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Big one in Philly

A few weeks ago, before Antawn Jamison got hurt, before Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas got into (again) and before Gilbert and Eddie Jordan traded verbal jabs through the media, I would haver never circled tonight's game at Philly and called it crucial. But here we are. I'm on a train to Philly right now and though I won't have a chance to hit Pats for a cheesesteak (seriously the most delicious food item on the planet) and I won't be able to stop by Fat Charlies, a KC Chiefs bar in South Philly, I am very interested to see what's going to go down tonight.

This team played like total garbage in Sunday's loss to Portland. Not to be too harsh but it was a total disaster and fans had every right to boo those cats off the floor when it was over. The effort was lacking, the offensive execution was a joke, they didn't move the ball, they didn't set decent screens, they didn't knock down open shots, they didn't get back on defense and they played like total strangers.

The good news is that everyone's saying all of the right things after the Gilbert/Eddie dust up Sunday night. We had a chance to chat with Gilbert yesterday and he was his usual goofy self. Basically, the dude was embarrassed that he didn't near 50 while his team got punked and he showed his childish, immature side by blaming it on his coach. I think he learned a lesson there. I think.

Then again, you never know what's going to come out of Gil's mouth. Yesterday, he said he's thinking about wearing "Agent Zero" on the back of his All-Star jersey. Thing is, he might have been able to pull it off if he hadn't told us yesterday. But that's Gilbert. He simply can't help himself.

I've got to give it to Post columnist Thomas Boswell. He nailed the Etan/Brendan issue perfectly today. This team needs both of those guys and they have to stop with the stupid stuff. Having spoke with Etan, I can assure everyone that he's sincere in saying that wants to bury the hatchet with Brendan and move on. Let's hope that is the case because this team doesn't need that distraction. Then again, one former NBA player summed the tiff up this way: "At least they care about minutes. I'd rather have that than have two big men who don't give a damn and just want to collect a check." Interesting point. Olawokandi. Jerome James. Rasho Nesterovic. etc. etc. etc. There are a bunch of centers in this league that are robbing and stealing.

By Ivan Carter  |  February 14, 2007; 3:24 PM ET
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