Playoff Basketball Returns to Philadelphia

Playoff Basketball Returns to Philadelphia

It's certainly not the conditions under which we wanted to welcome
playoff basketball back to Philadelphia -- down 2-0 in a series and
coming off an absolutely demoralizing defeat in game 2
-- but that shouldn't entirely diminish the excitement that this Sixers
team built up at the Wells Fargo Center for much of the season. It's
still playoff basketball and Doug Collins squad still has plenty of life
left in them (at least 2-games worth). They've played real well on
their home turf all season, they are certainly capable of at least
giving us a reason to get loud tonight. And they're expecting you to do
just that.

"We're excited to be home. We're excited to play in
front of our home crowd and use their energy and hopefully we'll get
some momentum going our way," Lou Williams said of playing in South
Philly tonight.

Thad Young agreed with those sentiments, "We always try to
protect the house. We love having our fans on top of us, cheering and
routing for us. That just makes the game so much better when you have
everybody routing for you instead of against you."

The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center may certainly give them some
added energy, but one thing the fans won't be able to do is put the ball
in the basket for them. Early in this series the Sixers team has shot
about as well as the typical fan ripped out of the stands in between
quarters to try and shoot for a free vacation, airline tickets, a Big
Mac, or whatever other prize they're going for that day.

That said, the Sixers are bound to make some buckets at some point in this series, aren't they? The Miami defense can't be that
good. A few Jodie Meeks three-balls and the building will be electric
tonight. Maybe we no longer expect them to win the series, but we
certainly expect them to put up a fight on their home turf.

8:00 pm tip from South Philly. Now's the time to showyaluv.

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.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

ap-bol-bol.jpg
AP Images

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.