NBA playoffs 2017: One simple play shows how Kevin Durant makes the Warriors unstoppable

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It’s not hard to find examples of how well Kevin Durant has fit in with the Warriors. His raw stats of 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 blocks per game with incredible efficiency across the board during the regular season are probably the best place to start. Then perhaps his on-off numbers — the Warriors were 8.3 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court compared to him being on the bench — as well as more advanced stats such as offensive win shares (8.0) and defensive win shares (4.0). Either way, it’s clear Durant has made a team fresh off winning an NBA record 73 games a whole lot scarier on both ends of the floor.

That leads to this situation, with Curry setting a screen on him in the pick-and-roll:

Kyrie Irving was nothing short of heroic Friday night. The often undervalued point guard scored 40 points with seven 3-pointers. Irving also hauled in seven rebounds. After missing all seven of his 3-point shots in Game 3, Irving was confident and crafty in Game 4.

LeBron James was dominant on both ends of the court. Offensively, he directed the offense by making a number of outside shots and setting up open looks for teammates. After scoring 31 points with 11 assists and 10 rebounds, he broke and NBA Finals record with his ninth triple-double. Magic Johnson had eight.
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It’s hard to know what to make of Ford at this point. He played just a bit role his first two years, before Justin Houston’s knee injury opened up a chance for more playing time. For half of the 2016 season, Ford looked like a breakout star, racking up 10 sacks in the first nine games. However, a hamstring injury slowed him down, and he never got another sack the rest of the season. Maybe he’ll be more productive when healthy next year, but Ford has yet to put together a complete season. Grade: B-

LeBron James shows off new ‘bald’ haircut

The LeBron James bald era has begun.

Isaac’s abiltiy to switch defensively and protect the weakside of the rim would be the perfect fit in between Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. His ability to shoot at a solid if unspectacular rate from the 4 position would seem to be exactly what the Wolves need from a stretch big man.

Just take the best player available if you’re New York here. Kristaps Porzingis is the only true long-term piece that you’re working around, and Monk’s ability to stretch the floor and get buckets would be a good fit with Porzingis. The Knicks would need a point guard at some point, but the organization would at least have two pieces that can grow together offensively — particularly if Monk can run any sort of pick-and-roll — if the draft fell this way.

The Mavericks don’t have a long-term backcourt player on this roster that profiles as a starter. Ntilikina is still a project as a point guard, and the team will need to do some work on his frame and body in order to add some explosiveness. But at 6-5 with long arms, a jump shot and strong vision, he could end up being a solid player down the road.

Immediately after Game 3, a tweet floated into the Twittersphere from Smith’s verified account with a short statement: “Cavs in 7.” (Side note: The tweet was sent before the Cavs’ locker room was open. That’s a violation of the NBA’s social media policy.)
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NBA Finals: Warriors coach Steve Kerr ‘surprised’ Cavs are considered underdogs

Vegas odds for the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavs have become a talking point with both sides being surprised about Cleveland’s role as the underdog. The latest comments came from Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who said Monday his team should be the real underdog.

Kids Ryan Kalil Jersey The difference this year, of course, is Golden State’s addition of Durant, who pulled down eight rebounds and had eight assists while leading all players in scoring.

Kids Steven Stamkos Jersey Despite missing 15 lay-ups and going 3 of 13 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, the Warriors still held a 60-52 halftime advantage thanks to 12 Cavaliers turnovers — seven of which were by James. The seven turnovers by James were the most he’s ever had in the first half of any game during his NBA career.

James finished with eight turnovers to go with a team-high 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

The Warriors opened a 21-point lead to begin the second half before the Cavaliers finally scored on a James 3-pointer with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter. They never looked back while committing just four turnovers, which is the fewest all-time in an NBA Finals game. Conversely, they had 31 assists, led by 10 from Stephen Curry as the Cavaliers had 20 turnovers to go with just 15 assists.

As Durant and Curry led the way in the points column, Draymond Green quietly put together a solid game with nine points, 11 rebounds with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

It was the most thorough beating the Cavs have had this postseason, but it was still just one game in a best-of-seven series.

LeBron James posterizes JaVale McGee, but Jeff Van Gundy was more impressed by Rihanna

The first quarter of Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals lived up to all the hype in the three-match between the Cavaliers and Warriors.

Not only was there aggressive play and deep 3-pointers from Stephen Curry, but a thunderous dunk by LeBron James also sucked the air out of a a sold-out Oracle Arena.

James scored two of his 13 first-quarter points with a posterizing dunk over the hapless JaVale McGee as he streaked to the paint with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter.

Elite Womens Fletcher Cox Jersey The highlight-reel slam will likely be on repeat the rest of the Finals, but ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy seemed more impressed that pop star Rihanna walked in front of him on the way to her courtside seat than James’ dunk.

Elite Womens Chris Harris Jr Jersey Despite LeBron James picking up four fouls in the first half for the first time in his career, the Cavaliers rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit behind Kyrie Irving’s 42 points 鈥?a playoff career high. Irving penetrated the Celtics’ defense with ease and got easy looks at the rim, while also stretching the floor with a 4-for-7 performance from 3-point range. James added 34 points, six assists and five rebounds in another business-as-usual night despite his early foul trouble and his missed breakaway dunk in the second half.

Boston built its lead in the first half with unselfish play on offense. The Celtics made the extra pass that typically yielded open looks, while also playing stout help-side defense on the other end. Boston scored 11 consecutive points in the first quarter as Jae Crowder got off to a hot start; however, the Celtics struggled to find their offensive rhythm without injured point guard Isaiah Thomas, showing the team’s Game 3 win will be hard to repeat.

He missed a team walkthrough and the flight to the AFC Championship game.

This might be the worst one: the Trent Richardson trade. On Sept. 18, 2013, the Colts sent a first-round pick to the Browns hoping to turn the running back into the star many watched at Alabama. Instead, Richardson averaged 3.1 yards per carry with the Colts over two seasons and faded away from their backfield behind the likes of Donald Brown, Ahmad Bradshaw and Dan Boom Herron.

Richardson’s brief career in Indianapolis ended in controversy after he was suspended for both of the Colts’ playoff games in 2014. He missed a team walkthrough and the flight to the AFC Championship game. The Indianapolis Star reported at the time that Richardson missed the walkthrough and flight due to complications from his girlfriend’s pregnancy. The Colts released him after the season.

Missed picks, poor signings and a trade that will be used as a punchline for a long time. That’s how you set yourself up to get fired. Grigson learned that the hard way.

For statistical evidence, I can tell you he gained 318 more rushing yards than any other running back in the league, even though he sat out Sundays meaningless game against the Eagles. He rushed for 15 touchdowns (third in the league), was second in yards from scrimmage and produced more runs of 20-plus yards and more rushing first downs than any other back. Among full-time backs, he was third in yards per carry.

For anecdotal evidence, I could roll the tape of the Cowboys35-30 victory over the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers, when Elliott compiled 209 total yards and, with his oppressive running style, coerced a group of defenders who inherited the legacy of the Steel Curtain and Blitzburgh into acknowledging they really didn’t want to play any more football that day. They capitulated.vikings_117

Cowboys’ Dak Prescott shares story of terrifying first encounter with Jason Witten

Jason Witten made Dak Prescott nervous as hell when the two first met over the summer. The Cowboys’ rookie quarterback sensation admitted as much this week while appearing on an episode of Sports Media’s Inside the Huddle.

Witten, after all, was a 10-time Pro Bowl tight end to whom Prescott looked up as a Dallas fan growing up.

Witten was the guy I guess you could say made me the most nervous, Prescott told host Tyler Clutts when asked which Cowboys intimidated the rookie upon their first meeting.

What does that mean for both teams in the divisional-round rematch Here are Sporting Newspredictions and picks for the game.
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Authentic Womens Paul Dawson Jersey Vinnie Iyer (against the spread): Aaron Rodgers has been a quarterback possessed during the hottest streak of his career. But he will be without injured wide receiver Jordy Nelson, a game-changer against Dallaspass defense. Green Bay cant expect to run much better than it did against the Giants, so Rodgers will need to stay on it with Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Jared Cook.

I think he’ll do that. We’ll help him with that, but he has to help himself, and we believe he’ll do that. He’s a smart guy but sometimes he doesn’t do smart things.

Reese went on to say that Beckham needs to grow up.

Beckham, 24, recorded his third straight season of at least 1,300 receiving yards in 2016, but his campaign was riddled by emotional blowups and questions about maturity. It’s clear the Giants will expect much more from the face of the franchise next season.

Dez Bryant: Cowboys were only team that ‘had a shot’ at Falcons

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant may have inadvertently given his pick for Super Bowl 51 between the Falcons and Patriots.

Bryant, whose Cowboys team lost to the Packers in the NFC divisional round on Jan. 15, thinks Dallas is the only team that could have beaten the Falcons during the NFL playoffs.
I’m not being biased because I play for the Cowboys, Bryant told the Dallas News on Thursday, but I think we’re the only team that had a shot to beat the Falcons.

Dallas never got the opportunity, falling 34-31 the week prior, at home, to Green Bay. The Packers in turn lost on the road at Atlanta, 44-21.

Perhaps Bryant and the Cowboys could have given Matt Ryan and the Falcons a better game at Jerry World, but that’s all conjecture now. As it stands, New England is the only team that can beat the Falcons. The Patriots open up as a 3-point favorite.

Elite Youth Kole Calhoun Jersey Last weekend in the wild-card round, he gassed, broke and dipped on the Dolphins for a franchise postseason-record 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 30-12 Steelers victory.

Elite Youth Ozzie Newsome Jersey Portis said Bell has two things going for him that enable him to take his time in the backfield. He’s not in a two-back system, an enviable position only enjoyed by a select few, including Elliott, the Cardinals’ David Johnson and Howard. He’s also comfortable in the Steelers’ system, having played alongside the same core group of players and under the same head coach (Mike Tomlin) and offensive coordinator (Todd Haley) his entire career.

The Falcons’ Devonta Freeman has the raw physical ability to incorporate Bell’s methods, but he has to worry about Tevin Coleman breathing down his neck, Portis said. Rams running back Todd Gurley could do it too, but he isn’t nearly as comfortable in his team’s offense.

Justin Upton helps Tigers past White Sox with walkoff home run

Elite Coby Fleener Jersey Justin Upton made sure Tigers fans did not head home empty-handed Sunday.

Tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Upton blasted a three-run home run in walkoff fashion to lead the Tigers to a 7-4 win.

Upton’s walkoff home run came right after Chicago intentionally walked J.D. Martinez. Home runs are always a little sweeter after an opposing pitcher pretty much says he would rather face you than the previous hitter.
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White Sox closer David Robertson served up the three-run home run, and now has a 3.54 ERA this season. Robertson’s name has come up as a possible trade target for the Nationals before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Tigers (28-28) have now won four straight games. They scored 32 runs during their three-game sweep of the White Sox.

Every day at Newburg Middle School, the announcements include an affirmation that’s straight out of the Adell household: You will be a good citizen, inside the building and outside the building. You’re going to pay it forward. No one’s perfect, but doggone it, I need you to make sure that you are conducting yourself as if others want to be around you, period.

By the time Mazzone met him, though, Sain was living out of an RV in West Palm Beach, Fla., with only one more brief stint in the majors ahead of him.

Johnny was a little bit of a rebel, Mazzone told Sporting News recently from his Anderson, S.C., home. He believed in throwing a lot and running a little. He believed in hanging with his pitchers only. He believed in making pitchers first-class citizens.

The Raiders to Vegas plan hit a supposed snag last week when billionaire Sheldon Adelson

Specifically, Vick said this in the Players’ Tribune:

“I’m 36 now and as my career winds down, and as my life begins to move on to its next chapter, I can’t help but feel as though I am finally coming full circle: The Falcons are back in the Super Bowl … and I’ll be there.”

The Raiders to Vegas plan hit a supposed snag last week when billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., pulled his $650 million proposed investment from the potential deal. But the fact there’s no longer a casino mogul involved in the deal now sounds like something that had to happen for the league to truly consider Vegas.

The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, N.C., to New Orleans because of the league’s objection to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and it requires people to use the restroom that corresponds to their birth gender in public facilities. The NCAA relocated seven championship events from North Carolina last year in response to HB2.

The scoreless first quarter was nothing new to the Patriots, who have not scored in the first quarter of any of their seven Super Bowls under coach Bill Belichick. But the Patriots offense was even outscored by the Falcons defense in the first half.

The Falcons, with the NFL’s top scoring offense, had zero net passing yards in the first quarter. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who was named NFL MVP on Saturday, threw just two passes in the first quarter, completing both for 12 yards.

The Falcons finally got a spark early in the second quarter as rookie linebacker Deion Jones forced a LeGarrette Blount fumble. The turnover led to 5-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman to cap a five-play, 71-yard drive buoyed by Julio Jones’ incredible 23-yard catch over the middle. texans_046

Patriots-Falcons will be decided by 5 key matchups

Limited Benson Mayowa Jersey The Patriots and Falcons wouldn’t be playing in Super Bowl 51 without contributions from all players on their rosters.

But when the teams line up Sunday with the NFL title on the line, a few individual matchups stand out as the biggest factors in who wins it all.

Despite dropping in coverage on about half of his third down snaps and playing a more true 4-3 outside linebacker position, Bowser has remained remarkably productive over his career. As a senior, Bowser finished with 8.5 sacks (same amount as Myles Garrett) and 12.0 tackles for loss in just eight games.

Bowser missed five games this past season after getting in an altercation with a teammate during which he never threw a punch but broke his orbital bone. Extrapolating his numbers over the full 13-game season, he would have had 76 tackles, 19.5 TFL, and 14 sacks. Those tackle for loss and sack numbers would have been near the top of the FBS ranks.
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Tyus Bowser is a high-level athlete that should test extremely well at the NFL Scouting Combine. He extends and bends well off the snap and shows great lower half coordination to adjust, reposition and generate lower half force to push the pocket. He dips his inside shoulder with control well as an edge player, and can adjust his upper half shoulders on both interior and pure edge rushes. He offers a highly explosive and low-set first step off the snap and doesn’t lose vision of the running back as a rusher.