The Flyers and Sixers were both in action last night. But both teams had big things happen before their respective matchups.
We’ll first start with the Flyers, who honored former captain and Hall of Famer Eric Lindros by retiring his No. 88 jersey, the sixth in team history. It was an unbelievable ceremony from start to finish:
"Eric Lindros, from tonight until eternity, your number 88 will never by worn by another Philadelphia Flyers player." pic.twitter.com/Rv4D14Yp8c
— NHL (@NHL) January 19, 2018
Earlier in the morning, he skated on the Wells Fargo Center ice with his family.
It’s amazing to see how the fans have come to love Lindros once again, even after his departure to go to the Rangers in the early 2000s. I personally have a Lindros jersey, even though I never saw him play. My dad and uncle did, and saw his last game he played as a Flyer against the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. They were next to Lindros’ dad.
I loved this nugget from Anthony SanFilippo: 88 scored against 99 goalies in his career, and four of them are still active today. Those goalies and their current teams: Peter Budaj (Tampa Bay), Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas), Roberto Luongo (Florida), and Cam Ward (Carolina).
As for the Sixers, center Joel Embiid was named one of the Eastern Conference starters for the upcoming All-Star game in Los Angeles, as he rightfully should be.
In the voting breakdown, it was a clear cut choice that Embiid would be the player that was a starter. He beat out Kristaps Porzingis in the fan and media vote by a good amount, but Porzingis got the edge over Embiid in the player vote.
Here's how the All-Star voting broke down between fans, media and players for the Eastern Conference. pic.twitter.com/fKeP4beTtt
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 18, 2018
Other interesting notes: Ben Simmons was third in Eastern Conference guards in the fan vote, but nowhere in the media and player vote. Al Horford, who some thought would get in over Embiid, wasn’t in the top five in the fan and player vote. He was one vote behind Porzingis for fourth in the media vote.
Our latest Crossing Broadcast is up.
Now to the games. This time we’ll start with the Sixers, who beat a Kyrie Irving-less Celtics team 89-80 in Boston on national TV. It was their first win in Beantown since April of 2014.
Embiid led all players with 26 points on the night to go along with 16 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and a steal. Dario Saric put up 16 points, and T.J. McConnell added 15. It was their first game without J.J. Redick, who injured his leg in Monday’s win over Toronto. Jerryd Bayless started in his place.
The Sixers are 21-20 at the true halfway point of the season. It’s the first time since the 2005-06 season that the team is above .500 at this point of the season. They’ll play Milwaukee at home Saturday night. The Bucks are currently seventh in the East, a half game in front of the Sixers.
But remember this tweet from 2014 when a “famous girl” (Rihanna, although he won’t reveal the identity) told him to come back to her when he was an All-Star? He’s an All-Star now, but Embiid has moved on.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 19, 2018
Let’s check Rihanna’s Instagram comments and….woah.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 18, 2018
To the Flyers, who had a rough start in their game against the Maple Leafs, one of Lindros’ former teams. Toronto scored twice in a span of 28 seconds in the second period to take a 2-0 lead, but Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds scored goals of their own to send the game into overtime, where Sean Couturier put away the 3-2 overtime win.
Patrick scored his third goal of the season as he continues to improve his game, despite not scoring any goals in exactly two months. Michal Neuvirth got the win after stopping 29 of 31 shots on goal. He looked much better than Brian Elliott did Tuesday night against the Rangers, but Elliott has had to carry a ton of work due to Neuvirth’s injury in November. It was his first start since the January 7 win over Buffalo.
The Flyers will host New Jersey Saturday afternoon at 1 PM. They’re now one-point out of a wild card spot, behind Pittsburgh.
It’s the last weekday before the NFC Championship Game. Let’s get you pumped.
At practice yesterday, Dannell Ellerbe and Kamu Grugier-Hill were limited. Sidney Jones was a full participant. As for the Vikings, Adam Thielen was a limited participant, along with Andrew Sendejo and Mackensie Alexander. Michael Floyd was out due to an illness.
The Pro Football Writers of America named Howie Roseman Executive of the Year. They did not name Doug Pederson Coach of the Year. That went to Sean McVay of the Rams. Pat Shurmur was named Assistant Coach of the Year.
There’s plenty of posts. Sean’s back with previewing the Vikings’ defense.
Could fourth down play a much larger role than it did throughout the season?
Malcolm Jenkins is the perfect leader for the Eagles with many of their starters down and out.
Check what The Ringer’s Philly crew thinks of the game.
Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft came out. He has the Eagles picking an offensive tackle:
30) Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Jason Peters, a stalwart at left tackle for the Eagles, turns 36 this month and is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Can they really expect him back at his best? I don’t think fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the answer as his replacement, either, which means Philadelphia could move super athletic right tackle Lane Johnson to Carson Wentz’s blindside, and draft a new right tackle. Miller is a developmental prospect with a 6-8 frame and limited game time. He has a high ceiling.
Speaking of UCLA guys, former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly might have been away from the team for the past two years, but his fingerprints are still on the offense, specifically with RPOs:
“I think Chip kind of introduced it to the NFL, not just our team but to the NFL as a whole and I think our team has evolved it from there,” said tight end Zach Ertz. “It’s definitely a lot more advanced than what it was from three years ago.
“Doug obviously has done a great job, the O-line coach, Coach Stoutland, has done a great job of finding out ways to just get those RPOs called and kind of changing them each and every week so they are not able to key on them each and every week and I think now it’s kind of been a staple of our offense.”
The RPOs aren’t necessarily a new wrinkle in Pederson’s Eagles offense – they there when Carson Wentz was healthy too. But with Foles now running the show, they’ll need to be careful not to overuse them.
“I think the RPOs, in general, again, it’s always going to be a part of our game plan every week. I think we do it very well,” said Reich. “I think part of the success we had is that we don’t overuse it. You know, you’ve got to do a little bit of everything … If you just do it all the time, teams are too smart, defenses are too smart, players are too smart. You mix it up and we’ve just done that exceedingly well over the course of the year.”
The Roots will perform at halftime:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 19, 2018
New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler delivered another great quote regarding how many wins the fans should expect.
In college hoops, Drexel got crushed by Towson 90-68. Kurk Lee led the Dragons with 12 points.
Here’s this weekend’s college basketball menu for Saturday:
- #1 Villanova @ UConn – Noon (CBS)
- Fordham @ St. Joe’s – 1 PM
- Temple @ Penn – 2 PM (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
- La Salle @ Richmond – 2:30 PM (NBCSN)
- Drexel @ James Madison – 4 PM
In other sports news, LeBron James and Steph Curry were named captains for the NBA All-Star game. This year, the NBA is copying the NHL’s idea of captains picking the teams. Besides Embiid, James, and Curry, here’s the other starters:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)
- Kyrie irving (Boston)
- DeMar DeRozan (Toronto)
- Kevin Durant (Golden State)
- Anthony Davis (New Orleans)
- DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans)
- James Harden (Houston)
If you’re really interested, you can see how many votes each player got. That includes T.J. McConnell:
.@TJMcConnell finished 27th in All-Star voting for Eastern Conference guards. He earned two player votes and 14,657 fan votes. Overall, he was higher than Jeremy Lin, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Dion Waiters, Elfred Payton, and Allen Crabbe.
— Chris Jastrzembski (@CFJastrzembski) January 19, 2018
USA Gymnastics is cutting ties with the Karolyi Ranch, which was a training ground for gymnasts, but was also a place for Larry Nassar to sexually assault them.
Michael Phelps opens up about his battle with depression and admitted he almost committed suicide at the height of his career.
Get ready for a pitch clock and stricter mound visits in baseball for this upcoming season.
Tom Brady didn’t practice after suffering an injury on Wednesday. It could be a finger dislocation on his throwing hand.
NCAA President Mark Emmert promises change before the start of the 2018-19 basketball season.
Baker Mayfield wants to go to Miami?
— Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) January 18, 2018
The NHL is standing by their decision to have Kid Rock perform at their All-Star Game.
In the news, Philadelphia is one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
A stolen car led to a chase on I-95 in Delaware County and ended in two people getting arrested in South Philadelphia.
Ross Levinsohn, the CEO and publisher of The Los Angeles Times is under investigation for “questionable behavior,” according to an NPR report.
$6 million in casino chips were stolen in Macau.