The Fightins: Flyers Quotes After the Battle With Ottawa

The Fightins: Flyers Quotes After the Battle With Ottawa

The Flyers were naturally somewhat upbeat after their 6-2 fight-filled win over the Senators at home last night, marking their eighth win in nine games since the new year started. And, just as naturally, a lot of the questions being asked by the reporters in the locker room focused on the five third period fights that will be the most memorable part of the game. Intentionally or not, some the quotes they got out of the Flyers were pretty hilarious. 

Claude Giroux was one of two entirely surprising combatants in this one, and we'll get this post started with what he had to say about throwing down:

Why so many fights in this one?
"Oh there were a couple hits and I don't know, the fans like it and it's a good time."

How many fights did you have?

"Maybe eight or ten. I don't really fight. When I get pissed off at something, I try finding the smallest guy on the other team and go fight him."

Did Carter jump in to try and defend you?

"I don't know, I'm not too sure what happened. Two guys kind of jumped me and Cartsy had to jump in. But I just felt like I had to stick up for myself."

Carter was a man of few words, but his quotes were also pretty funny:

How long had it been since you've been in a fight?
"A couple years."

Yeah, how did it feel out there?

"It was all right."

Do you remember your last one? Ryan Whitney?
"Yep."
 
It was a sleeper until the third and all those fights... why so many fights?
"I don't know."

Just felt like it?
"I wasn't doing much else out there. I figured I'd do something."

What were you thinking when you went after Winchester, was that because of two guys jumping Claude?

"Yeah, I mean you have to get in there and do something."

Amen.

The captain had a great night on the ice, with two goals and two assists, but Richie wasn't among the five fighters, and he was pretty clear that he didn't want to talk about fights after the game. 

Why so many fights?
“I don’t know.  You’ll have to ask the guys who fought.”

Why didn’t you fight?
“I don’t like fighting.  I was on the bench.”

Jeff Carter doesn’t fight ever either.
“He gets a couple.  I don’t know.  He’s tough.”

It didn’t look like he had been in a fight in a while out there.
“Tell him that.”

Wellll okay then... Moving right along... (Richie's quotes on everything not related to the fights were more substantive, he was just clearly uninterested in talking about other people's fights.)

Even Sergei Bobrovsky had to answer fight questions though:

Did you hear the “goalie fight” chant at the end of the game?
“I did not hear it.”

Did you feel left out with all that fighting going on?
“Well, everyone had a couple so I don’t know where I would fit in.”

Have you ever been in a fight?
“No.”

 

Pronger wasn't shy about answering:

Are you disappointed that you didn’t get to drop the gloves?
“Well there were an awful lot of them out there.  We answered, they were running around and we answered them.”

 

You know that feeling you had when you saw Claude Giroux's bare hands flying toward a helmet? Peter Laviolette was right there with ya:

Peter, what’s going through your mind, on the bench, when you see your skill guys (Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter) throwing punches?
“Probably not something you want to see on a regular basis when it comes to those guys. But you never know what every game has in store for you. Guys were pretty competitive in the third period to make sure we got a win.  It’s just the way the game happened and I thought our guys did a great job.”

 Do you worry (when you see something like that)?
 “I think you are always worried when you see something like that.  That’s part of the game; you have to take things as they come and that’s what happened tonight.  That’s the way they played.  Like I said, I think we did a good job in the third period tonight.”

 

For videos of the carnage and a complete recap, click here

AP Photo

Robert Covington, Sixers show 'swagger' without Joel Embiid in comeback win

Robert Covington, Sixers show 'swagger' without Joel Embiid in comeback win

BOX SCORE

The Sixers began the season looking lost without Joel Embiid. Now they are finding ways to win when he is not on the court. 

Embiid suffered a left knee contusion in the second half of Friday’s 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers (see story). He was sidelined for the decisive 8:50 of the game (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers trailed, 81-78, when he subbed out for the second time because of the injury, and outscored the Trail Blazers, 15-11, from that point on.

So how was this team that battled with inconsistency and reliance on Embiid able to pull out a comeback win punctuated in the final seconds? Ask the Sixers and they’ll give varying answers, a sign they are getting the job done in multiple ways and aren’t relying on just one key to success.

The most glaring difference was the hero of the game. Robert Covington drained two three-pointers in the final 40 seconds. His trey from Dario Saric with 38.2 remaining cut the Trail Blazers' lead to just one, 91-90. With 4.5 to go, he nailed the game-winning three from T.J. McConnell to give the Sixers their eighth victory in 10 games (see feature highlight).

“That’s resilient Cov,” Nerlens Noel said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a good shot or a bad shot; he’ll pull it in your face. That’s the confidence he has and that’s the confidence we need him to have. He steps up and makes two big shots like that, that’s enough said. He won us that game.”

Critics have called out Covington’s up-and-down performance from three all season. (They’ve made their feelings known with loud boos at home games.) Covington shot 5 for 12 behind the arc on the night but his 2 for 3 performance in the fourth was what mattered most. 

“I am a fighter, that’s what I have been my whole life,” he said. “Just because fans are booing me at one point doesn't mean anything. I just keep working. I am not going to let that deteriorate my game. It goes in one ear and out the other.”

Without Embiid in the game, the Sixers had to rely on a total team effort. After he went to the bench, the final points were scored by a combination of Covington, Gerald Henderson, Noel, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and McConnell.

“Ball movement,” head coach Brett Brown said. “We had 25 assists out of 36 made baskets. It’s not like we’re going to give the ball to Damian Lillard (guard for the Blazers). That’s not who we are. Whatever we do, it has to be done by committee, by a group, by a team. It’s even more exposed when Joel isn’t in the game. They did that. Unlikely people ended up with the ball sometimes in unlikely spots. … You have to move the ball. That’s what the team has learned without Joel.” 

Several of the players on the court in critical moments were from the second unit. Since Brown locked in on his rotation, the reserves don’t have a drop-off in confidence from the starters. 

“It’s the mentality,” Covington said. “Everybody has that swagger about us right now because once Joel comes out, the next person steps in and fills that void. It’s a matter of that contagious feeling that trickles into the second unit that’s making us that much more valuable.”

Then there's always defense, the foundation of any solid NBA team and a focal point for the Sixers. Noel saw that as the difference-maker when subbing in and out. The Trail Blazers scored just two points in the final 1:56. 

"The second unit goes there and does a great job guarding the yard, not letting up easy baskets," Noel said. "The offensive side is fluid motion. Guys get shots, pick-and-roll, it opens up open threes for guys, driving lines, pump fakes, it’s a great unity."

Embiid liked what he saw from a distance. He will not travel with the team to their game on Saturday against the Hawks in Atlanta. 

"I’m just happy we’ve been closing out games, and the main thing I’m really happy [about] is they’ve been able to do it without me," he said. "That’s going to give us a lot of confidence when I’m missing back-to-backs. My teammates are going to have more confidence to come in and play the same way."

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Of the nearly 20,000 people in the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, Joel Embiid was seemingly the least concerned when he came down and injured his left knee. 

Fans held their breath and the Sixers looked on anxiously as the standout big man got up in visible discomfort and limped off the court (see highlights). Embiid, however, wasn’t worried. 

“I knew it was OK. I just landed the wrong way,” he said after the Sixers' 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers (see Instant Replay). “I’m great. The knee’s fine. They did an MRI and stuff, everything looked good.”

Embiid ran off the court on his own, was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and was cleared to return to the game. He aggravated his knee again driving to the basket and this time, the team held him out to be careful.

“The review is that he hyperextended his left knee,” head coach Brett Brown said. “There was a minor tweak again, and for precautionary reasons only, the doctors did not allow him to return. There will be more information given as we know it. But quickly, that's what we know.”

Embiid understood the team’s decision to sideline him for the final 8:50 while the Sixers went on a comeback run (see feature highlight). He still finished the game with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, five assists and four blocks in only 22 minutes.

“Obviously those guys, the front office, they care about my future, so they just shut it down,” Embiid said. “But I was fine.”

Embiid will not travel to Atlanta for Saturday’s game against the Hawks (pre-scheduled rest). He expects to be available for Tuesday’s home matchup against the Clippers. 

"You know how tough he is," Nerlens Noel said. "If it isn’t anything serious, he’ll be right back. At the end of the game, he was telling me was he was feeling great and there was no pain. He wanted to come back in the game … he’s a trooper. He always gives it his all and always plays hard."

Injuries to any player are worrisome, especially a franchise centerpiece with two years of rehab (foot) behind him. The Sixers have been methodical and cautious with his playing time. Embiid is on a 28-minute restriction and can play in only one game of a back-to-back series. 

The same player who is so closely watched, though, also plays with sky-high energy that doesn’t have a brake pedal. 

“You're concerned,” Brown said of seeing Embiid get injured. “It's clear to all of us that he plays with such reckless abandon. I think that we're all going to be seeing this and feeling this regularly. From flying into stands to stalking somebody in the open court to block a shot to the collision he often is in trying to draw fouls. That's just who he is. 

“I think that as he just plays more basketball and continues to grow, to not necessarily avoid those situations, just to perhaps manage them a little bit more. Right now, he's just a young guy that's just playing that doesn't know what he doesn't know and has a fearless approach underneath all that attitude.”

Fearless is an accurate description considering Embiid's trouble-free reaction to the awkward way his leg bent (he hadn’t seen a replay). 

“I kind of had that in college, too,” he said. “I think I’m flexible, so it’s supposed to happen.”