A Story About Control: Game Three of Sixers-Celtics at WFC

A Story About Control: Game Three of Sixers-Celtics at WFC

It's a little amazing that even after dropping Game One -- a game that by all accounts, the Sixers could and (more arguably) should have won -- we were still able to leave Boston with a series split. The Sixers now have the chance to take control of the series with their two games at the WFC -- where they remain, incredibly, one of only three remaining teams (and the only one in the East) in the playoffs to be undefeated at home. It should be a difficult task, but not an impossible one, as the Sixers won their two games against Boston in Philly with minimal resistance, though both were against a tired, reeling Boston team were likely a lot less fired up than they should be tonight and on Friday.

What's it gonna take? Well, your guess is good as mine, really, since nothing about the first two games of this series have made all that much sense to me, but let's key on two positive trends from Games One and Two that we'd like to see continue in the City of Brotherly Love. First, that Paul Pierce remains thoroughly in check -- a combination of injuries and beastly Andre Iguodala defense have held The Truth to a combined 21 points on 25% shooting thusfar, a key weapon neutralized for the Celtics. Second, that Lavoy Allen continues to get in and get his, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds a game off the bench in this series and being the Sixers' most consistent post scrapper. (Lavoy has a 20.6 PER for the playoffs entire, by the way, by far the team's highest efficiency rating.)

As far as the smaller number of minutes Elton Brand and Thad Young have seen over the past couple games of the series, Doug Collins stressed he's going to put the guys who give his team the best chance to win on that given night on the floor. Elton and Thad have been banged up while Lavoy and co. have really stepped up.

"EB is a great teammate and so is Thad," Coach Collins said before tonight's game. "EB's has had a little bit of problems with that shoulder. Thad had a little bit of a sore ankle. I think anybody who would ever think I'm not going to play the guys that give us the best guys on a particular night doesn't know me very well. Or if anybody would have thought I don't play younger players… the end of game the other day we had Lavoy Allen on the floor guarding Kevin Garnett."

Time for Lavoy to man up once again, this time in front of his faithful Philly fans.

7:00 tip from Philly. It might've taken a round to do it, but hopefully the city is convinced that the team is really worth supporting this time, and will come out in droves for our first home game of the second round. Strength in numbers, we can get it right, one time. Go Sixers.

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One other quote worth noting from the pre game. Coach Collins was asked a question about his commentator days:

Carson Wentz further asserting himself as Eagles' leader in Year 2

Carson Wentz further asserting himself as Eagles' leader in Year 2

It's not like Carson Wentz wasn't a leader last year. 

He was. 

From the moment the No. 2 pick arrived at rookie camp in May, those leadership qualities the Eagles discovered during the pre-draft process were immediately on display. Wentz is a natural leader at a position that necessitates it. 

So in his rookie season, he led. 

"I thought that was all kind of natural, things naturally happened," Wentz said. "Yes, I was a rookie but I don't think that I was by any means quiet. I wasn't just the guy that rolled with the punches and went with it. I thought I was still doing my job as a leader as well. But the longer we're playing this game and the more experience we have, the more we can just step up our leadership as well."

If Wentz was a leader in his rookie season, he's really a leader now.  

Last year, he arrived to the Eagles' offseason after the whirlwind of the NFL draft and admitted on Tuesday that he "didn't really know where the locker room was." Hard to lead when you don't know where to get changed. 

And throughout last spring, he was the team's third-string quarterback preparing for a redshirt season until he was thrust into the starting role after the Sam Bradford trade, just a little over a week before the start of the season. 

A year sometimes makes a huge difference. 

This year, he's the guy, the face of the franchise, the unquestioned leader of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. 

"There’s definitely a poise about him," receiver Jordan Matthews said. "You can tell it’s not like last year when he was thrust into the position. He knows his role, he knows he’s the guy, and I think there’s a sense of confidence that comes with that, a sense of poise that he handles extremely well. I’m excited to see what he does this whole offseason and what we’re going to do moving forward."

Wentz is the Eagles' leader on and off the field. He's planning on getting together with his receivers and skills position players again this summer, something he thinks will become an annual trip. 

Earlier this month, Wentz took his offensive linemen out for a day of shooting guns and eating steaks (see story). He bought his entire line shotguns last Christmas. 

It might not seem like a summer get-together or a trigger-happy trip would help the Eagles on the field, but it might. After all, the team's being closer certainly won't hurt. And Wentz, 24, is the guy facilitating all of it. 

Then there's the way Wentz leads on the field. He's always had control of the huddle, but with more time in the offense, he knows what he wants. Center Jason Kelce said the more knowledge Wentz gains of the offense, the "more comfortable (he is) voicing [his] opinion." 

"And I think that he's definitely asserting his style on the offense," Kelce said. 

For the most part, Wentz had a pretty good season as a rookie, flourishing early, hitting a long rough patch, and then finding his way out of it. He ended up throwing for 3,782 yards and set an NFL record for completions as a rookie. 

The Eagles this year, and in the foreseeable future, will go as far as Wentz leads them. 

"They say the biggest jump is from year one to year two, so him just knowing what’s coming, he looks like a vet already," offensive tackle Lane Johnson said. "Pretty extraordinary."

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Shaq always has the trump card -- and by that we mean championship rings -- to throw in Charles Barkley's face. But with that said, Sir Charles is probably a much better trash talker and therefore has a superior mouth to defend himself with and throw barbs back in Shaq's direction.

The mouthy duo got into it a bit last night and it teetered between fun and lighthearted and a little personal.

Shaq attacks Chuck for only playing in one NBA Finals and therefore not really knowing what he was talking about. Charles claps back at Shaq for having ridden Kobe and Dwyane Wade's coattails. 

During an NBA playoffs that has been mostly boring, at least these two can still entertain us.