Another win for delirious Philly: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers top Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards' Marcin Gortat (13) drives the ball to the basket as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Another win for delirious Philly: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers top Washington Wizards

PHILADELPHIA: Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and the 76ers helped the city of Philadelphia continue to celebrate by leading from start to finish in a 115-102 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
Dario Saric added 20 points and J.J. Redick had 18 for the 76ers, who snapped Washington’s five-game winning streak while playing in front of a raucous crowd still in a tizzy over the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.
Bradley Beal scored 30 points for the Wizards, who lost their first game since fellow All-Star John Wall had arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left knee.
It looked like half the crowd was clad in Eagles green, and fans broke out into several loud chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S!” as the party continued 48 hours after Philadelphia won its first Lombardi Trophy.
Fans gave a standing ovation to Eagles offensive linemen Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski and Jason Peters when they rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell before tipoff.
The 76ers seemed to feed off the emotion.
Philadelphia took control early, scoring 22 of the first 29 points, and led by as many as 22 in the opening half before settling for a 65-55 halftime lead.
The 76ers pushed the advantage to 19 points on Embiid’s 3-pointer that made it 78-59 with just under nine minutes left in the third. Washington again pulled within 10 points, 94-84, at the end of the period.
But Embiid’s outside shooting gave Philadelphia breathing room again when his 3-pointer from the top of the key made it 100-84 with 10:16 left.
The Wizards managed to get within single digits in the final five minutes, but they never seriously threatened.


Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019
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Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.



BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.



UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE



The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.



BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.

 

PREDICTIONS