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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On June 13

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In most years, I downplay Eagles minicamp. The coverage of minicamp far exceeds its importance.

That’s true again this year, but I welcome the excesses of Eagles coverage. Why? Because it’s a welcome break from this disastrous Phillies season.

From a baseball standpoint, this is already a lost summer. The Phillies (21-41) enter Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox on a six-game losing streak and with four fewer wins than the second-worst team (the Padres).

The Phillies’ futility is why we’re so grateful for any distractions. Next week we’ll get the NBA Draft and the NHL expansion draft and the NHL draft. This week we have the Eagles.

The fourth-string quarterback had a good day? I want to read about it. There’s yet another story about receiver Nelson Agholor looking good? Bring it on. Anything is better than reading about the Phillies’ latest bullpen blunder or failure to score runs.

In addition to providing a break from Phillies news, Eagles minicamp brings us one step closer to Eagles training camp. And that will bring us one step closer to football season.

That’s reason enough to celebrate this week’s Eagles minicamp.

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GOLDEN STATE: The Warriors won their second NBA championship in three seasons. With Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors could become a dynasty. They’ve beaten the Cavaliers in the finals two of the past three years, with the Cavaliers’ historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the finals last year being the only thing standing between the Warriors and three straight championships.

If the Warriors win again next season, they will have to be mentioned among the best teams in NBA history. I’m not ready to put the Warriors at that level yet, but they are the best shooting team I’ve ever seen.

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SUMMERTIME BLUES: Sixers president of basketball operations and general manager Bryan Colangelo announced that neither Ben Simmons nor Joel Embiid will participate in the summer leagues. That certainly won’t defuse any concerns about the health of these two supposed cornerstones of the franchise.

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SOUTHERN COMFORT: Those who said hockey would never catch on in the South should have had their minds changed by the reaction the Predators in Nashville. The Predators were accompanied by an incredibly enthusiastic fan base during their journey to the Stanley Cup Finals, the first time in franchise history the team has advanced that far.

The atmosphere in Nashville was electric. That could be one reason the Predators’ home playoff winning streak reached 10 games at one point.

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NO CONSOLATION: It’s difficult to find a silver lining for Flyers fans in the Penguins becoming the first team since the Red Wings in 1997 and ’98 to successfully defend the Stanley Cup. First, Sidney Crosby might be the biggest sports villain in Philadelphia. Second, this is the Penguins’ fifth Stanley Cup. The Flyers have been stuck on two Cups for 42 years. Bringing up the Red Wings also reminds Flyers fans that Detroit’s 1997 title was clinched with a sweep of the Flyers.

Defenseman Mark Streit barely played, so you can’t be too happy for him. Assistant coach Rick Tocchet was a popular Flyer, but seeing him earn a ring as a Penguins assistant coach reminds Flyers fans that he didn’t win the Stanley Cup as a player until he was traded from the Flyers to the Penguins.

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WHISTLE BLOWER: Kevin Pollock may be to Predators fans what Leon Stickle is to Flyers fans. Pollock lost sight of the puck during a scramble around the Penguins’ net, blowing his whistle just before the Predators knocked the loose puck into the goal, appearing to break a scoreless tie during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

During Game 6 of the 1980 finals, Stickle missed an obvious offsides call, leading to an Islanders goal. (Contrary to legend, the blown call happened on Duane Sutter’s goal that put the Islanders ahead earlier in the game, not on Bobby Nystrom’s Cup-clinching goal in overtime.)

I can’t say that the Predators would have won Game 6 if not for Pollock’s early whistle, but I hate to see the outcome of games influenced by officials’ mistakes.

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THE OLD AND THE NEW: NASCAR fans got a taste of the familiar and the unexpected the past two Sundays. Jimmie Johnson captured the AAA 400 Drive for Autism, winning at Dover for the 11th time in his career. In the Pocono 400 this past Sunday, Ryan Blaney passed Kyle Busch and then fended off Kevin Harvick to seal his first career victory.

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PERFECT 10: Rafael Nadal cruised past Stan Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in the finals to capture his 10th French Open title. Nadal is the only player, male or female, to win the same major tournament 10 times during the Open Era, which started in 1968. With 15 major victory, Nadal breaks a tie with Pete Sampras, ranking him behind only Roger Federer (18 majors)..

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NOTHING MUCH AT STAKE(S): When the Triple Crown isn’t up for grabs, interest in the Belmont Stakes plummets. Who won Saturday? The fact that so many of you don’t know the answer to this question reinforces my point.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for 28 years, will be rooting against another title next season by the Warriors and, of course, the Penguins.

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