Flyers-Kings: Game 49 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After a 4-1 loss to Montreal on Thursday, a few players noted that a letdown is usually possible after an emotional win. Head coach Alain Vigneault wasn't buying it. Vigneault stated that every game is worth the same two points and that the team needs to be ready to go and execute. 

The Flyers next game comes against another team outside of playoff position. The Los Angeles Kings come to town on Saturday night and it is a game the Flyers certainly feel the need to come away with a better result.

Game time is 7 p.m.

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Sixers Top Bulls Behind Career Night From Furkan Korkmaz

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Friday night the Sixers were back in action at home looking to continue their dominance at home against the Bulls. Although the game was back in forth in the first half, the Sixers would pull away in the third quarter with the help of an unlikely hero.

When all was said and done, the Sixers walked away with a 100-89 victory and improved to 20-2 at home on the year.

Furkan Korkmaz was the story of the night. After being somewhat quiet in the first half, he came out after halftime and tried to shoot the lights out. He would erupt for 14 points in the third quarter and almost couldn’t miss from three. Korkmaz ended the game shooting 6/9 from beyond and posted a new career-high in points with 24. 

Al Horford also had a good night at the office. He finished the game with 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists. On top of that, he also shot the ball effectively, making eight of his 14 shots. This was a nice bounce-back game from Horford and hopefully, he can keep it up while Joel Embiid finishes his rehab. 

Ben Simmons came out tonight and showed why he should not be left off the All-Star team this year. He flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. 

Simmons also put on a nice highlight reel with a handful of crowd erupting dunks. Including posterizing Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen on a fastbreak. 

Some other nice stats from tonight include the Sixers not leaving any points at the free-throw line as the team made all 11 of their attempts in the game. Passing was also contagious tonight as the Sixers finished the game with 30 assists on 40 made field goals. 

The Sixers will have a quick turnaround this weekend, as they are back in action on Saturday. They will head to New York to face off against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

 


Eagles Coaching Staff Updates

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

It has been a few weeks since the Eagles moved on from a few coaches and found themselves in a need of a new coordinator to assist Doug Pederson.

On Friday, there were quite a few significant updates on those searches for the first time since the announcement and the Eagles announced another coaching change for the 2020 season.

Defensive Line Coach

On Friday, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Eagles were moving on from defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

The sentiment was confirmed by Daniels' own tweet.

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Baseball Has No Love For Truth-Tellers

Mike_Fiers_on_April_7 _2016By Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) - Originally posted to Flickr as "Mike Fiers pitches vs. Yankees"Cropped by UCinternational, CC BY 2.0, Link
 
By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

Before her lame sorry, not sorry yesterday afternoon, Jessica Mendoza expressed loud and clear what pretty much everybody in baseball was saying under their breath about Mike Fiers, the former Astro who spilled the beans on his old organization to the Athletic last November: that irrespective of the truth of his allegation, it was the act of speaking out, of exposing the truth, that was the real sin.  For baseball has no love for truth-tellers.  They’re rats, turncoats, lowlifes, for violating the omerta of the clubhouse.  If baseball has a problem -- and yes, of course it does -- it’s not so much this sign-stealing incident, which will percolate through the next few months and then go the way of the steroid crisis.  Instead, it’s the persistent belief that there is something sacred about a Major League clubhouse.  That misguided assumption has been dragging baseball down for decades and shows no sign of letting up.

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Is Tobias Harris Being Overlooked for All-Star Consideration?

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

We are weeks away from NBA All-Star weekend, and the fan voting for the starters is approaching its end. After the latest voting results were released, Joel Embiid sits in third for frontcourt voting and Ben Simmons sits in eighth place for guards. 

Meanwhile, Tobias Harris’ name is nowhere to be found among the other top names at his position in the conference. This begs the question, is Tobias Harris being overlooked in All-Star voting right now?

Some of the other names at the top of voting polls right now include the Heat’s Jimmy Butler, and Celtics' Forwards Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward. All three are good players in their own right, but Harris is having arguably just as good of a season if not better than these players. 

2019-2020 Statistics 

Tobias Harris: 42 G, 19.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 48.7 FG%, 35.9 FG3%

 

Jimmy Butler: 35 G, 20.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.4 APG, 44.5 FG%, 26.9 FG3%

Jayson Tatum: 38 G, 21.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.8 APG, 42.9 FG%, 36.1 FG3%

Gordon Hayward: 23 G, 16.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 53.1 FG%, 37.5 FG3%

What sticks out the most is that Tobias has logged more games than the others around him. Along with him playing more games, he has also yet to miss a game while the others have all missed time. Hayward has missed 16 games for the Celtics but yet is drawing more votes than Harris. 

Although the voting right now is only fan voting, these players are going to be in the mix for the reserves spots as well.

Tobias Harris has been a fringe All-Star player for years now, but could this be the year where he finally gets his due? His campaign so far this season should have him at least in the conversation.

Not only has he played in every game, but he has been a big part of the Sixers’ offense on a nightly basis. He has also closed out multiple games this season. Along with improving his game on the defensive end and really becoming a two-way player.

Although I feel Harris should get his first career All-Star nomination this year, it is going to be tough. Sadly the Sixers have not had the start of the year that they would hope for. Currently sitting on the outside of the top three of the conference, it would be very shocking if they were given three All-Stars. 

It would also be very unlikely if Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are left off the All-Star team, making Harris chances even slimmer. 

Whether Harris actually gets the nod or is snubbed again could go either way. He is just as good or if not better than the players at his position around him. Which makes it clear that he is being overlooked in the All-Star talk. 


Vigneault Expresses Frustration Over Flyers Letdown Against Canadiens

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It seems like everything the Flyers do, nothing really makes sense. 

The Flyers went out West to start a six-game road trip and played three teams not in the playoff picture. They fought and clawed their way to an overtime win in one of them and lost the other two in blowouts. Then they played three current playoff teams and suffered a similar fate, perhaps only really having a true chance in the final game of the trip in Carolina that ended with an overtime loss.

Then the Flyers came home and played their next four games, including one on the road, against four teams in the Top 6 in league standings. They went 3-1-0 with the one loss being a 1-0 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning, at the time on a nine-game winning streak extended to 10 with that result.

The night after a dramatic win over the St. Louis Blues, the best team in the Western Conference standings, the Flyers had made it through a brutal four-game stretch with six points. When they returned to host Montreal, who had just two wins all month and had lost the night before, it felt like a game the Flyers should have taken. Instead, they continued to have the Jekyll and Hyde personalities of a team in flux, teetering on the line between playoff team and non-contender.

What's the reason?

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Kovalchuk Scores Twice as Flyers Fall to Canadiens

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When the Flyers faced the Canadiens twice earlier in the season, it took overtime for the Flyers to find a way to win each game. For the third meeting between the two teams, there was one notable new face in the Canadiens lineup.

Ilya Kovalchuk entered the game with five points in six games with the Canadiens and added two more with a pair of goals as the Flyers were stymied by Carey Price and fell to the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.

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Philadelphia Eagles: Early Look at Free Agent Targets for 2020

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By Stone Loitfellner, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Looking back and examining the 2019 season it's easy to see some changes need to be made going forward. Some of those changes have already taken place with the offensive coordinator Mike Groh and the wide receiver coach Mike Walch being let go on January, 9th, as well as Corey Udlin the defensive back coach being hired by the Lions to be their DC. Besides the changes in the coaching staff, the Philadelphia Eagles will have to make some changes to the roster if they want to be championship contenders next season; making this upcoming free agency rather important. With that being said, today we'll take a look at some top free agency options for Philly.

1. A.J. Green WR     

Getting this one out of the way ASAP, A.J. Green may be 32-years-old and coming off a season where he didn't play a single snap due to his ankle injury. Still, Green is one of the premier talents at receiver and could provide an instant boost to an Eagles team lacking strength at the position. With Nelson Agholor set to be a free agent this year, barring any changes the Eagles receivers will look like this: Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, Greg Ward, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. It's no secret that Green being amongst those names should provide quite the boost to the receiving core. Since Green is coming off of two straight seasons with injuries and is thirty-two the contract offered should be a one or two year deal at the right cost. (For reference, Green averaged $15 million last season).   

Although if the Philadelphia Eagles are looking for a younger player they could show interest in Devin Funchess, Breshad Perriman, Robby Anderson or Phillip Dorsett.

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Carlos Beltran is Out as Mets Manager After Being Named in Scandal

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By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA - Carlos Beltran talks to reporters at 2016 All-Star Game availability.CC BY 2.0Link

The National League East had a major shakeup on Thursday, when the cheating scandal claimed its third manager this week.  Carlos Beltran, named the manager of the New York Mets just weeks ago, is out as Mets manager.  The Mets announced that the club and Beltran "mutually agreed to part ways".

The move comes after several days of silence since MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred released the findings of an investigation that concluded the 2017 Houston Astros used cameras and other technology to steal signs from the opposing team.   The behavior occurred just weeks after a memo was sent to baseball stating that further use of technology to steal signs would lead to suspensions at the manager and general manager level.

That led to the suspension of, and ultimately the firing of manager A.J Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow; then-bench coach of the Astros, Alex Cora, also lost his position as manager of the Red Sox in the scandal.

There was just one player named in the entire report: Beltran.  It read:

Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter. Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout.

Why was only one player named in this report?

That could be because the commissioner hoped that Beltran, now a manager, would be called to task.  While players were not in direct receipt of the memo that banned technology, the level of commitment of the veteran and de facto elder statesman of the Astros demonstrated that he was questionable as a leader.   Fans were visibly upset about Beltran's involvement.

On Tuesday, the Mets Twitter account tweeted out a picture of a cat wearing a Mets shirt.  The replies to the tweet were predominantly about Beltran.  It became clear that fans would not let this go. Every road city Beltran visited with the Mets would likely let them hear about it.

Beltran publicly denied any involvement in the alleged cheating when asked by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  It is unclear if he was truthful to Mets management during the interview process.  That part we may never know.

But what we do know: Beltran is gone.  And the Mets, who passed on Joe Girardi, are left without a manager.  Pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in less than a month.  The Mets will have to act fast to find someone to lead them.


Flyers-Canadiens: Game 48 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Two games this week for the Flyers have required extra time, but ended in thrilling fashion. A daunting schedule that included four teams in the Top 6 in the NHL standings ended with the Flyers posting a 3-1-0 record. 

Perhaps the bigger test for the Flyers now is maintaining that success at home against teams out of the playoff picture. Thursday night brings one of those challenges, as the Flyers take on the Montreal Canadiens.

Game time is 7 p.m.

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