Pick Your Poison: Parker or Palmer

Pick Your Poison: Parker or Palmer

The Sixers ran into the dynamic duo of Tony Parker and Violet Palmer on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It's tougher to say which of the two played a more pivotal role in the Spurs 100-90 victory over the Sixers.

To his credit, Parker was pretty nasty, scoring 37 points on 12-24 from the field while shooting an impressive 13-13 from the line. The guy who puts up with the "Evvvvvva!" chants on a nightly basis made more free throws than the entire Sixers team attempted. That's where Violet Palmer and tonight's refereeing crew came into play.

While the Sixers often struggle to get to the free throw line in general, they received some rather unequal treatment against the San Antonio. The Spurs shot 21-26 from the stripe, more than doubling the Sixers 7-11 in freebies. That was pretty much the difference in this one.

Asked about the incredible foul disparity on the evening following the game, Coach Collins didn't want to have to break out the wallet had he been honest.

"I'm gonna leave that alone, respectfully," Coach Collins said. "Unless you want to talk to my wife about a fine."

He didn't have to expand. We all know he felt similarly to the 18,000 fans in the building.

The refs were tough to overcome, but give the Spurs credit. They're obviously a savvy team and Parker used his explosive quickness to get his teammates open looks all night long. The Sixers young bigs struggled to help out on D and allowed 54 points in the paint. Lots of mistakes, but fixable mistakes.

Jrue had his hands full with Parker all night long and the vet got the better of the youngster this evening. "He's crafty, low to the ground and does well in tight spaces," Jrue said of Parker. "When he slides through spots, it's pretty tough for anyone to defend."

It wasn't the Sixers' night. While they were not the better team on Wednesday, it wasn't for a lack of effort, which can be viewed as one of the lone takeaways from this one.

Back at it on Friday night in front of another L.A. team that goes by "Lob City" these days.

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid was a full participant Wednesday during the Sixers' first practice back from the All-Star break, but he's listed as doubtful for their games Friday and Saturday.

The Sixers host the Wizards Friday night (7/CSN) and face the Knicks Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30/CSN).

If Embiid misses both games it would be 13 in a row and 16 of 17.

Still, it's a good sign he was able to practice in full Wednesday.

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday in New York. The appointment should show whether his foot has healed enough for him to take the next step in his rehab.

Simmons did individual work at Wednesday's practice.

CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

In late December, I was invited to play in a pick-up hockey game with some other members of the local sports media community. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was one of only two women there that day. Even now, female ice hockey players aren’t exactly common.

After the game, a reporter I’ve known a while — a guy I like a lot — said to me: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you skate like a man.” I didn’t take it wrong, of course; he meant it as a compliment. The reporter wanted nothing more than to tell me I’d impressed him.

I thought about this exchange a lot in the days that followed. Had someone told me I played hockey like a boy when I was 15, I would have worn that description like a badge. Hell yeah, 15-year-old Sarah would have thought, I do play like a boy. I’m as tough as a boy. I’m as fierce and competitive as any boy on my team. I would have reveled in it, just as I reveled in a similar label I’d received even earlier in my adolescence: tomboy.

Yeah, I was a tomboy. I hung around with the neighborhood boys, riding bikes between each other’s houses or catching salamanders in the creek that ran through town. I loved sports, and my bedroom walls — papered with newspaper clippings and photos of Flyers players — were a far cry from the pink-tinged rooms that belonged to the girls at school. 

As much as I could, I dressed like a boy too, even once cutting the sleeves off of an oversized T-shirt before I went out to rollerblade with our next-door neighbors. My grandmother, who was visiting at the time, pulled me aside to tell me I really ought to dress more appropriately. I rolled my eyes.

I was a tomboy, and I loved the word and everything it stood for. I felt pride in my tomboyishness, believing that the things I liked — the things boys liked — were clearly better than the things stereotypically left to the girls.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it was a conversation with a 15-year-old that changed my perspective, just a few days after my reporter friend had compared my hockey skills to those of a man. I sat down with Mo’ne Davis, the female Little League pitching phenom, for this very project. I asked her if she identified as a tomboy, and she shrugged. Not really, she said. Maybe other people wanted to define her that way, she suggested, but that wasn’t how she viewed things.

You know that record scratch sound effect they play on TV or in the movies? The one that denotes a sort of “wait … what?!” moment? That’s what happened in my head. Mo’ne Davis, the girl who played on the boys’ team and excelled, didn’t consider herself a tomboy?

Something clicked in my head after that. I’ve long identified as a feminist, and I’ve been a big supporter of girls in sports for as long as I can remember. I coach girls hockey, I’ve spoken at schools and camps about playing and working in sports as a woman. For some reason, though, it took a 15-year-old shrugging her shoulders at the label “tomboy” to take the power out of the word for me. Why does one have to be a tomboy, when one can simply be a girl who kicks ass? How had I never considered this before?

In many ways (and especially in sports) if something is male, it’s considered superior. It goes beyond just the things kids like to do, and it’s all old news. It’s also something I’m ashamed to admit I’ve bought into for practically all of my life. But no longer. How can I help change the narrative if I’m too busy playing along with it?

And if I could do it over, when that reporter approached me after our hockey game to tell me I skated like a man, I would have smiled, shook my head and said: Nah. But I skate like a darn good woman.