Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Kings naturally became a popular topic in the wake of Gay’s torn Achilles suffered Wednesday night

You’d struggle to find a single team with a representative at the Showcase that believes Atlanta has permanently pulled All-Star forward Paul Millsap from the trade market.

The skepticism has been so loud that it leads one to imagine Millsap might still prove to be the biggest name in play between now and Feb. 23, assuming Dragic indeed can’t be had and with Sacramento’s Rudy Gay suddenly out for the season.

The Kings naturally became a popular topic in the wake of Gay’s torn Achilles suffered Wednesday night.

The Kings, though, just went 1-6 on a crucial homestand to fall to 10th in the West at 16-25 and Friday begin an eight-game road trip (yes, eight) in Memphis.

Given Gay’s long-term unavailability and Sacramento’s well-known hopes of convincing DeMarcus Cousins to sign for the long term, ?two wings have emerged as the most likely Kings to be dealt:

The bulk of the external trade interest Gay attracted came in the offseason?, most notably from Oklahoma City, Miami and Portland, but sources say Sacramento has had opportunities to move Gay since the season began and chose to hold off, presumably in hopes of giving itself the best chance of snagging the West’s No. 8 seed and thus bringing a halt to the league’s second-longest playoff drought (10 seasons and counting).

Things have stagnated a bit in Charlotte, but I love this heads-up play from Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum:

The little switch Portland tries, with Moe Harkless sliding from Batum to Cody Zeller, has become a classic end-of-quarter tactic: When the defense knows a pick-and-roll is coming under a time crunch, they swap a wing onto the screener and take their big man plodder out of the central action. I nicknamed it “The Brook Lopez Switch” a few years ago, when the Nets yanked Lopez out of the pick-and-roll every chance they got.

Walker sees it coming and slings the ball to Batum during that teensy window in which the Blazers are still mid-switch. That gives Batum a head start, and he takes advantage.

Gus Bradley is changing everything about the Jaguars. Next up: the record

Gus Bradley was lost in a sea of shoulder pads. The top of his Seahawks hat pacing in every direction, pointing in the players’ faces, was the only thing visible. But even if he couldn’t be seen, the rasp of his voice was loud and clear.
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“Do your job!”

“We got a three-and-out by people doing their job, then we get to this series and everybody goes to do their own fucking thing! Well, you won’t be great until you do your job!”

Game Coty Sensabaugh Jersey When the Jaguars hired Bradley to be their head coach in 2013, fans clung to that 77-second clip on YouTube that showed an angry coach yelling at a Seahawks defense struggling against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. After watching an emotionless Mike Mularkey lead the team through a season with 14 losses and just two wins, the energy and enthusiasm certainly represented a change.

Jay Cutler, Bears: What Jeff Fisher is to coaching, Cutler is to quarterbacks … for some reason the league just can’t put him out to pasture and he keeps coasting off a few good seasons that happened a long, long time ago.

Connor Cook, Jets: The Jets finally have a promising rookie quarterback, only the third time in eight years. He has the talent to jump a dozen spots this time next year, with a little help from the fertile quarterback grooming grounds in Northern New Jersey.

Tyrod Taylor, Bills: Come on, Bills, stop letting Rex Ryan pick the quarterbacks.

Tom Brady, Patriots: It’s hard to say goodbye, but 2016 should clearly be Garoppolo time in New England. The future of the Patriot Way depends on it.

I agree with Mike Malone

I agree with Mike Malone. The Nuggets should move to London … and take me with them. The trouble, of course, is what’s been happening everywhere else they play; Denver awoke Sunday ranked No. 1 in rebounding (grabbing 54 percent of available boards) but No. 29 in defensive efficiency. According to ESPN research ace Micah Adams, no NBA team has managed to lead the league in rebounding and rank outside the top 20 in both DE and PPG allowed since the (gulp) 1983-84 San Diego Clippers. All those transition points they surrender off turnovers are a killer. It also doesn’t help that the Nuggets are tied for last in a prime stat that reflects activity (only 13.3 deflections per game) and sit in the bottom 10 defending the 3-point line.
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The good stuff: Memphis can claim a 2-0 mark against mighty Golden State after no team toppled the Warriors twice last season, defeated Houston on Dec. 23 in a game the Rockets sank 20 3s, won the rematch in Houston on Friday to saddle the Rockets with their first losing streak of the season, and likewise rank as the only team in the league that can say it has beaten Utah when both Gordon Hayward and George Hill are in uniform for the Jazz. The quirky downside: Memphis is one of only two teams on the NBA map (along with Charlotte) that sports a winning record against fellow Western Conference residents (17-8) but a losing record against Eastern Conference opposition (8-9).
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This is the farthest into a season the Jazz have been in first place in their division since Jan. 20, 2011, when Utah and OKC were both 27-15 and sharing the Northwest Division lead. Utah hasn’t won its division outright since the 2007-08 season, under a coach we greatly miss named Jerry Sloan. The Jazz, though, don’t want to hear anything divisional when (A) we’re only at the season’s halfway point and (B) they just lost Rodney Hood to a knee injury that isn’t as scary as it looked but is still plenty worrisome for a club that has to be wondering when the injuries will ever stop.

NFL teams can’t dramatically shift their strategy overnight to press the same way basketball or soccer teams might

NFL teams can’t dramatically shift their strategy overnight to press the same way basketball or soccer teams might, although one recent example would be the Jets shifting overnight from a primarily man-based coverage scheme to heavy zone packages to confuse Tom Brady and win in Foxborough during the 2010 playoffs. In most cases, though, teams can’t change their stripes overnight.
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Hector Olivera Elite Jersey A more plausible way for them to shift gears is to be more aggressive in the red zone and on fourth down. Just about every model which uses historical data to gauge win expectancy suggests teams are far too conservative in those situations. Coaches who are underdogs against great offenses, as was the case in both games on Saturday, can’t settle for field goals or pass up fourth-and-short opportunities, and as a result, miss out on chances to match points with offenses that are too good to keep down for 60 minutes.

Burke’s model sees this as downright foolish; the Seahawks needed just a 25 percent chance of converting to justify going for it. His team still needed two touchdowns, and they were facing a Falcons team that was dictating the terms on offense. Hauschka should have been kept on ice.

The game was never really close afterward. Atlanta kicked a field goal on its next possession, and then Carroll punted on fourth-and-4 from his own 31-yard line down 16 with 14 minutes to go. Again, Carroll was asking his defense — down a star safety and two of its top three cornerbacks — to come up with multiple stops while his offense needed to score two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions just to force what would have been about a 45 percent shot of winning in overtime. The Seahawks were never meaningfully close to competing the rest of the way.

Rob Gronkowski’s coworkers are not impressed by his giant diamond ring in ‘This is Sportscenter’ ad

Rob Gronkowski’s “This is SportsCenter” ad is the perfect encapsulation of line in an office after someone gets engaged. Nobody went to Jared though, they went to … Disneyland. Oh god. That was really corny. Sorry about that.

In any event, Gronk does a super good job here and Kenny Mayne saying “too much” is perfect.

Winston completed his first five passes of the drive before scrambling into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run with 1:12 remaining in the second quarter. It was an impressive display of pocket awareness from the rookie, especially considering some of his early miscues.

Patrick Omameh is listed as the primary backup to Dotson on the Buccaneers’ official depth chart, but Kevin Pamphile will likely take the bulk of the reps if Dotson has to miss any time. The injury occurred late in the half, as the Buccaneers kept starters in to give rookie quarterback Jameis Winston more time with the first team.

On top of that, you’d have to think the team’s running backs will score more than the paltry four rushing touchdowns they did over the course of last season. Other than Evans’ 12, the only other Buccaneer who scored more than two touchdowns last season was Josh McCown, who ran for three scores. If Evans doesn’t score the vast majority of the team’s touchdowns again, he won’t make as much sense as a WR1.

This year, the Patriots have LeGarrette Blount (doesn’t catch passes), Jonas Gray (doesn’t catch passes), Brandon Bolden (special teams only), James White (ditto) … and Cadet, who caught 38 balls for New Orleans last year and could fill the Vereen role in the New England offense. It’s a Patriot running back, and you never know how that might shake out, but he could provide sneaky value late.

Leinart got off to a slow start to his second season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie defensive end Noah Spence is undergoing surgery Wednesday morning to repair a fully torn labrum in his right shoulder, a source told ESPN.

Spence, 23, suffered the tear and dislocation in the Bucs’ 27-7 loss to the Denver Broncos on Oct. 2. He underwent an MRI last week to determine the extent of the injury and met with doctors Tuesday.

The procedure is being performed at Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. He is expected to make a full recovery. It is unclear at this point how much he’ll be able to participate in the team’s offseason program.

Defensive end Noah Spence recorded 5.5 sacks in 2016, which was fifth among NFL rookies and third-most on the Buccaneers.
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The two most significant drop-offs in play came from Griffin and Matt Leinart, who both suffered injuries after encouraging starts to their careers. Griffin’s rookie season ended with a torn ACL and he’s now a backup in Washington after a roller coaster of mishandled situations that followed his injury.

Authentic Mens Kevin Zeitler Jersey Leinart got off to a slow start to his second season, and threw just 112 passes over five starts while splitting time with Kurt Warner before he was sent to injured reserve in early October with a broken collarbone. Warner never gave back the job and led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl with a Pro Bowl season in 2008.

While Bortles was the NFL’s most sacked quarterback in 2014 and Bridgewater faced overblown criticisms about small knees, ankles and wrists, all of the rookies escaped last season without a major injury.

Bills re-sign Matt Cassel as No. 2 quarterback

Jason Thompson Womens Jersey Just three days after releasing him, the Buffalo Bills have announced that they have re-signed veteran quarterback Matt Cassel. He’ll serve as starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s backup, while 2014 first-rounder EJ Manuel will be the team’s third-string quarterback, according to the team.

Before being released last week, Cassel was scheduled to earn $4.15 million this season. With his new contract, Cassel can still earn $4.15 million, but he’d have to reach that by hitting incentives, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Instead his base salary is now $2 million and as long as Taylor plays well enough to keep the starting job and stays healthy, Cassel will have limited opportunities to reach that extra $2.15 million.
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“We believe the standards of the NFL are important to uphold,” Goodell said. “We believe you don’t delegate the responsibility or those standards. We believe someone with a deep knowledge of the game and our policies and our rules are important, particularly when it relates to competitive violations.”

“I have not seen this report, Mike, in any way, but I can just tell you I’m not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here,” Goodell Said. “We obviously learn from every time we go through any kind of a process, try to improve it, get better at it, but there’s no connection in my mind to the two incidents.”

When asked why the NFL is appealing Judge Richard M. Berman’s decision to nullify the league’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady, Goodell said, “We believe we were consistent with the CBA. That’s simply a legal matter.” He also said that he and Robert Kraft’s relationship remains “very strong,” and that he’s not attending the game between the Steelers and Patriots Thursday night because he doesn’t want to be a “distraction.”

Antetokounmpo has assisted on 83 3-pointers this season

Antetokounmpo is averaging a career high in assists at 5.8 per game and is distributing the ball at a better rate than a few notable guards.
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He has 198 assists this season, more than Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving, among others.

Antetokounmpo has assisted on 83 3-pointers this season, sixth in the NBA behind James Harden, LeBron James, John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green.

Antetokounmpo is creating 14.1 points per game off assists, more than Stephen Curry, Mike Conley and the Hornets’ Walker, to name a few.

The game started as Curry¡¯s breakout. The surprise wasn¡¯t ¡°when¡± so much as ¡°where.¡± His 17-point first quarter came with five baskets at the rim. With the Grizzlies selling out to stop Curry from range (even in a down season, teams guard Curry relatively the same), he used Memphis¡¯ energy against them in a bit of basketball jiu-jitsu. Klay Thompson¡¯s buzzer-beater at the half was illustrative. Durant moved the ball to Curry, who pump faked, drove and found Thompson at the last moment.

In the third quarter, Curry got loose from deep, raining four 3-pointers over the Grizzlies. A patient sequence ended in a Draymond Green shovel pass, followed by a splash. His next came after a long dribbling sequence when Marc Gasol didn¡¯t venture far out enough for the switch. The most impressive of the flurry came off a four-point play when he fired up a shot in transition, as Vince Carter flipped him like a tackling dummy.

Andrew Shaw Jersey This was an embarrassing end for a scrutinized team, reminiscent not only of their Christmas Day issues, but also of a super team from the recent past. This looked like shades of the 2010-2011 Miami Heat. In the highest leverage moments, Golden State looked uneasy with who should lead and how it should happen. There is time to addressing these issues, but as Green indicated, if the Warriors are to fulfill their promise, they had better get moving when it matters.

Shopping in the clearance bin for catchers

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In need of a veteran catcher, Chris Gimenez could help the Chicago White Sox. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
As Jim pointed out on Thursday, the Chicago White Sox could use another catcher to pair with Omar Narvaez in 2017, preferably a good pitch framer that could help carry the load working with James Shields and Derek Holland. Looking at the remaining free agent catchers, boy, are the cupboards almost bare.

It all depends on the deal. The Hawks aren¡¯t required to trade Millsap, and they certainly shouldn¡¯t bite on a deal they find less than ideal. That¡¯s really the only compelling reason they shouldn¡¯t trade Millsap, unless they get a very strong indication that he¡¯ll re-sign with the team this summer.

Elite Kids Nolan Ryan Jersey Millsap is still a great NBA player, but he does turn 32 in February. It doesn¡¯t seem likely that he¡¯d give the Hawks a discount, so there¡¯s also the question of whether they want to pay a lot of money to a player who will be 36 by the end of his deal. His game won¡¯t completely fall off with age, but he¡¯s due for a decline and some lost athleticism.

It¡¯s still very early so this may just be a stab in the dark, but I say there¡¯s a six in 10 chance the Hawks deal Millsap at the deadline, and an eight in 10 chance they make at least one trade. It¡¯ll depend on what they¡¯re offered, of course, and also how the Hawks play over the coming weeks. Obviously, falling off even further (or sustaining the rate they¡¯ve been at since starting 9-2) would make it even more likely the Hawks do something.

NFL scores and water cooler talking points, Week 14: What happened on Sunday

Carolina pulled a Conor McGregor impression by jumping all over Atlanta in the early going Sunday, amassing a league-wide season-high of 260 yards of offense in the opening frame. They built a quick 21-0 first quarter lead before coasting to an easy 38-0 victory, and in doing so won their 17th straight. Carolina is only the sixth team in NFL history to accomplish that feat, and moved to 13-0 on the year.
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The unstoppable freight train that is the Panthers’ season keeps gaining momentum, and behind Cam Newton’s offense they now have an NFL-high 411 points with an NFL-best 48 touchdowns on the year. Now pair that output with one of the best defenses in the league and you can see why Carolina is the league’s only unbeaten team this season.

Here¡¯s how Newton celebrated after Sunday¡¯s dominating win over the Falcons:

Speaking of elite defenses, the Broncos bottled up the Raiders’ offensive attack and held Derek Carr to 135 yards on 12 of 29 passing, but Denver’s offense took a step back with multiple devastating drops and a putrid run game. An Emmanuel Sanders muffed punt didn’t help matters either, and when only one phase of your game is working it can be hard to win in this league. Denver dropped to 10-3 with the 15-12 loss, and again fell behind New England in AFC playoff seeding.

The Bengals lost their inside track at the No. 1 seed as well. They might have one of the deepest teams in the NFL this year, but they may have some real trouble now at the most important and irreplaceable position. Andy Dalton left Sunday’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter with a fracture in his thumb and the prognosis right now looks like he’ll miss a week at best, the rest of the season at worst.
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Cincinnati couldn’t overcome his injury and fell to the Steelers 33-20, dropping to 10-3 on the year, but Dalton is obviously the bigger loss for the Bengals. We should know more about Dalton’s prognosis on Monday, but in the meantime, Pittsburgh won their second straight game to keep pace for a wild card bid, moving to 8-5 on the year.