I might not have thought it was fair to Utah Jazz fans because they were denied their lone opportunity to see rising star Joel Embiid play, but the Sixers’ strategic decision to rest the young center for “load management” worked out perfectly.
When the Sixers play at the Sacramento Kings at 10 tonight, (TV: NBCSP+; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), they’ll have well-rested Embiid and bring in a five-game winning streak, their longest streak since the 2011-12 season.
As a side note, the Flyers play the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSP; radio: 93.3 WMMR).
I still say the Sixers’ over-protective medical staff is babying Embiid with all of its restrictions on his playing time. At some point, this franchise has to play Embiid like a regular basketball player or it’s not going to matter that he has the skills around which you can build a title team.
Still, I’ll concede that it’s hard to question the strategy when the Sixers won in Utah for the first time since 2005.
Now, the Sixers send out a well-rested Embiid, who is actually irritated by the pampering more than anyone else, against the Kings’ unimpressive center rotation of Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos.
Seattle and Arizona both need to start a run
This is when the NFL schedule gets serious for teams with aspirations of playing more than the 16 games during the regular season.
When the Seattle Seahawks (5-3) play at the Arizona Cardinals (4-4) at 8:20 on NBC and the NFL Network, neither team has the luxury of believing the surprising Los Angeles Rams (6-2) are going to come back to reality and surrender their lead in the NFC West.
Seattle needs the win to stay a step behind the Rams. When the Seahawks went to consecutive Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014, they had a bye in the first round of the NFC playoffs. They can’t get a bye without winning the West.
The situation is more desperate for Arizona, which lost quarterback Carson Palmer for the season. The Cardinals are 12th in the NFC standings. The teams they beat, including winless San Francisco twice, have a combined record of 5-21.
What I’m reading
Yes, it appears that Roy Halladay might have been largely responsible for the plane crash that claimed his life. Still, you can question Halladay’s judgment, even criticize it, without sinking to the vilest denominator as staff writer Rob Tornoe reports a Boston radio host did.
Staff writers Phil Anastasia, Rick O’Brien, Aaron Carter and Dylan Purcell examine the safety of the helmets used to play football at area high schools.
It’s hard to paint a rosy picture when the FBI is actively investigating the sport for corruption, but as staff writer Joe Juliano reports, the college basketball season will go on.
Apparently, most NFL owners were smart enough to see through the attempted coup by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Commissioner Roger Goodell might not deserve a 5-year extension, but to let Jones win a power play would be worse.
Being on house arrest in a five-star hotel wouldn’t be the worst thing unless it is the police in China who put you there. Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution updates the situation of the three UCLA players arrested in China for shoplifting.
Rick Pitino was the first coach to go down because of the latest NCAA basketball scandal, and Auburn coach Bruce Pearl could be next. Pearl, who was once fired at Tennessee for rules violations, is refusing to cooperate with the school’s internal investigation.
It’s no secret that Sixers point guard Ben Simmons does not yet have a finely tuned NBA jump shot. Before, however, we again jump overboard about the undeveloped parts of the game of a 21-year-old, perhaps we should examine the consequences so far for Simmons.
Among qualified rookies, Simmons leads in scoring with a 17.8 average, two more points than Lauri Markanen. Simmons, however, ranks fourth in field-goal percent (48.7). That’s better than any other rookie guard – point or shooting.
Looking at all qualified point guards, you have to factor in that, unlike Simmons, most take many more lower-percentage shots from three-point range. Regardless, Simmons is fourth in field-goal percentage and 12th in scoring.
What’s key is he leads all point guards in rebounds (10.1) and is fifth in assists (8.0).
The comparisons show that the lack of an outside shot has not yet prevented Simmons from doing the things people anticipate from him.
Just imagine what he’ll do once he does get that consistent shot.
Seahawks at Cardinals, 8:25 p.m. (NBC10, NFL Network)
Blackhawks at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WMMR-FM 93.3)
Cavaliers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
76ers at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSP+; WPEN-FM 94.1)
Thunder at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Ball State at Northern Illinois, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
North Carolina at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia Southern at Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Golf on Golf Channel
LPGA: Blue Bay, 11 p.m.
European PGA: Nedbank Challenge, 3 a.m. Friday
Women’s Bobsled from Lake Placid, N.Y., 4 p.m. (NBCSN)
Women’s friendly: Canada vs. United States, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
NASCAR Trucks: Lucas Oil 150 qualifying, 5:30 p.m. (FS1)
Flyers vs. Blackhawks, 7:05 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
Men’s College Basketball
Temple vs. Jefferson, 7:30 p.m., Liacouras Center