Sports Tonight: Celtics might want to send message to Sixers

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, left, and Gordon Hayward hold up their new jerseys with general manager Danny Ainge, right, during a news conference in Boston on Sept. 1.

Typically in the preseason, teams are more concerned about how they perform and execute than winning.

Still, when the Boston Celtics play the Sixers tonight at 7 at the Wells Fargo Center (TV: NBCSPA; radio: 97.5 The Fanatic), they might want to send a message about the ranking order in the Eastern Conference.

If the Sixers are indeed the up-and-comer many predict, a measure of their success will be how they fare against the Celtics – the Atlantic Division rival who had the best record in the East last season. Of course, this a different Boston team, having traded several key parts for all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, adding all-star forward Gordon Hayward in free agency, and drafting forward Jason Tatum third overall.

The Celtics think they have improved a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, but that remains to be seen.

In any event, Boston will play the Sixers four times during the regular season and it’s never too early to try to keep an upstart from thinking too big.

 

Camera icon Mark Lennihan / AP
Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation, attends a news conference, Monday, April 10, 2017, in New York. The United States, Mexico and Canada announced a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup.

Fate of USA soccer leadership should link to making World Cup

Tonight when the United States plays Panama in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at 7 on ESPN2, it could be the beginning of the end of an era for American soccer. If the USA does not make the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the house has got to be cleaned – and not just of aged players such as Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati ran unopposed for his three previous terms. He is up for reelection next year and needs to go if the USA misses the World Cup.

When Gulati took over in 2006, the USA was coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup. In three World Cups under Gulati, the USA has not won an elimination game and won only two of nine group matches.

Now, this mess is here.

No one can fault Gulati for the United States’ not yet being a serious World Cup contender, but if it is not always one of the top three teams in CONCACAF, something has gone horribly off track.

 

Camera icon RICK SCUTERI / AP
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) during the first half Sunday.

What I’m reading

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is old and getting sacked at a near-record pace. Columnist Bob Ford says the Cardinals’ lack of pass protection is something the Eagles should exploit.

It’s that time of the week, and our Eagles writers give their predictions for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Kent Somers of azcentral.com gives his scouting report and prediction for the Eagles matchup with the Cardinals.

The Flyers were on the West Coast again Thursday night. Staff writer Sam Donnellon drank more coffee so he could give his observations of the game.

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was the most controversial FIFA has ever made, and that’s saying a lot. The BBC writes the political crisis in the country might cost Qatar the Cup.

 

Camera icon JEFF SINER / Charlotte Observer
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks for room to run against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The riff

What happened to Charlotte Observer sports reporter Jourdan Rodrigue was wrong. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made sexist remarks to her that were inappropriate, and he rightfully apologized.

Still, honestly, all sports reporters have received some kind of credibility-questioning remarks from players and coaches at all levels – from high school to professional. Many athletes and coaches, especially those at the highest levels, believe they know more about their jobs than someone who isn’t a professional player or coach. When you add in the inherently adversarial relationship with the media, comments and/or gestures intended to make reporters appear idiotic do happen.

It was Rodrigue’s right to do so, but blowing up this issue to the point that it has gone national could make it harder for her to cover the Panthers. If players decide to freeze her out, and it could easily happen, she’ll be in a tough spot. It coming out that she had made racial tweets in the past won’t help things.

Sometimes, journalists have to ask, “Is it worth it?”

What Newton did to Rodrigue was wrong, but it was not of the magnitude of members of the New England Patriots exposing their genitals and sexually harassing a female Boston Herald reporter in the locker room, as happened in 1990. Short of an incident at that level, it is generally incumbent on the journalist to be the bigger person.

And to let things roll off. It’s the only way to be able to do the job.

Tonight’s schedule

TV/Radio

Baseball Playoffs
Red Sox at Astros, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Yankees at Indians, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cubs at Nationals, 7:30 p.m. (TBS)
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10:30 p.m. (TBS)

NHL
Golden Knights at Stars, 8:30 p.m. (NHL Network)

Preseason Basketball
Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP, NBA TV)

College Football
Memphis at Connecticut, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Morgan State at South Carolina State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Boise State at BYU, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Safeway Open, 5:30 p.m.

High School Football
Central Bucks East at North Penn, 7 p.m. (WNPV-AM 1440)

Soccer
World Cup qualifying: United States vs. Panama, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
World Cup qualifying: Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 9:20 p.m. (FS1)

Auto Racing
NASCAR Xfinity: Drive for the Cure 300 practice, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Bank of America 500 qualifying, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Formula One: Japanese Grand Prix qualifying, 2 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN)

Local Events

Preseason Basketball
76ers vs. Celtics, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center

Saturday’s schedule

TV/Radio

Baseball Playoffs
Cubs at Nationals, 5:30 p.m. (TBS)
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 9 p.m. (TBS)

NHL
Predators at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Flyers at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSP; WPEN-FM 97.5)

Preseason Basketball
Heat at Magic, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)

College Football
Temple at East Carolina, noon (ESPNU; WPEN-FM 97.5)
Penn State at Northwestern, noon (6ABC; WNTP-AM 990, WNPV-AM 1440)
Georgia at Vanderbilt, noon (ESPN)
Wake Forest at Clemson, noon (ESPN2)
Eastern Michigan at Toledo, noon (CBSSN)
Iowa State at Oklahoma, noon (Fox29)
Texas Tech at Kansas, noon (FS1)
Penn at Central Connecticut State, 1 p.m. (WFIL-AM 560)
Georgetown at Princeton, 1 p.m. (NBCSP)
Miami at Florida State, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Notre Dame at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (6ABC)
LSU at Florida, 3:30 p.m. (CBS3)
Air Force at Navy, 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Minnesota at Purdue, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
West Virginia at TCU, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tulsa at Tulane, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Maryland at Ohio State, 4 p.m. (Fox29)
Marshall at Charotte, 6 p.m. (NBCSPP)
SMU at Houston, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Kansas State at Texas, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Alabama at Texas A&M, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Virginia Tech at Boston College, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan State at Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (6ABC)
Washington State at Oregon, 8 p.m. (Fox29)
Central Florida at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Stanford at Utah, 10:15 p.m. (FS1)
Hawaii at Nevada, 10:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
California at Washington, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN)
San Diego State at UNLV, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN2)

Golf on Golf Channel
European PGA: Dunhill Links Championship, 8 a.m.
PGA: Safeway Open, 5:30 p.m.

Horse Racing
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, 5 p.m. (NBC10)

Soccer
World Cup qualifying: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belgium, 11:45 a.m. (ESPNEWS)
NWSL playoffs: Orlando Pride at Portland Thorns FC, 3:30 p.m. (LIFE)

Auto Racing
Sportscar Championship: Motul Petit Le Mans, 10:30 a.m. (FS1)
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Bank of America 500 practice, 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NASCAR Xfinity: Drive for the Cure 300 qualifying, noon; race at 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
Formula 2 Championship, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)
Formula One: Japanese Grand Prix qualifying, 1 a.m. Sunday (NBCSN)

Local Events

College Football
Villanova vs. Maine, 1 p.m., Villanova Stadium

Horse Racing
Parx Racing, 12:55 p.m., Bensalem

Sunday’s schedule

TV/Radio

NFL
Cardinals at Eagles, 1 p.m. (Fox29; WIP-FM 94.1)
Ravens at Raiders, 4 p.m. (CBS3)
Packers at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. (Fox29)
Chiefs at Texans, 8:20 p.m. (NBC10)

Baseball Playoffs
Astros at Red Sox, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Indians at Yankees, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

NHL
Canadiens at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

Preseason Basketball
Warriors vs. Timberwolves, 7 a.m. (NBA TV)
Cavaliers at Wizards, 3 p.m. (NBA TV)
Kings at Lakers, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Golf on Golf Channel
European PGA: Dunhill Links Championship, 7:30 a.m.
PGA: Safeway Open, 5:30 p.m.

Horse Racing
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, 5 p.m. (NBCSN)

Soccer
World Cup Qualifying: Lithuania vs. England, 11:45 a.m. (FS1)
World Cup Qualifying: Norway vs. Northern Ireland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup Qualifying: Germany vs. Azerbaijan, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
NWSL playoffs: Chicago Red Stars at North Carolina Sky Blue, 3:30 p.m. (LIFE)

Auto Racing
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup: Bank of America 500, 2 p.m. (NBC10; WNPV-AM 1440)
NASCAR Pro West Series: Idaho 208, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)

Running
Chicago Marathon, 8 a.m. (NBC-SN)

College Volleyball
Texas at TCU, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)

Gymnastics
World Artistic Championships, 1 p.m. (NBCSN)

Local Events

Football
Cardinals at Eagles, 1 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field

Harness Racing
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 12:40 p.m., Chester

Changes in listings: Comcast SportsNet has changed its name to NBC Sports Philadelphia (NBCSP). The Comcast Network is now NBC Sports Philadelphia+ (NBCSP+).