Joel Embiid has captured the attention of Philadelphia sports fans. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
“I’ve said many times you don’t want it to be a coach driven formula. Ultimately it needs to be player coached team, a player driven formula. The players determine the behavior. The players determine the culture. Where somebody will say that’s just not good enough. That’s not how we act. That’s not how we guard. We show up on time. That’s not respectful. Whatever it is. …And through discussion I have with Joel I’m trying to achieve that.”
— Sixers head coach Brett Brown, speaking to the media before the season.
That statement by head coach Brett Brown, at a media luncheon with reporters prior to the start of the season, seemed patently absurd at the time, made less than a year after Joel Embiid was the subject of a scathing report from Sports Illustrated alleging chronic insubordination, immaturity, and a ballooning midsection.
Rather than have Embiid lead the franchise, conventional wisdom said at the time, Embiid needed to have a strong personality alongside him to show him the way.
Under normal circumstances, that may have been true. But Embiid is no normal 22-year-old rookie.
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Left: Joel Embiid (Cal Sport Media/Associated Press); right: Ben Simmons (Steven Freeman/NBAE/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons wears the face of a kid getting dragged to Sunday school when he’d rather settle in for a Call of Duty marathon with friends. He looks the part, too, a neatly buttoned white dress shirt and skinny black pants clinging to his lanky six-foot-10-inch, 20-year-old frame. His teammates on the 76ers are within arm’s reach, laughing and joking as they go through a pregame practice in gray t-shirts and blue shorts at the Wells Fargo Center.
Simmons wants to be out there with them, but for the moment he can only hover at the edge of the court and stare at the gleaming maple floor and the UFO-size Sixers logo. Pockets of fans who show up early for this mid-December matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers start to notice him standing there — the savior in the flesh. Ben. Ben. Hey, Simmons! Bennnn! He turns and walks down a tunnel to the locker room, frustrated, injured, alone. Read more »
Sixers center Joel Embiid congratulates Robert Covington, mid-interview, for his game winning basket | John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the Sixers recent winning ways — which was extended to an 8-2 stretch of play after last night’s 93-92 victory over the visiting Portland Trailblazers — is the confidence the team has inspired from fans late in close games.
Defined over the last few years by their complete inability to execute down the stretch, the Sixers have flipped that script entirely over the last few weeks. As Kevin Pelton of ESPN pointed out last night, the Sixers went 4-22 in games decided by five or fewer points from October 2015 to December 29th, 2016. They’ve won five of their past six such contests since.
“Our guys, to their credit, they’re feeling good about themselves. They’re winning here at home, and we found a way to, again, win ugly,” head coach Brett Brown said after the game. “I think you have to give our guys, without Joel (Embiid), a lot of credit, a lot of credit, to be able to find a way to win at home under the circumstances we were in.”
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At left: Dennis Grove, the founder of the #RaiseTheCat movement (“movement”). At right: The Penn Vet school’s contribution to the #RaiseTheCat movement.
My cat was on the news yesterday.
OK, it wasn’t quite prime time. But at 6:25 a.m., little Detective John Munch made an appearance on a CBS 3 news report. Channel 3 did a little report on #RaiseTheCat, the month-old tradition in which Sixers fans on Twitter raise their cats over their heads after a Sixers victory. Read more »
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Ben Simmons debut could still be a month away | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, 76ers rookie Ben Simmons could make his NBA debut after the All-Star break.
The 76ers will have off from February 16th through February 23rd for the league’s All-Star break, returning to play on Friday, February 24th against the Washington Wizards.
According to Haynes, Simmons’ debut could come some time “shortly after the All-Star break” and “near March”, although no specifics were provided outside of that.
While Haynes said Simmons missing the entire season because of his injury was still a possibility, he did also report that the foot had completely healed.
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Sixers center Joel Embiid blocks Cody Zeller at the rim | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia 76ers picked up their 12th win of the season Friday night, this one a 102-93 victory over visiting Charlotte Hornets in front of an increasingly rabid 18,215 fans in South Philadelphia.
It is the fifth victory Brett Brown’s team has picked up in their last six games. The Sixers never trailed in this one.
The Sixers were led, once again, by Joel Embiid, who dominated both ends of the court on his way to 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, with the Sixers outscoring the Hornets by 23 points while he was on the court.
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The Sixers will take on Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets tonight at the Wells Fargo Center | Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
The Sixers will look to continue their winning ways tonight when they take on the visiting Charlotte Hornets at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers are riding high, winners in four of their last five games, the most recent being a thrilling 98-97 victory over the New York Knicks, a game which saw the team finish on a 15-4 run, culminating in a basket by T.J. McConnell as time expired for the win.
The schedule gets significantly more difficult starting tonight, with the Charlotte Hornets (20-19) in town. The Hornets have been struggling of late, dropping five of their last six games, albeit against strong competition (Cavs, Thunder, Spurs, Rockets), and slowed down by injuries to Cody Zeller and Nicolas Batum, both of whom should be back tonight.
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Sixers center Joel Embiid celebrates with T.J. McConnell after McConnell’s game-winning shot gave the Sixers a 98-98 victory | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia 76ers continued their winning ways, defeating the New York Knicks 98-97 Wednesday night on a buzzer beater by T.J. McConnell.
The Sixers were in position to win the game after coming all the way back from a 10 point deficit with 2:29 remaining. The comeback was led by rookie center Joel Embiid, who scored 8 of his team-high 21 points in the final 2+ minutes of play, not to mention numerous defensive stops on the other end of the court fueled by Embiid’s commanding presence.
Still, after Gerald Hendreson (12 points, 5-10 shooting) made a pair of free throws with 27.8 seconds remaining, the Knicks had the ball with the chance to extend their 1-point lead, but second year Latvian phenom Kristaps Porzingis missed a wide open three-point shot in the corner.
That set up a frantic final 5.8 seconds of play, with Gerald Henderson grabbing a floor board, eventually leading to T.J. McConnell’s baseline jumper as time expired to win the game.
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Cory Goldman with his son, Eli, and Charles Barkley at the City Ave. Target.
Cory Goldman was shopping at the City Avenue Target with his wife, Jen, and their 5-month-old son, Eli, when he saw someone he knew in the pharmacy department: Charles Barkley.
He didn’t want to approach the Hall of Fame basketball player, but when they ended up directly behind Barkley in the checkout line, Jen decided she wanted a photo of her son with Barkley. Sir Charles said he’d take a photo, and Cory ended up jumping into the picture, too.
“He was the nicest!” says Jen Rosenstock Goldman, a Philadelphia public school teacher when she’s not chatting up Sixers legends. “He was talking to an older woman in front of him about her grandson playing ball. He was just a normal guy buying toothpaste and Diet Coke.”
And the Goldmans weren’t the only ones to see Barkley in the City Avenue Target. A scan of social media shows that if you want to meet Charles Barkley, you might as well just camp out there. Read more »
The Philadelphia 76ers will sign Chasson Randle to a 10-day contract | Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia 76ers will sign former Stanford guard Chasson Randle to a 10-day contract, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical.
The Sixers had an available roster spot because of the decision to waive Hollis Thompson last week.
Randle was a four-year starter at Stanford, where the Cardinals compiled a 92-52 record during his college career. Randle averaged 19.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game as a senior, shooting 36.3 percent from three-point range on nearly 7 attempts per game. He shot 38.6 percent on 787 three-point attempts over the course of his four-year college career.
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