Gregg Popovich: Spurs ‘not where we want to be’

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pointed out his team “played a great 24 minutes” of basketball Tuesday during its 122-114 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But for a 32-9 squad clinging to ever-present title aspirations at the halfway point in the season, Popovich and the Spurs need the full 48. That’s partly why Popovich said the Spurs aren’t yet where they want or need to be in terms of the cohesion and consistency required to capture championships.

THERE’S A REVEALING moment in Steve Young’s new autobiography, “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral,” that made me think of Matt Ryan. During the 1991 season, Young’s first year as a starter with the San Francisco 49ers, the quarterback visited Bill Walsh. Young needed help. A few days earlier, after a bad loss to the Raiders, he’d sat in his parked car for hours, crippled by the pressure of replacing Joe Montana. Young called friends for support, and then, at 3 a.m., having run out of people to call, he cried alone.

Now, in the office of the retired head coach who had believed in him more than anyone, Young hung his head, expecting a measure of empathy. Instead, Walsh scolded him.

“All you do is take the blame!” Walsh said.

“What am I supposed to say?” Young said, incredulously. “It’s not my fault?”
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“It’s been a tremendous experience — not just basketball, but culturally, very enriching and giving me a new perspective on the world that we live in,” Morris said. “So overall, [it was] a pretty good decision to take that leap.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers began the day with a 76 percent chance to win

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The Seahawks took the early lead with an 89-yard drive that consumed more than half of the first quarter. Leading 10-7, the Seahawks forced a Falcons punt that Devin Hester returned 80 yards to the Falcons¡¯ 7-yard line. A holding penalty on the return negated that runback, though, and two plays later, Russell Wilson was sacked in the end zone for a safety. The safety, the Falcons¡¯ third in eight postseason games since the start of the 2004 season, increased their win probability from 55 percent to 70 percent.

The sequence was especially pivotal considering what the Seahawks missed. Had Hester¡¯s punt return not been negated by penalty, the Seahawks (already leading 10-7) would have had a 59 percent chance to win. From ¡°what might have been¡± to the safety was a 29 percentage point swing in favor of the Falcons.

This game marked the most exciting game of wild-card weekend, based on the movement in the win probability chart. The Packers started slow, with five straight punts, but because of a few missed opportunities by the Giants, the Packers were able to stay in the game. New York probably felt like it was in a good position going into the half until Green Bay¡¯s final drive, which was capped by another Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary, which increased the Packers’ chance of winning by 13 percentage points.
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Green Bay entered halftime with a 14-6 lead and an 87 percent chance to win, but the game was far from over, as the Giants stopped the Packers on fourth down and scored a 41-yard touchdown two drives later. That long touchdown was the biggest play of the game, based on win probability added, as it increased the Giants¡¯ chance to win from 19 percent to 41 percent. The Packers answered with a touchdown on their next drive and never looked back, as they scored the game¡¯s final 24 points.

Chiefs RT Jeff Allen leaves Cardinals game with knee injury

Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Jeff Allen exited Saturday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a knee injury, and the team announced he will not return. Allen started the game at right tackle but went down early, and was replaced by Donald Stephenson.

It’s unclear if the injury is serious, but he was taken to the locker room on the cart and wasn’t able to put much weight on the injured leg. Allen only recently was named the Chiefs starting right tackle, with Stephenson the favorite to win the job prior to the team moving Allen to that position.

Allen was previously going to start at right guard, but the team liked his versatility. Stephenson will now likely be the right tackle going forward, if the injury is serious enough to force Allen to miss any time.

White, a 6’3, 215-pound receiver, had 109 catches, 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at West Virginia last year. He was the second receiver in the draft taken behind Oakland’s Amari Cooper.

The Chiefs’ offense got out to a shaky start, with starting quarterback Alex Smith throwing an interception. He finished 6 for 10 with 42 yards and the pick. Backup Chase Daniel fared quite a bit better, throwing three touchdowns, while wide receiver Fred Williams managed six receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown.

For the Cardinals, Carson Palmer looked effective as usual, completing all four of his passes for 77 yards. Most importantly, the Cardinals didn’t allow Palmer to get sacked. Keeping him protected will be the prime objective this season, and they did that on Saturday.

In terms of preparation for the season, both teams will learn more when Green Bay is on offense; the Packers can evaluate their young receivers and the Saints can work on strengthening their defense.

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Chiefs coach Andy Reid has publicly praised Tyreek Hill for his work off the field

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The well-being of survivors matters more than the sanitization of the NFL’s brand — or the delusion that if we no longer have to look at abusers, we can enjoy our societally sanctioned violence while pretending they don’t exist. But it’s undeniable that their presence on television causes many people pain. When these men play and play well, their success creates a dilemma that continues to beguile everyone with a vested interest in football. How do we talk about them?

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has publicly praised Tyreek Hill for his work off the field.

Brady did not play in the Week 3 matchup between the Texans and Patriots because he was serving the third game of a four-game suspension to start the season. In the 12 regular-season games he did play, he was of MVP caliber. Brady completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and his passer rating was 112.2.

O’Brien worked under Patriots coach Bill Belichick from 2007 through 2011. He was the offensive coordinator during the final season and the quarterbacks coach in the two before that. O’Brien praised Brady’s preparation and mindset.

It appears that actions like this are why the Goodell has been pushing so hard during this DeflateGate scandal. He went easy on the Patriots last time around, even, according to Outside the Lines, calling up Mike Martz, the Rams head coach at the time of Super Bowl XXXVI, and asking him to back off.
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Martz also recalls that Goodell asked him to write a statement, saying that he was satisfied with the NFL’s Spygate investigation and was certain the Patriots had not cheated and asking everyone to move on — like leaders of the Steelers and Eagles had done.

Chriss is gonna be good, but starting him is a great way to tank

Things are still perilous here. The Wiz are just 16-18, a game out of the No. 8 spot, and paper thin. Scott Brooks has no clue what he’s going to get from his atrocious bench every night, or even who might get into the game. Hey, there’s Jason Smith! Wait, what happened to Andrew Nicholson, the other half of Orlando’s old backup frontcourt? Trey Burke scored 27 points last week against Brooklyn. It might take him three weeks to total up that many points again.

But the Wiz are playing with more fight. Markieff Morris has looked energetic on defense, including in switching onto Harden, and he and Gortat have unleashed some nice big-man passing. Washington’s small-ball lineups, with Otto Porter or Kelly Oubre at power forward, have managed well.
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The Wiz have to bring that kind of attuned energy every night. They don’t have enough talent to play entitled basketball.
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Chriss is gonna be good, but starting him is a great way to tank. The Suns are last in the West, jostling with Miami, Brooklyn, Philly, Dallas and the Lakers for the league lead in losses, and they’ve made a clear move toward youth the last couple of weeks. They’ve damn near benched both Brandon Knight and Jared Dudley — not that Knight was helping much — and reserved regular minutes for Dragan Bender.

The race to the bottom is going to be a fun second-half storyline, especially since the Lakers owe their pick to Philadelphia unless it falls within the top three.

But sources also say that the Kings, at season’s end, want to pitch Cousins on a long-term partnership in the summertime, knowing he’s going to be eligible in July for a Designated Player Extension that ?could make him one of a handful of $200 million players league wide.

The latest signals suggest it would take a monster offer to get the Kings to tweak those plans.

The Lakers keep their pick in the June draft only if they finish in the top three of the next NBA lottery.

2017 World Juniors: Team USA captain ejected for high hit on Canada defender

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After a strong start to their game against Canada, the United States lost their captain for the rest of their biggest 2017 World Junior Championships game to date.

U.S. captain Luke Kunin went to finish a check behind the Canada net early in the second period, but landed it a bit too high for the referee¡¯s liking. Any hit to the head in the World Juniors warrants an automatic ejection and a five-minute power play to the victimized team.

Gerald McCoy Womens Jersey Kunin was tossed for the hit, which didn¡¯t appear to make contact with Canada defenseman Philippe Myers¡¯ head. Kunin stopped to look at the replay on the video board before disappearing down the tunnel for good.

It was the fourth penalty for Team USA before the halfway point of their game on Saturday. Charlie McCoy got dinged for tripping moments after Kunin¡¯s ejection, giving Canada a 5-on-3 opportunity that they scored on.

Considering the circumstances, the Bruins¡¯ 3-0 shutout loss to the Devils was quite the frustrating result. Boston had just 10 shots in the final 40 minutes of play while the Devils essentially played keep away through the majority of that time.

The Bruins were very close to having life at the end of the first period, though the no-goal call on Brad Marchand¡¯s shot seemed to suck the remaining energy out of the team.

Canada has the top power play in the tournament so far.

Alex Smith’s interception-free streak ends 46 passes shy of Tom Brady’s record

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw his first interception since September on Sunday, ending a streak of 312 pass attempts without a pick.

The interception by San Diego Chargers second-year cornerback Jason Verrett was the first for Smith since a Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers and only his fourth of the 2015 season. His streak of 312 pass attempts without throwing an interception was only the second streak in NFL history of over 300 pass attempts without a pick, but still came well short of the record of 358 set by Tom Brady on a streak that began in 2010.

Smith’s efficient and mistake-free Elite Youth King Dunlap Jersey play for the Chiefs helped the team turn around a 1-5 start and rattle off six consecutive wins to grab a lead in the race for an AFC Wild Card berth. As long as the team manages to continue to avoid turnovers and find ways to win, a spot in the postseason is theirs for the taking.

First of all, raise your hand if your Womens Richard Jefferson Jersey suprised that Newton celebrated so much after clinching a bye. I havent seen a guy this excited to skip a day at his job since Obamas inauguration.

I cant imagine Tom Brady being so happy to not have to play a game of football, or American Pharoah dabbing in his stable because a race got cancelled. These guys are suppose to want to go out there and compete every weekend and the fact that Newton worked so hard just to get a day off work shows you that his work ethic still has a long way to go before hes considered to be one of the greats.

Cam could of learned a thing or two from watching the Army-Navy game on Saturday when the players showed us all the true meaning of class, instead of what the Panthers did by making a big producton out of it and celebrating boistrously with there fans.

The Cowboys lost in Green Bay again, as is traditon. But they kept themselves in the news cycle on account of there are rumors swirling that DeMarco Murray wants to get back into Big D after a year of frustration with the Eagles, and you have to imagine Jerry Jones is willing to take that call given its only a matter of time untill Darren McFaddens hamstring curls up into a ball and punts itself into the Cowboys jumbotron.

Chiefs’ doinked field goal win vs. Broncos put both teams on different paths

The reigning Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos will sit out the postseason after being eliminated from playoff contention last week. To pinpoint the moment when everything changed for the Broncos, look to the field goal Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairos Santos miraculously doinked between the uprights in overtime against Denver back in Week 12.

The doink, and the game it won for Kansas City, shaped the entire AFC West race this season.

It’s been a tight battle in the division, with the Oakland Raiders at the top with a 12-3 record and the Chiefs just behind them at 11-4. The Broncos are 8-7 now, and their only win since that ill-fated Sunday Night Football game was a 20-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have a whopping three wins to their name this season.

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

Hopkins is one of the few legitimate difference-makers in a depleted Texans offense, and if he can’t get open the entire passing game falls apart. The good news for him is that the Texans play the Indianapolis Colts next week, a team that Hopkins shredded for 11 catches and 169 yards in Week 5. He’ll need to replicate that kind of performance in a game that could decide the AFC South.

Three plays later, James White punched the ball into the end zone to seal the game for the Patriots. Hoyer later left the game with a possible concussion, leaving T.J. Yates with mop-up duty in the final five minutes.

You have 53 players on the roster and you’re only dressing 46 guys, two of those are quarterbacks and three are specialists (kicker, punter, long snapper). You’re down to 40 guys who can play. So not everyone can get snaps. It’s sometimes tough figuring out who gets the time off.

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The Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL

Detroit may make it sound that simple, but it¡¯s anything but. The Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winners of five straight games, three of them by double digits. They have a quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who hasn¡¯t thrown an interception since Nov. 13.

Meanwhile, the Lions need to find themselves a bit. Their defense, which hadn¡¯t allowed more than 20 points in a game for two months, gave up 42 to Dallas. Their offense, which has been good with the ball most of the season, has six turnovers in the past three weeks. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has more rushing touchdowns (two) than passing touchdowns in that span.
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With the Cardinals and Rams out of the playoffs, expect Fitzgerald to play and play well. Brown owns one outright receptions title and tied Julio Jones for a second one in 2015. His resume might stay that way after Sunday. Regardless, Brown’s four straight 100-catch seasons say plenty about his production.

Bell will fall short of 2,000 total yards: In a season that merited MVP consideration, Bell produced 1,884 total yards in 12 games, including 75 catches for 616 yards. He would have eclipsed 2,000 total yards without his three-game suspension. But Bell is too valuable to trot out there Sunday, especially considering his insane workload — averaging 28 touches per game for the season. He needs the rest more than anyone.
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But Taylor’s statistics declined in multiple areas this season compared to 2015, including completion percentage, rating, QBR and yards per attempt.

Detroit couldn¡¯t have that anymore. Not now. Not after a 42-21 loss Monday night to the Dallas Cowboys and less than a week away from the game that will define its season. There was no group discussion about it afterward. Multiple players said it wasn¡¯t brought up.

the Red Sox could potentially swoop into the market?

According to Dombrowski, parting with Buchholz “made the most sense” because he was the only starter among Pomeranz, Rodriguez and Wright who isn’t under club control beyond 2017. He also would have cost the Red Sox $13.5 million against the luxury tax, roughly as much as offseason additions Sale, reliever Tyler Thornburg and first baseman Mitch Moreland combined.

Festus Ezeli Kids Jersey “It’s a situation where it creates some flexibility for us as we go forward, staying below the CBT with areas we may want to address as the season progresses,” Dombrowski said. “Who even knows, maybe even as the wintertime progresses?”

Ah-ha! So, by moving Buchholz, the Red Sox could potentially swoop into the market? Say, for free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, whose options are dwindling and who would answer the Big Papi-sized question of how the Red Sox plan to replace the production left behind by retired designated hitter David Ortiz.
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It’s a fitting coincidence that the previous mark was set by a team whose roster was basically completed about 20 years earlier. On Dec. 12, 1996, the Florida Marlins signed free-agent outfielder Moises Alou to a five-year, $25 million contract, the final major piece of a team built largely through a wild, two-year spending spree.

When they celebrated their own championship 10 months later, Florida would face accusations of having “bought a World Series,” but they also set a model that many teams would follow over the ensuing years, sometimes to great success — as with the Cubs — and often to great failure. Either way, the era of the store-bought championship bid was at hand.

Encarnacion might be worth $20 million in 2017 and 2018, but would you rather pay him $20 million in 2019, when he’ll be 36, or have that money free for a younger, better star? Today’s front offices try to balance the present without mortgaging the future.