No Carson Wentz, no problem. Well, hopefully.
After clinching the NFC East last week in Los Angeles, the Nick Foles-led Eagles are in New Jersey to take on NFC East rival New York Giants in a game that still means something to the Birds. With a win, the Eagles can clinch a first round bye. With a win and a surprising Vikings loss to the Bengals would clinch homefield advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.
To recap, here’s where the staff stands entering Week 15:
1: Bob (12-1)
2: Tyler (11-2)
T3: Chris, Coggin, Kyle (10-3)
T6: Kevin K, Phil, Tim (9-4)
9: Anthony (5-8) (5-5, according to Anthony)
Our predictions for this week are after the jump: Continue Reading
The Eagles are on the road again this week, but this time back on the east coast. This is the first contest for the birds without darling quarterback Carson Wentz. Nick Foles steps into the starter’s spot and the team did not bring in another quarterback this week so Nate Sudfeld is the backup.
Philly comes in at 11-2 and the Giants are 2-11.
The Eagles can clinch the #1 seed in the NFC today or at the very least clinch at least the second seed:
Philadelphia Eagles clinch home-field advantage with:
a win over the Giants AND a Vikings loss to the Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles clinch a first-round bye with:
a win over the Giants OR
a tie against the Giants AND a Rams loss/tie against the Seahawks AND a Saints loss/tie against the Jets AND a Panthers loss/tie against the Packers
Keep it locked to this live thread all pre-game and throughout the contest for updates.
The only thing better than free basketball is more free basketball.
And the only thing better than more free basketball is even more free basketball.
That’s what we got last night – an instant classic with two teams just slugging it out over three overtime periods. The late finish made up for the late arrival, with some fans sitting in more than two hours of snowy traffic to get to the Wells Fargo Center. Fishtown to South Philly was 45 minutes at 5 p.m., so I can’t imagine what y’all went through.
It’s hard to know where to start with that game. I guess it would be the 11-0 run in regulation to force the first overtime, sparked by a Joel Embiid encounter with Carmelo Anthony that simultaneously energized the crowd and galvanized his team. That carried over into the first two overtime periods, where both squads continually hit big shots and got some massive stops to keep the game going. It looked like the Sixers might close it out at 102-97 with 1:21 remaining in the first OT, but OKC answered back with two straight buckets to send it to a second extra period.
In the third overtime, then, what was the difference? I don’t think there really was much of a difference. Oklahoma City made one or two more plays than the Sixers and scraped through for a two-point win. It came down to a huge finish at the rim from Andre Roberson and timely block by Patrick Patterson, two guys who I did not think would be making monstrous plays down the stretch.
But that’s it. It really is. The Sixers did well enough against Russell Westbrook, who missed 23 shots while still logging a triple-double. Anthony didn’t hit a shot in the fourth quarter. Paul George got his points. Steven Adams was held in check offensively but did his damage on the glass. The team scraped back from a poor start to get to overtime in the first place.
And no, Robert Covington didn’t shoot the ball well. Ben Simmons seemed a little tentative offensively. Brett Brown’s early-game rotations were confusing, with lineups featuring three non-shooters on the floor at the same time.
But I don’t have any issue with the late game sets Brown ran. No issue with Simmons dishing it for a wide open Dario Saric at the end of the first OT. No issue with trying to get JJ Redick a three-point look at the end of the third overtime.
And Joel Embiid stayed in the game because he wanted to.
“He felt good about playing and we listened to him as a staff,” said Brown. “We thought that was going to work and maybe in the light of day, we could’ve given him a minute here or there.”
You know, I don’t think they could have done that. I think his back would have started tightening up if he had gone to the bench for a bit before returning. Leaving him out on the floor keeps him loose and lets him play right through it. The body can’t seize up until you shut it down for the night. Let the adrenaline do its thing.
Either way, Embiid logged a career-high 49 minutes and almost certainly will not play on Monday night. He might not play on Tuesday either.The Sixers fall back to .500 with a pair of games against Chicago and Sacramento looming, then it’s a home-and-home with the Raptors before Christmas is upon us.
It’s Oklahoma City vs. Philadelphia on national television tonight and Russell Westbrook is coming off a 3-17 shooting clip from Wednesday’s win at Indiana.
He finished with just 10 points but added 17 rebounds and 12 assists for – surprise! – another triple-double.
Knowing what we know about Westbrook, that scoring performance was probably an aberration. He’s likely to respond with an output closer to his 22 PPG season average.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown was asked if Westbrook is “hard” to game plan against.
“Actually, not really, because what you do is say ‘get back, and good luck,” Brown replied. “Get back, good luck. It’s not like he’s flying off a thousand pindowns. It’s not like they run 11 plays for him. It’s not like – you know, he’s got more of a static, rise-up three pointer. You better load up, the first 3 to 5 seconds of the shot clock, and good luck, because here he comes. You can tell how I’m talking; I just think he’s unbelievable in that early-offense window, where he’s got an entire package. But how he really scares you the most is then, the slow down, dribble and back-up game, the pound, pound – he’s going to play like Gary Payton. That’s dangerous, too, but it’s not like there’s a thousand plays for him.”
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ESPN is in Philadelphia today for the “All Access” look at your 76ers.
We didn’t learn anything Earth-shattering from the wall-to-wall media coverage, but there were some interesting quotes and nuggets that I wanted to highlight here, beginning with JJ Redick, who did a live hit with Kevin Negandhi on Sports Center this morning:
on the “Process,” which he originally did not support –
“I feel like I joined the Process at the right time. I was not ready to be a part of the Process four years ago. I think, as a competitor, you want to see every team in the NBA try to be competitive. I guess I was just outspoken about the idea of tearing something down and rebuilding it. But I’ve definitely changed my perspective on that over the last few years and have seen how well this has worked. This franchise is positioned, for a long time, to be highly competitive, and I kind of joined it at what I felt was the right time.”
on his defense, which Joel Embiid jokingly said he expected to be “trash” –
“Well, first of all, I think Jo plays video games all day. I don’t think he watches the NBA. So I think his opinion of my defense was probably based on some stereotypes. But I’ve always felt like I’ve been a pretty good team defender. I’ve had different challenges throughout my career in terms of guarding primary scorers, and over the last 4 or 5 years I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of guarding my position. This year, with the way our starting lineup is, it’s sort of been a new challenge, because a lot of times I’ve had to guard other team’s starting point guards, because of our size, and me being the smallest player out there. It’s been a challenge but I feel like I’ve done a good job.”
on being a foodie –
“We have basically a five star restaurant in our practice facility. The Sixers poached a top chef here from Philly. Him and his staff, they cook us gourmet meals for lunch and breakfast. I usually get post game (meals) at a place called Vernick (Food and Drink) here in Philly, which has won a James Beard award. This is going to sound weird, but my main food that I always eat on game day is beets. Red beets, golden beets, it doesn’t matter, I always eat beets on game day. Apparently it’s good for your oxygen levels in your blood.”
— NBA (@NBA) December 15, 2017
Flames! Flames are flying EVERYWHERE from the hot stove. Man! I must say, I didn’t see this one coming:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2017
Oh, shit. You know what? Yes, I did. I actually wrote about it last month.
Why the fuck would the Phillies sign Santana, a guy who can only play first base at this point in his career, to a three-year deal worth $60 million when they already have a first baseman? Here’s what I wrote before. It still applies.
I don’t expect the Phillies to go out and make significant upgrades through free agency, and although I’ve long suspected the front office would like to increase power output of the lineup, the signing of Santana, who homered only 23 times in 667 plate appearances last season, wouldn’t necessarily move the needle in that regard. Still, the move would make some sense. His addition would give the Phillies a veteran hitter with a disciplined approach. He walked in 13.1% of his trips to the plate and struck out in less than 15% of them a year ago. Take notes, Maikel Franco. But the signing of Santana, more than anything, is about leverage and value. Such a move would also kick Hoskins to left field, which, in turn, would create a surplus of young and intriguing outfielders. Hoskins and Nick Williams aren’t going anywhere, which means the team could look to deal Aaron Altherr or Odubel Herrera in exchange for difference-making starting pitching, which is something they desperately need moving forward.
I suppose it’s foolish to definitively say Williams or Hoskins won’t be traded, but I find that doubtful. Herrera is a better overall player and will likely command a larger return, so I’ll go on record at this point and say that I think it’s quite possible his days in Philadelphia are numbered. A name that Anthony SanFilippo threw out in our Slack chat is Chris Archer, which would make a lot of sense. Tampa Bay won’t be able to pay Archer long-term, the Phillies need a legitimate top of the rotation arm, and a dynamic, cost-effective player like Herrera would be a near perfect fit with the Rays. At the very least, a subsequent move is coming. Stay tuned.
Can you feel that warmth? Can you? It’s the HOT STOVE, baby, and it’s heating up.
Freddy Galvis, he of poor contact rates and weak infield pop ups, is on his way to San Diego.
Can confirm @BNightengale report that the Phillies are getting Double-A RHP Enyel De Los Santos in return for Freddy Galvis.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) December 15, 2017
Before we get to the return, a Double-A starting pitcher named Enyel De Los Santos, let’s me first briefly eulogize the departing Galvis.
The guy, he, uh, he tried hard and seemed…nice? That’s about all I’ve got. If you’re looking for some glowing tribute to Galvis, who was until today the longest tenured Phillie, then this isn’t the piece for you.
By the end of his six-year run with the Phillies, most recognized Galvis as a light-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop, who was adequate as a space eater on bad baseball teams, but only after spending years foolishly believing that his bat could potentially catch up to his glove. Galvis, frankly, annoyed me—even if it wasn’t entirely his fault. Occasionally, he would heat up, drive the gaps, and maybe even pop a home run or two. He did just enough to make you think that maybe the light would finally go on, but, of course, it never did. At the plate, he lacked situational awareness and his baffling offensive approach often resulted in a failure to reach base, knock in runs, or move runners in close games. To me, Galvis, more so than any other player who has suited up for the Phillies over the past six seasons, best embodied the team’s directionless “What the hell is this?” feel. I felt much the same way about Galvis as I did the teams he played on, which was, “I would like this to be better.” I wish him well and all, but good riddance.
As for De Los Santos, who will be 22 years old at the start of next season, the reports are mixed. He posted a 10-6 record with a 3.78 ERA, 138 strikeouts and 48 walks over 150 innings pitched in the Texas League a year ago. While those numbers aren’t eye popping, it’s worth mentioning that at 21 years old, he was three years younger than league average. And for what it’s worth (not much), MLB Pipeline rated De Los Santos as the Padres’ thirteenth best prospect and is now the Phillies’ ninth rated prospect. He has decent control, throws in the low to mid-90s, and is considered close to Major League ready as a back of the rotation starter with not much more of a ceiling than that.
I’m not going to pretend to know the entire book on De Los Santos, but I can tell you he joins a Phillies organization that has a lot of marginally talented starting pitchers at their disposal. For the past two seasons, they’ve trotted out arms like Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Mark Leiter, hoping that a few of these guys will eventually put it together and stick. The returns have been unsteady, at best, with none of them having placed a stranglehold on a spot in the rotation. With those unsteady performances and a glaring lack of starting pitching available on the market, De Los Santos most certainly will get an opportunity to stick—and that’s better than what I would’ve expected in exchange for Galvis.