The Flyers suck.
And to be quite honest, they probably shouldn’t have made the playoffs. But thanks to two wins to end the regular season, they held off a very hot Florida team. Then they got paired with the Penguins, a team Dave Hakstol has never been successful against.
All four games have been blowouts. Three of them were in favor of the Penguins, including last night’s 5-0 result to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 series lead.
The Flyers didn’t have Sean Couturier, who would be named a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward, and it didn’t really matter. Philly started off once again with some quality chances before Pittsburgh scored a couple goals in the first. The Penguins scored two more times in the second and chased Brian Elliott for a second time in the series. “Moose” made 14 saves on 18 shots before giving way to Michal Neuvirth. Riley Sheahan would add another goal in the third.
One positive in this game was Nolan Patrick, who seemed to be the only player that actually wanted to play in a playoff hockey game and win. He filled in for “Coots” on the first line with Giroux and Voracek.
Game 5 is Friday night in Pittsburgh. Couturier’s status for Friday’s game is uncertain. This team is doomed. Package Dave Hakstol and Brian Elliott together and fire them into the sun. But we’d have to fire Hak first. Fans appear to be okay with it:
— Tucker Boggs (@Tboggs16) April 19, 2018
At least the Sixers are a fun playoff team! And you can enter to win tickets to Game 5 against the Heat on Tuesday!
And speaking of those Sixers, they’re back in action tonight in Miami for Game 3. Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game, which is an upgrade from his availability for Game 2. But he’s still reportedly in the process of receiving full clearance to play. So it looks like we’ll be waiting for some time today.
That is unless you trust the newest Sixers insider, John Bolaris!
SIXERS ALERT Embiid WILL play Thursday night , have it from a very good source !!RT
— JOHN BOLARIS (@JohnBolaris) April 19, 2018
What a tweet.
Anyways, we got a deep dive of what the Sixers’ analytics team does for head coach Brett Brown:
“One of the greatest assistance factors that I have is using the analytics to rotate a team,” Brown said. “You can talk about how, say, the Hawks make more threes in the corners, or how Joel likes to go to his left shoulder on a jump-hook. But for me it’s: ‘Which groups play well together? Which don’t? How does the other team sub? Historically, how can we exploit that matchup when Olynyk’s at a 5?’ That’s the area I feel has helped us more than anything.”
The analytics team demonstrated to Brown not only how his top three rotations rank among the league’s top 10, but that his No. 1 rotation — Embiid, Simmons, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Redick — flirts with the top overall spot. Since the Sixers signed Ilyasova and Belinelli, only two of the top 15 rotations project negatively.
If it sounds involved, it is — and it isn’t. Brown and his staff and the commitment to analytics have been the only constants since The Process began in 2013, so he’s learned to speak the language, and he’s learned to ignore the noise.
“It’s up to me not to be drowned by over-information,” Brown said. “I’m at a stage where I see it clearly. Man, it’s huge for me.”
Colin Cowherd is happy the Sixers lost Game 2. He’s still an idiot with a very punchable face.
Tip off is tonight at 7 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia and TNT.
The Phillies fell to Atlanta 7-3 to end their six-game road trip. Vince Velasquez had another strong outing, going six innings and giving up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. He also knocked in the team’s first run of the night in fifth.
But those three runs came from a three-run shot by former spring training Phillie Ryan Flaherty, who would later knock in another run home. He’s been a Phillies killer since his release.
Carlos Santana didn’t start at first base, despite Gabe Kapler saying he’s been “kicking ass.” But he came in late in the game and went 0-for-2 to drop his batting average to .131. Will he be like this for the rest of the season?
In more important news, this also happened:
Wow. What a night at the ballpark. pic.twitter.com/Md21uiisO2
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 19, 2018
The Phils return home to start a four-game weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at 7:05 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Jake Arrieta will take the mound. It will also be the first Thursday game the team wears the beautiful powder blue throwbacks:
The Phillies will wear their powder blue uniforms on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park. They'll wear them for each Thursday home game this season. pic.twitter.com/BzU3Ksot4y
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) April 17, 2018
With Brent Celek gone, Zach Ertz now assumes the role as the leader of the tight ends:
“It’s tough, obviously,” Ertz said on Tuesday. “He was the guy that when they brought me in, he was the guy, the veteran tight end in Philadelphia. He was the guy everyone knew about. And he didn’t treat me as a guy who was a competitor to him; he treated me as the guy who could help him further his career, where he didn’t have to take every snap. So it’s tough. That guy has been with me from the beginning, pretty much taught me how to be a pro in Philadelphia.
“Even a couple years back, when the playing time began to increase in my way, he let me kind of take on a leadership role. He wasn’t overbearing by any means. He kind of let me lead in my own way. Even though he was the leader of the room, per se, he let me lead and slowly earn more of a leadership role in our room. He kind of set me up for this moment. I owe a lot of my success to Brent, the way he was a dominant blocking tight end, I was able to learn from that for a lot of years. I’m extremely thankful for him.”
Corey Clement will give Rowan University’s commencement speech.
There are plenty of quality cornerbacks the Eagles can take in the NFL Draft.
The NFL regular season schedule gets released tonight at 8 PM. But there will definitely be some leaks before then. We had one a few weeks ago with the Thursday night season opener between the Birds and Vikings. We also know the primetime games will start earlier:
Oh yeah, baby. It’s NFL Schedule Release day/night, 8p ET. Among the fan-friendly wrinkles: Earlier start times for primetime – MNF will start at 8:15p ET (was 8:30 last season); SNF at 8:20p ET (8:30); TNF at 8:20pm ET (8:25p). Remember when MNF started after 9:05p ET?
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) April 19, 2018
Want to enjoy the Eagles winning the Super Bowl (which did indeed happen) and a concert at the same time? Well the Mann Center and The Philadelphia Orchestra are making your wishes come true!
Former Neumann-Goretti standout and current Kentucky point guard Quade Green could be transferring back home. To…La Salle?
Source: Don't be surprised to see Quade Green transfer from Kentucky to LaSalle. Ashley Howard recruited him while at Nova. Cal already prepping for the loss. I'm told LaSalle would be the choice.
— Robert Snyder (@RobbieBuckets) April 18, 2018
Ashley Howard may be picking up his first big win without even coaching a game. Green was passed up for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander this season and has plenty of talented competition behind him.
In other sports news, LeBron James took matters into his own hands against the Pacers with 46 points and 12 rebounds to give the Cavs a 100-97 game two win. After the game, he was asked a seemingly controversial question about the death of Erin Popovich, the wife of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.:
LeBron James after the game finding out about the horrible news of Erin Popovich's passing pic.twitter.com/2hz7z2ysWp
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) April 19, 2018
We later learned that reporter Allie LaForce had notified James before the interview began.
In the Stanley Cup playoffs, San Jose completed a sweep of the Anaheim Ducks and will face Vegas in the semifinals. Nashville and Tampa Bay also won their respective Game 4 matchups to take 3-1 series leads.
The New York Knicks will interview TNT analyst Kenny Smith for their head coaching job. Lol.
We have a final matchup for The Worst of Philadelphia.
In the news, the FAA has ordered fan blade inspections after Tuesday’s jet engine explosion.
Theta Tau, a Syracuse University professional fraternity, is suspended after a pretty bad video involving the frat got released. They’re the damn engineering fraternity. Thank God I’m not in one. They suck.
Colombia is thinking about using drones to combat cocaine production. Take it away Rick James…
Kinkead: speaking of Colombia and cocaine, I recommended watching “Narcos” on Netflix