How about that T.J. McConnell performance in Boston though?

How about that T.J. McConnell performance in Boston though?

It was the same game that it feels like the Process-era Philadelphia 76ers have blown about a half-dozen separate times to the Boston Celtics: Leading for much of the game, coughing up the lead late and then losing on a last-minute three-pointer. It was still an extremely well-fought game by the Sixers, considering that Boston hit a franchise-record 19 triples, but three wins in a row would've sounded a lot better than two W's and a moral victory. Final score: Celtics 110, 76ers 106. 

But T.J. McConnell, wow. A lot of Sixers played well in this game: Joel had 23 on 6-12 shooting before fouling out, Nerlens was awesome off the bench (13 and 8 with three blocks), Gerald Henderson returned to the lineup after a week off with 18 of the bench. The game ball undoubtedly goes to T.J., though, who racked up an astounding 17 assists in this one, to go with nine points, two steals and just two turnovers. It's obviously a career high, and something only one other Sixer this century has done -- the great Andre Miller, who collected 18 dimes in a 2008 win over Chicago. 

Though he mostly posted unremarkable numbers for the season's opening months when coming off the bench, T.J. has been borderline-electric as a starter for Philly. In four starts this season, he's averaging 10.5 points and 10.5 assists a game, shooting over 50% and losing the ball just over two times a game. The Sixers are also 3-1 in those games -- 6-24 elsewhere -- with that one loss coming by a sliver last night in Boston. (T.J. also had the highest plus-minus for the contest, finishing with a +10 on the night.) 

Of course, it's practically an annual tradition for the Sixers to get a new starting point guard and experience a surge in productivity around the new year -- Ish Smith, anybody? -- and it doesn't often last forever, as the league will learn how to better counter T.J.'s strengths and expose his weaknesses. (Expect a lot of open looks at three in weeks to come, and a lot of frustrating drives and even more frustrating bricks to ensue.) But considering how well the team is currently playing with him at the helm, and how erratic Sergio Rodriguez was as a starter, it's probably right that Timothy John should stay in the first five even when Rodriguez returns from his ankle sprain. He is part of the family, after all.

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

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USA Today Images

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

Forget about Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan. (Forget about Millville too — sorry, Mike Trout.)

Another South Jersey star athlete has his eyes on playing for a Philadelphia franchise someday.

Yes, we're talking about Carneys Point, New Jersey's very own, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

On a radio hit Friday with 94WIP's "Morning Show," Gaudreau expressed his interest in one day putting on the orange and black.

“It would be sweet to play [in Philadelphia] someday,” Gaudreau said. “You never know in sports, but it’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area.

“I’ve got a ton of family here, all my friends. All my friends come back here, all my good friends and kids that I’ve played with my whole life are from South Jersey.”

The problem is, "Johnny Hockey" has five years left on his six-year, $40.5 million contract extension he signed with Calgary signed before last season. 

In the final year of his contract, 2021-22, Gaudreau has a modified no-trade clause … and yep, the Flyers are reportedly on that list too.

Gaudreau, who turns 24 on Aug. 13, scored 18 goals and 61 points in 72 games last season with the Flames. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau has 73 goals and 204 points in 232 career games in Calgary.

The former Hobey Baker Award winner will be turning 29 when he's able to reach unrestricted free agency.

Could he be what Jeff Carter was to the Kings in 2012 to the Flyers in 2022?

Only time will tell.

H/t to Sportsnet.

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why do the Sixers always have to ruin everything?

First they get our hopes up with a draft and free agency period that actually involved picking good players who aren’t injured or committed to playing overseas. It was just what we’ve wanted for years: A complete rejection of the foul legacy of Sam Hinkie.

But then Markelle Fultz got hurt in Summer League, with an “ankle sprain” that I’m sure will heal properly and not cause any setbacks that might cause Fultz to sit out some or all of training camp, the pre-season, or his entire rookie year. I trust the Sixers’ medical staff. After all, they helped get us to where we are today.

Then the Sixers had the gall to charge fans to sign up for the season ticket waiting list -- if you ask me, after the last four years, season tickets should be free. Just about the Sixers have exciting players and might be better, they think they can charge more for tickets? That’s ridiculous!

Then something even worse happened: LeBron James, it appears, is FRIENDS with Ben Simmons. And based on that... we’re hearing LeBron might sign with the Sixers as a free agent next year.

NO. Absolutely not. Even though I’m usually more on his dad’s side when it comes to the Sixers, I agree with Spike Eskin: I’d rather lose a championship without LeBron than win one with him.

The reasons are simple. LeBron isn’t one of us. He’s not a Philly Guy. He’s not loyal. He’s from Ohio. He doesn’t get our lunchpail mentality. Remember The Decision? All the choking? And besides, when you win a championship with a big free agent, it doesn’t really count. If he wins with us, he'll just move on to the next team. 

And don’t you dare compare his chasing a ring with Pete Rose signing with the Phillies in 1979. That was totally different.

And most importantly, there's this:

Luckily, football season is about to start, and at least there’s some good news on that front. Ezekiel Elliott has been getting arrested at an Okafor-like clip. Chris Christie lied about tanning at a closed public beach, showing once again that Cowboys fans can’t be trusted with power. And free agent D’Angelo Williams announced that, because of how terrible their fans are, he would never sign with the Cowboys. Everything about them just screams 3-13.

The Eagles? Eh.

Other Philly sports takes:

I was with Iverson through the practice rants, his feuds with teammates and coaches, his sad alcoholism and throwing his naked wife out of the house. But skipping BIG3, here in Philly? He’s gone too far.

Ben Simmons, though, is the anti-Allen Iverson: He regularly produces highlight-reel excitement in practices, but never plays in games.

This Phillies team badly needs toughness, discipline and splittle-inflected rage. Yes, it needs Larry Bowa.

I’m all for the Phils trading for Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Then, all they have to do is trade all their remaining outfielders for Mike Trout.

Joel Embiid needs to stop putting his long-term health at risk with dangerous, risky stunts like standing in the crowd at the Home Run Derby.

A little presumptuous of Carson Wentz, founding a charitable foundation after just one year in the league. You have to EARN that.

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