Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sixers beat Pistons, won't challenge own NBA record

Philadelphia, PA -- Robert Covington made four 3-pointers en route to 19 points for the Philadelphia 76ers, who snapped a six-game losing streak with an 89-69 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday and managed to officially avoid a dubious part of their history.

With their ninth victory of the season, Philly equaled the win total which stands as the fewest in NBA history at nine, set during their still-standing worst record of 9-73 in 1972-73. Since there are 36 games remaining in the current season, the 76ers will apparently not come close to challenging that benchmark for futility.

Michael Carter-Williams returned from a one-game absence to finish with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Sixers, who improved to 4-18 at home this season.

JaKarr Sampson added 13 points and eight boards for Philadelphia. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute tallied 12 points and Henry Sims and K.J. McDaniels each scored 10 points.

"We're getting better," said Sixers coach Brett Brown. "We try to teach these young guys to never take their foot off the pedal. We have no right to be complacent at any point, so we try to wind these guys up all day, every play, every day."

Greg Monroe ended with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost four in a row. Jodie Meeks had 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting against his former team.

Holding a 6-4 lead, the Sixers went on a 22-4 run to take control. The Pistons missed 12 straight shots during the stretch that resulted in a 28-8 margin.

"Obviously, it was very difficult. We weren't ready to play. I don't think I've ever coached a game where one team's effort was that much better than my team's effort," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said of his team's start.

Detroit responded with the final eight points of the first quarter to get within 12. The Pistons then outscored Philadelphia by a 21-20 margin in the second to make it 48-37 at the half.

But the Sixers led by at least nine throughout the second half.

Notes: Carter-Williams missed Monday's loss to the Pelicans with an illness ... The Pistons have dropped four straight on the road ... Philadelphia shot 47.4 percent from the field, while holding Detroit to 30.7 percent ... Jonas Jerebko had 10 points for the Pistons, who went 2-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monty back in old slot with Phillies

Pat Gillick will continue as the Philadelphia Phillies' president and David Montgomery, the club's longtime president who had been on a medical leave of absence, will return as the team's chairman, the Phillies announced Wednesday.

Gillick assumed the role of president back in August when Montgomery took a leave of absence. He has served as a senior advisor to the president and general manager for the Phillies since handing over the reins to Ruben Amaro, Jr. shortly after the club won the 2008 World Series. He told Todd Zolecki of that he hadn't planned on remaining with the club in 2016, but changed his mind.

"I am fortunate to be healthy enough now to resume some of my previous responsibilities," Montgomery said in a statement. "I am very appreciative that Pat Gillick is willing and available to remain as the club's president. Pat and I have become very close since he joined us in the fall of 2005. I look forward to returning to work as Phillies chairman."

Montgomery was named president of the Phillies in 1997, succeeding Bill Giles. He first joined the Phillies in 1971 at an entry-level position and advanced through the sales and marketing departments to become the executive vice president in 1981 when a group including Giles bought the franchise from the Carpenter family, then was named chief operating officer in 1992.

Giles, the team's current chairman, will take on the role of chairman emeritus.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

La Salle caps Big 5 slate by downing SJU

Philadelphia, PA -- Jerrell Wright finished with a double- double of 19 points and 10 rebounds as the La Salle Explorers knocked off their Big 5 rival, the Saint Joseph's Hawks, 53-48, in Atlantic 10 Conference play at Tom Gola Arena.

Cleon Roberts netted 14 points for La Salle (11-9, 3-4 A-10) while Steve Zack led the Explorers in rebounding with 12, but shot only 1-of-7 from the floor. Khalid Lewis contributed to the victory with eight points, five boards and five assists.

DeAndre Bembry led the Hawks (8-11, 2-5) with 20 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Isaiah Miles finished with 10 points and seven boards in the loss.

Phil Martelli's squad finished City Series play 2-2, while Dr. John Giannini's charged ended up with the same record after beating Penn prior to Tuesday.

The Hawks held a 27-18 advantage going into halftime after they limited the Explorers to just 6-of-24 shooting from the field in the opening period, which included a 1-of-8 mark from 3-point distance. Saint Joseph's netted 35.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.

La Salle turned it around in the final period, as it connected on 48.2 percent of its field goal tries. The Hawks were held to a 33.3 shooting percentage in the second half, a mere a 1-of-10 mark from 3-point range.

The Explorers, who trailed by as many as 15 late in the first half, outscored the visitors at the free-throw line, 11-2.

Home fans added some spice to the long-time rivalry by staging a mock funeral for the iconic Hawk, who is a fixture at all SJU games and is known for his constant wing-flapping during play.

Mason returns to lead Flyers to 4-3 shootout victory over Coyotes

Image courtesy Amy Irvin -
by: Hal Greenblatt
Phanatic Hockey Writer

Philadelphia, Pa -- Wayne Simmonds scored in the shootout for the Flyers as Steve Mason made all three saves, as the Flyers beat Arizona, 4-3.

Wayne Simmonds, RJ Umberger and Michael Del Zotto all scored for the Flyers. Mark Streit, Claude Giroux, Andrew MacDonald, Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare all recorded assists. Steve Mason entered the game in relief of Ray Emery after Emery allowed two goals on four shots. Mason finished the night with 24 saves. The Flyers have now won two in a row, and three of their last four.

Connor Murphy, Martin Erat, and Tobias Riedzer were the goal scorers for Arizona. Erat also had an assist. Shane Doan recorded two assists while Andrew Campbell, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Antoine Vermette each notched an assist. Mike Smith was strong in net for Arizona, making several highlight reel saves, en route to stopping 39/42 Flyer shots. Alas, the Coyotes have now lost seven straight.

In typical Flyer fashion, the Orange and Black jumped on the ice without a care in the world. Arizona would quickly jump on the lackluster Flyers, chasing Ray Emery to the bench, just 5:50 into the game.

"You feel for Razor," Mason said of Emery being pulled. "These games after long layoffs are real difficult for goalies. It was my job as the backup tonight to try and salvage something."

Connor Murphy got the scoring started, potting his third goal of the season at 3:33. Martin Erat would score on a big rebound, and severe defensive overplay by the entire team, as he shot the puck passed Emery.

Despite head coach Craig Berube's quick trigger on pulling Emery, he did not feel the team came out flat.

"I didn't think the team was flat, really," Berube stated. "I felt we needed something to boost us, give us life."

Steve Mason quickly entered the game, and the tide immediately turned. Rarely tested, Mason was up to the task saving all six shots he saw in the first period.

"It's almost probably easier not to expect anything and get thrown in," Mason spoke of his first game back since injury. "With the long layoff, there is obviously room for improvement."

Philadelphia would finally get on the scoreboard, as Wayne Simmonds notched his 17th of the year, a power play goal, off a rebound from a Mark Streit shot.

The Flyers, despite losing 2-1 after the first period, controlled the final twelve minutes and would carry that momentum into the second period.

Philadelphia dominated the early part of the second period, and if it were not from some spectacular saves by Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith (particularly on RJ Umberger), the Flyers would have had an insurmountable lead.

"Since early December, I've accepted my role and understood it more," Umberger said, while discussing his improved play.

Despite getting rejected on three separate one-time opportunities, Umberger continued to attack, as he tied the score at two a piece with 6:05 remaining in the period. Umberger took a pass from Andrew MacDonald and roofed the tying goal passed Smith for his ninth of the year.

The Flyers would continue to attack, leading to a beautiful snipe by Michael Del Zotto at 18:59. Del Zotto came in along the left wing, took a pass from Jake Voracek and skated in towards Smith. As Smith attempted to take away the near side angle, Del Zotto beat Smith up high to give the Flyers a lead, albeit, a short one. Just 24 seconds later, Coyotes winger Tobias Riedzer took a Shane Doan stretch pass to beat Mason on a breakaway, leaving the teams knotted at three, entering the third period.

"Those are goals you can't give up," Mason said regarding the tying goal with under one minute remaining in the second. "We can't have those opportunities and they can't be scoring goals at that time."

The Flyers and Coyotes played to a scoreless third period, but it was not without its action, as both teams had their chances. Alas, sixty minutes was not enough, as these two teams would head to overtime.

An extra session would not decide a winner, so the dreaded shootout waited for the Flyers, who entered with a record of 1-5.

But tonight would be different for the Broad Street Bullies. Despite battling the flu all weekend, Mason would deny the Coyotes on their three attempts, and the fans screams reaching a crescendo, it would be the "Wayne Train" scoring to send the Flyers faithful home happy.

Notes: The Flyers improved to 2-5 in the shootout while the Coyotes dropped to 3-4. . .Claude Giroux led the Flyers in hits with 9. . .Petr Straka had 13 shifts and 10:08 of ice time in his NHL debut...Ryan White won three of eight face-offs in his Flyer debut. . .Jake Voracek improved his league leading point total to 57 with a second period assist. . .