Philly Karma – Gone?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

My hope is that by next Monday you look back on this blog and happily point out what a pessimist I was. My hope is that everything you read here about the 76’ers is all wrong.  My hope is that by the time you read this, the Sixers have come back from a 3-0 deficit against the Celtics and have moved into the Eastern finals.  My hope is that the ecstasy every Philadelphia fan felt when the Eagles won the Super Bowl would reemerge as the Sixers fought for an NBA title.  My hope is that the amazing run by Villanova in winning the NCAA basketball championship would just continue to carry over.

But, alas (I like using this word), I believe the Philadelphia Karma may have quickly come to an end. I only have to look at the Philadelphia Flyers who took some of the luster off the city when they lost four of six to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.  To be honest, they just looked awful.

The Flyers gave up six goals per game in the four losses and an average of 4.7 goals in all of the games. The defense was bad and the goal tending just as bad.  During the regular season, the Flyers gave up just 2.9 goals per game.  They could not come close to matching the speed and offensive skills of the Penguins.  I am sure the fans thought this could be a charmed playoff for their beloved hockey team, but it was not to be.

But, all was not lost. The Sixers were coming off a terrific regular season. They did away with the Miami Heat in a very physical series and looked very strong doing it. The Celtics were coming in to the second round with a number of injuries to key personnel. Everything looked good for the home team.  But, after a long layoff after the first round, they looked like they were in a funk in game one and were beaten soundly.

Game Two was a winnable game, but Philly cannot win if Ben Simmons scores one point. Simmons was the goat in Game Three, also, when he made mistake after mistake down the stretch which cost the Sixers the game.  Poor passes and poor decision making (shooting when he should have pulled the ball out late in the game), along with missing an uncontested dunk have exposed weaknesses which were not apparent during the regular season.  All year, he played like a veteran, but, in the playoffs, he looks very much like a rookie.

I am convinced that the 76’ers are better than the Celtics. But, I am also convinced the Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens has figured out how to beat them.  A major part of their strategy is to let Ben Simmons shoot, but not let him pass.  Simmons is reluctant to do that and his passes have been defended.

I hope I am completely wrong and the next four games (if there are four) belong to the team from Philadelphia. Otherwise, go Phillies!!


ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. It’s good to be a quarterback in the NFL. Matt Ryan of the Falcons reportedly signed a contract that guarantees him $100 million and gets him $30 million a year. He joins Kirk Cousins ($28 million), Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million) and Matthew Stafford ($27 million) as the highest paid NFL quarterbacks.
  2. Speaking of making a good living, Saquon Barkley signed with the Giants for @ $31 million, the second best ever by an NFL running back (Adrian Peterson got $36 million). Barkley’s agent, by the way, was Roc Nation which was founded by Jay-Z.  Saquon will make the Giants offensive line much better and offer Eli Manning a great receiving option out of the backfield.
  3. The Yankees are as hot as everyone thought they would be. Their lineup is just awesome and they have won 15 of their last 16 games. But the Red Sox look like the second best team in baseball. The two teams play each other this week. The Phillies are 18-15 and faltering a bit. But, they are in a weak division unless the Nationals start putting it all together.
  4. No Celtic has caused more problems for the Sixers than Terry Rozier. When Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury that necessitated surgery, Rozier not only stepped into the vacated position, but he also stepped into Irving’s shoes (and not just figuratively). Irving gave him eight pairs of sneakers and Rozier is wearing them in the playoffs. Rozier is filling Irving’s shoes literally.
  5. I want to thank Scott Barr and John Leone for “blogging away” while I was on vacation. 
Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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