Burn the Game Tape: Penguins Thrash Flyers 10-3, Force Game Five

Burn the Game Tape: Penguins Thrash Flyers 10-3, Force Game Five

Well, the Flyers scored first. They also held a 3-2 lead at one point. Quite simply, it just completely unraveled from there. The Penguins took full advantage of an undisciplined and unorganized Flyers team and embarrassed them to the tune of a 10-3 score.
I give full credit to a Penguins team facing elimination. They could have folded down 3-2, but instead they poured it on. And then poured it on some more. And then they went ahead and just kept on pouring. 
For a couple of reasons I am going to spare you the video highlights. First, I am guessing you'd rather not relive double digit Penguins goals. Second, the cumulative running time of the highlights would exceed that of the entire Rocky franchise. 
In light of what happened in Game Three the players had to know that the officials would call anything and everything tonight. The guys in the black and white striped shirts did not disappoint. The Flyers were the beneficiaries of a 5 on 3 power play in the first period. The Pens enjoyed 9:37 of power play time in the second period. Both teams took advantage of their power play opportunities. The Flyers were 3/5 on the power play. The Penguins were 4/9 with the man advantage. 
I don't know how much you can take from a 10-3 hockey game, but if you're a Flyers fan there were some concerning developments. First, Evgeni Malkin, who had been kept relatively quiet through the first three games, picked up his first two goals of the series. Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury, who seemed lost the first three games, made a number of confident saves. The Flyers have to hope that he has not regained his regular season form.
On the flip side, Ilya Bryzgalov looked very shaky early on. He was spilling rebounds, did not seem able to push off and go post to post, and generally looked lost prior to being pulled by Peter Laviolette during the second period. True, the defensive coverage was awful, but Bryz didn't really help things either. Matt Carle had an awful turnover which led to a goal. Matt Read did too. It was a forgettable night for the Flyers blue liners (stating the obvious).
Speaking of the defensemen, Nik Grossmann did not play in the third period. He was shaken up after absorbing a Tyler Kennedy hit, but briefly returned to the ice during the second period. It remains to be seen whether in light of the score he was held out as a precautionary measure, or if he suffered a dreaded upper or lower body injury.
It's not too often you see a team concede eight unanswered goals, but the Flyers somehow managed to do just that. This is a game where you just burn the game tape and move on. The Flyers still enjoy a 3-1 series lead. It's not time to panic. The Penguins still have a long road ahead of them. 
Game Five is in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline, US Presswire

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

The most recent NBA power rankings have the Sixers dropping further or remaining in the lower third of the NBA. 

Recent news of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injury situations have the experts assuming the season is a lost cause and the team is focused on this June’s draft.

A trade of Nerlens Noel confirms the Sixers are banking on building around Embiid and wanted to get a return on Noel instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.

Last week
The Sixers split their only two games of the week: A 120-112 win against the Wizards Friday night and a buzzer-beater 110-109 loss to the Knicks Saturday night.

Against the Wizards, Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds – both team leaders. The Sixers had seven players in double-digit points including Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both pouring in 20. The Sixers did not give up the lead after the beginning of the second quarter. 

Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winning shot on Saturday for the Knicks. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 28 points while Saric added 19 and Covington tallied 20. 

This week
• Tonight, the Sixers face the Warriors in Philadelphia (7 p.m./CSN)

• Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (7:30 p.m./CSN)

• Friday they face the Knicks at home (7 p.m./CSN)

• Saturday they stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the Pistons (6 p.m./CSN)

What the experts say
John Schuhmann of NBA.com was gracious only dropping the Sixers from 21 to 22 this past week. Maybe he trusts the process. 

He makes a good point about Okafor's situation after the Noel trade:

“The Sixers have been at their worst offensively with Okafor on the floor, but he scored 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting on Saturday, getting two huge, final-minute buckets in the post before Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winner. He may not be the better fit, but he has two more years on his rookie deal.”

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report dropped the Sixers to 24 on his list, three spots lower than last week. 

He took a look into Embiid’s efficiently in the post and found some interesting numbers from Chris Herring of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight:

“The 7-footer has really been in a giving mood near the basket, where he's coughed the ball up on nearly 22 percent of his post-up looks, the highest turnover rate among NBA players with at least 100 plays, according to Synergy. And his turnover rate jumps up to a whopping 32 percent when teams aggressively send a second defender to double Embiid in the post."

Hughes ended his piece by saying the Sixers look to be on a downturn for the rest of the season. 

Jeremy Wood of Sports Illustrated moved the Sixers one spot from last week which leaves them at 26 on his list. 

He questions “trusting the process” stating that there are many questions surrounding Bryan Colangelo and the front office after the Noel trade. 

“It’s a longer-term question, but there will be short-term clues.”

Couldn’t have said it any better. 

Finally, Matt Moore of CBS Sports drops the Sixers from 22 to 26 this week. Moore is starting to see a repetitive story with the Sixers and it’s struggles. 

“Usually if a team loses both its top picks in a rebuilding year, you feel awful for them and their fans. With the Sixers, you're left just feeling like this is the status quo, forever.”

Villanova keeps No. 2 ranking despite another loss to Butler

Villanova keeps No. 2 ranking despite another loss to Butler

Villanova remained the No. 2 team in the nation in Monday's AP poll after a 1-1 week.

'Nova split its two games against a pair of ranked teams, losing by eight points at home to No. 22 Butler on Wednesday before rebounding for a 16-point win over No. 23 Creighton Saturday.

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the Big East, losing to Butler two times by eight points apiece and to Marquette by two.

Butler moved up from 22 to 13.

Villanova kept its No. 2 ranking because of a loss by previous No. 1 Gonzaga. The Zags moved down to fourth, while Kansas jumped up from No. 3 to No. 1.

Kansas received 58 first-place votes. Villanova and Gonzaga received two apiece, with the remaining three going to No. 3 UCLA.

Villanova has just one regular season game remaining Saturday at Georgetown.