The Sixers era under Mo Cheeks is off to a slow start. A.I. is lighting it up but the team is struggling defensively and can't seem to get others involved offensively. Steven Hunter has impressed me but hopefully Sammy's healing up nicely and will get back on the court in the next week or so.
Pistons pummel hapless Sixers [DN]:
Once again last night, the Sixers were unable to get anyone not named Allen Iverson or Chris Webber involved in the offense. Once again, their defense was ineffective in guarding a pair of long, swift and talented wing players. Once again, they got pounded on the boards.
Sixers Taken To School [Inky]:
"My mother was, like, 'I don't care what you say about basketball, I want you to get an education,' '' Chris Webber was saying last night, before a harsh 108-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons and after an emotional morning ceremony during which his jersey was retired at Country Day.
The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.
T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C.
McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.
The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.
The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.
Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.
Traveling to Milwaukee means a return to where Ersan Ilyasova began his NBA career.
Twelve years later, it also means a return to his family when the Sixers visit the Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
Ilyasova planted roots in Milwaukee during his seven seasons with the Bucks, who drafted him in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft. Though he has played for four teams since the Bucks traded him to the Pistons in the summer of 2015, Ilyasova has maintained a home base in the city he adopted after coming to the NBA from Europe.
“I kind of grew up there,” he said. “It’s a lot of time spent.”
Ilyasova’s lengthy tenure with his first team - which doesn’t always happen in the NBA - afforded him and his family the time to make Milwaukee their home.
His wife and three young children (daughters ages eight and five years old and son age three years old) have remained there while Ilyasova has moved around the league frequently. He has been a member of the Pistons, Magic, Thunder and Sixers in a matter of two seasons.
“It’s a huge thing,” Ilyasova said. “I haven’t seen the girls for two months now - a lot of Skype and FaceTime. I see my son, he flies back and forth with my wife.”
The Sixers flew to Milwaukee on Sunday from Washington, D.C. after Saturday night's loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ilyasova planned to stay at his house and catch up on the time he has missed while being away from his family. This includes missed time during the holidays while the team was on a west coast road trip.
“It’s always really exciting,” Ilyasova said. “They’re counting the days when I will come. They’re all excited to come to the game.”
Another highlight of being back in Milwaukee? A home-cooked meal.
“They’re already preparing it,” Ilyasova said. “It’s duck with apples in it.”