Today in Philly Sports History: Sixers and Raptors Battle Without Iverson or Carter, 2002

Today in Philly Sports History: Sixers and Raptors Battle Without Iverson or Carter, 2002

Just a low-scoring time of the year, I guess. Nobody could ever fault the turn-of-the-century Sixers for being too run-and-gun in their methodology--only one player on the '02 Liberty Ballers even broke the millennium mark in points for the season, though that one player was NBA scoring leader Allen Iverson. Rather, those teams were more of a grind-it-out, defensive-oriented mindset, which resulted in a fair amount of wins, but also in a fair amount of gruesome pitchers' duels that just were none too pretty.

Such a contest was played on March 31st, 2002, when the Sixers welcomed an old foe back to town in the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers had dispatched the Raptors in an exceedingly tight seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals the previous year, with Iverson and Raptors superstar Vince Carter trading off 50-point games in one of the great scorer-on-scorer duels in recent playoff history. But here was the catch with this rematch--neither Iverson or Carter suited up for the game, leaving both clubs without their offensive focal point.

So what happens when two defensively-built clubs lose their only offensive firepower? Well, your teams score a combined 142 points and shoot an average of 39% from the field. No player on either side scored more than 16 points, and seven players racked up four or more fouls. The Raptors squeaked in two points' more worth of offense than the Sixers, and were able to escape with the 72-70 victory, dropping the reigning Eastern Conference champs to seventh in the standings. "Those guys woke up and decided they wanted to play," said guard Aaron McKie. "We laid down." A month later, Philly and Toronto would end disappointing seasons by
bowing out of the playoffs in the first round of action.

By the way, you're not seeing things in that above picture--that is indeed a photograph of eventual hall-of-famer Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, playing in his one and only season as a Toronto Raptor. The Rockets legend came off the bench (behind Eric Montross, insultingly enough) in the game and scored nine points on 4-8 shooting, as well as grabbing five boards in 17 minutes of action.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

The Sixers, who have an afternoon of cuts to make in order to get the regular season roster down to 15 before 5 p.m. on Monday, will waive guard Brandon Paul, according to a source.

Jake Fischer first reported the news. Paul has received interest from other NBA teams, per the source, and has not yet had talks about the D-League. 

Paul, 25, appeared in four preseason games for the Sixers. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three.

Paul recently shared with his challenges to pursue an NBA career.

The Sixers' roster stood at 20 after they signed Temple alum Dionte Christmas.

Cat Barber, Shawn Long and James Webb III also are expected to be waived and spend time in the Development League. Elton Brand announced his retirement and was waived last week.