Your Thursday Morning Roundup

Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this was not what any of us expected.

Some people may have thought that Pittsburgh would win game one in a tight matchup. But a 7-0 loss? Definitely not that.

And it was bad from the start. Bryan Rust got the Penguins on the board 2:38 into the opening period, followed by goals from Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin. That was just the first period.

So you’d think the Flyers were going to stay in it somehow, since the last time they were down 3-0 in an opening series game against the Penguins, they won. Well, any optimism of that happening went down the drain immediately. Jake Guentzel made it 4-0 at 7:50 of the second, followed by the first of three Sidney Crosby goals just 1:11 later. Brian Elliott was pulled after that goal, allowing five goals on 19 shots.

Petr Mrazek came in and did okay. He stopped 12 of 14 shots in the time he was in, but gave up two Crosby goals in the third to get a natural hat-trick.

Matt Murray made 24 saves. The Flyers sucked on offense, as you could tell. Every player except Oskar Lindblom and Travis Sanheim was at least a -1.

It wasn’t just Elliott who had a god awful game, it was the entire team. The offense was ineffective and guys like Sean Couturier made big mistakes that led to Penguin goals.

Head coach Dave Hakstol gave his vote of confidence to Elliott, but at this point does it really matter? Because the Flyers and bad playoff goaltending go together like Sonny Bono and Cher. They’re just meant for each other.

Game 2 is Friday night at 7 PM on NBCSN. I’ll be at the game and exploring Pittsburgh. Please don’t mess this up. Because Ilya Bryzgalov has already taken his shot at the Flyers:

The Roundup:

It’s better to be on the winning side of a blowout. Fortunately, the Sixers were able to provide us with some hope.

After an off game from many players against Atlanta Tuesday night, the Sixers closed out the regular season with an absolutely dominating 130-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The team will end the regular season on a 16-game winning streak, the only team in NBA history to close out the season on that kind of run. Talk about results.

It was a true wire-to-wire win for Philly, who ballooned that lead to 40 in the second quarter. They finished the first half with 80 points. 80. And they showed no sign of ever blowing that lead! Maybe Doug Pederson should come to every Philly sports event from now on.

Six players reached double figures, led by… Justin Anderson and his 25 points. He got considerable playing time off the bench thanks to JJ Redick’s absence and could be an effective bench player on a unit that’s looked phenomenal for this run. Dario Saric had 24 points after playing 13 seconds the night before. T.J. McConnell had not one, but TWO three-pointers. He hadn’t made a three since February 27.

But another point guard had a career-night. And it wasn’t Ben Simmons. Instead, it was Markelle Fultz, who recorded his first career triple-double off the bench with 13 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. What a way to end your regular season return:

And what a way to get that 10th rebound:

He becomes the youngest player in NBA history with a triple-double. Eat it Lonzo.

With a Miami win and a Washington loss, the Sixers will take on the Heat in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Game 1 is Saturday night at 8 PM on ESPN. Game 2 is on Monday, followed by Thursday and Saturday games in Miami for the next two games.

Could Joel Embiid play in the series opener? He says it’s unlikely, but don’t officially rule him out:

“I just got to take it day-by-day,” said Embiid. “Obviously I want to play, but right now I feel like I’m not ready yet … with the way it’s been progressing, hopefully I’ll be back soon. Unlikely [that I’ll be back for Game 1], but there’s still a chance. Just based on the way I’ve been feeling the past couple days and how well I’ve progressed, unlikely. But we’re going to see how it feels.”

As of yet, Embiid is not being exposed to any contact, and is primarily focused on conditioning through running, work on the exercise bike, and other means of working out that don’t involve contact. That sounds a little ominous this close to when the series starts, and after first sounding optimistic about his own willingness to play, Embiid tempered expectations for an early return in round one.

“I think everybody knows me, and everybody knows that I love playing. If it was my decision, I would probably play. Actually, I wouldn’t say that because I don’t think I’m ready to play, because it still doesn’t feel all the way right,” said Embiid. “Like I said, it’s unlikely, but you never know what can happen, maybe one of these days I’m going to wake up and it’s all going to be gone. But we just got to see how it feels day-by-day.”

Masked Embiid playoff shirts are ready for you to wear for a deep run.

The Phillies also played (and people could watch them on TV!) and were still going after the Flyers and Sixers games. They played 12 innings and completed the sweep with a 4-3 win over the Reds on a sacrifice fly by Scott Kingery.

He made another great play earlier in the game, gunning down a potential Reds run from left field, filling in for Rhys Hoskins:

Speaking of the young guys, JP Crawford hit his first career home run, and boy what a bomb it was:

Nick Pivetta went seven strong innings and gave up two runs on five hits and struck out seven on 103 pitches. Has Gabe Kapler turned the corner?

They’re off today but will start interleague play tomorrow night as they travel to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Eagles announced their preseason schedule:

Dates and times for the games will be announced later, except for the Cleveland showdown. That will be played Thursday, August 23 at 8 PM on Fox.

Nick Foles is releasing a memoir based on his Super Bowl run called “Believe It.”

When the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting quarterback went down with a torn ACL in week 14 of the 2017 NFL season, many fans—and commentators—assumed the Eagles’ season was over.

Instead, Nick Foles came off the bench and, against all odds, led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in history.

How did Nick get it done—winning MVP honors, silencing the critics, and shocking the world? How did the man who was on the verge of retiring just two seasons earlier stay optimistic and rally the team to an astounding win? How did he stay ready despite numerous trades and discouraging injuries, able to step up in the moment and perform at the top of his game?

Believe It offers a behind-the-scenes look at Nick’s unlikely path to the Super Bowl, the obstacles that threatened to hold him back, his rediscovery of his love for the game, and the faith that grounded him through it all. Learn from the way Nick handled the trials and tribulations that made him into the man he is today—and discover a path to your own success.

10 wide receivers and five nickel cornerbacks the Eagles could potentially target.

Maybe one or two of those players will wear the Eagles NFL Draft hats when they get selected. The jury is out on how they look.

Villanova’s Jalen Brunson is going pro. It’s probably the right move to make for the Naismith Player of the Year.

In other sports news, here’s the entire NBA playoff bracket:

Elsewhere in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Winnipeg Jets won their first playoff game in franchise history (which includes the old Atlanta Thrashers) in a 3-2 comeback win over the Minnesota Wild. The Vegas Golden Knights shutout the LA Kings 1-0 in their first ever playoff game.

Here’s tonight’s schedule for the five remaining series that will get underway:

Part of Glenwood Avenue between Broad and Germantown Ave. is now known as “Smokin’ Joe Frazier Boulevard.”

Jeff Hornacek is out as the Knicks head coach after two seasons. Frank Vogel is also gone in Orlando.

What’s better than one baseball brawl? How about two?!

Tony Bruno has begun a personal crusade against the PPA.

In the news, today is Wawa Day, which means you can get free coffee.

Mark Zuckerberg went on Capitol Hill for a second day of congressional hearings.

Rob Ford, Toronto’s former mayor who also loved crack cocaine, is getting his own movie.


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