Someday the Sixers will be the other team

Someday the Sixers will be the other team

Remember that game against the Golden State Warriors earlier this season when the Philadelphia 76ers got up 20-plus in the first half, lost the lead in the third quarter and ended the game in garbage time? Transport that game across conferences and continents and you basically got a carbon copy of Thursday afternoon’s London-set "home game" loss to the Boston Celtics. 

Everything was humming in the first half. JJ Redick was coming off screens like Klay Thompson, hitting just about everything, while Ben Simmons was hitting turnaround jumpers (!!) and bullying smaller defenders. Joel Embiid wasn't even scoring — he ended the half with just six — but he was distributing, springing Redick on some killer screens, and being his usual game-changing self on the defensive end. The Celtics were ice cold, as they blew layups and committed silly turnovers. It was beautiful, and it was 100 percent never going to last. 

The best you could've really hoped for in the second half was that the Sixers would be able to at least hang around for the rest of the game once they inevitably blew their double-digit lead (which was actually already single digits this time by the break). No such luck: The C's pulled away in the fourth, and Brett Brown tapped out with about four minutes to go, with T.J. McConnell and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot shepherding the team down the stretch. 

The Sixers lost 114-102, in a game that was both much closer and not quite as close as that score implies (see game recap). They fell to 0-3 for the season against the Celtics — with a fourth game coming up in Boston next week. 

How disappointing is this? I'd peg it at somewhere between a five and six — not heartbreaking, but not negligible. Hard to get too upset about losing to a better team because they're better, and the first half was fun enough that you could hardly call the whole experience a wash. Still, the Sixers keep getting tastes of earning that one statement, signature win that end up just being referendums on all the things wrong with them: How Brown should be fired, how all our veterans suck, how the Markelle Fultz trade was a disaster. (Jayson Tatum's third-quarter explosion certainly doesn't help a ton with that last one.) The emotional swing is tough to stomach, although Sixers fans would be playing themselves if they weren't at least a little numb to games that follow this general script at this point. 

The rough part is, as previously mentioned, that the Sixers' schedule stays challenging from here: home on MLK Monday vs. Toronto, at Boston next Thursday, home next Saturday for the first of four against Milwaukee. The Sixers basically have to hope to get out of a brutal January without falling too far behind, because the rest of their schedule from there is easy enough — loaded with multiple games each against the Nets, Hornets, Hawks, Magic and Grizzlies — that they should be able to make up some ground, if they stay healthy and aren't already miles away. 

The Sixers, who fell to 19-20 with the latest loss to the Celtics, might not get back above .500 for a little while still. Nonetheless, they remain in pretty good shape for a postseason push, and Fultz could be coming back (if not necessarily with his jumper) soon. 

Someday, maybe not even that many years from now, the Sixers will be the team that gets down early, but everyone knows is coming back to lay the smackdown in majorly embarrassing fashion. In the meantime, trust the bleedin' process. 

Ben Simmons' reaction to being shoved by Marcus Morris was boss

Ben Simmons' reaction to being shoved by Marcus Morris was boss

Wow! How awesome was that Sixers' game against the Celtics in London? Okay, for like, the first quarter and a half of play? That part was dope.

But the rest of the game? Man. Could have gone a whole lot better (see full game observations here).

The Celtics showed why they are among the elite in the East, while the Sixers showed they have to learn to play with a lead and put together a full 48.

That said, if we're looking for a silver lining in an ugly loss on the other side of the pond: Ben Simmons is a boss.

We knew this all ready. But he showed a little something new on Thursday.

Not only did he hit a couple of jumpers that actually showed off some range, he threw down a nice little dunk with authority, and in my favorite moment from the game, Simmons showed Marcus Morris that he is no chump.

Simmons was attempting to run through a screen in the second half and absolutely plowed into Morris, who fell like he's never hit a gym. Morris took exception to the play, popped up from the floor, and pushed Simmons to which Big Ben responseded perfectly. Simmons simply smirked with a "you serious, bro?" look. It was fantastic.

The Sixers lost. It was ugly. It stunk. But at least Simmons is a boss.

Simmons finished the night with a solid 8 of 12 shooting, good for 16 points with a couple of boards, steals, and three assists.

His sister had a correct reaction to the shove as well on Twitter, which she later deleted.

“Ben ain’t no lil bih and u ain’t gon punk him. He was trying to get around a screen. Maybe u should get in the weight room, no need for that extra shit.”

A great cheesesteak in London from a guy with Philly ties

A great cheesesteak in London from a guy with Philly ties

A cheesesteak in London? That can't be good, right?

Not so fast.

With the Sixers taking on the Celtics Thursday afternoon in London, we sent our video team over to Liberty Cheesesteak Company's popup at Cardinal Place to see how the Brits do a wiz wit.

But this London spot has some legit Philly ties. Owner JP Teti grew up in New Jersey but his family roots are in South Philly, where he visited often. He left his job in corporate America and missed home, especially the food, so he decided to bring that Philly flavor to London.

Making a legit cheesesteak is not without its challenges though, as Teti told us. You can't get traditional cheesesteak ingredients in London so they make their own bread, butcher their own meat and make their own cheese sauce since wiz isn't available there.

So how was it?

"Honestly, it tasted really good, like it belonged in Philly. It felt like he got it right," our crew reports back.

The delicious steak wasn't the only Philly touch. All of the workers were wearing Phillies jerseys with the guy working the register rocking a Roy Halladay jawn.

It's safe to say today is a banner day for his cheesesteak business in London. They're also catering the NBA VIP party after the game this evening.

And this is just the start of his Philly-themed culinary takeover. They're turning their cheesesteak spot into a full on bar in London called Passyunk Avenue Restaurant and Bar.

There was plenty of Eagles chatter at the cheesesteak spot today this morning with news of the Birds playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in 2018 breaking this morning. Teti told us he hopes the Passyunk Ave. restaurant can be a gathering spot for Philly peeps making the trip across the pond next fall.

He'll have a delicious cheesesteak and a cold pint waiting for them.

Maybe Prince Harry will stop by.