Sixers Host One of Many Teams That Could Maybe Be the Second-Best Team in the East

Sixers Host One of Many Teams That Could Maybe Be the Second-Best Team in the East

Who's the best team in the East that isn't the Miami Heat? It doesn't
really matter, since the Heat are so laughably superior to every other
team in the conference right now, but one of the teams with a case would
be the Indiana Pacers, who overcame a slow start to the season (and an
injury to their nominal best player, Danny Granger) to climb to a 40-25
record, second-best not in the West (though they'd only be #6 over
there, and not even all that close to #5). Still, like many teams not
based out of South Florida, the Pacers have struggled a bit as of late,
dropping one at home last night to the Lakers (playing without Kobe
Bryant) and getting blown out by those damn Heat a couple games earlier.


The Sixers, meanwhile, have been playing their best ball of
2013 over their last two games—though admittedly that's not saying
much—convincingly beating the Nets, and then hanging with the Heat down
to the final minute in back-to-back games at Wells Fargo Center. Coming
off those two outings, as well as a solid three days' rest, it's
possible the Sixers will actually give the Pacers (traveling on a
back-to-back themselves) something of a game tonight. Arrogant to assume
any level of performance from this bunch, though, so let's not start
re-evaluating the playoff picture just yet. (The Ballers are eight games
out with 18 to go, by the way. They'd have to go something like 15-3 to
even have a chance.)

7:30 tip from the WFC. Be sure to vote in Liberty Ballers' Most Sixers Tournament Ever,
if you haven't already. Really hoping that the time Doug Collins
insisted that Bradley Beal's name was Jeremy makes an appearance in one
of the other regions.

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).