No glance at the Cardinals can begin without noting the dramatic weakening of their explosive passing game

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According to player-tracking data provided to by STATS LLC, Curry received only 18.5 screens per game through the first 32 games of the season, down slightly from last season’s rate of 18.8. On the season, he has seen 19.6 screens per game; 25 starting point guards have seen more. The team has scored only 1.09 points per play, which is 20th in the league. Hence, Curry’s public and private frustration.

But since that Christmas Day loss, the story has changed. Per SportVU data, the Warriors have bumped up the screens that the reigning MVP sees to 23.4 per game, and the team’s scoring average has ballooned to 1.16 points per play, which would rank fourth best over a full season. Curry has nearly doubled his scoring average out of the pick-and-roll, from 4.9 through Christmas Day to 8.4 since.

Adding the 2014 MVP into the mix was supposed to launch the Warriors’ offense into another stratosphere. But that wasn’t the case in the early going. Some important context: With Curry on the floor last season, the Warriors torched opponents to the tune of 116.7 points per 100 possessions, according to data.

No glance at the Cardinals can begin without noting the dramatic weakening of their explosive passing game. Their team average of yards per attempt dropped from No. 1 in the NFL in 2015 (8.5 yards) to No. 23 in 2016 (6.85). That’s the meat of coach Bruce Arians’ offense. As quarterback Carson Palmer approaches his 38th birthday — or possibly retirement — it’s fair to wonder if personnel and schematic tweaks alone can produce a bounce-back year in 2017. Also, can the Cardinals really count on much more than they got from tailback David Johnson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,118)?

Game Mens Wilt Chamberlain Jersey The Cardinals could inspire longer-term confidence by demonstrating a plan beyond the Palmer-Larry Fitzgerald duo. Fitzgerald, who turns 34 in August, caught 107 passes in 2016 but ranked 84th among receivers with an average of 9.6 yards per catch. Adding a big, downfield target will help the Cardinals re-establish their schematic roots.

2015 NFL training camp preview: Andrew Luck, Colts favored to win AFC South crown again

In recent years, the Indianapolis Colts haven’t had to worry about much when it comes to their AFC South competition. But the Colts are still looking to make improvements to overtake the other giants in the conference — especially the New England Patriots, who knocked them out of the playoffs last season and went on to win the Super Bowl.

Few have discussed whether the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars can make things tough for them within the division. But that’s for good reason. All three of those teams are deeply flawed, even if they’ve all appeared to get better this offseason.

The Titans have a new quarterback in Marcus Mariota, the Jaguars were plenty active in free agency once again and brought in some big names like Julius Thomas and the Texans have weapons on both sides of the ball as they aim to return to the playoffs. Still, they’re going to have to make a big jump to unseat Andrew Luck and the Colts, a young and talented team that once again has the Super Bowl on their mind.

Player you’ll be buzzing about: WR Donte Moncrief – Things look much different for the Colts at wide receiver, but the coaches are raving about Moncrief. Chuck Pagano told reporters in March that “the sky is the limit” for the second-year receiver, who caught 32 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns last season.

What to watch: Receiver isn’t the only position on offense with a lot of turnover for the Colts. At running back, Frank Gore is the presumed starter, but the rest of the depth chart will be fun to watch itself shake out with Dan Herron, Zurlon Tipton, Vick Ballard and rookie sixth-round pick Josh Robinson all battling for position.

Tom Brady leads NFL merchandise sales as DeflateGate suspension appeal drags on

Limited Mens Kenny Lofton Jersey New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is currently in a drawn-out battle with the league over his four-game suspension, but that hasn’t done anything to hurt his merchandise sales. In fact, the whole thing may have helped him. Brady led the league in player merchandise sales from March 1 through May 31, according to figures released by the NFL Players Association.

That merchandise doesn’t just include jersey sales. It represents all officially licensed merchandise concerning the player, including figures and more. Brady actually trailed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in head-to-head jersey sales, and Kaepernick was tops when it came to women’s apparel, but Brady holds the top spot across all forms of swag.

NFL, CFL and Division I players are unavailable for the tournament, so the USA roster consists of recently graduated college players hoping to impress professional coaches with their play in the tournament. The team was coached by former Colorado and Boise State coach Dan Hawkins.

This year’s tournament took place in Canton, Ohio, the first ever rendition of the tournament held in the United States. Japan won the first tournaments in 1999 and 2003, but America hadn’t sent a team to those tournaments. Team USA started sending teams with the 2007 championship, and although Japan took them to double overtime in that year’s gold medal game, the Americans remain undefeated in IFAF play.
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Coming in just behind the United States this year, Japan took silver for the third straight tournament and Mexico took bronze, its first medal since the United States began competing.

The Warriors will leave Oracle Arena for the new Chase Center in 2019

The battle lines now appear to be drawn in Madison Square Garden. On one side: New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. On the other: team president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, whose public comments — and those by Jackson associate Charley Rosen — have led Anthony to consider his future with the Knicks.

Womens Chris Harris Jr Jersey “If they feel my time in New York is over, I guess that’s a conversation we should have,” Anthony said Sunday.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, that meeting took place Tuesday, and it was described by one source as far more contentious than previous sit-downs between Jackson and Anthony, with Jackson asking whether Anthony wants to stay with the Knicks and Anthony saying yes.

If the Knicks ultimately have to choose between Anthony and Jackson, what should they do? Jackson’s five-year contract has a mutual opt-out at the end of this season, meaning the Knicks can let him go. Does it make sense to keep the legendary coach as team president?

“It was a lot of hard work,” Lacob said. “I challenged the organization. I said, ‘We’re going to have to pay for this privately and it has to be fantastic, because we’re not going to do anything that’s not fantastic. And we’re going to have to figure out a way to pay for it.’

Womens Christian Fischer Jersey “I don’t want to criticize other owners or other teams, in our league or anywhere else. But there is a history of these leagues getting these things publicly financed. Look at Atlanta. Sacramento. Orlando, I think was like 100 percent … I know that wasn’t going to happen here, just because it’s the Bay Area. But I also didn’t want to waste years [trying to get the state to pay]. So I decided, ‘We’re just going to do it and we’re going to figure out a way to pay for it.’

The other challenge to the stadium project was raising money to privately finance it. When Lacob and his business partners purchased the Warriors in 2010, they knew it would be time consuming and costly to ask for public financing of a new stadium, so they quickly pivoted towards an all-privately financed project.

A privately financed stadium is very uncommon in the world of professional sports, but California, and especially Bay Area politics, make it very difficult to secure public financing (as the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have recently demonstrated.)

Doc Rivers on MLK’s vision: ‘We’re not there yet’

Kids Chuck Foreman Jersey It was suppertime, and his father, Grady Rivers, a longtime Chicago police officer, was there. The father, who was scheduled to be on duty, who patrolled the night shift, never missed a day of work. Yet there he was, slumped in a chair in full uniform, huddled around the small black-and-white television set with Glenn’s aunts and uncles.

As Rivers inched closer, he saw his father was sobbing.
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“I had never seen my dad cry before,” Rivers says. “My grandfather, who was tougher than my dad, was crying too.”

Nowitzki was tricked into raising his hand during an auction that resulted in him making a major donation in exchange for a Rolando Diaz painting. He also agreed to go on two dates for charity. But he was also hoping to get a real date with a beautiful woman he met that night named Jessica Olsson, who was working at a Dallas art gallery.

One was the love of the Dallas Mavericks forward’s life and the reason they were in Nanyuki, Kenya. The others were decoys who if incorrectly chosen could cost the 13-time NBA All-Star a goat as punishment. The 7-foot German nailed tough shots in the NBA Finals and the Olympics, and on this occasion he did the same, correctly picking his bride Jessica Olsson.

“It was awesome,” Nowitzki told The Undefeated. “They took my wife away. They brought five or six girls out and they were all covered. So the first thing I had to do was find my wife. So I’m walking around and looking at how tall they are.

“I guess it’s one of the traditions. If you get it wrong, you got to pay the parents a goat or something. So I was lucky. I smelled her to find the right one. So, I got lucky there. But that was just an experience that I’ll never forget.”

2015 fantasy football rankings: Wide receivers for standard leagues

The pass-happy NFL has changed the way we look at receivers. Last season, there were 23 receivers with 1,000 receiving yards, while only 13 running backs hit 1,000 rushing yards. What’s more,15 receivers had double-digit receiving touchdowns, while just two backs ran the ball in for a score at least 10 times (DeMarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch). Yes, backs can also help out in the passing game, but the days of thinking you can sneak by with mediocre receivers in your fantasy league are over.

Another important aspect of fantasy leagues is how many starting receiver spots you have. If you only start two in a standard league, you can possibly get away with not going with a receiver in the first two rounds. On the other hand, three-WR leagues almost force your hand to grab one in the first 30 picks.

Hill matched McDonald’s sack output with 5.5 of his own last season. He also managed to intercept a pass just like McDonald did in 2013. Not too shabby for a backup defensive tackle, especially since Hill ended up missing three games during the regular season. Stats don’t come close to explaining Hill’s performance last season. He didn’t even start the season in McDonald’s role. That job went to former Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who signed with the Seahawks in the offseason last year. It made sense. Williams may be on the down side of his career, but he’s played three technique for a long time. He’s always been a good pass rusher inside.

Everything changed when starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane got hurt and was put on the injured reserve in Week 10. Williams moved into the starting defensive tackle role. That gave Hill a chance to show what he could do filling in as a spot duty pass rusher in Williams’ former role. That’s why those 5.5 sacks all came in the last six games of the season.

Matt Ryan talks about former Falcons ball boy Deshaun Watson, the national champion QB…

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took a moment from talking about Saturday’s playoff matchup against Seattle to recognize a familiar face from the past: Deshaun Watson.

The Clemson quarterback, who guided the No. 2 Tigers to a 35-31 victory over No. 1 Alabama for the national championship Monday night, is a native of Gainesville, Georgia. He used to be a ball boy for the Falcons.

“Yeah, for sure, I remember Deshaun being here,” Ryan said Tuesday. “He’s a great kid. It was impressive. I was pulling for him this entire season. Last night, for sure, he played extremely well. So I’m really happy for him.

“He didn’t say much when he was here. He was quiet. He kind of went about his business. He was good for me, though, because he saved my arm a little bit. He would throw to our wideouts during camp and give me a little bit of a rest. I always appreciated that from him.”

Matt Ryan talks about former Falcons ball boy Deshaun Watson, the national champion QB…
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Vance Joseph just completed his first season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator.
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The Broncos were able to get it done quickly — as the second of the six teams looking for a new coach to fill the vacancy. Jacksonville hired Doug Marrone on Monday.

Did they get the right guy? Neither Shanahan nor Toub has spent as much time with the Broncos’ brass as Joseph has in the last two years. Joseph, who just finished his first season as the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, has been vetted not once, but twice. In January of 2015, Joseph was the first candidate to interview after the Broncos-John Fox divorce.

The Broncos interviewed Joseph then just after Kubiak announced his intentions to stay as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator. Kubiak’s comments came before the Broncos job was open.

NFL picks and predictions 2015: Colts vs. Bills

The Indianapolis Colts are headed to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the regular season. The Colts are going into the regular season having gone 1-3 in the preseason, while the Bills secured two exhibition wins but are fresh off a loss to the Detroit Lions.

Preseasons don’t really matter, and early performances are hard to predict, but both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. This will be the first time wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Frank Gore, guard Todd Herremans and linebacker Trent Cole will be sporting Colts uniforms during the regular season, and the Bills are welcoming rusher LeSean McCoy, wideout Percy Harvin and quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
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But the rest of the league doesn’t need proof. Other teams simply don’t seem to trust the Patriots. As we learned in this Sports Illustrated report published Tuesday, the Seattle Seahawks went to great lengths to protect themselves from potential Patriots spy tactics prior to last year’s Super Bowl. And they aren’t the only ones:

Elite Kids Mika Zibanejad Jersey Teams commonly clear out trash cans in their hotel meeting rooms in New England because they believe the Patriots go through them. One longtime head coach said he ran fake plays in his Saturday walkthroughs at Gillette Stadium because he thought the Patriots might be spying on his team.

The SI story claimed that at least 18 other teams besides the Seahawks took a safeguard approach before playing the Patriots. On top of that, several teams, including the Jaguars and Cardinals, claimed they experienced headset malfunctions when they played at Gillette Stadium. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy made news recently when he confirmed rumors from 2010 that Peyton Manning worried that the Patriots’ locker room was bugged and would discuss the game plan in the hallway when the team visited New England.

The Clippers are third in the NBA with 32 technical fouls this season behind league-leading Phoenix and the New York Knicks

Rivers said he’s chosen to give money to the Violence Intervention Program in Los Angeles for every technical he gets, and he said the donations are retroactive.

“All of the money that I have been fined is going to them now and any technical foul after that is going to them,” he said. “Any technical foul the players get, I want them to find their group and give it to an organization.”

VIP helps victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.
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“I have to be the leader of this team,” Doc Rivers said. “My actions have to go first.”

The Clippers are third in the NBA with 32 technical fouls this season behind league-leading Phoenix and the New York Knicks.

Rivers said he watched video of all the team’s technicals so far. Earlier in the season, he told the team that he would do the fighting and they should focus on playing.

Elite Kids Nick Martin Jersey Knowing that Philadelphia would blitz Isaiah Thomas, Stevens drew up a simple pick-and-roll that would put Olynyk in position to either shoot an open jumper, attack the basket or move the ball to an open man. Sure enough, the sequence left Al Horford wide open in the corner and Olynyk alertly delivered the ball to the veteran big man, who drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 17.2 seconds remaining in Boston’s 110-106 triumph at TD Garden.

Al Horford accepts congratulations after hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the Celtics’ win over the Sixers Friday. AP Photo/Elise Amendola
“Just how we drew it up. Like, exactly,” said Horford, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help carry a Celtics team that typically has leaned heavily on Thomas in the final frame.

“That’s how Coach drew it up. He knew they were gonna help and Kelly just found me and I just had to knock the shot down.”

Blackhawks vs. Blues, NHL Winter Classic 2017: Time, TV schedule, and team news for Busch Stadium game

The NHL¡¯s premier outdoor event heads to St. Louis on Monday.
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Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, will host the ninth iteration of the annual outdoor game. The hosts, naturally, will be the St. Louis Blues. And the visitors will be their rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Will Ian Kennedy opt-out at the end of the year?

Ian Kennedy surprised most of baseball when he signed a $70 million deal with the Royals. But what was also surprising was that he received an opt-out clause, typically reserved for superstar mega-deal contracts. Kennedy has the option to become a free agent after the 2017 season, but he would be forgoing $49 million over three years. While next year¡¯s starting pitching free agent class is better than this year¡¯s putrid class, it is not a great one. If Kennedy continues to pitch well, he may look to join Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb, and Marco Estrada, among others, as free agents on the open market.

That history and Dayton Moore¡¯s strong belief in his team may prevent him from trading off his core players this summer, even if the Royals find themselves with little hope of contention. At least that would still leave them with draft pick compensation in many cases, although they may be forgoing more attractive trade packages for more polished prospects.