By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)Apologies, internet friends, for the lack of a post Monday. I was on vacation in Maine doing walking brewery tours, eating fresh lobster, and wondering how anyone could stand to live there in the winter when it’s already so cold in mid-September. Much like I-95, the sports world continues to move along with or without you, so here’s what I missed covering over the long weekend.
On Sunday, the United States completed their quest for a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup, defeating Serbia 129-92 in the final. After Serbia jumped out to an 8-point lead early in the game, team USA immediately went on a 15-0 run, as they finished the first quarter ahead 14 points, eventually coasting to a 129-92 victory. Kyrie Irving was named MVP, hitting 6-6 threes on his way to a game-high 26 points. He, James Harden (23 points), and DeMarcus Cousins (getting extra time early on with Anthony Davis in foul trouble), played pivotal roles in that early role to help right the ship for the Stars and Stripes.
Despite losing many expected participants to injury and withdrawal from the roster, Team USA ended up winning every game of the tournament by at least 22 points. Many fans were disappointed we were denied the clash between USA and Spain many anticipated, but there were still plenty of great moments throughout the tournament. Whether it was Kenneth Faried threatening to break down the rim with every putback dunk, Anthony Davis defying the laws of physics with how agile and man of his size can move, or the likes of Irving, Harden, Steph Curry, or Klay Thompson putting on a shooting display from the perimeter, there was plenty of exciting action for everyone to enjoy. Even if this World Cup lacked the drama of some past tournaments, I’m still sorry we’ll have to wait 5 years for the next installment in 2019.
Over the weekend, the Sixers signed former St. John’s forward JaKarr Sampson to a partially guaranteed contract, covering three years at the league minimum with a 4th-year option. With Ronald Roberts, Jr. already under contract, this move marks another step toward bringing back the Sixers CHAMPION summer league team down in Orlando. The 6’8″ Sampson averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 5 games down in Mickey Mouse land, showing off strong finishing skills around the basket, but confirming his complete lack of a perimeter game, making him very much the dreaded 3/4 tweener. I wouldn’t expect Sampson to make much of an impact with the team, but he’ll certainly have the opportunity to prove me wrong in training camp with the hordes of undrafted free agents and second-round picks on the Sixers roster.
Oh yeah, and Darren Sproles did stuff like this…and this, saving us from a week of discussing Nick Foles missing open receivers and how Casey Matthews might belong in a National Football League, but not the one in this country. 178 yards from scrimmage from Sproles later, the Eagles lead the NFC East with a 2-0 record, despite the offense still looking completely out of sync for long periods of time. Good times ahead, Birds fans.