Raised expectations are like hot air for sports fans: They can feel higher than ever, but if expectations are punctured by harsh reality, the disappointment of deflation can be tough.

Tyrese Maxey’s turnover against the Timberwolves on Saturday night was doubly devastating to 76ers supporters because of the hope raised by his impressive play of late, including a perfect missed foul shot to help send the game to the second overtime.

Similarly, Jalen Hurts had raised expectations in recent games. Yet if the game against the Giants was an open interview for Hurts to prove himself as the quarterback of the future for the Eagles, well, he blew it.

The irony is on the day that he was passing nearly every Eagles quarterback of the past in rushing yardage for the season, Hurts also showcased what has too often proved to be his downfall — namely, his inability to make the quick, consistent, secure pass to the open receiver from the pocket. No one is expecting Hurts to fling passes of 30-plus yards perfectly, but the midrange tosses that move a team down the field are necessary in the modern game. When even short-yardage passes are nervously underthrown and subsequently picked off, the ripple effect can be devastating to an offense.

But for all the Union fans whose hopes were sky-high for the team to reach the Eastern Conference final for the first time ever, goalkeeper Andre Blake came through impressively, turning away the first two penalty shots he faced after Nashville and the Union remained locked, 1-1, after regulation and extra time.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Tell us: What’s your prediction on if and how Jalen Hurts bounces back from this performance against the Giants: sports.daily@inquirer.com

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Early Birds

That was a bad loss. Just when the Eagles thought they had turned a corner and, with a win against the under-.500 Giants, could have moved into playoff position, their weaknesses got exposed.

The play-calling was questionable, as the Eagles were scoreless through three quarters. Hurts threw three picks, costing the team points. The Jalen Reagor drops at the end weren’t a good look. And a Boston Scott fumble in the fourth quarter was costly as well.

It was enough to make DeVonta Smith furious and Nick Sirianni essentially assess Hurts with a failing grade on the day.

Welcome back, Eagles angst!

Off the Dribble

Back to life, back to reality. Joel Embiid celebrated his recovery from COVID-19 with an impressive score line, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Sixers fell to the Timberwolves. Ben Simmons, meanwhile, was at least in the Sixers’ building for a while.

On the Fly

Do you want to play center for the Flyers?

With Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard, Patrick Brown, and Nate Thompson all injured, the Flyers are desperate for help in the center dot.

Having lost six in a row, things might be about to change for the Flyers.

Fleet Street

The teenager pictured above? He’s celebrating doing what no Nashville player managed, scoring a penalty kick successfully to help send his team to the Eastern Conference final in Major League Soccer’s playoffs.

The legendary status of Andre Blake only continues to grow.

Worth a look

Readers react

Maybe the Eagles’ performance can be blamed on a lingering turkey coma? The Sports Daily asked readers what food was savored most at Thanksgiving, and it turns out at least one found the company most nourishing.

Ham and mac and cheese. My wife can really cook.— Marshall W.

Food for the spirit, provided by the gathering of family after the 2020 shut-outs. — Harry S.