The Untankable Philadelphia 76ers

The Untankable Philadelphia 76ers

A week and a half ago, it looked like the Philadelphia 76ers' season was over. OK -- in competitive terms, the season was actually over a whole lot earlier than that, basically ever since the Sixers' medical staff first started pumping helium into Joel Embiid's knee in late January. But this season was never really about being competitive anyway, it was about being fun, and after back to back blowout losses at home to the middling Pistons and Bucks -- following two season-ending, spirit-crushing injuries and one permanently unjustifiable trade -- it looked like the WFC was officially closed for funness.

But the Sixers would not be permafrowned so easily. On a four-game road trip, they went 1-3, beating the Lakers, taking the Blazers to OT, and leading the NBA-best Warriors for most of the second half. And last night, upon returning to Broad Street to host their old friend Nerlens Noel and his new-look Dallas Mavericks squad, they won by an unthinkable 42 points -- the largest margin of victory in either direction for a Sixers game this season, and their most supersized W since the Gordan Giricek era. And it was fun-un-un-unnnnnn. 

Let's start with this: It was a "bad" Dario Saric game, and he still ended up with 10-7-5, a steal, a block and no turnovers in 26 minutes. He was one of seven Sixers to end in double figures, including Robert Covington scoring 18 on eight shots, Sergio Rodriguez putting up 13 on a perfect 5-5 shooting night, and Richaun Holmes pitching in 17 in 19 minutes. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot hit double digits for the third straight game and finished an unthinkable +40 for the night. Justin Anderson tied a career high with a game-best 19 against his former squad, including a putback dunk that left even the Flight Squad stupefied. 

But first and foremost, the game was won on the defensive end. T.J., TLC and RoCo proved a devastating combo against the Mavs' wings, absolutely smothering the perimeter and allowing virtually no separation or penetration. Dirk Nowitzki flared up from the outside early, but still ended with just 10 for Dallas, and he was by far the high man in their starting five, with the other four combining for just 18 points and one lone three-pointer accounted for among them. The Sixers took off in the third quarter and just kept going, running Dallas straight out of the gym. 

Needless to say this was not what anyone expected from the evening -- least of all poor Nerlens, who was given a nice video tribute a day after buying cheesesteaks for the entirety of the Delaware Valley, and had a spirited exchange of mutual appreciation with the Philly Phaithful in the building last night. But he certainly would've expected to log more than 18 minutes during his big homecoming game, and despite playing the most competently of any non-Dirk Mav (9-5-3 with a block and steal in his limited PT), he was unable to stave off garbage time and sat most of the second half. 

What's more, the loss almost certainly knocks Dallas out of playoff contention, dropping them to 29-39, four games behind the surging Denver Nuggets with a long, tough road trip still to go. Sorry, Nerlens -- looks like Philly's gonna keep you out of the playoffs this season one way or the other. Hopefully, we can give you a kind of honorary Process Ring when this team is winning in the finals five (or 105) years from now. In the meantime, we wouldn't say we've moved on just yet, but it looks like we've playing the field again -- and playing to win -- at the very least.

Markelle Fultz's NBA draft shoes are made out of basketballs

Markelle Fultz's NBA draft shoes are made out of basketballs

It's gotta be the shoes.

(And no, not Big Baller Brand.)

Markelle Fultz represents his alma mater well with his NBA draft attire. The inside of his suit jacket pays homage to his Huskies and even includes a hashtag, F2G: Faithful to the Grind. 

But Spike Lee would be happy to know Fultz's shoes are the best part of his draft-day duds.

Bellemare posts heartfelt message to Flyers and their fans

Bellemare posts heartfelt message to Flyers and their fans

Departing an organization via the expansion draft is an odd thing. A player's team didn't choose to send him packing per se. They also didn't protect you, but they literally have a whole list of guys they didn't protect.

It's not exactly a knock on your skill or the way a team sees you in their longterm plans.

So it's no surprise Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had kind words for the team and city he now departs.

The Vegas Golden Knights selected Bellemare to be one of their original players on Wednesday. He took time out of his day today to thank the Flyers and their fans.

He posted a photo of himself skating in the orange and black with a big smile on his face with the following caption:

You never know what life can bring you, thats why I try to enjoy every second of it! This is a perfect picture to represent my awesome time as a Flyer, playing with great teammates, for this unbelievable organisation and even more unbelievable fans!!!
Thanks for the love and support Philly
#Bellsy78out

Flyers fans will likely wish him the best of luck on his new squad.