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A nice milestone for Embiid

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A nice milestone for Embiid

Hey, the Philadelphia 76ers are a good basketball team. If they weren't, they probably would've lost last night, when on the second game of a back-to-back, they fell into a 14-point hole against the Charlotte Hornets (winners of 5 of their last 6) late in the third quarter. But thanks to some clutch shooting, stringent late-game D and the welcome bench presence of returned Processor Ersan Ilyasova (18-4-3 on 7-11 shooting), they fought back, and were able to capture the edge late in the fourth, eventually winning 110-99. 

As big a win as it was for the Sixers' playoff position — leaving them a secure sixth in the East, with just two games separating them from Cleveland in third — it's probably bigger for the nice round number that gets to sit in the "G" section of Joel Embiid's Basketball-Reference page for this season. Embiid has now played 50 games in his sophomore season, a number that many of us thought he might never reach over the course of a full 82, and that even more of us figured we'd be blessed if he managed to hit at all this season — let alone with 21 games still to go. 

Last night certainly wasn't Embiid's best performance as a Sixer — he shot just 8-19 from the field and 6-11 from the line (a rare shooting mini-slump from The Process), turned the ball over four times, and was plagued by foul trouble for much of the first three quarters. But he also kept Philly alive with a dominant 15-point third quarter, and made half of the play of the game, when he dished to Ilyasova on a give-and-go with under three to go to put the Sixers up five. Frankly, the fact that Embiid could have a 24-15-4 line (with three blocks, and total dominance of opposing center Dwight Howard) and have it count as something of a down game for him just shows how much we're already starting to take his brilliance as a given. 

Through Embiid's 50 games this season, the Sixers are 31-19 — the winning percentage of a 51-win team overall — and he's on pace to play a remarkable 67 games total. That's not to say he definitely will, as you still never know what little injuries will pop up to derail his current consistency. But again, just to be this deep in the season, and to have JoJo playing both ends of a back-to-back with neither his health or his minutes a major source of discussion afterwards, is already more than most of us dared to dream. The fact that the Sixers are winning through it as well just feels like extra syrup on the sundae. 

What's really going on with Michael Bennett and the Eagles?

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What's really going on with Michael Bennett and the Eagles?

A commentator’s seemingly innocuous remark about Michael Bennett’s role with the Eagles quietly became a subplot this week after the defensive end refused to speak to reporters.

Is the three-time Pro Bowl selection “none too happy” being a “backup” in Philadelphia, as NBC’s Cris Collinsworth indicated during the Eagles’ nationally televised opener? Only Bennett can say for sure, and he reportedly declined the opportunity when approached by team employees, while coaches denied knowledge of any issue when questioned.

But did Bennett’s actions betray the company line one week later when he appeared to take issue with being removed from a game? Good thing pictures are worth 1,000 words because the 10th-year veteran had nothing to add, essentially telling the media “no comment,” which naturally only adds to the mystery.

So what are we to believe exactly?

For starters — see what we did there, Michael? — let’s revisit March after Bennett was traded to the Eagles from the Seahawks.

“I think a great defensive line is about the rotation,” Bennett said.

“I’m comfortable with taking less plays, man.

“Just taking snaps off, being able to have a [longer] career, it’s something that every player wishes and dreams about. And this organization, when you think about play snaps and counts and keeping guys fresh for the moments that count.

“Because at the end of the day, it’s not about September or October or November; it’s about January and February.”

Bennett understood the situation he was walking into and not only seemed OK but also enthusiastic. As recently as training camp, there was no sign of distress.

“Obviously I care [about starting]," Bennett said to NJ.com. “But at the same time, I am not going to make it the most important thing to me. The most important thing for me is just getting in the game and playing as high as I can.”

Still fine. From July to September, with only two games in the books, how did we get to “none too happy?”

It’s entirely plausible Collinsworth’s anecdote was blown out of proportion. Bennett averaged eight sacks per season over the previous six. Yeah, the guy wants to play, and rightfully believes he should. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’s requesting a trade, either. Perhaps this is considered the coloring aspect of the color commentator job.

Furthermore, Bennett’s refusal to speak to the media may be the result of people twisting his words, not to hide his discontent. Wouldn’t be the first time somebody played that card in Philadelphia.

The controversy's very premise has flaws. While Bennett happened to finish fourth in snaps among Eagles ends against the Buccaneers in Week 2, he was just one snap behind Brandon Graham for most in the opener — hardly reason to complain.

And Bennett’s interaction with a coach on the sideline last week — does anybody have a transcript? Otherwise, we might not want to put words in another person's mouth.

Then again, maybe Bennett was pissed. He played the fewest snaps of Eagles defensive ends against the Bucs, yet led the group in quarterback hits and matched Derek Barnett with a tackle for loss.

All of which suggests if there is anything to these rumors, maybe the best answer is simultaneously the easiest — the Eagles need to put Bennett on the field more.

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You have to see this terrible Phillie Phanatic costume

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Mascotcosplay.com

You have to see this terrible Phillie Phanatic costume

October is rapidly approaching, which of course, includes the wonderful holiday of Halloween.

If you’re looking for that perfect costume that absolutely does not even slightly resemble your character, look no further.

Behold, this company is advertising a Phillie Phanatic costume for the low price of $399.99 that literally looks nothing like the most beloved mascot in all of Major League Baseball.

We have many questions about what exactly went into the design of the costume, which is actually on sale, but you can see it for yourself right here and below:

So if you’ve got $399.99 to spare and are looking to dress up as the Phanatic, we do not recommend buying this one.

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