Photo: Adidas' 2013 NBA All-Star Jerseys Are 'Aeronautical'

Photo: Adidas' 2013 NBA All-Star Jerseys Are 'Aeronautical'

You know -- well done.

Certainly an improvement from last year, where the semi-muted, dark-light-color pattern from top-to-bottom was just drab and runny.

The colors on the 2013 jerseys are brighter and the design sharper.

Some good work out of Adidas, who was apparently concerned with being appropriately Houston-y, so obviously planes.

From NBA.com (via probasketballtalk):

Designed by adidas, the uniforms take inspiration from Houston's rich
aeronautical history and the speed of the jet planes that dot its
skies. The uniforms' eye-catching impact camo pattern evokes the world's
fastest fleet of aircraft with the classic silhouette of a basketball
net.

Can't, uh, can't say that really jumped out at me on first look, but alright, what else you got?

Players will take to the court in black-and-white aviator-style NBA All-Star warm-ups featuring metal zippers made with a similar anodized finish used on airplanes. Each player's jacket will be customized to represent individual career accomplishments such as NBA All-Star Game appearances and All-Star MVP awards, NBA titles, in addition to regular season awards and Scoring Championships.

Needless to say, I'm now foregoing all non-anodized zippered clothing. As for the jerseys, I'm a fan, especially of the East's blue.

Would you buy one if Jrue Holiday's name winds up on the back? Starters for the 2013 game will be announced Thursday, Jan. 17 (tomorrow).

All this talk about planes makes for a super convenient excuse embed NMH.


Temple uses potent rushing attack to blow past SMU in AAC opener

usa-temple-matt-rhule.jpg
USA Today Images

Temple uses potent rushing attack to blow past SMU in AAC opener

It was almost like the gray, gloomy sky hovering above Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon was going to be some type of bad omen for Temple in its AAC opener against SMU.
 
After all, the Owls’ first two drives ended in a pick-six and a three-and-out that produced all of five yards.
 
But after a strategically placed punt off the back of an SMU player’s leg worked in the Owls’ favor, something clicked.
 
Unlike the sun, Temple’s offense finally broke through. And the Owls have a potent rushing attack to thank for it.
 
Sophomore Ryquell Armstead rushed for a career-high 159 yards and two touchdowns and senior Jahad Thomas added 80 yards and two touchdowns of his own to help the Owls blow past overmatched SMU, 45-20, and set the defense of their AAC East crown off on the right foot (see Instant Replay).
 
Afterward, the calming effect the successful run game had Saturday wasn’t lost on Temple head coach Matt Rhule.
 
“When had some things we wanted to get to,” Rhule said. “We had a bunch of plays we really liked. The wildcat (with freshman Isaiah Wright) was one of them. The two-back runs and then some of the play-action. The first part didn’t turn out so well, so we went to the wildcat and the two-back stuff and were able to get settled down a little bit.
 
“Any time we rush for 244 yards, we’re excited.”
 
After one of Alex Starzyk’s tricky rugby style punts worked to perfection and the Owls recovered at SMU’s 42-yard line, Temple ran the ball down the Mustangs’ throat on six of the next seven plays, the last of which was a 12-yard scamper by Thomas that tied the game early in the first.
 
That touchdown sent Temple coasting, as the Owls went on to score 35 unanswered points.
 
“We established the run game early,” said Thomas, who now has six rushing touchdowns in three games since returning from a dislocated left thumb that cost him the first two games of the season. “We kind of usually go with what’s hot and what’s working. So we were able to get Ryquell and me in and break out some runs early.
 
“We were running the ball pretty successfully, so that’s what we stuck with. We didn’t go in and change anything. Nothing magical happened. We started to just lock in and focus on the little details.”

While Thomas may get most of the attention, Armstead used Saturday as the latest chance to display his talents.
 
Not only were his 159 yards a career-high, they were the most gained by a Temple player since Thomas reeled off 199 in a game against UCF last October. He also had three carries of over 30 yards (31, 33, 37). He’s now tied with Thomas for the team lead with six touchdowns on the season.
 
“That was by far the best game I ever played and it showed,” said Armstead, who had 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns as a freshman last season. “It’s meaningful for me because I’ve been working so hard this offseason. I’ve been showing little outbursts but I haven’t been breaking big runs like I do in practice. So to finally show it in a game is wonderful for me.”
 
“I just thought he was really patient and picked up the blitzes,” Rhule said of Armstead. “I think you’re seeing a guy who’s really coming of age.”
 
The stat sheet says the Owls finished with 244 rushing yards Saturday. But take away the 26 yards in sacks senior quarterback Phillip Walker took, and it was truthfully 260 yards.
 
And, truthfully, the Owls need the rushing attack to hit Saturday, and not just because of poor field conditions from a Beyoncé concert and soaking rains earlier in the week.
 
They needed the rushing game to produce because Walker had a miserable afternoon.
 
The four-year starter went just 7 for 18 for 124 yards, a touchdown and two ugly interceptions.
 
The first pick was one of the easiest SMU corner Jordan Wyatt will ever have, as Walker locked in on his receiver to the outside and made a poor throw Wyatt read and brought home 35 yards to open the scoring. The second pick was another poor decision as, instead of throwing the ball out of bounds, Walker forced a ball into tight coverage that SMU’s Horace Richardson easily intercepted. Both picks led to points for the Mustangs.
 
Rhule mentioned he thought Walker was trying to do too much on both of the interceptions.
 
The Temple defense did more than its fair share to help pick up the slack, though.
 
The Owls’ defenders harassed SMU freshman quarterback Ben Hicks all afternoon with four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Senior Haason Reddick caused both of those fumbles with bone-jarring hits that will have Hicks seeing him in his nightmares. Romond Deloatch returned one of Hicks’ fumbles for an eight-yard touchdown that made the score 35-7 in the second quarter. The Owls’ four sacks Saturday almost equaled their total for the season (five) coming into the game. Courtland Sutton, SMU’s dynamic receiver, was held to four catches for 43 yards.
 
SMU’s offense came into Saturday’s meeting averaging 448 yards of offense. The Mustangs could only muster 288 total yards in their first visit to Philadelphia since 1946.
 
“We knew that we had more of a pocket passer than someone who was more of duel-threat runner, so we that we could go out there and pass rush a little bit more,” Reddick said. “We’re hitting hard on the details, making sure everyone is doing the job and we are getting results like tonight.”
 
While all phases may not have been pretty, the Owls accomplished what they set out to do Saturday by setting a tone for the remaining seven AAC games.
 
But that physical, dominating tone gets tested Thursday as a short-week trip to Memphis quickly approaches.
 
Deloatch does it all
Whatever Temple needs him to do, Deloatch can do it. And do it well.
 
Temple’s two-way Mr. Versatility had 34 receiving yards Saturday and had the fumble return touchdown that he scooped up by palming the football like a basketball. His reception was originally ruled a touchdown, but he was ruled down at the 1-yard line after a review. So he was a yard away from scoring on both sides of the ball.
 
“They called my name, I went out there made plays and tried to help my team win,” said Deloatch, who wore a Temple-branded superhero cape during his postgame availability.
 
“I’m happy for him,” Reddick said of his teammate. “He has come a long way and I’m glad to that his hard work is paying off.”
 
Injury updates
All the news was not good news for Temple Saturday.
 
Junior safety Sean Chandler, the leader of Temple’s secondary, could miss anywhere from three weeks to the entire season with a knee injury suffered last week in the win over Charlotte. As a corner last season, the Camden, New Jersey, native had 65 total tackles and four interceptions. This season, his first at safety, Chandler has 23 total tackles and a pick. His absence could be a huge blow to the Owls’ defense.
 
Defensive linemen senior Sharif Finch and redshirt junior Julian Taylor will miss the rest of the year with knee injuries. 

Howard homers, embraces the moment, looks forward to final salute Sunday

Howard homers, embraces the moment, looks forward to final salute Sunday

BOX SCORE

The New York Mets and a slew of their supportive fans took over Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon. The Mets posted a 5-3 win over the Phillies and streamed out of the dugout like school children at recess to celebrate clinching a National League wild-card playoff spot on the penultimate day of the season (see Instant Replay).

As the Mets players congratulated each other on the diamond, several thousand of their vocal fans cheered in the stands while Phillies fans headed to the exits longing for those days when their team used to have celebrations on the field.

There was a moment in the game, however, when it did feel like the good ol’ days at the ballpark, a moment when Ryan Howard owned the place like he used to and the Phillies fans drowned out the Mets fans with ease.

It came in the fifth inning when the Phillies were down by two runs and Howard came to the plate and turned on a pitch from Bartolo Colon and sent it into the right-field seats for a game-tying two-run home run. Phillies fans had seen Howard hit homers like this before because many of the 382 he has hit in his career have been clutch shots that have come in big moments, and though the Phillies have long been dead in the standings, this was an important game and thus a big moment because the Mets had a lot to play for and no competitor worth his salt would let another team walk on him.

The game didn’t stay tied long as reliever Patrick Schuster allowed a hit and a wild pitch in the top of the sixth before David Hernandez surrendered a two-run homer to James Loney as the Mets went up for good.

But at least Howard gave the Phillies fans in the house something to cheer about for a short while.

“It was cool,” Howard acknowledged after the game. “I was able to hit the home run, tying the game up. I tried to spoil it for them today a little bit, but they got us, and you’ve got to congratulate those guys because they scratched and clawed and did what they needed to do. That’s a good ball club.”

Howard’s home run, of course, was cool for another reason.

It might have been his last as a Phillie.

This is the veteran slugger’s final weekend with the team he helped win the 2008 World Series and a little love-in has developed between him and the fans. They gave him a standing ovation after the homer – his 25th of the season – and he responded with a curtain call.

“It was awesome,” he said. “To be able to hit the home run in the first place and then get the curtain call. To have the fans show that kind of appreciation is a great feeling.”

The Phillies will not pick up Howard’s contract option for 2017. On Sunday afternoon, he will play his final game for the Phillies. First pitch is at 3 p.m. The team will make an on-field presentation to Howard at 2:30.

Howard doesn’t know what the team has planned.

“I’m just going to show up and see what happens,” he said. “You know, I think it’ll be something cool. We’ll see what it is. Whatever it brings, I'll embrace it and take it and enjoy it."
 
Howard had spent the previous few days stiff-arming the attention that has come with his final days as a Phillie.

He put his guard down a little after Saturday’s game.

“I’m just taking the weekend as is,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy it, trying to embrace everything and take it as is. I’m not trying to look too much into anything. Actually, I’m just trying to go out there and win these ballgames. I mean, I’ve said it before, things will hit you when they hit you.”

The Phillies have not been to the playoffs since 2011, their last of five straight trips to the postseason. If anyone needed a reminder of what it used to look like around here, it was on the field after the game in the form of the Mets’ celebration.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin did not watch the Mets celebrate. He’s waiting to experience a celebration of his own.

“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to get back where we need to be and we’re going to be one of those teams, just like the Mets are now,” Mackanin said.

Howard will turn 37 in November. He is the elder statesman on this club and he’s embraced that role in his dealings with younger players.

He used the Mets’ celebration as an opportunity to pass on some advice to the men who are his teammates for one more day.

“You never want to see somebody else celebrate on your home field, but for these young guys it's something where once you’ve seen it, you want to be those guys," Howard said. "When you see the other team out there, you want to be that guy next year. You want to be out there celebrating on your home field or somebody else's field.

“It's tough, but you take that and find a way to use that as motivation.”