The last two weeks or so have shown that the Sixers aren't yet ready to run pace-for-pace with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
That's OK because, at this stage of development, no one could honestly expect that a team led by two guys with less than a season's worth of NBA experience would be able to hang with the top teams in the league.
A team such as the Washington Wizards, whom the Sixers play at 7 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSP & NBA TV; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), is a different story. The Wizards (11-9) are the type of squad with which the Sixers (11-8) want to stay in the mix within the hierarchy of the Eastern Conference.
With a quarter of the season gone, a look at the East shows the Sixers are a team capable of capturing a Top 4 seed in the playoffs. The Sixers have already played both games with the top two teams in the Western Conference – the Houston Rockets and Warriors. The Sixers also have not lost consecutive games since dropping ones at Sacramento and Golden State in the first two games of their West Coast swing in early November.
Of more note, in their last eight games, the Sixers have not lost to a team that has not played in the last three NBA Finals.
The Crew could make MLS Cup on its way out of town
The intrigue that goes with the Columbus Crew playing Toronto FC in the second leg of the MLS Eastern Conference championship at 7:30 on FS1 is more than just the winner advancing to the MLS Cup.
The aggregate score after the first leg in Columbus is 0-0, which means the Crew can move on obviously with a victory or a non-scoreless draw, in which the first tie-breaker would be road goals.
The city of Columbus is currently fighting to save the Crew, whose owner, Anthony Precourt, is looking to relocate the team to Austin, Texas after next season.
Built in 1999, Mapfre Stadium in Columbus was the first MLS soccer-specific venue but is now outdated. Even an MLS Cup might not be enough to keep the franchise in Ohio.
On Monday, it was reported that a meeting involving Precourt, city officials and MLS commissioner Don Garber resulted in a suggestion that Columbus put in an application for one of the two expansion teams expected for 2020.
What I’m reading
Carson Wentz is never going to be labeled as a "running quarterback," but staff writer Les Bowen notes that the Eagles QB can move with the best of them.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson plays a larger role in what the Seahawks do on offense. Staff writer Zach Berman says the Eagles defense is clear about its responsibility to contain Wilson.
The Eagles will be in the Pacific Northwest this Sunday, and staff writer Paul Domowitch gives his scouting report for the matchup with the Seahawks.
The Flyers have lost nine straight games and fans are predictably getting hot. Staff writer Sam Donnellon says general manager Ron Hextall is remaining cool amid the storm.
With the New York Giants benching two-time Super Bowl-champion quarterback Eli Manning, there has been no shortage of those saying he's being made a scapegoat to cover the flanks of others. Bob Glauber of Newsday puts Giants coach Ben McAdoo at the top of that list.
Like the Eagles, the Seahawks have gone to a running-back-by-committee situation. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that the 'Hawks haven't had close to the success that the Eagles have had.
I'm not going to excuse the behavior of LeBron James for the actions that led to the first ejection in his 15-year NBA career on Tuesday against Miami. Still, if NBA official Kane Fitzgerald is so sensitive that he immediately ejects a player for reacting angrily to a call, he shouldn't be officiating at the highest level of a sport.
"Immediately after the no-call, he turned and threw an air punch directly at me, and then he aggressively charged at me, and then he used vulgarity in my ear a few times," said Fitzgerald, who conceded James was ejected on one technical foul.
James should have kept his emotions in check, but players get emotional when playing. He wasn't overboard. His reaction was similar to ones we've seen almost once a game in every professional sport.
This wasn't as bad as Ron Garretson infamously ejecting Rasheed Wallace for staring at him, but NBA officials are paid a lot of money and part of that is based on knowing when to turn the cheek.
Wizards at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP, NBA TV; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Warriors at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Lightning at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Men's College Basketball
Penn at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS2)
Bucknell at St. Joseph's, 7 p.m. (WPHT-AM 1210)
Penn State at North Carolina State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU; WNTP-AM 990, WNPV—AM 1440)
Auburn at Dayton, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Clemson at Ohio State, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan at North Carolina, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Boston College at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Miami at Minnesota, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Duke at Indiana, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf on Golf Channel
Australian PGA Championship, 8 p.m.
European PGA: Mauritius Open, 1:30 a.m., 5:30 a.m. Thursday
Premier League: Manchester City vs. Southampton, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS Playoffs: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
76ers vs. Wizards, 7:05 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
Men's College Basketball
Villanova vs. Penn, 7:05 p.m., Jake Nevin Field House
St. Joseph's vs. Bucknell, 7:05 p.m., Hagan Arena
Drexel vs. Lafayette, 7:05 p.m., Daskalakis Center
Women's College Basketball
Temple vs. St. Joseph's, 7:05 p.m., McGonigle Hall
Penn at La Salle, 7:05 p.m., Tom Gola Arena
Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 12:40 p.m., Chester