DeMarcus Cousins sips Hennessy atop Mardi Gras float

Don’t worry.

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t letting his rough start with the Pelicans get him down too much.

While Boogie has yet to help lead New Orleans to a victory since being sent to the Crescent city prior to last week’s NBA trade deadline, he’s still out here winning in these 504 streets. He casually sipped from a bottle of Hennessy as he and new teammate and fellow Kentucky product Anthony Davis paraded through town on a Mardi Gras float on Fat Tuesday.

He may not have turned the Pelicans (23-37) around yet, but his turn up is definitely real.

Cousins is a true professional. After recording his 18th technical foul, Cousins is suspended for the Pelicans’ game Wednesday against the Pistons. He won’t be in action again until they host the Spurs Friday. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.

Wilt Chamberlain has a statue in Philadelphia, and all you have to do to see why is take a gander at the NBA record book, aka “The Wilt Chamberlain Story.” He owns almost all of the league’s major records, making Michael Jordan look like just another hoopster. As the gold standard, he deserved his statue.

The Sixers lowered the bar more than a few rungs when they honored Julius Erving with his likeness in bronze. So there’s always a chance that Iverson one day will get a statue. He’s already had his number 3 retired, justifiably, winning one MVP award and four scoring titles.

But he’s not one of the NBA’s immortals and when you’re talking about a statue, that is one of our prerequisites. No, it didn’t apply when Dominique Wilkins was cast in bronze by the Hawks, so there’s always a chance that the Sixers pay homage to Iverson. But other than his MVP season in 2001, he had no other top-three finishes in his career. He went to one Finals and didn’t win a ring. He’s also 24th all-time in scoring, but soon to be 25th with Carmelo Anthony closing in fast. We just don’t see bronze in AI’s future.broncos_117

The Blue Jays are far underperforming expectations this year

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Analysis (Rivera, Gatto): The Cubs’ front office is trying to create some mojo for its consistently inconsistent squad heading into the latter stages of the season. Justin Verlander has been very good this year aside from three very bad starts — nine runs allowed vs. Cleveland in April, six runs allowed vs. Houston in May and seven runs allowed vs. Cleveland in July.

With the money Verlander has left on his deal — $56 million over the next two seasons and a $22 million vesting option for 2020 — he’s going to be pricey, both in terms of payroll and prospects. An anonymous Cubs official told Gammons the money is prohibitive. That’s why Chicago reportedly inquired instead about the Tigers’ best young starters, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. The 24-year-old Fulmer, last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, would seemingly require a huge talent outlay, but the Cubs have that type of depth and appear to be willing to part with some of it.

Elite Kids Trey Flowers Jersey The Blue Jays are far underperforming expectations this year, and they have some very intriguing pieces to offer teams. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is one, and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is another. While the Jays still have boppers who can do damage in August and September, they’re probably best suited to sell, and moving Donaldson and/or Stroman would definitely bring back a hefty haul.

But now, after this resurgence, the Pirates might actually be able to get an acceptable return. It seems weird to say they need to strike while the iron’s hot for a guy who finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting four consecutive years — he won in 2013 — but that might be true. If they don’t move him before the July 31 non-waiver deadline and he struggles in August and September, the offseason market for McCutchen might not exactly be buzzing.

Joe Buck tells story about eating weed brownies, passing out at Cabo bar after hair plug surgery

Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck made headlines in 2011 when he revealed a virus developed in the nerves of his left vocal cord. Turns out, he made that up. The real reason he had trouble speaking was due to a hair plug procedure that went wrong.

Mens Brian Boyle Jersey What people also may not know is while recovering from the hair restoration procedure he was going through a divorce. He escaped to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to take some time off but ended up in another predicament.

Buck said on the Dan Le Batard Show Monday despite wanting to peacefully relax in Cabo, he ended up drinking tequila for most of the vacation and even ended up passing out at a bar after taking marijuana edibles.

My apathy is weird because, in theory, the Home Run Derby seems like something that would excite me, like the first televised spring training game of the year. Alas, my reaction to both is the same.

Normally, I love watching guys hit long homers. In real games, hit all the dingers you want. I’ll watch every one with glee. But it’s not the same in the Derby. The ooohs and aaahs are good for about five minutes of entertainment, then I’m ready for Netflix. There’s nothing at stake. It’s televised batting practice.

Mens James Hanna Jersey Am I wrong? Am I missing something?

Yes, good stories sometimes emerge at the Derby, such as Josh Hamilton’s big showing in 2008 or the anticipated Giancarlo Stanton-Aaron Judge clash Monday. But I just can’t get excited about it anymore. Maybe I’m in the minority, or maybe there’s a silent majority that agrees with me. Oh, I know! We’ll settle this with a highly scientific Twitter poll.

MLB trade rumors: Latest reports, rumored deals leading up to July 31 deadline

Rumors, rumors everywhere and not a drop to drink. Or something.

It’s like the month leading up to Christmas for baseball fans, and you know what that means: no shortage of rumors and high levels of anticipation for all.

The Browns have been deliberate during their latest offensive rebuild. It’s time for them to let it rip and not hold back at QB.

That means giving rookie second-pick DeShone Kizer a real chance to start immediately as their hopeful future franchise passer.
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There’s no doubt Cleveland drafted Kizer because of his immense potential with his arm and athleticism, something he didn’t fully reach while at Notre Dame under coach Brian Kelly. Talent-wise, even in his raw state, Kizer’s versatile skill set is more appealing than what both Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler can offer, now or later. The ability to quickly develop Kizer also is critical to tenure of coach Hue Jackson lasting beyond 2017.

I’ve got to go and find whatever field I can locate and hopefully the conditions are something I can learn from, said Tucker. To me, the most important thing is putting your foot on the sweet spot. The rest almost takes care of itself. You can fix a bad kick with good foot-to-ball contact pretty much any day of the week.

Braylon Edwards Kids Jersey Jose Altuve also pitched in, collecting three hits with a run scored. The diminutive second baseman is hitting .342 this season, and became the first player in Astros history with four straight three-hit games.

Altuve might be the best hitter in baseball not named Mike Trout, but rarely gets mentioned because of a perceived lack of power. If he keeps this pace up all season, he may win AL MVP.

Robin Lopez clears way for Bulls to go up 2-0 on Celtics

Robin Lopez tucked a few strands of his frizz under his well-worn Seattle Mariners cap and slapped on a stoic look, pretty much the same look he wears no matter the circumstances. He had cause for jubilation after the Bulls’ 111-97 drubbing of the Celtics in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series, but he was — as he so often is — less than jolly.

On its surface, DeMar DeRozan’s Game 4 performance wasn’t bad — he had 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. But a shooting guard who poses no threat from 3-point range is not an ingredient in a winning playoff recipe, and he went 0 for 2 from beyond the arc Sunday and 0 for 3 in the series. Also, with just 11 total fourth-quarter points in the four games against Cleveland (4 points on 2 of 7 in Game 4), he virtually disappeared when the Raptors needed him most.

Wizards guard John Wall put Boston’s Marcus Smart on skates as he scored the 23rd and 24th points of Washington’s 26-0 third-quarter run. Wall finished with 27 points and 12 assists in his team’s 121-102 victory.

Down three games to none to the mighty Dubs, Utah’s hopes are fading fast. The Jazz hung tough for most of Saturday night’s Game 3, but Golden State’s late fourth-quarter run that put Utah away had to be disheartening. We hate to disregard the importance of any playoff game, but a win by the Jazz on Monday will do little other than prolong their agony.falcons_015

the Hawks were unapologetic about where they stand.

Beats from Beyonce’s Sorry bounced off the walls of the Hawks’ locker room on Thursday evening. The team had just clinched the fifth seed in the East playoffs. In this position, if the Hawks survive and advance, they could avoid the Cavs until the Eastern Conference finals.

Much like Queen Bey’s lyrics, the Hawks were unapologetic about where they stand. Howard controlled the tunes and sang the refrain: I ain’t sorry.
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Mens Chad Kelly Jersey People been counting us out, Howard said. But all we gotta do is keep winning; y’all will come around if we just keep on winning games.

Schroeder, the mercurial fourth-year point guard leading the Hawks for the first time in his career, was even more defiant when asked about media doubts.

I saw Charles Barkley had said we weren’t going to make the playoffs, Schroeder said. I know they get paid to talk s—, so we aren’t worried.

Starting Sunday, the Hawks have the chance to prove everyone wrong again. It’s a far cry from where they were just ten days ago.

Even NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who called player rest an extremely significant issue said earlier this month that the analytics are there: I only say this is a complex issue because many of our coaches have pointed out that as disappointing as it is for any individual fan on a night where a player is rested, if we all came to the point where we accepted the science (and) the medical data supports genuine resting as improving performance and prolonging careers and reducing injuries, I think we’d all have to agree that it does make sense at certain points in the season to rest players.

The argument will likely be pushed aside during the playoffs since players aren’t resting now, but expect this to be a major topic in the offseason.

Jae Crowder must rise to challenge, or Cavs-Celtics series won’t last long

The Cavs have their Big Three — four-time All-Stars Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and that one kid from Akron, Ohio, all household names. The Celtics have the Value Brand equivalent in burgeoning bona fide superstar Isaiah Thomas, a reinvigorated Al Horford and Avery Bradley, a defensive specialist who’s expanding his offensive arsenal before our eyes in the postseason.

Limited Womens Dan Fouts Jersey Despite being the No. 1 seed, Boston, set to host Cleveland in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, is the underdog. The Celtics aren’t anyone’s Washington Generals, but you might locate ice water in Hell before you find someone who thinks they’ll actually win the series. If the Celtics plan on being anything more than a speed bump as the Cavaliers, undefeated in the playoffs, cruise to a third-straight Finals appearance, it’s going to be incumbent upon an even lesser known starter, fourth-year small forward Jae Crowder, to show up and show out out like never before.

Crowder could be the most important supporting player on both ends of the floor for a team whose bench produced 48 points in a Game 7 win against the Wizards on Monday.

Limited Womens D’Qwell Jackson Jersey Thomas was bolstered all year by marquee free-agent signee Al Horford (16 points, six rebounds, five assists Monday).They’re the stars here. But in this game, as much as any of the Celtics’ wins in this series, the seldom-matched efficiency of the Celtics’ roster turnaround was on display. This performance can be chalked up to Boston’s depth.

NBA teams can take a decade or more to find the right mix to pull off a rebuild. The Celtics didn’t rebuild as much as they opted for a quick flip, a task they completed with a pull-away, 115-105 win over the Wizards in Game 7 of the East semifinals on Monday night at home.

As important will be how Harden handles his new teammate

This is not an Xs and Os question, though there are valid concerns about how the Rockets will find enough touches for both Paul and Harden, two ball-dominant guards. D’Antoni’s offensive credentials are well-established, and given the pace his teams employ, there will be plenty of possessions to split. But working both Paul and Harden into an offense will be a challenge.

As important will be how Harden handles his new teammate. We saw, already, how things went when Harden was paired with Dwight Howard, an experiment that ended when Howard hit free agency last summer. Howard and Harden had an ever-deteriorating relationship, and their locker room tension spilled over onto the court, sending a team that had won 56 games and earned a spot in the conference finals to a 41-41 record.
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But Howard bore at least as much responsibility for that mess as Harden. Howard’s history of setting flame to team chemistry is well-known, going back to Orlando, then on to the Lakers, Houston and again last season in Atlanta. Maybe if Harden was a better leader, he could have more successfully integrated Howard into the Rockets’ fold. But that’s a tall task for any player.

Authentic Kids Cedric Peerman Jersey Once Howard was gone, though, there were still teammate concerns about Harden, and that has to worry the Rockets. They only have one year for certain with Paul, who agreed to opt in on the final year of his contract and delay free agency.

While the veteran is viewed as and paid like a stopgap starter, the Bears would be fools not to at least give the rookie a chance in an open competition for the job this year. Trubisky was drafted so high because the Bears believe he can and will be their longtime starter — no need to delay the inevitable if he proves immediately capable.

The good news for whoever starts at quarterback: A strong running game should take away some of the production burden.

DeAngelo Williams faceplants in pro wrestling debut

DeAngelo Williams’ pro wrestling debut could have ended his football season before it started.

During his Sunday night appearance on Slammiversary XV, the veteran NFL running back faceplanted on the mat after leaping off the ropes to bodyslam his opponent.

Williams, 34, has spent his last two seasons in Pittsburgh but remains on the free-agent market after the Steelers didn’t offer him a new contract this offseason. The former Panther, who is Carolina’s all-time leading rusher, amassed 1,735 total yards and 17 touchdowns in 25 games during his tenure with the Steelers.

For its annual rankings, Sporting News is rating only 31 NFL general managers ahead of the 2017 season.

This is not an intentional homage to the acknowledged master of personnel management, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick, which was given in our annual head coach rankings. This is in recognition of one of the latest executive beheadings in recent memory.

Thanks to whatever went down in Kansas City that did in John Dorsey less than a month before training camp, at the deadest point of the offseason, as of this ranking there were only 31 GMs employed by 32 teams. Fun!

That doesn’t affect the top of the rankings, which are based on tangible and intangible criteria and spans their entire bodies of work. The No. 1 ranking, again, should not be a surprise.warriors_009-115x115

NBA Draft 2017: Celtics GM Danny Ainge sounds off on Josh Jackson

The Celtics are thrilled to have Jayson Tatum on their roster, but team GM and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge was also excited to get some things off his chest at his presser after the NBA draft Thursday night.

He was quick to speak of his disdain for the way former Kansas forward Josh Jackson treated the Celtics prior to the draft as he cancelled a workout when Ainge, Boston head coach Brad Stevens and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren who got up early to fly out just to see him play.
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Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings each hit three-run home runs and Zack Godley (3-1) pitched into the eighth inning as Arizona topped the Rockies, 10-3. Goldschmidt finished with three hits and four RBIs to increase his season total to 64, best in the majors.

Addison Russell had four of the Cubs’ 16 hits, including a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored as Chicago routed the Marlins, 11-1.

Brad Marchand Authentic Jersey Miguel Sano went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and three runners left on base against the White Sox as the Twins were shut out for the first time this season after a 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay. It was a rough day for Twins reliever Nik Turley, who allowed five runs on six hits, using 33 pitches to record just two outs.

Angels (38-38) at Red Sox (40-32), 7:10 p.m. ET 鈥?Boston will retire David Ortiz’s No. 34 Friday night in what is expected to be an emotional ceremony for Big Papi. The pitching matchup in the series-opening game will feature the slumping Rick Porcello (3-9, 5.05 ERA) against Angels right-hander Alex Meyer (3-3, 3.52 ERA).