Don't forget about Ben Simmons' defense

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Don't forget about Ben Simmons' defense

Friday's Sixers victory over the Indiana Pacers — moving the Sixers to over .500 for the first time since the oh-so-magical beginning to the 2013-14 season — will undoubtedly be remembered as the JJ Redick game, and rightly so. Jonathan Clay hit maybe the three biggest shots of the night, all threes, all in the final two and a half minutes, all with the game largely still in the balance. The second of them was one of the bigger shots in Sixers regular-season history, with the clock expiring and Redick shooting against his body, swishing nonetheless. Redick had actually been in something of a slump from three lately — just 3-19 across his last four, including an uncharacteristically rough 1-6 against Atlanta in his first game back from injury — but bouncing back with 31 on 8-12 from deep will certainly re-instill whatever confidence lost. 

But even if last night's game was JJ Redick's Process Bar Mitzvah, I still wanna talk about Ben Simmons today. He had a rough-ish shooting night from the field, only hitting 5-13, but still racked up his second triple-double of the season, with 14 points, 11 boards and 11 assists, including dimes on two of those final three Redick triples. He even hit all four of his free throws, bringing his average for the year at the charity stripe all the way up to ... well, 59 percent still isn't great, but it's better than 55 percent anyway. 

Yet with all this, what really impressed me with Simmons last night was his late-game defense, which absolutely bailed the Sixers out late in this one. He made the Sixers' two biggest plays on the other side of the ball, first snuffing out a Darren Collison drive in transition that should've been an easy layup after Joel Embiid blew a wide-open dunk at the other end. Then standing tall against Victor Oladipo — in which Oladipo (who torched the Sixers for 31) tried desperately to draw a foul on Simmons after pump-faking, but which Simmons side-stepped while still contesting. He also ended with two steals and a career-high three blocks, making for maybe his most complete all-around performance on the season. There aren't a lot of things this guy can't do. (Besides, y'know, shoot with the correct hand.) 

So yeah, the Sixers are a winning basketball team. They've mostly won the games they should've won and lost the games they shouldn't — consider the two Houston games a draw — so you don't want us to get too far ahead of ourselves, even if we do currently sit in fifth in the East. We're still basically a middle-of-the-pack team at the moment. But we've got talent, we've got shooting, we've got versatility, we've got infinite upside, and now we're even winning close games. As long as we've also (mostly) got health, may this regular season never end. 

Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught


Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught

It's not everyday you see an Eagles player take the ball and run for 71 yards. So Philadelphia fans understandably went bonkers when Jay Ajayi did just that in the Birds' win over the Cowboys on Sunday.

It's also not that frequent that you see a dude get chased down from behind on such a play.

Sadly, the latter happened to Ajayi and his teammates let him hear it on the sidelines after. The fantastic Inside the NFL gave us an up-close look at the roasting.

You almost feel bad for Ajayi, like Kenjon Barner is laying it on a little too thick.

"You slow as $#@!," one player tells him.

"They're gonna lower my speed on Madden," Ajayi says.

Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

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Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

After spending the year out of football, former Eagles coach Chip Kelly is returning to the sideline — and might be aligning with ex-Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in the process.

According to reports, Kelly is expected to accept a head coaching job at one of two college football programs. The decision is down to Florida and UCLA, and he is rumored to have already turned away other high-profile programs such as Nebraska and Tennessee.

UCLA may be Kelly's most likely landing spot at this point, with alumnus Aikman putting on a "full-court press," says ESPN's Mark Schlabach, and Florida supposedly wanting an answer ASAP.

Wherever Kelly winds up going, that should end his unsuccessful foray into the NFL once and for all. Consider this an obituary of sorts.

The move will cement Kelly as a "college coach," if his pro tenure hadn't accomplished that already. After guiding the Eagles to the playoffs and being named Coach of the Year in his first season, he missed the postseason the next two years and was fired. Kelly got the hook again after one miserable season with the 49ers, bottoming out with a 2-14 record.

There are no shortage of excuses for why Kelly flamed out in the NFL. Lack of talent — specifically under center — was certainly a factor, though his failed stint as the chief talent evaluator in his final season with the Eagles certainly contributed to that.

The simple truth is not everything that works in college translates at the next level, and Kelly never adjusted.

Kelly only turns 54 this week, so a return to the professional ranks years down the road isn't completely out of the question. After his last two trainwreck seasons in the league, it's difficult to imagine what an organization would still see.

Employing schemes that aren't suited to the team's personnel, calling the same 10 to 15 plays every game, eliminating the quarterback's ability to call an audible or even something as small as never using a snap count may work at university. Those concepts are fundamentally opposed to what has been successful in the NFL.

Honestly, it's kind of too bad. The Eagles could use that easy W on the schedule periodically.

Perhaps the Eagles should just be grateful to have survived Kelly's radical changes without overhauling the entire roster again, and somehow coming out better off for everything. After releasing DeSean Jackson, trading away LeSean McCoy, trading for Sam Bradford, and spending huge sums of money on the likes of DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell -- to name a few, and all in the span of a year -- the franchise easily could've wound up in the tank.

There's no denying Kelly looked like a genius while at Oregon, racking up 46-7 record and three top-five finishes in four seasons as head coach. Yet like so many college coaches before him, and many bound to come after, he was never destined for sustained success in the NFL.