Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Three Philly teams were playing home games yesterday afternoon, two of which ended in good results, while the other was something of an absolute travesty. Unfortunately, the latter was the one that mattered most. Here's a look at some of the storylines out of those games, as well as the Eagles draft weekend.

Let's start it off with a quotable that pretty much sums up the Flyers' 7-3 loss, even it misleadingly seems to harness the speaker with more than his fair share of the blame. Here's Brian Boucher when asked about the specifics of two of the goals he allowed:

“I let in so many I can’t remember the third one, I can’t recall right now."

Boosh would also say he didn't think anyone played particularly well, which is a more apt representation of the game than hanging it on the goaltending, which of course could have been better as well. Four goalie changes in eight games is embarrassing no matter who's at fault. [Mike Morreale, NHL.com]

So the Eagles drafted a kicker with a fourth round pick yesterday. Hoooo boy... Much, much more after the jump.

First, does this mean David Akers is gone? I'd have to presume so, although Reuben Frank quotes both Andy Reid and Akers' agent as being non-committal. Along with Akers' contract situation and a rocky end to the season between the longest tenured Eagle and the front office, it's hard to imagine the Eagles opening camp with this proven veteran competing against the guy they used a valuable pick to select. If ever there was a Reid quote I don't buy, it's this one when asked about the impact of selecting Alex Henery on Akers' future as an Eagle:

“Well listen, I haven’t even gone there with [general manager] Howie [Roseman],” Reid said. “But I will tell you that [Henery] is a good kicker. And so we’ll talk about that as we go here.”

That's either complete bullshit or an indication that the Eagles throw darts to make their draft choices. We've heard some of the former from the head coach in recent years, and the latter is seemingly far from true whether you agree with their choices or not. If anything, they are very deliberate, and I respect that about their drafts. I also don't really care that Reid isn't forthcoming with his quotes on what the team's intentions are with its as-yet unsigned players. It does them no good to show all their cards, and it's foolish (although somewhat understandable) for us to expect them to. But I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this one. So uh... before the draft, you didn't talk to the GM about which players you want to keep and which you want to replace? Come on Big Red...

Read more on the Akers story here, but I leave you with one thought that's troubled me more than simply losing Akers, a guy I like a lot and wish would retire as an Eagle. What are the chances this guy ends up kicking field goals for a division rival next season?

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Now some more positive news... The Phillies beat the Mets again, earning a series win before tonight's Sunday Night Baseball matchup. Roy Halladay was brilliant, throwing his first 18 pitches for strikes (most by a pitcher to start a game since 1991) and efficiently working his way through yet another complete game. It's kinda funny how much hemming and hawing there is about the Phillies this season, what's wrong with them, etc... Looking back from the vantage of the first day of May, the Phillies just posted their highest April win total in franchise history. Matt Gelb has a look at yesterday's game and how it was representative of the entire month for the Phils. [Inquirer] [Other Phils April highlights]

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In the aftermath of drafts, we're often treated to a lot of stories written by guys who have never seen their subject play a snap. That's fine, understandable given how much college football they'd have to watch in order to be experts, all while covering their NFL beats. But I still love reading up on the new guys, both the scouting reports of their on-field play, and the looks at their background stories, which give a little color to the new guys. Like how the babyfaced Danny Watkins has a nasty streak that includes chopping people in the jugular, and Temple product Jaiquawn Jarrett's mom—a Rikers Island corrections officer—may be to Birds games what Allen Iverson's mom was to the Sixers

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The Union earned a 1-0 win the hard way yesterday down at PPL Park, playing much of the match with only 10 men. I'll have more to say on this game and the team in a later post, but here's the winner off the foot of Sebastien Le Toux, as shot from The River End:

Did you happen to hear the discussion in the beginning? Sent in by Level reader and commenter Muscles, who had to cut the video short because he's one of the guys who starts the rollout after a goal. The Union currently lead the MLS in points, and despite the lack of scoring, it's looking like it's no fluke.

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First Pippa steals the show at the Royal Wedding, and now the Phanatic: 

Via the incomparable Mr. Todd Zolecki.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”