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Commence the Tiago Splitter era in Philadelphia

Commence the Tiago Splitter era in Philadelphia

When the 20th anniversary of the 2016-17 season comes and we feel the need to commemorate the truly special moments of this most bizarre of NBA seasons, one that I will invariably go back to will be the 2:16-to-go mark of the first quarter of game No. 73 -- a game I happened to witness live in Brooklyn. I was watching the Sixers and Nets go through the motions of a largely meaningless late-March affair, when all of a sudden: Who the hell is that wearing No. 47? It seemed unfathomable, but there was only one logical explanation: Tiago Splitter was actually playing in a regular-season Sixers game. 

It might be impossible to fully grasp the significance of this without going back through the last four seasons of Sixers history, which saw countless NBA luminaries -- Danny Granger, Earl Clark, Gerald Wallace, Ronny Turiaf, Keith Bogans, Travis Outlaw, Andrei Kirilenko and so very many more -- pass through Sixers lore without ever actually playing in a Philly regular-season game. They were cap filler, they were ballast, they were names changing dotted lines and nothing more. It seemed absolutely for sure that Tiago Splitter, injured and past his prime when traded from the Atlanta Hawks at the deadline in the second Ersan Ilyasova deal, would become a part of this richest of Process Legacies. Hell, even the fact that he wore No. 47 -- most famously donned by Kirilenko during his Utah days -- seemed to pay tribute to this lineage. 

And yet, there he was on the court today: Tiago Splitter, the guy who played in two NBA finals with the San Antonio Spurs, the guy who was traded to the Hawks in a cap-clearing deal two summers ago and almost immediately vanished from NBA relevance, the guy who was ten games away from reaching free agency without ever having to notch a "PHI" line on his Basketball Reference page. And he played seven minutes for us, scoring four points on 1-2 shooting with three boards and a block. I will never forget a single second of it. 

This was undoubtedly a corner-turning moment of some sort for the Philadelphia 76ers -- though the exact meaning of the occasion remains ambiguous. Maybe it means that the Sixers aren't so embarrassing a franchise anymore that we feel the need to do veterans the favor of not forcing them to put Philly service time on the resume. Maybe it means that the Sixers are no longer willing to write the months of March and April off as losing time, as they play the young guys and dream about next season. Maybe it means that Brett Brown was really, really worried about Shawn Long getting into early foul trouble last night. Whatever the meaning, it feels pivotal, and if Tiago Splitter never plays another second for the Sixers -- his legs may have fallen off from shock in the locker room over actually having been used, for all we know -- he's now a Process Truster for life. 

Oh, and the Sixers won the game, 106-101 -- their 28th W, as many as they had the last two seasons combined. Sometimes these days, it's hard to even tell what team we're even watching.

Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

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Joel Embiid expects 90 percent of his tweets to go viral

One of the things that I love about Joel Embiid is the fact that it seems like every day we find another reason to love him even more.

Today's entry comes from a profile in GQ magazine in which he talks about plenty of things. But it was one of the first things he was asked about his Twitter account that had me rolling once again.

How do you find out if one of [your tweet] has gone viral, then?

Joel: I think 90 percent of them [will be viral]. That’s the expectation.

Amazing. The thing is, I don't know if he's giving himself enough credit. ONLY 90%????

Oh, and he subscribes to the Jah Rule school of thought: WHO CARES?

"Then I had so much time, too, because I missed that whole year and the second year after, so I didn’t have anything to do," Embiid said. "[I’d] just go on social media and converse with fans, make crazy jokes, and tweet crazy stuff because I don’t care. I say whatever I want to."

His critique of other players' boring Twitter accounts is also incredibly on point:

What do you mean some guys are always tweeting the same thing?

Joel: Bullshit like, “Game Day!” “It’s a great game.” I don’t know. They’re all the same. It’s boring.

Amen.

The whole Q&A is worth any Sixers fan's time just to get to know a little more about Jojo. Be happy he's ours. And pray he stays healthy so he can take his game on the court to the same level as his game off of it.

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

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USA Today Images

Eagles-hater Pete Morelli allowed to referee future Birds' games

If you like penalties and hate the Eagles, you clicked on the right story.

Alleged Eagles hater Pete Morelli will be allowed to referee future Birds' games after the league found no signs of bias towards the Eagles. 

How's this for bias? In a Week 6 win over the Panthers, the Eagles were flagged 10 times for 126 yards. Compare that to the Panthers' one penalty for one yard and you see the problem.

But it wasn't the first time Morelli got flag-happy against the Eagles. In Morelli's last 4 Eagles' games — all away from the Linc — his crew has thrown 40 penalties for 396 yards to opponents' eight penalties for 74 yards. I'm not a numbers guy, but something seems off here.

In true Philly sports fashion, the Eagles will now reach the Super Bowl where Morelli and Co. will be waiting to rain yellow on the field, leading to an Andy Reid-led Chiefs' victory where Reid orchestrates an efficient two-minute game-winning drive, perfectly utilizing all three timeouts.