Battle of the Sixes: Sixers and Blazers Face Off in 6th-Seed Showdown

Battle of the Sixes: Sixers and Blazers Face Off in 6th-Seed Showdown

Well, it doesn't feel like we particularly earned it with our play on this road trip--which includes that blowout loss in Milwaukee and that ridiculous comeback-cum-choke-job in Utah--but with their blowout win in Sacramento and the Knicks' pitiful loss in Detroit last night, the Sixers have officially climbed up to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. What's more, with the Hawks getting drubbed by Miami and now with only a three-game cushion for their position, the Sixers might even be able to climb up to fifth before all is said and done. (Not like it really matters all that much, since a matchup with the fourth-seeded Magic and their MVP-caliber center Dwight Howard might be the least advantageous of all. But it's something nice to tell the family at Thanksgiving, y'know?)

Anyway, tonight, the Sixers continue their West-Coast swing in Portland, whose post-season positioning is looking a lot like Philly's right now. The Blazers currently sit at sixth in the West, tied with the Hornets and a game-and-a-half behind the Nuggets. Despite seeming like a mid-season write-off of a team with Greg Oden out for the season and Brandon Roy perpetually lame with knee injuries, the team has become resurgent behind career years from power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and swingman Wesley Matthews, and has been reinvigorated of late by a deal for do-everything forward Gerald Wallace. Chris Webber recently called on NBA TV that the Blazers would upset whoever they faced in the first round of the playoffs, and it's certainly looking like a possibility, with the team recently posting huge wins against contending teams like the Heat and Mavericks. 

10:00 tip from the Rose Garden. Andre Iguodala will not be suiting up for the Sixers tonight, looking to rest his gimpy right Achilles into the Sixers' four-game break after tonight's outing. Look for Evan Turner, who had his first solid game in a while (4-8 for 8, three boards, three dimes) against the Kings last night to (hopefully) get the start in his place, though the team will definitely miss 'Dre's lockdown D against Portland's seemingly-endless supply of dynamic wing players, including Wallace, Matthews, Roy and Nicholas Batum.

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Nerlens Noel is standing his ground.

After saying that the Sixers' entering the season with three starting-caliber centers (himself, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid) "doesn't make sense," Noel didn't back down from his stance during the team's annual media day.  

"I don't see a way it can work," Noel said Monday. "It's just a logjam. You have three young, talented centers that can play 30-plus minutes a night." 

The Sixers attempted to play with two bigs in Noel and Okafor last season but had little success. Now that Embiid is finally healthy, the fit to the puzzle doesn't figure to get any better.

Reports swirled during the offseason that the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor to add backcourt help to the woeful franchise, but nothing came to fruition.

"Things need to get situated," Noel said. "I think things obviously need to be moved around, someone needs to be moved around. It's just a tough situation. I can't really say too much because I have no say in the matter, so obviously that's for who can handle the situation in the right manner.

"I've gone through a whole lot. Probably the most, arguably, that any player has gone through in the NBA in losing. It's a tough situation to still be in. Year by year, to see things get more difficult to show your value. Year by year, it's always been something. It's really at a point where it's just a lot."

Bryan Colangelo said he understands Noel's viewpoint. However, the Sixers' president said he is in no rush to trade any of the centers and will wait the situation out.

"It’s not disappointing. It’s understandable," Colangelo said. "I think Nerlens actually did a pretty good job sizing up what we have, which is a lot of depth and a lot of talent at that position."

Despite each of the three centers being early in their career, Noel, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't want to hold off to see if the trio can actually mesh on the floor.

"I can't say I do really understand that (wait-and-see approach)," Noel said. "If you have a group of players, I just don't think it makes too much sense to just still come into the season with such a heavy lineup at the center position. I don't know what there is to wait and see."

Noel made sure to express that he has no issues with Okafor and Embiid and said they are some of his closest friends on the team. But when asked whether he was happy to be a Sixer, Noel deflected.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm all right, I'm in a good place right now."

Sure sounds like it.

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

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Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

You may fondly remember the time Darren Sproles took a punt return to the house last season and a wonderful Twitter user set the video to the Super Mario Bros.' star music, yes?

It was great.

Now that Sproles' put on the jets again yesterday in the Eagles win over the Steelers, the same @pacdude on Twitter has done it again.

This time it's the theme music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Please enjoy.