June 2017

There was something to the way Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue approached Game 2 of the NBA Finals that, theoretically, bore a resemblance to entering a lion’s den in a meat suit.

Youth Rocky Bleier Jersey Where conventional wisdom might suggest that the Cavaliers’ best chance to pull an upset here in the third iteration of their championship matchup against Golden State would be to slow the game, force the Warriors into the halfcourt and let LeBron James bully his way to a win, Lue — as has been his wont in these series — went the other way. He got his Cavs to push the pace against a team that has mastered the art of fast play in the past three seasons.

Again, Lue and the Cavs were dealt a harsh lesson: Quicken the game against the Warriors at your own peril. Game 2, a 132-113 win for Golden State, was played at warp speed, with a pace of 108.5 possessions per 48 minutes. That built on the extreme pace of Game 1, which was 102.5.

We had a lot of unforced turnovers, James said Saturday. Some of them was aggression. I had two charges — that’s aggression, I can take those. But I also had some where I got caught up in the air, trying to make some skip passes, and they were able to pick them off.
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Those are like pick-sixes. It’s like throwing the ball to Deion Sanders. For the most part, it’s going to be a touchdown going the other way.

Even with his preternatural passing ability, James can’t afford to leave his feet without knowing where the ball will end up. That might work against smaller guards (like we saw with the Celtics in the last round), but the Warriors are too long and too quick for that type of play. This is what happens.

SB Nation’s Mike Prada suggested the Cavs toss the ball out of bounds if they get stuck, not unlike a quarterback lofting the ball into the crowd to live another down. It sounds crazy initially, but is it really any worse than watching Durant dunk again and again?

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Graham did that far more effectively this season with 65 catches for 923 yards and six touchdowns. His emergence played a key part in Seattle overcoming offensive struggles in the running game the Seahawks dropped to No. 25 from No. 3 in NFL rankings the previous season and winning the NFC West with a 10-5-1 record.

But reaching the second round of the playoffs wasn’t good enough for Graham or a franchise that had consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

‘We’re a much better team than that,’ Graham said. ‘People look at the record and think 10 wins is a fantastic season. But when you have as good a team as us and you’re sitting at home this past weekend, you know that there’s more out there and you’re meant for more.

It’s been an interesting process for everybody, Taillon told reporters prior to Monday’s game against the Rockies, who just happen to own the best record in the National League. It’s not something we saw coming into my 2017 season.

While Taillon wasn’t great, he was solid and gave the Pirates five quality innings with five strikeouts and a pair of walks. He scattered five hit’s and left with the Pirates holding a 4-0 lead in what was eventually a 7-2 Pittsburgh victory.

The Pirates (29-35) are still in last place in the NL Central, but are only four games back of the first-place Brewers in the tight division.

Despite being the NL’s best team, Monday’s loss leaves the Rockies (41-25) just a game up on the idle Dodgers in the NL West.
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Former Kansas star Josh Jackson received a diversion agreement that stipulates he attend anger management classes, refrain from alcohol and recreational drugs for 12 months and write an apology letter, according to court records obtained by The Kansas City Star.

After Boston takes Markelle Fultz at No. 1, as most GMs expect, the Lakers will probably select Ball. He may never play on the level of Durant, the best player on the court in the 2017 NBA Finals against LeBron James. But as Jerry West has made painfully clear to his old point guard, Magic Johnson, he’s got no room for error.

However, after a day in which Sixers fans were camping out to see the No. 1 prospect at a workout that was pushed back an hour because the former Washington Huskies star got caught in traffic, it’s understandable he was not perfect. Either way, Fultz said he would love an opportunity to play in Philly.

Fultz was one of eight draft prospects who worked out for the Sixers Saturday as six practiced in the morning and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox had the workout preceding Fultz.
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Authentic Kids Maurkice Pouncey Jersey Sixers fans were more than happy to greet Fultz as they awaited his arrival patiently and were more than pleased to see him arrive in a black 76ers hat.

Earlier in the day, Joel Embiid tweeted out a picture of a locker with Fultz’s name already on it.

If that’s not enough to get Fultz to want to play in Philly, the rumor swirling is the 76ers are considering trading their No. 3 pick, the Lakers 2018 pick they possess, and their 2019 pick to the Celtics for the first pick in the draft on Thursday.

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THE RUMOR: The Spurs could be a legitimate option for Chris Paul as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and the rumblings about the point guard being interested are real.

Game Mens Mike Webster Jersey McCants was the No. 1 overall pick in the 3-on-3 league’s draft and will play on a team called Trilogy that is captained by Kenyon Martin and co-captained by Al Harrington. He played collegiately at North Carolina, was the 14th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, and spent four years in the NBA, mostly with the Timberwolves.

One of the reasons for McCants’ choice of shoe is his respect for the entrepreneurship of LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s controversial father.

McCants said on the BIG3 Show (via CBS Sports), Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way when you come out as strong as LaVar did, as convicted as he was and passionate, it rubs people the wrong way. And I salute him, and I’m going to be wearing those ZO2s when BIG3 starts and I’m going to be supporting him full strength.

I believe in entrepreneurship, I believe in breaking the mold, I believe in challenging the status quo and I think that that’s what he’s doing,McCants continued. He’s opening up a whole new lane for everyone to really realize that you can do your own thing. You don’t have to go sign with Nike. You don’t have to go sign with Under Armour. You can build your own shoe and wear your own shoe.

As of last week, however, the shoes, which are priced at $495 ($695 for sizes 14 and 15) still weren’t ready, CBS Sports notes. Lonzo didn’t even have a pair to wear when he worked out for the Lakers this week.

Womens Kayvon Webster Jersey Big Baller Brand has just over a week to get McCants his shoes. The BIG3’s 10-week season tips off Sunday, June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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It’s frustrating,’ Bell said. ‘This is different than the knee injury because on this one, I was in the game, I was playing. It was just, I couldn’t overcome it, I couldn’t be myself. Last year, I hurt my knee, I had to get surgery instantly, I couldn’t play anymore. Year before that, I couldn’t play. This one was just a little different because I got a taste of it, I was out there, I was playing, I just couldn’t be myself.’

When Bell is himself, he is arguably the best in the league. The Steelers just need him to be himself more often.

Houston needs to consider it, consider Keuchel is flanked by the following:

— Lance McCullers, Houston’s No. 2, is in the middle of a great start. He’s pitching to a 2.97 ERA and 1.105 WHIP this year. But McCullers is coming off an injury-riddled season himself, and has yet to pitch more than 22 games in a season at the major-league level — McCullers had 22 starts his rookie campaign, and another 14 last season. So, as McCullers has been good when he’s healthy, he doesn’t have the extensive resume as a starter to put the Astros’ minds at ease.

— Mike Fiers is pitching to a 4.84 ERA in 2017, almost full run higher than his career ERA (3.96) and hasn’t gone over six innings of work in any of his 12 starts this season. He’s set to turn 32 on June 15, and at this point has proven in his career that he’s probably not much better than a No. 4 starter.

— Charlie Morton is on the DL with a lat strain, and it’s unclear when he’ll return. Prior to the injury, he was pitching to a 4.06 ERA in 11 starts. Morton has never started 30 games a season, and is coming off a 2016 that saw him pitch only four games because of a torn hamstring.

— Joe Musgrove is nearing a return to the Astros’ rotation, but the 24-year-old has but 20 starts in his career, and a 1.425 WHIP in 2017. As a No. 5 starter, it’s nothing to really worry about, but with pitching depth wearing thin, the numbers weigh a bit heavier.
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Gary Kubiak may be gone as the Broncos’ coach, but he’s not forgotten.

Denver linebacker Von Miller wrote a tribute letter to his former coach, who stepped down Monday after two seasons with the Broncos because of health concerns.
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He was a leader who was believable, a man of high character who always had a plan, Miller said in the letter, which was published Tuesday at MMQB. He used to assign me what I call side missions after team meetings hed pull me aside and tell me what he needed from me that day, whether it was raising the intensity level at practice or heightening the focus on the details. I was excited and proud to be called on.

He won MVP honors for that performance (a Super Bowl-record 414 yards and two touchdowns) and was the NFL MVP that year as well.

Mens Ronnie Lott Jersey Warner won the league MVP award again two years later, although the Rams fell in the Super Bowl that year to the upstart New England Patriots and a young Tom Brady.

Warner also led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, where they lost to the Steelers.

On the down side, Warner’s career marks are not spectacular; he ranks 38th on the NFL’s career yardage list (32,344 yards), just behind Jay Cutler. He’s 35th on the all-time list with 208 TD passes again, tied with Jay Cutler.

NFL.com lists Warner as a top candidate for induction this year, saying, So much has been said and written regarding Warner’s mid-career lull. At this point, it’s a tired discussion. The bottom line: Warner owns a r??sum? that is very difficult for other players to match: two MVPs, a Super Bowl MVP and leading the Cardinals to the big game in 2008. Prior to that year, the franchise had won all of one playoff game since 1947. Read that line again. The dearth of locks — and quarterbacks — makes Warner a strong possibility.

Bottom line: Don’t be surprised to see Warner get the nod this Saturday evening. It’s a good bet @kurt13warner will share the news.

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Le’Veon Bell thinks he is changing the way running backs play in the NFL, much like how Stephen Curry has revolutionized the way basketball is played in the NBA.

I think I’m changing the game, Bell told Bleacher Report. In that sense, I’m what Steph Curry is to basketball. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think Steph Curry is the best basketball player, but he changed the game so he’s going to always go down as being remembered. Now, everyone wants to shoot the 3 and shoot it from deep.

After Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led a 13-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to give Green Bay a 32-26 lead with 3:58 remaining, Matt Ryan engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu.

‘You need those moments,’ Quinn said. ‘If we’re going to play really well at the end of the year, there’s going to be close games you’re going to have to battle and win. You need to be in those fights.’

The Falcons cruised to blowout wins over the Seahawks and Packers in the playoffs, but they aren’t expecting another easy victory against the Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

‘One of the things we’ve challenged our teams on is finish,’ Quinn said. ‘It’s those examples of finish that give you confidence moving forward.

‘I can think of no greater team that you better demonstrate finish against than New England. They’ve been outstanding at it.’

Montee Ball Jersey The Falcons were just 4-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less, but three of those losses came in the first seven weeks.

Quinn stressed the importance of being ‘prepared for those moments’ against the Patriots.

‘Having those kind of moments, I like being in those situations,’ Quinn said. ‘It’s not an uncomfortable feeling for us at the end when the game’s on the line.’

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Game Kids Guy Lapointe Jersey Damon Snacks Harrison has never been to the playoffs. Well, not in reality anyway.
I just won a Super Bowl last night on Madden with the Green Bay Packers. I go to the playoffs every year on Madden, so I have some playoff experience if guys want to talk to me and lean on me. The team looks a little different. I made some cuts, added some guys, edited some contracts so I could have some cap space. But I was using Rodgers pretty good on Madden, so hopefully I know some of his weaknesses, because you know Madden doesn’t lie.

Seven of Pittsburgh’s past eight first-rounders have been position players. If that trend holds 鈥?no guarantees, of course 鈥?Kendall is an excellent choice. He’s a three-year starter at Vandy, and he has 15 homers and 18 stolen bases heading into the SEC Tournament.

Elite Noah Spence Jersey From 2007-16, the Marlins made 12 first-round picks and they chose high school players 10 times (five pitchers, five hitters). Two elite prep lefties could be available here, Rogers 鈥?a 6-6 guy with low-90s heat 鈥?or D.L. Hall, from Georgia.

The Royals might not contend anytime soon, which means they have time to let an ultra-talented prep pitcher develop in their system.

The Blue Jays pick twice in the first 30 selections, here and at No. 28 (compensation for losing Edwin Encarnacion), which gives them options. They’ve leaned college lately, and if Warmoth is still here, the college hitter with a good glove might be too much to resist.

The Dodgers have gone with college players for five of their past seven first-rounders, but they’ve hit prep gold in the past with Corey Seager (2012) and Clayton Kershaw (2006). White is an outstanding college bat who could play first or corner infield.

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The Astros earned their 11th straight win Monday with a 7-3 victory over the Royals.

It seems as though a new Astros player steps up every day. This time, it was Brian McCann. Despite entering the game with just one hit in 19 at-bats since May 16, the veteran catcher went 2 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs, a double and three runs scored.

Game Youth Luke Joeckel Jersey Normally known as a pull hitter, Smoak has been working the ball to opposite field more often this season. His on-base percentage has jumped from .299 and .314, during his first two seasons with the Blue Jays, to a healthy .347 this year. Smoak’s slugging percentage, which reached a career-high in 2013 at .412, is now at .565.

Basically, he is doing everything right so far this season after struggling to make consistent contact with the ball during the first seven years of his MLB career.

Blues Jays fans likely thought the loss of Edwin Encarnacion would be a huge detriment to the lineup. But heading into Wednesday’s game, the new Indians slugger had just 10 home runs and 22 RBIs.

Smoak has not only been better than Encarnacion through the first two months-plus of the season, he is among the American League leaders in home runs and RBIs, and his 1.5 WAR is on pace to set a new career high.

Why: It’s difficult for managers to get in the Hall of Fame, with just 23 men enshrined as managers. For whatever reason, though, it’s been impossible thus far for coaches to get inducted, even if cases could be made for a variety of men from Mazzone and Sain to hitting guru Charlie Lau to Tony LaRussa’s longtime pitching coach, Dave Duncan.

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The competition for “best Super Bowl ever” is tight, and it’s not hostage to recency bias, since one of the biggest contenders was the game just two years ago, involving one of the teams that played Sunday night.

But when things happen that have never happened before in the long history of the game, that tilts the argument in favor of one game. The greatest comeback ever, the first overtime ever … they make the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl 51 No. 1.

It could be all let out now, in the next few days, by the time the parade in Boston is over and the streets swept up and the offseason gets into full swing.

All the hard feelings could be let out by then. Tom Brady has done a solid job of soft-pedaling all the revenge talk, right up to yet another awkward photo op with Goodell on Monday morning at the Super Bowl MVP award presentation. He got his version of the last word in that postgame commercial Sunday night.

Kraft has a team to run, fellow owners to bond with and a commissioner to work with against their real common enemies, the players.

Goodell has eaten all the crow he can stand by now. All the damage of the botched investigation has been done, and overcome.

It’s the perfect time and opportunity for Patriots fans to walk away, to assign this to the past. There will be another reason for some fans somewhere to grit their teeth about how this league is run soon enough.

But Deflategate will not be allowed to drift away. It will be anchored in place, ready for Goodell to catch another earful on opening night 2017.
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