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Sixers to waive Booker, paving way for Ilyasova's return

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor

On Monday, forward Ersan Ilyasova reached a buyout agreement with Atlanta. He cleared waivers on Wednesday, paving way for his return to Philadelphia. With the Sixers roster at capacity, the team decided to waive Trevor Booker. This doesn't come as much of a surprise. Booker didn't play against the Heat on Tuesday and he had heard from his agent that a buyout with the Sixers was on the table.

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Phillies, Blue Jays look to end skids as Velasquez makes spring debut

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Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez pitching at Dunedin Stadium in the spring of 2016. Velasquez stranded 74.4 percent of the runners he allowed on base through 15 appearances in 2017. (Frank Klose/Sports Talk Philly)

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

In a battle between clubs that have won just once through five Grapefruit League contests this spring, the Philadelphia Phillies (1-4) will head slightly north to face right-hander Joe Biagini and the Toronto Blue Jays (1-4) Wednesday afternoon at Dunedin Stadium.

Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez will make his 2018 exhibition debut, his first game action since leaving his August 10 start against the New York Mets early with numbness in his right middle finger.

The Blue Jays' sole victory thus far came against the Phillies last Friday, Feb. 23, in a 2-1 victory, also at their recently-renamed home spring training facility, Dunedin Stadium. Both their runs came in the top of the first against Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta. In their first at-bats in a Toronto uniform, former All-Stars in designated hitter Curtis Granderson and shortstop Aledmys Diaz respectively homered and hit a RBI single. The Phillies' lone run came via a solo shot by non-roster invitee outfielder Danny Ortiz in the eighth inning.

The Phillies have lost three straight games, while the Blue Jays have lost four straight.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (1-4) Toronto Blue Jays (1-4)
RHP Vince Velasquez RHP Joe Biagini
(2017: 2-7, 5.13 ERA) (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Continue reading "Phillies, Blue Jays look to end skids as Velasquez makes spring debut" »

Flyers Remarkable Run to Playoffs Has Division Within Reach


(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When the Flyers returned to action on Nov. 27, the Monday after Thanksgiving, there was a determination to exercise the demons of the previous seven games, all losses.The Flyers took a 3-1 lead into the third period in Pittsburgh that night. That lead was gone within two minutes. They had a 4-3 lead late in regulation. That vanished. They lost the game in overtime for their eighth straight loss.

The next night, the Flyers hosted the San Jose Sharks and looked rather lifeless and indifferent, falling 3-1 for their ninth straight loss. There was a team meeting after the game. There were three days off before their next game, another lifeless loss to the Boston Bruins, 3-0. Ten in a row.

The Flyers were 8-11-7 with 23 points in the standings, dead last in the Metro, tied with Florida for the second lowest point total in the East and fourth lowest in the NHL. The word playoffs was met with laughter. It was a joke to think this team would be playing beyond April 7.

There have 37 games played for the Flyers since then. Out of a possible 74 points in the standings in that time, the Flyers have earned 55 with a 26-8-3 record. The playoffs are no longer a question. They are essentially a lock. And the Flyers remarkable run now has a division title within reach.

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JJ Redick on missed last shot: "You can't ask for a better look"

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 11.08.49 PM

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It was a disappointing end to a very entertaining game, as the Sixers fell to the Miami Heat 102-101 on Tuesday night.

A Dwyane Wade two-point jumper with six seconds left gave the Heat the go-ahead lead, and the final sequence of the night allowed the Sixers to have one final chance to win the game with either a two-pointer or an open look for three.

Dario Saric made a great play and a great pass that drew all the Heat defenders off the top of the key leaving Redick wide open for three. The result wasn't ideal though, as Redick told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jessica Camerato.

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Pick Swap Pod: Ilyasova returns, #LeBronToPhilly


Sports Talk Philly's Brandon Apter and Josh Liddick discuss the Sixers reportedly signing of Ersan Ilyasova and thier thoughts on who the team will waive, the LeBron James recruitment to Philadelphia, the Sixers challenges in their upcoming schedule, and the Rookie of the Year debate.

Enjoy and make sure to subscribe to the Sports Talk Philly Podcast Networks on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Google Play.

Wade's jumper sinks Sixers

2018-02-27 (2)

The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Miami Heat 102-101 on a jumper from Dwayne Wade with 5.9 seconds left. Two Sixers scored more than 20 points in the constantly competitive game. While the Sixers did lose, they played well and it was a fun game. The Sixers are on a two game losing streak and missed a chance to move past the Milwaukee Bucks for the 6th seed.

Well, the first quarter was very fun. The Sixers and Heat kept it close all quarter long as the largest lead between the teams was only five points. Towards the end of the quarter, the Sixers jumped to a seven point lead.

Knowing the Sixers struggled in recent years to win in this building, there was a sense of holding your breath waiting to see if the Sixers would get blown out like the last two times they visited.

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Phillies pitchers struggle in loss to Tigers

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Detroit Tigers 11, Philadelphia Phillies 6  ❖  Attendance: 4,365

Clearwater, FLA — The Philadelphia Phillies (1-4) continued their rough start to Spring Training with a loss to the Detroit Tigers (4-1). Phillies pitchers had difficulty retiring the Tigers' hitters, with five of the eight pitchers allowing at least one run to score. Their efforts were not aided by the poor fielding. The Phillies made an inexcusable three errors in the game. Two of those errors led to unearned runs.

The offense had one good inning. The six-run fourth inning was highlighted by home-runs by Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn. Outside of that, however, the Phils' hitters struggled to string hits together and get timely hits. This has been a consistent issue over the last few seasons and needs to be fixed if the Phillies want to improve upon last season's record.

WP: Mike Fiers (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

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John Middleton is excited Phillies will be in position to be players next offseason

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Whether the Philadelphia Phillies are able to land a top-flight free-agent next offseason or not remains to be seen. But it's been one of the worst kept secrets in the sport that Matt Klentak and company plan to be aggressive next offseason in what could be the greatest free-agent class in the history of the sport. Managing partner John Middleton is just happy that the Phillies are in a position where it will make sense for them to be players in the free-agent market.

Middleton recently appeared on Jim Salisbury's "At The Yard" podcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia, and provided a unique perspective on the role the Phillies will play in next offseason's free-agent class:

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Sixers look for their first win in Miami since 2014

By Dante Nelson, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers are visiting the Miami Heat in a battle of playoff seeding. The Sixers sit at the 7th seed while the Heat sit at the 8th seed. The Sixers had their seven game winning streak come to an end on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. The Miami Heat are coming off of a blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies. While they do have that win, they are 2-8 in their last ten games.

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