Are the Sixers finally done winning for the year?

Are the Sixers finally done winning for the year?

The Philadelphia 76ers got blasted last night in Cleveland, losing 122-105. Shawn Long was hilariously good again, scoring 16 points on 7-10 shooting in just 21 minutes, but it was a very weird game where our centers shot 5-6 from three -- including Tiago Splitter's first-ever career three-pointer, always history with this guy -- and the rest of the team went 6-27 from deep, while our 17 turnovers led to a whole bunch of Cleveland run-outs. We were beaten soundly by an obviously better team. No big headline there. 

The problem is that we're running out of players to stay competitive with. Robert Covington was ruled out for the rest of the season with another meniscus tear -- must just be a seasonal thing for the Sixers -- and Jahlil Okafor was officially ruled out for the rest of the season with knee soreness, though how detrimental that part actually is to the Sixers' winning potential is arguable. But the Sixers only have nine active players at this point, three of them are rookies, and one of them is Splitter. Not like the Sixers resembled an All-Star team at any point this season, but this is definitely us at our most Summer League right now. 

Is this finally the end of the winning, then? Do we just kinda play out the string from here and let the L's (maybe) carry us to lottery glory? Maybe, though the Sixers have home games still left against the Knicks, Bulls and Nets, and it's gonna be tough for them to lose all three of those. 30 wins is definitely still in sight. At least while the Sixers got creamed last night, the Kings lost by even more to New Orleans and their old budy DeMarcus Cousins, and the Knicks actually won in Miami without Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. The tank, as always, soldiers on.

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside battled on the court on Friday night and then on social media following the Sixers' victory over the Miami Heat to finish off the preseason.

Embiid seemingly got the better of Whiteside, sending Philadelphia fans into a frenzy when he told Whiteside his "+/- was ass."

It appears as if Whiteside is taking it all in stride and actually has a pretty good level of respect for Embiid. The Miami big man was asked about the trash talk after practice over the weekend.

"It's funny to me," Whiteside said according to the Sun Sentinel. "I'm going to talk trash back if somebody talks trash to me. Maybe when I was younger, I would have been a little more angrier, I would have been a little madder.

"But, you know, that's the kind of guy he is. He makes jokes. He's a good player, so it's all fun to me. I can go all day with it."

Embiid has shown glimpses that he has the potential to be one of the greats of the NBA game on the court, while he's already one of the best at entertaining off of it. Whiteside will clearly have his hands full but he knows a little trash talk on social gets fans excited.

"Yeah, man, you know fans love it, man. Fans get into it. I love it, too," he said. "Because I know the next time we play him, he's going to give it his all, he's going to go as hard as he can. And as a competitor, that's what you want. You want your opponent to play at his maximum speed."

Playing at maximum speed is something Sixers fans hope and pray they get to see out of Embiid this season on a more regular basis. The trash talking is bonus fun.

"It's not him talking about somebody's family," Whiteside said. "It's not nothing crazy. It's just basketball. He called me softee. Come on, man. He knows that's not true. I'll be on his team's scouting report."

The Heat and the Sixers meet again on Feb. 2. Let's just hope both Embiid and Whiteside are out on the court to go another few rounds off of it afterward.

Embiid makes Whiteside look silly on the court and then on social media

Embiid makes Whiteside look silly on the court and then on social media

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside aren't meant to be friends.

Last season, an apparent rivalry started brewing when Whiteside implied that Embiid shouldn't be getting All-Star consideration, and Embiid fired back (see story).

The two centers were back at it again during and after Friday night's preseason finale.

After drawing three fouls early in the first quarter on the Heat big man, Embiid made sure to tell the Miami bench to get Whiteside out of the game (see video).

And though Embiid, who sat out the second half, only scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds in 15 minutes of a 119-95 Sixers' win (see observations), he was still in a trash-talking mood after the game.

First, Whiteside responded to a fan who called out Embiid's subpar shooting numbers (1 for 7).

Then Embiid, as he tends to do, went on the attack.

Still boiling, Embiid then fired off another tweet, again using #Softy to describe the 7-foot, 265-pound Whiteside.

For the record, Whiteside's plus/minus was minus-9. Embiid's was plus-13.

Embiid then wrapped up his trash-talking storm with a likely dig at Kevin Durant and, of course, a shoutout to "the process."

Whiteside thought he had the final word with one last tweet.

Until Embiid ended things with a special description of his location on Instagram.

Maeanwhile, Ben Simmons seemed amused by the whole ordeal just like the rest of us.

Former Sixer Andre Iguodala also enjoyed the banter, with a nod to Embiid.

It's going to be a lot of fun to watch two of the best young centers in the NBA battle, both on the court and online, over the next decade-plus. Too bad we have to wait until Feb. 2 to see them share the floor again.