Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

Playoff Posturing: Sixers Host Hot Knicks

In addition to Joe Blanton and the Phillies taking on the New York Mets
across the street, the Sixers also take on a team from up that city up
the turnpike. After a loss on Tuesday night against a Celtics team that
played solid defense, Doug Collins' squad will face a team that's not
exactly known for its defense in the New York Knicks, winners of their
last four contests.

The Sixers will once again be without Lou Williams, who could be
sidelined until the playoffs, but Evan Turner stepped up in a big way on
Tuesday night, taking advantage of those available minutes. He also
didn't have to worry about Collins giving him a quick yank back to the
bench, so Turner had the time to feel comfortable and do some things
with the ball in his hands.

From CSNPhilly.com:

I don’t know a lot,” Doug Collins said after the [Celtics] game. “But
I do know what players’ strengths and weaknesses are. Evan is really,
really good when he has the ball in his hands.”

“It definitely
helps,” Turner concurred. “I was able to get a rhythm. Tonight I was
able to come off ball screens and be able to run in transition and
stuff like that.”

It was perhaps the best Evan has played all season, "just
[expletive]-ing getting after it, all night too. And against a really
good defense. Usually his good nights come against the Warriors, Suns,
etc," as one of my Sixers aficionados put it.

Perhaps facing the Knicks' defense tonight could allow ET to put a
pair of real nice games together. It would be especially nice if he
could do it against a team only .5 game back from them in the standings.

Carmelo Anthony didn't want to put too much stock into this one game
with the playoff-bound Sixers, "We don't' want too much pressure saying
if we don't win it's the end-all, but at the same time it would be a
good game to get on the road and a big test."

Does the battle for the sixth seed really matter all that much to the Sixers?

"It's pick your poison, you want Boston? or you want Miami? If we
could finish 6th, that'd be great, because 6th is better than 7th, but
it's not because you get an easier opponent," Coach Collins said before
the game today.

"The seeding to me would be great for our guys from the standpoint of
saying, 'Hey guys, you know what, when it's all said and done at the
end of the year, we had the sixth best record in the East.' That would
be nice."

It's Philly vs. New York tonight. Hopefully the results are better than Tuesday's awful showing from our local squads.

Tip of scheduled for 7:00. We'll be in the Wells Fargo Center if you'd like to chat along in the comments.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Another gem for Vince Velasquez, who's finally conquering his league-worst pace

Another gem for Vince Velasquez, who's finally conquering his league-worst pace

BOX SCORE

Vince Velasquez has been locked in since mid-June, which has been crucial for the Phillies with Nick Pivetta headed in the other direction.

The Padres couldn't touch Velasquez Sunday night, managing just two hits and a walk in his seven shutout innings (see first take). That's been a common theme for Velasquez over his last six starts, a span in which he has a 2.38 ERA and .134 opponents' batting average.

These last two starts in particular, Velasquez had pitched with a faster pace and more efficiency. Against the Mets and Padres — granted, the two worst offenses in the NL — he's thrown an average of just 13.2 pitches per inning.

He's picked up his pace on the mound, too, which was necessary. Velasquez entered Sunday night's game with the slowest pace in between pitches in all of baseball at 27.5 seconds.

"I think that's what has pretty much been the big turnaround for me," Velasquez said after his gem. "Finding that tempo and pretty much driving it through the game."

"That was as good as he's been all year," manager Gabe Kapler said. "The tempo, the pace and the energy levels were right on.

"It's the combination of keeping his rhythm and his pace but not losing control of his body. It's somewhere right in the middle. ... When he gets runners on base, he's done a really good job of holding runners on. The pickoff (of Freddy Galvis) was notable but just as important, he does a great job holding the baseball. As a runner at first base, you have difficulty timing your jumps and before you know it, your body shuts down naturally.

"Across the board, I think he's been an exceptional athlete for us on the mound."

The Phillies are finally seeing signs of growth from Velasquez. He's looked like more of a pitcher and less of a thrower lately. He hasn't been running the insanely deep, foul-ball fueled counts while in search of a strikeout.

Velasquez's next start will be a more accurate gauge of whether he's truly turned a corner because it comes at Great American Smallpark in Cincinnati against a potent Reds lineup.

Despite the weakness of the Padres' offense, Velasquez did win a high-pressure battle in the sixth inning Sunday against former All-Star Eric Hosmer, by far the most dangerous hitter in San Diego's lineup. With two men on, two outs and the Phillies up 1-0, Velasquez battled back from a 2-0 hole to induce a shallow flyout to left field.

The Phillies went on to win 5-0 but that was the biggest spot in the game, the kind of moment when a well-placed knock from Hosmer could have changed the complexion of the rest of the night.

"He really has seemed to flourish when we've asked him to pitch a little bit deeper into games and he's earned the right to do that," Kapler said after Velasquez's longest start of 2018. "Two strong outings in a row, very encouraging for Vinny."

Two years and three months ago, Velasquez made his best start as a major-leaguer against the Padres, striking out 16 in a three-hit shutout. He did it with a big, upper-90s fastball that missed bat after bat.

On Sunday, Velasquez attacked in a different way. He started exactly one-third of the batters he faced with a first-pitch breaking ball or changeup. He could have been as fastball-happy as ever against a Padres team on pace to strike out more than any club in the history of baseball, but mixing it up Sunday made sense. The Padres have been one of the majors' worst teams vs. non-fastballs, hitting .202.

Pitching, not throwing.

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