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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.

To boo or not to boo? Manny Machado playing in Philly tonight is an easy decision

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USA Today

To boo or not to boo? Manny Machado playing in Philly tonight is an easy decision

By most accounts, the Phillies made a serious effort to trade for former Baltimore Orioles megastar Manny Machado but didn’t put together a package of prospects that could best the one that ultimately landed him with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Orioles’ decision-makers took the deal that they believed was best for their organization. They didn’t take a lesser package in order to accommodate whatever Machado's preferred destination may have been. So in a sense, Machado didn’t really get a say in where he landed in a trade.

He absolutely will get final say about where he lands in free agency this winter.

Now, Philadelphia sports fans like to pride themselves on being among the most knowledgeable in all the land when it comes to their understanding of the game.

With all of that said, I’ve heard from a few fans that they’re debating whether or not to boo Machado when he visits Citizens Bank Park tonight with the Dodgers.

My response to that? Why in the world would you boo Manny Machado?!?

The idea of booing Machado just to boo him is a very bad one.

I’m talking about the kind of booing for no reason at all here where Machado comes up to his first plate appearance and hears the boos rain down from the crowd. Don’t do that. That is a very bad look. If he hits a home run against the Phils tonight? Feel free to boo all you want. If he says what an ugly city Philly is today? Boo him back to Baltimore.

Boo a guy if he deserves it. But Machado has said nothing but positive things about Philadelphia in the past. When he played against the Phillies back in July with Baltimore, he got cheered and he noticed.

"Philly. I did hear that nice ovation when I was there," Machado told reporters over the All-Star break. "That was pretty awesome.”

And Phillies fans — think about it — if you want Machado to sign here for a whopper of a contract in the offseason, you’re going to have to convince him that this is a wonderful place to live and play baseball. Booing him for no reason other than he didn’t get traded here certainly does not accomplish that and it does not make you look like a smart baseball fan.

I’d even argue giving Machado a loud positive cheer in his first plate appearance could be the smart thing to do. If you want him to chose Philly over the lore of being a New York Yankee, every positive image you can help him have of Philly can only help.

Make up a cheeky sign if you want. "Manny, I love you very much. You're the best. Just like Chase. But I hope you lose tonight. I know you understand."

And finally, Milwaukee Brewers fans booed Machado over the weekend and any self-respecting fan doesn’t ever want to do what they do.

More on the Phillies

Internet sleuths uncover Doug Pederson cameo in 2008 movie

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USA Today Images

Internet sleuths uncover Doug Pederson cameo in 2008 movie

Before Doug Pederson was an underdog, he was a longshot.

Thanks to some super sleuthing from some folks on Reddit, specifically u/nosefinger1, it has been uncovered that Doug Pederson and his Calvary Baptist Academy football team made a brief appearance in the movie “The Longshots.” 

Since we don’t condone piracy, here are some screenshots.

That has to be Doug, right? If you needed more proof, u/dr_rex uncovered some more info.

The movie, starring Ice Cube and directed by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, came out in 2008 and was a pretty significant box office flop. Perhaps they could have given the future Super Bowl-winning head coach a bigger role.