NBA Finals 2017: As Mike Brown evolves, Warriors stay on title track

It took Mike Brown some time to figure out what, exactly, was going on when he first got to work as the Warriors’ new top assistant coach.
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Now that the Warriors have the look of the Lakers, circa 2000-2004 when they reeled off three titles and made four trips to the NBA Finals in a five-year span, the pressure is squarely on Johnson, a first-time team-builder, and his rookie GM, Rob Pelinka. They have no choice but to draft someone who will become a cornerstone of a championship contender. Says who, LaVar Ball?

Mens Blake Wheeler Jersey No, actually, former Lakers executive Jerry West. The architect of the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant mini-dynasty has been with the Warriors for six years as an executive board member, showing his eye for talent and team-building when he lobbied to trade Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, and voiced his opposition when many in the organization wanted to trade Klay Thompson for Kevin Love. West’s contract is up and he wants to return to the Lakers, where he helped build the Showtime teams of the 80’s, to give Johnson pointers on building a contender. But apparently, the feeling isn’t mutual.

Peterson’s Vikings career ended with a whimper, as knee injuries limited him to just three games last season. That left it up to Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to carry the running game, with little success. Minnesota finished dead last in the league with 75.3 rushing yards per game, averaging a pitiful 3.2 yards per attempt.

A big reason for that was the offensive line, which was a straight-up disaster. Minnesota gave up 38 sacks, 10th-most in the league, and Bradford was under constant pressure thanks to the turnstiles on the line of scrimmage. The line allowed 104 quarterback hits, seventh-most in the league. Pro Football Focus ranked this as the fourth-worst line in football, and it was painfully obvious that changes were needed.

The talent drain has mirrored the nosedive in wins.

That recent dominance is what Tomlin is asking his team to find the emotional energy to avenge. The added beef about the teams’ relative divisional playoff game times is a facade for the Steelers facing total disrespect as underdogs.

Tomlin can go big in his motivation and talk about how the Patriots gained advantages with their spying and deflating scandals. He can go small and tell his team the Patriots only won in Heinz Field back in Week 7 because they were with Rob Gronkowski and the Steelers were without Ben Roetlhisberger.

The numbers dont tell the whole story, but they tell a lot of it. Since that Richard Sherman interception in the end zone that sealed their 23-17 loss to the Seahawks in January 2014, the 49ers have gone 15-32. Since Thanksgiving 2014, theyre 8-28.

That’s under three coaches, Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. When they replace Kelly as expected, theyll have four in four seasons.

The talent drain has mirrored the nosedive in wins. Ironically, one of the few key components of those contenders, Colin Kaepernick, has survived. Virtually everything around him on both sides of the ball has changed, though.

Michael Crabtree, the target of the end-zone throw in that NFC title game, is gone. So are Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Chris Culliver, Tarell Brown and Donte Whitner.

NaVorro Bowman has been injured twice since that game (notably including during that game). Rookie Chris Borland arrived the next season, then retired after that lone season.
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Joel Embiid very confident in Sixers getting Markelle Fultz

Joel Embiid is an open book. From asking Rihanna on a date to trolling other players on Twitter, Embiid is going to let you know what is going on in his mind.

Saturday afternoon Markelle Fultz was on his radar. While it’s rumored the Sixers and Celtics are discussing a possible trade for the No. 1 pick, Embiid seems pretty convinced that the Washington Huskies guard and consensus No. 1 overall talent in the draft is destined to join him and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.

Just how convinced is he? Well, he’s already got a locker set aside for him.
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If the Sixers were to trade for the No. 1 overall pick it would be their second straight No. 1 pick after they took Simmons from LSU last year. The 76ers took Embiid and Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick the previous two years.

Elite Womens Doug Baldwin Jersey Fultz is in a tier by himself in this draft. Not only does he have elite scoring ability, but his vision should allow him to be a top-shelf lead ball handler in today’s NBA. The lack of a clear weakness stands out in a crowded group of at least slightly flawed players at the top of the draft.

Once you get past Fultz, there is a wide variety of directions you can go. I choose to go with Jayson Tatum, for the simple reason that finding players who can create efficient shots and knock them down from the wing are incredibly valuable. You may quibble with the efficiency part of that equation due to Tatum’s developing jumper, but his ability to create separation is strong, and his work ethic is even better.

Jackson is an elite athlete with a competitive drive to match. The key for him will be the jump shot. If the numbers from this season hold true, he’ll be an All-Star. If the mechanics are more indicative of long-term problems, he’ll have some issues to overcome in the spacing-oriented NBA.

Scooter Gennett’s four-homer game among baseball’s most improbable performances

Scooter Gennett joined an eclectic group Tuesday night: major leaguers who made history with out-of-nowhere one-game performances.

Gennett, the Reds’ utility man, became just the 17th MLB player in history to hit four home runs in a game. Of that group, he might be it’s most unlikely member. After Tuesday’s outburst vs. the Cardinals, he has 42 career homers over parts of five seasons.

They share a battleground over the definition of valuable,though. The Steelers went 2-1 without Bell, the Patriots 3-1 without Brady yet neither team would ever want to go through their absences again, certainly not now.

Roethlisberger and Brown shredded the Dolphins, and they ate up the Chiefs early in the season. But Bell was just as much a danger and did just as much damage over and over in each game. He’s the one who left the biggest bruise.

Hes the player the Chiefs have to keep in check to have a chance of slowing down the others, and the Steelers overall.

Bell is a longshot to be the MVP. You might have a hard time convincing the Chiefs of that, back in September and this week.

If he does, Ryan will earn his first ring, and move to 4-4 in his postseason career.

If he doesn’t, Brady wins his 5th Super Bowl, most in NFL history for a quarterback. Bart Starr won five NFL championships, but some were pre-Super Bowl era.

Regardless of the outcome, every postseason quarterback statistic points to one thing: Brady is the greatest quarterback in American professional football history.

No pressure, Matt Ryan.
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NFL at odds with former exec over Cowboys’ unsportsmanlike huddle against Packers

Game Clay Matthews Jersey So, did officials incorrectly penalize the Cowboys for unsportsmanlike conduct after 12 players gathered in a huddle before a play against the Packers in Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game?
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Michael Lombardi a former executive for the 49ers, Browns, Rams, Eagles, Raiders and Patriots said the NFL has privately told teams that officials in the game got the call wrong.

The too many men in the huddle call on Dallas for 15 yards was a mistake, Lombardi tweeted Thursday. (T)he league admitted this to teams…sorry…

Lombardi later tweeted he had spoken with two teams that were told by the league that officials made a mistake.

Leading up to Super Bowl LI, Microsoft is giving fans a chance to have a stake in the big game with a Custom Cleat Design Competition featuring the New England Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl XLIX champion Malcolm Butler and Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. As part of the competition, both Butler and Freeman will each wear a pair of customized cleats during their pre-game warmups prior to the Super Bowl.

The cleat designs will be created by fans at Microsoft’s NFLX location in Houston, Texas from Saturday, Jan. 28 to Tuesday, Jan. 31 using Sketchable, a feature rich drawing app, on Microsoft’s new Surface Studio and Surface Hub devices. Fans will be able to take advantage of the creative elements and design tools available through Microsoft technology to potentially play a part in the cleats worn on the field before the game.

Once Butler and Freeman choose their favorite designs, world-renowned cleat artist Marcus Rivero will create the cleats live at the Microsoft space at NFLX on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 3-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.

East-West Shrine Game 2017: Rosters, weigh-in results

The East-West Shrine Game kicked off this week, with players arriving this past Sunday for a week-long process of weigh-ins, practices, NFL team interviewsand much more.

While weigh-ins don’t seem like the most important part of the all-star game experience, they are essential for NFL teams, as theyweedout players who don’t fit their ideal measurables, reveal players with remarkable body types in their projections, and startto make the prospects’ ability and upside clearer.
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I think when everything’s wrapped up, we can confirm things. But, what I can tell you is the commitment that Jed and the 49er organization have shown to me to make this thing come to fruition has been incredible. They identified that they wanted it to happen. They gauged my interest. I got things right with my family. I’m incredibly appreciative and fortunate in this world that things stayed quiet because what that did, it allowed me to truly assess this situation, to ask the tough questions, to just kind of get with the people that I’m going to be working with and any elephant in the room, just get rid of it and ask questions. I didn’t need the job. So, that gave me a great position to be able to kind of just be very forward and I asked those questions and I’m proud of the way that happened. I’m proud of the way they responded.

Jose Quintana Kids Jersey I didn’t want to put my family, a lot of people are saying why was it so important to be secretive I’ve had people ask me that. I wanted to be able to best evaluate this situation as it developed and I thought it would be much easier if I didn’t have the world breathing down my throat and most of all, it was out of respect to the people who employed me at FOX. But, more important than anything to my kids. My wife and I didn’t want to put them in a situation until there was something concrete.

Odubel Herrera can talk beisbol, so what ‘barriers’ are there, really?

So I read Mike Schmidt’s ridiculous misrepresented quote about Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera, the one in which Schmidt said Herrera can’t become a cornerstone player or a vocal team leader because English is his second language.

I had beautiful moments with a man and I fell in love with a sense of humor and authentic soul that I wanted to spend my life with, Eck wrote. I also was physically and emotionally abused by this beautiful man. He gave me a lifestyle most people only dreamed of, but it came at a price. I am forever thankful for the joy, love and laughter he shared with me. I am also forever grateful for the darkness I experienced. Because of that, today is more full of light than I would have ever expected.

Limited Womens Marvin Jones Jr Jersey Norris denied the accusations later Wednesday and vowed to cooperate with the MLB investigation, saying the claims could not be further from the truth.

Limited Womens Ahmad Brooks Jersey First, I want to be absolutely clear that abuse of any form, is completely unacceptable, Norris said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times sent via his agent. Allegations regarding this issue are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. That being said, in this circumstance, the comments made by my ex-fiancee could not be further from the truth. I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life.

Those guys have more sub-package value at the moment.

The NFL were the only ones who didn’t see this coming, he says. Everyone knows that when Schakowsky gets hold of an issue, she has the tenacity of a bulldog.She never lets go.
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Let me tell ya, there are those moments,Durbin says now. The public is used to political figures and lawyers dancing around issues. But there come those moments in congressional history when the truth prevails.

His 78.8 passer rating was near the bottom of the league, and the Jaguars’ offense averaged less than 20 points after scoring 23.5 points per game in the year prior.

The best way to fix that? Put the guy behind all of the Patriots’ moves in charge of the Texans’ front office. Bill Belichick is someone who would probably rather die than retire, so this way, he can scale back his responsibilities while also working closely with coaching disciple Bill O’Brien. It’s a solution that works for everyone (except the Patriots).

Conventional wisdom would say, since Eagles have a bolstered pass rush and solid safeties in Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins, that Schwartz doesn’t need to play it so safe by going with his most experienced cornerbacks. Those would be holdover Ron Brooks and two newcomers, former Colt Patrick Robinson and former Jaguar Dwayne Gratz.
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Those guys have more sub-package value at the moment. Second-year seventh-rounder Jalen Mills, their top youngster, carries much more upside for the outside. While the team waits for rookie second-rounder Sidney Jones to be available from his unfortunate pre-draft torn Achilles’, don’t be surprised if rookie third-rounder Rasul Douglas gets the other starting nod, standing out with his size (6-2, 209 pounds) in man coverage.

The Eagles’ youth could serve up more big pass plays and struggle with top wideouts at times, but in turn, their pressure will allow them to gamble and make big plays on the ball, too.

Terrelle Pryor instructs agents to work out contract with Browns

oming off a 1,000-yard season in his first full year as a wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor would be attractive to several NFL teams as he looks for a new NFL contract.

But Pryor says he loves the Browns, and he’s reportedly told his agents to work out a deal with the team.

Pryor told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he wants to be part of the rebuilding process in Cleveland under coach Hue Jackson. The Browns finished 1-15 last season.

“I know this is an important month,” Pryor said. “But I do love being with the Browns and like I said before, this thing isn’t about joining a different team because a different team’s good.

And the New York Giants’ current backfield — and salary-cap — situation hasn’t gone unnoticed by the potential free-agent-to-be.

His latest pitch was a tweet late Wednesday, in which he noted “interesting moves” by the Giants.

Before you think Peterson was just following NFL roster moves (or maybe is a Victor Cruz fan), you should remember that he recently said on ESPN that the Giants are a team he has “thought about” playing for next season.

“I believe that I can be one of the best,” Smith said. “I’ve shown that in glimpses. What I’ve been searching for is consistency, and I think that consistency will lead me to be that great player that I always see myself being.”

While claiming he can be “one of the best” is bold, it’s a good sign because a quarterback needs that kind of confidence. And Smith is right when he says he needs consistency, because he hasn’t had that during his tenure in New York.

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Top 5 Super Bowl halftime shows of all time

The list of legendary acts that have given the Super Bowl halftime their best shots is a long and prestigious one. Think of the best entertainers of all time — chances are they’ve performed at the big game.

For many performers, it’s the biggest worldwide audience of their careers. A mistake can be crushing. A jaw-dropping, flawless performance can leave a lasting impression on the entertainment world for years to come.

But I don’t feel comfortable playing under the franchise tag this year.

Berry, 28, played 2016 under the $10.8 million franchise tag. He recorded 77 tackles with four interceptions, two touchdowns and nine passes deflected while playing all 16 games.

The franchise tag number for his position would be roughly $13 million next season, but Berry wants long-term security — like most people would.

Both sides are working hard on a getting a deal done to avoid a messy holdout.

The Steelers have never been big players in free agency, and even with additional cap room, that probably won’t change this year. The Steelers generally max out in the $5 million range in free agency, which, depending on position, means second- and third-tier players.

Game Womens Tarik Cohen Jersey So to expect them to sign a big-name pass-rusher or cornerback probably is a mistake. Their cap room more likely affords them the ability to sign two or three of those mid-grade players rather than just one.
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Pittsburgh then will hope those players, along with its draft picks, will be enough to make the leap to the Super Bowl.