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Philadelphia Sports Scene

October 22, 2012 12:31 PM

1st Place Sixers


The Sixers have the best record in the NBA (5-1) and the top point differential ( +11.5) so it's time for irrational excitement!

jrue holiday.jpg

Let's just ignore that the preseason is meaningless and focus on the fun stats that reflect positively on the team. Look at the barrage of 3-pointers from Dorell Wright (12-25), Nick Young (11-23), Jrue Holiday (8-18), Maalik Wayns (8-18), and even Jason Richardson (5-17). Look at the 7 guys in the top 100 of player efficiency, all above big names including Dwyane Wade, Monta Ellis, Kyrie Irving, Metta World Peace, Carlos Boozer, and former Sixer Lou Williams. Look at Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes each averaging at least 1 block per game, anchoring the interior defense.

Above all, the Sixers have stayed healthy. Exceptions obviously being Andrew Bynum and Evan Turner injuring his left ankle at the end of the 3rd quarter in the most recent win over the Celtics, 88-79.

In honor of this being the 50th season in Philadelphia, the Sixers will return to the city of their origin as they host the Knicks at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York tonight at 7pm. The Syracuse Nationals lasted for 14 seasons and won the NBA Championship in 1955 (shout out to Dolph Schayes).

October 16, 2012 8:16 PM

Juan Castillo Axed


The firing of Juan Castillo marks a pivotal moment in the Eagles season. Constant talks of improving and everyone being held accountable have finally moved into action. I can see the story line now, the .500 team finally reaching its full potential only after Andy Reid gets rid of the coach that was not fit for his position in the first place. (Scapegoat maybe)

juan castillo.jpg

Castillo's last experience working as a defensive coach was with Kingsville High School (1986-1989) so his hiring was much more of a surprise than the firing. Three straight weeks of teams marching down the field for potential go ahead field goals at the end of the game had to be the last straw. Of course, in conjunction with an under performing defensive unit for the past season and a half that signed the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha and used high draft picks to help the d-line and linebackers.

Expect a different looking team after the bye week indeed. Since Reid became the Head Coach 14 years ago, he has never fired a coach midseason so this move should not be taken lightly by anyone. (Vick and Reid himself could be next)

The new defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles seems like a more than capable, logical, and qualified choice from his resume. All of his coaching (14 years in the NFL) and playing experience (8 years in the NFL) has been on the defensive side of the ball. Plus, he went to Temple and is from NJ so he will get a "hometown" pass for a few weeks.

There is more than half the season left to play so don't put dirt on them yet.

October 12, 2012 4:04 PM

Finally Werth It


The alternate universe playoffs continue where Phillies fans get to be delusional and cheer for former players as they hit walk-off home runs for their new teams. Last night it was Jayson Werth's turn to play hero.
Jayson Werth.jpg
Sure he ran to a Division opponent in DC for more money but who wouldn't? And without a horse in this playoff race, which has been closer than any in history, I need some excuse for getting excited during these games.

Yes, watching ex-Phillies success and secretly imagining they were still on your team in the playoffs could be described as destructive behavior but it beats going through the Phillies depth chart over and over waiting for next season.

Other notable ex-Phillies still in the postseason:
Hunter Pence, SF
Gio Gonzalez, WAS
Freddy Garcia, NYY
Jim Thome, BAL
Of course Raul Ibanez, NYY

Still cheering for Thome and the Orioles most of all.

October 10, 2012 11:20 PM

Raauuuuullllllll!!!!!!


raul_ibanez.jpgIt goes without saying that the Yankees are not my favorite team but I do tend to cheer for guys that I have fond memories of while they played in Philadelphia. Raul Ibanez falls into that category, even with a .289 OBP in his final season, so I was happy for him when he tied the game with a home run in the 9th and then hit a walk-off in the 12th. Jim Thome hitting a go-ahead home run in the top of the 12th would have been ideal though. In my mind he is the Ray Bourque of these MLB playoffs, a living legend looking for that championship.

Ibanez came into the game as a pinch hitter for the slumping Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, batting a measly .176 with only 1 RBI and 5 runs scored in his last 51 at bats, should consider giving Ibanez a large sum of money from his $30 million this season for bailing him out and keeping every media outlet and New York fan from completely ripping him apart tomorrow. At least he knows the fans don't want to cheer him (Fast Forward to 40 seconds).

Watch the game highlights (or low lights depending on your point of view) by clicking here.


October 3, 2012 1:17 AM

Meet Your 2012-13 Sixers



In case you missed it, ESPN ranked the top 500 players in the NBA. Here is where the Sixers roster ended up on the list:

(Spoiler alert: Lavoy Allen no longer holds the last spot on the list as he did last season)

Andrew Bynum 13 Obviously a guy with a history of injury problems starting off the year hurt should be concerning. He can make it tough to cheer for him at times, let's hope he doesn't try to work on his three point shooting during live game action like he did in LA. Rebound, block shots, score 15-20 points in the paint big fella and we'll get along just fine.andrew bynum.jpg

Jrue Holiday 73 No Lou Williams or Andre Iguodala to take away his touches. Holiday and Evan Turner will have to make the biggest leaps on this list for the team to be successful.

Thaddeus Young 91 Thad tweets a ton about going to the gym and getting shots up. I like that he seems to play better coming off the bench, providing depth and an athletic/talent advantage over other teams second units.

Spencer Hawes 118 Hawes role has yet to be defined. Could he be part of a twin tower combo and get beat consistently off the dribble by smaller, quicker power forwards or does he anchor the center position when Bynum recovers and come off the bench with Thaddeus? Yeah, I like later scenario too.

Evan Turner 119 Do you think Turner saw Kwame Brown walk into the gym and he said to himself, "Man, I don't want to end up with the same reputation as that guy." Yes, yes that's what he said. He doesn't want to be known as just a high draft pick. The trick will be him playing off the ball with Jrue at the point or vice-versa.

Jason Richardson 121 Whatever the veteran has lost in terms of ability, I'm sure he will make up for in helping the development of Turner, Nick and Thaddeus Young, and Dorell Wright.

Nick Young 165
Ok, I'll admit it. Nick Young and Andrew Bynum were my two least favorite NBA players last season behind the incomparable JaVale McGee. They both play for my team now so I have to find something nice to say. He is a great passer. Oops, wait. He works hard. Hang on sorry. Plays solid defe...I can't even say the word with him in the same sentence. I got it. The Sixers had trouble finding someone to shoot the ball and look to score everytime down the floor. Nick Young does that better than anyone. It's a one year deal dude, make a good impression or be gone.

Dorell Wright 182 I know two things about Wright and they are that he shoots lots of three's at a pretty high percentage and that he thinks Bynum is the best big man in the game today. I agree with everything you say there Dorell and like your confidence.

Lavoy Allen 232 The Temple product played big minutes in the playoffs vs Kevin Garnett, making Elton Brand's services disposable. He knows his limits and should remain in the mix. Please be better than Reggie Evans, please.

Kwame Brown 332 Not going to lie, I thought people were joking when the told me the Sixers signed Kwame. But for a one year deal with a player option next year, why not give the guy a shot to work hard for another contract in what has been a shocking long, mediocre career.

Royal Ivey 375 Ivey returns to the Sixers and he did have some bright moments with them in the past. Let's see what he learned from Scottie Brooks and being Russell Westbrook's understudy.

Arnett Moultrie 400 Moultrie has a great blue print to follow from Lavoy last year, bring energy and rebound. Any scoring would be gravy.

All together they look like a young, goofy group of guys and the style of play should reflect that personality. Strengths should include long range shooters and lots of size. Weakness may be perimeter defense, the glaring hole left from Iguodala.

Just to keep our hopes in the proper perspective:

Eastern Conference...The Heat have 3 in the top 18 (LeBron, Wade, and Bosh)

Western Conference...The Lakers have 4 guys in the top 19 (Dwight Howard, Kobe, Gasol, and Nash)

February 9, 2012 10:47 PM

Sixers All-Star Moment



Finally, after seven seasons, Andre Iguodala has made an All-Star team. This is not his best statistical season, he is third on the team in scoring, so clearly the selection committee has rewarded him based on the Sixers fantastic team success. At 18-8, only Miami, Oklahoma City, and Chicago have better records than Philadelphia.

andre iguodala.jpgIguodala still makes spectacular plays dunking over people or throwing an alley oop to himself off the glass, but his "less is more" approach on offense I think has directly contributed to the teams improvement.

Andre truly does lots of things well so naturally he wanted to carry the load on both ends of the floor season after season. The results were .500 records and first round exits. Now, he may be the third or fourth option on offense thanks to two other guys who could have been All-Star selections, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday, and the team keeps winning. Williams could still be the sixth man of the year and Holiday will have plenty of more chances to get the All-Star nod.

The true snub for the Sixers on All-Star weekend would be if Jodie Meeks is not in the 3 point contest.

Iguodala's All-Star selection is a great achievement for him after being a consistent part of the franchise for almost a decade, but his presence on the Eastern squad says more about the big strides the Sixers have made as a team than Iguodala as an individual.

Watch the Sixers host Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Clippers tonight.

January 5, 2012 2:20 PM

Philly Ball Night: History Made



With every major Philadelphia basketball team playing, only Villanova not in action, it was officially Ball
Night
for the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Huge upsets, historic milestones, overtime wins, blowouts, and the city going 6-0 made it a great night for all, regardless of where your basketball allegiances lie.

Normally I'd start with the Sixers, being that they are the professional team, but how can you overlook the top college game featured on ESPN!

Duke #3 (12-2, 0-2 away) vs Temple (10-3, 4-0 home)
Temple 78
Duke 73

After nine straight losses to Duke, Temple upset the nations #3 ranked team in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.Duke_Temple.jpg

The front court match-up featured the Blue Devil's Plumlee boys beating up on a smaller Temple lineup that played four guards for most of the game. Miles dominated inside in the first half and Mason in the second. But the speed of the Owls guards provided a greater advantage for Fran Dunphy's squad, as they simply out-hustled Duke and were able to smoother Coach K's leading scorers Austin Rivers and Seth Curry.

Temple lead by two at the half and Coach Krzyzewski had to call a timeout one minute and 21 seconds into the second half as the Owls extended their lead to six. His team responded, coming out in a flurry, but Temple's defense stayed in the passing lanes and got their guards out in transition.

Keys to victory: Khalif Wyatt lead the team with 22 points and five steals, the team shot 56% for the game with five players scoring in double digits, and great perimeter defense.

Next up: Saturday, Dayton Flyers

Sixers (3-2) vs Hornets (2-4)

Sixers 101
Hornets 93

Doug Collins brings a balanced attack, evidenced by six Sixers scoring in double figures, and clearly defines roles for his players. Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, along with Evan Turner's greatly improved play thus far, gives Philadelphia one of the most coveted advantages this NBA season. Depth. Not to mention youth, athleticism, scoring, and speed. Jrue Holiday now has a firm grasp as the team's leader. Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand are the elder statesman who can do a little of everything and are capable of going off on any given night. Finally, with Spencer Hawes stepping up, they finally have an inside presence.

Their youth and depth should provide an advantage as they have four home games in the next five days before a showdown with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 11th.

Mo' Traded: The Sixers traded Marreese Speights to the Memphis Grizzlies (now without Zach Randolph for 6-8 weeks) as part of a three team deal. Memphis moved Xavier Henry to the Hornets and in return the Sixers get the Hornets second round pick in 2013 and a protected second round pick from the Grizzlies in 2012.

Philadelphia will also get a $2.72 million trade exception -- the equivalent to Speights' 2011-12 salary. Speights spot in the rotation will be filled by youngsters Nikola Vucevic and Craig Brackins, as well as soon to be 36 year old Tony Battie.

Next up: Friday, Detroit Pistons

Penn (7-8) vs Lafayette (5-10)
Penn 78
Lafayette73

It certainly wasn't a defensive battle in Easton, PA Wednesday night between Penn and Lafayette. There were 15 lead changes as both teams shot around 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the free throw line.

The hosting Tigers led by three at the half and kept up their hot shooting as they had a stretch of seven straight three pointers. But Zack Rosen scored 24 points and had four assists, becoming the program's all-time leader in that category with 506. The previous record holder, Head Coach Jerome Allen, got to watch from the sideline while his senior captain brought the team back. Penn dominated the lane, outscoring Lafayette 30-16 in the paint.

Six consecutive made free throws from Rosen (4-4) and Tyler Bernardini (2-2) sealed the win for the Quakers.

jerome allen and zack rosen.jpgRosen, leading the Ivy League in points and assists per game, is now a Semi-Finalist for the Cousy Award. He is the only Ivy or Big 5 guard of the 20 players remaining.

Next up: Tuesday, La Salle Explorers

Lady Quakers: It is worth mentioning that Penn's Women's basketball team has gotten off to a fantastic start at 7-3 and features one of the best female players in the Ivy League and Big 5, sophomore Alyssa Baron (http://www.pennathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=1700&ATCLID=204970462). They also have the four-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, including three in a row in one stretch, Kara Bonenberger.

Xavier (9-5) vs La Salle (11-4)
Xavier 70
La Salle 80

A season high 23 points from Earl Pettis helped lead the Explorers to a win in their A-10 opener. With under a minute to play and La Salle's lead cut to five, Devon White came through down the stretch with a dunk and a pair of free throws. Ultimately, Xavier's 14 turnovers to La Salle's seven were too much for the Musketeers to overcome.

These teams are heading in different directions as La Salle has won four straight and nine of their last 10 contests, while Xavier is 1-5 since there brawling victory over Cincinnati.

Next up: Sunday, UMass Minutemen

Saint Joseph's (11-4) vs Duquesne (9-6)
Saint Joseph's 84
Duquesne 82
Overtime

Next up: Saturday, Charlotte 49ers

Towson (0-15) vs Drexel (9-5)
Towson 27
Drexel 60

Next up: Sunday, VCU Rams

January 2, 2012 11:49 PM

Winter Insta-Classic



Number one lesson I learned from watching the 2012 Winter Classic: Eye black makes any athlete look better, faster, stronger.

2012-winter-classic.jpgOther than that it was your standard hockey contest between two top teams from rival cities, vying for first place in the division, and playing outdoors in a baseball stadium with 46,967 fans going crazy (Citizens Bank Park attendance record). Not to mention the months of build up and anticipation thanks to HBO's 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic. Sadly, not only did the Flyers blow a 2-0 lead and fail to tie the game on a late game penalty shot, but the star of the HBO special, Ilya Bryzgalov, did not play. Damn Universe.


Some highlights:

Brayden Schenn #10 won a face-off and circled towards the net to finish off the rebound for his first career goal.

Claude Giroux's backhand displayed the youngster's speed, high level of stick handling, and accuracy. He is tied with Henrik Sedin for the league lead in points.

The snow falling near the end of the 2nd finally made it feel like winter after a series of unseasonably warm weather days.

Based on what I've seen from the HBO series so far, I'm looking forward to hearing what Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette said in his speech after the Rangers third goal. He looked pissed and rightfully so.

Just seeing Citizens Bank Park reminds me that I want baseball to start.

Some lowlights:
Downside of playing in Citizens Bank Park was the fans were far from the action. Although having 45,000+ fans go crazy after the first goal was pretty powerful.

Mike Rupp scoring two goals (now with 3 on the year total) and his mocking of Jaromir Jagr's salute after the Rangers first goal was corny. Scott Hartnell rightfully told him to show some respect to a future Hall of Famer.

No $51 million Bryzgalov. Hopefully he had some good sound bites from the bench. Also, no Jagr in the 3rd period and only 7:09 played in the entire game.

The number one disappointment is a tie between Danny Briere not making a single move on his penalty shot attempt and failing to send the game into overtime, and Laviolette not choosing Giroux, the team's leading scorer who was also on the ice, to take the shot.


Post your highlights and lowlights of the game or Tweet @zervoudis.

January 28, 2011 5:25 PM

FUTURE PHILLIES STARS

four horseman.jpg
With the current pitching staff and lineup of the Phillies, anything short of a World Series title will be a disappointment. What about six or seven years from now? Who will be the leaders of the club when the likes of Jimmy Rollins and Roy Halladay are likely gone? More importantly for this season, who can step in immediately for Jayson Werth or in case of an injury during the pennant race?

With less than 2 weeks away from when pitchers and catchers can report to Spring Training, lets see
what the depth chart looks like and where these young guys might fit in.

Here the prospects, as ranked by MLB.com:

Dominic Brown, RF is listed as the 2011 #4 prospect.

Brown's minor league numbers, along with his tall, lanky body type have people thinking of a potential Darryl Strawberry.

Factor in Brown's talent with the 22 year old leaving the Dominican during the Winter league gives him all the making of a Strawberry.

Brown will be competing with Ben Francisco and Ross Gload for at bats in right field.
dominic-brown.jpg
Jonathan Singleton 1B/LF
#30

Since Ryan Howard signed a 5 year contract extension, first base at Citizens Bank Park is not the way Singleton will be making his way to the show. The more likely scenario for the 19 year old to make it to the big league is moving to left field to take over for Ibanez. His minor league stats, though a small sample, show the big lefty has good plate discipline and some pop. Finding a position looks like Singleton's biggest obstacle at this point.

Jarred Cosart, RHP, Phillies
#51 prospect

Similar body type of a Cole Hamels...6'3" 180lbs. Great command...77K's/16BB's..1.93 GO/AO compared to Roy Halladay's career GO/AO ratio of 1.86, Cosart is on the right track of avoiding the gopher ball.

The Lakewood BlueClaws, the Phillies Single A affiliate have won back to back South Atlantic League championships and 3 out of the last 5 so the future is bright for the farm system.

2B- Cesar Hernandez

In case you were wondering, Kyle Drabek who was traded in the deal that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia is ranked as the third best right handed pitching prospect. Still think the deal was worth it though, how about you?

January 23, 2011 7:37 PM

Flying High Atop NHL

Halfway through the NHL season and the Philadelphia Flyers have set the benchmark for the rest of the league.

The message was sent loud and clear as Chris Pronger returned to the Flyers lineup on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators. LOOK OUT NHL! Chris_Pronger_Flyers.jpg

Philadelphia won the game 6-2, the fights (as usual, although they did not break their own record for most penalty minutes), and continued their dominance over the league while sitting in first place.

If not for a 3-1, let down defeat against the last place New Jersey Devils, Sunday's 4-1, revenge win against the Chicago Blackhawks would have been the black and orange's sixth in a row.

Flyers GM, Paul Holmgren, was given a 3 year extension after making his team into what many believe will be a, "bonafied Stanley Cup contender for years to come." Now, quality players like Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Claude Giroux are willing to take less money and agree to more cap-friendly contracts so they can play for a cup contender.

More good news, Daniel Briere was named an All-Star replacement for the injured Jarome Iginla. He joins Giroux in representing Philadelphia this weekend.

Check out the Fantasy draft for the All-Star teams.

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