Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Bulls made the playoffs all five seasons with coach Tom Thibodeau leading Derrick Rose and Noah

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Knicks: SG Courtney Lee only played eight minutes because of a sprained left ankle. … Coach Jeff Hornacek said F Lance Thomas, who has not played yet because of a sore left ankle, had a good workout during shootaround and will practice on Friday in the hopes of playing in the next game or two.

Timberwolves: Wiggins had 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists. … Towns’ 22 points in the first quarter were two off of Chauncey Billups’ franchise record of 24. … G/F Brandon Rush was inactive with a sore big toe that has bothered him for much of the season.


The two young stars rarely guarded each other, but Towns did go at Porzingis late in the second quarter, rising up to try to dunk on him only to have the Latvian emphatically stuff him for Towns’ first missed shot in 11 attempts.

“He tried,” Porzingis said. “He was being super aggressive. He was driving to the basket, shooting from the outside, playing in the post. He was doing everything. He was playing an overall game, and it was really hard to stop him.”

Authentic Womens Johnathan Joseph Jersey FOND MEMORIES

The Bulls made the playoffs all five seasons with coach Tom Thibodeau leading Derrick Rose and Noah. Rose and Noah were two players Thibodeau, now with Minnesota, deeply respected for their competitive drive and determination.

“You don’t realize what you have with him until he’s not around,” Noah said. “He used to tell me that when I played for him because we used to butt heads all the time. He’s definitely one of the tops in the business.”


Two Knicks assistants have Minnesota ties, with Kurt Rambis a former head coach and Jerry Sichting spending a total of 13 years in two separate stints as an assistant.

“It’s still special,” Sichting said. “I still know a lot of people in the organization and around town. I don’t miss the winters around here, but I always enjoy coming back.”

Both players’ futures with the team remain cloudy as the NFL Combine gets underway

Murray is expected to ask for a premium deal based off 2014, and that his shelf life at running back means this could be his big chance at a payday. The largest amount of guaranteed money for a back is $36 million, given to Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson also accounts for the highest annual salary of $14.38 million. Behind him, LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster are each getting $20.7 million guaranteed J’Marcus Webb Authentic Womens Jersey with McCoy earning $9 million and Foster $8.7 million on average.

If Murray signs in the McCoy/Foster range, his first-year cap number could be reasonable. McCoy’s was $4.95 million, with the Eagles backloading the deal.

To create that cap space, look for the Cowboys to unload some unneeded players. Corner Brandon Carr could be a significant savings in 2015 if Dallas designates him a post-June 1 cut, getting $8 million back. However, he will represent over $7 million in dead money in 2016, per Todd Archer of ESPN.

The Cowboys are certainly in a tough spot, and only have a few weeks to figure it out before Murray hits the open market.

Manning, who will turn 39 next month, struggled down the stretch as he played through a torn right quad suffered in Week 15 against the San Diego Chargers.

The Baltimore Ravens want Steve Smith back, and the feeling is mutual, according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. Smith, who caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns, is entering the second year of his three-year, $10.5 million deal, and has told head coach John Harbaugh he wants to return. Smith turns 36-years-old in May, but remains one of the top receivers in the NFL.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is not committed to running back Reggie Bush being Jarran Reed Authentic Womens Jersey in silver and Honalulu blue next season, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk.

Sam Bradford has reportedly been given permission by the St. Louis Rams to seek a trade, and the Buffalo Bills could be at the top of the interested teams list. Buffalo is in desperate need of a quarterback after Kyle Orton retired, and they have to be creative without a first-round pick. Bradford’s trade value is dimmed by his contract and injury history.

The Flames are trying to crawl out of an early-season hole and Hamilton

The Flames are trying to crawl out of an early-season hole and Hamilton, 23, the subject of trade discussion (not to mention consternation among Flames fans) has picked it up of late, with four assists in his past four games. Meanwhile, Gostisbehere, 23, is learning that playing for head coach Dave Hakstol means playing at both ends of the ice: The rookie of the year finalist from a year ago was recently a healthy scratch and has just one assist in his past six games.

One of the good things for Schmaltz, one of the top-rated Mark Duper Authentic Womens Jersey collegiate players in the past couple of years (he was the 20th-overall pick in 2014 after playing two years at the University of North Dakota) is that there’s lots of veterans on the Blackhawks who can take the heat off when things are going tough. Well, it’s been an education for the 20-year-old Schmaltz, who has had some looks playing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but has just one goal on the season and one assist in his past seven games.

The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators — who clashed in one of two games Thanksgiving night — are really tough to figure out these days.

On the slate of 11 games Friday are two that you wouldn’t necessarily circle as must-watch, but they feature a key divisional clash and a chance to halt a power-play slide.

Part of the thought process by the Islanders in moving on from Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin, et al. in the offseason presumably was that the young talent, like Strome, the fifth-overall pick in 2011, would step up. But it hasn’t happened for the Isles — who are last in the Eastern Conference — or for the 23-year-old Strome, who has gone 14 games without a goal. A natural center, Strome has played briefly on the wing with captain John Tavares but has floated up and down the lineup as head coach Jack Capuano struggles to find a place from which Strome can produce.

The Devils are lights-out at home (7-0-1) but have struggled on the road as they fight for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Without Taylor Hall for the next few weeks, the challenge will be in finding offense from other sources, but it hasn’t come from big 19-year-old Zacha, who has gone 10 games without a goal (he has just one on the season) and has just one assist over the same period. Zacha is 6-foot-3 and has oodles of Matt Darr Authentic Womens Jersey skill, although it’s been a steeper learning curve for the sixth-overall pick in 2015 than one might have imagined.

The Red Sox, widely regarded as the favorite to win the AL pennant when the playoffs began

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. got his first taste of the postseason, going 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts during the Division Series.

The Red Sox, widely regarded as the favorite to win the AL pennant when the playoffs began, got swept.

Out of that disappointment comes hope. Consider Thomas Davis Authentic Jersey what happened against the Indians to be a learning experience for a Red Sox team that leaned heavily on 40-year-old franchise icon David Ortiz in his farewell season but was defined by its youth. Betts and Bogaerts turned 24 last month; Bradley is 26; left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who homered in his first playoff at-bat, is 22; the farm system is loaded with prospects, including 21-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada.

It’s no wonder president of baseball operations Trai Turner Authentic Jersey Dave Dombrowski is focused on making changes on the margins this winter while believing the Red Sox’s core is best left intact and will only benefit from having gone through this past season together.

“First game of the postseason there’s a little anxiety,” Farrell said. “And you combine it with an 8 o’clock start, which, even when we have an 8 o’clock start on a Sunday during the regular season, there’s a different feel to it. The fact that we had three days down [after the regular season], five guys in our lineup being their first postseason, yeah, there were some things that were firsts.”

It didn’t get appreciably better over the next two games. Before Bradley singled in the ninth inning of Game 3, he was 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts. Betts finished 2-for-10 with one extra-base hit. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, along for the ride when Boston won the World Series in 2013 but still at an impressionable stage of his career, was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts before going 2-for-4 in Game 3.

Amaro referred to the “quiet confidence” that the holdovers from the 2007 Phillies took into 2008. With Betts, Bradley and Bogaerts stepping more squarely into leadership roles with the post-Ortiz Red Sox, he believes they will exhibit the same attitude he saw from those Phillies.

“I think those guys just seriously believed they could do this and have success,” Amaro said. “They went into [2008] with a little bit more confidence and obviously more experience, and that certainly helped. With our guys, I fully expect in the future, if they get those [postseason] opportunities again, and hopefully they will, they will go out there and take care of business.”

He first became interested in the Packers because he really likes cheese

Like Alvarez himself. He first became interested in the Packers because he really likes cheese — “It’s an obsession,” he said — and can now name every player on their roster.

Or Bohon, who was decked out in Vikings gear because as a kid he believed Fran Tarkenton was “ahead of his time.”

Or Erick Colín Mena, a 36-year-old who Will Fuller Authentic Womens Jersey was always fascinated by the city of Boston and wore a sweater that read: “I Might Live In Mexico But My Team Is In New England.”

Or Mario Hernándes, 26, who wore a convoluted Raiders costume because his mom bought him a team backpack nine years ago and he instantly became hooked.

Despite being pressured at a much higher rate, Winston has been sacked at a far lower rate than Mariota, 4.9 percent to 6.9 percent. When under pressure, Winston completes a higher percentage of passes than Mariota, and he has thrown an interception Will Fuller V Authentic Womens Jersey on 1.6 percent of his attempts, compared with 3.7 percent for Mariota. Winston’s Total QBR when under pressure is 64.6 for his career, the highest among qualified quarterbacks in that span. Mariota is at 16.5, which ranks 28th.

One factor into completion percentage is that Winston’s intended receivers have dropped 3.6 percent of his passes, while Mariota’s have dropped just 2.6 percent, which is the second-lowest rate among qualified quarterbacks.

That’s not to say Winston’s lower completion percentage is all his receivers’ fault. Winston has been judged to be off target (over or underthrown passes) on 23.2 percent of his attempts, the second-highest rate in the league. Mariota is at 17.5 Xavier Su’a-Filo Authentic Womens Jersey percent, which is also the league average.

Their accuracy when throwing the ball downfield is similar. On passes traveling 15 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage, Mariota has a completion percentage of 44 percent compared with Winston’s 43 percent, though Winston attempts two more such passes per game.

Len Goodman: Without a doubt, the most improved dancer in this final. Honestly. When I think back, Week 1, you got a 6. You were lucky to get a 6 if I’m honest, but you got a 6. This had such lovely fluidity of movement. It had a charm about it. Your hold has got much better. You’ve still got to work a little bit on your footwork, but overall, what a fabulous start to the evening.

The Clippers are outscoring teams by even more than last year’s Warriors

After the Los Angeles Clippers’ 127-95 Monday rout of the Brooklyn Nets, it’s clear the team has the “singular focus” Chris Paul referenced after the game.

”No excuses, we said we’re going to come out the same way every night,” he said. “It’s all about playing the right way. We got to keep building.”

Eleven games normally isn’t a large enough sample size to pass Adam Duvall Authentic Womens Jersey judgment on an NBA team. But the Clippers haven’t just been good, they’ve been really good to start the season. And it’s their defense, anchored by DeAndre Jordan, that’s setting the tone.

Last season, the Clippers allowed 100.9 points per 100 possessions. In 2014-15, they allowed 103. Through 11 games this season, the same Clips team boasts a defensive rating of 93 points per 100 possessions. (For reference, the Spurs defensive rating is 99.9, the Cavaliers 101.7, the Warriors 104.6, and the Knicks are dead last at 107.5.)

The question for DeRozan is: how much? A drop from 55 percent to 49 like Durant means DeRozan could easily still average 30 points this season, even if the mid-30s quickly fall out of reach. If that numbers falls to 45 percent, then DeRozan’s path becomes even more difficult. Of course, the worst-case scenario is a complete regression to the mean. Last year, DeRozan shot just 40 percent overall from that 8-to-24-foot range.

Still, DeRozan looks more than comfortable with this style, enough that it doesn’t feel like he’s a supernova that’s bound to fade away any minute now. Statistics say it’s unlikely, but maybe DeRozan just keeps making these shots forever and averages a gaudy number of points this season. The way he dominated the Knicks, to use just one of his nine games as an example, certainly doesn’t feel like he’s exerting his best Anthony DeSclafani Authentic Womens Jersey effort — and he still ended up with 33.

Regardless whether the drop off comes — and OK, yes, it almost certainly will — DeRozan’s game is still hearkening back to the older days.

It’s honestly refreshing. It’s not that three-pointers are bad or that there should be fewer of them, but everyone could use some nostalgia now and again. To see a player go against every offensive norm that has been erected over the past decade and thrive anyway is heartwarming. It’s an underdog story in one sense, if you ignore DeRozan was already a wildly successful basketball player before he emerged into the league’s best scorer for nine games.

Kovalev, naturally, asked Klimas how much he would be paid for his fights

Meanwhile, the fact that Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs), 33, is here is nothing short of a lottery-like miracle and a testament to the iron belief he and manager Egis Klimas had that, even in the worst of times, he would make it to the top.

In 2009, Klimas, who immigrated to Sam Martin Authentic Womens Jersey the United States from Lithuania and dabbled in boxing, was an unknown manager looking to make it in a rough business. He took an interest in signing Kovalev, who was a solid amateur in Russia but did not reach the Olympics. They had spoken on the phone regularly for a few weeks when Klimas told him he would be in Kazakhstan for a fight and he wanted Kovalev to fly in from Russia to meet and talk about a deal.

You guessed it: Nearly 40 years later, we’re still not over the Achilles tear that Tiny suffered during a meaningless exhibition game against visiting Detroit just six weeks after the Braves acquired him, forcing Archibald to miss the entire the 1977-78 season.

Which, of course, turned out to be my team’s last in Buffalo.

Thanks to a wonderful retrospective series in the Buffalo News in April assembled by my pal Bucky Gleason, I’ve learned a lot in 2016 about the Braves’ demise that 9-year-old me would have struggled to process even if I had known what was going on.

Yet I simply couldn’t resist telling Tiny, since I had him on the phone, how excited I was about his Buffalo arrival and how I still keep his only Braves basketball card — with our powder blue home jersey airbrushed on to compensate for the lack of actual pictures of him in a Braves uniform — close by on my desk.

“I was fired up to go there, because I looked at the guys that were there,” Archibald Stephen Tulloch Authentic Womens Jersey told me. “We would have been like greyhounds. With Randy … I had never been on a team that fast. But I went down. I’m sorry I couldn’t fulfill that dream. It’s unfortunate that people sustain injuries.”

Excuse me now while I spend the rest of the weekend sobbing like that young Marcin Gortat fan Twitter made famous.

Butler, who also has a close friendship with Denver Broncos star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas

“Nobody remembers D-Wade for that,” Butler said of Wade’s brief high school football career. “I try to remind him every day that he wore No. 3 at Marquette and I wore 33 because I was twice as good as him. Just joking. D-Wade could actually play football. That’s what’s crazy, because he’s got really big hands, so he could throw the ball easy and he can catch it extremely well too. But I’m not going to say he’s on my level in football. I’m just not going to say that.”

Brown, who got to know Butler through the pair’s Authentic Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey trainer, Travelle Gaines, knows how much his good friend enjoys the game.

“Jimmy loves football,” the Steelers receiver said. “He’s always running routes with me. He always wants to cover me. He’s in great shape. Can run all day. Extremely fast. The guy’s a competitor. That’s what makes him great.”

Dwyane Wade noted that when his friends ask Authentic Ben Ijalana Jersey about his new team, one of the first things he mentions is the ball.

“I’m like, ‘Man, Jimmy carries this football around everywhere,'” Wade said. “But the cool thing was, after one of the practices, we were out there playing catch, etc. I’m in there taking a shower before we go to Harvard and Boston, and I just hear so much commotion on the court. I come out there, coach is playing catch, all these things. It’s cool. Small things build some kind of camaraderie. It builds some kind of something that you need. Because sometimes, especially when you’re losing, a lot of people — you lose that eye contact. You lose that communication and talking. Small things like [throwing a football] help. It helps kind of relax a situation.

“So I didn’t know why he carried that football around like that everywhere he went … but this is cool for this team. It’s a moment that you take just to build something. Anything, when you’ve got a new group together, is something.”

As for the football, Brown said he “always” gives Butler a ball during the season. This particular one came from Butler’s Week 2 trip to Pittsburgh to see Brown and the Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Once the NFL season ends, Brown said he is hoping to get to “10-plus” Bulls games.

“A long time coming I tell you that,” Gibson said. “I’ve been around, even when we was competing, even when we had some teams when we were competing for championships, they still gave us a good whopping. Finally, the way we set the game off [with] the right kind of tone, I was even in shock with the way we just came out and hit them in the mouth and just kept going. When we want to play we’re a hell of a team. You never know what you’re going to get, we had some good days in practice, but this is a good one. A long time coming. We’ve been getting our tails whipped in here a long time.”

Ranking the best losses of the playoff contenders

After the beautiful chaos that emerged from what was supposed to be a ho-hum Week 11, this is how it’s going to be? An undefeated Alabama followed by a wad of one-loss teams. If that’s how it indeed plays out (and at this point assuming anything is as ill-advised as holding up a “We want Bama” sign on College GameDay), then how will the men and women in that hotel conference room in Grapevine, Texas, sift through that pile of one-blemish résumés? Will they compare the best moments of each team’s “W” column? Or will they stack up the low points over on the right side of the Mike Person Authentic Womens Jersey season-dividing dash?

For now, let’s assume they’re going with that common solo digit, the shared “1” in the loss column. Not all L’s are created equal. So, who owns the most impressive defeat? Here’s how we rank them.

Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long had to be carted off after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the Bucs.

“It’s tough,” said Cutler. “He has had Mohamed Sanu Authentic Womens Jersey a bunch of injuries to one side of his body and now the lower half takes a hit too. He’s going to be a hard guy to replace.”

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Long had played injured all year. He tore his left labrum in the preseason, and then he suffered a triceps strain that kept him out of the Bears’ Week 8 victory over Minnesota.

One of Chicago’s team leaders, Long signed a lucrative four-year contract extension prior to the beginning of the regular season.

Long is one of only seven Bears players to earn Pro Bowl nods in each of his first three professional seasons, a list that includes Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka and Gayle Sayers.

The Bears also activated wide receiver Marquess Wilson from the physically unable to perform list, signed defensive lineman C.J. Wilson and offensive lineman Cornelius Edison, and placed defensive lineman Will Sutton on injured reserve.

Wilson is one of Chicago’s receivers tabbed to replace Alshon Jeffery, who received a four-game suspension on Monday for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Eddie McDoom quickly making a name for himself at Michigan

Belinda McDoom had heard people say it before, but it never really sank in until her first trip to Michigan Stadium this fall. Youth coaches and friendly parents on the sideline would always tell her and her husband, Morris, that with a name like McDoom their son Eddie was destined to do some big things. It was, they said, the perfect name for football.

Still, the first time she heard 100,000 people bellowing their last name in baritone unison it was a bit of a shock.

Amateur animal psychologists across the state of Georgia prefer an alternate version of the events that followed Baker’s hauling in the 6-yard scoring pass and veering toward Seiler and his dog on the sideline. Seiler attempted to bail out when Baker headed their direction and pulled the dog backward, but as it spun around and the Auburn receiver nearly bumped into its owner, Uga reared up and snapped at Baker’s groin area.

“He might have been [playing], but the Cam Neely Youth Jersey Georgia fan’s perspective doesn’t prefer that interpretation,” joked Matt Stinchcomb, an All-SEC offensive tackle for Georgia in 1996 and now an SEC Network TV analyst. “They prefer that the dog knew and took exception to the fact that he had scored on his beloved brethren and he was seeking revenge.”

The list of coaching and playing talent involved that November day 20 years ago is staggering. Two Georgia players from that game, wide receiver Hines Ward and defensive back Champ Bailey, are future Pro Football Hall of Famers and many more from both sides went on to long NFL careers.

Even more impressive is the list of participants who went on to become head coaches. Joining the two head coaches from that game, Auburn’s Terry Bowden and Georgia’s Jim Donnan, seven more players or coaches have already earned FBS coaching jobs: Georgia defensive back Kirby Smart (Georgia’s head coach), Auburn quarterbacks coach Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Auburn graduate assistant Will Muschamp (Florida, South Carolina), Auburn offensive coordinator Tommy Bowden (Tulane, Clemson), Georgia graduate assistant Derek Dooley (Louisiana Tech, Tennessee), Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo (Colorado State) and Georgia offensive line coach Chris Scelfo (Tulane). Georgia defensive coordinator Joe Kines brings the number to 10 FBS head coaches when counting his stints as interim coach at Arkansas and Alabama.

However, despite the talent on the field that day, the bizarre final sequence in regulation — Bobo completed a huge Georgia comeback by hitting Corey Allen with the tying touchdown pass as time expired — and the game’s status as the SEC’s first overtime contest are historical asterisks. Whereas the Uga-Baker moment remains one of the most ubiquitous images in Auburn-Georgia history.

“I was like, ‘Are they booing him?'” she remembers. “And Carl Soderberg Youth Jersey then I realized, ‘No, oh my god, they’re screaming his name. That first game was just amazing. There are no words to describe it.”