Morning Extras: When The Spectrum Goes, Where Go Its Tenants?

Morning Extras: When The Spectrum Goes, Where Go Its Tenants?

When logging on to Sixers.com yesterday I was greated with a lovely photo asking me to meet the Sixers Dancers. It seems the Sixers need to do something to get people in the stands, and close up encounters with the dance team may translate to a few more courtside sales. Hey, lonely men can dream...while watching some NBA hoops. Oh and by the way, that 'dance party' is like three blocks from my house, so anyone going to meet the Sixers dancers give me a call...so I can hide my daughter.

Anyway, the point: When clicking through to the main page, I saw a small banner on the top right that asked me to "Remember the Spectrum" with the birth and death date (1967-2009). Man, the concrete isn't even cold yet.

So the Spectrum will be gone in just a few months. I can remember a lot of memories from that building. I once had to scour the bowels of the arena to find the Beastie Boys bottles of water while they played 2-on-2 basketball before a concert at the Center. (Result: Fail). I was in the top row when the Phantoms won the Calder Cup.

Oh yeah, what the hell is going to happen to the Phantoms? I've looked online and the only thing I can find is a great breakdown from JULY that Wyshynski had over at Puck Daddy. If you Google search the term 'where will the phantoms play' and sift through the Phantom of the Opera links, there is a message board thread – people still use those? – giving some suggestions. I asked our own Matt P, who seems to be the resident hockey expert around here, and he wasn't sure that a decision has been made yet.

So, what is going to happen to the Phantoms? And the Kixx? And the in-season, smell up a city-block circus. And the Monster Truck rally that I've never been to but takes place every year on the weekend of my birthday. Where will all the excitement go?

LINKY DINKY DO:

• Maybe the Sixers should move back to the Spectrum. According to this report, they don't need as many seats as they get at the Center. The Sixers are 28th out of 30 teams in attendance. Phils hangover? This is an exciting young team who made the playoffs last year? I thought people cared about basketball in this town? (Note: I have turned down free tickets many times in the past two years. I'm as bad as anyone).

• The Flyers (whose website does not ask you to remember the Spectrum) lost to the Pens in a shootout. They were losing, they were winning, they were tied, they lost. Nobody could score in the shootout...it was riveting.

• Jayson Stark has the hot stove shopping lists. Phils: Bullpen depth, right-handed-hitting outfielder, a starting pitcher if they can't re-sign Jamie Moyer. He thinks Doug Brocail might be a good fit.

• So a few days ago I wrote that there was no way Andy Reid would be fired because we're all so happy now to have a title we don't care about coaches being fired anymore. Gonzo doesn't agree, officially calling for Big Red to be spit out into the trash (as long as he doesn't end up on my shoe...)

• Hillary Clinton might be Secretary of State. I still think it should could be John McCain.

• A great feature on the Haverford track coach, in the New York Times.

PHOTO PHUN:

Wednesday:

Winner, as called by Meech: am i PUSHING or PULLING, commoooon powertits - Will

Today, with a link:
• CC could be going to New York. They just aren't sure which New York. Which leads me to this photo of the day.

Sixers-Celtics 5 things: Slowing down Isaiah Thomas

Sixers-Celtics 5 things: Slowing down Isaiah Thomas

The Sixers (4-15) continue their homestand against the Boston Celtics (11-8) at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night (7:30 p.m./CSN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup.

1. A green giant-sized challenge
Just crumple it up and move on.

That's about the only thing the Sixers can do after getting ran out of the gym by the Orlando Magic on Friday. Instead of looking like a team that hadn't played since Monday, the Sixers appeared flat in a 105-88 loss.

Outside of Joel Embiid's first 20-point, 10-rebound game (he had 25 points and 10 boards) and a strong effort from Jahlil Okafor (16 points and 13 rebounds), not much else went right for the Sixers.

Now Embiid will sit the second game of a back-to-back set and Okafor will be thrust into the starting lineup, as the Sixers try to deal with Boston big man Al Horford. 

Horford, the Celtics' prized free-agent acquisition, is coming off his best game so far for his new team. He recorded 26 points, eight rebounds and six blocks in the Celtics' 97-92 win over the Kings on Friday.

2. Little big man
Even with Horford coming off a productive performance, the Sixers' game plan against the Celtics has to focus on slowing down Isaiah Thomas.

The 5-foot-9 guard continues to put up big numbers in the scoring department. Despite his shooting percentages taking a dip this season, Thomas still ranks ninth in the NBA with a career-high 25.7 points per game. 

And even though he is a willing passer (averaging a career-high-tying 6.3 assists), expect Thomas to try and score early and often against the Sixers. After all, the reserve-turned-All-Star has put up 21.5 points per game against the Sixers during his career, his highest mark against any opponent.

3. Dial up the long-distance defense
The Sixers need to be aware of Thomas and just about all of his teammates when they toe that three-point line.

The Celtics rank fifth in the league in three-pointers attempted (31.1), three-pointers made (11.3) and eighth in three-point percentage (36.3) per game.

The C's have four players shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc, and perhaps a bit surprising, three of them are big men. Jonas Jerebko (46.4 percent), Horford (42.4 percent) and Amir Johnson (40.0 percent) have all been on target from long range.

4. Injuries
Robert Covington (knee) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are both questionable. Embiid (rest), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

The Celtics have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost five games in a row overall and eight straight to the Celtics.

• The Celtics rank 25th in rebounding with 42.2 a night.

• Dario Saric had two points Friday against the Magic and has failed to reach double digits in scoring five of his last six games.

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Another new feeling for the rebuilding Sixers: The bad loss with no excuse. For at least one and possibly multiple seasons, there was no real such thing as an inexcusable L, because they were so never the favorite going into any game that their excuse could almost always be "the other team was better." But four wins and one transcendent player into this season, the Ballers actually do need an excuse for dropping a home game against a subpar team by double digits. And if they had one last night in their 105-88 loss to the Orlando Magic, they weren't telling the rest of us.

Really, this game couldn't have been teed up much better for Philly: We were home, well-rested after Wednesday's weird-ass cancellation, against a 7-12 team we nearly beat early in the season, who were on the second night of a back-to-back after ceding a tough one to the Grizzlies -- and we had Joel Embiid for up to 28 minutes. If this one was to be a laugher by early in the fourth quarter, you'd almost have to assume that it'd been the Sixers who put it to bed early. 

Instead, the Sixers slumped horribly from the field in the first quarter, missing bunny after bunny and plenty of open jumpers, as they dug themselves a hole they were never quite able to climb out of. Philly kept it manageable and D.J. Augustin and Nik Vucevic caught fire for Orlando in the third quarter, and the game was suddenly in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot territory before we could even process what was happening. 

Of course, you can't blame Embiid for this one. Though JoJo was a little out of sorts defensively on this one -- and personally, I really wish he'd stop trapping five feet outside the arc, it may cause panic in the Magic's ball-handlers but it really seems to compromise our own half-court D -- he still finished with a resounding 25-10-4 with three triples, and for the first time in his young career, 0 turnovers. (I coulda swore I saw at least one, but so says the box score, anyway.) Just another game for the Process, though the Sixers (for some reason) needed him to be immaculate last night, and he was merely phenomenal. 

Less phenomenal were the rest of the Sixers' shooters. Our bench in particular was absolutely putrid, going a combined 0-12 from three, with Nik Stauskas's streak of consecutive games with a three snapped at 15 after his scoreless, 0-6 performance. (Five assists for Sauce, at least.) Jahlil posted a dominant stat line of 16 and 13 (on 8-10 shooting) but was again hapless on defense, ending a team-worst -19 for the night. And Dario Saric's slumping continued with a 1-5 shooting outing with no rebounds or assists, likely his worst game of the season. 

It was a surprisingly listless effort from a team that should have looked much sharper, and the most positive non-Joel-related thing to be said about it is that it's (sort of) nice to finally have expectations high enough to have them let down. It'll be a lot harder for Philly to let down tonight against the Celtics, without JoJo, against a pretty good and mostly healthy Boston team. But that's five losses in a row already for the improving Sixers, and it'd be nice to cut off that streak soon, before it starts threatening double digits -- we could certainly do with being done with those for the forseeable future.