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Points by Suns’ Devin Booker during 130-120 loss to Celtics

Nick Foles keeps saying he’s going to clean up his mistakes. But his actions haven’t backed up his words. As Eric Fisher “discovers,” this isn’t a new problem for Foles.

Dez Bryant catches three touchdown passes as the Cowboys take sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a 38-27 victory over the Eagles, who now need help from other teams to qualify for the playoffs.

Eric Fisher lists his favorite 15 play-by-play broadcasters and game analysts. Do you agree or disagree?

Archive for September, 2016

End of line for Stewart?

Posted by Eric Fisher On September - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Tony Stewart’s final year as a full-time NASCAR driver might end prematurely. Stewart will finish out the season, but his performance might not count toward the championship battle after Sunday.

Entering Sunday’s Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway, Stewart is in 15th place, 11 points behind Kyle Larson, who is in 12th place. Sunday’s race is the final one in a trio of Round of 16 races. The Chase for the Sprint Cup field will be reduced from 16 to 12 following Sunday’s race.

Not only is Stewart 11 points behind Larson, but he must leapfrog over Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon, both of whom are six points ahead of Stewart, in order to catch Larson and stay alive in the Chase.

The safest way to qualify for the next round is to win Sunday at Dover. Winners are guaranteed to advance to the next round. Without a victory, Stewart would have a difficult time reaching the next round.

Larson is the key. If he performs well at Dover, he will be difficult to catch in the standings. Larson is 10 points behind Kurt Busch, who is in 11th place. Only an accident or severe mechanical failure could drop Busch or any of the drivers just ahead of him – Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick – into a danger zone of being within range of McMurray, Dillon and Stewart. The realistic target for McMurray, Dillon and Stewart is Larson.

Stewart is a three-time (2002, 2005, 2011) NASCAR champion, but, unless he pulls off a near-miracle Sunday, it appears his chances of a fourth title are extremely slim.

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CRYSTAL BALL: All except one of the drivers in the 9th through 16th positions in the Chase were listed as the most likely to be eliminated in my Chase preview.

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JUNIOR’S BACK: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be at Dover on Sunday, but he won’t be driving. He will be in the pit box during the race. The No. 88 will be driven by Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt’s former Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

Gordon retired after last season, but was pulled back into action when Earnhardt was sidelined by a season-ending concussion.

Perhaps Stewart will find himself in a similar situation during the first year of his retirement.

 

 

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On September - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Fish ‘n Chips column is sponsored by Legal Sea Foods – Gourmet Gift Division … so much more than Fish ‘n Chips … “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!”)

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I’m going to attempt a nearly impossible feat this week in Fish ‘n Chips. I’m going to attempt to make it through this entire column with mentioning … you know, the rookie quarterback from North Dakota State.

The avoidance of that No. 2 draft pick doesn’t mean this column will be devoid of young players with bushels of potential. They simply won’t be talented young players who wear a green uniform.

The Flyers have several young players worth watching. Tuesday night’s 4-0 preseason victory over the Islanders was my first opportunity to watch the Flyers. Defensemen Ivan Provorov, Philippe Myers and Travis Sanheim all looked good.

Provorov will likely get the most consideration to remain with the Flyers. Because he’s 19, Provorov can’t be sent to the Phantoms. Sending him back to juniors doesn’t make much sense. He’s already dominated at that level. But it also doesn’t make sense to have Provorov with the Flyers if he’s not going to play.

The Flyers have seven defensemen returning from last season. General manager Ron Hextall probably is hoping to find a team that needs a defenseman or two, so he can make a trade that will open the door for Provorov to join the Flyers as one of their top six defensemen.

Sanheim, who had two assists against the Islanders, is likely headed to the Phantoms. But it shouldn’t be too long until Sanheim is wearing orange-and-black on a full-time basis.

Myers, who had hip surgery earlier this year, is a long shot to make the roster. But the 6-foot-5 Myers, signed by the Flyers as an undrafted free agent, is demonstrating that the Flyers have another prospect to add to their more-heralded high draft choices.

Forward Travis Konecny, who, along with Provorov, was a first-round draft pick in 2015, has also been impressive. He scored one goal and assisted on the other Wednesday as the Flyers defeated the Devils, 2-0. Konecny has a legitimate opportunity to make the Flyers roster.

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CENTERS OF ATTENTION: The 76ers are overflowing with young talent. Maybe too much young talent.

On Monday, center Nerlens Noel, the “veteran” of the youthful center trio that includes Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, said of the three-headed monster at center, “I don’t see how it can work.” Noel said there aren’t enough minutes to go around, adding that “it doesn’t make sense.”

The Sixers have reportedly tried to trade Okafor and have listened to offers for Noel. Obviously, they haven’t felt as if they’ve been offered enough in return to part with one of their young centers.

The experiment of playing Okafor and Noel together didn’t turn out so well last season. It’s unclear how adding Embiid to the mix would improve the situation.

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SO FAR, SO GOOD: Despite focusing on talented young players, and we should throw No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and Dario Saric into the conversation, I have successfully avoided mentioning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month – so far.

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ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? Elton Brand and guard Jerryd Bayless only have one fewer year of NBA experience than the remainder of the Sixers’ roster.

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REMEMBERING PALMER: Listing the tournaments he won, including four times at the Masters, barely begins to explain the impact of Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday at age 87. His charismatic personality as the television age gained traction brought flocks of new fans to golf.

Palmer’s legion of fans became known as “Arnie’s Army.” They loved Palmer, and he loved them back. The allegiance lasted long after the glory days of Palmer’s PGA career had passed. That’s the reason Palmer remained a well-paid spokesman even after he left the PGA Tour.

I remember waiting to interview Palmer after a practice round at the U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley Country Club.  I waited patiently as Palmer sat at his locker and made phone call after phone call. I recall that most of the calls were to sponsors. At some point, I stopped being annoyed at having to wait so long, instead becoming amazed at the number of people Palmer was expected to – and was willing to – call. I stood there for more than an hour. I never did get my interview, but I left with an understanding of how exhausting it must be to be Arnold Palmer.

I also left with an appreciation of how gracious Palmer was with everyone, both on the course and behind closed doors in the locker room.

His accomplishments on the course have been surpassed by Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and, arguably, Phil Mickelson, but one can make the case that nobody did more for the game of golf than Arnold Palmer.

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TRAGIC LOSS: Arnold Palmer’s death came later in the same day in which the body of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was discovered. Fernandez, 24, died in a boating accident near Miami Beach. Teammates spoke glowingly of Fernandez’s value as a teammate and friend. The tributes to Fernandez, including Dee Gordon’s leadoff home run – his first home run this season –in the Marlins’ first game after his death are unforgettable.

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UNDER THE RADAR: The Phillies must have taken some consolation in the Eagles’ 34-3 demolition of the Steelers on Sunday. The dominating victory, including the tremendous performance by the Eagles’ young quarterback whose name I will not mention, overshadowed the Phillies’ 17-0 loss to the Mets earlier in the day.

That raises a question which starts something like this: If the Phillies lose by 17 runs and nobody sees the game, does …

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UNION ISSUES: With three regular-season games remaining, it would require a total collapse for the Union to miss the Major League Soccer playoffs, but they’re in danger of dropping to the bottom of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Montreal trails the Union by just one point. D.C. United trails by two points. The fourth-place Union complete a three-game road stretch Saturday (7 p.m.) against the second-place Red Bulls.

In other Union news, midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta says he will leave the Union after this season. Barnetta plans to return to his home country of Switzerland..

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FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST: Four drivers will be eliminated from the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field Sunday after the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway. Sunday’s race is the final race of the Round of 16.

Unless he wins, Chris Buescher, who is 30 points out of 12th place, will be eliminated. Kyle Larson, currently in the 12th and final spot for the next round, leads Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon by five points. Tony Stewart, in his final year as a full-time driver, trails Larson by 11 points.

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CANADA’S CUP RUNNETH OVER: How good is Canada’s entry in the World Cup of Hockey? Flyers captain Claude Giroux can’t crack the lineup. He has been scratched in every game except one.

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BEAR MARKET: Chicago is a big television market. I get it. But did the Bears need to be scheduled for two prime-time games within a week?

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SILENT PROTEST: Malcolm Jenkins’ plan to have the entire Eagles team join some sort of protest against racial injustice during the national anthem didn’t pan out. Jenkins, who has every right to protest, has only been joined each game by a few teammates.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for 28 years, successfully completed this edition of Fish ‘n Chips without mentioning Cars… the Eagles’ rookie quarterback.

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title