Eagles Still Have a Chance; Boston Blase

Eagles Still Have a Chance; Boston Blase

Disregard 2 posts ago, the game hasn't been decided yet!  Bob Ryan actually agrees with my point that with Donovan McNabb on the field, his team always has the possibility of winning.  Other than that he basically says the Eagles are chumps from the "junior conference."  More typical New Englander talk.  The only difference between Atlanta and Minesota talking up their game and New England.. The Pats have the coaching and players to back it up.

Link: Boston Globe: Bob Ryan: Superiority Will Shine Through

But the real story for Philadelphia is McNabb, who finally won the Big One. Always a class act off the field, he is now a superb, well-rounded, big-play quarterback worthy of immense respect. He gives the Iggles a chance Feb. 6 in Jacksonville.  A chance. That's all, a chance. But the Patriots will be favored to make it three Super Bowls out of four, and why not? I mean, what more does anyone need to know about this team?

There are a whole bunch of good Inquirer articles today.  I really enjoyed Dan Rubin's piece which focuses on the differences between Boston and Philly and demonstrates that the Patriots will always be second in Red Sox Nation.  I've been saying Boston fans never really care about their football team till they were winning for years.  I was up there when NE won their first championship, and their partying was mediocre at best.  Even this past summer I questioned a long time Creedon Bostonian whether they would trade in their two Lombardi trophies for one Red Sox championship and he responded instantly "In a heartbeat."  Pedro going to the Mets was a bigger story than the Pats beating the Colts in the playoffs.  Boston is a baseball town.  Philly bleeds green.  Period.

Link: Inquirer: Super What? Boston as blase as Philly is frenzied over the game.

Philadelphians "live in a real city with real attractions, not an overblown college town adjacent to a set of nutty neighborhoods which no one has left for the past 100 years. We are sophisticated. Bostonians are just lucky to be in the midst of sophistication - but they are not part of it.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”