NBA playoff scores 2017: Raptors, Spurs advance to Round 2 of playoffs

We lost two more teams on Thursday night to the NBA playoffs. The Grizzlies and Bucks both played the brilliant role of underdog this postseason but ultimately fell to their superiors. We’ll miss Mike Conley proving he was worth every penny of that contract he got last summer. We’ll also miss Giannis Antetokounmpo making us believe that anything is possible. Here is how it went down.
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Youth Brent Qvale Jersey There’s an argument to be made that the Yankees are the best story in baseball this year. Heading into the season, there was always a chance they could compete this year, but the general consensus was that they were at least a year or two away.

Instead, they’ve gotten off to a red-hot start in 2017. Heading into Friday’s action, New York boasts a 17-9 record, tying them for the best team in the American League and the second-best team in all of baseball.

The scary part for the rest of the league is that this doesn’t look entirely like a flash in the pan. For one thing, the Yankees have outscored their opponents by 45 runs this season, the second-best run differential in baseball and just three runs behind the Nationals. They’re led by Aaron Judge, who is tearing the cover off the ball, in the lineup and a breaking-out Luis Severino in the rotation. Combine that with their typical great back of the bullpen, and the Yankees have a stew goin’.

This weekend, New York will be in its biggest spotlight it’s been in to this point in the year. As the Yankees head to Wrigley Field to take on the reigning champs, they have a chance to prove they are, indeed, for real this season.

They’ll be playing in front of a national audience all weekend and will have to face off against Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester in the bookend games of the series. We can’t learn much from any individual baseball series, but the Yankees have the spotlight for the weekend.

Rockets vs. Thunder, NBA playoff 2017 odds: Houston a small road underdog for Game 3

The Houston Rockets are 11-3 straight up and 10-3-1 against the spread in their last 14 games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. All three of those outright losses came in Oklahoma City, where the Rockets will try to earn a 3-0 series lead with a win this Friday night in Game 3.

Houston is a 2.5-point road underdog in Oklahoma City at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Rockets are 5-4 SU and 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games as a road underdog.

Jason Verrett Womens Jersey This series began with a heavy weight on the shoulders of Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, as his sister died in a car crash the day before the series opener. Thomas played through the tragedy and scored 33 points in Game 1, but Boston fell short in a 106-102 loss. After being blown out in Game 2, 111-97, it appeared that the Celtics were in deep trouble heading back to Chicago.

It’s possible that a team of Boston’s caliber might have fought its way back into this series without Rajon Rondo going down with a broken thumb, but that injury has certainly helped the Celtics’ cause. Chicago averaged 108.5 points per game with Rondo running the offense, highlighted by an impressive 14-assist effort in Game 2. That production dipped down to 91 points per game in Rondo’s absence over the last two games.

The Bulls are 5-2 SU and 7-0 ATS in their last seven games as a road underdog, and will try to pull off an upset Wednesday without their star point guard.

Wednesday’s total is set at 202 points on the NBA lines. The OVER is 7-0 in Chicago’s last seven games as a road dog.
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The complexion of the series has changed with Rondo’s injury and Boston now has the momentum entering Game 5. If the Bulls hope to turn things around, they’ll need to figure things out on offense in a hurry.

Chris Paul spots Clippers fan in Utah, gives him sweaty jersey off his back

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Chris Paul had an extra special celebration after the Los Angeles Clippers won Game 3 against the Utah Jazz on Friday.

Paul saw spotted a Clippers fan as he was walking back to the locker room, and gave the lucky kid the sweaty jersey off his back. And you can’t really blame him for being excited to do that: Paul was instrumental in giving the Clippers the win by leading the team in a fourth-quarter comeback.

With the news that Blake Griffin will be out with a toe injury, it looks like it’ll be up to Paul to guide Los Angeles for the rest of the playoffs.

I think we need to see what exactly Neil Olshey does to clarify the roster before I’m on board with Portland to be better than what they’ve been, which is a team winning 45 or so games. They still don’t have perimeter defense, and one month per season of strong play doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence in Jusuf Nurkic in me. Evan Turner seems like a difficult contract to move, no?

I’m extremely interested to see what both Olshey and Presti do to gain an edge. The Thunder so badly need shooting, but Blake Griffin might be available. Do you chase that?

If I can briefly bring in a team outside the playoff picture, it’s a critical summer for Denver, too: they know Nikola Jokic is their centerpiece now, and they can build around that. The Nuggets chased Dwyane Wade last summer, and I wonder if they’ll be looking to vets again.

Davon House Authentic Jersey Where are you at on the Clippers? I’m usually on Team Run It Back, but that payroll with the repeater tax is simply outrageous. The West isn’t getting easier.

Barnett is also fast enough laterally to bring down ball carriers in space

His power and speed around the edge are what made him a Volunteer record setter and one of the fastest-rising prospects leading up to the 2017 draft. Barnett explodes off the line with the kind of first step that gives offensive tackles the jitters. The majority of his big plays start with him leaning into and driving past his blocker, collapsing the pocket from a quarterback’s blind side, and creating chaos behind the line of scrimmage.

Barnett is also fast enough laterally to bring down ball carriers in space, frequently using his ability to identify screen plays and disrupt blockers. That athleticism, at 6’3 and 259 pounds, brings versatility as he can drop into coverage should the occasion arise. While he was a 4-3 defensive end throughout college, with some polish he could also transition as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

“Not only was Barnett a consistent threat with at least 10 sacks in all three of his years in orange, he did excellent work against Tennessee’s stiffest competition. As a freshman he benefited greatly from Curt Maggitt’s presence, but he was the primary focus of opposing offensive lines the last two years and it didn’t slow him down at all.” — Read More at Rocky Top Talk

His pass-rushing abilities made him a first-round prospect, but there are still several questions he’ll have to answer as a pro. His game is predicated on his athleticism, but an average showing at the NFL Combine suggests he could struggle against a better class of offensive linemen in the pros. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah may have said it best when it comes to Barnett’s future.nike_ravens_304-223x223

Why Deshaun Watson should’ve been the 1st QB pick, according to his Clemson teammates

Deshaun Watson was not be the first quarterback taken at the NFL draft on Thursday night. Mitchell Trubisky was, going second overall to a trading-up Bears team.

If Watson now goes on to be the class’ best QB, there’ll be a lot of I-told-you-sos from some of the people who know him best: his teammates and head coach for the last three years at Clemson.

Almost every player who’s ever entered the draft has drawn praise from his teammates and coaches. But the praise reserved for Watson by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and some of the QB’s teammates over the years has been particularly effusive. To these people, it’s unfathomable that Watson might not be the first QB off the board.

He’s definitely the best quarterback in the draft, former Clemson defensive lineman Carlos Watkins told SB Nation before the draft. That’s my opinion.

I think so, honestly, his tight end, Jordan Leggett, told SB Nation when asked if Watson should be the first QB taken. I don’t know why people don’t have him going first, but that’d just be a bad business move on whichever team takes another quarterback before him, honestly.

I believe so, added running back Wayne Gallman. That’s my quarterback, so I’m gonna always root for him to go the highest he could possibly go. I think he has the work and the film to prove that.

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If they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan, I’m just telling you, he told reporters in January, fresh off the Watson-engineered win over Bama.

The case for Watson is based in some part on intangible traits.

When Watson’s teammates rave about him, poise is the common denominator.

Why fans boo Roger Goodell at the NFL draft every year

There is a general theme to the beginning of all NFL draft proceedings, and it typically persists throughout the first round. As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks on the stage to announce a teams selection, a curious sound will rain down from the heavens.
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I got the name Raekwon The Chef because at one point I was in the Nation of Islam, and I was given a name, but only the Raekwon part was suitable for the music, so thats where I got that.
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Per the Social Security Administration, about 2,000 people in the United States have been named Raekwon at birth, almost all of them in the mid-90s.

As wed noted when he was a five-star recruit in 2012, seeing sons of Jon Bon Jovi, Deion Sanders, Diddy, David Robinson, Ken Griffey, Jr., and a grandson of Jack Nicklaus head to college provided for YOU ARE OLD moments, as did seeing recruits named Shaquille and Peyton. But a player named after a rapper whod just released his fifth solo album? WE FELT SO OLD.

Tabor isnt a great tackler — per PFF, he missed 16 tackles on 110 attempts throughout the past three seasons.

And then there are also off-field concerns. Tabor was a bit high maintenance during his tenure in Florida, provoking suspensions by refusing to take a drug test and a run-in with a teammate at practice. And he likes to talk a good amount, as well.

Browns trade No. 12 pick to Texans in NFL draft to select Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns have traded down from the No. 12 pick, sending it to the Houston Texans. The Texans selected Deshaun Watson with the pick.
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The Browns will receive the No. 25 pick in the draft, as well as a 2018 first-round pick in the deal.

The Texans needed a quarterback, after sending Brock Osweiler to the Browns earlier in the offseason. The other two options at quarterback for the Texans were Tom Savage, and Brandon Weeden.

Just days before the draft, Watson said that teams would live with the consequences if they draft Trubisky instead of him. The Bears traded up for Trubisky earlier in the evening at No. 2 overall, making that a reality. Heres another small school tight end off the board. Shaheen stood out at the combine because of his athleticism, and his ceiling is high. Hes massive at 66 and 278 pounds, and still agile and fast for his size.

Womens Rod Carew Jersey The Colts needed to rebuild the defense, and thats been the focus of free agency and the draft so far. Indianapolis adds another quality player out of this deep cornerback class in Wilson, whose size, fluidity and physical play should benefit the Colts.

In the shotgun, their eyes are never off the defense, theres very little play action pass, they almost have a pre-snap, pre-determined read with where to go with the ball and then all of a sudden theyre in a pro system, Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said in January of quarterbacks forced to make the shift.

Theyre having to actually call plays in the huddle, go under center, turn their back to the line, play action fake, now the coverage has moved and on top of that, the guys on the other side are pretty good too. … Same sport, two different games.

Bengals’ Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones yells at reporter asking about arrest

Adam “Pacman” Jones was arrested earlier this year, but he did not want to talk about it Monday during the Bengals’ voluntary offseason workouts.

He briefly addressed the incident by expressing his “gratitude” to team owner Mike Brown and Bengals coaches for staying with him throughout the process. But he was asked about it again a few minutes later, and according to My Dayton Daily News, he became “irate.”

“Didn’t I just tell you don’t ask me that?” Jones said. “You out the (interview). Turn around. Go back that way. See you. Next question. That’s his last interview for the year.”

Asked whether he believes this will be the case, Freeman said, “That’s what I anticipate.”

“We will address this,” Dimitroff said at the annual league meeting in Phoenix. “When you look at our history, we address these situations going into training camp. I’m throwing that out there as a general timeline. I don’t know when that exactly will be, but I’m confident that something can get wrapped up and he’s going to be part of us for years to come.

“He represents our style of running — urgency, competitive and passionate. It’s fun to watch him as it is (running back) Tevin Coleman.”

As for Freeman, he’s having fun preparing for Monday’s start of offseason workouts with more than 40 Falcons players who traveled to South Florida for the sessions and the off-field camaraderie that comes with it.

“It’s so good for (team) chemistry,” Freeman said.

The next step will be the Falcons making good by giving Freeman a new deal.

Alex Marvez’s story on Devonta Freeman discussing Super Bowl 51, his career and his South Florida roots will appear Thursday at SportingNews.com. Alex can be heard from 7 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET Wednesday and Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
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Dion Jordan agrees to deal with Seahawks, report says

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Dion Jordan is starting over in Seattle.

The former Dolphins defensive end and 2013 draft bust has agreed to a contract with the Seahawks, according to multiple reports. USA Today first reported the move Tuesday morning.

Jordan was released by the Dolphins on March 31 following a failed physical and freed up $3.225 million in salary-cap space for the team in 2017.

Ron Brooks Jersey Miami moved up nine spots to select the former Oregon star with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, though Jordan hasn’t played in more than two years because of multiple suspensions for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.

Jordan, who turned 27 last month, had three sacks and 39 tackles in 26 games over his first two seasons. He hasn’t seen action since the 2014 season but will attempt to revive his career in his return to the Pacific Northwest. This is cheating, as the Patriots first draft day trade came the day before the first round opened. But the teams willingness to ship out the 78th overall pick in 2003 — originally acquired in a trade for veteran defensive back Tebucky Jones — would net it Bengals running back Corey Dillon in 2004.

Dillon wouldnt be the only domino set in 2003 to fall the following year. Trading the 19th pick (Kyle Boller) to the Ravens would net All-Pro defensive tackle Vince Wilfork 12 months later, along with starters Eugene Wilson and Dan Klecko. The Pats also moved up in the first round for the second year in a row, albeit not by much. They sent the No. 14 pick (Michael Haynes) and the No. 193 (Marques Ogden) to the Bears to select Ty Warren, who would spend the next seven seasons as a fixture on New Englands defensive line.

Capitals D Karl Alzner sits out Game 3 with upper-body injury

Elite Billy Smith Jersey Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who had not missed a game in seven seasons, was out Monday night for Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto in Game 3 of their first-round series.

Alzner, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, had played in 599 straight regular-season and playoff games combined.
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The last game he had missed was Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, a 4-1 loss to Montreal in a first-round series won by the Canadiens in seven games.

Alzner, 28, is in his ninth NHL season, all with the Capitals. What if the offensive line falls off from last year鈥檚 pace? What if the new backs are nowhere near the standard set by McNichols? What if the Broncos allow a lot more big plays because of a young secondary? What if the defensive line is no deeper?

Boise State has a lot to prove this year, at least by Boise State standards. The Broncos are dealing with turnover and no longer get the benefit of the doubt in the Mountain West.

Nate Schmidt stepped in to fill Alzner’s spot alongside John Carlson on defense.

Schmidt, who had played 60 games during the regular season, assisted on the first goal of the game, by Nicklas Backstrom.