TJ McConnell was with the Sixers for four seasons, enough to harbor deep dark secrets about the organization. Or maybe he just had a few jokes he needed to get off his chest.
McConnell, who morphed into a fan favorite in Philadelphia for his blue-collar hustle, signed a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers last July to be their backup point guard. He’s averaging 6.8 points and 5.2 assists in 18.8 minutes per game while providing his usual “shot of adrenaline” off the bench.
His trademark poofy coif still looks perfect, too. On Monday, the Sixers traveled to Indianapolis to take on McConnell’s Pacers and hilarity ensued. The point guard was mic’d up for the game as the cameras caught him continuously jawing with Sixers coach Brett Brown and mocking Sixers shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz.
When Brown picked up a technical foul, McConnell went over to the bench and shouted: “Anna wants a new coach and you just took that from her.” Anna is the name of Brown’s wife and McConnell was referencing a running joke Brown has about being unable to buy his wife a new couch.
McConnell’s fun back-and-forth with Korkmaz centered around the Turkish star’s flashy green sneakers: “His shoes are terrible … hey, did you lose a bet wearing those?” He also went in on Sixers forward Mike Scott, a Virginia native who actively roots for the Washington Redskins. Said McConnell: “Your Redskins were good this year.” The Redskins finished 3-13.
Josh Richardson Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week
Sixers guard Josh Richardson was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. He averaged 22.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics last week.
Head coach Brett Brown openly challenged Richardson to take more three-point shots as the Sixers try to make up for the loss of Joel Embiid. He’s shooting 34.1-percent from beyond the arc for the year while going a dismal 1-of-8 during Monday night’s 101-95 loss to Indiana. Richardson has combined to shoot just 8-of-29 in his last five contests. To be fair, he did score 23 points versus Indiana.
“Sometimes, like in Houston, I kind of get caught up in being too unselfish and passing, which isn’t a bad problem to have,” Richardson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I talked to coach a little bit and he just said it gives our offense a different look when I’m aggressive like that. It gives people more space to work.”
Sixers Return Home on Jan. 15 to Face Brooklyn
The Sixers will look to get back on track on Wednesday when the team returns home to face the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. The last time these two teams met didn’t go well for Philadelphia as they dropped an embarrassing 109-89 contest on the road.
That’s kind of been the story of the Sixers’ season. Following Monday night’s loss to Indiana, the team is now 7-14 on the road versus their 18-2 record in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center. They are due for some home-cooking after falling into the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“There is a give-back mentality that we all feel when we come into Philadelphia. You’re just in front of some very passionate fans,” head coach Brett Brown told reporters last month. “They’re vocal and I’m proud of them and we all appreciate them.”
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