Extras: Why is the NBA losing money?

Extras: Why is the NBA losing money?

David Murphy examines the four biggest questions for the Phillies coming into this season, and declares one month later, they are still exactly the same. We've seen the best of Cole Hamels, and the worst, while Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero have been on the field very sparingly. With the injuries continuing to mount, they'll likely need all three to bounce back to keep this season on track. Antonio Bastardo though? If they were relying on this guy in a spot, they had greater problems than I anticipated. [High Cheese]

The times are official from the annual Broad Street Run... even if they're not. 17 runners complained that a new time keeping system failed to record their times correctly. A chip is normally placed in the runner's shoe which signals when they've crossed the finish line, but this year it was embedded in their race number bibs. Seems organizers are sorting out the errors though. [NBC Philadelphia]

Speaking of Broad Street, a new documentary airing on HBO tonight at 10 p.m. pays homage to the Bullies who once occupied it. "Broad Street Bullies" features interviews from Ed Snider and the players who made up the scoundrels of lore that won Stanley Cups in '74 and '75, punishing their opponents along the way. “There’s nothing like driving somebody’s head through the boards to make you feel good.” Indeed. [NY Times]

Mini-camp reports! Are the Eagles switching to a 3-4 defense? Ray Didinger discusses the front office's tendency to draft the type of undersized pass rushers who are frequently utilized as outside linebackers in those schemes, and suggests some possible alignments with their current personnel. The coaches maintain the base defense is still a 4-3, and while they do tend to find players on the smaller side, guys like Brandon Graham (6-1, 270) and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (6-3, 260) don't necessarily fit that description in my opinion. [CSN]

Are the young Eagles experiencing a "new life" in their first post-McNabb mini-camp? Maybe, maybe not, but things are certainly different. Many photos of Donovan at the Nova Care Complex have been removed, his locker now belongs to Mike Kafka, and Andy Reid is talking about the energy at camp. [Inquirer]

All things being equal, not all of the reports emanating from Eagles mini-camp were positive. Garry Cobb reports the new Kevin Kolb offense was not always firing on all cylinders, as the quarterback forced passes and missed opportunities while receivers dropped balls or failed to get open. Of course it's not unusual for the defense to be ahead of the offense this time of year, and it obviously doesn't mean much in May, but you might like to know not every practice report filed was gold. [GCobb.com]

NBA teams are losing money. Like, all of them. Several franchises are for sale, and Charlotte's Bobcats recently sold for a woefully low figure. The Cleveland Cavaliers require a strong playoff run just to beak even. Is it a sign of the times? There's no doubt the economy isn't helping, but I think it speaks to a larger problem with the Association.

Putting it in local context, the Sixers' attendance problems can mostly be attributed to a lack of interest resulting from their inability to build anything even close to resembling a contender. Poor decision making is partly to blame, but the inflexibility in the system prevents the club from moving bad contracts, making it virtually impossible to rebound quickly. How many teams around the league are in a similar position, with no hope of a significant improvement for years to come?

Granted that doesn't explain why even quality franchises aren't seeing a return on their investments, but how do the Utah Jazz convince fans to come out to see Andre Iguodala when he's in town? A solid business plan like the ones being discussed will only take these individual organizations so far. For any league to thrive financially through this period, a greater percentage of its members has to experience some success, otherwise it risks losing entire markets. [True Hoop]

Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Standout plays

USA Today Images

Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Standout plays

Reviewing the standout plays from the Eagles' 21-10 victory over the Vikings:

1. First quarter: Pick your turnover
There were six in the first half and five in the first quarter -- four coming on consecutive possessions in the first quarter.

Carson Wentz threw two interceptions. Brent Celek may have been interfered with on the first, but the second was all on Wentz. He dodged the rush and actually had some time, but forced it into triple coverage.

Sam Bradford had one. He was hit by Brandan Graham, and Rodney McLeod came down with the pick.

Wentz and Darren Sproles botched a snap, but the Eagles got the ball right back when Connor Barwin hit Bradford's arm just before it went forward and Malcolm Jenkins recovered. Jenkins returned it for a touchdown, but after a review he was ruled down because Rudolph had touched him.

In the second quarter, Rodney McLeod stripped Bradford, Beau Allen -- in for injured Bennie Logan -- recovered and it led to a field goal.

2. Second quarter: Josh Huff's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
After Blair Walsh scored the game's first points with a 48-yard field goal that barely made it over the crossbar, Huff caught the ensuing kickoff at the 2-yard line and bolted straight ahead. 

He ran through Walsh, and just when it looked like Vikings CB Marcus Sherels might catch him, Huff stepped on the gas and flipped into the end zone for his second career kickoff return for a score.

Doug Pederson then elected to take the successful PAT off the board after Vikings safety Harrison Smith was flagged for roughing the kicker, and Wentz gave the Eagles two more points with a sneak.

3. Second quarter: Going for it on 4th-and-2 at the Vikings' 44
With 1:21 left in the first half, the Eagles lined up to go for it and tried to draw the Vikings offside. When that didn't work, they called timeout ... and then went for it again. 

Wentz dropped the snap, picked it up and sprinted left for six yards and the first down.

The drive ended when Caleb Sturgis hit a 35-yard field goal that followed yet another odd sequence. Sturgis, with 15 seconds left in the half, attempted a field goal, but the Vikings called timeout to ice him. Pederson then sent out his offense, and Wentz threw incomplete to Jordan Matthews in the end zone before Sturgis returned to hit the field goal.

4. Third quarter: Mathews' 27-yard catch/run/hurdle
On 1st-and-10 at their own 45, Mathews took a short pass and sprinted 27 yards, ending it by hurdling a Vikings defender. It matched the game's longest play from scrimmage to that point (Vikings WR Adam Thielen had a 27-yard catch).

On the next play, Wentz dropped the snap but picked it up and tossed it to Sproles for a 19-yard gain to the Vikings' 9-yard line. The play resembled Sproles' 73-yard touchdown catch/run Week 3 against the Steelers.

After Wentz dropped yet another snap (his third of the game in addition to the botched handoff), he hit Dorial Green-Beckham, who barely crossed the goal line for the game's first offensive touchdown, a 5-yarder. 

5. Third quarter: Jordan Hicks bats ball in Bradford's face
This play didn't have a major overall impact but was just symbolic of how the Eagles' D besieged Bradford all afternoon. Hicks chased down Bradford and whacked the ball after Bradford tried to throw it away. 

The Eagles sacked Bradford six times, forced him to fumble four times and picked him off once. He completed 24 of 41 passes for 224 yards, a garbage-time TD, which helped boost his passer rating to 71.6.

6. Fourth quarter: Stopping Asiata on 4th-and-1 at the Eagles' 6-yard line
Matt Asiata's 29-yard run on 3rd-and-14 would have had this spot, but the drive ended when Allen and company stuffed Asiata here to get the Eagles the ball back.

7. Fourth quarter: Sherels' fumbled punt
The Eagles went nowhere in the following possession, and Donnie Jones got off a non-Donnie Jones-like punt that Sherels tried to catch on a bounce, didn't, and Trey Burton recovered it. 

The Eagles followed by driving 47 yards in nine plays for a 21-yard field goal that made it 21-3.

Instant Replay: Eagles 21, Vikings 10

The Associated Press

Instant Replay: Eagles 21, Vikings 10


Now that was the Eagles’ defense we saw at the start of the season. 
And it completely wrecked Sam Bradford’s return to Philadelphia. 
The Eagles didn’t get a ton going offensively Sunday, but they didn’t need to. The offense did just enough late, special teams came up big and Jim Schwartz’s unit was absolutely impenetrable as the Eagles’ beat the Vikings, 21-10, at the Linc.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 4-2 and prevented a three-game losing streak. They also handed the Vikings (5-1) their first loss of the season. 
While Schwartz’s defense is predicated on the front four getting pressure without blitzing, he dialed up a ton of them Sunday and really seemed to get Bradford off his game in his return to the Linc. 
After taking an 11-3 lead into the second half, the Eagles scored their first offensive touchdown since the Detroit game on the tail end of a 77-yard drive. Carson Wentz hit Dorial Green-Beckham for DGB’s first touchdown as an Eagle. 
The Eagles also benefitted from four Vikings turnovers on the day. The Eagles had four turnovers too, but were able to overcome them. 
The Eagles have allowed 10 or fewer points in three of their first six games. This is the first time they’ve done that since 2000 and the ninth time they’ve done it in franchise history. They would have held the Vikings to three points without a garbage-time touchdown with 34 seconds left. 
Through six games, the Eagles have a point differential of plus-68. That’s the best point differential they’ve had through six games since 2004 (77). 
Turning point
Josh Huff returned a second-quarter kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles’ their first lead of the game. He flipped into the end zone for his second-career kick return touchdown. 
This is the first time in Eagles’ history they’ve had back-to-back weeks with kick return touchdowns. 
Key stat
The Eagles sacked Bradford six times Sunday and applied constant pressure from everywhere. Sunday was the first six-sack game for the Eagles since 2014. 
First half
The Eagles took an 11-3 lead into the locker room after a bizarre first half. The first quarter saw six combined first downs and five turnovers for a 0-0 score after a long 15 minutes. 
The second quarter finally brought some scoring. The Vikings kicked things off with a 48-yard Blair Walsh field goal. 
The Eagles got on the board when Huff returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards. Then the Eagles added a field goal late in the second quarter. 
While the Eagles’ defense blitzed and got to Sam Bradford in the first half, their offense wasn’t great. Carson Wentz completed just 45 percent of his first-half passes for 53 yards and two interceptions. 
Still, the Eagles' defense allowed just a field goal and forced the Vikings into three turnovers. 
Offensive stud
The offensive line, even with a couple injuries, had a pretty good day protecting Wentz, who wasn’t sacked. 
Offensive dud
Wentz didn’t have his best performance. He had just one interception coming into Sunday and threw two in the first half. He did do enough to help the Eagles hang on for the win, though. 
Defensive stud
Rodney McLeod had a big game. He had a sack, a forced fumble and an interception all in the first half. McLeod wasn’t the only one. Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins and Connor Barwin also made big plays. 
And Schwartz really deserves a game ball. He called an incredible game. 
Defensive dud
No Eagle deserves this award from Sunday. 
Bennie Logan (groin) was inactive after missing practice all week. 
The Eagles lost corner Ron Brooks with a right knee injury in the first quarter. It looked serious. Linebacker/special teamer Kamu Grugier-Hill hurt his hamstring and left early. 
Brandon Brooks (ankle) left briefly but returned. Jason Peters (bicep) also suffered an injury, but it didn’t seem too serious; he never went into the locker room. 
Up next
Two straight division games. The Eagles travel to Dallas next week to face the Cowboys and then drive to North Jersey to face the Giants the following week.