Oh, By the Way, the Eagles Are in First Place

Oh, By the Way, the Eagles Are in First Place

Somewhat lost in the aftermath of Sunday's huge victory over the Ravens, which was awesome enough in its own right before anything else came along to sweeten the pot, the good fortune continued to swing the Eagles' way later on that evening. Dallas and Washington each would go on to drop their respective games against NFC West opponents, leaving Philly the only remaining unbeaten in the East, and thus alone at the top.

The Cowboys (1-1) looked strong when they upended the reigning Super Bowl Champs in the season opener at the Meadowlands, but even with an extra four days between games, their trip to Seattle was not so successful. A fumble on the opening kick return followed by a blocked punt after a three-and-out on their first possession gave the Seahawks (1-1) an early 10-0 lead, and their defense put the clamps down from there, limiting Big D to less than 300 yards of offense in a 27-7 L. Tough to play from behind like that when you're on the road.

Conversely, the Redskins (1-1) raced out to a 21-6 lead in St. Louis, and appeared as if they might impress for a second week in a row. They couldn't keep the Rams (1-1) off the scoreboard though, and a hilarious fourth-quarter meltdown cost Washington a reasonable shot at overtime. RG3 had the Skins on the move late, but WR Josh Morgan got upset that the other team was playing football too, and chucked the football at a defender after the whistle. The ensuing 15-yard penalty knocked them out of field goal range, resulting in an embarrassing 31-28 defeat.

Elsewhere, the Giants (1-1) won a crazy 41-34 shootout in Tampa Bay where Eli Manning threw for over 500 yards, nearly half of that coming in the fourth quarter. But by virtue of their loss to the Cowboys, New York is sitting at .500, perhaps lucky to even be there after Sunday.

Then again, if anybody's been lucky, some might say it's the Eagles at 2-0 by the narrowest margin possible -- two points.

The Giants are back in action again on Thursday, continuing their tour of the south in Carolina against Cam Newton and the Panthers (1-1), who knocked the Saints to 0-2 this week. The Cowboys head home for the first time this season, welcoming the Bucs (1-1) off of the loss to the G-men that has to have taken some of the wind out of their sails. And the Redskins will host the Bengals (1-1), who are coming off a W over those Browns.

As for the first-place Birds, they now head to Arizona to face a surprisingly 2-0 Cardinals team after their shocking win over the Patriots in Foxboro. While Eagles fans should know better than to take this opponent lightly after last season, when the schedule came out it looked as if this might have the makings of a game to bulk up the win total in advance of their big Sunday night tilt against the Giants in Week 4. Make no mistake, Sunday was no fluke. The Cards are tough, as will be staying on top of the NFC East.

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

The Sixers (22-36) host the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (49-9) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Bummer at the buzzer
Apparently one good last-second shot deserves another.

The Sixers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor capped off his monster night with what appeared to be the game-winner at the time when he scored in the lane with nine seconds remaining.

That was until Carmelo Anthony drained a clutch jumper over Robert Covington with 0.3 ticks left on the clock to give the Knicks a 110-109 victory. Call it payback for T.J. McConnell's buzzer-beater against New York last month.

While the Sixers didn't get the win, they had to be pleased with some of the efforts they received on the second night of a back-to-back set. 

Okafor finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Covington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dario Saric added 19 points and 15 boards.

2. So much splashing
The Sixers will need those type of performances and then some if they hope to keep up with this potent Warriors team.

In case you've been lost at sea since the summer, former league MVP Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for Golden State in free agency to turn the "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into an entire splash family.

Already dominant offensively, the Warriors have been even better this season with Durant. They rank No. 1 in a slew of offensive categories, including points per game (118.2), field goal percentage (50.0), assists per game (31.0), fastbreak points per game (23.5), offensive rating (114.1) and true shooting percentage (60.4).

If that weren't enough, Durant's length has also impacted the Warriors' defense too. They are first in the league in steals (9.6), blocks (6.7) and points off turnovers (19.2) per game.

Simply put, the Warriors are scary good. 

3. The wild card
Every family has that one person that you're just not sure about at times. They can make gatherings the best night ever or a downright miserable experience.

Enter Draymond Green. 

Green has been on the miserable side of the Warriors' gatherings lately. He shot 1 of 10 for five points and was benched for long stretches in Golden State's win over Brooklyn on Saturday. In the game prior to that against the L.A. Clippers, he picked up a technical foul, trash talked Paul Pierce and went to his preferred kick move on Blake Griffin.

Overall, Green has been his usual solid self on the court. He's averaging 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists a night while providing lockdown defense.

The Sixers are fully aware of Green's versatility. The veteran forward averaged a triple-double against them in the two meetings last season with 11.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

It will be interesting to see Green lock horns all game with the surging Saric.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Warriors have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost six straight games to the Warriors.

• With their 112-95 win over the Nets on Saturday, the Warriors became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It marked the earliest a team has clinched a postseason spot since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

• Covington is averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in February.

• Thompson averaged 36.0 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range against the Sixers last season.

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended two games for his illegal hit to Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel during Saturday's 4-2 loss in the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field.
 
Manning's shoulder made contact with Guentzel's head.
 
Manning wasn't surprised and even admitted to reporters that he fully expected "one or two" games because he hit a player who didn't have control of the puck yet.
 
Strangely, there was no penalty on the play for interference, yet the NHL's explanation on Monday afternoon specifically cited "interference" as the reason for the suspension.
 
This is Manning's first NHL suspension.
 
The hearing was conducted on the phone Monday with Stephane Quintal, senior vice-president of NHL Player Safety. Manning will forfeit $10,833.34 in salary.
 
"It was late," Manning said of the hit. "He didn't touch the puck after it hit his skate. Which I thought he was going to do. They do their whole breakdown by time frame."
 
Manning said he caught Guentzel's shoulder first, then his head "on the follow through" because Guentzel is shorter than him.  The 6-foot-1 Manning has two inches on Guentzel.
 
Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, was not injured.
 
"Looking at it, [the hit] is a little late," Manning admitted. "I thought he was going to touch the puck. Usually, when a puck hits your skate, you pick it up, and he kinda left it ... The hard part is, there was no penalty called on it."
 
Manning said he had to make a hit or face an odd-man rush.
 
"There were two players there and if I don't play my guy there, it’s a 3-on-1 the other way," he said. "You're giving up scoring chances. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. He finished the game and that's always the good thing."
 
Mark Streit, sitting on the bench at the time, said he saw the hit and was shocked at the suspension.
 
"It was a great hit," Streit said. "You look at the replay and everything looks different. You can slow down every hit and talk about it. I guess it was a little late …"
 
Manning's suspension likely means Michael Del Zotto will play against Colorado on Tuesday.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Manning has been a "solid piece" for the club this season.
 
"He brings that physical edge, he's been reliable, and he's been a staple for our lineup," Hakstol said. "That's a hole we'll have to fill over next couple of games here."
 
Manning will also miss Thursday's game against Florida.