“What an incredible display by our guys defensively,” said Coach Doug Collins about last night's 77-71 win over the Spurs. "I’ve never been more proud of them. That was a grind-it-out type of game.” "Grind it out" was one way to put it, sure. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich saw it a ittle differently: “I think it set offensive basketball back a decade or so," quoth Pop. Bad offense or good defense, it was incredibly impressive how the Sixers stuck with the Spurs all game, and that they made the plays necessary down the stretch to escape with a victory--even if you did kind of get the feeling that if they played ten times, San Antonio would've won seven or eight of 'em.
Anyway, visiting the 13-39 Timberwolves in Minnesota, one of the worst defensive teams in the league, one gets the feeling that "grinding it out" will not be particularly necessary on either side. For better or worse, there will be points tonight.
Minnesota has had an interesting season, certainly, mostly notable for their young team's incredible ability to lose close games (putting even the Sixers' early late-game woes to shame) and for the statistically remarkable play of power forward Kevin Love. Now officially an All-Star after being named an injury replacement for David Stern, Love is averaging a league-best 15.9 boards a game while also scoring over 21 a game and shooting an unconscious 44% from beyond the arc. Against a relatively weak-rebounding team like the Sixers, don't be surprised if K-Love runs somewhat amok.
8:00 tip from the Target Center. Props to Jrue Holiday last night for being the one player on the court with the ability to hit shots (9-14 for 27 points)--good to see that he hasn't completely disappeared since being moved off the ball by Doug Collins. Let's keep that up tonight then, Jrue.
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.