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Archives for: July 30, 2017

Jaguars wanted fans to show excitement, got disappointment instead

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The 2017 NFL season is soon upon us with training camp underway at several locations. Most fans are excited about a fresh start, beginning the year at 0-0 with a season full of possibilities. But Jaguars fans know better, as they’ve been through several miserable seasons.

The last time Jacksonville made the playoffs was in 2007, and there’s not much hope for them to make it in 2017. Sporting News predicts a 5-11 season, placing last in the AFC South. But while the rest of us realize the Jaguars likely won’t go far this year, the team isn’t giving up hope.

Jacksonville’s social team decided it would be a good idea to get fans hyped by having them respond with GIFs of their excitement.

Good idea, in theory, but it turned out to be a disaster. That’s because Jacksonville fans are a special breed, and they are always prepared for disappointment. So the Jaguars’ strategy didn’t exactly go according to plan.

“Devers’ signature tool is his prodigious power to all fields, the product of impressive bat speed and strength. He’s more than just a slugger, however, which he proved yet again with his ability to make adjustments in high Class A. While he can get aggressive at the plate, he recognizes pitches well for his age and understands he’s at his best when he tries to drive the ball from gap to gap and just lets his power come naturally.t_rangers_016-115x115

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Tom Thibodeau’s young Timberwolves can’t afford to skip steps on path to success

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Elite Kids Johnthan Banks Jersey Tom Thibodeau is rattling off the right platitudes. His team is not focusing on the standings, not concerning itself about the playoff chase, a chase that is increasingly looking like it will begin and end with Denver. The Timberwolves are, disappointingly, a sub-mediocre Western Conference team, and Thibodeau’s assertion is that they should be aspiring to mediocrity before concerning themselves with bigger things like playoff seeds.

(The postseason) makes it interesting, I think for everybody, Thibodeau said this week. For us, I want us to establish a routine. I think if you look ahead and you skip over steps, that is how you slip. I don’t want that. I want them to understand where we are and I want them to understand what goes into winning each game and how you prepare. So, that shouldn’t change.
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But with the elbow injury, Wade’s future in Chicago is now in question. He signed with the Bulls last summer after a bitter breakup with the Heat, taking a two-year contract worth $47.5 million — but with a player option for next season. In explaining why he went to Chicago over his chief other suitor, the Nuggets, Wade pointed to his roots in Chicago and his ability to help his hometown.

He also wanted to close out his career in relative happiness, however. There hasn’t been a lot of that in Chicago’s turmoil-stricken season, with the Bulls limping toward the finish line one game out of the playoff picture. Tensions between players and the coaching staff have bubbled up all season, and the Bulls locker room has been a fractious place.

If Wade came into the year intent on leading a group that needed a strong voice in the locker room, he — like the rest of the Bulls — came up short.

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Waiters couples that with the ability to take defenders off the dribble.

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Waiters has been even better if you isolate those numbers to just the last two months. Since Jan. 17, when the Heat won the first of 13 straight games, he’s shooting 47.6 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. That’s not far off of Stephen Curry’s success rate on the same shots last season (48.8 percent) when he broke his own 3-point record. Considering it has made up a quarter of Waiters’ offense during that time, his consistent shooting has become a huge weapon for Dragic and the Heat. It’s also a nice change of pace from Dwyane Wade, who attempted 16 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers as their shooting guard last season.

Waiters couples that with the ability to take defenders off the dribble. Only five players are currently averaging more drives per game: Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Schroder, John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Dragic. Waiters scores the least amount of points from drives out of that group, but he’s second to Dragic in passes per game. He leads that group in assists off drives as well with 1.4 per game while posting the second lowest turnover rate.

Elite Matt Niskanen Jersey There were just eight teams in 1900, during a short stretch in baseball history when the National League was the sport’s only major circuit. In eras of contraction, great players will remain, while a lot of fringe players get pushed out. Thus, the percentage of Hall of Famers will be up in years like these, though the total number of Hall of Fame hitters from 1900 is fairly consistent with most of the other years on the list.

Elite Youth Peter Forsberg Jersey Many fans blame Cardinals second baseman Frankie Frisch for the gross over-representation of 1930s players in Cooperstown, due to his serving on the Veterans Committee in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and advocating for a number of teammates to go in. Frisch wasn’t shy in the late ‘60s about telling news reporters that he considered his generation of baseball superior.

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Carmelo Anthony mocked for excessive fur after Knicks beat Pacers

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The Pacers and Knicks played Tuesday night in New York despite a heavy snowstorm, so Carmelo Anthony prepared himself for the wintry embrace after the game.

Bringing warm clothing was a smart choice for Anthony, but he probably wasn’t prepared to become a meme overnight. After photos emerged of him in the locker room wearing a fur hat to go with his giant fur coat, Twitter brought out the jokes.
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They’re stuck with each other, at least for another two months. But if the events of the last few weeks are any indication, it’s time that Jackson and Anthony get together and hammer out an understanding that allows them to continue productively in New York (a longshot) or paves the way for Anthony to land elsewhere this summer.

There is not a burgeoning market for an aging, ball-stopping volume scorer like Anthony, at least not unless he and the Knicks can find a destination that can identify a team that would welcome Anthony into its offense with an understanding that he would be more of a power-forward, role-player option (as he did in the Olympics) than a 20-plus-point scorer.
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It is going to take a lot of convincing to get Anthony to accept that he would be better off finishing his career with a reduced role on a contender than starring on a spiraling Knicks team. But it is the only way for the Knicks and Anthony to come out with a positive mutual breakup. It didn’t happen at the deadline, however, and it will be tough to work out this spring.

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Lakers’ Lonzo Ball to miss Summer League finale with calf strain

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The Lakers will be without Lonzo Ball as they close their Summer League play.

The Los Angeles rookie sensation will miss Monday’s championship game against the Trail Blazers in Las Vegas with a mild calf strain in his right leg, the team announced.

Ball initially suffered the injury in the Lakers’ Summer League Tournament semifinal win over the Mavericks on Sunday, which was the team’s fifth game in six nights. He left during the third quarter and did not return to the court.

The team was optimistic Ball would be able to play in Monday’s finale, but were also expected to proceed with caution.

Ball, 19, leads the Summer League in assists (9.3) and ranks third in steals (2.5). The former UCLA standout and No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft is also averaging 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Unlike Westbrook and James, Durant has never been the primary ball handler on a team. It may sound weird considering Durant averages 27.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for his career, but he’s always shared the court with another high usage player.

Consider: Westbrook had a higher usage rating every season he was with Durant in Oklahoma City except for when Westbrook was a rookie and Durant a sophomore. While that much is to be expected considering Westbrook is a point guard and Durant is a small forward, Harden’s situation is unique because he is the primary ball handler for the Rockets despite the fact he is a “shooting guard.” Even now, Durant (27.7 percent) is between Stephen Curry (29.8 percent) and Klay Thompson (25.9 percent) in usage rating on the Warriors. Imagine if he initiated the offense every trip down the floor like Harden does.steelers_124

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Yankees’ trade for Frazier, Robertson could give old-school jolt to Red Sox rivalry

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Maybe Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle can help deliver what’s been missing from the AL East for a full decade — an honest-to-goodness, down-to-the-wire AL East race between the Yankees and Red Sox.
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Mens Andrew Nicholson Jersey All of these measures were being taken in the name of keeping the game moving, of ensuring nine-inning contests stay in the magical 2-hour, 30-minute range, of keeping bored fans’ noses out of their phones for more than a few seconds.

Let’s go back to the top of this column: Why does it even matter how long it takes to play a game? Why did time of game even become a thing in the sport’s early days? Did clubs want to entice 20th century fans by telling them they could spend just an hour or two at the park? Or was the exercise a fruit of the sport’s obsession with bookkeeping?

In my case, it was the latter.

The contest I watched went 11 innings. The final score was 4-3. Time of the game: 2 hours, 57 minutes.

Of the 13 home runs he has hit off of fastballs, which can also be affected by lowered seams, pitchers missed their spot 11 times, while six pitches would have hit the glove had Judge not put a charge into them.

Here’s the thing though, with all of that being said and all of the conjecture about juiced baseballs in MLB this season, his power surge this year can be explained by one simple thing: analytics are aiding the Yankee star, and not any analytics the Yankees are encouraging him to pay attention to.

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Both cities should eventually be home to Major League Baseball

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Why it makes sense: Downtown Nashville is radically different from even a few years ago and continues to grow. It’s close enough to several major league cities as to be convenient, but far enough away that no existing fan bases would be hindered by a new team there.

Why it might not happen: It’s a parallel story to Charlotte, with a new minor league park, but Nashville is a smaller market. Both cities should eventually be home to Major League Baseball, but a more likely scenario is many more years down the road for Music City.

But there’s a large contingent of Giants fans on talk radio, social media, and comment sections that is wary of seeing Bumgarner return so soon after his accident. In the middle of what’s been the worst season the franchise has experienced in more than a century, the Giants are playing for nothing more than pride in the second half. The rest of the month will be spent examining the roster and scanning the trade market to see whether there are any deals to be made that would help the club in both the short and long-term.

Does it make sense, then, for the Giants to bring Bumgarner back now, especially when he’d be returning almost a full month earlier than initial estimates suggested? Would it be better for all parties involved if the Giants gave their ace a few more rehab starts to find himself before putting him back into the big league rotation?
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Limited Youth Kiko Alonso Jersey Nolan Arenado, another underrated player, went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, a home run and five RBIs in a 12-4 win over the White Sox. Arenado is now batting .302 this season to go with his immense power.

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Watch: De’Aaron Fox turns heads in summer league debut for Kings

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Shortly after Lonzo Ball missed all but two of the 15 shots he took in his summer league debut for the Lakers on Friday night, De’Aaron Fox dazzled in his first appearance for the Kings.

While Sacramento lost to the Suns 89-85 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Fox went for 18 points (7-for-16 from the field), four assists, three rebounds, five steals and a block in 27 minutes.

The NFL tightened the regulations of touchdown celebrations last year, only to relax the rules in May. Now players can celebrate, as long as the celebrations are not vulgar.

According to Witten, dancing is good for the league and helps make games fun for people of all ages.

Our game is at an all-time high, he said. My kids watch it. I know a lot of guys, even in this locker room are really good at it. I enjoy seeing it and I get a laugh out of it.

Game Mens Akiem Hicks Jersey You never want to lose the fun of it. I think they got to draw the line. The league’s in a tough spot in a lot of ways. But you never want to see the kid in these players when they make these plays lose sight of that.

Game Mens Jacquies Smith Jersey Hopefully they’ll be able to find a boundary there and allow these guys to still entertain and do what they like to do.

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LeBron James’ first-round perfection does not mean he’s immortal

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What was the craziest thing about LeBron James’ Sunday afternoon? Was it the chase-him-down rejection he pulled off in the first half against Indiana’s Thaddeus Young? Was it that beat-the-clock 3-pointer to give his Cavaliers the lead for good and eventually a sweep of the Pacers? Was it that James failed, when asked, to remember the last time he’d lost a first-round NBA playoff game?

It’s hard to say because A) James still is a ridiculous athlete and ferocious competitor, B) He’s an improving shooter who always has had a taste for the big moment and C) It has been a while.

Olynyk had figured the Celtics were ripe for a game like this. In their six-game slog against Chicago, the Celtics struggled to convert 3-point attempts, making only 33.9 percent. On Sunday, they were 19 of 39 against the Wizards, a franchise record for made 3s in a playoff game.

“We just weren’t making them against Chicago, for whatever reason,” Olynyk said. “The percentage is going to even out because we were due to make a bunch of them. You saw a lot of good ball movement and you saw a lot of them go in.”

Olynyk had some good moments in the series against the Bulls, but as has so often been the case in his four years with the Celtics, those moments were balanced by bungles and foibles, missed defensive assignments and trainwreck drives to the basket. Such is life with Olynyk. This could be a critical playoff run in terms of Olynyk’s future with the Celtics — he is a restricted free agent this summer and has not shown enough progress this season to make him a sure bet to return.

That’s a problem for four months from now, though. On Sunday, there was far more positive than negative, and the plusses came at exactly the right time for the Celtics. They put up huge numbers in Game 1, but that might not have happened had Olynyk not snapped them out of their early funk.

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Celtics expect Isaiah Thomas to play in Game 2 vs. Bulls

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Isaiah Thomas participated in the Celtics’ afternoon shootaround Monday and coach Brad Stevens says he expects the All-Star guard to play Tuesday against the Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoff series, ESPN reported.
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Thomas, whose sister Chyna, 22, died in a one-car accident near Seattle over the weekend, is expected to join his family in Washington after Game 2 in Boston.

His plan, as of right now, and, again, subject to him changing if he wants, is that he’ll be here [Tuesday] night and then will go to Tacoma after, Stevens said. So either after the game [Tuesday] night or Wednesday morning.

Amazon owns the popular video game streaming website Twitch, and by connecting a Prime account to a Twitch account there are numerous benefits provided, including bonus in-game loot every month, ad-free viewing, and a free channel subscription. This marks the first time that a major sports game has been involved in the digital giveaways.

Prime subscribers receive 75,000 VC, which would normally cost $20. The MyTeam pack, which is used with the game’s card-collecting mode, will contain a guaranteed Sapphire or Moments card, which are among the more rare and valuable types of cards available.

Womens Mike Fisher Jersey While this is a great promotion for Amazon Prime’s Twitch features, which first rolled out last year, it’s also an opportunity for NBA 2K17 to keep current players invested in the game after seven months and draw in some new players who may end up spending money in the revenue-generating MyTeam mode. The free VC and card pack will be available to claim through May 22.

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