Archive: October, 2008
My email bin was bulging with questions about why rookie Marreese wasn't on the active roster for Wednesday night's 76ers opener. And beyond that, why he wasn't playing.
A couple were already touting Speights as the guy who should be starting at center in place of Samuel Dalembert.
My response: Lighten up. Think it through.
This is a Sixers opening night with no surprises, at least none so far.
The starting lineup is as has been advertised: Thaddeus Young, Andre Miller, Samuel Dalembert, Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala.
The inactive list is as expected: The injured Jason Smith and rookie Marreese Speights.
Maurice Cheeks spent five rain soaked innings watching the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night. What he came away with was an appreciation for the camraderie.
''That's what I was really looking for, the electricity that was out there,'' Cheeks said. "I get chills when I look at the camraderie . . . On the screens, they showed the (Phillies) players hugging each other when they clinched to go to the World Series. All of that was about a team.
''Manuel has done such a great job of managing that team. I learned a little bit from him: When (Ryan) Howard started out slow, he stayed with him, stayed with him. In the end, Howard was one of their big guns. Even in this Series, he stayed with him . . . he hit two home runs the other day.
As expected, the Sixers have moved the start time of Wednesday's season opener to 6 p.m. to accommodate fans wishing to watch the World Series game across the complex.
The Sixers and Toronto were scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
The Sixers said the AT&T Pavilion at the Wachovia Center will remain open after the Sixers game late into the evening for fans to watch the baseball game with half-price domestic beer specials and delicious food, including Chickie's & Pete's world famous Crab Fries and chicken tenders. After the Sixers game, access to the AT&T Pavilion will be free and open to the public.
Maurice Cheeks was the point guard with the 1982-83 76ers who swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games to win the NBA championship. He knows, he really knows, what it's like to be sooooo close to a title. He also knows what it's like to come agonizingly close and not make it. That's what happened in 1979-80 and '81-82, when the Sixers got to the championship series and lost--both times--to the Lakers.
He was also there as a Sixers assistant coach when they lost in five games in 2000-01, again to--who else?--the Lakers.
So he knows what it's like for the Phillies to be on the brink.
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks admitted to a fleeting moment of serious concern last Friday when Thaddeus Young, his starting small forward, had to leave practice with a mid-back strain.
''But KJ (head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson) said it wasn't going to be that serious,'' Cheeks said today. ''But (Young) never gets hurt. I'm hoping he's going to be OK (for Wednesday night's opener).''
By happenstance, Cheeks had started Kareem Rush at small forward against the New JerseyNets in last Wednesday's preseason finale, bringing Young off the bench. But that was mostly to give Rush some extended minutes and allow him to relocate his rhthm as a three-point shooter. In Young's weekend absence, Rush stayed with the first unit and represents the contingency plan if Young is unable to play.
You can catch up with some material in my previous post about Marreese Speights and some fun stuff from around the NBA later. Right now, in the midst of the World Series, this takes precedence.
If the Phillies are involved in a Game 6 with the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida Wednesday night, the Sixers will open their regular season against the Toronto raptors an hour earlier.
Here's the official plan:
Marreese Speights, bless his rookie heart, is making Maurice Cheeks make a decision.
Could Speights, the 6-0 forward/center from Florida, the No. 16 pick in the June draft, force his way into the 76ers' regular season rotation?
I said last night that things didn't look good for Jared Reiner in terms of making the 76ers' opening night roster. I don't feel good about being right, but I was. The Sixers waived the backup big man today, leaving the roster at 14, one under the NBA limit. And that counts Jason Smith, the second-year big man who is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
I think several elements worked against Reinder, who has 46 games of experience in the league with the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks: Rookie Marreese Speights has emerged as a guy who might just get some minutes at both power forward and center, serving as a backup to backups Reggie Evans and Theo Ratliff; team president/general manager Ed Stefanski might just be more comfortable with a spot available in the event he wants to add a player later, possibly off the waiver wire of final cuts, and Reiner has been a fringe player throughout his career, playing overseas and in the NBA Development League, and might be viewed as little more than that. Somehow, though, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up on some team's roster later on, probably as a 10-day guy.
Here is the roster that the Sixers will begin the season with. The opener is Wednesday against Toronto at the Wachovia Center.
Hello from East Rutherford, N.J. to the few of you who might not be mesmerized by the Phillies in the World Series.
I was always taught not to write about travel experiences, because you want to know about the team. But I'll share tonight's adventure on the off-chance any of you might have plans to come to a regular-season game in the Izod Center:
There is construction everywhere. There are cones blocking entrances to places you used to use to enter the parking lots. I was bound for Lot 26, where my name was on a media list. I stopped to ask a security person, just to be certain I knew where I was going. She reached for a set of papers and had to look it up before giving me directions, after which she thanked me.