Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

In addition to Joe Blanton and the Phillies taking on the New York Mets
across the street, the Sixers also take on a team from up that city up
the turnpike. After a loss on Tuesday night against a Celtics team that
played solid defense, Doug Collins' squad will face a team that's not
exactly known for its defense in the New York Knicks, winners of their
last four contests.

The Sixers will once again be without Lou Williams, who could be
sidelined until the playoffs, but Evan Turner stepped up in a big way on
Tuesday night, taking advantage of those available minutes. He also
didn't have to worry about Collins giving him a quick yank back to the
bench, so Turner had the time to feel comfortable and do some things
with the ball in his hands.

From CSNPhilly.com:

I don’t know a lot,” Doug Collins said after the [Celtics] game. “But
I do know what players’ strengths and weaknesses are. Evan is really,
really good when he has the ball in his hands.”

“It definitely
helps,” Turner concurred. “I was able to get a rhythm. Tonight I was
able to come off ball screens and be able to run in transition and
stuff like that.”

It was perhaps the best Evan has played all season, "just
[expletive]-ing getting after it, all night too. And against a really
good defense. Usually his good nights come against the Warriors, Suns,
etc," as one of my Sixers aficionados put it.

Perhaps facing the Knicks' defense tonight could allow ET to put a
pair of real nice games together. It would be especially nice if he
could do it against a team only .5 game back from them in the standings.

Carmelo Anthony didn't want to put too much stock into this one game
with the playoff-bound Sixers, "We don't' want too much pressure saying
if we don't win it's the end-all, but at the same time it would be a
good game to get on the road and a big test."

Does the battle for the sixth seed really matter all that much to the Sixers?

"It's pick your poison, you want Boston? or you want Miami? If we
could finish 6th, that'd be great, because 6th is better than 7th, but
it's not because you get an easier opponent," Coach Collins said before
the game today.

"The seeding to me would be great for our guys from the standpoint of
saying, 'Hey guys, you know what, when it's all said and done at the
end of the year, we had the sixth best record in the East.' That would
be nice."

It's Philly vs. New York tonight. Hopefully the results are better than Tuesday's awful showing from our local squads.

Tip of scheduled for 7:00. We'll be in the Wells Fargo Center if you'd like to chat along in the comments.

DeSean Jackson talks possible Eagles reunion, says Wentz 'killed it' as rookie

DeSean Jackson talks possible Eagles reunion, says Wentz 'killed it' as rookie

The connection hasn't been hard to make. And it's been made plenty of times over the last couple months. 

DeSean Jackson will become a free agent on March 9 and the Eagles are in desperate need of help at receiver, specifically someone who can stretch the field — just like their former second-round pick. 

So a reunion just makes too much sense. And it was a topic of conversation when Jackson joined Adam Schefter's ESPN podcast recently. 

"It definitely is a great story, I guess you could say," Jackson said. "Starting your career somewhere and obviously going to a division rival team and having the possibility of maybe going back. I mean you kind of just think about all of that, where you started from and maybe where you want to finish it. It’s just a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It almost sounds good but you never really know until the final decision is made. 

"But I’m just a firm believer of you work hard, you put in the work, and continuously go out there and show everybody what you’re capable of doing. I think the sky is the limit for me. My agent, Joel Segal, he's in a great position. I’m in a great position. Really, I’m just going to let him be the expertise guy. He’s the one with all the experience. He’s been doing this for plenty of years. With the conversations we’ve been having, it’s great on our end. The best thing we need to do is stay under the radar, me continuously working out, and from there we’ll just sit back and see what teams are putting out there."

Jackson, 30, is probably in line for a big payday. And really, there's a pretty good chance he'll just end up going to whichever team offers him the biggest and best contract. But aside from money, Jackson, who is entering his 10th year in the NFL, said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win. A big part of that is playing with a great quarterback. 

While he said Kirk Cousins is a great quarterback, having another one to catch passes from is important to Jackson. 

"I want to win," Jackson said. "Obviously, I haven't won a Super Bowl, so the team that can win, a team that has a great quarterback. And that's definitely what stands out to me."

Carson Wentz might not be a great quarterback yet, but he did have some impressive moments during his rookie season in 2016. And Jackson was watching. While Jackson first praised all the quarterbacks in the NFL, he then answered a specific question about Wentz. 

"Carson Wentz, he came in and had a heck of a year as a rookie," Jackson said. "I mean, I don’t think a lot of people saw that coming. You know, they had Sam Bradford who was there, who ended up getting traded to Minnesota, so he didn’t have no choice but to step up and be that guy. But that was a gutsy call for the organization to really believe in a young guy like that, just came out of college and give him that shot. I think he killed it. He was lights out, had heck of a year. He definitely showed me he can do it and he has all the intangibles of being a big-time quarterback in this league."

If Jackson does return to Philly, the question would be: Can Wentz reach his full potential while Jackson is still a dynamic player? 

Jackson, who turned 30 in December, said he still wants to play four, five or even six more years in the league. He thinks he can be a dynamic outside deep threat for three or four of those. 

Has he seen any drop-off in his speed? 

"Not at all," Jackson said. "I really feel like I could still (run in the) low 4.3s or 4.29 (in the 40-yard dash) like I did when I came out the combine." 

If Jackson's speed ever does diminish, he said he could play in the slot. He pointed to the end of Santana Moss' career as an example. While Jackson's planning ahead in case his speed vanishes, he is hoping it never does. 

If the reunion happens, the Eagles will be right there with him. 

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip -- their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.

Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.

The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.

Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row (see full recap).

Coyotes use three-goal 1st period to beat Ducks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata capped Arizona's three-goal first period and the Coyotes held on for 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun also scored for Arizona, and starting goalie Mike Smith had 27 saves before leaving about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period after a collision in the net. Marek Langhamer helped kill a power play after being pressed into action for his NHL debut and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.

The Coyotes have won four of their last six.

Langhamer gave up Ryan Getzlaf's second goal of the night with 26.8 seconds to play, but thwarted two quality shots in the final seconds.

Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on six shots in the first period for the Ducks. John Gibson came on to start the second and stopped all 14 shots he faced (see full recap).