Tough Last Second Loss

Tough Last Second Loss

I was lucky enough to get a chance to watch Philly play this weekend in person.  Unfortunately, they lost in the final seconds of the 4th quarter.  My pictures from the game are after the jump.

That's right.  I got free tickets to the Sixers preseason game at the Wachovia Center against the Knicks on Saturday night.  They lost to a buzzer beater with 1 second left.  This may have been the emptiest I've ever seen the Wachovia Center.  The Sixers can't beat teams from Spain and they can't beat the Knicks.  This is not good.

Marbury covering A.I.  I'm using the word 'covering' lightly here.

The Hoops Jones says Iggy is going to be the breakout player of the year in the East.

The Sixers are not going to be very good this year.  Nope.

Another solid effort for Flyers not enough in loss to NHL-best Capitals

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Another solid effort for Flyers not enough in loss to NHL-best Capitals

BOX SCORE

You see it in their faces. Feel it in their voices.
 
And you wonder how it affects them night after night.
 
The Flyers played another pretty solid loss, as they say, Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals at Wells Fargo Center.
 
A lot closer than 4-1 makes it appear (see Instant Replay). It was a lot like that solid loss last week in Calgary, too.
 
“Maybe a little bit similar,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our effort was good start to finish. There’s always a couple mistakes you make you want to clean up and do better. I thought tonight we had more opportunities than we did in the Calgary game.”
 
They had more goals, too. Except two got taken away.
 
One for goalie interference. The other hit the crossbar and even after a long celebration and delay, was ruled no good.
 
That’s been the Flyers’ no-luck this season. It’s all gone wrong for them as their wild-card aspirations slip further away.
 
“It’s very frustrating,” team captain Claude Giroux said. “Same story. We need to find a way here. We say the same thing after each game. I like the way we’re playing.
 
“We played a good hockey game, not good enough. We have a challenge in front of us. In the past, we’ve been a team that doesn’t back down. We have to keep our heads high and battling.”
 
The Flyers had the right approach, coming out fast and aggressive on the Caps. In fact, Jakub Voracek scored 23 seconds into the game during a net scrum.
 
Thing was, Caps coach Barry Trotz correctly saw goalie interference as Dale Weise actually pushed Braden Holtby aside. It was an easy coach’s challenge to overturn the goal and that’s what happened.
 
Weise was beside himself after the game.
 
“What I was trying to do was brace myself so I didn’t bowl him over and it comes back the other way,” Weise said.
 
“I don’t know what else to do there. I’m trying to poke the puck with one hand and brace myself so I don’t hit him.”
 
Naturally, six minutes later, Brandon Manning turned a puck over along the boards with T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin and it resulted in Nick Backstrom getting a great setup in the high slot for a 1-0 Caps’ lead.
 
“Even after that, we came back and played well and had good chances,” Weise said. “It’s the same story every night. We don’t capitalize on it and give up a few chances and they score on their opportunities.”
 
That’s when frustration seeped in on the Flyers and the penalties began to mount. Sean Couturier tried to get away with an elbow. Didn’t work.
 
The Caps dazzled the Flyers with brilliant puck movement, culminating with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal to make it 2-0 at 16:28. He had two goals in the game.
 
While that could have ruined them, the Flyers came out hard in the second as Ivan Provorov appeared to score in the opening minute. However, replay confirmed his shot hit the crossbar. Two near-goals for the Flyers.
 
“I shot it and saw that [the puck] went up and I didn’t hear a sound,” Provorov said. “I thought it went in.”
 
No matter. Manning atoned for his first-period miscue by saving a puck from leaving the zone and then firing on net where Brayden Schenn scored a rare five-on-five goal by batting the puck out of the air to cut the Flyers’ deficit in half.
 
Of Schenn’s 19 goals, 14 have come on the power play.
 
Giroux’s line with Schenn and Wayne Simmonds consisted of the Flyers’ only players on the right side of the plus-minus category. And to show how deceiving that can be, Voracek worked his tail off, too, but was minus-3.
 
That’s how it goes these days for this group.
 
“It’s been a lot of games where it’s been one- or two-goal hockey games and it’s tough to do,” Schenn said. “We’re generating shots, but I don’t know if we’re generating enough chances.
 
“At the end of the day, you feel you play hard and a pretty good hockey game and end up scoring one goal again. Whether it’s 3-1, 4-1, you score one goal, you won’t win many hockey games.”
 
The Flyers are 3-6-1 since coming out of the All-Star break. Of those seven total losses, including overtime, they have scored more than one goal just once.
 
“We’ve got to rise above it, each and every one of us,” Hakstol said. “Get back at it. And that is what this group has continually done. We have to do that one more time here.”

Temple keeps spirits high after suffering another close loss at home

Temple keeps spirits high after suffering another close loss at home

BOX SCORE

Temple and UCF nearly exchanged fists a couple times throughout the contest.

In the final two minutes of regulation, they exchanged three-pointers. But Temple couldn’t connect on its attempts at the knockout.

Temple's two missed shots in the waning seconds cost them the game, as they fell short to UCF on Wednesday, 71-69 (see Instant Replay). It was the Owls’ second consecutive game they’ve dropped with under a minute to go at the Liacouras Center. 

Out of the timeout with 13 seconds to go in the game, Daniel Dingle found a wide open Mark Williams on the wing but his three-pointer rimmed out as Temple (14-15, 5-11 AAC) lost its third consecutive game. Williams finished with 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting off the bench in the contest for the Owls.

"We went to our fifth senior, Dan. We just gave Dan the ball and told him to go make a play," Shizz Alston Jr. said. “He's our leader, he's our fifth-year senior. He made a good play and kicked it to Mark, another senior, and the ball just didn't go in. But it was well-executed. We wouldn't want the ball in two other peoples’ hands, our two leaders."

The lead changed four times in the final two minutes of the contest.

B.J. Taylor drilled a step-back three to give UCF (18-10, 9-7 AAC) a two-point lead with just under two minutes to go in the game.

Obi Enechionyia answered with a three of his own on the ensuing possession to give the Owls a 69-68 lead with 1:27 left in the contest. The junior looked like the player from earlier in the season that received a lot of NBA draft attention. 

After shooting the ball 0 for 3 in the first half and turning the ball over two times, Enechionyia finished the game with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. He also shot 5 of 6 from beyond the arc in the second half.

It was the most points Enechionyia scored since recording a season-high 26 points against Saint Joseph's on Nov. 30.

"It's great to watch him tonight, especially in the second half where he was knocking it out," Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. "If this is 'getting over it,’ that would be great. It would certainly help us through the regular-season games and in the playoffs as well."

Still, Enechionyia’s night wasn’t a complete success. He missed a potential go-ahead jumper with 35 seconds left on the clock.

Temple had a tough time avoiding Tacko Fall throughout the game. At 7-6 and 290 pounds, the Senegal native clogged up a good chunk of the paint. He finished the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had five blocks and two assists.

But when Fall picked up his second foul with just under five minutes to go in the first half, Temple only allowed UCF to score two field goals in the final eight minutes of the frame. 

"Tacko's tough," Dunphy said. "We needed help on the back side a little bit more than we go it. He made a couple of dunks that were pretty free and easy. He's so difficult to defend out there and he knows how to play. He's really getting to be a good basketball player in addition to being that size and length that's so intimidating." 

Things got pretty chippy in the second half between Alston and Matt Williams. As Williams reeled in a pass on the wing, he brought the ball across his body and hit Alston with his elbow, leaving him with a bloody lip. The two had to be separated as Alston got in Williams’ face after getting off the floor.

The officials ruled the elbow by Williams a basketball play and didn’t call a foul.

Minutes later, Williams shoved Alston near the scorer’s table after he made a steal but this time the officials called it a foul. 

"It was just two guys being competitive," Alston said.

Following the incidents between Alston and Williams, fans at the Liacouras Center booed Williams every time he touched the ball. Williams made all but two shots with the boos raining down on him as he scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half to go along with five rebounds and three assists. 

Alston was second in scoring for Temple behind Enechionyia with 15 points on 6 of 12 shooting. 

With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule before the AAC tournament, Alston believes with the way the Owls played against UCF, they can make a run in the conference tournament. 

"We lost this one, but the bright spot, like you guys said, Obi started making shots," Alston said. "When he's making shots, I think we're unbeatable. Even though we lost this one, I'm taking away he had 17 [points] in the second half and I know what he can do when he's hitting shots. He's one of the best players in the country.

"If he's making shots and Dan's playing well, I'm playing well, [Quinton Rose] is playing well, we're a tough team to play. So I think we're going to make a deep run and win the tournament."