Posts for Teams Category

Joel Embiid’s Snarky Birthday Shout for Charles Barkley is a Nothing Burger

Kevin Kinkead - February 21, 2020

It wasn’t long ago that Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley went in hard on Joel Embiid, wondering if we were seeing the best of the Sixers’ superstar this year.

That was a hot topic for one week in December, with Joel then going out a few days later and dropping 38 points in a nationally televised road win against Boston.

Prior to that win, at shootaround, he said this about the Shaq and Charles criticism:

“Maybe they’re right. I do think they’re right. I think I need to be more aggressive, just look to impose myself, just look to dominate. I think the whole season I haven’t done that. And then you can see the way it’s affected my efficiency and my stats. So I guess I need to go back to having fun and just dominating, but I get what they’re saying. I think they’re right and I’ve got to make a change.”

And then after the game he had an exchange with Charles, saying this, in part:

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Free Throws, Defense, and Joel Embiid – Observations from Sixers 112, Nets 104 (OT)

Kevin Kinkead - February 21, 2020

Talk about a weird game.

No Ben Simmons, so Raul Neto starts and plays 28 minutes. The Sixers open the game with a 22-6 lead, then Kenny Atkinson picks up a tech before Brooklyn rips off an outrageous 44-8 run. Fans at the Wells Fargo Center boo the Sixers off the floor, they come roaring back in the third quarter, then the game goes to overtime, where the Nets don’t hit a single field goal.

112-104 your final, the Sixers’ league-high 26th home win of the year.

They did it on the strength of 39 Embiid points, a season high for the re-energized big man, who has seemingly overcome the emotional rollercoaster ride of “should I be a ‘good asshole’ or be mature?” He’s the former, a good asshole, who is having fun again, trolling fans, doing Eurostep motions after tough baskets, and whatever else pops into his head.

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Sixers Inform Customers of Season and Playoff Ticket Prices, And Yes, There’s The Expected Increase

Kyle Scott - February 20, 2020

The Sixers are notifying season ticket holders of 2020-2021 season ticket renewal prices and 2020 playoff tickets today. As one might expect, both will see modest increases.

There will be an average season ticket increase in the second level of $7 per ticket. And while prices have stepped up slowly over the last few seasons, this will be the first time the upper bowl receives a double-digit percentage increase.

I spoke with Sixers President Chris Heck and Vice President of Communications Dave Sholler about the pricing changes– both, aware that fans are sensitive to any price increase, wanted to provide some context.

Despite the increase in second-level, or upper bowl seats, the bulk of the increase will again come in the premium lower bowl and courtside seats. Those tickets are in high-demand, with courtside seats approaching actual 100% renewal rates. So, as Bernie Sanders would probably approve of, the burden will be largely felt by the millionaires and billionaires jockeying for face-time on ESPN.

The Sixers want to be careful not to price-out average fans or Process folks, and seem content to pass most of the added costs along to the folks who can afford it.

 

Sixers Tickets Remain Reasonably Priced

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Phillies Win Arbitration Hearing Against J.T. Realmuto, So…Now What?

Bob Wankel - February 20, 2020

The verdict is in. J.T. Realmuto will be paid $10 million this season after losing his arbitration hearing against the Phillies.

Realmuto came into the arbitration process seeking $12.4 million, but instead he must settle for what remains a record salary earned by an arbitration-eligible catcher.

So, will this ordeal lead to some sour grapes?

It’s easy to wonder if there will be any lingering hard feelings between the Phillies and Realmuto when the two sides begin talks on an extension for the all-star catcher that figures to be comfortably north of $100 million, but both sides have maintained this winter’s stalemate won’t have any impact on negotiations going forward.

Realmuto, who the Phillies frequently refer to as the best catcher in baseball, represented the union’s best shot at raising the comparably restrictive financial ceiling at the position. It turns out that that economics–not flattering tweets from the Phils’ social media team or the organization’s public adoration for Realmuto–was the deciding factor.

Now that Realmuto is locked in at $10 million, we’ll see if the two sides can regroup and come to an agreement that keeps the 29-year-old in red pinstripes for the foreseeable future.

Realmuto has previously indicated he would be open to remaining in Philadelphia, but it’s the Phillies’ front office that is probably the more motivated side to reach a new deal sooner rather than later.

If the team fails to sign Realmuto to a long-term deal, it will call into question its decision to part with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez last winter, but the benefits of getting a deal in place go well beyond improving the optics of a previous gamble.

Getting Realmuto on the books for 2021 and beyond sometime this spring, or at least prior to this summer’s trade deadline, would provide the team’s decision-makers with some financial clarity as it weighs how aggressively it wants to pursue in-season upgrades and/or free agents next offseason, as well as which positions it will need to address.

As for Realmuto, a long-term deal makes sense at the right number, particularly if he likes Philly as much as he says he does. Still, if he elects to wait and test the open market, he would almost undoubtedly draw significant interest from multiple teams, potentially setting the stage for a crowded bidding war.

Stay tuned.

Setting Records: Five Takeaways from the Flyers’ 5-1 Win

Russ Joy - February 19, 2020

*This post is brought to you by Cynch, the new propane home delivery service. They deliver your grill tank right to your doorstep and take away your old tank for just $10 with the Crossing Broad promo code “ItsLit5”. Just enter your address, leave the tank on your porch/driveway, and Cynch will do the rest.*

At some point during Tuesday night’s game, I saw someone on Twitter throw out a very simple question: When’s the last time both “winter” teams in Philadelphia were good at the same time? It’s a legitimately good question. Sure, there have been limited spurts of success from the Orange and Black over the past few years, but never a true, believable sustained success. I guess you could point to the 2017-18 season -the last playoff appearance for this squad in a seven-year stretch of alternating playoff seasons and missed opportunities- as a “success” of sorts, but did anyone really, truly believe that squad had what it takes to get out of the first round? Perhaps the 2013-14 season that ended in a Game 7 loss to the Rangers is more your speed? No, I think you have to go way back to the three-season stretch from 2009-2012, when getting out of the first round was more of a foregone conclusion. Which brings me to a moment I’ve long-feared putting into the public sphere for fear of a karmic debacle: this is the best Flyers team in nearly a decade and it isn’t particularly close.

The Flyers, who find themselves in third place in the Metropolitan Division, have the eighth-best record in the entire league. Pittsburgh and Washington, who reside above the Flyers in the Met, have the third- and fourth-best records in the league, respectively. The Islanders, Hurricanes, and Blue Jackets -who all trail the three aforementioned teams for a guaranteed playoff spot- have the ninth-, tenth-, and eleventh-best records in the entire NHL. That’s insane. It’s also part of the problem with dropping points within your division, as the Flyers did to the dreadful Devils on February 6 and the Islanders on February 11, has an even more damaging impact than in years past.

It’s why getting a dominant win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night was about as close to a “must win” as you’re going to get. Let’s get into five takeaways from the decisive victory:

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Stuck in Neutral? You May Be Playing Hockey Against the Philadelphia Flyers

Anthony SanFilippo - February 19, 2020

*Crossing Broad’s Flyers coverage is brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook. Sign up today and use promo code CROSSINGBROAD to get your deposit matched up to $500 . Terms and conditions apply. 21+ Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.*

You don’t need me to tell you that the game of hockey has changed.

It’s obvious. It’s all about speed. It’s all about showcasing skill. There’s no more fighting. There’s not as much non-fighting physicality either.

The game moves at a greater pace than it used to and when it moves so quickly, more mistakes are bound to happen, and the the teams that make the fewest mistakes and take advantage of the most mistakes of their opponents are going to win.

Yes, there is more to hockey than that, but if you need your description stripped down to the equivalent of a two-plus-two equation, that’s it, for better or for worse.

And yet, here are the Flyers doing something a little bit differently to try to win games – and it’s working.

Entering play Tuesday, there were 55 players in the NHL who had at least 20 goals. None of them were Flyers. Travis Konecny eventually joined that group, which has now swelled to 58 players, when he scored a tip-in goal for his 20th of the season in the Flyers 5-1 win over Columbus, but the point is, for a game that relies so heavily on speed and skill as much as hockey does, the Flyers aren’t especially fast, nor do they showcase their skill by generating a lot of shots or chances. The Flyers are smack dab in the middle of the pack in average shots on goal in a game with 31.5, ranking 14th in the NHL.

Top half, yes. But barely.

Instead, because the Flyers don’t have any stand out superstars who are chasing scoring titles, they play a system where they are relying on everyone to score – and are the seventh-highest scoring team in the NHL, which may be a little bit surprising, because they don’t come off as a high-scoring team, especially since their power play has been nothing better than mediocre all season (20.1 percent, No. 16 in the NHL).

But, what is making the Flyers formula so successful is something taken out of the “old school” play book:

They frustrate the hell out of the opposition with stingy team defense.

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The Flyers Warmed Up to an Action News Theme Song Remix Last Night

Bob Wankel - February 19, 2020

Move closer to your world, my friend. Take a little bit of time. Move closer to your world, my friend.

And you’ll see…

…the Flyers absolutely beat the hell out of the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-1, and you will hear this *inserts flames* Action News theme song remix that was dropped by Flyers team music director DJ Reed Streets prior to last night’s game:

I motion to henceforth play this jam after every Flyers goal, Phillies homer, Ben Simmons jump shot, and Eagles touchdown.

It went national earlier this morning when Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan had a little A Night at the Roxbury moment:

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Jay Wright Says He’s Not Going to the Knicks

Russ Joy - February 19, 2020

When Forbes put out an article a few days ago, reigniting the rumors of a potential match between the New York Knicks and Villanova coach Jay Wright, it sent shockwaves throughout the fanbase. Could he leave? Would he leave? Should he leave? The maestro himself began to panic in our Slack channel. Well, friends, it looks like you can breathe a sigh of relief:

Can I play devil’s advocate on this one? He hasn’t talked to the Knicks yet. He’s not going to the Knicks yet. I don’t expect the rumors to go away. As I wrote the other day, if I were Jay, I wouldn’t jump ship until a legit star was in place. You have to think that the Knicks’ new team president Leon Rose, who rose to fame as a power agent at CAA, will look to use his clout with players to attract free agents. Perhaps in the meantime the Knicks will look to hire an NBA retread to a short-term deal until they’re ready to roll out the red carpet for Wright.