Sixers vs. Raptors, With Only One Mention of the Increasingly Depressing Andrew Bynum (This One)

Sixers vs. Raptors, With Only One Mention of the Increasingly Depressing Andrew Bynum (This One)

The Sixers were so close to getting to play two of the East's worst
teams in consecutive nights when both teams would be missing their star
point guards and arguable franchise players. Regrettably (for us,
anyway), it now sounds like Kyle Lowry will be returning to action for
the Toronto Raptors after missing a couple weeks of game action with a
sprained ankle—though he will only come off the bench, behind current
starter Jose Calderon. (No report yet about Kyrie Irving making an
unexpected comeback for the Cavs after fracturing his finger.)

Regardless, the Sixers should—should,
not definitely will—be able to take care of business tonight against
the 3-7 Toronto Raptors in the last night of their five-game homestand.
The Ballers dispatched the Raptors with relative ease in their first
meeting of the year, back in Canada a week-and-a-half ago, holding
Toronto to just seven points in the game's second quarter, building a
lead they would not relinquish. Of course, that meeting was without
Lowry, who was easily the Raps' best player in the three-and-a-half
games he played for Toronto before going down with injury, averaging
about a 20-6-6 on over 50% shooting. He will no doubt cause problems for
Philly tonight if he's healthy and in full effect.

Though the
Sixers' win against the Cavs on Sunday was far from pretty, it was not
without its positives. Jrue Holiday had a relatively slow (though still
effective) night on offense, but was dominant on the other end, staying
glued to the Cavs' Irving and refusing to let the sophomore sensation
burn him for easy layups—no small feat considering the quickness and
craftiness of the future All-Star—holding him to just a 14 and 4 on the
night, both significantly below Kyrie's seasonal averages. Nick Young
was also excellent, hitting five out of six for 13 points before leaving
the game for dizziness, easily his most (only) efficient shooting night
on the season.

The story of the game, however, was Evan Turner.
With 19 points (on 8-12 shooting, raising his FG% on the season to over
40% for the first time), nine dimes and six rebounds, Evan had a
breakout game on offense, and paired it with solid, smart defense on the
other end. Games like this remind Sixer fans of just how much friggin' easier
it is to win when the Extraterrestrial is playing well, though it's
still something he's a long way from proving the ability to do on a
consistent basis—our history with ET shows that after two quality games
in a row, Turner's likely to be a no-show tonight in Toronto. But you
never know—every good game is another possibility for a legitimate
turn-the-corner moment. Hope springs eternal.

7:00 tip from the
WFC. A win tonight and the Sixers will have gone 3-2 on their five-game
homer—not quite the result we'd hoped for with five winnable games, but
enough to consider the homestand redeemed after dropping the first two
games. Adam Aron still loves this team, regardless.

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets crush Islanders, 7-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Unlike some other NHL teams coming off their bye week, there wasn't a spot of rust on the sleek Columbus Blue Jackets.

In their first game following a five-day break, the high-energy Blue Jackets blew out the New York Islanders 7-0 Saturday as backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo earned his first career shutout.

Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each scored twice, and David Savard had a goal and three assists. Boone Jenner and Jack Johnson also scored to help the Blue Jackets end New York's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Zibanejad scores in OT to help Rangers beat Devils again
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Rangers are finding ways to win, and the New Jersey Devils just aren't.

Moments after goaltender Antti Raanta stopped Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway, Mika Zibanejad scored 1:16 into overtime and the Rangers rallied to beat the Devils 4-3 on Saturday.

"I had to redeem myself after that letdown on the breakaway the other way," said Zibanejad, whose mistake gave Palmieri a chance to complete a hat trick. "Rants came up big and it's nice to see that puck cross the goal line once again and win the game."

The goal was Zibanejad's first in 16 games and it gave the Rangers their ninth win in 11 games (9-1-1). Struggling New Jersey got its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1) (see full recap).

Shaw's OT goal gives Canadiens 14th straight win over the Leafs
TORONTO -- Andrew Shaw scored 1:06 into overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat Toronto 3-2 on Saturday night for their 14th consecutive victory over the Maple Leafs.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk had the other goals for the Canadiens, who increased their Atlantic Division lead to four points over Ottawa and five on Toronto. They are 3-7-1 in the last 11 games and 2-2-0 under new coach Claude Julien.

Carey Price stopped 32 shots for Montreal, including a breakaway by Auston Matthews in overtime. The 19-year-old Matthews scored twice to reach 30 goals in his rookie season, and Frederik Andersen was sharp with 25 saves for Toronto (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

DALLAS -- Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.

Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that (see full recap).

Harden leads Rockets past Timberwolves in 142-130 shootout
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as both teams set season scoring highs in a Saturday night shootout.

Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.

Playing against Houston's guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points (see full recap).

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs 117-99
CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star - they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall (see full recap).

George ejected, Heat stay hot with 113-95 win over Pacers
MIAMI -- Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.

Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers' locker room after an ejection.

"It felt like a playoff-type game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said (see full recap).