Someday the Sixers will be the other team

Someday the Sixers will be the other team

Remember that game against the Golden State Warriors earlier this season when the Philadelphia 76ers got up 20-plus in the first half, lost the lead in the third quarter and ended the game in garbage time? Transport that game across conferences and continents and you basically got a carbon copy of Thursday afternoon’s London-set "home game" loss to the Boston Celtics. 

Everything was humming in the first half. JJ Redick was coming off screens like Klay Thompson, hitting just about everything, while Ben Simmons was hitting turnaround jumpers (!!) and bullying smaller defenders. Joel Embiid wasn't even scoring — he ended the half with just six — but he was distributing, springing Redick on some killer screens, and being his usual game-changing self on the defensive end. The Celtics were ice cold, as they blew layups and committed silly turnovers. It was beautiful, and it was 100 percent never going to last. 

The best you could've really hoped for in the second half was that the Sixers would be able to at least hang around for the rest of the game once they inevitably blew their double-digit lead (which was actually already single digits this time by the break). No such luck: The C's pulled away in the fourth, and Brett Brown tapped out with about four minutes to go, with T.J. McConnell and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot shepherding the team down the stretch. 

The Sixers lost 114-102, in a game that was both much closer and not quite as close as that score implies (see game recap). They fell to 0-3 for the season against the Celtics — with a fourth game coming up in Boston next week. 

How disappointing is this? I'd peg it at somewhere between a five and six — not heartbreaking, but not negligible. Hard to get too upset about losing to a better team because they're better, and the first half was fun enough that you could hardly call the whole experience a wash. Still, the Sixers keep getting tastes of earning that one statement, signature win that end up just being referendums on all the things wrong with them: How Brown should be fired, how all our veterans suck, how the Markelle Fultz trade was a disaster. (Jayson Tatum's third-quarter explosion certainly doesn't help a ton with that last one.) The emotional swing is tough to stomach, although Sixers fans would be playing themselves if they weren't at least a little numb to games that follow this general script at this point. 

The rough part is, as previously mentioned, that the Sixers' schedule stays challenging from here: home on MLK Monday vs. Toronto, at Boston next Thursday, home next Saturday for the first of four against Milwaukee. The Sixers basically have to hope to get out of a brutal January without falling too far behind, because the rest of their schedule from there is easy enough — loaded with multiple games each against the Nets, Hornets, Hawks, Magic and Grizzlies — that they should be able to make up some ground, if they stay healthy and aren't already miles away. 

The Sixers, who fell to 19-20 with the latest loss to the Celtics, might not get back above .500 for a little while still. Nonetheless, they remain in pretty good shape for a postseason push, and Fultz could be coming back (if not necessarily with his jumper) soon. 

Someday, maybe not even that many years from now, the Sixers will be the team that gets down early, but everyone knows is coming back to lay the smackdown in majorly embarrassing fashion. In the meantime, trust the bleedin' process. 

Jake Arrieta's wife solicits advice from Philly fans, gets hilarious responses

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Jake Arrieta's wife solicits advice from Philly fans, gets hilarious responses

Jake Arrieta is the new guy in town. The mound at the ballpark in South Philadelphia will likely be a very comfortable place for him to go to work. But what about his family up in the stands?

Arrieta's wife Brittany took to Twitter to solicit advice from Phillies fans on what her and their son Cooper will need to know about Citizens Bank Park.

Already leary of the impeding snow in Philly this week, Brittany also asked about games, traditions and food that are important at Phillies games.

Some common themes included crab fries, Graham Slam Ice Cream, cheesesteaks, hot dogs, Bull's BBQ, the Phillie Phanatic, etc. But this wouldn't be Philly without some snarky answers.

Head over to Brittany Arrieta's Twitter acount to see all of the responses and offer some of your own. I recommend a grilled sausage and onions from near Ashburn Alley and a local brew. Enjoy.

Shooters Everywhere — Sixers bomb Hornets into submission

Shooters Everywhere — Sixers bomb Hornets into submission

It says something when J.J. Redick and Dario Saric, the Philadelphia 76ers two best sharpshooters on the season, can go a combined 3-10 from deep -- and the team can still end up tying a season high for triples made. That happened last night against the Charlotte Hornets, as J.J. and Dario's calibration was off for most of the night, but Marco Belinelli got red hot, Joel Embiid was left too open too often, and Robert Covington stayed schemin', as the Sixers shot 18-44 from deep and pulled away late from Charlotte, winning 108-94. 

It was typical of the condensed season series between these two teams -- the Hornets made the Sixers sweat for the better part of three quarters, even leading by seven at the half, but just got outmuscled late by the Sixers' superior talent and execution. Good to be that one of the two teams, of course, and our two stars proved the main difference again, with Embiid scoring 25 on 10-17 shooting while matching a career high in boards (19) for the second straight game, and Ben Simmons posting his his third triple-double in four games, including a sparkling 15 assists with 0 turnovers -- numbers only hit by one other player (Atlanta's Dennis Schroder) this season. (Joel and his nine turnovers was one TO away from a very different sort of trip-dub, but who's counting?)

Still, the Sixers' MVP in this one might've been RoCo, who scored 18 on 6-12 shooting and at least made life tough for Hornets guard Kemba Walker. You just can't say enough about how much more dangerous this team is when Covington is hitting regularly, and after about a three-month frigid spell, Robert has has rediscovered his early-season form -- shooting 47% from the field and 42% from three this month after only hitting 35% (and 29% from deep) in February. Cov's defensive toughness and general hoops IQ makes him a net asset even when he's a bricklayer from deep, but when he converts reliably, he just might be the damn team MVP. 

Three in a row for the Sixers now, who still sit entrenched in the sixth seed -- but with a huge Wednesday coming up, where the three teams immediately ahead of them all have major challenges (Cavs-Raptors, Pacers-Pelicans, Wizards-Spurs) while the Sixers get to host the tanktastic Memphis Grizzlies. Just a game and a half separates three through six in the East, and the Sixers still have by far the easiest schedule remaining. Anyone still think Brett Brown needs to be fired?