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

As general manager Sam Hinkie is finding out, it’s not easy to avoid winning games in the NBA. In addition to explaining how the Sixers won three games in one week, Eric Fisher examines MCW’s shooting woes, the Andrei Kirilenko situation and why this week’s schedule is particularly challenging.

The NCAA has lifted all penalties against Penn State’s football program, including restoring 112 victories, that were imposed as part of the sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Joe Paterno is once again the all-time wins leader in major college football. The move came as part of a proposed settlement of a lawsuit.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions about our second Eagles-Cowboys week, the Phillies making some noise at the winter meetings and Walter Payton.

Archive for March, 2017

First-and-10

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

A quick look at 10 sports stories in the news…

1. Bobrovsky shuts out Flyers Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky makes 36 saves, registering his 7th shutout this season as Blue Jackets beat visiting Flyers, 1-0. Flyers, with just 8 games remaining, trail Islanders, Bruins by 6 points in chase for final wild card berth in Eastern Conference, but must jump over Lightning (trail by 5 points) and Hurricanes (1 point) as well. Alexander Wennberg deflects in shot by Kyle Quincey for game’s only goal. Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth makes 20 saves. Flyers visit Penguins on Sunday (7 p.m.).

2. Embiid has surgery Sixers center Joel Embiid has arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in left knee. Surgery was in Los Angeles, where Embiid will remain for “conservative” approach to rehabilitation, according to doctor who performed surgery in statement released by Sixers. Embiid played 31 games during rookie season, which is actually his 3rd season since being draft by Sixers. He did not play during first 2 seasons due to injuries.

3. Dallas Green dies Dallas Green, manager for 1980 Phillies team that won franchise’s 1st World Series title, dies of kidney disease at age 82. As Phillies farm director, Green helped build the team that excelled from 1975-83, including 1980 World Series win. Green began his professional baseball career as pitcher for Phillies. He later coached and managed in minor leagues, served as scout and adviser in Phillies organization. He left Phillies to become Cubs GM, then later managed Yankees and Mets before returning to Phillies organization.

4. Saric, Sixers bounce back against Bulls Dario Saric pours in career-high 32 points, grabs 10 rebounds to help Sixers bounce back from 25-point loss to Thunder with 117-107 triumph over host Bulls. Shawn Long contributes 18 points, 7 rebounds in just 20 minutes. Sixers recover from early deficit, build 26-point lead, then fend off late charge by Bulls. Jahlil Okafor sits out again with knee soreness. Sixers visit Pacers on Sunday (6 p.m.).

5. Kentucky, out-Foxes UCLA De’Aaron Fox pours in 39 points to lift 2nd-seeded Kentucky past 3rd-seeded UCLA, 86-75, in South Region. Wildcats will face top seed North Carolina, a 92-80 winner over 4th-seeded Butler, on Sunday (5:05 p.m.). In East Region, 8th-seeded Wisconsin battles back from 12-point deficit in final 4:15, only to have 4th-seeded Florida prevail, 84-83, when guard Chris Chiozza dribbles length of floor and  drills 3-pointer at buzzer. Gators will face 7th-seeded South Carolina, which demolishes 3rd-seeded Baylor, 70-50, on Sunday (2:20 p.m.).

6. Bulldogs fend off Mountaineers West Region top seed Gonzaga fends off challenge from 4th-seeded West Virginia, reaches Elite Eight with 61-58 triumph. Bulldogs will face 11th-seed Xavier, a 73-71 upset winner over 2nd-seeded Arizona, tonight (6:09 p.m.). In Midwest Region, 3rd-seeded Oregon nips 7th-seeded Michigan, 59-58, will face top-seeded Kansas, which erases 1st-half deficit and crushes 4th-seeded Purdue, 98-66, tonight (8:49 p.m.).

7. Phillies find relief in tie Three relievers competing for spots with Phillies pitch Saturday during 3-3 tie with Red Sox in Grapefruit League game. Alec Asher starts, allows 3 hits, 2 runs in 3 innings. Adam Morgan allows solo home run in 3 innings. Joely Rodriguez strikes out 3 in 2 scoreless innings. Morgan, Rodriguez are lefties. Former Phillie Kyle Kendrick limits Phillies to 2 runs in 6 innings. Phillies tie game on Chris Coghlan’s sacrifice fly in top of 9th inning. Clay Buchholz scheduled to start Sunday (1 p.m.) when Phillies host Pirates.

8. Phillies send Goeddel to minors Phillies send outfielder Tyler Goeddel, pitcher Jake Thompson to minors. Goeddel, who spent all of last season with Phillies, likely to end up with Class AA Reading due to logjam of outfielders at Class AAA Lehigh Valley. Thompson started 10 games for Phillies last season. Reliever Dalier Hiniosa, infielder Hector Gomez, catcher Logan Moore assigned to minor-league camp.

9. Eagles consider Kelly green Eagles withdraw all except 1 proposal to NFL for new rules. One of withdrawn proposals would have opened possibility of Eagles changing helmets to match Kelly green uniforms worn by Eagles before switch to current midnight green.

10. ex-Penn State president Spanier convicted Jury convicts former Penn State president Graham Spanier of 1 misdemeanor count of child endangerment over handling of 2001 incident involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier acquitted of conspiracy and 2nd child endangerment charge. Spanier’s lawyer, who did not produce any defense witnesses, says Spanier will appeal verdict.

(To listen to past PhillyPhanatics.com’s Blog Talk Radio shows, please click here.)

WEEKEND RESULTS

Friday
Sixers 117, Chicago 107
Yankees 3, Phillies 2
(Spring training)

Saturday
Blue Jackets 1, Flyers 0
Phillies 3, Red Sox 3
(Spring training)

Sunday
Sixers at Indiana, 6 p.m.
Flyers at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Pirates at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(Spring training)

LOCAL SCHEDULE

Monday
Phillies at Blue Jays, 6 p.m.
(Spring training)

Tuesday
Senators at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Sixers at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Blue Jays at Phillies, 6:30 p.m.
(Spring training)

Wednesday
Hawks at Sixers, 7 p.m.
Phillies at Tigers, 1 p.m.
Phillies at Pirates, 1 p.m.
(Spring training, split squad)

Thursday
Islanders at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(Spring training)

Friday
Sixers at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.
Rays at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(End of spring training)

Saturday
Devils at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Union at D.C. United, 7 p.m.

Sunday
Sixers at Toronto, 6 p.m.
Flyers at Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

FOR LEAGUE-WIDE SCORES AND STANDINGS, CLICK ON THE LINKS UNDER THE “STANDINGS” HEADING IN THE SIDEBAR TO THE RIGHT, OR IN THE HEADING AT THE UPPER-RIGHT OF THIS PAGE

Heel Turns: Philly hosts star-studded Raw

Posted by Achilles Heel On March - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Achilles HeelThe road to WrestleMania 33 runs through Philadelphia. The final Raw before WrestleMania will be held Monday at a sold-out Wells Fargo Center.

Just six days before WrestleMania 33 takes place in Orlando, all of the big names from the Raw brand should be in Philly on Monday. That mean’s Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, with the final setup before their WrestleMania match for the WWE Universal Championship, which Goldberg won from Kevin Owens.

Triple H and Seth Rollins will be in Philly, with Rollins signing the “Hold Harmless Agreement” that will confirm their match for WrestleMania. The agreement basically means Rollins can’t hold Triple H responsible for any injuries he inflicts on Rollins during their “non-sanctioned” match at WrestleMania.

There should be further developments in the bitter feud between Owens and Chris Jericho, who will defend the United States Championship against Owens at WrestleMania. It’s also likely that Undertaker will be at Raw on Monday, adding to his storyline with Roman Reigns and, possibly, Braun Strowman.

Additional storylines should include the Raw Women’s Championship match, which, with Nia Jax added to the mix, is now a four-way match, as well as the possibility of getting a new general manager to replace Mick Foley.

Monday’s Raw will probably be centered around building angles for WrestleMania rather than terrific match, but this star-studded show should be a lot of fun.

Two more matches appeared to be added this past week. A.J. Styles, who has lived up to his “phenomenal” nickname, attacked Shane McMahon in spectacular fashion on Smackdown, smashing his head through a car window to express his anger for not having a match at WrestleMania. At the end of Smackdown, McMahon said he will face Styles at WrestleMania. Expect some stipulations to be added to this match.

*****

FAMILY FEUD: In what should be an interesting match, the Smackdown main event on Tuesday will pit WWE champion Bray Wyatt against former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. It’s not clear if this will be for the WWE Championship or will be a non-title match. Expect Wyatt to try to entice Harper to have his back against Randy Orton at WrestleMania.

If the Greek God of Wrestling were booking this match, he would make it a non-title match. Orton would appear at some point, which would present Harper with the dilemma of whether to attack Orton, the man who took his place in the Wyatt Family, or attack Wyatt. I would have Harper attack Orton … and then attack and defeat Wyatt. This would keep Harper looking strong while adding to the Wyatt-Orton feud.

*****

TAG TEAM SWITCH: Jimmy and Jey Uso defeated American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) last week on Smackdown. The only way this makes sense to Achilles Heel is if Matt and Jeff Hardy are going to show up at WrestleMania and take the titles. Perhaps a match could be scheduled between the Uso and American Alpha. The Usos could attack Jordan and Gable backstage, taking them out of the match. The Usos could demand to be declared victorious due to forfeit, only to have the Hardys come out and challenge them for the titles.

*****

GIANT VOID: Achilles Heel is disappointed that more participants haven’t been announced for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This match is supposed to be prestigious, but this year it feels like an afterthought.

The only participants thus far are Big Show, Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley and Curt Hawkins. Given his feud with Crews and his recent confrontations with Rawley, Dolph Ziggler is likely to be added to the match. There’s a possibility of The New Day, who are serving as WrestleMania hosts, to be added. Luke Harper and Braun Strowman still don’t have matches for WrestleMania, and they would both be among the favorites if they were added. Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn would also be among the top contenders if they are added to the Battle Royal Field.

*****

ROSS’ WIFE DIES: Jan Ross, the wife of broadcasting legend Jim Ross, died Wednesday after a tragic accident. Jan Ross was riding her Vespa when she was hit from behind by a car. She suffered multiple skull fractures and surgeries to save her life were unsuccessful. The Greek God of Wrestling sends his condolence to Jim Ross and other family and friends. May you find the strength to get through this incredibly difficult time.

*****

SUPERCARD ON INTERNET: You no longer have to be in Lakeland, Fla., on Sat., April 1 to view Supercard of Honor XI (6 p.m.), headlined by the highly anticipated Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship ladder match between Matt and Jeff Hardy and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson). The event will be available as an Internet pay-per-view through rohwrestling.com.

Supercard of Honor XI also includes a Ring of Honor World Championship match between Christopher Daniels, who defeated Adam Cole to win the title at Ring of Honor’s 15th Anniversary show, and Dalton Castle. Cole will challenge Marty Scurll for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship in an heel vs. heel matchup. There also will be a bullrope match between Jay Lethal and Cody Rhodes.

*****

TAKING OVER ORLANDO: NXT will also hold a major event on Sat., April 1 (8 p.m.), the day before WrestleMania 33. NXT Takeover: Orlando will feature Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against former champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Asuka will defend the NXT Women’s Championship against Ember Moon, and The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) will defend the NXT Tag Team Championship in a triple-threat elimination match against The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) and DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa). Added to the card this past week was Aleister Black’s NXT debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas.

*****

WALL-TO-WALL WRESTLING: The WWN Live experience includes a series of shows in and around Orlando. The action kicks off Thursday at EVOLVE 80. Zack Sabre Jr. will defend the EVOLVE Championship against ACH. Other matches include Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle, Keith Lee vs. Ricochet, and Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi defending the EVOLVE Tag Team Championship against Michael Elgin and Donovan Dijak.

Also on March 30, Joey Janela’s Spring Break features some interesting matchups. Janela battles Marty Janetty, Riddle squares off with Dan “The Beast” Severn, and Combat Zone Wrestling’s Matt Tremont meets Eddie Kingston in what should be a physical match.

EVOLVE 81 on Friday (4 p.m.) features Sabre battling Michael Elgin in a non-title match, Keith Lee squaring off with Donovan Dijak, Galloway vs. Lio Rush, Yehi vs. Riddle, and Timothy Thatcher vs. ACH.

The culmination of the weekend, which includes more than what I’ve listed here, will be the WWN Supershow: Mercury Rising – EVOLVE vs. Progress. Galloway, Riddle, Yehi, Williams, Jon Davis and Parrow will complete in an elimination match to determine the first WWN champion. There will also be matches pitting EVOLVE vs. Progress.

*****

CHIKARA IN FLORIDA: CHIKARA also will have a presence in Orlando during WrestleMania weekend. CHIKARA will present “Turn Left” and “Bad Wolf” as part of the WWN Live Experience. During “Bad Wolf” on Sat., April 1, Zack Sabre Jr. will battle Max Smashmaster, and UltraMantis Black will face Juan Francisco De Coronado.

*****

WRONG MOVE: The Greek God of Wrestling is keeping an open mind on the changes at Impact Wrestling. However, he is disappointed that Karen Jarrett will apparently be playing a major role. Jarrett, the former wife of Kurt Angle and the current wife of promoter Jeff Jarrett, has a heel persona, but it seems to work better in a supporting role than as an authority figure. But I’m keeping an open mind.

*****

BEST PREVIEW IN TOWN: Check back at PhillyPhanatics.com for the world’s best WrestleMania 33 preview – (written, of course, by Achilles Heel) – and Eric Fisher’s list of the 33 best matches in WrestleMania history.

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title