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NBA's elite still having their way with Sixers

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NBA's elite still having their way with Sixers

As much enthusiasm as there is for the Sixers’ best start in five years, they still have a long way to go to reach the ranks of the NBA’s elite.

That probably shouldn’t come as news to anyone. The Sixers have an incredibly young, inexperienced core group of players. Joel Embiid played 31 games as a professional prior to this season, and Ben Simmons is still considered a rookie. That right there is the foundation of the franchise and says nothing of Dario Saric in his second season, or No. 1 draft pick Markelle Fultz on the shelf after appearing in four games.

Some growing pains were inevitable. That much is evident when the Sixers are facing top-flight competition.

The Sixers have amassed an 11-8 record on the season — the best through 19 games since 2012 — though it’s come largely at the expense of inferior opponents. After losing to the Cavaliers on Monday, their record against teams with superior records fell to 3-6, compared to an 8-2 mark vs. the rest of the league.

Again, this isn’t exactly a shocking development. Aside from the fact that we’re talking about the very best competition the NBA has to offer, any expectation the Sixers should be playing on the level of a championship contender right now is probably out of line. Naturally, their record is going to be better against lesser opponents.

Still, with the way the Sixers have performed against the likes of the Cavaliers, Celtics and Warriors — three of the four teams that reached the conference finals last season — they don’t appear to be on the same plane yet.

The Sixers are 0-4 against the previous season’s conference finalists, and those losses haven’t been particularly close games in the end. They’ve dropped those contests by a total of 61 points, or an average of 15, with the closest margin of defeat coming by eight.

Each of those matchups was close for stretches of the action, with the Sixers playing the Celtics pretty tight until the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. By and large, and against the reigning champion Warriors and runner-up Cavaliers in particular, the Sixers simply couldn’t keep up.

One more time, this isn’t a surprising development. The Sixers have a ton of growth ahead of them, and the 2017-18 campaign is going to be fun whether it ends in a parade or more than likely does not.

Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, we are beginning to get a better feel for the hierarchy in the NBA. And for now, at least, the Sixers are not quite in the top tier.

How the Sixers measure up to basketball’s elites by April, May or June might be a different story. So far, they have a lot of work left ahead.

Watch: Chris Long gets heated with Rams fan in first row

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Watch: Chris Long gets heated with Rams fan in first row

Reporters at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum pointed out the tremendous showing of Philadelphia Eagles fans on Sunday afternoon, with most saying their representation among Rams fans being guestimated at about 50-50.

So when Brandon Graham scored on a 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown as time expired, the Eagles defense attempted to do a Lambeau Leap-style celebration because there were so many Eagles fans in the front row.

Naturally, the few Rams fans nearby were understandably not down with it. NBC Sports Philadelphia's camera's captured footage of one Rams fan attempting to push Eagles defensive end Chris Long down.

Long is then seen having heated words with said fan. You may remember Long from earlier in the game when he forced Jared Goff to fumble in a game-changing play. I'd say Long likely won this battle of words.

The Eagles beat the Rams by a final of 43-35. You can watch the encounter below.

Shady McCoy calls Nick Foles a 'true baller'

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Shady McCoy calls Nick Foles a 'true baller'

Eagles fans were incredibly down Sunday night with the reports that MVP-candidate Carson Wentz could be lost for the season.

Nick Foles stepped out of the backup role and helped the Birds to a victory that clinched the NFC East championship.

Despite Foles stepping in to help the Eagles earn the win, the Philly fanbase is not sold on the former starter being able to fill Wentz's shoes.

One guy who does vouch for Foles, however, is his former teammate and perhaps the greatest running back in Eagles history, Shady McCoy.

"I played with nick he is a true baller [sic]," LeSean tweeted.

This isn't the first time McCoy has stated support of Foles. Following the 2015 season, McCoy vouched for Foles as a team leader.

"I like Nick. The person and player that everybody thought he was, he is," McCoy said. "There were a lot of injuries this year, Nick, obviously got injured. He gets all of the blame and he shouldn't. I think Nick's a good quarterback. He's the leader of our team. Just things didn't work out for him this year due to injury, but we've got his back. As a team, we didn't play well enough to win and to get into the playoffs."

McCoy obviously went on to play for the Bills and Foles departed the Eagles for the big green of the Rams.

Strange that Foles is back in Philly with a chance to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl.

McCoy also offered congrats to his old team.

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Here's a video of Wentz walking back to the locker room as well as footage of him heading out from the stadium.

Foles says he's ready:

Others offered their support for Wentz.