Easier Said Than Done: Sixers Visit Nets Before Week of Tough 'Uns

Easier Said Than Done: Sixers Visit Nets Before Week of Tough 'Uns

Looked ahead on the Sixers' schedule recently? The recent slate of relative creampuff games should have been a clue that a much harder run lied around the bend, and sure enough, we got a doozy of a week coming up--five games in eight nights, two on the road, all against teams .500 or better (Atlanta, Orlando, San Antonio and New York twice.) The stretch will make for a nice test of the Sixers' mettle at this stage in the season, no doubt, but it also might very easily make for a handful of losses as the Sixers' struggle to stay above water in the East playoff standings.

All the more reason, then, to get a win tonight against divisional foes New Jersey in the Garden State. Sounds easy, given that the Nets are a paltry 15-34 and apparently well out of the playoff picture, but when considering that the Nets are 12-11 at the Prudential Center (including five home W's in a row), and that Sixers-Nets games are NEVER easy, it might take a bit of focusing from the Liberty Ballers after all.

The Nets' recent home surge comes after the announcement from Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov that the Nets would be pulling out from trade talks with Denver for hopelessly indecisive superstar Carmelo Anthony, feeling that said talks were providing too much of a distraction. Looks like ol' Prokhy might've been onto something, as since then, the Nets have rolled off home wins against the Jazz, Pistons, Cavs, Grizzlies and most recently, those very Nuggets, ensuring that at the very least, '10-'11 will mark some kind of improvement over the end results of last year's 12-win squad.

Meanwhile, the Sixers must look to start getting their act together on the road. Last week's win in Toronto was encouraging, but it was against one of the worst teams in the East playing at 60% health. If the Sixers are really to demonstrate themselves a playoff-worthy bunch, they should be able to decisively prove themselves the better team against a Nets squad that, while hardly devoid of talent (resurgent point guard Devin Harris, low-post beast Brook Lopez, and of course the eternally-promising lottery pick Derrick Favors), is nonetheless surely lottery-bound this season.

7:00 tip from the Rock. (I still prefer calling it The Prude, ftr.) And overdue congrats to our man Jrue Holiday for making the Rookie-Sophomore Squad, the Sixers' lone representative at this year's All-Star Weekend, and a worthy one at that. Balls to whoever decided that the Clippers' Eric Bledsoe (6.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 40% FG) was a worthier candidate for the Rookie team than Evan Turner, though. Make 'em pay for it tonight, ET--I feel a nine point, four rebound, two assist explosion coming on.

There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

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There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

Carlos Ruiz has been traded to the Dodgers and it is sad.

Not in the sense that it's a move that remotely affects anything about the current state of the Phillies. It's sad simply because Chooch -- lovable and awesome and wonderful Chooch -- is no longer a Phillie.

Chooch will be remembered for catching Roy Halladay's perfect game and no hitter and that little dribbler down the line in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. And, of course, dropping to his knees in celebration with Brad Lidge making them World Effin Champions.

But mostly he'll just be missed. What a guy to have aroud for so long.

Roy knows how hard it is not to have him around. I guess Chase won't need his any longer since the two will be reunined with one last chance of glory in L.A.

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins. Then Chase Utley. Now Carlos Ruiz.

Thursday closed another chapter of the Phillies' golden era.

Ruiz, the Phillies' catcher since 2006, has been traded to the Dodgers (along with cash) for catcher A.J. Ellis, right-hander Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later.

Rollins was dealt to the Dodgers in December 2014. Utley, still with Los Angeles, was traded to the Dodgers in August 2015.

Ryan Howard is now the lone leftover from the Phillies' 2008 world champion club.

In 11 big-league seasons — all with the Phillies — Ruiz has hit .266 with a .352 on-base percentage and has been lauded for his game-calling abilities. This season, the 37-year-old is batting .261 with a .368 OBP, three home runs and 12 RBIs in a reserve role.

"I met Chooch in 2009 for the first time and immediately sensed that he was a special player," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But more importantly, over the years I grew to know that he is a special person. I'll miss him."

Ruiz caught Cole Hamels' no-hitter in July of last season, marking the catcher's fourth no-no behind the plate, tying him for most in MLB history with Jason Varitek.

"He’s a tremendous catcher and it just shows," Hamels said after no-hitting the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 25. "If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be catching this many no-hitter, perfect games. All of us have been fortunate enough to have him."

The Panama native, beloved and known by the Delaware Valley as "Chooch," quickly became a fan favorite. He was the staple behind home plate of the team's five-year run from 2007-11, in which it won five National League East titles, two NL pennants and, of course, a World Series championship in 2008.

"They are my favorite fans in the world," Ruiz said in February, "and we have some good memories together."

Philly Mayor goes to bat for Eagles fans, cheesesteaks against John Oliver

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HBO's Last Week Tonight

Philly Mayor goes to bat for Eagles fans, cheesesteaks against John Oliver

Charter schools. They're complicated!

After watching John Oliver's segment on them over the weekend, you'd agree there is plenty of nuance involved in the charter school debate. But also that some of them are dirty as all get out. An underground nightclub at a SCHOOL? Jeez. That can't be okay anywhere.

It's a solid segment. But it also took a couple of unneeded digs at the city of Philadelphia, its cuisine, and its sports fans.

That irked the Mayor of Philadelphia and he fought back today on Twitter.

"Agree on charter oversight but English soccer fan who eats fish from newsprint can't judge Eagles fans, cheesesteaks," Jim Kenney tweeted.

Take that you fish-eating Brit!

You can also watch the entire John Oliver segment from Last Week Tonight below.