There were actual games going on in Philadelphia, which kicked off at 1:35 PM with the Phillies and the Padres from Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies went down early, 4-0, but fought back with HR’s from Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to be down by one going into the 9th. Ryan Howard led off the 9th with a single, and then Raul Ibanez hit a walk off two-run HR to win the game for the Phillies 5-4. Ibanez has been the MVP of the team so far, and even though the Phillies are still not getting good pitching, and the games they have won have not been pretty, the walk off win is a good sign, and may be the type of win that the team can rally around and put a winning streak together.
While the Phillies were making their comeback, the Flyers got started across the street at the Wachovia Center at 3:00 PM. In traditional “orange out” style, the fans packed the stadium, and provided a great boost for the team. We all know Philadelphia fans are the best in the nation, and this was proven during this game, where the stadium was rocking. The Flyers fans do hold the distinction as being the most intimidating fans in the nation as voted by the players. The actual game was on the best games I’ve watched in a long time. The first period was non-stop action, lots of rough hitting, lots of battles with each other, and almost a brawl. The Penguins are more of a finesse team, and when it comes to the actual rough stuff, the Flyers own the Penguins. The Flyers also won the game 6-3, with Simon Gagne and Claude Giroux playing great games. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards also both got their first goal of the season, so hopefully the momentum will carry over to Game 4, when the crowd will be crazy again. Kimmo Timonen, who almost got his head taken off on a check coming around the Flyers net, played a great game, as did Ryan Parent on defense. Giroux scored a goal on a great assist from Danny Briere, and Gagne scored a goal on a great assist from Giroux. It still hurts that we lost Game 2, because Game 4 is another must-win, but the Flyers have been just as good as the Penguins in these past two games, and need to keep it up for Game 4, which should be another exciting contest.
After the Phillies walk off, and then the Flyers amazing Game 3 victory, you wanted to relax and take a nap. But the 76ers game kicked off down in Orlando at 5:30 PM. The Sixers held the lead for the whole 1st quarter, and the beginning of the 2nd quarter, but went into halftime with a 4-point deficit. The 3rd quarter looked like what everyone expected going into this series. Dwight Howard was dominating, and the Magic hit some threes to go up by 14 after the 3rd quarter. The lead was as much as 18 earlier in the quarter. The Sixers, however, would not be denied. They came out firing in the 4th quarter, with Royal Ivey, Lou Williams, and Donyell Marshall nailing big three-pointers to get the Sixers back in the game. With 1:07 on the clock, the Sixers had cut the deficit to one point with Iguodala at the line shooting two to take the lead. He missed both, and a Dwight Howard dunk followed with 49 seconds left in the game to put the Magic up by three. It looked like the Sixers comeback might have been all for nothing, and Iguodala would be one of the reasons, missing two free throws. That was not that case. Donyell Marshall nailed a three pointer with 34 seconds left, and Rashard Lewis missed a jumper to give the Sixers the ball and a final look at that basket. It was an isolation play for Andre Iguodala with Hedo Turkoglu defending. Turkoglu did a good job not letting Iguodala get to the basket, but not to be denied, Iggy hit a step back jumper with 2 seconds left on the clock to give the Sixers the 100-98 victory, and a 1-0 series lead against the Magic.
All in all, it was an exciting, tiring, and fantastic day for the Philadelphia sports teams and fans.