The700Level

Trust the result: Sixers win (I think?) in Dallas

Trust the result: Sixers win (I think?) in Dallas

If you're still waiting for them to blow another whistle to put the Dallas Mavericks back on the free-throw line — with another chance to tie the Sixers last night, send the game into overtime and ultimately steal the win — I certainly don't blame you. It had all the makings of another calamitous Sixers loss on Saturday, as they led by five in the final minute, but Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell still went to the line with Dallas down two and 0.2 seconds to go. In a rare super-break for Philly, however, Ferrell bricked the first FT, and then his intentional miss of the second was batted harmlessly away as time expired. Final score, deep breath: Sixers 112, Mavs 110. 

Hard to know how to feel about this one. On the one hand, we got the 'W', with our two best players excelling. Ben Simmons was again brilliant in the casual manner of a 10-year vet. It didn't even seem like he was playing that well, yet he still ended with a 23-7-8 night on 10-15 shooting with three steals and just a single turnover. Joel Embiid was much less efficient and much more difficult to watch at times, and despite some hilarious early abuse of former teammate Nerlens Noel, there were stretches where he just couldn't seem to get anything going against an undersized Mavs frontcourt. But he still ended with a 23-9-4, and the biggest bucket of the game down the stretch. And now we've got multiple wins, both on the road, before even getting to November — how many years would we have absolutely killed to go 2-4 in our first six? 

But, hard not to ask: How many times are we gonna have to go through this late-game absurdity, really? This moral loss wasn't quite as much on the Sixers as the actual-loss against the Rockets on Wednesday, with Harrison Barnes nailing a pair of preoposterous threes late for the Mavs that made the final minute much more interesting than it should have been. Still, we left the door open. T.J. McConnell, again an inspiration for most of this one (15 points and eight assists!), missed an open three with 82 seconds left, and then bungled the ensuing possession by passing up another open three and coughing the ball up. More irritatingly, Jerryd Bayless went to the line with six seconds to go and the chance to at least make it a three-point lead, and missed one of two, almost begging the Mavs to make this a Halloween-style haunting for Philly. It's getting old. 

BTW, quick word on Bayless: Gives me no joy to say this, but I think he's officially my least favorite Sixer of the post-Process era. Basketball-Reference claims he's shooting 47 percent from three for us this season — with multiple made threes in each of the six games thus far — so I suppose he's technically doing his job. But he's definitely a Hollis Thompson-type shooter, where it feels like he always makes early but misses late, and he consistently gets the easiest looks on the team, but you never think it's going down when it leaves his hands. That's probably unfair to Jerryd, but it doesn't help that he's a zero on D, and also always seems to make one absolutely boneheaded and/or game-killing play per fourth quarter. I could not have been less confident when he went to the line with six seconds left last night. 

But while we're speaking of late-game Sixers catastrophes, have to at least mention the one thing that did go right: Embiid's bucket with 15 seconds left to put the 76ers up four and (seemingly) ice the game for Philly was a really big moment for him. JoJo has been a majorly unreliable late-game option for Philly for most of his brief NBA career thus far, with a tendency to get stuck in traffic and either strangle the possession or turn the ball over. But for this set he was calm, decisive and efficient, dribbling his man down in the paint, protecting the ball, and spinning towards the basket for an easy layup before help could even properly arrive. Very encouraging, and something you hope we'll see a lot more of from The Process in the weeks and months to come. 

Anyway, if all losses end up looking the same in the standings for the Sixers, I guess all wins have to as well. Reliably winning the games they should, against subpar teams like the Mavs — even on the road, with JJ Redick out with back tightness — is a major step for Philly, and they're 2-for-2 so far. Frustrating that they're not at least 3-3 overall, and with another game against the Rockets coming before we leave Texas, it may be a little while before we climb to .500 still. But as long as the team stays mostly healthy and consistently escapes with more points than the other team when they outplay a lesser team, we should have the opportunity to get our head above water before long.

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

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Christina Betz | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Processing Sixers' tasty new concession food … the meat pie

The Sixers on Wednesday sent over a box of Four’N Twenty Australian beef pies to promote The Center's newest concession food. The meat pies are in homage to future Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons, who hails from the Land Down Under and was the driving force for helping the team sign its first international sponsor.

These magnificent meat pies will be available at home games beginning Wednesday. 

Naturally, I was intrigued to try the foreign (and free) food. A little research on the brand gave me the advice to "tuck in to a classic," which I gladly agreed to.

The packaging recommended an oven, but without access to one at work, and hunger too great to wait for the toaster oven, I went straight for the four and a half minutes in the microwave.

Three and half minutes later (our microwave is one of the industrial super-strong ones), I had this waiting for me:

Armed with just a plastic fork and knife, I decided to dive in and give "THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN TASTE" a try.

First impression?

The pastry was way crispier than I thought was achievable from a microwave. Like this was some "bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes" crispiness. I was having some serious issues cutting through with my plastic knife.

Once I managed to split it open, I was rewarded with a steaming pastry filled with a dark brown meat stuffing.

After that initial cut, things took a little turn for the worse.

I was forced to use my hands to break and eat the rest of it following several unsuccessful attempts to cut bite-sized pieces with the tools I had.

The pie was … really tasty. The meat filling was just a delicious ground beef mixture, with no weird spices or flavors, and the pastry was perfectly flaky and crispy. I could definitely see myself wanting this again when I’m craving a comfort food or want to eat a classier hamburger.

My main issue with the meat pie lies within the actual feasibility of eating it during a game. I had some serious struggles while I was sitting at a desk, with a plate and at least semi-useful utensils. I can’t really imagine eating a pie in a stadium seat between two rabid Processors.

My top-5 Australian exports
1. Ben Simmons
2. Hugh Jackman
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Walkabouts
5. Boxed Wine
.
.
.
10. Brett Brown's accent
11. Meat pies

Final thought: This meat pie is a really solid, albeit, strange new food for a sporting event. I can only really see its success playing out in two ways: A lot of greasy, meaty high fives or a messier version of the Flyers' bracelet debacle if the Sixers drop another game in which they led by 24 points.

Eagles can put up points in scary-quick fashion

Eagles can put up points in scary-quick fashion

When the Eagles went into the locker room Sunday night for halftime at AT&T Stadium, they were trailing the Cowboys, 9-7. After Nigel Bradham returned a fumble for a touchdown with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Eagles led 37-9.

An eight-play, 75-yard drive ending with a Corey Clement touchdown run and a two-point conversion took 4:04 off the clock. A five-play, 90-yard series capped by a Torrey Smith touchdown grab and two to Alshon Jeffery took 2:28. An 11-play, 85-yard march finished with six to Jeffery in 5:48. Obviously, Bradham’s score lasted only seconds.

In a matter of 20 minutes, the Eagles had scored 30 points. And it wasn’t the first time this team has put points on the board in bunches.

Against the Broncos two weeks ago, the Eagles racked up 31 points in the span of about 24 minutes in the first half. The previous game, they posted 17 over a period of fewer than 12 minutes in the second and third quarters to pull away from the 49ers. And one week earlier, the Eagles went from down 10-3 to up 24-10 on the Redskins with three touchdown drives in 13 minutes during quarters two and three.

That’s just the last four games. The Eagles have shown the ability to light up the scoreboard quickly just about every week this season.

Thirteen points in under 15 minutes against the Panthers. Twenty-one points in the first quarter alone on the Cardinals. Thirteen points in the final seven minutes to come from behind and beat the Giants.

The Eagles don’t just score a lot. They do score a lot, of course — their 320 points leads the NFL.

The Eagles score a lot, and they often pour it on when they do, in a manner that demoralizes opponents. Once that wound is picked open, it can take a whole quarter to stop the bleeding. Lately, it’s been the better part of a half of football.

It’s not as if teams are responding, matching scoring drives or going point for point with the Eagles, either. Once the floodgates open, opponents are often facing an insurmountable deficit after the devastation.

The offense is moving the ball, but the defense is creating turnovers and getting off the field, too, occasionally even finding the end zone themselves. The Eagles have three defensive touchdowns on the season, and their 20 takeaways are good for third in the NFL.

What does it all mean? The Eagles are 9-1, best record in the league, and quarterback Carson Wentz is the frontrunner to win the Most Valuable Player award. They have the No. 1 run defense in the league, rank first in point differential and second in turnover differential. At this point, it’s no secret this is one of the best teams in the game.

But should the Eagles ever find themselves in a position where they’re behind late — something that hasn’t happened in going on months – you know they’re not out of it. Even if they’re trailing by three possessions in the fourth quarter, the defense can get some holds, and Wentz can get 21 points in a hurry. He’s done it before.

And if the Eagles aren’t trailing, and they go on a huge run, you know the tides have likely changed for good.

Recently, it hasn’t been a question of “if” at all, but “when” the Eagles start scoring in bunches. The Eagles are averaging just short of 34 points during their eight-game winning streak, and have finished with no fewer than 26 during that stretch.

It doesn’t always happen right out of the gate, but the Eagles keep on scoring in droves.