Believe it or not, that was a kind of an encouraging Sixers fourth quarter

Believe it or not, that was a kind of an encouraging Sixers fourth quarter

This is all my fault, probably. When Dwyane Wade was traded back to the Miami Heat at the deadline this year, I cackled about how this was one of the best things that could've happened to the Sixers' playoff push. Wade isn't the player he once was, and as a no-three-or-D wing, he's pretty much the exact player the NBA is moving away from. With his reputation and oversized shadow in Miami, I figured he'd cost the Heat a few wins in the playoff race against Philly if anything, trying to take over games he no longer really had the capacity to take over.

Well, he had the capacity last night, for damn sure. Though he entered the game with abysmal numbers in his five previous Miami games, it was all classic Wade on Tuesday against Philly, as he scored 27 points -- 15 in the fourth quarter, most of it down the stretch -- and slayed the Sixers almost single-handedly, costing them a game they really probably shoulda won. Late-shot-clock threes, runners down the lane, sketchily drawn fouls and a final pull-up long two to put Miami ahead with six seconds to go -- Wade had it all going down last night, and it ended up being enough for a 102-101 Miami victory. Sorry everyone. 

It was as painful a loss as Brett Brown's crew has suffered in 2018 -- though judging by 2014-2017 standards, it still tops out at like a 7 -- but long-term, I think it actually shows some good signs for the Sixers. In the final 90 seconds, Miami was able to surge ahead and stay there, but the Sixers fought hard, executed some pretty smart plays, and played pretty good defense. Wade stole this game from them; they didn't just hand it to him. 

Not to scapegoat JJ Redick, who's been awesome for us in the clutch on multiple occasions this season, but this came down to two plays that the Sixers put him in perfect position to make, and he happened to flub. The first was an alley-oop to Ben Simmons with 90 seconds to go and Philly up three, with Simmons freed on a back-pick from Joel Embiid that had him wide open for the basket. All Redick had to do from the top of the key was to put the pass in Simmons' general vicinity -- but he threw it high, and the ball went off his hands out of bounds. Then, of course, in the game's closing seconds with Philly down one, Simmons backed down with the ball in the post and kicked out to Dario Saric behind the arc, who whipped the ball to a wide-open Redick with more than enough time to get off the potential game-winner -- which clanged off. If JJ connects on either one of those, it's a Philly win. 

Conversely, on the other side of the ball, they didn't let Wade get anything easy late. His final seven points for Miami came on a tough running floater, three free throws he was awarded on a Saric foul behind the arc (which I thought was a bogus call -- Dario avoided contact and Wade very obviously jumped sideways into him), and a step-back, pull-up 21-footer that Ben Simmons and Robert Covington couldn't have contested much better. That's the shot you want a historically iffy jump-shooter from distance like Wade to take -- but hey, he made it. Give it up for the future Hall of Famer, and curse the basketball gods that his one transcendent game of 2018 came against Philly. 

That's not to say the loss didn't sting like the dickens. But hey, remember those come-from-ahead losses earlier this year, where once the game reached its final minutes, the Sixers seemed to forget how to play competitive basketball altogether? The ones where every offensive possession ended in a live-ball turnover, a shot-clock violation or a laughably low-percentage three-point hoist? The ones where the other team got layups and wide-open threes at will, and there seemed to be nothing we could do to stop the bleeding? 

This wasn't that. The Sixers played well enough late to win this game: Embiid, who scored on a three-pointer and an excellent drive to the basket in the final minutes, remained particularly deadly, even as he struggled with the refs squeezing him all game. But sometimes over 82 games, the other team just makes the plays that your team doesn't, and that's what happened last night. That Wade had to play as well as he did, down to the final plays, to sink the Sixers is ultimately a very encouraging development. 

Unfortunately, it's two losses in a row for Philly, which keeps them in 7th place in the East -- with just a game now separating them and the 8th-seeded Heat, with Philly heading to Cleveland on Thursday night for the toughest remaining contest on their schedule. It's a bummer they couldn't get this one and give themselves some breathing room on this mini-road trip, but as I've been saying for weeks now, this is the last bad stretch for Philly this season, and whatever playoff ground we lose this week, we should have more than enough time to make up for in our final 20-plus games. If we play like we did last night, I like our chances of doing so. 

Your next haircut can sport Joel Embiid's face

USA Today Images

Your next haircut can sport Joel Embiid's face

Trust the process?

How about trust the haircut?

Sixers employees Matt Yoder (left in the picture below), an account executive in group sales, and Sam Spector (right), an account executive in ticket sales, got in on the fun of Barber Appreciation Night at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

You've got to love these haircuts.

(USA Today Images)

(USA Today Images)

Who wouldn't want Embiid's face depicted in their hair? After all, the playoff push is heating up, so you've got to look ready.

Over 100 barbers from the Delaware Valley were expected on hand for the evening and pregame networking event, which was all presented by Maestro's Classic.

Don't be surprised if the Embiid cut catches on throughout the city.

No doubt, you'll be the coolest kid at school (or work).

Newest Eagle rocks fabulous furry Gucci sneakers


Newest Eagle rocks fabulous furry Gucci sneakers

Daryl Worley was introduced to Philadelphia on Monday at a press conference at the NovaCare Complex and he showed up in style.

The newest member of the Eagles' cornerback crew was rocking some high fashion Gucci sneakers with a little bit of a ... hairy accent. You can own your very own pair for a cool $830.

If you're curious on what to wear these sneaks with, Net-a-porter has you covered:

When Alessandro Michele stepped in as Gucci's Creative Director in Fall '15, his shearling-lined shoes were part of the movement that ushered in a new relaxed era for the label - these 'Ace' sneakers are a cool, sporty take on the now iconic style. Made in Italy from pristine white leather, they have the instantly recognizable navy and red webbing that's embroidered with a gold bee, representing abundance, love and community. Wear them with cuffed denim or a midi dress.

It may not surprise you at all that a guy with this kind of flair had a somewhat curious answer when asked who his favorite Eagle of all-time was.

His answer? Terrell Owens. [insert thinking-face emoji]

[h/t Meech]