Isaiah Thomas a real ‘killa’ with career night against Grizzlies

Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas attended a gala with idol Allen Iverson in August and emerged with a prized possession: An autographed jersey that Iverson personalized by inscribing, “To a real killa.” In the aftermath of the meeting, an awestruck Thomas sat in his Philadelphia hotel room and marveled at Iverson’s career averages, then promised to elevate his own play this season with a goal of proving his first All-Star selection was no fluke last year.

So when the action lags, the head coach will remind his players — and sometimes any official delaying the game with a trip to the review monitor — by making a circular motion once, maybe twice, with his hand.

Authentic Womens Brian Urlacher Jersey His message doesn’t exactly require deep analysis: Pick up the pace.

Anthony Davis, for one, has benefited statistically from the speed. The fifth-year big man has never utilized more possessions or played more minutes in his pro career, and as a result, his season line has puffed to career-high rates (albeit via a career-low shooting percentage, as he chooses more often to shoot over the top of the crowd he draws). But the season as a whole has thus far been an exercise in patience for the 23-year-old superstar.
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New Orleans waited for Jrue Holiday to return from tending to his wife and newborn.

Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is averaging career highs in points (29.6), rebounds (11.1) and minutes per game (37.4) this season.

The sliding-door rotations have taken a toll on the Pelicans’ playoff chances, which, after a win in Philadelphia on Wednesday, brought them to 3-3 since an 0-5 dip to start December, coming in at a measly 1.4 percent, according to ESPN’s BPI.

Bryce Petty to undergo CT scan after absorbing big hit to chest

New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty will have a CT scan Sunday to determine if there’s damage to his lungs after he left Saturday night’s game with a chest injury.

Luis Sardinas Mens Jersey Petty was sandwiched by Miami Dolphins pass-rushers Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake on the first play of the fourth quarter in the Jets’ 34-13 loss at MetLife Stadium.

If Jets owner Woody Johnson is considering cutting Todd Bowles loose, he shouldn’t take Saturday’s loss with a ramshackle roster into account.
The second-year quarterback, making his third career start, took three warm-up tosses on the sideline, but he felt “a pretty sharp, burning pain throughout my chest.”

Limited Mens Sean Smith Jersey Petty was taken to the locker room for X-rays, which were negative, according to the team. He said the CT scan will determine if there’s a bruise or puncture in one of his lungs.

He threw in practice as a full participant all week long without issue. Of course, it is impossible to simulate game situations when throwing under duress with traffic all around, so this could be a bit more challenging come game time. All things considered, however, the injury does not appear to present as much of a challenge for Stafford at this point as it seemed it could earlier this week.

Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos, foot: Siemian has already played through the foot injury, so seeing him on the practice injury report doesn’t come as a surprise. He was a full participant all week and heads into the matchup against the Patriots without limitations.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, right shoulder/right elbow: Luck remains on the injury report because of his shoulder but adds another body part: his throwing elbow.

He did not practice at all Wednesday but returned Thursday to a limited session followed by a full practice Friday. There is no doubt he will start after being removed from the game status injury report.

The Jets have struggled against the slot

The NFL’s silence does not faze Pereira, who has become a media star for his accurate and frank assessments of calls during games since retiring from the NFL and joining Fox Sports in 2010.
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“They’re never going to come out and admit it because it’s not allowed in the rules,” he said. “I get that. And I’m not against the notion of trying to get as many calls right as you can, but my only concern is if the rulebook doesn’t allow you to do it — to me, there is a conflict. I get the side of trying to avoid controversy, but I’d rather the rulebook allow it first.”

How could this happen? As an example, Pereira cited a play from the fourth quarter of Monday’s game at Gillette Stadium between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.

Game Youth Tim Hardaway Jersey Jamison Crowder, Redskins: As you know from my Cousins write-up, I like a lot of points to be scored in the Panthers-Redskins game, especially from Cousins. So even though Crowder is coming off a down week, I’m back on him as a WR2. No player in the NFL has more fantasy points from the slot than Crowder and look at what the slot has done to Carolina the past eight games: 77 catches, 802 yards and 10 touchdowns. Or, to put in another way, more than 17 fantasy points a game to the slot in that time frame.

He hasn’t had back-to-back games with single-digit fantasy points since Weeks 4 and 5, and since he’s coming off a three-point game last week, I’m not expecting that streak to be broken on Monday.

Others receiving votes: It’s not a shock as I like the wideouts of the quarterbacks I like, so yeah, fire up Tyrell Williams (four scores in his past five) and Dontrelle Inman (touchdowns in three straight) this week. …

The Jets have struggled against the slot, giving up 301 yards and a score the past three weeks, so even with Matt Moore under center, I’m higher than normal on Jarvis Landry. … Even if Julio Jones plays, I still like Taylor Gabriel’s chances against a 49ers team that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

NFL scores 2016: Follow all the Week 17 action from Sunday

The final Sunday of the year is the only one of the season that features all 32 teams with no Thursday, Saturday or Monday games to split up the action. Entering the day, 10 of the 12 playoff berths had been clinched, and the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers still had a chance to topple the Houston Texans and New York Jets, respectively, for a spot in the postseason.

For the Colts, it would have taken a Game Kids Tony Sanchez Jersey miraculous scenario of nine games going just right to earn the AFC South crown, and their playoff hopes ended when the Saints beat the Falcons on a last-second field goal. Even though the Colts, led by Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley, topped the Titans, it wouldn’t have mattered: the Texans’ dominating win over the Jaguars was the exclamation mark on their division title.

In four seasons as general manager of the Ttians, the team Kids Greg Zuerlein Jersey went 18-46, tied with the Oakland Raiders for the second-worst mark in the league over that period. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked worse.

Webster has never been in an ideal situation in Tennessee. He has worked under three different people, and has been above three different head coaches. But he hasn’t helped himself with lackluster draft picks like Bishop Sankey, Justin Hunter, Chance Warmack and Zach Brown.

“We share our fans’ frustration about the team’s recent performance, and we are committed to doing everything we can to return our team to a perennial postseason contender,” Strunk said.

Webster has had some hits, like the free agent acquisitions of Delanie Walker and Brian Orakpo, and the team made a bold move by sticking with Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He also set the franchise single-season passing yards record, passing Jay Schroeder’s 4,109 yards in 1986. He is the first quarterback in the franchise’s history to pass for more than 4,000 yards and throw more than 25 touchdowns in a single season.

Sandoval recently moved to Fort Myers to be closer to the Red Sox’s training facility

“I have been following a really strict routine that has taken a lot of dedication from my part,” Sandoval said. “It has not been easy to wake up every single day at 6:30 in the morning to then head to the gym and start a full day of work. But you have to have that kind of dedication if you want to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.”

Sandoval recently moved to Fort Myers to be closer to the Red Sox’s training facility. He works out each day with team trainers, and although neither Dombrowski nor manager John Farrell has traveled to Florida to personally check in on Sandoval, they receive regular reports from the staff there.

While the Indians and Rockies have showed legitimate Kevin Pillar Kids Jersey interest at these meetings, there is no indication that a deal with either club is close. Rangers GM Jon Daniels has downplayed his team’s chances of jumping into this bidding. A source who spoke with the Red Sox front office described the chances of Boston making a run at Encarnacion as “very unlikely” unless other moves change the look of their team and payroll.

The team seemingly best-positioned to make major Game Womens Steven Hauschka Jersey cost-efficient moves in hours/days ahead: The Rangers. Some big-time free agents need them.

David Schoenfield’s take: The Rangers need to make some big moves. Although Texas won the division handily, keep in mind that both the Mariners (plus-61) and Astros (plus-23) had better run differentials than the Rangers (plus-8).

Jayson Stark’s take: Kinzer headed for the winter meetings last weekend, hoping to get Encarnacion signed with the Blue Jays, Astros or Yankees this week. But all three have moved on. If he’s looking for a deal anywhere close to the four-year, $80 million offer from Toronto that he turned down early in the offseason, he essentially has to generate a whole new market.

Tyreek Hill is hot, even in freezing Chiefs vs. Raiders game

The Chiefs took a 7-3 lead over the AFC-leading Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football when Alex Smith hit Tyreek Hill with a 36-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Hill, the fastest player in the NFL, outran everyone to haul in the score.

He topped himself later in the quarter when he ran back a 78-yard punt for another return:

To be fair, Whalen had never practiced the play before, according to Colts punter Pat McAfee. Safety Clayton Geathers was supposed to be the center, but left the game with an injury, and Whalen, though unprepared, had to step in for him.

Whalen didn’t realize that he wasn’t supposed to snap the ball unless the Patriots responded by misaligning or trying to substitute, giving Indianapolis the opportunity to catch them with 12 men on the field.

The Patriots will be without wide receiver Danny Amendola indefinitely as he recovers from an ankle injury, and Whalen will help fill Amendola’s role.

Whalen spent three seasons in Indianapolis, and was signed by the San Diego Chargers after Danny Woodhead was placed on injured reserve early in the 2016 season. Over eight games with the Chargers this season, Whalen had two catches for 22 yards.

Gasser was charged with misdemeanor simple battery in that incident, and prosecutors later dropped the charge.

Manslaughter in the state of Louisiana is defined as taking someone’s life due to “sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection.” If Gasser is convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison.

Bears actually lose by winning against inept 49ers

Matt Barkley’s tenure in Arizona looks like a throwaway line in the quarterback’s official NFL biography.

After appearing in four games for Philadelphia, Barkley – the Eagles’ fourth-round pick in 2013 – was traded to the Cardinals on Sept. 4, 2015, but never played in a game for Arizona.

Still, Barkley, who will make his third consecutive start for the Chicago Bears in Detroit, said on Wednesday that he made the most of his one-year spent in the desert observing Arizona’s Carson Palmer — a fellow former USC quarterback.

Matt Barkley will make his third consecutive start for the Bears on Sunday.

“When you go through tough times, so many have it far worse, so how can I make a difference in someone’s life?” Kelly said, about what he’s learned through his challenges. “When you go out, you’re not only representing yourself but your whole family. [Roethlisberger] gets that.”

Through many conversations, Roethlisberger became touched by Kelly’s story, from his cancer battle to the loss of his 8-year-old son, Hunter, to Krabbe disease in 2005.

An offseason story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called ‘Ben’s Quiet Quest’ reported that Roethlisberger gave his third son, Bodie, the middle name Hunter.

To hear Roethlisberger tell it now, he and his wife, Ashley, wanted to honor Kelly’s family and also liked the name. Roethlisberger called Kelly for his blessing, and he was “honored” by the gesture, Roethlisberger said. Kelly used the word “touched.”

Shared experiences blazed by years of campfire talk gave Roethlisberger someone to trust, a sounding board for his thoughts on life, football, toughness, whatever.

“We talk a lot,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s not like any specific things, but I’ll get texts after games like, ‘Great job, keep it up,’ things like that. Those mean a lot coming from a guy like that.”

Peyton Manning at quarterback means it’s all or nothing for the Broncos

Peyton Manning will start at quarterback for the first time in nine weeks when his Denver Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoffs on Sunday. He will also try to be on the upside of what has been his bizarre boom-or-bust playoff history over the last nine seasons.

In Manning’s last nine trips to the AFC playoffs with the Colts and Broncos, it’s been all or nothing for his teams. There have been six one-and-done appearances and three Super Bowl appearances going back to the 2005 season. He’s perfect in AFC title games in that span, but has also lost four times in the Divisional round when his team had either the No. 1 or 2 seed.

Campbell, a former NFL tight end, was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1999 draft. Saints head coach Sean Payton coached Campbell during his time in New York, and Payton was also on staff when Campbell was with the Dallas Cowboys. Campbell signed with the Saints prior to the 2009 season and was placed on injured reserve before the season began. He retired following the Saints’ Super Bowl victory.

His coaching career began the following season, when Campbell was hired by the Dolphins as a coaching intern. The Dolphins promoted Campbell to the tight ends coach position in 2011, and he remained in that role until being named interim head coach early in the 2015 season.

Payton had glowing praise for Campbell when he was named the interim head coach in Miami, per Triplett. “He’s a fantastic guy, a great worker, a great teammate,” Payton said. “He’s someone that is tough, strong. I can’t say enough good things.”

Campbell will be working with a position group in New Orleans that includes tight end Benjamin Watson, who is coming off of a career season. In his 12th season in the NFL, Watson had 825 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Watson was one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, and his 74 receptions were second only to the team’s leading receiver, Brandin Cooks.

Week 13 fantasy football inactives watch: Who’s in, and who’s out?

New England Patriots (8:40 a.m.): We all know that the Patriots are going to Patriot when it comes to their injury report. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that all four “questionable” offense starters — Tom Brady, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan – will play today against the Rams.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7:45 a.m.): K Chris Boswell is dealing with an abdominal injury, forcing the team to sign Randy Bullock on Saturday, just in case. No team loves to “go for two” more than the Steelers, so from a fantasy perspective, it’s probably best to simply look elsewhere for your kicking needs.

Philadelphia Eagles (7:40 a.m.): With Jordan Matthews dealing with a sprained ankle, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the wide receiver will not play against the Bengals, marking the first time Matthews has missed a game in his career. Nelson Agholor is expected to take his place on the field.

Players off game status injury report:

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, right shoulder/concussion: Luck sat out the Thanksgiving Day game because of a concussion, but his return to practice on a limited basis early in the week suggested he was making strides. The team’s first official practice report was issued Thursday (since the Colts play Monday night), and he was a limited participant. On Friday, the team merely conducted a walk-through. By Saturday, Luck was fully participating and his removal from the game status injury report indicates he received final clearance to play. He is expected to start against the New York Jets on Monday.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars, right shoulder: Bortles has been on the injury report for two weeks now because of his shoulder, but full practice sessions and his removal from the game status injury report indicate he will play.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, finger/right hand: Everyone saw the deformity in the pinkie finger of Carr’s throwing hand last Sunday; everyone then saw him after the finger dislocation was reduced return to the game and lead his team to a victory. He didn’t miss a beat in practice, although he wore a glove at the outset of the week. By Friday, he was down to just having the finger taped. A full participant all week, Carr is off the game status injury report heading into the matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

Senior Bowl 2016: Time, TV schedule and news

Although the NFL Draft is still three months away, preparations have already begun in earnest around the league. The unofficial kickoff to the evaluation period is the Senior Bowl, a showcase for the nation’s top senior prospects with all 32 clubs in attendance. The game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., and televised live by the NFL Network.

The Senior Bowl has a rich history as the premier event for seniors looking to impress NFL scouts, coaches and front office members both on and off the gridiron. The first game was held in 1950 and since then roughly 5,000 prospects have participated in the event, including nearly 40 Hall of Famers. According to the game’s website, at least 30 percent of the league in any given season is comprised of players who participated in the Senior Bowl.

It is considered the crown jewel of the college all-star game season and one of the most important weeks in the pre-draft process. There is plenty at stake for the 100-plus prospects, some of whom are trying to cement their status among the best available talents and others who are hopeful of boosting their draft stock with a strong performance against top competition.

While the actual game is important, the real work often gets done in the practices leading up to Saturday, where players are put through full-speed, fully padded sessions with NFL coaching staffs. This year the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars were selected to lead the North and South teams, respectively. In addition, scouts spend time after practices interviewing players to gather further information about how they might fit into the culture of the organization and address any potential character concerns.

There is obviously a boatload of talent on hand in Mobile and it is no surprise that the newly crowned national champions (Alabama) and Ohio State lead the way with five players apiece. Baylor and Georgia are the second-most represented schools, boasting four players each.

Among the position groups, the quarterbacks are the big draw here this week. The North team is headlined by potential top-10 pick Carson Wentz (North Dakota State), who has tremendous upside with the NFL-style skill set that teams covet but lacks experience against top competition. For the South, Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) is the top prospect under center. He has a high football IQ and intriguing tools as a dual-threat quarterback, though he is not seen as first-round talent.

Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller is another impressive offensive prospect to watch. Miller made the switch from quarterback to wide receiver this season and was a star all week during Senior Bowl practice. He is obviously still raw as a route runner, but he could help his draft stock with a big game on Saturday.

On the defensive side of the ball, there are several guys to keep your eye on, including defensive end Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Alabama) and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (Ohio State).