Sixers Go For Season's Best Fourth Straight Against Memphis

Sixers Go For Season's Best Fourth Straight Against Memphis

The curse of two finally broken, the Sixers have officially matched their season-high winning streak, of, uh, three. The win in Toronto did not come easy (not as easy as I'd have liked, anyway), but thanks to another strong bench effort, the Sixers were able to finally get separation in the fourth quarter, and ended up winning by a comfortable 107-94 final. Marreese Speights broke through from another underwhelming season with a season-and-team-high 23 points on 10-12 shooting, and Jrue Holiday had his ninth double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 assists.

Philly can really send this streak into the stratosphere with an unprecedent fourth consecutive victory tonight, against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. Is it feeling like 2008 again in here or what??

The Grizz, who are 20-22 and currently scrapping for the largely-available 8th seed in the Western Conference, come to the Wells Fargo Center with a fair amount of baggage. Third-year guard O.J. Mayo has capped what has already been something of a nightmare season--getting moved to a sixth-man role on the bench, making headlines with a card-game-fight with a teammate on the team plane, being involved in countless trade rumors--with a ten-game suspension for testing positive for steroid DHEA, which Mayo claims he didn't know was illegal when he took in an over-the-counter supplement. Go figure.

The loss of Mayo is a harsh blow to an already highly undermanned Grizzlies bench. Luckily, this is a problem the Sixers have needed not concern themselves with this year, as their second unit has emerged not only as a team strength, but likely one of the best in the league. All four players off the bench scored in double-digits against the Raptors, including Speights's 23, 15 from Lou Williams, and Evan Turner's second-straight strong all-around effort (ten points, five boards, three dimes, including the game-highlight oop to Speights). It's at the point now where I've learned to be patient with the team's performance until that bench unit comes in--especially against a hurting bench like the Raptors' or Grizzlies'--and have the confidence that they'll either get us back in the game or create some much-needed separation.

7:00 tip from the WFC. And happy birthday to our own Andre Iguodala, who turns 27 years old today. Take it away, Evan:

Evan Turner, now available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

(From Twitvid)

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).