MORNING STOVE: Danny Ferry The Fave For 76ers GM Job, LeBron James Isn’t A Choker, Phillies Increasingly Awful
AUDIO: NHL ramblin' man Ian LaPerriere wore five sweaters in 16 years before officially calling it quits Tuesday. He only spent one in Philly. He feels robbed. And, oh by the way,he totally backed the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades, not only noting the folly in Stanley Cup win-induced second-guessing, but also insisting that Claude Giroux's growth would've been stunted otherwise. See?!?
AUDIO: Andy Reid's bumping the start times of Eagles training camp sessions to the afternoon, in the interests of player preservation. (Smart move, really. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are killing themselves.) Andy Reid? Open-minded? Flexible?!? (Front office should scoot people more often...)
AUDIO: Howard Mudd is old. And he knows it. More substantial: Dude's already raving about Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce, who, he says, are leaps and bounds ahead of the lost little rookies they were (at times) a year ago.
AUDIO: And now for our Jamar Chaney fix: Says he's currently duking out Keenan Clayton for the starting WILL linebacker gig, all the linebackers are all charged with learning all the linebacker spots, and that he's got a massive chip on his shoulder. 'Tude. Love it.
SCRIPTUALS: Adrian Wojranowski notes that Doug Collins is making a serious power play within the Sixers hierarchy. Apparently Collins' heavy hand that's brooming Rod Thorn out, sliding Danny Ferry -- yes, that Danny Ferry -- in. Ferry, per Wojranowski, is the fave to land the job. Swell.
SCRIPTUALS: Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk on why LeBron James isn't a choke artist. (Not that this outlook is any better for LBJ...) Read it. Really. Like, now. Before you blow up sports talk radio today.
STATISTICALS: From Elias: Kevin Durant scored 36 points in Oklahoma City's win over Miami in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Durant is the ninth player in NBA history to score at least 36 points in his NBA Finals debut. The last two to do it were Michael Jordan in 1991 (36 points) and Allen Iverson in 2001 (48, a record for a player in his first NBA Finals game).
STATISTICALS: From Elias: Kevin Durant (36 points) and Russell Westbrook (27), both making their NBA Finals debut, combined for 63 points in the Thunder's win over the Heat in Game 1. That matches the most combined points in a game by teammates who were both making their NBA Finals debut in league history. Julius Erving (33) and Doug Collins (30) combined for 63 points for Philadelphia in their NBA Finals debut in 1977 against Portland.
STATISTICALS: LeBron James is not a choker. Really. Stop it. Need proof?
LeBron James by Defender - NBA Finals Game 1
|*2-6, 7 pts in 4th quarter (all vs Sefolosha)|
Durant took up defensive duties on James in quarters 1-3, Sefolosha -- a defensive specialist, and inarguably one of the best at his craft -- took over in the fourth. Really. Stop it.
STATISTICALS: The LA Dodgers yesterday became the fastest to 40 wins in 2012. Entering June 12, 2011 Phillies were already there. Just 29-34 this year. Lowly, I know.
STATISTICALS: Speaking of the Phillies, who, yeah, are still clinging to their last fibers of relevance (for now): Last night's pitching matchup in the Phils 11-7 loss to Minnesota showcased two of the worst strikeout pitchers in the sport, Kyle Kendrick and Nick Blackburn, who, per some rolling up of the sleeves from Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman, we can see have two of the worst career strikeout rate among active pitchers. The bottom five?
STATISTICALS: Is starting to get pretty bad for the Phils, isn't it? Quantified (per Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly): "The loss dropped the Phils to 9½ games back in the division. They have not had a double-digit deficit in the division since the end of the 2006 season. They could arrive at that point by end of the day Wednesday." Ugh.
"Our young pitchers got work in, and that's good."
-- Charlie Manuel, on the Phils 11-7 loss to the Twins Tuesday
"The Phillies were nine games under .500 on July 25, 2006, which prompted Pat Gillick to unload Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier, Ryan Franklin, David Bell and Sal Fasano to rebuild for the future and change the chemistry in the clubhouse."
"I'm not worried about it. We've got 100 games left, or 99 or whatever it is. There's no reason [to worry]. This game itself has enough worries."
-- Shane Victorino, who, yeah, is on the trade block