Sixers Lose But Jrue Holiday Really Good at Basketball, Nick Young Still Swag to Spare

Sixers Lose But Jrue Holiday Really Good at Basketball, Nick Young Still Swag to Spare

It's tough to take consolation in the ol' "Got beat by a better team"
explanation tonight when facing a team like the 11-26 Hornets, but it's
true. After all, the Hornets are a whole lot better than their 11-26
record, something analysts always say when their squad is getting beat
by opposing teams with crappy win-losses, but in this case it's
basically inarguable—the Hornets finally have franchise lynchpins Eric
Gordon and Anthony Davis healthy together for the first time all season,
and have now won five of their last six, including Ws over the Spurs,
Rockets and Timberwolves, all of whom are also a lot better than the
Sixers. Depressing but true.

The Sixers lost tonight because
they couldn't play competent defense. Again, not as inexcusable as you
might think, considering that the Hornets have several legit scorers and
playmakers in their suddenly formidable starting roster (+ Ryan
Anderson off the bench), but it's stuff that's dogged the Liberty
Ballers all season—getting hung up on picks, not rotating to shooters,
allowing dribble penetration and failing to rebound the basketball.
You'd like to blame it one guy, and if Spencer Hawes was playing the
whole game maybe we could, but really it was a team-wide malaise
tonight, where the Hornets were given quality looks and rarely missed.
Credit to them, debit to us, if that makes any sense which it probably
doesn't.

There were two bright spots tonight, which made this
game a lot more fun to watch than all the other shitty losses the Sixers
have gone through as of late. Jrue Holiday...if a point guard can play
any better on offense then he did in the first half tonight—where he
scored 12 points and handed out nine assists, making seemingly every
correct move and decision and basically keeping the Hornets from running
away with it all by his lonesome—I haven't seen it too often, and
certainly not for the Philadelphia 76ers. Even as The Damaja appeared to
be slowed down in the second half (and the thing really slowing him
down was Doug Collins benching him for half of the fourth quarter,
before deciding garbage time was over), he still scored another 17 and
ended with 29 points on 10-17 shooting (4-5 from deep), 11 assists, five
rebounds and four steals. Give that man his All-Star bid.

But
of course, if Sixers fans remember the game tonight, chance are it will
be for that previously mentioned fourth quarter stretch where Jrue sat,
and His Swagness took over. With the Sixers down 20, Nick Young did what
we brought him to Philadelphia to do, and in his first action in a
couple games, scored 15 points in a five-minute stretch that brought the
Sixers back to nine down, and had the Wells Fargo Center buzzing like
it hasn't been since...I dunno, Lou Williams' Heat-beater? AI's return
game? A long time. The run wasn't enough, and Young dried up shortly
thereafter, but Sixers fans will no doubt be tickled to know that the
Swag lives on, PT be damned.

In the end, another game where you
see your guys getting outboarded and outmuscled—Spence and Lavoy Allen
combined for ONE REBOUND in the first half—and you look at that
funny-looking kid with the big hair at the end of the bench and wonder
if he might have made the difference. Sixers won't find out for at least
another month, but with games like the one Jrue had tonight—with game,
if not quite sufficient, support from Thaddeus Young and Evan
Turner—it's reasonable enough to hope for.

Toronto on Friday in a vengeance game. Go Sixers.

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who pitched six seasons with the Phillies and went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

Bunning's death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning's family.

Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history. It came with the Phillies on June 21, 1964.

He became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

He belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era.

A Kentucky Republican, he was the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress. He served in both the House and Senate.

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' punchless lineup on Saturday afternoon against the Reds (4 p.m./TCN).

Hernandez, who missed Friday night's 5-2 loss with a groin injury, is back at second base and leading off. Hernandez has led off in all 44 games he's started this season. The fifth-year pro has struggled after getting off to a torrid start. He's hitting just .185 (10 for 54) over his last 14 games.

After bouncing around the lineup, centerfielder Odubel Herrera returns to his customary spot in the two-hole. Herrera's season is a microcosm of the Phils' woeful offense. An All-Star in 2016, Herrera is hitting just .227 this season. Manager Pete Mackanin hopes the Venezuelan will hit his way out of it soon (see story).

Here is the rest of today's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P