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Sports Tonight: Sixers executing formula for playoff spot

Here is what's happening in sports on Monday, Dec. 4, including tonight's TV schedule.

Joel Embiid, center of the Sixers leads the crowd in singing goodbye after Andre Drummond of the Pistons fouled out in the 4th quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 2, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Joel Embiid, center of the Sixers leads the crowd in singing goodbye after Andre Drummond of the Pistons fouled out in the 4th quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 2, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff PhotographerRead moreCharles Fox

For the most part, the Sixers have followed the mantra for putting together a winning season: Beat the teams you are supposed to beat and win your games at home.

When the Phoenix Suns come to the Wells Fargo Center at 7 tonight (TV: NBCSP; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), the Sixers have an opportunity to accomplish both.

Phoenix (6-18) has won just two of its last seven games, with both wins coming over the Chicago Bulls, who have the worst record in the league.

The Sixers, who are tied for the eighth-best record in the NBA, are 7-4 at Wells Fargo, but the losses have been to the teams with the four best records: Boston, Houston, Golden State and Cleveland. The Sixers are 5-1 against teams that currently have losing records and 8-8 against those with winning records.

The Suns are 4-7 on the road and 4-7 against the Eastern Conference, and have just three wins against teams that currently have winning records.

With an average age of 24.5 years, Phoenix performs the way you would expect the youngest team in the NBA to perform.

The Sixers, however, are the second-youngest team, at 24.7 years, but then they also have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Flyers don’t see what a team in China does

Hmm, it doesn't have anything to do with anything, but former Flyers coach Mike Keenan, who once coached the franchise to a Stanley Cup Finals and won a Cup with the New York Rangers, was relieved of his coaching duties by the Kunlun Red Star, a Chinese-based franchise in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Keenan was 12-16-8 with the second-year team that was created to develop Chinese talent for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but the team had lost nine straight.

The Flyers (8-11-7) will try to break a 10-game winless streak when they play at the Calgary Flames at 9 (TV:NBCSP+; radio: 93.3 WMMR).

The frustration is mounting as players have resorted to using expletive-laced explanations like "f@*%*ing brutal" and "turns to sh*#." Still, despite many fans' calling for a sacking, general manager Ron Hextall is preaching patience with head coach Dave Hakstol.

Does a Chinese team see something that the Flyers don't?

What I’m reading

The Eagles play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in the anticipated matchup of quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Sam Farmer of the LA Times talks to the Arizona Cardinals, who have faced both this season.

When a team loses, it's pretty much a given that everyone did not have his best day. Staff writer Jeff McLane talks about some of the mistakes Eagles coach Doug Pederson made in the loss to Seattle.

The Eagles took it hard on the beak in Seattle, and staff writer Paul Domowitch gives his observations of the game.

A team can't go winless for nine games and not have the heat come down on the head coach. Staff writer Sam Carchidi ponders if Dave Hakstol will come back to Philadelphia as the coach if the Flyers continue to flounder during their road trip.

There is always going to be controversy with the College Football Playoff selection. Dan Wolken at USA Today writes Alabama benefitted from teams ranked ahead of it losing while it did nothing because it did not qualify to play in the SEC Championship game.

Kyle Porter at writes Tiger Woods moves up 500 spots in the World Golf Rankings by playing in his own tournament, to which he invited himself.

The riff

Sure, the Eagles missed out on a chance to clinch the NFC East and are now second, via tiebreaker, to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoff standings, but Sunday's loss at Seattle was probably a needed reminder.

It's not that the Eagles were smelling themselves after winning nine straight games, but this team doesn't have the multiple layers of experience of the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers.

The Birds are a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2013, and only a handful of players on the roster have even experienced a postseason victory. Success in the playoffs is often about being able to overcome adversity, and it'll be good preparation for the Eagles to have to work, remain focused and stay on edge for the final quarter of the regular season.

If any Eagle had started to take winning for granted, the loss to Seattle was a good reminder of what can happen if you do.

Today’s schedule


Steelers at Bengals, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Sharks at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Flyers at Flames, 9 p.m. (NBCSP+; WMMR-FM 93.3)

Suns at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

Men's College Basketball
Michigan at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Wisconsin at Penn State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2; WNTP-AM 990)
Florida State at Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Northern Illinois at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

Local Events

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

Horse Racing
Parx Racing, 12:25 p.m., Bensalem