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From the mixed-up files of the 215

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: We’re looking for anything (babies, basketball and even the MLS) to take our minds off the Eagles after their 22–17 loss to the Cleveland Browns yesterday.

🏈Same sh!t, different day: It’s never good when the first score of a game is a pick-six off your QB. Unfortunately, that set the tone for the game as QB Carson Wentz threw another interception early in the second quarter. That brings his season total to 14, the most of any QB in the league. Wentz struggled yesterday, but it was not entirely his fault: he faced constant pressure, with the offensive line allowing four sacks. Ouch.

  • Defensively, the Birds tired against the Browns’ relentless rushing offense, giving up 15 points in the second half.
  • With all NFC East teams at three wins, and the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers up next, we’re definitely nervous about the Eagles’ playoff chances.

🏀Signed, sealed, delivered: After the glitz and the glam of the NBA Draft, the Sixers started free agency period with a bang, signing former LA Laker Dwight Howard to a one-year deal. We’re excited, even if the relationship started out on an awkward note.

  • Then, yesterday afternoon, the Sixers traded Zhaire Smith to the Detroit Pistons for Tony Bradley, adding yet another big man to the roster. There are lots of free agents still on the market, and we’re excited to see what, if any, moves Philly will make.

Secure the ’ship: The Union begin the first round of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup against the New England Revolution tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET. Entering the tournament as the top seed, it’s time for the squad to finish out their fairytale season by bringing the hardware home.

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When the going gets tough, the Jets still lose

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The Jets are still winless and both MLS teams lost in play-in games. Maybe Jersey’s the problem?

🏈Not mad, just disappointed: The Jets added another loss to their now 0-10 season, falling 34–28 to the LA Chargers yesterday. QB Joe Flacco struggled mightily, opening with a pick-six and failing to complete a single pass to a WR all game. Despite a briefly exciting second-half comeback, there’s not much to say about the Gang Green other than that they’re really bad.

  • As we expected, the focus has shifted to next season. And while there are many questions looming, fans are hoping head coach Adam Gase will no longer be the one answering them.

🏀Wheelin’ and dealin’: After the glitz and the glam of the NBA Draft, the Knicks and the Nets are making free agency moves. Yesterday, the Knicks signed guards Austin Rivers and Alec Burks from the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively, to add more depth to that position.

  • The Nets’ major move so far has been the re-signing of guard (and critical point-scorer) Joe Harris, who accepted their four-year, $75 million offer. Both teams had major pickups in the draft, so it’s unclear if our New York teams will make more moves.

On the pitch: Both NY MLS teams ended their seasons this weekend with losses in the MLS Cup play-in games. The Red Bulls lost 3–2 to Columbus Crew SC while NYC FC just missed Orlando FC in a 6–5 loss via a wild penalty kick shootout.

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Ain’t no mountain high enough

November 23, 2020
SOURCE:US SKI TEAM/TWITTER
SOURCE:US SKI TEAM/TWITTER

🎿Skiing: American Mikaela Shiffrin is back on the slopes...and the podium. The two-time Olympic gold medalist hadn’t competed in 300 days since her father’s death in February, marking her longest-ever break from the sport, but she returned to the World Cup circuit this weekend, finishing second place in Saturday’s slalom event in Finland, and fifth in yesterday’s run.

💪UFC: Talk about a sister act. Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko became the first sisters to compete on the same card (meaning they both had fights in Saturday night’s event) at UFC 255. The Russian-Peruvian sisters from Kyrgyzstan each won their fights, too, with younger sister Valentina defending her UFC Women's Flyweight title. Their parents must be so proud!

⚽️MLS: Our favorite soccer news from this weekend wasn’t that the New England Revolution and Nashville SC made it through the MLS play-in round, or that Sporting KC beat the San Jose Earthquakes in dramatic penalties, or that the Orlando City SC–NYC FC referee crew was sidelined after some poor (but kind of entertaining) officiating.

  • Nope, our favorite news was hearing that Kathryn Nesbitt was named the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, the first woman to ever earn the recognition. Nesbitt also made herstory in the MLS Is Back tournament earlier this year when she became the first woman to officiate an MLS final. It can’t be an easy job, but she does it so well.
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What, like it’s hard?

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: ESPN/TWITTER.COM
SOURCE: ESPN/TWITTER.COM

The GIST: The Bulls are putting together the pieces for a stronger season, and the Northwestern Wildcats proved the critics wrong by upsetting the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. That's the only kind of sh!t that gets you some respect.

🏀Rebuilding for the rebound: After the glitz and the glam of the NBA Draft, the Bulls began their free agency moves by adding guard Garrett Temple and re-signing guard Denzel Valentine. Temple comes from the Brooklyn Nets and signed a one-year, $5 million deal while Valentine accepted his $4.7 million offer to stay one more season.

  • Both of these players bring the team versatility and efficient shooting, traits that new operations leader Artūras Karnišovas has explicitly prioritized this year. There are lots of free agents still on the market, and we’re excited to see what, if any, moves Chicago will make.

🏈Walk the talk: The Northwestern Wildcats were fired up to take the field against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday after ESPN analyst Joey Galloway “disrespected” the squad. The extra motivation showed on the field as the ’Cats handily beat their Big 10 West rival 17–7.

  • QB Peyton Ramsey threw for two touchdowns, but the real MVP of the game was Northwestern’s defense, who forced five turnovers and made three sacks. Smart and athletic...who knew?

🏀Mo money, mo problems

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: TRAVIS BELL/SIDELINE CAROLINA
SOURCE: TRAVIS BELL/SIDELINE CAROLINA

The GIST: While it might not be safe to go to a movie theater right now, the NBA free agency has given us all the Blockbuster action we need. Plus, there’s even more to watch, with college basketball finally tipping off on Wednesday. Getcha popcorn ready.

Exciting! Tell me about free agency: Big names are on the move, including forward Gordon Hayward, who is leaving the Boston Celtics for the Charlotte Hornets (and a cool $120 million). And former Toronto Raptors Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol will trade in their snow boots for swim trunks after signing two-year deals with the LA Clippers and Lakers, respectively.

  • Meanwhile, some players are staying put but making headlines by securing the bag. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell signed a five-year, $195 million (!!!) contract extension. Yeah, dinner is definitely on him.

Are there any other players to watch for?: A handful of free agents remain unsigned, including LA Lakers star Anthony Davis. We expect Davis to stay with the defending champions, but he’s in no rush to put pen to paper.

And what’s up in college basketball?: After the 2019–20 season abruptly ended in March (still shook that happened this year), a new college basketball season finally begins on Wednesday.

  • On the women’s side, watch out for No. 1 South Carolina, led by legendary coach Dawn Staley and reigning national freshman of the year Aliyah Boston. No. 3 UConn will also rely on young talent, including 2020 top recruit Paige Bueckers.
     
  • For the men, keep tabs on No. 2 Baylor and returning point guard Jared Butler, who averaged 16 points per game last season. No. 3 Villanova is the other team to watch, led by senior guard Collin Gillespie. Bring on the madness!