The NFC Championship Game is being billed as a low-scoring slugfest between two of the NFL’s best defenses.
That’s certainly fair and accurate if you’ve watched either team play even 30 minutes of football this season. It’s backed up by the statistics and justified by the eye test.
But that’s not my focus for this story. Sean Cottrell will dive into the Viking defense later this week, while I start off a three-part breakdown series with a look at their offense.
For starters, let’s go through the regular season numbers to provide an overview of what the Eagles face on Sunday: Continue Reading
Oh hell yeah. Inject this Kyle Lowry-Ben Simmons feud into my olfactory system and let me taste it.
As I noted yesterday in Kevin’s piece, I am so torn here. Kyle Lowry is one of my all-time favorite players and I once met him during a mock interview thing for a student TV station before he was a rich and successful NBA All-Star. That grants him a special place in my soul. Ben Simmons is a superstar from Australia who enjoys a good meat pie. Both are excellent basketball players. One plays for the Sixers. The other just donated $1 million to my alma mater and will have his name adorned outside the locker room. I mean… how can I root against this:
I want to thank the Sixers… to let Villanova celebrate here.
Guessing that wasn’t too tough of a sell seeing as though the Sixers CEO and President, Scott O’Neil and Chris Heck, are both Nova alums and fine stewards of the Blue and White. I could only imagine the scene if one or both of them were present while Lowry skulked around The Center tunnels looking for Simmons– pretty sure they would’ve taken body blows for each and chosen to leave themselves a bloody mess lest Simmons or Lowry take one in the grill.
If I’m wagering on this fight, my money is on Lowry. Sure, he gives up quite a bit to Simmons in size and reach, but I wouldn’t be shocked to learn Kyle Lowry knows how to kill a man with a forearm shiver. Hell, he once punched a Kansas player and was ejected from the same floor his freshman year during Jay Wright’s first graphic beatdown of Bill Self… in fact, that happened a day before the Eagles won the NFC Championship in 2005. OH HOLY FUCK IT’S A SIGN. I knew Kyle Lowry was one of the good guys! He never forgets where he came from.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 14, 2018
Sorry, Ben. Next time. I promise. It’s a Philly (Main Line) thing.
Still time left to enter our $500 tailgating giveaway from AmeriGas. The prize includes a portable grill, a portable heat lamp, two tailgating chairs with sunshade, a hose to hook it all up, and $200 worth of apparel from the Crossing Broad Store. You can enter here.
They blew another lead but not the game, hanging on for a 117-111 win in the regular season finale against the Toronto Raptors.
The takeaway could be that they almost coughed it up, or you could go with the glass half full approach as they found a way to weather a Raptor run and make enough plays down the stretch for a good win against a really good team.
It was a 102-101 ballgame with 3:03 to play and Ben Simmons, who had missed his last two shots and turned the ball over three times in a row, drove right to the rim for a contested bucket. After a stop on the defensive end, Simmons came right back down the floor, put a defender on ice skates, then dished it out to Dario Saric for his only three pointer of the game, a triple that extended the Sixer lead to six points.
That was it, right? Aggressive Simmons showed up to close out the game.
The next trip down, he tried to find Saric in the low post and turned the ball over, leading to a Sixer foul and pair of foul shots for DeMar DeRozan.
With a four-point lead, Simmons was intentionally fouled and sent to the line, where he nailed both free throws. Later, he stole the ball, but missed the ensuing dunk. That was really Philadelphia in a nutshell, where they did a lot of great things, then followed up with errors. But they did more of the former and less of the latter in buckling down to beat one of the NBA’s better teams for the first time this season. Continue Reading
The Sixers almost did it again.
The team built up another sizable lead and nearly blew it down the stretch against the Toronto Raptors on Monday afternoon. The Sixers escaped with a 117-111 win on MLK Day to improve to 20-20.
Joel Embiid led Philly with 34 points in the winning effort. T.J. McConnell had 18 points off the bench.
Watch JoJo work:
At the end of the game, things got a bit chippy between Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons, but Ben doesn’t “take shit from anybody.”
It could’ve gone down in the halls of Wells Fargo Center though:
Story: Ben Simmons pursued by Kyle Lowry after both were ejected, but point guards never made contact, per a source. https://t.co/zU8QORqoK6
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) January 15, 2018
Off the court, the Sixers signed Demetrius Jackson to a two-way contract.
The team faces the Celtics on Thursday night at 7pm.
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed earlier tonight when I came across this unusual tweet from FOX 29’s Dave Schratwieser:
Initially, I thought to myself, “This is probably much ado about nothing. I mean, what? An Eagles fan punched a horse!? In the face? Come on!” But when I saw two more subsequent tweets teasing the story for Monday night’s 10 O’Clock News, I figured I better tune in and check it out. And, uh, wouldn’t you know, according to police, that is exactly what happened. I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am.
— BWanksCB (@BWCrossingBroad) January 16, 2018
Ben Simmons downplayed the dust-up between himself and Philly native Kyle Lowry at the end of the Sixers’ 117-111 win over the Raptors on Monday afternoon.
It was late in the fourth quarter when Simmons and Lowry began jawing at each other during a pair of Sixer free throws, continuing through the inbound play and leading to double ejections:
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) January 15, 2018
Meet me in the locker room?
Yeah! I’ll be right there.
Simmons was asked post-game if there was any hallway altercation between himself and Lowry, which lead to this dialogue with the media:
Simmons: “Off the court? No.”
Jack McCaffery/Delco Times: “There were words between you two on the court. Do you care to share what was said?”
Simmons: “Nah. It’s nothing.
Keith Pompey/Inquirer: “You guys weren’t separated in the back?”
Simmons: “Separated? Nah, I just went to the locker room. Nobody was back there.”
Pompey: “I heard he was trying to come at you.”
Simmons: (shrugs) “I don’t know where he’s at.”
Pompey: “So what happened?”
Simmons: “Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe frustration that they’re down, that they’re about to lose. I don’t know what it is.”
Pompey: “It seems like you’re not going to back down from anybody.”
Simmons: “Maybe they’re just trying to test me, or see how I am on the court. But I don’t play around. I’m not going to take shit from anybody.”
There ya go, Ben. First time I’ve heard him drop an expletive since I’ve been on the beat. That’s the second time in two games he’s had bit of a brush-up with a Philly-born player, which he joked about after that exchange.
For what it’s worth, I asked Brett Brown what he saw between Lowry and Simmons, and he didn’t deflect at all:
“I think if you go back and look at the tape, you’re gonna see (Jakob) Poeltl just duck in and hit the hell out of Ben on an alleged sort of box out – I think when the game was effectively over. I think you’re going to see that sort of trigger the things that went on. As far as what happened after that with Ben and Kyle, I don’t know. But the Poeltl box out on Ben, have a look at that if you get a chance.”
Let’s have a look.
If you go back and watch the final 30 seconds, you see Lowry sort of hook Simmons’ arm on Joel Embiid’s last set of free throws:
Later, on the Dario Saric free throws, you see the Poeltl box out that Brett is talking about:
During that free throw, Simmons and Lowry were jawing the entire time. It looks like the Poeltl shove annoys Ben even further.
So there you go. That is the context I am able to provide.
Kyle: I’m am so Natalie Imbruglia here. On one hand, Ben Simmons’ balls just dropped before our very eyes and he dropped a four-letter world in his press conference. On the other hand, Kyle Lowry just donated $1 million to my alma mater and is one of my favorite athletes who walked off the plane upon landing in Philly singing FLY EAGLES FLY. Torn.
OK here’s the deal: You want it by Sunday? YOU’LL GET IT BY SUNDAY!
We’re guaranteeing these ship by Thursday through 2-day Priority Mail, which should have them to you by Saturday if you’re in the Greater Philly area or basically any heavily populated area on the East Coast. If we are unable to meet that ship obligation, we’ll give you the option for a refund.
Most orders in the Philly area sent on Thursday will arrive by Friday, but we’re allowing for an extra day just in case.
We’re extending that offer on Birds t-shirts too:
Sweatshirts are available for order, but we don’t expect that they will arrive in time for the game Sunday.
As for the sales pitch? Yeah, it doesn’t need one. It’s perfect.
For a team that has embraced the underdog role, it’s fitting that the Eagles are led by Doug Pederson. While his team is relatively new to the feeling of being discounted, Pederson was fending off the skeptics long before Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Pederson’s first stint in Philadelphia was as a quarterback. Andy Reid imported him from Green Bay in 1999 to pilot the offense until Donovan McNabb was ready to take the reins. Pederson thought he would lead the team for the season. He was relegated to the bench by Week 10.
After his playing career ended, Pederson got involved in coaching. Reid brought him back to Philadelphia as an offensive quality control coach in 2009. Pederson followed Reid to Kansas City when the Chip Kelly revolution arrived at the NovaCare Complex in 2013.
The tumultuous Kelly years left the franchise in disarray. Kelly had mortgaged the future of the franchise during his one season in charge of personnel decisions. With Howie Roseman exiled to an underground bunker at Eagles headquarters, Kelly moved quickly to reshape the roster in his image. Gone were Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy; in their place were Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso. The signings of Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray did not have the desired impact, to say the least.
At some point during the rocky 2015 season, Lurie had lost his appetite for revolution. He longed instead for the stability of the Andy Reid years. What better way to relive the Reid era than by plucking an apple from Big Red’s coaching tree?
And so Lurie targeted a Reid disciple. However, John Harbaugh wasn’t available. Instead, the Eagles settled on Doug Pederson.