This weekend sent spirits of two basketball franchises in the East in different directions. The Boston Celtics found out they'll be without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo for the season. Paul Pierce even found out live on the air and his reaction was probably just like that of Celtics fans everywhere.
Meanwhile, the word on Andrew Bynum down in Philadelphia was surprisingly positive. There were rumblings over the weekend that Bynum could be ready for action even before the All-Star Game.
Heck, even the coaches are starting to get a bit excited. From John Finger's story:
“It’s encouraging that he’s doing more and more work,” said assistant
coach Michael Curry, who ran the practice session with Collins out with a
sinus infection. “We did a lot to get him. When you see him on the
court, he’s one heck of a player. He’s starting to do some things at
shoot-around and his level of activity has picked up. He’s here working
three hours or so a day. Yeah, you’re going to get excited.”
Michael Curry also added the heart-warming line of the weekend.
"I think it is good for the organization to have a young guy that can
play with Andrew (Bynum) for a long time," Curry said, referring to
Holiday's newly acquired all-star status. "That is good for us. That is
good for confidence and for bringing guys in in the future -- they want
to play with those types of guys. So that is a good step for Jrue and a
good step for the organization."
Andrew and Jrue playing together for "a long time." That sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Let's continue offering up our sacrifices to the gods of knees.
The loss of Rondo in Boston and the prospect of getting Bynum back sooner than expected certainly muddied up the East. But did the Sixers dig themselves too big a hole while Bynum was out? You'd probably be surprised if you looked at the standings and saw the Sixers are only 2.5 games behind the Celtics for the 8th playoff spot.
His welcomed return will surely make them a team to watch for the season that remains when it ever happens.
>>Curry thinks Bynum, Holiday could play together 'a long time'
>>Rondo's injury, Bynum's return to shake up Eastern Conference
Pierce video via TBJ via Jose3030
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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.