Normally Easter is just a children’s holiday, where they get to color some eggs and end up with a basket full of candy. Well now Easter has become something more for the fans of the Philadelphia sports teams.
On this Easter Sunday, all three sports franchises, that can play in April, won their game. Considering that two of the three games involved teams trying to stave off playoff elimination, it really was a good day to be a sports fan in the city of Philadelphia.
First up was the 76ers, who were down 0-3 to the Miami Heat and the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Sixers had played well in the first three games of the series, but simply couldn’t get a win over the more talented Heat.
The Sixers took an early lead in the game, just like they did in Games 1 and 3. But just like in those previous playoff games, the Sixers found themselves trailing at the end. Then the team with the bunny mascot (Yes really. “Hip Hop” is supposed to be a rabbit) made a miraculous comeback.
The Heat were up by six with 95 second left in the game, but the Sixers obviously didn’t want to just be a speed bump on Miami’s road to a championship. The Sixers ended the game on a 10-0 run that included two 3-pointers. Jrue Holiday hit the first with 26 seconds remaining and Lou Williams followed that up with his own trey with 8 seconds left in the game.
Those heroics will get all the attention, but you can’t ignore the fact that the Sixers bench outscored Miami’s reserves by 20 points and the Sixers held the Heat to 39 percent shooting in the game.
The Sixers may not be able to win the series, or even Game 5 on Wednesday night in Miami, but they sure as heck weren’t going to be swept on Easter Sunday.
Next up was the Philadelphia Flyers. They trailed the Buffalo Sabres 2-3 in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Flyers were the favorites as the No. 2 seed even though they limped into the playoffs. Unfortunately none of that mattered when their coach panicked at the first hint of trouble.
Somehow the Flyers have managed to start three goalies in the first six games of a playoff series. That should be impossible, but it’s true.
Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette started his rookie goalie Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky in Game 1. Bob played well in a 1-0 loss in Game 1, but was yanked in the fist period of Game 2 after giving up a few quick goals. Goalie number 2, Brian Boucher, played well in relief until he too was shelled in the first period of Game 5. Enter goalie number 3, Michael Leighton in relief. So of course Laviolette went with the goalie (Leighton) who didn’t play a single game in the NHL during the entire 2010-11 season in an elimination game.
Let me just take a second here to call out Flyers fans. I don’t know who these fans are, but they must not really be from Philly. A coach panics and starts three goalies in one playoff series and there isn’t a critical word from the fans? Seriously, Flyers fans are from another planet. Or maybe the Midwest where all they do is applaud politely. Eagles coach Andy Reid gets skewered for mistakes he makes during wins, but Laviolette plays musical chairs with the most important position on the ice and the fans are quiet? I must be missing something, because the last time I checked it’s been 36 years since the Flyers hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Anyway, as expected, Leighton gets lit up like a Christmas tree (sorry wrong holiday) by letting up three goals on the first seven Sabres shots and gets yanked for Boucher. I’m getting dizzy. Boucher then comes in and shuts down the Sabres, stopping 24 of 25 shots, until Ville Leino scored the winning goal in overtime to force a Game 7 back in Philadelphia.
In a complete reversal of his earlier arrogant statements to the press that he does not talk about goalies, or strategy, or hockey in general, or the weather, or current events, or anything else for that matter, Laviolette announced that Boucher would start Game 7 on Tuesday night. Did I mention that Bobrovsky hasn’t even dressed since Game 2? It’s like they sent their young Russian goaltender to Siberia or something.
Sorry, down off my soap box now. The Flyers won and kept their playoff hopes alive with another miracle win on Easter Sunday.
Finally, in what can’t be considered a miracle by any stretch of the imagination, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Padres in San Diego by a score of 3-1 to complete a four game series sweep.
San Diego is one of the worst teams in MLB and the Phillies had the Ace of Aces, Roy Halladay on the mound. Halladay didn’t disappoint the thousands of Philly fans in the West Coast crowd by matching a career high of 14 strikeouts in the win. The other highlight of the game was an exciting inside-the-park homerun by Shane Victorino. You don’t see those every day. But then again, you don’t see wins by three different sports franchises on the same day either.
As if all that wasn’t enough to make Easter the favorite holiday of every Philly sports fan out there, I would like to remind all of you what happened on Easter Sunday in 2010. What, can’t remember?
Why Easter Sunday 2010 was the day that the Philadelphia Eagles traded Donovan McNabb.
Even the most ardent defenders of McNabb are forced to admit now that I was right about him all along after he laid and egg (sorry, couldn’t resist) in Washington.
Yes, McNabb holds most of the passing records in the history of the Eagles franchise, but it was time for him to move on. His arrogance and obvious disdain for the Philly fans, combined with his lack of a championship in his eleven years in Philadelphia, were all the reason any fan needed to be happy about the trade.
McNabb took several shots at his former team when the trade to Washington was announced and again after the Redskins beat the Eagles during the season. McNabb’s father even got into the holiday spirit a year ago when he compared his son to Christ. “Jesus was resurrected on Easter and now Donovan has been resurrected as well,” Sam McNabb said. The apple didn’t fall far from the crazy tree in that family.
The Eagles went on to make the playoffs again last year, while McNabb got benched in Washington and he will be playing for yet another team if they ever play football again in the NFL. No matter how you look at that situation, it’s a win for Philly fans.
Anyway, this is now two Easter Sundays in a row that good things have happened to Philadelphia sports fans. It’s like the fans keep getting their very own Easter basket filed with wins.
Unfortunately with all this talk about Easter, I can’t get that classic M & M’s commercial out of my head. “Thank you, Easter Bunny. Baawk. Baawk.”
Yes, thank you indeed Easter Bunny.