Sixers Play Kings in Game With Tanking Implications

Sixers Play Kings in Game With Tanking Implications

For better or worse, professional basketball still exists for the city
of Philadelphia for another three weeks or so. The Sixers aren't really
chasing a playoff spot or a lottery slot, so there's not a ton left to
root for, but it'll at least be fun to watch Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus
Young (and Evan Turner one in every four games or so) continue to grow
together as a foundation for the team's future, and interesting from a
cosmic perspective to see if Spencer Hawes, Dorell Wright and Damien
Wilkins can continue their unexpected streak of playing like highly
competent NBA rotation players. And, of course, seeing how the Sixers
can follow up their legendary choke job in Denver a couple nights ago
will be pretty fun too.


Besides, the Sixers' game tonight in Sacramento does have potential
implications for draft positioning. If the Ballers can steal an L in
Sactown—currently on an emotional high due to mayor Kevin Johnson
landing a deal for a new arena, which could conceivably hold the Kings
in California's capital long-term—then the Kings will, remarkably, be
just one game behind the Sixers in the standings. As undignified as
having a lesser record than the Kings would be, they're one of the many
teams with a chance of hurdling the Sixers over the ever-shrinking
remainder of the season, and every bump in draft ordering counts.


9:00 tip from Sleep Train Arena (yes, that is actually the name of
the Kings' home building). Will this be the lowest-watched game of the
entire NBA season? Eh, the Bobcats and Pistons have to play each other
at some point, probably. 

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell broke a tie with his second goal with 2:34 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped Boston's four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks and has 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal in the third period for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots.

Anaheim beat Boston for the seventh straight time (see full recap).

Rare goal from Russell lifts Oilers over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Russell's goal with 7:58 left was his first in more than a year and lifted the Edmonton Oilers over Florida 4-3 on Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Russell's goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goalless in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defenseman Oscar Klefbom also scored for Edmonton, as did forwards Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell's goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 points for his career.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida -- last losing on the Panthers' ice in 2002. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip (see full recap).