Archive for January, 2018

Rockets Lose To Clippers And Push Into Locker Room, Warriors Overpower Cavs, Danica And Aaron Dating

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The Houston Rockets loss to the Los Angeles Clippers seemed to get personal when after the game, James Harden, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza attempted to push their way into the Clippers’ locker room after the game. Security stopped the trio before any confrontations, but it appears the trio wanted to have some “words” with the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers.  When asked about the potential incident, Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers said, “Let’s put it like this, our team was in our locker room. That’s all I’ll say. I’ll let you do the rest of the investigation. I will say their entire team was not in their locker room. You’re going to have to figure it out from there.” Clippers 113, Rockets 102.

The Golden State Warriors continued their road win streak (now 13 games) after defeating their rival, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Kevin Durant posted 32 points while Steph Curry added another 23. Warriors 118, Cavs 108.

 

OTHER

Race car driver Danica Patrick confirmed she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers recently broke up with actress Olivia Munn. Patrick and Rodgers met back in 2012 at the Espy Awards. Patrick is winding down her racing career and has announced her “Danica Double” which includes her finishing up at both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.

 

 

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Brady Immune To Controversy And Pats Will Play Jags In AFC Championship, Eagles To Play Vikings In NFC Championship

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Tom Brady proved once again he’s immune to any outside influences or controversy, as he ignored a week of the press hounding him about friction in his relationship with coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft and threw 3 touchdowns in a win over the Tennessee Titans. The Patriots were down 7-0, but then found their rhythm and never looked back. With the 35-14 win, the Patriots will be heading to their 7th straight AFC Championship Game.

Even with QB Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 469 yards and 5 touchdowns, the Pittsburgh Steeelers didn’t have enough to hold off the Jacksonville Jaguars. In  post-game interviews, the Steelers’ defense was distraught over its missed plays and now the Jags will face the Patriots for the AFC Championship.

 

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the divisional playoff against the Atlanta Falcons as underdogs even though they were ranked #1. Without their startling quarterback Carson Wentz, many wrote the Eagles off. Replacement, Nick Foles, looked shaky at first but then rallied the team throwing for 246 yards and no interception for a 15-10 win.

The Minnesota Vikings haven’t been to the NFC Championship game since 2009, but with 10 seconds to play and down 23-24, QB Case Keenum heaved the ball 61 yards downfield, a play they called “Seven Heaven”, to Stefan Diggs for the touchdown and the win. The Vicings will now face the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

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Football Still Most Popular Sport, Golf And Rodeo Tied, Le ‘Veon Bell May Sit Or Retire

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There has been a lot written this year about the decline of the popularity of the NFL, but a recent gallop poll showed that even though football has slipped from a 43% in popularity to 37%, it’s still ranked higher than any other sport. Basketball was favored by 11 of the respondents while baseball weighed in at 9%. Baseball dropped significantly and is only 2% higher than soccer. Other sports in the survey included ice hockey at 4 %, auto racing and tennis tied at 2 %. And for golf fans, the sport’s popularity is only at 1%, tied with motocross and rodeo.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, but their star running back, Le ‘Veon Bell, making news by telling ESPN he may sit out a year or even retire if the Steelers put the franchise tag on him for the second year in a row. Bell made $12.1 million last year but believes he should be making more and wants the franchise to recognize his value. “Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them. I’m not going to settle for anything,” Bell said. “I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I’m not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.” The team has until March 6th to designate their franchise players.

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Durant 2nd Youngest To Score 20,000 Points, Raiders May Have Violated Rooney Rule

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As the second youngest player to score 20,000 points in his career, Kevin Durant marked an impressive milestone. On Wednesday night right before halftime in a loss to the Clippers, Durant scored his 20,000th point. At 29 years old, Durant joins an elite group of players scoring 20k points before the age of 30. The list includes: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.

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The group tasked with promoting minority rights in the NFL, the Fritz Pollard Alliance (FPA) is investigating whether the Oakland Raiders violated the Rooney Rule which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. Raiders owner Mark Davis bragged about finalizing a deal with Jon Gruden back in December before the team interviewed any minority candidates. If the Raiders are found guilty of the violation, they will have to pay a big fine and could even lose a draft pick.

 

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Raiders Welcome Gruden, Ball Brothers Pro Debut In Lithuania

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On Tuesday, the Oakland Raiders welcomed Jon Gruden back to the team as their next head coach in a news conference filled with over 110 members of the media and some former Hall of Fame Raider players including Jerry Rice, Jim Plunkett, Howie Long and Tim Brown.  Mark Davis, the son of the late Al Davis, announced he’d been wanting to re-hire Gruden for the past 7 years but each time he made an offer, Gruden declined to stay working for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Gruden signed a 10-year contract worth an estimated $100 million.

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The Ball brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo had a solid pro debut on their new Lithuanian team. They combined for 29 points in a win featured live on Facebook with over 120,000 viewers. Big Baller Brand could be seen everywhere!

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Alabama Wins National Title With Freshman QB In Game For Ages, After Win OL Proposes To Girlfriend

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If you fell asleep at halftime during the College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama, no one would have blamed you. The game was boring. Georgia was ahead 13-0 and looked like they weren’t going to lose their lead. What happened after the half, however, will go down in the history books. To everyone’s surprise, Alabama coach Nick Saban replaced quarterback Jalen Hurts with a true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa who threw three touchdowns (the last one a bomb to a wide open DeVonta Smith in overtime). Watch this play, it’s incredible. For Saban to replace his starter with a backup with little experience will go down as one of the most daring and bold moves in a championship game. After the game Saban said, “I thought Tua would give us a better chance and a spark, which he certainly did. I couldn’t be prouder of him taking advantage of the opportunity. We have total confidence in him.” In the last 10 years, the Crimson Tide has been in the National Title game 6 times and won 5! Alabama 26, Georgia 23.

There are all sorts of ways to celebrate a national title and Alabama offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman chose to propose to his girlfriend (who said yes) after the big win. Congrats!

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Titans, Falcons, Saints, Jaguars Move To Divisional Round, Mariota’s Pass To Himself, Browns’ 0-16 Parade

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The Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars survived the NFL wildcard weekend and are on to the divisional round of the playoffs.

One of the craziest plays of the weekend was watching Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota throw a touchdown to himself. You have to watch to believe it. Mariota appeared to be throwing the ball away when he couldn’t find an open receiver. Then the Kansas City Chiefs’ Darrelle Revis batted the ball back to Mariota who ran it in for a touchdown. Titans edged out the Chiefs to continue their season with a 22-21 win.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees battled Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in a nail-biter of a game where both QB’s completed over 340 yards and two touchdowns a piece. Brees, who will be 39 years old on January 15th, outlasted Newton to pull out a 31-26 win. The Saints will now take on the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round.

For the rest of the divisional round matchups, click here.

While fans around the league celebrated their teams advancing to the next round of the playoffs, diehard loyalists of the Cleveland Browns had a different take on the season. Tired of their team always losing, they held a parade for their “perfectly” bad season. The team was a disastrous 0-16, and fans held a parade to protest how awful the team has been over the years.

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Gerald Green Off Couch To Court, Brady/Kraft/Belichick Drama

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What a difference a few months makes! Gerald Green was cut by the Milwaukee Bucks in October and has been sitting at home, hanging out with his Rottweiler, Zeus. Last week he got the call from his hometown Houston Rockets to replace an injured Luc Mbah a Moute.  After a scoreless debut, he’s been on fire, and Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors, he knocked down 29 points including eight 3-pointers. Green was so excited to get the chance to play for his home-team, he even had the Rockets’ logo braided into his hair. Green expressing his excitement said, “You know what, man? I’ve been kind of thrown under the bus a few times in my career. So it’s not the first time I’ve seen that little area before. For me, what I did was just kept having faith in myself. Obviously, once it gets to be November and December and you still don’t get no calls, you either lay down or you fight. So I just continued to fight. God blessed me with this opportunity. Now I’ve just got to try to take advantage of it the best way that I can.” The Rockets see his potential as they announced they are guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season. Unfortunately for the Rockets though, Green wasn’t enough to hold off the Warriors especially with the “other” Green (Draymond Green), who hit a franchise record 21st career triple-double. Warriors 124, Rockets 114.

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According to reports, there’s been some drama in New England between coach Bill Belichick, owner Robert Kraft and quarterback Tom Brady. It seems the disagreements started when Brady’s trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero pressured other players to use his training technique called TB12. Many players referred to the technique and its strict guidelines as a “cult”. The influence of Guerrero was just one issue affecting the trio. Other contributing factors was Brady’s future and getting rid of Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo (who was traded to the SF 49ers). For more on this story, click here.

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Thomas Returns To Boston And Fans Cheer, Ball Family Lands In Lithuania

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Boston fans love their players, even their former players as evidenced by the reception Isaiah Thomas received on Wednesday night when the the Celtics hosted their eastern conference rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas (and a few other players) were dealt to the Cavs last summer in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Thomas didn’t suit up for the game, as he’s still recovering from a hip injury, but the fans still gave him a standing ovation. Thomas was moved and said, “But [the fans] showed their true colors, like they always do, and that’s — I keep saying it, but it’s genuine love on both sides. The fans are everything here.” The game didn’t match the hype of the rivalry and the Celtics put the Cavs away with a 102-88 win.

The Ball family has started a new season of their “reality” show. Dad LaVar and 18 year old LiAngelo Ball and 16 year old LaMelo Ball landed in Lithuania to a swarm of reporters and curious spectators. Playing in this European League will be an interesting and potentially punishing experiment for the boys, as the League is very physical.

 

 

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Hall Of Fame 15 Finalists, Bills Giving Thanks To Dalton, Isaiah’s Debut

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame has named 15 finalists including 4 players on the list in their first year of eligibility: wide receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Ray Lewis, offensive guards Steve Hutchinson and Brian Urlacher. Wide receiver Terrell Owens is also back on the list for third time (didn’t make the final cut the last two years). The list will again be cut on February 3rd, the day before the Super Bowl, and anywhere from 4 to 8 inductees will be announced. An inductee needs to get at least 80% support of the voting board. The board is only required to vote on the inductees football contributions and not consider other factors.

The Buffalo Bills are showing their thanks to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton for throwing the game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, knocking them out of the playoffs and putting the Bills in for the first time since 1999. Fans are pouring money into the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, with many contributions coming in $17 increments (it’s been 17 years since the Bills have made the playoffs). As of Wednesday morning, the Foundation has raked in over $170,000. The Foundation works with Cincinnati hospitals to help children in need.

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Former Boston Celtic Isaiah Thomas made his long awaited season debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night against the Portland Trailblazers.  Thomas suffered a hip injury last March and said he’s feeling great (scored 17 points in 19 minutes) but still needs to restrict his playing time, so unfortunately for anxious fans, he won’t be playing against his former team on Wednesday night. Cavs 127, Trailblazers 110.

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