Sixers Go For Season's Best Fourth Straight Against Memphis

Sixers Go For Season's Best Fourth Straight Against Memphis

The curse of two finally broken, the Sixers have officially matched their season-high winning streak, of, uh, three. The win in Toronto did not come easy (not as easy as I'd have liked, anyway), but thanks to another strong bench effort, the Sixers were able to finally get separation in the fourth quarter, and ended up winning by a comfortable 107-94 final. Marreese Speights broke through from another underwhelming season with a season-and-team-high 23 points on 10-12 shooting, and Jrue Holiday had his ninth double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 assists.

Philly can really send this streak into the stratosphere with an unprecedent fourth consecutive victory tonight, against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. Is it feeling like 2008 again in here or what??

The Grizz, who are 20-22 and currently scrapping for the largely-available 8th seed in the Western Conference, come to the Wells Fargo Center with a fair amount of baggage. Third-year guard O.J. Mayo has capped what has already been something of a nightmare season--getting moved to a sixth-man role on the bench, making headlines with a card-game-fight with a teammate on the team plane, being involved in countless trade rumors--with a ten-game suspension for testing positive for steroid DHEA, which Mayo claims he didn't know was illegal when he took in an over-the-counter supplement. Go figure.

The loss of Mayo is a harsh blow to an already highly undermanned Grizzlies bench. Luckily, this is a problem the Sixers have needed not concern themselves with this year, as their second unit has emerged not only as a team strength, but likely one of the best in the league. All four players off the bench scored in double-digits against the Raptors, including Speights's 23, 15 from Lou Williams, and Evan Turner's second-straight strong all-around effort (ten points, five boards, three dimes, including the game-highlight oop to Speights). It's at the point now where I've learned to be patient with the team's performance until that bench unit comes in--especially against a hurting bench like the Raptors' or Grizzlies'--and have the confidence that they'll either get us back in the game or create some much-needed separation.

7:00 tip from the WFC. And happy birthday to our own Andre Iguodala, who turns 27 years old today. Take it away, Evan:

Evan Turner, now available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

(From Twitvid)

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.