kyle O’Quinn picked off the Sixers' final inbound attempt. 

Inside the box score
• Okafor finished with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in first half, including a coast-to-coast fast break.

• Dario Saric continues his strong Rookie of the Year push. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. 

• Robert Covington struggled from the field overall (7 of 19, 2 of 11 from three) but filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

• Anthony did what Anthony does. He scored 37 points on 15 of 25 from the field, including the game-winner.

Anderson debuts
Justin Anderson made his Sixers debut in the first quarter. Anderson is a multi-positional player and the lineup reflected that. He first played with Rodriguez, Stauskas, Covington and Holmes. Anderson played 3:47 and went 0 for 1 from three with a rebound and a foul. 

While Anderson said he had learned about the Sixers by watching his first game from the bench, he will get more on-the-court experience on Sunday when he plans to spend time at the training complex on the team’s off day. 

Bigs Convene
Joel Embiid was with the Sixers in New York. After the second quarter ended, he stayed on the court to talk with Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Both Knicks big men also were sidelined on Saturday.

Trust It
T.J. McConnell isn’t the only one to #trustthefriendship with Saric. Check out this no-look pass to Robert Covington. 

Up next
The Sixers have a day to bounce back from this loss. The 48-9 Warriors come to town on Monday. 

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, PA. – Jay Wright finally admitted what we could all see.

The Wildcats are gassed.

No. 2 Villanova beat No. 23 Creighton, 79-63, Saturday at the Pavilion to clinch the Big East Conference regular-season title outright (see Instant Replay).

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the conference, but the last couple weeks their lack of depth has shown.

With Omari Spellman ruled ineligible before the season by the NCAA, Phil Booth out since November with lingering knee pain and Darryl Reynolds out the last five games with a rib injury, Wright has essentially been limited to five starters, freshman Dante DiVincenzo off the bench and a few minutes a night from freshman Dylan Painter.

It's taken a significant toll on the six guys in the rotation. 

Big late leads have dwindled or, in the case of Wednesday’s game against Butler, disappeared. Three-pointers have front-rimmed. Defensive assignments have been missed.

Through it all, Wright refused to admit fatigue was an issue.

Now, with the Wildcats securely the top seed in next month’s conference tournament, Wright is being honest about his team.

They’re exhausted.

“I know you guys have asked a lot, 'Do I think we’re getting worn down with seven guys, 6 1/2 guys,' and I said I don’t think so, I think we can do it,” Wright said Saturday after the Senior Day win over Creighton.

“I gotta answer your question, but it just doesn’t do us any good saying we’re worn out. It’s not an excuse. Other teams have things to deal with. I get we weren’t pretty, we haven’t been pretty, today wasn’t pretty. But I think it just speaks to the leadership of these seniors and I think it speaks to the character of these seniors (that they got through it).

“Are they tired? Yeah. Are they worn down some? Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. Other teams got stuff too. It’s not the reason you lose. It can’t be the reason you lose. Maybe you were tired and you didn’t concentrate or we didn’t defend or we didn’t rebound. That’s what happened and that’s the way we look at it.

“I wasn’t trying to BS you, I was just saying that whether you’re tired or not doesn’t matter, you’ve got to get it done, and we got it done. I’m so proud of them and it’s senior leadership. It’s talented players and senior leadership.”

Villanova now has a week off before an essentially meaningless game next Saturday at Georgetown.

It’ll be the Wildcats’ first extended break since the season began.

“They haven’t had an off week because they played Virginia (two weeks ago in a non-conference game), and now they get it and a chance to get their legs back,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

“It’s a long season and when you don’t really have a chance to catch your breath, especially because he’s riding six or seven guys pretty hard right now? I’m sure this week off will do them some good.”

Sophomore transfer Eric Paschall had a career day Saturday, with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. Josh Hart added 16 points and eight boards, Kris Jenkins overcame another off shooting night from three (1 for 7) to record 15 points, four boards and three assists, and Mikal Bridges had 11 points and eight rebounds. DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson each scored nine points. 

The next meaningful game Villanova plays will be March 9 in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament in New York.

Now it’s time to rest. And heal.

“It’s going to be good for us,” Jenkins said. “We get a couple days off. We’ll still watch film, still learn, still get better, but physically we need a couple days to regroup and get ready for Georgetown and then the Big East tournament.

“Georgetown is first, but we really do need this break.”

On Saturday, Villanova built an 11-point lead, gave it all away, fell behind, traded off seven second-half lead changes, then went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half to finally put away the Bluejays.

With the threes not falling, the Wildcats focused on attacking the rim and scoring in the post in the second half.

Jenkins in particular had an unusual game. He stopped shooting treys and made 5 of 8 shots from inside the arc. That’s the second-most two-pointers he’s ever made and the most he’s ever attempted.

“Just playing off my teammates and adjusting to how teams play me,” said Jenkins, shooting just 30 percent from three the last 10 games.

“They really take away threes and try not to let me get any clean catches so always being aggressive and trying to make the right play.”

For a tired team, backing off the threes was huge.

Villanova outscored Creighton 36-18 over the last 14 minutes after Creighton took its biggest lead – two points at 43-41.

Now comes rest.

“It’s big for these guys,” Wright said. “In my mind, we just had to get to today. We just gotta get through it without getting somebody else hurt and without just being dead.

“Because we’re going to get time off. We’re going to take Sunday off, we’re going to have a light day Monday, and then we’re going to take Tuesday off, because these guys really need the rest. So this is perfect timing for us.”