Sunday at Aronimink: Rose Holds On

Sunday at Aronimink: Rose Holds On

On a blistering hot Sunday in Newtown Square, 54-hole leader Justin Rose fired an even par-70 to win the 2010 AT&T National. Rose, who started the day with a comfortable four shot lead, faced a series of late charges from his trailers. Ryan Moore turned in a -5 par-65 to finish in sole second, forcing Rose to par his last three holes to maintain his position. He did, and claims victory on tour for the second time in his last three starts. The finish vaults him into second in the somewhat meaningless "regular season" FedEx Cup standings. More importantly, his hot play as of late will create a lot of buzz heading into the British Open at St. Andrews in two weeks.

As for the larger event itself, I'm going to go ahead and declare the AT&T National's temporary move to the Delaware Valley a whopping success. The four day attendance figures pulled in just shy of 200,000 with the final tally coming in at 192,633. That number was 1,500 less than the preexisting record held in the Washington D.C./Maryland market at Congressional Country Club, the site of next year's U.S. Open. 

The fans didn't just show up and stand there with their hands in their pockets, however; the crowd was plenty boisterous and lively all week, especially the guys in the very last corporate hospitality tent on the 17th green on Sunday. Nice work, guys. And though it was a little disappointing to see the number of people on the course dwindle noticeably after Tiger finished his morning rounds on the weekend, the sheer number of spectators and the fervor with which they came, watched, and cheered should have the local golf community more than excited for the tournament's return next year and the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.

If you were for whatever reason unable to make it out to Aronimink this week, I recommend penciling it in on your calendar for next year. Anyone who makes the argument that golf is just too boring to follow should be reminded that Charlie Wi's missed putt on the 18th hole yesterday cost him a total of $65,000 in extra earnings. Lining someone up from eight-feet and telling them to putt for that kind of money, or in the case of our winner Justin Rose, $1.1 million, sounds like high drama to me. Furthermore, the circus that will continue to follow Tiger Woods for what, at least at this point, seems like the rest of his life is as compelling a story in sports as we have had in decades. And, fortunately for us, despite his on-going rehabilitation and reported $750,000,000 divorce settlement with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Elin, Tiger continues to play golf and wow us with unbelievable strokes of greatness like his approach shot to the par-5 9th yesterday. Highlights of the day can be seen below via PGATour.com.

In closing, I suppose it is somewhat ironic that an Englishman should win a tournament in this area on the 4th of July and be presented a replica Liberty Bell as an award for his accomplishments. Oh well, Justin may have won the battle, but we won the war. God Bless America.

(Photo by Stan Badz/PGATour) 

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”