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February 2014

Game Preview: Hawks at 76ers

   

             The Atlanta Hawks (23-21) are in town tonight to face the 76ers (15-31) at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks come in currently sitting in the 4th seed of the Eastern Conference. They are one of the few teams in the East that possess a winning record. This is the Sixers’ first time seeing this new-look Hawks squad, and they are sure to have their hands full tonight.

Ever since Al Horford went down for the season, Hawks forward Paul Millsap has taken scoring responsibilities into his own hands. On the season, the reigning NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week is putting up a career-high 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, career-best 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks. He is the only player in the East, and one-of-two in the NBA, averaging at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks. Millsap was also announced as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Millsap will be up against Thaddeus Young’s lock down defense tonight, but it will be a formidable challenge for Thad tonight. Thad’s defense has been lights out over the past month, and the Sixers will need all the help they can get against Millsap tonight.

There will also be an intriguing point guard battle tonight as Michael Carter-Williams will be up against the talented Jeff Teague. Teague is averaging career highs in points (16.2), assists (7.3), and rebounds (2.8). However, he is also averaging a career high 3.4 turnovers per game. The Sixers length in their backcourt may give Teague issues as he tries to find passing lanes tonight.

The keys to a Sixers win tonight are pace, and execution. The Sixers need to play hard-nosed defense tonight. If they can create turnovers throughout the course of the game and then push the ball on the fast break for an efficient score, they will force the Hawks out of their comfort zone. Also, Spencer Hawes needs to come up big tonight on the defensive boards. The Sixers need to limit this team to one-shot possessions if they have any desire to win this game.

Finally, on offense, the Sixers need to take care of the ball, take efficient shots, and limit any stupid mistakes. There seems to be a play or two each game that makes the Sixers look like an amateur team. The Hawks will take advantage of bad misses, turnovers, and stupid mistakes.

 Projected Starters:

Hawks

PG: Jeff Teague

SG: Kyle Korver

SF: DeMarre Carroll

PF: Paul Millsap

C: Gustavo Ayon

 

76ers

PG: Michael Carter-Williams

SG: Evan Turner

SF: James Anderson

PF: Thaddeus Young

C: Spencer Hawes

Prediction: For some reason, the Sixers have had success against the Hawks in recent years, so I have a hard time picking them to lose this game. However, both of these teams are vastly different than they have been the past few years. With that being said, the Hawks come out and beat the Sixers at their own game. Sixers struggle to score on offense and drop this one. Final score 98-78 Hawks. I also predict Elton Brand gets a good reception from the crowd tonight as he returns for the first time as a Hawk.

 

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Matt Stairs Shotguns Beers, Interviews For Phillies TV Job

MattStairs
Photo Courtesy David Malandra, Jr. of Philly Sports Live

We knew that former Phillies outfielder and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs was going to be in town to be part of WIP's Wing Bowl.   However, he will be doing something else while he is in town, according to a report.  

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Stairs is in the running for the team's open television job.

Comcast SportsNet broadcasts its first Grapefruit League game from Clearwater, Fla., on Feb. 26.

It almost certainly will have a new color commentator by then.

Matt Stairs will be the latest, and possibly last, person to interview for the job, which became vacant when the network declined to bring back Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews.

Stairs, who famously hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run for the Phillies in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium, declined comment when reached by telephone Thursday.

No word whether the interview took place before or after he publicly downed two beers in the manner shown above.  One might suspect that Stairs probably did not help his chances today with the family-friendly Phillies, though the event is held by the Phillies' radio partner, CBS Radio.

As Zolecki notes, Stairs has done some broadcast work before with NESN and Sirius XM.


Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets

Mike Neal Free AgentMike Neal could emerge as one of the Eagles top free agent targets if the Green Bay Packers are unable to reach a deal to keep the 26-year old in March. (Image courtesy of PackersInsider.com)

Each Friday morning we will select some of the top questions we receive on Twitter and give them the kind of insight and analysis that can't fit within 140 characters. To have your question asked simply tweet it to @MattLombardo975 or@EagledelphiaPA and check back each Friday morning to see if it makes the cut! 

 FROM: JR Willis ‏@penseur76: What mid level FA do you see the Eagles signing? 

Keep an eye on this space over the next few weeks as we compile the ultimate Eagles free agent shopping list, highlighting some of the marquee names and possible dark horse targets for Howie Roseman and the front office in the coming months. 

With defense expected to be a focal point of this off-season and linebacker being a position that is destined to be upgraded, at least on the outside, two mid-level names jump off the page of pending free agents. 

Mike Neal of the Green Bay Packers could emerge as a top target of Roseman when the league year opens in March. 

Continue reading "Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets" »


Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets

Mike Neal Free AgentMike Neal could emerge as one of the Eagles top free agent targets if the Green Bay Packers are unable to reach a deal to keep the 26-year old in March. (Image courtesy of PackersInsider.com)

Each Friday morning we will select some of the top questions we receive on Twitter and give them the kind of insight and analysis that can't fit within 140 characters. To have your question asked simply tweet it to @MattLombardo975 or@EagledelphiaPA and check back each Friday morning to see if it makes the cut! 

 FROM: JR Willis ‏@penseur76: What mid level FA do you see the Eagles signing? 

Keep an eye on this space over the next few weeks as we compile the ultimate Eagles free agent shopping list, highlighting some of the marquee names and possible dark horse targets for Howie Roseman and the front office in the coming months. 

With defense expected to be a focal point of this off-season and linebacker being a position that is destined to be upgraded, at least on the outside, two mid-level names jump off the page of pending free agents. 

Mike Neal of the Green Bay Packers could emerge as a top target of Roseman when the league year opens in March. 

Continue reading "Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets" »


Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets

Mike Neal Free AgentMike Neal could emerge as one of the Eagles top free agent targets if the Green Bay Packers are unable to reach a deal to keep the 26-year old in March. (Image courtesy of PackersInsider.com)

Each Friday morning we will select some of the top questions we receive on Twitter and give them the kind of insight and analysis that can't fit within 140 characters. To have your question asked simply tweet it to @MattLombardo975 or@EagledelphiaPA and check back each Friday morning to see if it makes the cut! 

 FROM: JR Willis ‏@penseur76: What mid level FA do you see the Eagles signing? 

Keep an eye on this space over the next few weeks as we compile the ultimate Eagles free agent shopping list, highlighting some of the marquee names and possible dark horse targets for Howie Roseman and the front office in the coming months. 

With defense expected to be a focal point of this off-season and linebacker being a position that is destined to be upgraded, at least on the outside, two mid-level names jump off the page of pending free agents. 

Mike Neal of the Green Bay Packers could emerge as a top target of Roseman when the league year opens in March. 

Continue reading "Eagles Friday Twitter Mailbag: Possible Mid-Level Free Agent Targets" »


Around the Net January 31, 2014: Flyers fall to Ducks, Rinaldo returns, more

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Welcome to Around the Net, a bi-weekly look through linkage at the Philadelphia Flyers and other news from around the NHL.

Flyers lose in Anaheim

The Ducks took advantange of Flyer mistakes en route to a 5-3 win: [Philly.com-Frank Seravalli] [Broad Street Hockey-Allison J.] [Hockeybuzz-Bill Meltzer]

Zac Attack is back

Zac Rinaldo provided some energy in his return to action: [Philly.com-Sam Carchidi]

NHL Capsules

A look at all of the games from last night: [The Hockey News]

The Flyers are on the road, so maybe take a road trip and see them. Get your Philadelphia Flyers tickets here.

That’s all for this week, join me next week for more links from around the web on the Flyers and the NHL. 


Hockey Hilarity: Hartnell Stick Toss

GoonFightFace

Friday funnies brought to you straight from hockey’s own players, media personnel, and broadcast botches. We’ll be mucking it up every week right here, examining puck ups, puns, tweets, and more!

The Anaheim Ducks beat the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday by a score of 5-3. It wasn't the worst loss ever to the best team in the NHL, but it wasn't the best game either for the Orange and Black. The Flyers had some opportunities, but failed to capitalize more often than not, thus leading to a regulation loss.

I know what you're thinking right now: "Nick, how is this funny? I feel bad because my team lost. All you're doing is making it worse. I just need comfort right now. Somebody hold me." Well pick chins up there Flyers fans and watch this gif of Scott Hartnell throwing his stick up in the air after one of the aforementioned missed opportunities:

Hartnell Stick Toss on Make A Gif

make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

Hopefully that brightened your day ever so slightly on the last day of January. Come back next week when hopefully we're talking about something a little bit funnier and a lot less Flyers-loss oriented.