Warriors mount comeback with Kawhi Leonard out, take Game 1 in stunning fashion

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A quick 5-0 run from the Spurs is answered with a 6-0 run from the Warriors. Gregg Popovich calls a full timeout at 8:40 in the first quarter to settle his team down. Golden State has a 6-5 lead, and its defense looks active early.

Leonard looks just fine to start the game, draining a midrange jumper from the corner. First lead of Game 1 to the Spurs.

Golden State arrives in the conference finals for the third straight year, but having used up as little stress as possible in the process, winning eight straight games by an average margin of 16.5 points. Going back to the regular season, the Warriors have gone 23-1 since mid-March. The Spurs, however, come in a bit tattered, surviving two grueling series against the Grizzlies and the Rockets with point guard Tony Parker injured in the latter series. That forced backup Patty Mills into the starting five and leaves Manu Ginobili as the de facto backup point guard.

Authentic Steven Stamkos Jersey Oh and, the Spurs’ best player, Kawhi Leonard, missed a chunk of Game 5 and sat out Game 6 with an ankle injury.

The Celtics, like the rest of the East, lack a defensive presence who can at least handle James for 15- or 20-minute stretches per game. In the West, you have Andre Iguodala or Kawhi Leonard, but there is no counterpart in the East. The Celtics will try thick, wide-bodied Jae Crowder, and the Cavs will run James through pick-and-rolls when they do. They will try undersized Avery Bradley, and the Cavs will get James into isolation in those situations. They will put rookie Jaylen Brown on James, but James has too many tricks on hand for a young guy like Brown. James routinely torched P.J. Tucker in the second round of the playoffs, and none of the Celtics’ options are as suited to defend James as Tucker.

it’s pretty evident he’s determined to bring in someone of value

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We obviously aren’t done. We sit here with six very good rotation players, we’re hoping to have Nene return, which would get us to seven I think very high-level rotation players. I think we want to get to eight to 10, Morey said. People last year were saying, ‘You’ve got a great system around James [Harden],’ and I considered consistently last year, ‘That’s good, but I think to win the title you have to add as many USA Basketball players as possible.’ And I would give that answer, I just think the more USA Basketball players you can have on your team, the better it is.

While that’s a sound strategy, it’s also a strong hint he’s looking at George or Anthony. Both players were on Team USA’s roster in 2016 and are really the only names on that 12-man team that are currently obtainable. Morey, of course, can’t come right out and say he wants those players, because that could be considered tampering.

Even if Morey can’t make a trade for one of those two, it’s pretty evident he’s determined to bring in someone of value. The Rockets have positioned themselves nicely for another trade, and that’s not even mentioning what they can do in free agency.

We got to go and try and get closer to Golden State by rounding our roster out [to] eight to 10 [rotation players] and see if we can get any other upgrades, Morey said on Mike & Mike.
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The Warriors’ superteam has clearly made an impact on Morey and the Rockets’ decision-making this offseason.

The Clippers will not fall apart completely. This deal keeps them out of tank mode, for now at least, and though they don’t have as much top-line talent on the roster as they did a week ago, we saw how much good having three All-NBA-type players did for the Clippers in the last four years. The Clippers have never been able to get out of the second round of the playoffs.

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

I couldn’t put my thoughts together about the game until a week afterward

Womens Tim Thomas USA Jersey That’s the best thing Ryan could have possibly said. It can’t be easy for Ryan and company to move on, even more than four months later, but they are. Devonta Freeman made that known earlier this offseason.

As a lifelong Falcons fan, I couldn’t put my thoughts together about the game until a week afterward, and I’m (obviously!) not on the team.

Limited Leon Sandcastle Jersey Some thought Martin could have waited to take things up with Jackson or that he could have done it in a more low-key manner. But Martin, who was never inconspicuous, snapped back saying, Because it’s a TV game. I’m not going to wait until next week. He showed us up all over the country.

The Yankees would go on to lose the game 10-4 and would lose 11-1 the next day. The Yankees were a half game up on the Red Sox in the standings when they entered Fenway for the weekend series and they left 2 1/2 behind after the sweep.

Fortunately, the rest of the season would go a lot better for the Bronx Bombers. They would capture their 21st World Series title, Jackson would become Mr. October and Martin would win his only title as a manager.

How they move up: Signing Gordon Hayward helps, but he has been named an All-Star just once in his career and missed out on the latest All-NBA squad, giving him a whopping one point on this scale. He’s arguably a better player than some of the stars on this list, but no one would mistake the Celtics for a superteam yet. A Hayward-Thomas-Horford big three won’t rival Cleveland’s star trio, but they have plenty of youngsters who — with time to develop — could help in the superteam department.

Newton sounded as if he took the decision to keep playing after the Week 14 injury into his own hands

This ground has already been traveled here. Yeah, it was wondered out loud whether the Panthers actually like Cam. Monday’s revelations of the throwing session last Friday — and Newton’s comments to the team website afterward — didn’t help matters.
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Newton sounded as if he took the decision to keep playing after the Week 14 injury into his own hands, for his own reasons.

Some of these kids, we saw them last year. Just something as simple as having clean water, you can tell the difference in their skin and how much healthier they are compared to the year before. So, that was pretty cool to see.
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Indeed, Avril plans on building a new house for every sack he registers in 2017.

People ask why I want to go back, he said. I could have easily been one of those Haitian kids. I was just fortunate enough that my mom was able to make it to the States, and we made something happen. But I could have easily been one of those kids.

It’s great to see Avril travel out of the country to to help others in need. Yes, he is a great player for the Seahawks, but he’s also a charitable man with a big heart.

Earlier this month, the Jets made it known they would be parting ways with the veteran receiver via trade or release. They ended up releasing him the next week when a trade couldn’t be worked out. Decker was part of a roster purge the Jets executed this offseason. He was scheduled to earn $7.25 million in 2017 and a pay increase in 2018.

When he found out he was leaving New York, Decker posted a heartfelt goodbye to the team and its fans:

Thank you @nyjets for the opportunity the last 3 years! I truly made some great memories and friendships that will last forever!

Brown might wind up back in a head-coaching role in the future

Think more big picture than, ‘hey, we got to get better right now, and since we are here, we got to use every single minute of this three hours and 55 seconds that we have.’

Brown might wind up back in a head-coaching role in the future — Walton is with the Lakers and his predecessor, Alvin Gentry, got the Pelicans’ job. He has said he would not necessarily jump at the first job offered, because he has been such a good fit with the Warriors.
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But he is still undefeated in the playoffs as the Warriors coach. And with Kerr still unsure whether he will be able to return, Brown will just continue in his current role. There was a time, maybe, that he’d want more of a definitive answer. Coaching the Warriors has changed that, though.

Alvin Kamara Game Jersey It’s simple for me that way, Brown said. Then if there comes a time that I’m not (coaching), I would have been prepared to coach the game if I needed to, but it’s easy for me to take a step back.

That work ethic is easy to see in both his frame and improvement. Ojeleye is a behemoth of a human, standing 6-7, 241 pounds with under six percent body fat. His arms are so muscular that it was suggested to me by one NBA executive that they affect his standing reach negatively because he can’t lift them as aerobically over his head after a measurement came in at just 8-6. But that hasn’t affected his quickness, as Ojeleye is terrific at sliding his feet — as shown by a 10.58 lane agility drill score, third among all NBA Draft Combine participants.

That strength and speed combination plays itself out best on defense, where Ojeleye has shown the ability to defend multiple positions. With the Mustangs, it was not abnormal to see Ojeleye guarding someone like Tacko Fall from UCF on one possession in the post, then switching out onto a perimeter player the next. He doesn’t force turnovers at a high level, but he provides positional versatility at a time when it is more valued than ever.

They would surely like to get more out of him.

Womens Logan Paulsen Jersey The salary cap for next season is expected to come in at $101 million, with a luxury tax threshold of $121 million. About 70 percent of their cap, then, will be spent on their first three players. They’re committed to $37 million for Markieff Morris, Ian Mahinmi and Marcin Gortat (possible trade bait), which means six players will put them over the cap and within striking range of the luxury tax.
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Here’s the problem for a team like the Wizards, and for top-heavy teams like Washington all across the league: It’s not going to get better. We saw spikes in the cap last summer, and we will see another for this summer. Next year, the projection is that the cap will level off to about $101 million again, with maybe a slight increase. The tax will be about the same, too.

The Wizards’ salaries, though, will not level off. Wall will get his extension, Beal’s contract will bump up by $1.6 million per year and Porter’s will include raises, too. They’ll keep getting a bigger chunk of a stabilized salary cap. Eventually, Washington will have its three mainstays at the top of the salary chain, a few of middle-range contracts below them and a lot of minimum-salary fodder after that.

That’s the future of the NBA. You can afford three guys, and you’ll probably have to overpay them. The rest of your roster? Try crossing your fingers, tossing coins in every fountain in town or perhaps dabbling in voodoo.

Watkins is a dynamic, field-stretching threat who can change games on one play … when he’s healthy, which has rarely been the case in three years. He played all 16 games in 2014 but was constantly limited by nagging injuries. Watkins played in just 13 and eight games the following two years, as complications from foot surgery kept popping up.

Watkins is a great player, but the Bills paid a steep price to get him, trading away their 2015 first-rounder to Cleveland to move up four spots. They would surely like to get more out of him.

Seven reasons to believe Bills got it right with Sean McDermott as coach

Because it’s the Bills, the hiring of Sean McDermott as head coach may not seem like the most inspiring move. But he deserves this, so Buffalo fans should give him a chance.

Besides, it can’t get much worse than how things went down in 2016, culminating with the cold firing of Rex Ryan and the money-related benching of Tyrod Taylor.

Enter McDermott, 42, who for now is the third-youngest head coach in the NFL, behind the Dolphins’ Adam Gase and the Giants’ Ben McAdoo.

After getting several interviews during his strong, six-season run as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator, here is why the Bills just might be the right fit at the right time for coach and team.

Ryan, in his career year, posted 117.1 in 2016. He was better in his two playoff games so far in ’17, ripping the Seahawks for 125.7 and then waxing the Packers for 139.4. Brady rated 112.2, second only to his 50-TD, 4,806-yard perfect regular season from ’07.

When you add up their numbers to 229.3, no two QBs have come close to combining for the same mark going into a Super Bowl. Sliding into second place are Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning from Super Bowl XLVIII, at 216.3.

But just don’t take one stat for it: The eye test says that in a pass-happy league, they are passing at an extremely high level that few quarterbacks have ever reached. vikings_087

LaVar Ball, ever the hustler, now putting putdown of Kristine Leahy on shirts

For LaVar Ball, it’s personal — and business.
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The man behind Big Baller Brand is trying to make a buck off being rude toward Fox Sports 1 host Kristine Leahy. His company is now offering Stay in yo lane shirts — for men AND women — to memorialize the line he dropped on Leahy during an interview.

Kids Tyrell Williams Jersey Ball, the father of NBA Draft prospect Lonzo Ball, had a well-publicized verbal exchange last week with Leahy, no fan of Ball’s, on FS1’s The Herd With Colin Cowherd. Charges of misogyny followed. Now this.

Ball’s supporters will cheer his marketing skill. His detractors will blast his crassness. Give him this, at least: He knows how to keep the buzz going.

There’s not a more NBA-ready defender in this draft. Bell can wreak havoc on the perimeter with his elite quickness — for any size — and his instincts as a rim protector are top-notch. He’s also tough as nails and physical. The question: does the size translate, as he only possesses an 8-foot-8 standing reach. Also, what does he do on offense, as he’s mostly just a diver toward the basket now. But the defense is just so strong that he’s worthy of a top-30 pick.

Wilson will remain in the draft, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. He likely decided to go pro because he got good feedback on his leaping ability, solid lateral quickness and jump shot. He’s still raw, but there’s a lot to like in his game.

J.R. Smith’s infant daughter, born prematurely, comes home after five months in NICU

J.R. Smith has plenty of reasons to celebrate this spring that don’t involve basketball.

Elite Kids Derrick Shelby Jersey The Cavaliers guard and his wife, Shirley, were able to take home their baby daughter Dakota for the first time Tuesday after the newborn spent nearly five months in Cleveland Clinic Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Dakota, who was born five months early on Jan. 2 and weighed just 1 pound, now is looking healthy and weighing in at seven pounds, five ounces, according to Shirley’s blog, which has documented Dakota’s journey.

J.R. has been going back and forth between the NICU and basketball practice, as the Cavaliers embarked on their playoff run. The Smith family has grown close to other families at NICU and decided to honor all the mothers at the facility on Mother’s Day by giving each woman her own bouquet of flowers.

Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas. Mason was the Naismith Player of the Year after averaging 20.9 points as a senior. He measured just 6-0 with shoes, but his combination of speed, experience and shooting ability make him an NBA-ready backup point guard.

Jaelen Strong Womens Jersey P.J. Dozier, SG, South Carolina. Dozier is an excellent athlete who stands about 6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan. He can play some point guard, but his primary role will be as a defensive guard on the wing.

Jordan Bell, SF/PF, Oregon. Bell is undersized and he will lean on the Draymond Green comparisons to tempt teams into a first-round selection. He was dominant defensively in Chicago, and likely bumped himself into the first round.

Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina. Bradley did not play at the Combine, but his 12.0 percent body fat was second-most at the camp. Still, he is athletic for his size and moves well. If he stays in, he will probably be a first-rounder.