The700Level

If only all life was as simple as T.J. McConnell playing against the Knicks

If only all life was as simple as T.J. McConnell playing against the Knicks

Who knows why it is that Timothy John McConnell enjoys tormenting the New York Knicks as much as he does? Maybe he takes it particularly personal that they passed on him in the 2015 draft -- even though the other 29 teams did too, including the Sixers -- or maybe he has a weird feud with Jeff Hornacek or Courtney Lee that none of us know about. In any event, in addition to hitting the greatest shot in the history of Joel Embiid against the Knicks last year, and posting a huge 15-5-4 against them in the Sixers' Christmas win at MSG earlier this season, T.J. has now posted the first triple-double of his career -- and the first in Sixers bench history -- in a 108-92 win over the disintegrating 'Bockers. 

The final score belies a little how stressful this game was for most of the first three quarters, where the Sixers seemed a little dazed on both sides of the ball, committing sloppy turnovers and playing lazy defense and allowing the undermanned Knicks to hang around in what should've been a relatively easy win for Philly. But the Sixers locked in for the final 15 minutes or so, and McConnell was absolutely everywhere as they were doing so -- not only did he end with 10 points, 10 boards and 11 dimes, but he also tied a career high with six steals. It was a spectacular performance that any Process Truster could point to as a definitive example of just what T.J. means to this team. 

And both the team and the fans kinda needed a moment like this at this point in the season, I think. Despite the Sixers being in the midst of a four-game winning streak where they've won by an average of 15 points a night -- 10-0 at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018, too -- the energy around the team has been a little muted lately. Maybe we're getting spoiled, maybe we're all exhausted over the Markelle Fultz drama, maybe it's just that point in the season, but I feel like the WFC needed something to get rocking over, and they certainly got it last night. 

Even Lou Williams -- who has no relationship to T.J. McConnell that I can tell, beyond being fellow members of the Sixers Sixth Man Fraternity -- was getting hyped:

The Sixers have just one more game before an eight-day All-Star layover -- a big one tomorrow at home against the Heat. With the Sixers surging and the Pistons now in the midst of the post-Blake Griffin trade hangover, losers of three straight, a final W to close out the five-game homestand would be enormous in setting Philly up for a pretty chill All-Star break, one in which their playoff standing is fairly secure and all that remains is scrapping for seeding. Not to mention two more games against the Knicks are still to come, in which T.J. will probably average 25 points, 11 boards, 15 assists, two buzzer-beater daggers and three noogies delivered to Frank Ntilikina. Can't wait.

JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

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SB Nation/Twitter

JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

Early Sunday, a video surfaced on social media that appeared to put Sixers’ guard JJ Redick in an extremely poor light. Redick has since responded to clear up the situation.

Here’s what happened:

At about 8 a.m., a post appeared on Reddit showing a screenshot and caption alleging that Redick said a racial slur during a video from NBA players wishing Chinese fans a Happy New Year. The video caused a huge uproar on social media. If you wish to see the video, it is located here, at the top.

On the surface, without a response, it looked odd from the start. Redick, who we have come to know as a well-spoken individual who is typically very appreciative of basketball fans, isn’t someone you’d expect this from, let alone with a camera pointing directly at his face with an NBA microphone in front of his lips.

He offered this response on his official Twitter account, saying he was tongue-tied and had no intentions of saying what he did on the video.

Fans have reacted on both sides of the issue, as some are still asking for an apology and others take Redick for his word. 

With the All-Star Break going on, Redick won’t be available for a few more days for the media to ask him about this. There’s a chance this story will continue into next week.

The Process is ready for primetime

The Process is ready for primetime

Basically, you saw everything you'd want to see from Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid during the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night, as they kept doing what they've basically done all February: winning. 

Ben Simmons was electric all over the court, ending with 11 points (5-5 FG, mostly dunks), six boards, a game-high 13 assists and a team-high four steals. A still-locked-in Dario Saric was the beneficiary of a handful of those dimes, ending with 18 points (7-11 FG, 4-7 3PT), three boards and five assists. 

Joel Embiid had an underwhelming stat line in his thankfully clipped playing time (just eight minutes after sitting out Wednesday's game — we'll see him more on Sunday), ending with just five points and two boards, and not exactly displaying the defensive dominance we're accustomed to from our big man. But the five points came on back-to-back possessions in the third, where JoJo nailed a top-of-the-break three and then scored on a dunk following a Fultzian spin move to the basket, showing the range of his skills in an appropriately breathtaking (and Internet-slaying) manner. 

And of course, the Sixers — I mean, Team World — won handily, outscoring Team USA in every quarter and ultimately triumphing 155-124. Even though Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovic took home MVP honors on the night for his white-hot shooting night (26 points on 9-16 FG, including a handful of Steph Curry-esque extended pull-up triples), I thought Simmons was the best all-around player on the floor, another thumb in the eye of the All-Star committee that snubbed him (four times!) for the proper game on Sunday night. 

Perhaps more importantly, the Sixers' presence just dominated the game altogether. Hell, they made up 3/5 of Team World's starting lineup — no other team had more than two representatives, across both squads, though the Lakers would have were Lonzo Ball available — and in the broadcast booth, the TNT guys couldn't stop talking about Embiid all night, comparing him to Hakeem and debating whether they'd ever seen a big man of his versatility before. 

And to think, this year they'll actually be represented on Saturday and Sunday, too. Hopefully Ben and Dario get a nice, relaxing All-Star break from here — they've certainly earned it — and now, it's Embiid's spotlight. The Process is ready for primetime, baby, and longtime Trusters should make sure to enjoy this moment as much as JoJo himself undoubtedly will.