Gordon Hayward cares not for Giannis Antetokounmpo, dunks all over him

The Bucks have a player named Giannis Antetokounmpo. You may have heard of him. He has really long arms and is really good at playing basketball.

Gordon Hayward doesn’t care. Gordon Hayward does what he wants.

While Antetokounmpo is the one who has dazzled with some great rim-rockers this season, the Jazz forward Hayward decided to put Antetokounmpo on a poster of his own.

The best part of the video is probably Hayward pulling a Derek Zoolander and delivering the icy, Blue Steel gaze at Antetokounmpo after the finish.

The Jazz and Hayward are becoming an increasingly fun team to watch, and that dunk helped secure a 109-95 Utah victory over Milwaukee.

The closest we’ve come to seeing Durant in that role was during his MVP season when he went through a 26-game stretch without Westbrook. His numbers in those games: 35.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on 52.7 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 percent from the 3-point line. To put it into perspective how ridiculous that is, the only player in NBA history who has averaged 30.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field over the course of a season is Michael Jordan.

It isn’t crazy to think Durant would’ve joined Jordan as the only players to put up those numbers if he was in the same situation as Harden. It’s not the triple-double Westbrook and James would likely average, but it’s equally as impressive.
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NBA playoffs 2017: Behind Paul Millsap’s ‘winning play,’ Hawks even series with Wizards

An improbable bucket with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter by Paul Millsap punctuated the Hawks’ 111-101 victory over the Wizards in Game 4 of their first-round series.

Millsap grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately lost his balance after contact from Marcin Gortat. He caught the ball in the middle of the paint and ended up outside of the lane, hurling the ball toward the basket as he tumbled to the floor.

“For all the kids out there you gotta practice that play,” Millsap said with a wry smile. “It was just a hustle play. I practice fall-away shots. There’s a place for those. I’m trying to work for boards, and I felt the contact, so I threw it up.”

MORE: NBA playoff scores | Tuesday’s schedule

The Hawks led 97-93 at the time and the Wizards, behind a standout performance by Bradley Beal (32 points on 11-of-23 shooting), were streaking. Mr. MMA himself Markieff Morris had just scored a bucket to bring the Wizards within four.

On the ensuing possession, Millsap snatched the most important of his nine rebounds, and the putback gave him the biggest bucket of his 19 points, plus the free throw to put Atlanta up by seven. While Millsap tried to downplay the moment, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credited Millsap’s finish as a major key to victory.

“It was a huge play,” Budenholzer said. “But that’s also what Paul does, even when he’s not shooting well, he always finds a way. We call those winning plays.”

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Raiders lock up guard Gabe Jackson with rich new deal

The Raiders may be moving to Las Vegas, but they’re not willing to gamble the protection of Derek Carr.

After making the fourth-year quarterback the NFL’s highest-paid player with a five-year, $125 million contract extension last week, the Raiders have locked up one of their coveted offensive linemen with another rich new deal.

“Any recognition that I may have received throughout our years in the NFL has been the result of a group effort involving all of my family,” said Jerry Jones, who will be introduced as part of the Hall’s 2017 class on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio. “Gene is the backbone of our family, and her influence guides and inspires all of us. She is my closest advisor, my best friend, and it is only fitting that she present me, and represent our entire family, at this very special time.”

Jerry Jones had played coy up until this week, saying he knew who his presenter would be but he wasn’t ready to make it public.

Jones’ enshrinement — making him the 16th person from the Cowboys organization to be inducted — will take place two days after the Cowboys kick off the preseason against the Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game.

Gene Jones is one of two wives who will present their husbands next month, along with Kurt Warner’s wife, Brenda. They will become the third and fourth women to present their spouses for induction, joining Kim Singletary (Mike Singletary, 1998) and Deanna Favre (Brett Favre, 2016).warriors_001-115x115

Seahawks miscues were non-factors in Falcons’ blowout win

The Seahawks made several momentum-killing mistakes, but those plays probably didn’t affect the end result of Saturday’s divisional playoff game, considering how the Falcons offense played.

Atlanta put up 422 yards of total offense and capitalized on each Seattle mistake en route to a 36-20 victory at the Georgia Dome.

Super Bowl postgame shows (approximately 10:30 p.m., ESPN, FS1, NFL Network). It is not necessarily a rule, but the Super Bowl broadcaster will typically rush postgame coverage off the air to make room for the lead-out show (a ’24’ spinoff this year). That leaves the bulk of postgame coverage to cable. Last year, ESPN’s NFL Primetime scored a 1.2 rating and NFL Gameday Final had a 0.6 on NFL Network. Those numbers may dip this time around, with game broadcaster Fox certain to direct viewers to postgame coverage on FS1. In 2014, then-fledgling FS1 had a mere 0.2 for a postgame edition of ‘Fox Sports Live’ compared to a 1.2 for NFL Primetime and a 0.4 for Gameday Final. Predictions: 1.2 (ESPN), 0.5 (NFLN), 0.4 (FS1).

‘Undisputed’ (noon Sunday, Fox). Fox Sports has gone into overdrive trying to promote it’s homage to ESPN’s First Take, and Super Bowl Sunday provides the biggest opportunity yet. It goes without saying that the show, which typically attracts a five- or six-figure audience on FS1, will generate more eyeballs than ever before. The real question is whether it can top last year’s comparable ‘Road to the Super Bowl’ telecast on CBS (2.6). Prediction: 2.8.

NBA regular season: Cavaliers-Knicks and Clippers-Celtics (8:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, ABC). The Knicks’ struggles and the Clippers’ injuries make next weekend’s NBA offerings on ABC not so appealing. Luckily for the network, last year’s comparable games set a low bar with a 2.0 on Saturday night (Thunder-Warriors on ESPN) and a 1.6 on Super Bowl Sunday (Clippers-Heat). Expect at least comparable numbers this time around. Predictions: 2.2 and 1.6.avalanche_120

Buccaneers, Lawrence Tynes reach settlement in MRSA lawsuit

Lawrence Tynes has finally reached a settlement with the Buccaneers.

The former Tampa Bay kicker had sued his former team in 2015 and was seeking $20 million because of a MRSA infection in 2013 that ended his NFL career.

According to Hillsborough County court records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Tynes and the team signed paperwork Feb. 10 to “jointly stipulate and agree to dismissal” of his lawsuit. A pre-trial conference had been scheduled for August.

“Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization,” Spielman said in a release. “We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward.”

The final year of Peterson’s existing contract would have cost the Vikings an $18 million salary cap hit, starting with a $6 million bonus due if he was still on the roster March 11. Instead, he’ll hit the open market March 9 as an unrestricted free agent.

The former NFL MVP missed all but three games in 2016 thanks to a torn meniscus suffered in Week 2, a significant disappointment after his bounceback 2015 campaign.

Considering the expendability of NFL running backs and the fact that his 32nd birthday is looming March 21, Peterson doesn’t figure to get much in the way of guaranteed money anywhere. But someone will give the No. 16 rusher in league history a shot in training camp.

That could well be Minnesota, the only home he has known in the NFL. He, too, made it clear that he isn’t opposed to a return.
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Raiders focused on getting ‘some deals done’ with Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson in offseason

The next offseason goal for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie: Getting “some deals done” with two of the team’s top offensive players.

McKenzie said the franchise plans to focus on negotiations with the agents for quarterback Derek Carr and right guard Gabe Jackson. Each player is entering the final year of their rookie contracts.

The Giants selected former Clemson star Wayne Gallman in the fourth round, but he is projected to be more of a plodder than a true starter in the NFL.

New York has stated that Paul Perkins will begin the season as the starting running back, but he has limited experience, so a guy like Blount could help ease pressure on the 22-year-old.

With that being said, the Lions appear to be the most obvious fit for Blount, who will want guaranteed carries as he finishes the last years of his prime. Though he adds little in pass-catching skills, Detroit is well-covered in that area with Abdullah and Riddick.

Zenner proved towards the end of the season he can be counted on when needed, but the Lions are in a window to compete for the Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford under center.

Blount would provide a nice boost to their offensive attack.

For a while, it seemed as though Blount would re-sign with the Patriots, but they ofted to sign Bills restricted free agent Mike Gillislee instead.

Despite his one-dimensional style, Blount can still help a team win games due to his toughness as a runner and blocker.
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Bracketology 2017: This is where the last 4 teams in and 1st 4 teams out stand

With a quartet of teams on either side of the cut line and a few other lurkers in action on Friday, expect some bubble mayhem with just two days left before the bracket is revealed.

Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and Strength of Schedule (SOS) information is courtesy WarrenNolan.com and reflects only games against Division I opponents through Thursday, March 9.

Martha Burk, who unsuccessfully lobbied Augusta National to admit women in 2002, in July joined Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and other African American golfers in demanding relocation of the Women’s Open from the Trump course. In October, three U.S. senators entered the fray, writing to USGA executive director Mike Davis to request a change of venue for the tournament after a 2005 video, in which Trump boasted about groping women without their consent, came to light.

“The decision that the USGA makes is more consequential than simply the geographic location of a golf tournament,” senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote. “In declining future association with a brand that degrades women, the USGA and LPGA have an opportunity to make clear to the world, and most especially young Americans, that our nation will not tolerate nor do business with any company that condones or excuses action that constitutes sexual assault.”

It’s the Women’s Open venue, though, that has the USGA and LPGA taking heat for holding the competition on a course owned by a man who boasts about molesting women.

It’s likely too late to find another course and rearrange all the logistics involved with the Open, but initiatives to get the powers-that-be to do so have been ongoing since last year’s Women’s Open.1

He has also topped the 4,000-yard mark in each of the past two seasons for Clemson

Maybe they will finally luck into something in the 2017 NFL Draft. All the rumors seem to be centered around the Cleveland Browns going with defensive end Myles Garrett first overall. Theres also talk San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan may not want the team to go quarterback with their second overall pick. Should those two stick with these philosophies, the Jets may very well see Clemson signal caller Deshaun Watson on the board when it’s their turn to pick.

No hesitation is needed. If this scenario falls New York would be wise to finally grab a guy the fans could get behind. Watson is coming off a National Championship and a 41 touchdown passing season. He has also topped the 4,000-yard mark in each of the past two seasons for Clemson. There may be some question about if he isn’t worthy of a first-round pick, but there’s really no question he is a starter in the NFL〞which is more than what can be said about the current group the Jets have.

It has become painfully obvious that the Jets have no plan at quarterback. Geno Smith was a second-round pick in 2013, and he’s been bad. He was replaced by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick who was good for one year and awful the next. There’s also Bryce Petty, who was a fourth-round selection in 2015 and has had limited experience. The little he has played though has been very discouraging. More discouraging is the fact that the team wouldn’t even try 2016 second round pick Christian Hackenberg last season even as everyone else struggled.

That appeared to be a run-pass option, with Kelly having to make the call whether to take the inside handoff or fire a quick toss Engram’s way. Engram helped make the decision by firing off the line, sitting down in an open area and getting turned back toward the QB. Kelly had the ball in his hands for fewer than two seconds, so there could be no wasted motion on Engram’s end.

Better yet, Engram spun upfield after the catch and left the Memphis safety flailing en route to a TD.

Will Tiger Woods retire or just limp away?

Tiger Woods will not receive a golf watch for his 20-plus years on the job.

He won’t be making a David Ortiz-like farewell tour of Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, or Augusta, when it’s his time to walk away from the game.

On the wings SMU has senior Sterling Brown and sophomore Jarrey Foster. Both players are big wings (6’6 and about 225 pounds) who set the tone defensively and can shoot from distance. Tying the lineup together is Ben Moore, a 6’8 senior who looks nothing like a center but does a little bit of everything in the middle to maximize SMU’s versatility. He’s the only non-shooter on the floor but he’s an active rebounder, a good passer, and excels as a cutter.

With so many players capable of playing interchanging roles, SMU has a decidedly modern look. It also has balance as the No. 23 offense and No. 14 defense in KenPom’s efficiency rankings. Even without Brown on the sidelines or Moore running the show, there’s a case to be made this is the best team SMU has had in recent years.

For the program, this season should be worth the wait. The fanbase seems recharged, the atmosphere at games has been great, and Tony Romo and George W. Bush are even making appearances in the crowd.

After everything that’s happened to SMU, it’s easy to forget that the last time this team was in the NCAA Tournament, it lost at the buzzer on a goaltending call on Bryce Alford’s air ball. That would be a controversy that hangs over some programs for years. For SMU, it was just another bump in the road on the way to this season.

It was a nightmare to get here, but SMU came out of it all as energized as ever. Now it’s time to find out how good this team really is.

That’s exactly what Bell feels he needed to hear

Green plays hard and smart. He’s a hungry offensive rebounder, but he’s not crashing the glass willy-nilly, leaving the indefatigable Grizzlies in the lurch going the other way.

But when he senses a chance — an open corridor to the rim, a size mismatch — Green revs his motor to its highest gear:

That is smart basketball. Green drills little Ty Lawson with a pick, realizes Lawson is stuck on his back, and darts through a swath of open space for a putback Jam-Jam. The Grizzlies win because they stay within themselves, minimize mistakes, and play hard every damn second. Green has absorbed that ethos.

As Bell tells it, not once did the Steelers organization try to implement a three-strikes plan or deliver an empty pep talk. Tomlin didn’t castigate the player he affectionately calls “Juice” because of a smooth open-field running style similar to O.J. Simpson. The edict: Come back stronger for the final 13 games.

That’s exactly what Bell feels he needed to hear. Bell said he explained to several teammates, sometimes in groups, exactly what happened, and they believed the story was plausible. When asked by ESPN to retell the story, Bell cited a short-lived Twitter video in which he explains the confusion over an early-morning testing time and scheduling issues. In the video, which he posted and removed, Bell said he hadn’t smoked marijuana since December 2014.

By now, Bell has eased those concerns with his play (though his past might cause trepidation for the Steelers when it comes to a potential megadeal long term). But from the very beginning, his Steelers teammates were publicly supportive, more inclined to encourage the hard-working and likable Bell than lanky receiver Martavis Bryant, who has missed 20 regular-season games because of marijuana-related offenses. The tone Bell set in meetings and on-field work each day offset any potential character concerns because, as several players have said, “he works his ass off.”