Undisputed….

Third best team in the Eastern Conference!!!!! I know, nothing to get crazy about but as of right now the Philadelphia 76ers are the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference, this is no longer opinion. By beating the Magic last night the Sixers, at least currently have established themselves as a team to be taken seriously by the Heat and the Bulls.

I know you’re going to jump all over me and say that a win over an unraveling Magic team right now is less than impressive, but the win was truly impressive. The Sixers shot a horrendus 33% from the floor and around 50% from the line and still won easily, the only reason the game was even close was because the magic made a run after the game was effectively over, including a spread killing J.J. Reddick 3 with 0.8 seconds left. The reason I am excited over this is because, the true marks of a contending team are:

1. Beating the teams your supposed to beat, preferably by blowing them out (which the Sixers have done better than anyone this year)

2. Beating good teams (jury still out)

3. Beating quality teams on a night when your team plays horrible (the magic game last night!)

There are a few more marks of a contender obviously, but the Sixers demonstrated one last night that they had not yet previously, GET EXCITED PEOPLE!!!!

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Do the Eagles have a head coach in waiting?…..

As I was sitting here reading this article by the National Football Post (http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Marty-Mornhinweg-on-Michael-Vick-Hes-got-the-right-frame-of-mind.html) I came across this quote from Marty Mornhinweg, when asked about his interest in returning to head coaching…

“Oh sure, I think one of these days that will happen,” Mornhinweg said. “Look, I’m really happy. I think I’ve got one of the best jobs in the NFL with the Eagles organization. With the head coach we have in Andy Reid with the players that we have and the personnel department and the training staff, I could do this the rest of my life. I think there might be a chance coming up one of these days actually.”

The bold is my addition but is there for a reason. Look, we all know Marty interviewed with the Raiders (hired Dennis Allen) and every NFL writer/analyst in the country mentioned the Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg connection 5 times each between the last two offseasons. In fact I don’t recall Marty getting interviewed by the Browns despite the rumors he was a strong potential candidate. As for the interview with the Raiders, despite a few twitter rumors calling him a front runner, most NFL insiders had no clue who the Raiders would hire (and I mean could you blame them, were talking about the Raiders here. And yeah Al Davis is dead now, but did you see him when he was alive the past few years? Would it really shock you after seeing Al decompose in front of you for a few years if he shows up at training camp in August, and tells reporters that this was just the season he finally admitted he was already dead so he wouldn’t catch all the flak for the Carson Palmer trade (which reeks of Al Davis…as if he wasn’t actually dead…hmmm)*.

The second thing that should be mentioned is how it should be noted is how many reporters are calling next season a make or break year for Andy, for a multitude of reasons, with most thinking he will be fired if the Eagles do not win at least a playoff game and extended if he makes a playoff run (which I expect) or (gasp) wins the Super Bowl (I know sounds crazy, but the Giants, a team the Eagles beat at home with Vince Young at QB are in the dance, so anything is possible, even Andy winning one). After 13 years, it’s logical (and easy) to reach this conclusion, however all me to serve you some food for thought.

if the Eagles, and Reid have a successful season in 2012 (as Jeffrey Lurie and I expect them to) whether he wins the Super Bowl or not Reid may choose to step down, if that is the case, I expect the following scenario to unfold*:

*(for all of my readers who just got hard at the thought of Andy stepping down, sorry for giving you blue balls).

1. Reid will want to become the President of Football Operations for an organization, (think Mike Holmgren in Cleveland and/or Jon Elway in Denver)

2. Jeffrey Lurie will offer that position to Reid since he currently already has the final say on all personnel and football matters in addition to coaching the team.

3. Reid will accept the position and his first order of business will be promoting Marty for OC to Head Coach.

This isn’t by any means a concrete scenario obviously anything could happen, but the more I think about how Lurie has done business, the more likely this seems.

Start preparing yourself now Philly fans. Because DO NOT be shocked if the next Eagles head coach is already on the staff.

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Relax….it will be ok….

Utley will be fine, guy is a tough motherfucker and as long as the rest of the offense doesn’t shit the bed and the pitchers pitch like they can this team will be fine, just like Chase will be when it matters in October.

Remember last year Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Sean Victorino, Placido Polanco all spent significant amounts of time on the DL and that team still won 97 games (most in the league)…

…Oh and Cliff Lee is on the team now….

so as I said before RELAX

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WERE BAACKKKKKKK

Checkout bodog.com as of this post the Sixers are -1.5 (-105) against the Thunder at home tonight…..Sixers favored against the Thunder?……..just remember I told you so….

http://illadelphiasports.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/breaking-news-76ers-are-good/

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Thoughts on Pujols

If you follow baseball (and since this blog is directed at people in Philadelphia you should be following baseball) then you’re most likely aware that the greatest hitter on the planet just took a major step towards becoming a free agent. By now you have all heard some of the crazy stats associated with Pujols’ career to this point, to keep it short the numbers are gaudy and if he continues to perform at a similar level (nothing indicates that he won’t) he could very well be considered the greatest hitter of all time when he’s all said and done.

Now this is pure speculation but if the Cardinals feel that they will not be able to retain Pujols and would consider trading him in order to receive some compensation for their franchise cornerstone (#Carmelo) few teams would be able to put together a package like the Phillies.

Look I love Ryan Howard, I have his jersey its nothing personal but if Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak were to call Reuben Amaro Jr. and say how would you feel about Pujols for Howard and Blanton, it should take all of half a second for Amaro to say yes (and then proceed to cum in his pants).

The trade makes sense in many ways, Howard is from St. Louis and is an elite hitter, the Cardinals would remain competitive in the NL Central and could sell a middle order of Matt Holliday and Ryan Howard to their fan base. Furthermore while some have criticized Howard’s contract it doesn’t even kick in until next year so the Cardinals will receive the long-term security they seek at first base for a price they can afford. Blanton gets thrown in because The Cardinals need pitching to replace the loss of Adam Wainwright.

Obviously Pujols would need to agree to the trade and a contract extension before the deal but as this summer showed us the team has got the money and adding Pujols will ensure continued sellouts for the next 3 seasons at least. The Phillies made a statement when they went out and signed Cliff Lee that they are about not only winning a championship now but winning MULTIPLE championships right now. By adding Pujols to Citizen’s Bank Park you only increase Pujols’ production, while also making the Phillies lefty heavy line up more balanced.

Now if you’ll excuse me, now that I have been imagining a line-up of Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Pujols, Brown, Victorino, Chooch, (insert ace starter here) I need to go change my pants…

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BREAKING NEWS: 76ERS ARE GOOD…..?

Attention Philadelphia!!!! The Eagles season is over, The Flyers are tearin shit up (which comes as no surprise, my brother touches on it below), spring training is here (which is exciting but honestly we all know were winning the ship sooo whats the point?), which my reading faithful (all 12 of you) leaves us with the 76ers.

The Sixers started out the season a dreadful 3-13, some of you may have taken this pathetic start as a reason to stop paying attention and I can’t really blame you. However I am here to announce the exciting news that the Sixers are actually…..GOOD.

Now when I say good I mean that for the first time in a while the Sixers are competitive. Gone are the days when watching a game was pointless because the Sixers losing was a foregone conclusion. Since that aforementioned dreadful start the Sixers are 23-15, including recent wins over the Spurs, Hawks and Knicks. Allasudden the Sixers are playing like a team that is not only going to the playoffs, but a team that is going to win a fair share of games (especially at home).

The most compelling example came to me as I watched the extremely close game against the Orlando Magic on February 9th. The majority of the game was close, in fact the only time the game wasn’t close was when the Sixers jumped out to a 27-18 first quarter lead. For those of you who are unaware, The Sixers went on to lose the game 95-99. Watching the game I couldn’t help but realize that besides Dwight Howard, the Sixers are almost as good and will be just as good as The Magic (The consensus 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference). Jrue Holiday is only 20 years old and has shown all the potential in the world to eventually be better than Jameer Nelson (and I love Jameer, he’s a St. Joes kid, who led them to an undefeated record). Jodie Meeks is 23 years old, was the 41st overall pick and in limited time this season has shot well (especially from beyond the arc), are you gonna sit there and tell me he couldn’t be at least as good as Jason Richardson? Andre Iguodala though a different type of player than Hedo Turkoglu is just as good, if not better already. Elton Brand has been resurgent this year, finally living up to the expectations his 80 million dollar contract established for him. In his first full healthy season on the team (without Eddie Jordan) Brand has been consistently improving as the season has progressed; averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds per game in October (3 games), 16 points and 7 rebounds in November (14 games), 14 points and 10 rebounds in December (15 games), 15 points and 8 rebounds in January (14 games), and 18 points and 10 rebounds in February (7 games). These numbers are good and the fact that Brand continues to get better is exciting, by averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game Brand is providing the Sixers with the low post presence they have desperately lacked (his Magic counterpart by the way is Ryan Anderson, who possesses career averages of 8 points and 4 rebounds). All this leads us back to Dwight Howard, a perennial superstar, the Sixers had no answer for the Magic center (as evidenced by his 30 point, 17 rebound night). Spencer Hawes has been inconsistent this year and has never been confused with Dwight Howard. The point ladies and gents is that the Sixers are arguably man for man better than 4/5s of the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference, the only thing missing is a presence in the middle capable of shutting down a center like Howard (a problem shared by every team not named the Lakers or Celtics).

Start paying attention to this basketball team now fellow Philadelphia faithful. This way when the Sixers make the playoffs (make noise) and then are actually a legitimate contender next season and the season after, you can brag to your vagtastic friends that you never gave up on this team, you knew this potential was there, never doubted the great Doug Collins and predicted this team would be a legitimate contender in the next 2 years (Oh wait….that will be me, but don’t worry I’ll just shorten my rant to saying I told you so and will kindly use my middle finger to direct you to this post)

-JL

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Flyers Acquire Versteeg

I assume most of you have read my posts, seen how talented I am at writing and assumed that I received all the talent my parents had to give. Well as hard as it may be to believe, my brother ML, also received his fair share of talent from the seemingly unlimited talent pool consisting of Stu’s sperm. So, seeing as how talented he is and that we share the same mother, my brother will be chiming in from time to time on various sporting topics. Enjoy…..

-JL

Most of you have been paying attention to the Eagles and Phillies over this past holiday weekend and rightfully so. The Eagles place the franchise tag on Michael Vick and a transfer tag on David Akers. The Phillies meanwhile, opened up spring training with a pitching staff consisting of four guys who are arguably the biggest thing since some four British guys sang “yellow submarine.” However, while that was taking up all the attention, the team with the best chance to have a parade down Broad Street in the next 6 months made a very nice addition to an already excellent team.

The Flyers added 24-year-old Kris Versteeg from the Maple Leafs for a first and third round pick. The 24 year old Versteeg has 14 goals and 21 assists in 53 games for Toronto this year and is the scoring right-winger the flyers have needed for quite some time. As many of you know, he also has Stanley Cup Winning experience, with the Chicago Blackhawks last year. He is a player in the Mike Richards mold, brings a lot of grit, plays power play and penalty kill but also brings a very nice offensive game with deft hands if he is put on the right line. While some would argue he is just going to upset the Flyers already deep lineup by not having enough ice time to go around, you would be wrong. First of all the Flyers offense has been slumping as of late and while the Briere, Hartnell, Leino line has been consistent all year, the rest of the offense has been mix and match with whoever had the hot hand at the time. This is especially true for Richards. Mike has been very good this year but he struggles at times offensively because he has so much responsibility defensively against the Crosby’s, Ovechkin’s, and Stamkos’ of the world. Due to the fact that he has had either Zherdev or Van Riemsdyk on his line along with Nodl, Mike has had even more responsibility than usual in the defensive zone because neither of those guys is very good defensively.

This is where Versteeg comes in to play. Put him on a line with Mike Richards and you lessen the responsibility of Richards significantly and you free up Carter and Giroux to become the team’s ultimate top line. Carter and Giroux have the talent to be the top line on most NHL teams but because the Flyers have been shuffling the lines so often due to lack of consistency besides the aforementioned Briere line, Giroux and Carter haven’t really found a rhythm. With the new addition of Versteeg I see the Flyers lines against Tampa Bay tonight looking like this:

1st: Left Wing: Hartnell                       Center: Briere             Right Wing: Leino

2nd: Left Wing: Van Riemsdyk           Center: Carter             Right Wing: Giroux

3rd: Left Wing: Nodl                            Center: Richards         Right Wing: Versteeg

4th: Left Wing: Powe                            Center: Betts               Right Wing: Shelley

Scratches: Carcillo, Zherdev

I fully expect the Richards line to be out against the Stamkos line the whole game, and while the Flyers have trouble shutting him down throughout his career lets see if Versteeg maybe helps slow him and St. Louis down. With this addition I think the Flyers have arguably the best two-way line in the NHL, along with Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk line and Vancouver’s Ryan Kessler line. So, while the Eagles go about their business and the Phillies open up training camp, remember ladies and gents, the best team in Philly right now wears Orange and Black, and just like the Phillies the last couple years they’ve just made a trade that might just get us back out there on Broad Street on a sunny day in June.

-ML

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