Month: July 2017

NFL Week 1 schedule and TV coverage

The NFL preseason is over, and now the meaningful games finally are set to start. The NFL season kicks off Sept. 7 with a marquee AFC matchup, while the rest of the weekend features a few interesting divisional battles.

The Chiefs and Patriots start the season Thursday night on NBC. Tom Brady faces Alex Smith for the first time after the Patriots downed the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in the divisional playoffs two seasons ago.

Thursday’s matchup looks like the best game of the weekend, though there are plenty of other great Sunday matchups. Seahawks vs. Packers looks to be the highlight of the Sunday afternoon games, while NBC’s Sunday night game pits the Giants against the Cowboys.

On Monday night, newly-signed Saints running back Adrian Peterson returns to Minneapolis to take on his former team. Then a matchup between the Chargers and Broncos will set the tone in the AFC West.

It’s hard to imagine the NBA under those rules.

Five teams used the core designation this offseason, meaning their other restricted free agents (beside the “core player”) will be unrestricted. The result: The much-anticipated offseason in which there should be a lot of talented free agents available.

Delle Donne — described by The Times as “the first WNBA star at her high level of play and prime age to switch teams” — just won’t be among them.

Hawkins entered the NFL in 2011 with the Bengals and played three seasons in Cincinnati, then three in Cleveland before signing with the Patriots in May. He finishes his NFL career with 209 catches for 2,419 yards and nine touchdowns.t_rangers_007-115x115

Patrick Ewing comes home to Hoyas for opportunity NBA never gave him

Kenny Stabler Authentic Jersey Congratulations to Georgetown for giving Patrick Ewing what the NBA never did.

Authentic Kids Demetrius Harris Jersey No, not a championship. A chance to be a head coach.

That’s the one dark cloud in the sunny skies over the return of Georgetown’s greatest player to take over his alma mater in its time of need. This should not be Ewing’s first head-coaching job.

The Wizards struck the first deal of the day, landing the Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic to add needed bench depth. It cost them Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a lottery protected first-round pick. The Wizards also added Chris McCollough, who isn’t likely to see any court time. Bogdonovic becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season, while Nicholson is playing under the first year of a four-year, $26 million deal. Thornton is expected to be waived, per the Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks for Tiago Splitter, a 2017 second-round pick via Miami, and a 2017 second-round pick swap with Atlanta. Ilyasova wasn’t a part in the Sixers’ rebuild process, and instead they’ll gain another draft pick, and move up in the second round using their own. The two players’ contracts are set to expire at the end of the season, and are essentially a wash.

The Bulls want Crowder in any deal for Butler, but Boston is hesitant to part ways with a quality forward on an extremely cap-friendly contract, per’s David Aldridge. Chicago is under no pressure to ship Butler, and is unlikely to send him if isn’t the right deal.

James himself had expressed minor anxiety about the Cavs’ struggles

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg helped Washington begin the second half of the season with a four-game sweep of the Reds. Strasburg struck out 11 and walked just one while giving up one run off four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory in Cincinnati. Helping to give Strasburg plenty of run support were Ryan Zimmerman, who went 3 for 5 with a solo homer, and Bryce Harper, who hit a three-run home run as part of a two-hit day.
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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton went 2 for 3 with a pair of monster homers in Miami’s 6-5 win over the Phillies. Stanton was also walked twice, but the Marlins needed a Dee Gordon single in the 10th for a walk-off win. Gordon had three hits, including the game-winner.
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James himself had expressed minor anxiety about the Cavs’ struggles, but he mostly shrugged off the notion of Eastern Conference threats and the idea this game represented a big one for his team.

I’m sorry, he said Tuesday. I’ve been to six straight Finals, man. I’m the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. Sorry.

He’s right. James has been a postseason force in recent years. His playoff averages for the last six seasons have been 27.2 points on 48.9 percent shooting, with 9.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

For the advanced-stat crowd, he has led the postseason in VORP (value over replacement player) in all six postseasons, and in box score plus-minus in the last five. He has led the playoffs in win shares in five of the last six years. That’s how you get to all those Finals. When his teams — the Heat, and now the Cavs — have needed him, James has been at his best.

Timberwolves working to sign Andrew Wiggins to $148M extension, report says

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Acquiring guard Andrew Wiggins in 2014 was the first step the Timberwolves took to relevancy, jumping them to the top of the NBA’s up-and-coming teams.

By adding Karl Anthony-Towns the next year in the draft and Jimmy Butler via trade a month ago, the Timberwolves are now a force to be reckoned with. And they apparently want to remain that way for years to come by signing their talented young players for the foreseeable future.

Wiggins is the first up for an extension, and the Timberwolves have plans to get that done soon, according to ESPN.

We’re working on it right now, team president Tom Thibodeau said at an introductory press conference for Jamal Crawford.

The former University of Kansas guard is locked up through the 2018-19 season, and the extension is for five years worth some $148 million, ESPN reported.

Elite Kids Roberto Aguayo Jersey Wiggins averaged a career-high 23.6 points in 2016-17 and added 2.3 assists per game.

Tucker might be the surest bet to be moved on Thursday of any player on the market. He is in the final year of his contract, he can be a solid wing defender for a contending team and he won’t cost much either in salary (final year of a deal paying $5.3 million) or assets needed to acquire him.

It’s that last aspect that has Phoenix sitting tight until late in the game. Ultimately, they’d like a first-round pick in return for Tucker, even a future first-rounder that they can package in a trade down the line. But because Tucker is mostly likely a rental, teams that are interested in him have been reluctant to part with a pick. The hope for the Suns is that the horde of teams interested in Tucker 鈥?Utah, Boston, the Clippers, Denver, Minnesota, Atlanta, Chicago 鈥?will wind up creating enough bidding as the deadline approaches to convince some team to give up a first-rounder.

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.