The700Level

Joel Embiid led the party-like atmosphere in Philly's Game 1 rout of Heat

Joel Embiid led the party-like atmosphere in Philly's Game 1 rout of Heat

The first playoff game of the Process Era was a rousing success.

The Sixers played so well in the second half that fans in the Wells Fargo Center didn't even have to really sweat. It was a playoff victory party and everybody in the building was loving it.

That includes The Phantom of the Process, the bell-ringer on the evening, one Joel Embiid.

Nothing captured the mood of the night better than Jo, Justin, and Cov's reaction below. I believe it was after that wild, off-balance Marco Bellinelli three.

Brett Brown said it before the game: "This place is gonna blow up tonight." And boy did it.

"Just incredible. The start of the game, you feel it. Joel goes out and rings the bell and you feel it," Brown said of the crowd's energy. "The Philadelphia fans, apart from the vocal side and the volume, there's this complete passion. Sometimes I glance up into the crowd and you just see it."

The loudest moment I experienced from high in the rafters was Ben Simmons' monster slam. The entire Wells Fargo Center went bonkers.

Ben gave a special shoutout to the fans tailgating.

"It was amazing," Simmons said of the Philly faithful. "Them tailagaiting before the game, the atmosphere was insane amazing. Philly has some of the best fans in the NBA."

JJ Redick said the second half, with the Sixers hitting shots and crowd getting into it, is the kind of thing a player dreams about.

"The crowd gave me goosebumps. As a basketball player, you dream about those moments," Redick said.

But he also said it was just one win. This team wants more. And boy are they fun to watch.

*

Here's a fun little video of the pregame vibe in Philly:

Watch Joel Embiid battle Steve Nash in soccer ping pong for $1,000

embiid-nash.jpg
Bleacher Report

Watch Joel Embiid battle Steve Nash in soccer ping pong for $1,000

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown once famously called a young Joel Embiid's skills comparable to "Shaquille [O'Neal] with soccer feet."

Embiid put those soccer skills on display in a video for Bleacher Report in which he takes on one of the NBA's most famous soccer players, Steve Nash. You can read more about the latter's interest in futbol here.

The pair compete in an interesting game that looks like a riff on ping-pong but with a soccer ball they juggle. The rules seem pretty lax, as Nash asks Joel at one point why he's serving on points the former Sun won.

The highlight is clearly an Embiid header that is basically a spike.

In the end, it looks like Nash got the better of the Sixers' big man. All fun and games and pocket change for these two.

Previously: Joel Embiid shows off sick footwork, ball skills (in soccer)

Howie Roseman has rendered the salary cap inconsequential

Howie Roseman has rendered the salary cap inconsequential

At any given time, somebody is asking how much salary cap space the Eagles have left.

A better question would be does it even matter anymore?

With his latest round of contract restructurings, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has once again demonstrated his expertise in circumventing the NFL’s spending limit. On Friday, Roseman actually gave backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles more money despite the team’s ongoing cap crunch, then turned around on Monday and redid Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks’ deal to save $4 million.

For most teams around the NFL, that’s a series of moves worth applauding. For the Eagles under Roseman, it’s just another day at the office.

Roseman has been doing the seemingly impossible to stretch the Eagles’ finances further than anybody thought they could go for years now. Frankly, he’s putting amateur cap analysts out of business, because every time Spotrac or Over The Cap makes you think the organization is about to go through a real belt-tightening, Roseman makes a big splash instead.

This past offseason, the Eagles retained Foles, extended Nigel Bradham, signed Haloti Ngata and completed a trade for Michael Bennett. The club was also forced to part ways with Vinny Curry, Patrick Robinson and Trey Burton, among others – but that’s not bad considering Jason Peters, Rodney McLeod and Foles were all rumored to be on the chopping block. And Roseman isn’t necessarily finished. Brandon Graham is in line for a massive new contract, and Darren Sproles could return as well.

The cap situation wasn’t thought to be as dire in 2017, yet Roseman came away from last offseason looking like a magician anyway. The combination of the Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chance Warmack, Chris Long and Tim Jernigan signings were almost unfathomable at the time. By season’s end, Jeffery, Warmack and Jernigan were all extended, while the Eagles had also added Ronald Darby and Jay Ajayi in trades.

How does Roseman do it?

Some of it is right in front of our eyes. Roseman extended All-Pro players such as Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz before they really took off. He’s constantly tinkering with contracts to make them more cap friendly, like he did with Brooks, or Ertz earlier this offseason. He deals the Eagles’ high salaries or players on the verge of receiving new deals for draft picks or lower-priced talent under contract.

Other times, Roseman can save more money from the trade or release than the cap-dedicated web sites indicate. He structured most of these contracts, he knows the intricacies of the terms, and he put the Eagles’ escape clause in there himself.

Not only do I rarely scrutinize the Eagles’ cap situation anymore. I’ve barely looked at it this offseason.

Howie’s got this. And the moment I challenge the Eagles with concerns they can’t possibly pursue a high-profile player, or another big contract will threaten to put the club in cap hell, Howie will pull it off comfortably – then he’ll go about creating room to breathe.

Maybe this will come back to haunt the Eagles in future years, when all the kicking the can down the road for contract restructures and lack of cap carryover from spending to the limit really starts to catch up. Then again, something tells me Roseman has this covered, and as long as he’s in charge of the books, my days of obsessively tracking player salaries are over.