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Sports News Headlines: The Lastest NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB News

Category Archives: NFL Football

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

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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Justin Verlander’s strikeout streak ends at 331 games

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Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander failed to register a strikeout Sunday against the Indians, snapping a streak of 331 games of striking out at last one batter.

Verlander’s streak was tied with Curt Schilling’s as the sixth-longest with a K since 1913, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). The last time Verlander took the mound without striking out a batter was April 28, 2007, against the Twins.

Justin Verlander’s streak of 331 straight starts with a strikeout was snapped today.

Verlander lasted less than four innings in Sunday’s 11-8 loss to the Indians. He gave up two runs in the second inning, two more in the third, and with one out in the fourth, he was pulled after giving up a run-scoring single to Edwin Encarnacion.

Verlander’s statline Sunday vs. Cleveland: 3.1 innings pitched, 9 hits, 7 earned runs, three walks and zero Ks.

In accordance with the 2017 Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with the NFL communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game; and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a Saturday game.

Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with the NFL communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Sunday game, Saturday for a Monday game, and Thursday for a Saturday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player’s condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed.
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Why Draymond Green, the NBA’s best defender, is at his best when guarding nobody

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Before the NBA playoffs began, I listed 31 set plays and player quirks that these 16 teams use that you need to look closely to discover. Call them the Easter Eggs or the cheat sheet of the NBA Playoffs. Click the link to learn more about them. Each night, I’ll round up examples of those 31 set plays and examples of other interesting plays or player quirks that you may have missed.

By now, you may have seen the clip of Draymond Green guarding all five Blazers players on one third-quarter possession of the Warriors’ Game 3 win on Saturday. If not, here it is, via Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Now, with Rivers out of the picture, Ballmer will be left on his own to find a replacement general manager—someone whose vision for the franchise will determine a coaching hire and this summer’s roster moves, shaping the next half-decade of Clipper basketball. Even if you don’t trust Doc Rivers to be that guy anymore, I’m not sure that we trust Ballmer to bring in the right man for the job in a market that is murky at best.

There’s one clear-cut big-time NBA executive who is going to be available, and Steve Ballmer can offer him a contending roster, the greatest city on the planet, and a really big salary. When push comes to shove, Ballmer will write whatever check is necessary to lure David Griffin to Los Angeles. Griffin has had success building make-shift rosters around the Cavaliers’ maximum-salary players, and he’ll face a similar predicament with LAC. nike_steelers_954

he recently had a tryout at the WWE Performance Center.

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Ryan Switzer is the 5’8 firecracker of a wide receiver who made a name for himself by doing one thing exceedingly well while playing at North Carolina.

Punt to him. I triple-dog dare ya. Sure, he only ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, but Switzer’s fast. Anyone who’s ever tried to chase him down on punt returns will attest to that.

Before that, he really wanted to be a Cowboy. In February, the Arlington, Texas, native sent a video to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, asking him to trade up.

“I’m speaking to you, Jerry,” Garrett said. “Mr. [Jason] Garrett, make it happen. Dak Prescott leads our team right now. I need you to take Tony Romo, take a couple picks, and give them to Cleveland so you can pick me up. Please, I’d love to play in Dallas; just make it happen.”

Sometimes matchups between bad teams make for the wildest games, like the “kick-six” game between the Browns and Ravens on a Monday night in 2015. But for the most part, games like these are snoozers. Luckily for fans, the league didn’t force this game into a primetime slot.

It didn’t help that the Colts shoehorned Werner, a traditional 4-3 end, into a 3-4 outside role, but he still didn’t do anything to justify his draft stock, with just 6.5 sacks in three seasons. Indy released Werner in 2016 and he announced his retirement this past January.

With football done, it looks like Werner is giving pro wrestling a shot — he recently had a tryout at the WWE Performance Center.
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13 things from the 2017 NFL owners meeting you might have missed

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The 2017 NFL Annual Meeting united owners, head coaches, and a gaggle of media members eager to fill the ovoid hole in Americans’ collective hearts this week. While some of the league’s new ventures generated 32-point headlines — farewell, Oakland, hello Las Vegas — many more slipped under the radar as team executives plowed through a litany of interviews and reporter requests.

Relocation and a handful of rules aimed at making the game safer weren’t the only notable pieces to come out of Phoenix. Nearly every team tipped their hands as to what the upcoming season holds, whether it’s cutting veterans, adding free agents, or potential players they’ll target through the draft.

We sifted through those unscripted comments and off-the-cuff remarks to break down some of the most interesting tidbits that fans may have overlooked.

Tony Romo goes on Survivor and gets voted off the island first, because he tries to throw a football at a palm tree to get the coconuts down and he misses three times in a row. — Charlotte Wilder

It’s CBS’s view that millennials ruined hard-hitting TV journalism so things have got to change. One thing is certain: 60 Minutes will never be the same again.

The entire show is being reworked as new host Tony Romo will watch game film from 2006 for a full hour and offer useful commentary tidbits along the way. If you though you loved the exposées of the past just wait until you’re getting walked through the Cowboys’ 21-14 win over the Colts from Week 11. — James Dator

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Maybe this was the boost the Browns finally needed to escape the gravity of their own black hole.

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Trading Osweiler is an option, just not a very reasonable one. Adam Schefter reported teams began inquiring about the QB’s availability not long after the trade was swung, but it’s tough to imagine many other teams willing to accept Osweiler’s albatross of a contract while sending the Browns an asset in return. No matter what, they’ll have to clear out a logjam of aerial mediocrity before rebuilding the position from the ground up.

A franchise that’s offered few reasons for optimism in the past has a foundation to build from and the opportunity to get things right after a handful of shrewd moves over the past season.

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The salt had been missing for a little while. Between the 1997 Liberty Bowl win over Pitt and the end of 2015, USM still collected power conference pelts — Alabama in 2000, Oklahoma State a couple of times, Nebraska, NC State, etc. — but none were particularly good. Only one (8-5 Virginia in 2011) finished with a winning record.

Southern Miss began to turn into a typical mid-major, beating lesser teams, losing to better ones, and providing minimal chaos. And following the 2011 C-USA championship season, the Golden Eagles collapsed, going 4-32 between 2012-14. Todd Monken led a nine-win turnaround and a C-USA title game appearance in 2015, but he left for an NFL assistant job.

It’s up to Jay Hopson, then, to bring the salt back. And if 2016 is any indication, this could be pretty fun. The former Ole Miss defensive back, Southern Miss defensive coordinator, and Alcorn State head coach knows the territory, and in his first year, the Golden Eagles beat an SEC bowl team (Kentucky) and lost to Charlotte and North Texas.

2017 NFL Combine: 9 questions that need to be answered in Indianapolis

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The NFL Scouting Combine starts in Indianapolis this week, and the whirlwind of workout drills and interviews will give some clarity to the offseason leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft. That is, of course, if the following key questions can get answered.

How tall is Mitch Trubisky?

Ballard echoed this sentiment. “I just want to flip the coin.”

And flip they did.

The Eagles will get the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, via the Vikings. The Colts get the 15th pick. Howie Roseman was very happy about it and awkwardly fist bumped someone in the audience to celebrate.

That was probably the most entertaining part of the whole deal.

“Very anticlimactic,” the lady standing next to me said when it was over, and she was right.

That wasn’t true for all of the fans watching. Diehard Eagles fan Mike Myselinski traveled all the way to Indianapolis from Philadelphia to bring his sons to the Combine, and he truly enjoyed the coin toss, even though he didn’t know in advance that it was happening.

“I didn’t know until we were standing in line, and I heard ‘Coin toss, Vikings and Colts,’ and I said to him, ‘That’s the Eagles’ pick! That’s the Eagles.’”

Myselinski and his sons, Luke and Jack, also got to meet Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman right after the coin toss, which made it special for them.

The NFL is pushing hard to sell the “Combine experience” to fans in Indianapolis this week. And like watching the coin toss, except for a few Eagles and Colts fans, it’s mostly been a whole lot of fanfare with very little payoff.

The Panthers needed another wide receiver for Cam Newton, and they got one when they drafted Funchess

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Player you’ll be buzzing about: WR Devin Funchess — The Panthers needed another wide receiver for Cam Newton, and they got one when they drafted Funchess. He’s a big, capable receiver who could end up being Newton’s favorite target this season.

What to watch: The NFC South will be up for grabs this season, and the Panthers simply need to execute better to ensure they’ll take the title again. They have a talented roster from top to bottom, though there are battles to be solved along the offensive line, at wide receiver, defensive end and outside linebacker. Where the Panthers wind up playing Shaq Thompson — he can play safety or linebacker — is something on which to keep an eye.

Most important position battle: Defensive end — The Panthers haven’t found a way to replace Greg Hardy’s production, but they’re hoping Kony Ealy, Frank Alexander and Wes Horton can try to get them there.

Nope. Nope, nope, and nope. The Spurs are 33-9, third in points allowed per possession and fourth in offensive efficiency. The bench whips the ball around as if Boris Diaw were still there. Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili have a special mind-meld, and when your two lead ball handlers dish and move like they do, the vibe is infectious. Nobody stands still. Jonathon Simmons has seen it up close for two years now, and both David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon have fit right in on the bench mob — one expert passer, one above-the-rim finisher type the Spurs haven’t had in a while. (Lee may have to start for a bit with Gasol nursing a broken finger.)

The starting five has always been able to slow things down and pound the ball to Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. But now that they’re more comfortable with Gasol, they can pivot into a slower, calmer version of that whirring Spursy hyperactivity. Gasol and Aldridge are on fire from midrange, Danny Green has rediscovered his stroke, and Kawhi Leonard … my god, Kawhi Leonard.

Jameis Winston struggles, finishes strong in preseason debut

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The last time Jameis Winston played in a football game, his Florida State Seminoles were walloped in the Rose Bowl. The stakes were a lot lower when Winston stepped onto the field Saturday night for his first game as a Buccaneer, and he finished strongly after a sluggish start.

Winston went 3-for-10 and threw an interception in Tampa Bay’s first six possessions of the first half. But then he settled down and led the Bucs on a 76-yard touchdown drive as the first half was coming to a close.

Wayne Lyons, CB (senior): Lyons is a transfer from Stanford who figures to be one of the top cornerbacks on the roster. He is a perfect fit on Michigan’s defense and could thrive with the new coaching staff. He is bigger and more physical than any other corner on the roster.

“I just think his comfort in the pocket looked a little bit better,” Gruden said. “We still have a long way to go to grade him, but we’re happy with his progress. We’ve just got to continue to work with him and be positive and go from there.”

It’s good Griffin is seemingly having a good training camp, because it will be difficult for him to walk back from his comments over the weekend. If he doesn’t want that quote thrown in his face all season long, he’ll have to repeat his performance from his rookie season — and do it fast.

Houston is likely pleased with the results thus far with its quarterback battle. The Texans also have to like Cecil Shorts creating that separation to get a long touchdown — it was his only catch on the day.