Sports Tonight: Celtics bring their 'new' new look to Philly

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) grabs a rebound against Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker, center, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Boston. At right is Boston Celtics center Al Horford. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports, but when they are as visually graphic as the dislocated ankle and broken leg that Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered six minutes into the NBA season on Tuesday the impact can be more traumatic.

Considered a preseason challenger for the NBA Championship, Boston is 0-2 after losing at Cleveland and a night later at home against Milwaukee.

When the Celtics play the Sixers at 7 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSP; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), they will have had an off-day to adjust to the fact that Hayward is likely done for the season.

It’s hard to consider statements this early in an 82-game schedule, but the Celtics and Sixers are labeled as ones to watch this season.

With both teams in the Atlantic Division, the shine of one could well be affected by the shadow of the other.

Boston needs to show it still has the confidence and ability to be a dominant team in the Eastern Conference. It won’t want to fall to the upstart in the division.

The Sixers had a valiant effort against a strong Washington team, but good losses aren’t going to get them into the playoffs.

It’s never too early to win a big game.

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New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro (14) and right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate a 5-0 win against the Houston Astros during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The Yankees’ win gives them a 3-2 series lead. (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News/TNS)

 

Baby Bombers on verge of going to World Series

The New York Yankees are the only franchise to ever blow a 3-0 lead in the MLB Playoffs.

At 8 p.m. on FS1 when the Yankees play at the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS, they could make more positive history.

Holding a 3-2 lead, New York would not be the first team to win a League Championship Series after losing the first two games but they are in position for an unprecedented double-double from the brink of oblivion.

The Yankees beat Cleveland in the ALDS after falling down 0-2. They became the 10th team to rally from losing the first two games and win a five-game Division or Championship series since 1969 when MLB went to playoffs to determine who made the World Series.

With MLB permanently expanding the playoffs to include the Division Series in 1995, no team has reached the World Series after coming back from 0-2 deficits in both a Division and League Championship Series.

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Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez, left, and guard Lonzo Ball, right, reach for a loose ball along with Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

What I’m reading

Los Angeles Clippers defensive wizard Patrick Beverley gave Lonzo Ball a rude welcome to the NBA and told him it was in part because of the Lakers rookie’s father’s big mouth. Naturally, LaVar Ball opened it up again.

This is a reunion that’s been nearly nine months in the making. The last time Joel Embiid played in front of a home crowd was Jan. 27. Staff writer Keith Pompey says Embiid cannot wait for tonight’s home opener.

Eagles defensive end Chris Long had already made the A-list when he pledged his first six game checks to his charity fund for youth education. Staff writer Paul Domowitch writes that Long has moved even further up the good person list.

Any best-ever lists are subject to opinion, but the NBA 50 All-Time Greatest was one of the most researched and thought through. Still, times change and many great players have come through the league since. Mike Wise and the staff at The Undefeated give their revised list. Some will be happy. Some will be upset.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and her 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion still have not received the traditional invitation to visit the White House despite her already declaring they would come because “that’s what champions do.” Greg Hadly of thestate.com reports that Staley’s rival coaches in the SEC are not happy about that.

 

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) goes to the basket past Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the first half of a NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

 

The riff

On Oct. 31, 2013, Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson tweeted, “I just got done watching the guy I think will be the Rookie of The Year, Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers.”

Given his credentials, I wasn’t surprised that Johnson, who is now the Lakers President, turned out to be correct.

Of course, Johnson treat became a trick in February 2015 when he tweeted, “The Bucks just acquired the next Jason Kidd in Michael Carter-Williams.”

Four years after being ROY, MCW is already an NBA Journeyman.

Never one to be swayed by potential embarrassment, I predict that after seeing Ben Simmons play one NBA game he will be the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year.

By the numbers, MCW’s debut of 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds and 9 steals was more impressive than Simmons’ 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Still, I don’t have to be the Naismith Hall of Fame to immediately recognize that Simmons, who lost his normal rookie season to injury, has more upside and is more ready for the NBA than any player drafted in 2017.

I also predict that four years from now Simmons will be an established All-Star.

Tonight’s schedule

FRIDAY

TV/Radio

Baseball Playoffs

Yankees at Astros, 8 p.m. (FS1)

NBA

Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)

Cavaliers at Bucks, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Warriors at Pelicans, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

College Football

Western Kentucky at Old Dominion, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)

Marshall at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Princeton at Harvard, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Air Force at Nevada, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)

Colorado State at New Mexico, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

High School Football

Central Bucks South at Pennridge, 7 p.m. (WNPV-AM 1440)

Golf on Golf Channel

European PGA: Valderrama Masters, 9:30 a.m.

LPGA: Taiwan Championship, 12:30 p.m.

Champions Tour: Eominion Energy Classic, 2:30 p.m.

PGA: CJ Cup, 10 p.m.

Auto Racing

Formula One: United States Grand Prix practice, 11 a.m. (NBCSN)

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Hollywood Casino 400 practice, 1 p.m.; qualifying, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)

NASCAR Xfinity: Kansas Lottery 300 practice, 5 p.m. (NBCSN)

Local Events

NBA

76ers vs. Celtics, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center

Harness Racing

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 12:40 p.m., Chester