LeBron And Lonzo’s Matchup, Kerley’s Ghosts Of Christmas Past

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LeBron James wowed the crowd on Thursday night posting his 59th career triple-double against the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Lakers also had a solid night with 13 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds from Lonzo Ball and a helpful 26 points from Brandon Ingram. Unfortunately for the LA,  that wasn’t enough to fend off the might Cleveland Cavaliers. The most talked about part of the game was after the buzzer when LeBron searched out Lonzo for a quick chat. LeBron pulled up his jersey so no one could understand what he was saying to the famous Ball brother, and both players refused to reveal the conversation in post-game interviews. Lonzo grew up idolizing LeBron, and LeBron seems to have taken a liking to the rookie.  To add intrigue, LeBron will be a free agent this summer and there’s talk of where he takes his talents next. Maybe to LA?

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In the category of “now we’ve heard it all”, New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley actually blamed failing a drug tests on ghosts (specifically ghosts of Christmas past). No joke, he said, ” I don’t know, a lot of ghosts around here. Ghost put it in. You know the ghost of Christmas past.”

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Barkley No Love For LaVar, Rockets 11th Win, Last TNF, Eyes On Vinatieri, Goodell’s Contract

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TNT Analyst and Hall of Fame inductee Charles Barkley has no love for LaVar Ball and told ESPN”s Golic and Wingo, that  LaVar represents everything bad about sports, and he shouldn’t be given a platform. He said LaVar is just trying to make money on his kids, and he feels sorry for them. He didn’t mince words when he said, “Everybody talking about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he’s not. He’s just exploiting his kids. … He’s all about Big Baller Brand. He has no foreseeable talent. He’s trying to make money on his kids, and I just feel sadness for those kids because they’re going to do whatever he tells them to do. I just don’t like the guy at all, plain and simple.”

In other NBA news, the Houston Rockets continue their dominance with their 11th straight win (#11 coming at the expense of the Charlotte Hornets) and improve to 12-0. Former LA Clipper Chris Paul returned to play with the team a month ago after suffering a knee injury and hasn’t lost since stepping back on the court.

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The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts face off on the last Thursday night football game of the season.  No worries about football withdrawal though, as we’ll have some Saturday games filling in the weekend schedule. In the Broncos/Colts matchup, keep your eyes on longtime kicker, the Colts Adam Vinatieri. If he kicks 5 for 5 of his next field goals, he’ll be over 90% for the season and will get a bonus of $500,000.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finalized his $40 million dollar a year contract extension, 90% of which is based on performance-based incentives. He also reported he’ll step down in 2024 when his contract expires. Goodell will be 65 in 2024 and will have served 18 years as Commish.

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Porzingis Makes History, Lonzo Solid, LaVar Reprimanded, Joel Embiid Shines

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Tuesday night’s matchup between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers did not disappoint (and it wasn’t just because of great basketball and a superstar performance from Kristaps Porzingis).  Porzingis posted 37 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks (first player in NBA history with 35 points, 10 rebounds 5 blocks and 5 three-point field goals). The matchup with the Lakers also featured Lonzo Ball (and controversial dad LaVar and brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo cheering on the sidelines). Lonzo had a solid game with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but the highlight of the night was his alley-oop dunk when the score was tied at 61-61. Knicks pulled out the win in overtime. Knicks 113, Lakers 109.

Speaking of LaVar, he was called into the Lakers front office and asked by team President Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka to “tone down” his criticism of Lakers’ coach Luke Walton.

The Philadelphia 76ers needed the power of a healthy Joel Embiid to help the team beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime. Embiid missed two games after suffering back issues, but came back strong Tuesday night with 28 points for the win.  76ers 118, Timberwolves 112.

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Dolphins Throwback Patriots, Ball Brothers To Play In Lithuania

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The Miami Dolphins looked different on Monday Night Football, and it wasn’t just because they were wearing their throwback uniforms. In a matchup with the New England Patriots, the Dolphins held Tom Brady to one touchdown and two interceptions, while Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots seemed flustered without star tight-end Rob Gronkowski (who was suspended for one game due a late hit last weekend). They will need to get their act together when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend with home-field advantage in the AFC on the line.

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Ball brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are heading to Lithuania to play for professional Club, Prienu Vytautas. The brothers signed a one-year contract with the Club in the hopes (according to Vytautas) of bringing some publicity to the team. If you remember, LiAngelo was on the UCLA team, until he got suspended indefinitely for shoplifting while on a team trip to China, while LaMelo was taken out of China High School to be home-schooled by dad LaVar.

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Baker Mayfield Wins Heisman Trophy, Eagles Fear Wentz Tore ACL, Roethlisberger Makes History

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is the latest recipient of the highest honor in college football, the Heisman trophy. Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma, where he was also a walk-on. Mayfield led the Sooners to a Big 12 Championship this year and to the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, where they’ll play Georgia on January 1st. Mayfield is the first player to win this prestigious trophy after starting his career as a walk-on (not to mention a double walk-on). Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said about him, “All he wanted was a chance to be the starting quarterback [in high school]. All he wanted was a chance to be the starting quarterback at Texas Tech, Oklahoma and to earn scholarships. When he’s had those chances in his life, he’s proven himself.” Congratulations!

In the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles fear their quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in the second half of the team’s win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Wentz threw a touchdown immediately after he went down from the hit causing the issue to his left knee. The Eagles clinched a playoff berth but are concerned Wentz may be out for the rest of the season. Eagles 43, Rams 35.

The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched the top seed in the AFC North after their win over the Baltimore Ravens. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made NFL history after throwing his third game with over 500 passing yards. Steelers 39, Ravens 38.

 

 

 

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Okafor From 76ers To Nets, Falcons Increase Change Of Playoffs

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The Philadelphia 76ers traded their former number 3 pick in the 2015 draft, Jahil Okafor, to the Brooklyn Nets for forward Trevor Booker, the 23rd pick in the 2010 draft. There have been rumors of the team wanting to trade Okafor (and Okafor wanting out) since center Joel Embid rose to prominence on the team. All parties seem happy with the transaction.

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In Thursday night football, the Atlanta Falcons kept their playoff hopes alive in an exciting last minute defensive play when Falcons linebacker Deion Jones intercepted a throw from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the end zone. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t help the offense with his three interceptions, but thanks to Jones the Falcons have increased their chances of making the playoffs from 36% to 52% (according to ESPN’s Pro-Fooball Index). Falcons 20, Saints 17.

 

 

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Goodell Will Remain Commissioner Till 2024, Rodman’s Trip To Guam

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Roger Goodell will remain as the NFL commissioner for at least five more years. He signed an extension to remain commissioner through 2024, and his pay will reportedly be close to $40 million dollars annually.

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On former basketball star Dennis Rodman’s recent trip to Guam, he stated he believes North Korea’s Kim Jung Un isn’t interested in bombing the United States and doesn’t want to start a war. He said the Leader is just a “big kid” and they don’t talk politics. He told the media, “I try and stay out of it. I try to just be his friend, and play sports, and that’s my whole thing.  No politics, no nothing about America against North Korea, we don’t talk about stuff like that. To me, he does not want to have war … it may sound like that on the news, but I see that Donald Trump and him … it’s more like two big kids deciding who’s the toughest.” Rodman said he’ll be going back to North Korea soon and has invited Trump to go with him.

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Kaepernick Receives SI Ali Legacy Award From Beyoncé, IOC Punishes Russia

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Colin Kaepernick has secured a number of honors over the last few weeks. He received an award by the ACLU of Southern California for being a courageous advocate and then from GQ Magazine for “Citizen of the Year”. To top it off, this week he received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Beyoncé presented him the award and said, “Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better.  To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color.” Kaepernick’s future as an NFL quarterback is still questionable, however, as no team has come forward to sign him.

OLYMPICS

The Internationl Olympic Committee supended Russia from the Winter Olympics in Seoul for athletes using performance enhancing drugs. Certain athletes will be cleared to compete if they’ve proven they haven’t used drugs, however, these athletes will not be able to wear a Russian uniform or listen to the Russian national anthem if they win a gold medal. Many didn’t think the IOC would ever punish Russia for alleged years of doping, so this ruling has stunned the world.

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Giants Coach McAdoo Fired, LiAngelo Ball Pulled Out Of UCLA

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As anticipated, the Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is out, and rumors are swirling for his replacement. The Giants’ general manager, Jerry Reese, has also been fired, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is now the interim head coach. It’s likely Eli Manning will now return as the starting quarterback on Sunday when the Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.

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LiAngelo Ball (one of the UCLA players arrested in China for shoplifting) was suspended from the team and hasn’t played a game yet in his college career. Clearly not happy with how his son has been treated since his return to the states, LaVar Ball announced he’s taking LiAngelo out of UCLA and will train him to be ready for the NBA draft. LaVar told ESPN, “I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have.  He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.” The youngest son, LaMelo is still committed to UCLA in 2 years, but it’s unclear now whether LaVar will let that happen.

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Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia & Alabama in CFP, Giants Lose, Tigers Back

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Four teams have been selected for the college football playoff series, and depending on your loyalties you’re either thrilled or feel robbed. A selection committee made up of 13 members uses a host of criteria to determine the rankings for the four semi-finalists who will compete on New Years Day for a chance to play for a National Championship. The four teams are Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama. The big surprise was Alabama as they lost last week to Auburn and didn’t play in their conference title game this past weekend. Click here for a preview of all the Bowl games.

The big story last week was NY Giants QB Eli Manning getting benched for backup Geno Smith. After the team’s loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Manning was asked what he thought about the rumors that Ben McAdoo would be fired. He said, ” I don’t want that. I don’t want anybody to get fired. When a coach gets fired, it’s usually because the team, the players and myself haven’t performed up to our duties.”Raiders 24, Giants 17.

It’s week 13 in the NFL and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. If certain teams win next weekend, ie Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, they will own their division title.

GOLF

Tiger Woods is back! After a weekend of play on his “home turf” at the Albany golf course in the Bahamas, Tiger finished 8-under par and tied for 9th place. After four surgeries in four years, Tiger showed promise in his return to competition, and the golf world is thrilled to have him back.

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