Month: January 2017

Sabonis falls behind the play, and Butler has a nice pocket to build momentum

With so little shooting, the Bulls find funkier ways to pry the lane open for Jimmy Butler’s hunched-shoulder drives. Taj Gibson sculpts a subtle piece of hoops art with this moonwalk re-screen for Butler:

It almost looks like someone is rewinding a video. Gibson makes that read in the moment, but he does it with such purpose, it’s clearly a technique he practices. The goal is simple: With one decoy cut toward the basket, Gibson gets Domantas Sabonis backpedaling — and ensures Sabonis’ momentum is working against him when Gibson veers back for that second screen.

Sabonis falls behind the play, and Butler has a nice pocket to build momentum.

By the way: Chicago is pretty ballsy nudging Fred Hoiberg onto the hot seat. They built a .500-level team with no shooting, and they have a .500-level team with no shooting.

Ben McLemore first and foremost, followed by Arron Afflalo.

The Clippers have offered a future second-round pick for Suns forward P.J. Tucker — who is said to have a not-so-secret admirer in Doc Rivers — but sources say Phoenix is holding out for a first-rounder in exchange for the rugged defensive specialist.

Tucker and out-of-favor guard Brandon Knight are widely regarded as the most “gettable” Suns. Coach Earl Watson announced this week that veteran center Tyson Chandler is “not going anywhere.”

This one’s not exactly a trade item, but there’s an expectation in Denver that the Nuggets — after taking on Mo Williams in a deal with Atlanta — plan to re-sign Alonzo Gee once Williams clears waivers.

Denver can sign Gee to one more 10-day contract before it must decide whether to ink him for the rest of the regular season or let him go.

Who is the better player? Probably Johnson.

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He racked up huge numbers in his 12 years with the Houston Texans, tallying more than 1,000 receptions. Even in a down year in 2014, his 936 yards eclipse any mark set by Jennings since 2011.

The big difference between the two receivers may have been the price tags. The Dolphins signed Jennings to a two-year, $8 million deal that will count $2.5 million against the team’s cap in 2015, while Johnson will take up $7.5 million of cap space for the Colts.
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A source told Pro Football Talk that a lawsuit would be possible against the person who leaked the medical records, giving even more credence to the idea that Pierre-Paul’s records were obtained without consent. Considering the message and the situation, Pierre-Paul’s agent seems like the most likely source of that information. That means it’s very unlikely Pierre-Paul consented to having this information released, and whoever did so, did so illegally.

So who’s in trouble?
The person who originally transmitted the information is in violation of HIPAA, and can be subject to a fine of up to $50,000. That person would be the only one in legal trouble, however, as the violation doesn’t extend beyond the first person to release medical information without consent.

The ethics of the situation are a different matter, but legally speaking, ESPN and Schefter are in the clear.

SUNDAY TICKET TROUBLE: The NFL and DirecTV are getting sued in a class action suit that claims the two entities are inflating the prices for the Sunday Ticket package. If the plaintiffs are successful, that could mean the end of DirecTV’s exclusive rights to the package … and the end of AT&T’s merger with the company.

CLICHE ALERT: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell says he’s in the best shape of his life.

Guerschon Yabusele has spent the season in China after being drafted by the Celtics in 2016.

“If you have two or three bad games in a row, you might get cut,” Beyer said. “The league cuts about 45 percent of foreign players in the middle of every season. You have to bring it every night and be tough.”
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Similar to the NBA, the 20 teams in the CBA are located across the country. Long travel on commercial airlines and bus rides — on top of the three-games-a-week regular season schedule — weigh on foreign players, who also have a hard time finding comforting food and training facilities on the road.

When the likes of Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin embarked on their journeys to play in China, local fans couldn’t hide their excitement over another “Lao Ma” for their own city. But their stints were cut short by misfortunes such as injuries, difficulties adapting to the local lifestyle and internal issues with their teams.

Game Kids T.J. Oshie Jersey Pittsburgh’s pass rush has been as good as any in the league since October. Whitney Mercilus and the Texans were able to get some pressure on Brady on Saturday. Historically, the way you beat Brady and the Patriots in the postseason is by generating pressure with your pass-rushers up front and dropping as many as you can into coverage. And while the Patriots’ offensive line is protecting Brady better this year than it did last year, when Von Miller and the Broncos knocked the Pats out in this game, the Steelers are disruptive at the line of scrimmage. If Brady isn’t comfortable in the pocket, that puts Pittsburgh in position to steal one on the road.

Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns NFL preseason betting preview

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The Buffalo Bills are just 4-15 SU and 5-14 ATS over their last 19 preseason games, dating back to September 2010. The Bills will try to turn their preseason misfortunes around on Thursday night when they visit the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Buffalo is a 3-point underdog on Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Cleveland Browns are a 3-point favorite but are 0-6 SU and 3-3 ATS in their last six games overall including last season and this preseason.

David Johnson Elite Jersey New head coach Rex Ryan was moments away from earning a win in his first game with the Bills last week. Buffalo led, 24-17, going into the fourth quarter of its preseason game against the Carolina Panthers and held on to that lead until the last minute of the game. But with 54 seconds left on the clock, the Panthers scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion to win the game, 25-24.

With that loss, the Bills fell to 0-4 SU and ATS over their last four preseason games and 1-7 SU and ATS over their last eight per the OddsShark NFL Database.

New Orleans Saints: In some ways, it was “Groundhog” season for the Saints, who finished 7-9 for the third straight year, squandering another 5,000 yards by Drew Brees and the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offense.

New York Giants: Despite falling short after losing to the Packers on the road in the wild-card round, this was a building-block season for the Giants.

New York Jets: Even by Jets’ standards, this was an all-time stinker. They expected a playoff run in Year 2 of the Bowles/Maccagnan regime, but they were doomed by a flawed roster.

Oakland Raiders: On one hand, improving from 3-13 to 7-9 to 12-4 should be cause for celebration. On the other, what had the makings of a magical season took a depressing detour in Week 15.

Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas went to the locker room after taking a hard hit

This guy is my kinda guy. Just because you got into a car accident on the way into the stadium dosent mean you cant toss back a couple cold Miller lites and boo the heck out of Teddy Bridgewater. Also, if Im a victims rights attorney, Im buying season tickets in the row right behind him and just waiting for the paychecks to start coming in.

It has been my contenton that Joe Flacco is whats known as Baldingers Cat- both Elite and Not Elite at the same time. Each week MMBM will track Joe Flaccos performence in order to determine once and for all the answer to the unanserable NFL debate: Is Joe Flacco a Elite NFL quarterback?

Noted PFT Commenter reader Elie Goldstein (sup Elie) brought a sign into the Ravens first preseason game reading “Yes Joe Flacco is “a” Elite QB.” She managed to get Joe’s attenton after the game and he autograhed her poster for her- a tacitly implying that he endorses her sign.

Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas went to the locker room after taking a hard hit. He was diagnosed with a fractured finger, but the Jaguars hope it will “affect him minimally,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Head coach Gus Bradley called is a “stable fracture,” and said he’ll likely miss the rest of the preseason, but should be fine for the regular season, according to Mike Kaye of First Coast News.

Steelers running back Josh Harris suffered a left foot injury and left Friday’s game against the Jaguars. It’s unclear how serious the injury is, but given Le’Veon Bell’s suspension and DeAngelo Williams’ injury history, any issues at the running back position is a big red flag for Pittsburgh.

The Giants safety position took yet another hit following the Collins injury. Mykkele Thompson was carted off the field with an injury to his right leg. The Giants later announced he had an Achilles injury and that he would not return to the game.

Falcons veteran Dwight Freeney gave a speech to his teammates in December that teammate Vic Beasley called “inspiring

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The Chargers have not started selling tickets for the upcoming season; the team usually begins sending out renewal notices at the end of January. Tickets for the team¡¯s home games in Los Angeles will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Similar to the Rams, the Chargers will likely give fans who bought tickets at the team¡¯s temporary venue priority once the new stadium in Inglewood is built.

Spanos is said to be open to the possibility of rebranding and changing the team¡¯s name. However, the team applied to trademark ¡°Los Angeles Chargers¡± early last year. NFL rules allow teams to change uniforms only once in a five-year period. The last time the Chargers made any changes to their uniforms was in 2012. So the team will remain the Chargers for at least the 2017 season.

Although there were some hiccups the next day in a 29-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the defense showed more signs of progress. The momentum really got rolling after that, when the Falcons allowed 14.3 points per game, 11.1 points less than their season average, over a three-game stretch.

Sure, the offenses presented by the Rams, 49ers and Panthers weren’t very intimidating, but it certainly helped the Falcons from a confidence standpoint heading into this Saturday’s divisional playoff matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

Elite Youth Teemu Selanne Jersey “I think it was time to address the magnitude of what we were going into, the realm of consciousness that we needed to enter into, knowing that we were going into a fourth-quarter type of mode,¡± Freeney said. ¡°I just had to explain to them and let them know, ‘Look, man, this is December football, bro. This is when it¡¯s time to turn it up. That¡¯s this moment right now.'”

Falcons veteran Dwight Freeney gave a speech to his teammates in December that teammate Vic Beasley called “inspiring.” Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
Again, it wasn’t an in-your-face type of pep talk. That’s not Freeney’s style.

NFL standings 2015: Bengals, Broncos pulling away already

Derek Newton Game Jersey The Cincinnati Bengals woke up Sunday morning with an 67 percent chance to win the AFC North this season, according to FiveThirtyEight. That was before climbing out of a 17-point hole for a 27-24 comeback win over the visiting Seahawks. No other team in the division is above .500. Pittsburgh can get there with a win Monday in San Diego, but there’s still some distance between them in the standings.

Jonas Brodin Game Jersey In reality, their chances of winning the division could be even better than 78 percent, where it moved to after Sunday’s win. Cincinnati has a 3-0 record within the AFC North and only three more division games left to play. The next time they play a division game is Week 8 in Pittsburgh, followed by a home game with the Browns. By Week 10, the Bengals could have the division all sewn up.

The DeflateGate suspension would have ended this week if it hadn’t been reversed. There’s no telling what Jimmy Garoppolo would’ve done in relief, but it’s safe to say that Tom Brady was the clearly better option.

Brady’s started off the season connecting for 72.5 percent of his passes for 1,387 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions as the Patriots have easily run to a 4-0 record.

Three players from the 1998 NFL Draft are still active in the NFL today and two of them faced off against each other in Oakland on Sunday. Peyton Manning (No. 1 overall) and the Broncos ended up with the win, and Charles Woodson (No. 4 overall) picked Manning off for the first time in his illustrious career in the closing seconds of the first half. Then he did it again in the third quarter. Woodson — who won the Heisman Trophy over Manning back in ’97 — moved to sixth all-time on the NFL interception list with his double-pick day.

Michael Bennett has played more like his usual self of late, which is good news for the Seahawks’ pass rush

The pass rush has to be dominant.

When safety Earl Thomas was on the field this season, the Seahawks had the fifth-ranked passing defense in the NFL, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metric. Without him, from Weeks 12 to 17, they were 30th.

The Seahawks’ secondary is not the same, so putting pressure on the quarterback is more important than ever.

Weatherford had a heart condition since high school, but it was never a problem in the NFL until that day.

“I’m walking out there thinking, ‘All right, nothing to be nervous about. Let’s go.’ And I see him having, like, a heart attack,” Sanchez said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, the punter can’t even handle it. How am I going to handle it? Geez, Louise, we got guys dropping like flies.’ So it was pretty wild.”

Elite Womens Michael Bennett Jersey The Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals and would go on to the AFC Championship Game in late January 2010, losing to the Indianapolis Colts.
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Sanchez’s memory speaks to what Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott will face when Dallas opens the divisional playoff round against the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants or Detroit Lions on Jan. 15.

A rookie quarterback has never led a team to a Super Bowl, but the Cowboys are relying not only on Prescott, their rookie QB, but also on Elliott, their rookie back who led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.

So does playoff experience matter? Still, Murray gained more than 100 yards in a game only twice this season and seven times gained less than 50 yards, including the season finale with a division title on the line, when he rushed for 11 yards on five carries. If anything, the Raiders might be able to re-sign him at a lower price than what was expected heading into the season.

Kevin Durant is a better rim protector than most centers

Ron Adams couldn¡¯t wait. It was like Christmas came early and a present he never expected appeared under his tree.

That¡¯s how the wife of Golden State¡¯s veteran assistant coach told it. Basketball Santa gifted the Warriors former league Most Valuable Player, Kevin Durant. Adams was licking his chops, but not for the reasons most would expect.

¡°Ron can¡¯t wait to integrate Kevin into that defense,¡± Leah Adams told CSN Bay Area in August.
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Limited Womens Mika Zibanejad Jersey The Royals farm system has been called one of the worst in baseball as it stands, depleted by graduations (Raul Mondesi), trades (Sean Manaea), injuries (Kyle Zimmer), and poor drafts (Bubba Starling). There are still a few players with upside who could contribute. Matt Strahm should be strongly considered for the rotation. Josh Staumont could be a darkhorse to make the Major League pen this spring. First baseman Ryan O¡¯Hearn could replace Eric Hosmer in a year. But there is not much to be excited for after that.

The Royals will benefit from having the fourteenth pick in next year¡¯s draft – higher than they have selected since 2013 – and four of the top 90 picks. Perhaps a few prospects could rise quickly – Khalil Lee, Chase Vallot, Meibrys Viloria, and Seuly Matias all have high upsides. But the scouting department will have its work cut out for it when the Royals begin their rebuild in earnest.

Both players play integral roles in Capers’ game plan against the Lions

Both players play integral roles in Capers’ game plan against the Lions.

“Matthew Stafford is having a really good year for them,” Capers said. “He is coming to the line, looking things over, making audibles. He can play uptempo. He’s athletic and can win with his legs and extend plays for receivers to uncover downfield. Their tight end, (Eric) Ebron, is a factor. (Receiver) Golden Tate is good for yardage after the catch. (Receiver) Anquan Boldin has been a good pickup for them in terms of experience, competitiveness and he’s big and strong and good on third downs and in the red zone. (Receiver) Marvin Jones is the vertical factor for them. So, when you add it up, they are a handful.”

It was Capers’ defense in that Washington debacle that drew the hottest fire.

It allowed 515 offensive yards. It looked bad. Capers said it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

“We had held them to about 230 yards for most of that game and then we gave up some big plays and got into that scramble mode where the wheels came off,” Capers said. “We didn’t convert the opportunities we had to take the ball away and that’s who we are, that’s the way we’ve always played here. We are built to take the ball away and give Aaron at least a couple of more possessions and that often for us can make the difference in games.

Who’s in and who’s out in the playoff picture?

Which teams will join the Cowboys in the postseason? Check out the latest standings.

“We went through a tough period there where we were kind of mixing and matching and trying to figure out with our injuries what the guys left could do and what exactly we had. We started to figure some of those things out after Washington. And we got healthier.”

Especially defensive end Mike Daniels and linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews.

Perry (hamstring) and Matthews (shoulder) have battled through the most serious injuries. Both are healthy now and it is not a coincidence that the Packers defense is healthier, Capers says.