Monthly Archives: July 2017

Breaking down new-look Buccaneers: Jameis Winston bound for big leap (to playoffs?)

What did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do after a 9-7 second season with Jameis Winston as their franchise quarterback? They got more aggressive and got him more weapons.

Promoting offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to head coach did pay off in allowing Winston to settle in and see mild growth in Year 2. But it was clear the Bucs had to improve his supporting cast to expect a big leap from him in 2017.

Here’s a breakdown of all the notable changes on the Bucs’ roster and depth chart, which will allow them to be a legitimate NFC South title contender this season.

Kyle Lowry ended Toronto’s losing streak by scoring 32 points with six assists in a 102-86 win against the Bucks. The Raptors had lost their last five games entering Friday’s contest. They desperately need Demar DeRozan back from his ankle injury to take some pressure off Lowry.

Paul George led the Pacers to a 115-111 overtime win against the Kings by scoring 33 points with four rebounds. This was George’s third straight 30-plus point effort, which is his longest such streak this season.

Jimmy Butler started Friday’s 100-88 loss against the Heat on the bench, and he played like a reserve in 33 minutes of action. The All-Star recorded just three points on 1 of 13 shooting with three turnovers. Something is just not right in Chicago.

Clippers (30-17) at Warriors (39-7) 8:30 p.m. ET — Los Angeles may be distracted by recent Carmelo Anthony trade rumblings, but this is a good opportunity to see how they shake up against the overwhelming favorites in the West. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have really been clicking lately.
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Nikola Jokic continues hot play as Nuggets knock off Pacers

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In the star-dominated NBA, where many players can be identified by shorthand (LeBron, Steph, KD, The Beard, etc.) the Nuggets are a blue-collar, ensemble team.

There are no superstars in Denver, just a collection of very good players — who happen to be playing great basketball right now.

Take forward Nikola Jokic. The 22-year-old forward scored 30 points and added 17 rebounds and five assists Friday night to lead the Nuggets to a 125-117 win on the road against the Pacers.

It’s Denver’s sixth win in the last eight games, and leaves the Nuggets 1 1/2 games up on Portland for the No. 8 playoff seed in the West.

Plenty can happen in the next couple of weeks, but for now, the Nuggets (35-37) are showing no sign of letting go of that possible playoff spot. Jokic (21.2 ppg in his last nine games) isn’t the only ensemble player stepping up big down the stretch. Forward Wilson Chandler scored 24 against the Pacers, and forward Danilo Gallinari chipped in 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Those questions make him the most volatile NBA Draft prospect in recent memory. At this stage, with teams possessing relatively little information about his health compared to what they will have, it’s impossible to get an accurate read on his draft stock.

Arthur Moats Authentic Jersey LeBron will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season, and the rumors about him joining a talented young Lakers team will continue to linger. He left Cleveland once. Don’t be surprised if the disarray within the front office makes him consider doing it again.

There’s no room for an injury

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The biggest factor in getting the Pacers back to relevance quickly, though, will have to come from the improvement of Myles Turner, who turns 21 Friday. Improvement from guys such as Glenn Robinson III and Joe Young could help. But it is Turner who has shown flashes of brilliance, the ability to be the kind of inside-out big man who could anchor the Pacers’ move to a higher-tempo, 3-point-gunning team. Turner is averaging 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. He’s shooting 34 percent from the 3-point line on just 1.5 attempts per game.

But Turner’s biggest challenge is building himself up physically. Since the Pacers have hit the stretch run kicked in, he has been gassed. In the Pacers’ last 10 games, he’s averaging 8.7 points, shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from the 3-point line. He’s young, but considering the Pacers’ situation, considering the desire to show George he can win in Indiana, they can’t afford that kind of utter deflation from a key piece.

A big third-year leap from Turner is not out of the question. It typically takes longer for big men to have their breakthrough, but Turner has already, at times, shown that he’s not a typical young big man. But keeping Teague, getting improvement from Turner and finding more effective bench pieces are critical to any hope the Pacers have of convincing George they’re going in the right direction.
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Of course, that could unravel quickly. There’s no room for an injury, there’s no guarantee that any of the Pacers’ youngsters will make leaps and there’s always volatility in free agency. Indiana will continue to ask George to do more to help the team win. But if he is still a Pacer in a year, the question he will ask is whether the Pacers have done enough to help the team win.

Pelicans already lose new trade acquisition to broken thumb

The Pelicans may end up regretting their recent trade with the Kings.

Not only did New Orleans lose 129-99 against the Rockets Thursday in the NBA’s return to action following the All-Star break, it also lost one of the members of the trade to an injury.

Omri Casspi, who scored 12 points in his Pelicans debut Thursday, unfortunately won’t be playing his second game with the team any time soon. Casspi suffered a broken thumb in the loss, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to ESPN.

DeMarcus Cousins had a monster night in his Pelicans debut, putting up 27 points with 14 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks. Anthony Davis led the way with 29 points and nine rebounds.

Casspi, however, was the only other player in double-figures on the team. The 6-9 forward also missed a couple weeks in January with a calf injury.

The big difference between James and Harden is obviously the assist numbers, but James wasn’t surrounded with as many sharpshooters in his prime as Harden is right now. Put it this way: Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson and Lou Williams alone combine for around 30 3-point attempts per game this season. As a team, the Cavaliers attempted no less than 15.7 3-pointers per game and no more than 19.3 3-pointers per game in those four seasons. The most reliable shooters around James during that time were Damon Jones, Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson and Delonte West.

This season has given us some insight into what kind of weapon James becomes in a 3-point happy system. The Cavaliers are second to only the Rockets in 3-point attempts per game, and James is averaging a career-high 8.7 assists per game. But James is also close to setting career-lows in both usage rating and field goal attempts per game. Even though he’s picking teams apart like we’ve never seen before, a 30-10-10 season would probably be in the cards for him had he played in this sort of system earlier in his career.broncos_129

Tim Tebow relishing every little step toward MLB dream with Mets

Tim Tebow is one of few athletes who can say he hit a walkoff home run and threw a walkoff touchdown pass.

Tebow’s finest professional moment came with the NFL’s Broncos, on a touchdown pass in overtime of the 2011 AFC wild-card game against the Steelers. The latest viral feat came on July 13 when Tebow’s walkoff homer gave the Single-A St. Lucie Mets a 5-4 victory. Tebow laughed when asked to compare those two very different accomplishments.
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That’s not a fair question, Tebow told Sporting News on Wednesday. They were at slightly different levels, but both of them are special. To be able to help the team and hit a walkoff was awesome. It felt really good. Any time in a big situation, in crunch time to be able to come through, there’s something special about that in sports. I really love those moments.

Frazier brings pop to the New York lineup, though he’s been plagued by stretches of struggles with the White Sox. A two-time All-Star in Cincinnati, Frazier hit 58 homers in 239 games with the White Sox, but produced a less-than-optimal slash line of ..220/.311/.454. Still, he’s a veteran upgrade at first base, which has been a big problem spot for the Yankees this year.
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And maybe more satisfying for Yankees fans is this: The Red Sox really need a third baseman, and most baseball people pegged Frazier 鈥?who is a free agent after the season 鈥?as a natural fit in Boston. But now that he’s in pinstripes, he can’t help the Red Sox.

Trouble getting a stadium built was one of the reasons for the demise of the Expos.

Authentic Kids Matt Read Jersey Why it makes sense: Every market that has had a team move away since the start of the 20th century either still had another team to fall back on or wound up getting another team – except Montreal, so far. The jubilant crowds at Stade Olympique for Blue Jays spring exhibition games have shown there is an appetite for baseball in Montreal, and the mayor has talked openly about the possibility of the city getting an expansion team and met with Rob Manfred.

Why it might not happen: Trouble getting a stadium built was one of the reasons for the demise of the Expos. The weak Canadian dollar also could be an impediment.

Redick was also one of the league leaders in scoring off screens. He averaged 4.5 points per game in those situations and ranked in the 73.9 percentile with 1.03 points per possession last season. Another 19.0 percent of his offense came from handoffs, and he ranked in the 67.9 percentile with 1.00 points per possession.
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Together, it gives him the statistical profile of a knockdown shooter who does far more than simply stand in the corner waiting for kickouts from ball-dominant guards or forwards.

Not only does his success rate in those situations force his defender to play him honestly, Redick’s gravity can also create openings for others when the threat of his 3-point shooting draws a second defender. He’s obviously not as scary as Stephen Curry in that regard — nobody is — but his versatility as a shooter and the amount of attention he commands in the half court because of it helps explain why the Clippers were 9.9 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Redick on the floor last season.

MLB trade rumors: White Sox may be seeking Chris Sale-type return for Jose Quintana

The Chicago White Sox have been known to do some fleecing of teams in the past couple of years as they are selling off most of their assets in hopes of building a contender.

After the team drafted Brady in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft, it took him on a tour of Candlestick Park and invited him for a workout. Expos outfielder F.P. Santangelo was assigned to show Brady around, and that’s when Brady’s decision to play baseball or football came up in the clubhouse as he was surrounded by Expos players.

We were telling him, Why would you make $800 a month in the minor leagues when you can be the quarterback at the University of Michigan? You’re a good-looking guy, you can probably have a lot of fun off the field, too,’ Santangelo told Sports Illustrated. We told him: Go play football at Michigan! Are you kidding me?’

Apparently Hughes walked in at that moment, and knew he would have to give Brady a lucrative offer to keep him on the baseball route.

According to Hughes, he talked to Brady’s father and told him he would offer Brady a contract in the neighborhood of bottom of the second (round), top of the third type money.
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Limited Mens Patrick Marleau Jersey If we were going to offer him that type of money, Hughes said, we felt he was going to be a future big-leaguer.

NBA standings: 2017 NBA playoff schedule, bracket set for postseason

The fight for the NBA playoffs lasted until the final day of the regular season, but the 2017 postseason field is now set.

That would be a mistake. It was Olynyk who changed the tenor of this game, when the Celtics were at their worst. In the early going, their starting big men, Crowder and Al Horford — as well as Amir Johnson, who entered the game just two minutes in — were in danger of being steamrolled by Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

But the man-bunned Victorian turned that around on Washington. He scored 10 first-quarter points, and was a plus-14 in the second quarter. Gortat figures to be an advantage throughout this series. Olynyk, though, provided a reminder of what the Celtics can do when going against more traditional, paint-bound big men like Gortat: They can jack 3-pointers, and make them.

Wizards star John Wall could feel the change when Olynyk entered. He was asked about guard Marcus Smart coming into the game in the third quarter but waved that off. “I don’t think it was that quarter,” Wall said. “It was in the second (quarter), Kelly Olynyk came in and played really well for those guys.”

A look at the box score from Sunday’s 123-111 Celtics win in Game 1 shows good numbers for Olynyk: 12 points in 17 minutes, with four rebounds and two assists. He made both of his 3-point attempts. Not bad, but for a game in which Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, Jae Crowder had 24 points and shot 6 of 8 from the 3-point line and Horford nearly triple-doubled (21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds), it’s easy to overlook Olynyk’s production.

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How to get free in-game currency and card pack for ‘NBA 2K17’

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing and now there’s even more reason to spend time playing NBA 2K17.

Amazon Prime members (even those on a free 30-day trial) are being given $20 worth of in-game currency known as VC and a MyTeam pack for free.

According to ESPN, Thomas was seen talking with Stevens on the practice court after the team’s afternoon video session.
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Game 3 in the series isn’t until 7 p.m. ET Friday in Chicago.

Teammate and fellow Tacoma native Avery Bradley has tried to support Thomas, who scored 33 points in a Game 1 loss before which he was openly emotional about his sister.
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We’re always going to support each other, Bradley said. Not to say our teammates aren’t going to support us as well, but we’re family, so it’s different. I’m going to be there for him no matter what. 斜薪

It takes a lot of [guts] for somebody to go through that and still be able to come out and perform at a high level. Even though he wasn’t screaming or the usual Isaiah, he still went out there and fought hard. And it made us want to fight harder for him. We just made some mistakes that are fixable and we’ll have a chance to do it [in Game 2].

Game 6: Spurs at Rockets, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN (Spurs lead series 3-2) 鈥?Kawhi Leonard says he plans to play despite a sprained ankle, but how effective can he be for the Spurs even if he plays? If he’s sidelined or ineffective, it might be asking too much for 39-year-old Manu Ginobili to save the game again as he did Tuesday. James Harden flirted with a bizarre quadruple-double in Game 5 鈥?he had nine turnovers 鈥?but don’t look for that to happen in Game 6.

Warriors never trail, rout Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs by 36 in Game 2

The Warriors picked up where they left off Sunday, dominating a Spurs team playing without star Kawhi Leonard in Tuesday’s 136-100 Game 2 victory in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State outscored the Spurs 58-33 the final quarter and a half after Leonard exited with an ankle injury in Game 1 and were ahead by an eerily similar 57-33 score with just under five minutes to go before halftime Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

After 40 points in Game 1, Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 29 points on 8 of 13 shooting in the rout, while Kevin Durant added 16 points in limited minutes as the Warriors built a 41-point lead, the Spurs’ largest playoff deficit under Gregg Popovich.

We won’t know until Friday or Saturday, he said.

Game Womens Tarell Basham Jersey Jonathon Simmons drew the start in place of Leonard in Game 2. Simmons filled in admirably for Leonard in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets and was his replacement when Leonard twisted his ankle for a second time midway through the third quarter on Sunday.

Simmons scored a team-high 22 points in Tuesday’s loss.

Many have called the foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia dirty because he stuck his foot into Leonard’s space following his jump shot. Popovich was among them.

Whether the foul was fair or foul, the result certainly changed the scope of the series.

He went on in the same interview to describe NBPA executive director Michele Roberts as ‘working it,’ in reference to her defense of Carmelo Anthony.
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Can Phil Jackson say anything without putting his foot in his mouth? Maybe he should master some more Zen techniques by finding a ‘quiet and peaceful place where he cannot be disturbed’, or maybe more appropriately, he can’t disturb others.