Your Thursday Morning Roundup

The Sixers have been known for blowing big leads late in their games. But this time around, they were the ones making the comeback, in a big way.

Down 24 to the Miami Heat without the services of Joel Embiid, the Sixers capped off their five-game home stand with a thrilling 104-102 win. And it was an important victory, considering how close the Heat are to the Sixers in the playoff race.

Ben Simmons had his sixth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 10 assists, and 12 rebounds to go along with four steals. The rest of this year’s rookie class has a combined three triple-doubles this season. Dario Saric scored 19 points with eight boards, and JJ Redick put up 14 points, including a wild off balance shot late in the game:

But the guys off the bench played a key role in this win. Richaun Holmes, who should be getting minutes even with Embiid in, nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Trevor Booker also missed out on a double-double with nine points and nine boards, thanks to a spirited performance in the second half.

And what a night for Marco Belinelli, the Rocky lookalike! He had a very good debut with 17 points in 27 minutes and went three-of-five from behind the arc:

A very strong character win for the Sixers heading into the All-Star break, where the team is a game and a half in front of the Heat for seventh in the conference, and a game-and-a-half back of the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks for fifth and sixth. They’ll be back in action against Chicago next Thursday.

The Roundup:

The Eagles signed another guy! They bring back Taylor Hart, again.

Meanwhile, one of their current players, Brandon Graham, wants to stay with the team:

“For me, it’s all about getting as much as you can while you can play because when it’s over, it’s over. I know Howie (Roseman) and those guys, if they want me here, they’re going to make sure that they get me here. For me, I want to be here. Everybody knows I want to be here. They see the passion I have and I’m happy to be able to bring the trophy back to Philly. Now, it’s just all about just making sense, just getting me protected for the future. Because obviously I want to retire here and I know I’m going to retire here because I’ve been here a long time. I would love to retire here. It’s all on what they want to do. I’m just going to embrace it, whatever it is.”

Reminisce about the Eagles season some more with the most important play from each game.

Chris Long is one of a few NFLers and military personnel that will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro next week.

Patriot fans are still whining about some plays in the Super Bowl.

Three offensive tackles should stay, while one probably won’t.


The first Phillies workout was yesterday. BWanks takes a look at the team’s crop of pitchers and catchers.

One pitcher to watch is Vince Velasquez, who hopes to have a big year in 2018 after last year’s disappointment:

Velasquez reported to spring training full of confidence despite finishing with a 5.13 ERA in a 2017 season shortened by a blood clot in his right middle finger. He refined his pitching mechanics in the offseason under the guidance of pitching coach Rick Kranitz and changed his diet, learning to cook Mexican meals from recipes given to him by his mother. And, perhaps most important, he studied the game’s mental side, the aspect that often seemed to trip him up.

“It was just one of those things where you have a mental breakdown,” Velasquez said of last season. “Everyone has a struggle. Everyone hits that bump in the road. You have to learn to keep yourself calm. You have to find whatever it might be to stay in that right state of mind.”

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Francisco Rodriguez is in Clearwater hoping to rejuvenate his career on a minor league deal.

Outfielder Roman Quinn is getting some looks at shortstop again, four years since he last played the position.


Another great one-on-one conversation from Anthony SanFilippo with Flyers assistant general manager Chris Pryor, discussing the future of the organization.

Who might be possible goalie options with Brian Elliott out and the trade deadline less than two weeks away?


In college hoops, Villanova suffered their second loss in three games with a 76-71 defeat to Providence.

St. Joe’s crushed Fordham on the road, 71-55.

Tonight, Temple takes on Wichita State on ESPN2, while Drexel plays visitor to Northeastern. Both games get started at 7 PM.


In other sports news, Mikaela Shiffrin won her first gold medal in the giant slalom.

Johnny Manziel will return to football in The Spring League in March:

Sebastian Janikowski won’t be back with the Oakland Raiders.

Chris Kiffin, Lane Kiffin’s brother and FAU’s defensive coordinator, is leaving for a coaching position with the 49ers.


In the news, 17 people were killed and many more injured in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

One of those killed was the school’s assistant football coach, who used himself as a shield to protect students.

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