Ready to watch Sixers games that really matter?

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Ready to watch Sixers games that really matter?

I was not in good shape last night watching the Philadelphia 76ers losing to the New York Knicks for the better part of 48 minutes. I yelled at the TV, buried my head in my hands, cursed every player on their team and then every player on ours. I nearly tore my shirt in half after a couple Trey Burke jumpers. The shots dried up for the Knicks in the fourth quarter and the Sixers somehow came back to win 118-110, but the emotional damage was mostly done at that point. The Sixers may be ready for the postseason, but I am definitely not. 

It's been six years since we watched the Sixers in the postseason, but it's been a lot longer than that — I couldn't even tell you how long, exactly — since we watched them with expectation. My main reaction to watching Andre Iguodala hit two free throws to sink the Bulls in Game 6 in 2012 was to laugh hysterically. My primary response to seeing them go down in a hard-fought Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the semis was to shrug and go, "Well, that whole thing was weird." Winning and losing wasn't really that big a deal in those days, even in the postseason, because we knew this wasn't really The Team for Philly. 

Now? When this team in the midst of scrapping for postseason position and looks like they're going to drop a dumb game on the road to a crappy lottery team that doesn't even want to win, it's friggin' Armageddon. As much as I was looking forward to the Sixers' relatively easy end-of-season schedule, now I'm wondering if I should've been dreading it all along, because we're bound to lose one or two of these games — hell, just this Wednesday, Milwaukee lost in Orlando and Miami fell to Sacramento in OT — and I am totally unprepared to handle it when that happens. Don't these guys know we could get to the 3-seed? WHAT THE HELL IS EVEN HAPPENING? And so on.

In a way, it's exciting to care this much — about something other than avoiding historic infamy or achieving lottery pole position, even. This is how sports should feel, sort of. But I wonder if Sixers fans are underestimating just what a toll this first Process postseason run is gonna take on us, and this isn't even really the postseason run that's supposed to matter for these guys. Is this what Spurs fans have gone through for 20 seasons straight? Sounds exhausting.

The Sixers host the Nets tonight. Let's hope for one of those Pistons-style Friday night blowouts. Back-to-back nights of this in March and I might not even make it to April. 

Penn band rides Eagles' underdog strategy into NCAA Tournament

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Penn band rides Eagles' underdog strategy into NCAA Tournament

No, this is not Chris Long or Lane Johnson. But the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and they've inspired Philly sports teams to embrace the underdog.

OK, technically not a member of the Penn Quakers basketball team that's in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years (!). Still, the dog masks are back.

This time, this chill clarinet player in the Penn band. 

Penn, a 16-seed in the Midwest Region, is facing the No. 1-seed Kansas right now. Chances are, the Quakers' NCAA tourney run will not be long.

But it's the year of the underdog and the dog masks brought good juju to the Super Bowl champion Eagles.

Maybe it'll bring luck to Penn.

Buster Olney believes Phillies could snag Bryce Harper from Nationals

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Buster Olney believes Phillies could snag Bryce Harper from Nationals

The Phillies' organization has the bankroll, they have the payroll flexibility and they want to compete ASAP. That is to say: they're players for the big guys.

That was put on display this offseason with the likes of Carlos Santana and more recently Jake Arrieta.

Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier in the week he had Arrieta's name circled for years as a potential free-agent target. Middleton also has big names circled for the future.

But who?

"That’s a conversation for another day," Middleton said in Clearwater. "But, trust me, they are circled."

A betting man would guess that Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper's name has some bright red sharpie all around it in Middleton's notebook.

Speaking of betting men, ESPN's Buster Olney would wager a hefty sum that Harper ends up in Philly or stays in D.C. Here's what Olney had to say on his "Sign Of The Times" podcast Tuesday when asked about Harper getting a $400 million deal next offseason.

"Just before I recorded this podcast, I bumped into Jake Arrieta's agent Scott Boras who is of course the agent for Bryce Harper. I didn't ask Scott this, but I guarantee you what he would say is, 'Buster, teams pay for talent.' And Bryce Harper is a transcendent talent. I still think he has a chance to push the deal to $400 million. I would bet the family farm that Harper ends up with the Phillies or back with the Washington Nationals."

So you're telling us there's a (legitimately decent) chance!?