Coming into their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup against the Miami Heat, it seemed like the Sixers would be involved in a very competitive series based on the regular season.
And after a couple days of waiting, the Sixers turned it on in the second half and crushed the Heat by 27 in a wild game one atmosphere at the Wells Fargo Center. Marco Belinelli exploded off the bench with 25 points while Ersan Ilyasova added 17 of his own. JJ Redick led the way with 28 points and Ben Simmons was a rebound short of a triple-double with 17 points and 14 assists.
The Sixers seem to play much faster without Joel Embiid, and it killed the Heat in the second half. Brett Brown sent Ilyasova out with a much better Dario Saric and it started a 15-0 run for the Sixers to start the third quarter. Just like that, the momentum swung heavily in favor of the Sixers.
Hassan Whiteside only had two points, one assist, and six boards in 12:26 of playing time, which is still interesting. His plus-minus, as Embiid would say, was “ass,” at -16. Furkan Korkmaz scored one more point than Whiteside. Yikes.
The Sixers entered the playoffs with an 11% chance to win it all. If they continue to play like they did on Saturday, the NBA Finals are definitely not out of the picture, as crazy as that might be.
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It was a so-so weekend for the Flyers. Let’s begin with the good.
Friday was a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh to tie the series at one. Brian Elliott had a great bounce-back game with 34 saves on 35 shots, including stopping Sidney Crosby on a breakaway chance in the second period that may have turned the game for the Penguins.
The kids played well. Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick each scored their first career playoff tallies, and Sean Couturier had another memorable playoff game in Pittsburgh, including this nasty pass to Patrick:
A FILTHY pass by Couturier to set up Patrick! pic.twitter.com/XaonPq3iLg
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 14, 2018
Sunday was another 5-1 result, except Pittsburgh won. The Flyers started out hot and put on the pressure against Pittsburgh, but it was Matt Murray who looked solid in goal. Sidney Crosby’s goal in the first period started what would be an avalanche against the Flyers’ defense. Derick Brassard scored less than three minutes into the second, followed by goals from Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin just five seconds apart from each other.
After stopping the Pens’ power play Friday night, Pittsburgh went 3-of-7 on the man advantage. Brian Elliott stopped only 21 of 26 shots.
So it looks like the Flyers are back to square one, underdogs once again with some starting to not believe in them again. Game 5 is always the pivotal game, but Wednesday night’s game 4 might decide the series. That game is at 7 PM. Could we see Dave Hakstol make some changes to the lineup? This might be the time to do just that.
The Phillies extended their winning streak to six games after sweeping the Rays over the weekend. It’s their second straight sweep. So could Gabe Kapler be good now?
Friday night, the Phils edged Tampa 2-1 after Jorge Alfaro delivered with an RBI single in the ninth. Vince Velasquez allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings.
The Phils continued their winning ways with a 9-4 rout for Jake Arrieta’s first win as a Phillie. Plenty of the young guys delivered, including JP Crawford, who hit his second home run of the season off Chris Archer.
Even though the Flyers were on the bad side of a blowout, the Phils were on the good side of theirs Sunday afternoon in a 10-4 decision. Aaron Altherr hit a three-run homer in the eighth and Scott Kingery extended his hitting streak to six games thanks to a three-run double. The kids are alright.
The Rays aren’t good, but it’s nice to see the Phillies win again. They have a tougher task at hand starting tonight as they visit the Atlanta Braves at 7:35 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia +. Aaron Nola will face off against Julio Teheran in an Opening Day rematch.
Meanwhile on the farm, pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez is showing he’s the real deal.
Without Worley, will the Eagles sign a veteran or draft another corner?
Quarterback Nick Foles would love to be a starter again.
The Eagles really love SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
The Union fell to Orlando City SC 2-0 Friday night in Chester. They’ll be in Dallas on Saturday as they take on FC Dallas.
Check out a new episode of Crossing Broad FC.
Here’s a quick look at the playoffs in the NBA and NHL:
The new playoff hot dog at the Wells Fargo Center is worth however much it is.
James Harrison is retiring from the NFL.
In the news, Police Commissioner Richard Ross says the officer who made the controversial arrests inside a Starbucks did not want to do it.
“Full Metal Jacket” actor and Vietnam veteran R. Lee Ermey has died at the age of 74. Enjoy the gem (Note: Language NSFW):