Archive for April, 2018

LeBron’s Streak Ends, Davis First Playoff Win, Cousins On Plane To Coachella, Crawford Big Baller, Celtics/Bucks Exciting Finish, Harden’s 44 Pts

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Here are a few stories from the first round of the NBA Playoffs. For more highlights, click here.

For the first time since 2012, LeBron James lost a first-round playoff game. The Indiana Pacers cruised to victory and upset LeBron’s streak of 21 straight 1st round wins. Pacers 98, Cavs 80.

The New Orleans Pelicans also had a meaningful first in their 97-95 victory over the Portland Trailblazers.  The win marked the first time since 2011 the Pelicans won in the postseason, and it was the first playoff victory for their star Anthony Davis.

In other Pelicans news, DeMarcus Cousins is rehabbing an Achilles injury, and according to coach Alvin Gentry, he didn’t accompany the team to the playoff game because he wasn’t cleared for travel. His manager, however, posted a photo of the two of them traveling on a private plane to Coachella. Not exactly the smartest PR move.

And, in one more piece of Pelicans news, Guard Jordan Crawford appears to be near signing a deal with Big Baller Brand. He will be the first player (other than Lonzo Ball) to wear the merchandise and potentially represent the brand.

In other playoff news, the most exciting few seconds of the weekend featured the Boston Celtics vs the Milwaukee Bucks tied at the end of regulation. First, the Celtics Terry Rozier made a 3 pointer with 1 second left and put his team ahead. Miraculously, with 1/2 a second left, Khris Middleton shot an impossible looking hail mary to sink a 3 and send the game to overtime, where the Celtics hung on to win.   Celtics 113, Bucks 108

The Houston Rockets looked solid in game 1 with James Harden scoring 44 points to help the team outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101.

 

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Kaepernick Refuses To Comment On Kneeling, 49ers’ Foster Charged With Domestic Violence

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Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick has been a free agent for more than a year, and now that the Seattle Seahawks recently postponed his workout with the team, it appears he’ll continue to be unemployed. Before working out with the team, the Seahawks asked Kaepernick if he’d continue to kneel during the National Anthem. Kaep responded he couldn’t guaranteed what he would or wouldn’t do. The Seahawks then cancelled his workout. Kaepernick is 30 years old and hasn’t been on the field since 2016. Last year, he filed a grievance with the NFL claiming he’s being discriminated against because of his stand on police brutality and racism.

Reuben Foster, the 49ers linebacker, was charged with three felonies for domestic violence. The incident occurred in their Los Gatos home, and if found guilty, he could face up to 11 years in prison. The NFL will also be conducting its own investigation. The 49ers were warned about Foster’s character before grabbing him in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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Knicks Fire Coach, Timberwolves Break Streak, Fultz Youngest Stat, Westbrook Triple-Double Average,Mets Best Start, Thompson Brothers

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The New York Knicks fired coach Jeff Hornacek. The Knicks missed the post-season the last five years, and even though Hornacek had only been Head coach for two years, the team wanted some new blood. Memphis coach David Fizdale and former Cleveland coach David Blatt have been batted about as potential candidates for the job.

With an overtime win over the Denver Nuggets, the Minnesota Timberwolves broke the streak for the longest playoff drought in NBA history. Their last playoff appearance was in 2004.

Rookie Markelle Fultz topped the Philadelphia 76ers night with his first triple-double (and at 19 years old, the youngest player to record that stat), as the Philadelphia 76ers won their 16th straight and clinched the #3 seed in the playoffs.

Speaking of triple-doubles, Russell Westbrook became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double twice.  He averaged a triple-double last season and miraculously did it again this season.

For the NBA playoff matchups, click here. Games begin Saturday, April 14th.

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The New York Mets won their 8th straight game and improve to 10-1, their best start in franchise history. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they have fallen 4-7 this season, their worst start since 1994.  In their 6-16 drubbing against the Oakland Athletics, Dodgers’ Outfielder Yasiel Puig tried to get his first home-run of the season, but Oakland Athletics center fielder Trayce Thompson, made a perfectly timed catch to keep Puig homerless. What many people might not know is Trayce is the younger brother of the Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson.

 

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76ers Win Historic 15 Straight, Donovan Mitchell Trolls Simmons, 32-Year Old Ingram Shines In NBA Debut

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The Philadelphia 76er continue their historic streak. With a 121-116 victory on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks, the 76ers secure their 15th straight win (the longest continuous streak in franchise history). If the Sixers beat the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night, they will secure the #3 seed, but if the Cleveland Cavs win and the Sixers lose, the Cavs grab the #3 seed.

Before the Warriors game, Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell wore a sweatshirt with the definition of a rookie “an athlete playing his or her first season as a member of a professional sports team” implying the Sixers Ben Simmons (who was drafted in 2016 but didn’t play because of injuries), isn’t technically a rookie. Both are vying for rookie of the year and both are on fire.

It only took 10 years, but Andre Ingram got his wish to play in the NBA. At 32 years old, Ingram spent 10 years in the NBA G League (the developmental league for the NBA) and every year held out hope he’d make it to the show. With injuries to some of the Los Angeles Lakers players, Magic Johnson invited Ingram to play in the Lakers’ last two games of the season. As befitting any feel-good story, Ingram not only made his first shot but ended the game with 19 points and received the game ball from coach Luke Walton.

Wednesday is the last day of the NBA regular season, and the playoff seeds are on the line. For more on potential playoff matchups, click here.

 

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MSU Lawsuit In Rape Allegations, Andrew Luck No “Duke”, Mariota Makes The Day

 

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A female student at Michigan State is suing the University for how it responded to rape allegations against 3 basketball players from an incident in April of 2015. If the allegations are true, the recount of the incident and how the University Counseling Center responded is horrifying. The lawsuit states “MSU has fostered a culture in which female victims are discouraged from reporting sexual assaults when those assaults are perpetrated by male athletes, thus protecting the university, the male athletics programs, and the male athletes at the expense of the female victims.” The University currently has no comment on the case.

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Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck, who has missed 26 games over the last 3 seasons, admits he hasn’t picked up “The Duke” (the official NFL game ball) and thrown a regulation-size ball yet. He told the media his timetable for his return is unknown, but he’s confident he’ll be back and better than ever.

In some feel-good news, Tennesse Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota made the day of every kid attending the Special Olympics event at the Stadium. Mariota did not leave until every kid caught a pass. One child struggled a bit to make the catch, but Mariota patiently stayed until he was successful. After the event, Mariota said, “I just like seeing their faces light up.”

 

 

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Patrick Reed Wins Masters, 76ers Win Franchise Record 14 Straight, Beckham Jr Report To Giants Workout

GOLF

Patrick Reed defied the fans and the favorites at Augusta this weekend, and won his first major. Reed had an unusual rise in the golf circuit. He got kicked out of the University of Georgia, suspended by his golf coach at Augusta State and had a relatively uneventful rise on the PGA Tour. For anyone watching the tournament, it was clear the fans were not in his corner (instead rooting for favorites Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Ricky Fowler), but he kept his head down, did his job and was awarded the infamous Green Jacket.  As his caddie said to him, “It may not have been pretty, but you got the job done.” Congrats!

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With a 109-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelpha 76ers tied a franchise record with their 14th consecutive victory. The last time the team won 14 straight was in 1983 when Philadelphia won the their last NBA Championship (Hall of Famers Dr. J and Moses Malone were on that team). With 50 wins (and two games left in the regular season), the Sixers have already secured home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

FOOTBALL

After weeks of speculation surrounding New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s status with the team, Beckham Jr, said he’ll report to the team’s voluntary off-season workout on Monday. Beckham Jr is trying to secure a long-term contract with the Giants (reportedly worth $100 million) or seek a trade with a team willing to fork up that kind of money.

 

 

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Tony Finau Dislocates Ankle Then Sits At Second, Cavs Comeback In Lue’s First Game Back

GOLF

The Masters is underway and even though all eyes were on Tiger the first day, there are some other interesting storylines to watch. Tony Finau, considered the most athletic golfer on the PGA tour, dislocated his ankle on Wednesday celebrating his hole in one in the Par 3 Contest (takes place before the Masters officially begins). Realizing how embarrassing he felt injuring himself before the tournament began, he popped his ankle back in, iced all night and played his heart out. At the end of the day Finau said, “To me, it’s nothing short of a miracle. My foot was out of place 24 hours ago. And I sit here in second place at the Masters after Round 1. It’s nothing short of a miracle for me.”

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The Cleveland Cavaliers coach, Tyronn Lue, missed 9 games due to chest pains, but was back on the court last night watching his team trailing the Washington Wizards by 16 points in the 4th quarter. LeBron James caught fire in the last 6 minutes helping the team comeback to a 119-115 win. According to ESPN stats and info, LeBron had never in his career won a game when trailing by more than 15 points in the last 6 minutes in a game. Lue appreciated the effort and after the game told the team, “Good job of bailing me out.”

 

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Eyes On Tiger At Masters, No Dilly Dilly, 76ers 12th Straight Win, Von Miller’s PETA Issue

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The Masters begins today, and all eyes are on Tiger Woods. A previous four-time Masters winner, Tiger hasn’t won the Masters since 2005 and hasn’t won a major tournament since 2008.  Tiger had serious back pain over the years but appears to be healthy, and many are predicting he’ll have a great tournament. According to a fellow golfer, Ricky Fowler, “Tiger’s earned the attention. He’s been the biggest needle mover in the game, and it’s going to be tough for anyone to come close to that.” If you’re fortunate enough to be watching the competition in person, be sure to abide by all of the rules at Augusta National, which now include the banning of certain words. According to reports, if anyone yells “dilly, dilly”, which gained popularity from the Bud Light commercials and is legitimately annoying, you’ll be escorted off the course.

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In the NBA, the Toronto Raptors are close to clinching the #1 seed after their win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. The Philadelphia 76ers continue to instill fear in their opponents, as they won their 12th straight game. And, with the win over Detroit on Wednesday, they eliminated the Pistons from playoff contention.

FOOTBALL

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller might be in hot water if Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigate his latest fishing expedition. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a video of Von Miller catching a hammerhead shark, which is illegal and punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Von Miller reportedly caught the shark, posed for a picture then put it back in the water, but according to a representative from PETA, “the hammerhead shark is particularly sensitive to capture stress, so when these animals are caught and released, they frequently die.’’

 

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76ers Win 11th Straight, Dr. J Heaps Praise On Ben Simmons, Pats Send Cooks To Rams

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The Philadelphia 76ers won their 11th straight game Tuesday night with a 121-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. This is their longest win streak since 1990.  Everyone is talking about rookie Ben Simmons amazing season, but the best compliment (if you’re a basketball fan) came from the legendary Hall of Famer, Julius Erving  (“Dr.J”) when he said Simmons was a “Once-in-a-decade, maybe once-in-a-lifetime-type player. Sometimes it looks like he’s got eyes in the back of his head, because he sees and feels one of his guys making a run to the hoop or spotting up at certain positions. That’s just a gifted player that we are very fortunate to have on our team.”

With a 112-106 win over the Toronto Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the 76ers by half a game for the three-seed in the East.

FOOTBALL

The New England Patriots traded away Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams for the 23rd pick in the draft, including an exchange of 4th and 6th round picks. The Rams were initially interested in the Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham Jr, but opted instead for Cooks. The question now is which team is prepared to trade for Beckham Jr. If the Giants make a trade, it will need to be big enough to justify letting go of their star receiver.

 

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Villanova Wins National Title, Backup Guard Donte DiVincenzo Shines, Greeny’s Evil Empire Good For Baseball

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Villanova earned their second National title in 3 years in a big win Monday night over Michigan. The hero of the game was Donte DiVincenzo who scored 31 points off the bench. DiVincenzo is a backup guard, and when he came off the bench and scored 18 points in the first half, the tide of the game turned. DiVincenzo’s career-high 31 points is the most for a non-starter in a championship game. To no one’s surprise, Donte earned the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.  The Wildcats became only the 8th school to win 3 or more titles (1985 and 2016 and now 2018). Villanova 79, Michigan 62.

Philadelphia has now become the first city to win a Super Bowl (Eagles in February) and an NCAA basketball title in the same year.

BASEBALL

Baseball season officially began last Thursday, and the last thing anyone thought would happen is a game would be postponed due to snow, but that’s exactly what happened in the NY Yankees home opener on Monday. The Yankees will now play their home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays today at 1;05 pm. For more on the Yankees and why it’s good for baseball to hate them, watch Mike Greenberg’s “Return of the Evil Empire”. 

 

 

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