Watching the Svelte 1987 Version of Charles Barkley with the Rounder 2010 Version

Watching the Svelte 1987 Version of Charles Barkley with the Rounder 2010 Version

"I tried to stay here and tough it out. But the Sixers were just a crappy organization," Charles Barkley said. "Never had a chance in Philadelphia."

Prior to appearing on Daily News Live on Monday evening, Charles Barkley sat down with Neil Hartman to watch a tape of the March 11, 1987 game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls. Chuck and Neil's commentary of the game will air as the second episode of Philly Sports
Classics
on Wednesday, July 14th at 8:00 pm on The Comcast Network.

Michael Jordan finished that game with 49 points, but as Sir Charles pointed out, MJ did so by taking 34 shots. Chuck on the other hand finished with 31 points but was much more efficient having taken only 12 shots.

I had the opportunity to sit in on the taping and listen to Charles analyze his own skills as well as the guys he played alongside. Barkley was his typical self, sharp with both his analysis and wit. "Trust me, we were not gonna design a play to get David Wingate to go one-on-one with Michael Jordan," he said after Wingate made an awful attempt to score on MJ.

Charles was effusive with his praise of Michael Jordan, repeatedly calling him the best basketball player to ever play the game, as well as former teammate Mo Cheeks. John Stockton was the best point guard Chuck has ever seen play, but Mo was the best he ever had the chance to play with. Even in his praise of Cheeks, Charles remained hilarious, "He could only see out of one eye. That's the eye that had Dr. J in it."

Sitting in a conference room in the Comcast offices at the Wachovia Center, watching Charles Barkley crack jokes at the current Sixers head coach -- "Sweet little perm Doug Collins has there. You still think he got that
today?" -- it got me wondering if there is anyone who you would rather watch an NBA game with than the Round Mound of Rebound?

If you want to see what it's like to analyze a game with Chuck, you can tune in to TCN on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm. Charles even got one "turrible" on film when describing one of his own passes.

"Philadelphia is a very special place. I came here as a boy and I left here like a man. It's a great city... if you're playing well," Barkley said.

Barkley performed very well on Monday. Definitely worth checking out the taping tomorrow on the slowest sports day of the year.

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

ap-temple.jpg
The Associated Press

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

After winning its first American Athletic Conference championship Saturday, Temple learned its postseason fate Sunday and it does not involve a New Year's Six bowl game.

The Owls will play Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple also finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and No. 23 in the AP poll.

At 10-3, Temple has its first back-to-back 10-win season in program history. It's also the first time the Owls have been ranked in consecutive seasons. Head coach Matt Rhule now has 28 wins as Temple's head coach, tying him with Bruce Arians' for the sixth-most in school history.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers (13-10-3) at Predators (11-8-4)
6 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

The Flyers have won a season-high four games in a row. They'll try to make it five Sunday night when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the second game of a back-to-back set.

Let's take a look at five things you need to know.

1. Streaking like 2014?
Not only do the Flyers have a chance to extend their season-best winning streak, but they're also looking to win their most consecutive games since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five straight.

The Flyers have put up strong showings in the back ends of back-to-backs, going 4-1-1 thus far.

“You just have to have the work ethic night in and night out," Steve Mason said Saturday after the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. "And, I think we were struggling to find that. There are games when we were swarming and giving teams no other option, and other nights we were chasing the puck.

"We have another tough test going to Nashville to play. So, we’re going to have to follow up with another great effort.” 

2. A Provorov encore?
Ivan Provorov's confidence has to be at his highest of the season.

In Saturday's win, the 19-year-old blueliner scored two goals in a 31-second span to double his goal total through the first 25 games.

Provorov said he thinks defense first, but the offensive production is a good sign.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster."

3. Predators finding stride
After losing eight of their first 11 games, Peter Laviolette's Predators have gotten on track, going 8-3-1 since.

Nashville ranks in the top half of the league in goals per game (3.00 — tied for fifth), goals against per game (2.61 — 15th), power-play percentage (22.6 — sixth) and penalty-kill percentage (84.5 — 10th).

Last time out, the Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the third period for a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, so they should be extra focused.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: On Saturday, Brayden Schenn scored just his second goal in his past 18 games. Schenn can be streaky so maybe he feeds off that goal. He's also a career plus-4 against the Predators, with two goals and three assists in eight games.

Predators: Let's go P.K. Subban, who isn't exactly a favorite among Flyers fans. He's off to a nice start in his first season in Nashville with six goals and 10 assists, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is 7-7-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 career games against the Predators.

• Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is 3-2-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Claude Giroux is four assists away from passing Rick MacLeish (369) and Eric Lindros (369) for fifth on the Flyers’ all-time list.