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Siakam, Leonard lead Raptors to a huge road win in Milwaukee

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The Milwaukee Bucks’ campaign to clinch the regular-season series against the Raptors fell short on Saturday. The Raptors were able to hold off Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 43 points and 18 rebounds, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and pull out a 123-116 win after trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half.

“We had a double-digit lead,” Antetokounmpo said after the game. “We gave it away. Then, we came back in the third quarter. We didn’t play hard. We didn’t move the ball. Not rotating defensively.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It was the first time the Bucks had lost at home to an Eastern Conference team this season and the first time they lost to the Raptors; Milwaukee won the first two matchups.
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After the game, a shirtless Antetokounmpo soaked his feet in a large ice bucket and stared at his iPhone for upwards of 20 minutes — his routine after losses. No Bucks player has had a 40-point, 15-rebound game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975, but still the loss nagged at him. Every few minutes, he would look up and mention a certain play to Thon Maker before returning to scrolling.

“This night is not going to change who we are,” Antetokounmpo said. “We still feel like we are one of the best teams in the NBA.“nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Bucks and the Fiserv Forum crowd held up their end of what could become a playoffs rivalry. Fans donning white, green and yellow Bucks jerseys stood shoulder to shoulder in Fiserv Forum’s standing-room-only sections, craning their necks to watch Eric Bledsoe steals and Antetokounmpo dunks over their Eastern Conference foe. They vehemently booed Toronto center Serge Ibaka after he blocked an attempted dunk from Antetokounmpo.
In the first matchup between the Bucks and Raptors, Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard did not play. It was a back-to-back for Toronto, and Antetokounmpo was in the league’s concussion protocol. Backup power forward Ersan Ilyasova led seven Bucks in double figures with 19 points in a 124-109 October win in Milwaukee. The second time the teams saw each other, Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry missed all five shots in a 34-minute, scoreless performance that saw the Bucks escape with a 104-99 December road win.

In this third matchup, the Raptors were without Lowry (back) and backup center Jonas Valanciunas (dislocated thumb). Milwaukee maintained control of the game for the first quarter, but by halftime, their once-double-digit lead had been whittled down to just one point. Sterling Brown’s 3-pointer ignited an 8-0 run to bring the Bucks back within four before a quick five points from Siakam pushed the Raptors’ lead back to nine. Toronto shot 56 percent from the field after Milwaukee took a 47-37 lead with 5:41 left in the first half.

Warriors, Kings set 3-point record in ‘incredible offensive display’

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The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings combined for an NBA-record 41 3-pointers during Saturday night’s 127-123 Warriors win at Golden 1 Center.

It marked the first game in NBA history in which both teams made at least 20 3-pointers; the Warriors went 21-for-47, and the Kings went 20-for-36.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was happy with the result and said his team knows that shooting from distance has become the new normal around the league.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Warriors and Kings eclipsed the previous mark of 40 3-pointers, set in a February 2018 game between the Minnesota Timberwolves (19) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (21).9

Warriors star Kevin Durant said he did not believe the 3-point barrage the league has seen in recent years will continue much longer.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s fast,” Durant said of the current pace. “I’d rather play inside the 3-point line, but you got to adapt. I think a lot of players have adapted their games and changed how they play. But I don’t see this lasting too much longer.”

Why not?

“Just the volume of 3s,” Durant said. “The way the game is played, pick-up style. It will cease here in a second, but I think a lot of guys are just adjusting their games to the times. It’s fun for the fans, it’s fun for us at times. But it’s also tough to watch and tough to play against. But hey, that’s what we signed up for.”

The Kings, whose 20 3s set a franchise record, fell short down the stretch in a game that had 18 lead changes.

K.J. Wright hopes he won’t be the Seahawks’ latest big-name departure

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One of the biggest contract questions facing the Seattle Seahawks this offseason shouldn’t actually be that much of a question if you ask Bobby Wagner.

But even as Wagner doubled down on his comments from the summer about how the Seahawks would be erring in letting fellow linebacker K.J. Wright leave as a free agent, what he said in the same breath underscored how and why it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“I don’t know,” Wagner said after the Seahawks’ season ended Saturday with a 24-22 wild-card loss to the Dallas Cowboys, which was the best game Wright played in his injury-shortened season. “… It’s a crazy business. I watched a lot of guys leave last year, so I don’t know. The right thing to do would be to bring him back. He’s been an amazing teammate, amazing person in the community, he helps young guys, he never held out, he did everything right.10

Working against his return are his age — he turns 30 in July — and that he missed all but five regular-season games with a knee injury. It required surgery late in the summer, kept him out for the first six games and then sidelined him for another five after he suffered a setback in his return.

But if this game was Wright’s last shot to make his case for a third contract from Seattle, he sure made a strong one. His juggling interception of a Dak Prescott pass in the end zone gave the Seahawks life in the fourth quarter. He adeptly sniffed out an earlier fly-sweep to drop Tavon Austin for a 3-yard loss. That was one of his nine tackles, second most on the team behind safety Bradley McDougald’s 10.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Wright and receiver Doug Baldwin are the second-longest-tenured Seahawks behind safety Earl Thomas. Adding to the uncertainty over Wright’s future is how the Seahawks started to drastically reshape the core of their roster over the offseason by moving on from defensive mainstays like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.

But if they had no use at all for aging starters, they wouldn’t have extended left tackle Duane Brown this summer right before his 33rd birthday. And Wright’s experience carries tremendous value for a defense whose youth was all too evident at times this season, including Saturday in Dallas. Wright said he anticipated the route that receiver Noah Brown was going to run on the play that resulted in his interception after seeing the Arizona Cardinals run the same thing last week with Larry Fitzgerald. Indeed, Wright was a step in front of Brown the entire time.

Lionel Messi: Neymar return from PSG welcome; Barcelona my ‘home’

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And, while Messi said he believes a reunion for the pair in Spain is unlikely, he would be delighted should it happen.

“It would be difficult,” Messi, 31, told Marca when asked about the idea of the Brazil international returning to Barca. “We would love it if he came back for what he means as a player and in the dressing room.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“We are friends, we enjoyed nice moments, as well some which were not so nice, but we spent a lot of time together. It is undoubtedly difficult to imagine him leaving Paris. PSG won’t let Neymar go.”8

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has said he would love to have Neymar back at Camp Nou, while ruling out the possibility of leaving the Catalan side.

Neymar, 26, left Barca to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world record €222 million deal in 2017. Since leaving, he has regularly been linked with a return to the club — as well as a move to rivals Real Madrid.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“I don’t need to change anything,” Messi said. “I am playing for the best team in the world.

“My goals change from year to year. I don’t need to change team or league in order to find new objectives.

“I am at home, at the best team in the world and I don’t have any reason to want to change.”

Former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has died at age of 82

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Hill-Wood served as chairman for 31 years after taking over the post from his father, Denis Hill-Wood, in 1982. He stepped down because of health reasons in 2013, handing over to Chips Keswick.

“It is with deep regret that we announce the death of former chairman Peter Hill-Wood, at the age of 82,” Arsenal said in a statement. “During his time at the helm, the club enjoyed unparalleled success.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“Early in Peter’s tenure he presided over the appointment of George Graham as manager and a subsequent, trophy-laden spell that incorporated two league titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

“That success was followed by the remarkable era of Arsene Wenger, appointed by Peter and the board of directors to some surprise from the footballing world in 1996.”7

While Hill-Wood was not in charge of any football operations as chairman, he helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. His family have been an integral part of Arsenal since the 1920s, with his grandfather Samuel Hill-Wood having also served as club chairman.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

He was initially against Stan Kroenke’s takeover of the club, saying in 2007 that “we don’t need Kroenke’s money and we don’t want his sort.”

However, he ended up selling his last shares in the club to Kroenke, having previously allowed former vice-chairman David Dein to buy up most of his holdings.

“As we celebrate the unique achievement of 100 consecutive years in the top flight this season, the Hill-Wood family were at the helm for the lion’s share of this special century, a testament to their tenacity and judgment in ensuring we have remained a significant force in English football for so long,” Arsenal said. “Peter and his family’s influence on the club cannot be understated, but at this most difficult time for his family and friends, it is Peter the man who we remember with great fondness.

Popovich exercising patience as Spurs navigate uneven start to season

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So when the embarrassing San Antonio Spurs losses stacked early in December the way the sweaty jerseys piled on the floor of the locker room after their 108-101 setback Saturday at the hands of the Houston Rockets, the organization seemed almost flippant in not displaying even the slightest hint of frustration.

Step 2 in this process involves the players justifying Popovich’s faith by continuing to make strides toward achieving continuity through trust in one another and familiarity from time spent together on and off the court. Despite the loss to the Rockets, the Spurs believe they’re getting there.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

With 10 new players on the roster (counting two-way players), San Antonio appears to be trending toward its consistency of old.

“We’ve gotten better for sure,” LaMarcus Aldridge said after finishing with 18 points and six rebounds. “We’re playing a better brand of basketball. I think we’ve learned how to play with each other.”8

Until the third quarter of Saturday’s game, that certainly appeared to be the case. San Antonio built an early seven-point lead in the second quarter, and led at intermission 43-41 despite shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from range.

But Houston changed the complexion of the game in the third quarter with a high-powered display from long range. Houston knocked down nine 3-pointers in the third quarter, which ranked as its most long-range connections of any quarter so far this season. The Rockets drained 69.2 percent of those attempts, outscoring San Antonio 43-26 in the quarter to go up 84-69 at the buzzer on Gary Clark’s 25-footer. Houston jumped out to an 18-9 run over the first six minutes of the quarter.

Eric Gordon then handed Houston its largest lead of the night (17 points) just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter on a driving layup.

Still, San Antonio found a way to cut through the deficit to go up 97-96 with 3:03 left to play on a Rudy Gay 3-pointer off an assist from DeMar DeRozan.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“We stayed in it and fought,” said DeRozan, who led the Spurs with 28 points and eight assists. “We had a chance. It came down to a couple of rebounds. I thought we could’ve taken advantage of the one-point lead. We fought. We’ve got to be happy about that. But we can’t have the start in third quarter like we had.”

The Spurs also can’t afford to be outworked on the boards the way they were in this one. Houston held the rebounding edge 58-43, but where that showed up most was in second-chance scoring. The Rockets scored 26 second-chance points to San Antonio’s seven.

Al Horford returns for Celtics just as Boston searches for consistency

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Any discussion about the Boston Celtics over this holiday weekend was centered around the team meeting that took place after Friday’s dismal showing at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

There was plenty more talk about it after the Celtics came out and blew the doors off the Charlotte Hornets Sunday night, winning 119-103 here at TD Garden in a game that wasn’t nearly that close. But what had a far bigger impact on the Celtics than a team meeting — both Sunday night and moving forward — was the return of Al Horford after a seven-game absence with a knee injury.
Horford has always been a player, going back to his first days in the league with the Atlanta Hawks more than a decade ago, who has filled in whatever gaps his team has needed him to. That’s no different in Boston, where Horford provides the Celtics with both elite passing and spacing at the center spot offensively — not to mention marshaling a defense that once again ranks among the NBA’s best.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

His presence was a big part of why the Celtics beat the Bucks here in Boston on Nov. 1 — and it was no coincidence things were much different without him spacing the floor and contorting Milwaukee’s defense Friday night. Ditto Boston’s mastery over the Philadelphia 76ers the past two years — and why his return, coming on the eve of Boston’s rematch with Philadelphia in a Christmas Day showdown, couldn’t have come at a better time as far as the Celtics are concerned.7

“It’s tough when there are so many guys in and out of the lineup and so many things [changing],” Horford said. “It puts a lot of pressure on some of our guys, so it’s just good we’re getting healthy. Marcus Morris being back, that’s huge for us, me being back obviously. [Aron] Baynes is out now but at least we are getting healthy again, so that is all going to help our offense, and help our team.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

There have been plenty of things contributing to Boston’s wild swings back and forth throughout this season thus far. Arguably the biggest, though, has been Horford’s play. When he plays well — as he did in Boston’s run to the brink of the NBA Finals last season without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — the Celtics are a far different team. This season, though, he has looked hampered by his balky knee, which Boston labeled as patellofemoral pain syndrome during his recent seven-game hiatus.

Between Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez, Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas, and Indiana’s Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, each of the other contenders in the East has weapons at the pivot that Boston will need Horford to square off against — and, often, get the better of — if the Celtics want to be the team they were expected to be before this season began.

Jaylen Samuels latest cog in Steelers’ plug-and-play run game

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That Samuels, a fifth-round rookie, just ripped off 142 yards against New England — the most ever by a Steelers player against the Patriots, according to ESPN Stats & Information — is a credit to both Samuels’ development and a Steelers offense that has had success with a variety of backs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Le’Veon Bell will seek an all-world contract for his All-Pro production, averaging nearly 130 total yards per game since 2013. His numbers are so prolific they prompted him to sit out the entire 2018 season to make sure nothing happens to them.

But when Bell’s out of the game, the Steelers can get their numbers, too.10

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns on 298 carries from 2015 to ’16, starting 14 games with Bell out.

James Conner, who’s working his way back from a high ankle sprain, has 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns on 233 career carries. Though Conner’s production dipped in November, he was the AFC’s most potent weapon in October and has a conference player of the month award to show for it.

In 12 games and two starts, Samuels has 201 yards on 42 carries.

Those three have combined for 2,504 yards on the ground while in Pittsburgh, along with 982 yards on 126 receptions. In a little more than two years of starter’s work, that’s nearly 3,500 yards — not Bell-level production, but solid nonetheless.

Even Jordan Todman and Fitz Toussaint, who are both out of the league, combined for 123 yards on 28 carries in a 2016 playoff win over Cincinnati.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“That just shows we’ve had good running backs,” guard David DeCastro said with a smile.

DeCastro doesn’t need to say it, but one of the league’s most consistent offensive lines, a high-level quarterback and weapons on the outside open rushing lanes for backs. What Bell did with those lanes won’t be overlooked and will get him seriously paid.

How Germany helped flip the NFC Pro Bowl fan voting

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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Mark Nzeocha isn’t a household name. At least not in America.

But in his home country of Germany, Nzeocha’s name is starting to ring out like the most famous German professional athlete in American sports: legendary Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

For proof of Nzeocha’s blossoming fame in his home country, look at fan voting for this year’s Pro Bowl. Amid the usual suspects topping the ballot, there sits Nzeocha as the leading vote-getter in the NFC for the special-teams spot.

Fan voting ended Thursday with Nzeocha racking up 183,150 votes, most among all special-teamers. According to the NFL, roughly 80 percent (146,520) of Nzeocha’s votes came from Germany. Nzeocha had support from all over Germany, not just his tiny home municipality of Neusitz. Unless, of course, every person in Neusitz voted for Nzeocha roughly 71 times.9

“Honestly, it means the world,” Nzeocha said. “The football community in Germany is so small and it’s such a tight-knit group, it’s just like if one of us makes it, everyone is behind him. Which is super, super cool to see. … It’s still a new sport in Germany and the interest is growing, which is really cool to see. I guess they have shown all the Sunday games on free TV now and more and more people are really getting into the sport, which honestly can only help the sport in Germany and it helps the NFL, too, just expanding the platform. It’s a great thing.”

According to Motzkus, the broadcast for each week’s games featured reports on Nzeocha and the network’s website featured information on Nzeocha and Pro Bowl voting. Beyond that, RanSport and NFL Deutschland made regular use of their social media channels, putting out tweets that could be retweeted by fans, which would count as a vote for Nzeocha. One such tweet from RanSport on Nov. 29 garnered 805 retweets, good for as many votes.

“Mark gets the support of the whole football nation in Germany,” Motzkus said. “We are very proud to have a player in the best football league of the world. He has a lot of supporters in his homeland.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Among them is the German fan organization that specifically supports the 49ers, known as “The Niners Empire Germany.” That group also did extensive work to get out the vote for Nzeocha.

You might be a better hitter than these five pitchers

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One of major league baseball’s great unanswerables is how hard it is. We know it’s extremely hard. The best in the world often struggle at it. But we don’t know how hard — how hard it would be for, say, you.

That’s because managers don’t play a random sample of us against the stars. They play only the very best, and even those very best players are quickly removed if they don’t look credible against the other very bests. The only exceptions to this design are when batters pitch, and when pitchers bat, because in neither event was the player selected for his skill at the task. Instead he is, as close as we get to see,nfl nike jerseys cheap china a randomly assigned adult attempting to do a major league act against a major league player.

But even position players pitching are a flawed experiment, because they all have great arms and they mostly pitch only when the competitive environment has unraveled. If we got to see designated hitters pitch in two high-leverage moments every game, then maybe we’d start to learn about how hard pitching actually is, but we don’t.10

Thankfully, we do get to see that on the other side. One or two times in every National League game the pitcher has to bat. The skill set for which the pitcher was selected from a very young age has virtually nothing to do with hitting, besides general athleticism, awareness of baseball strategy and a desire to go outside. While we can assume that the average pitcher will be a much, much better hitter than the average adult — just as he’s probably a better football player and badminton player than the average adult — the very bottom of the group should theoretically be pretty close to Like Us. If Aaron Nola were only as good at hitting as you are — if he simply couldn’t identify a 95-mph fastball quickly enough to convincingly swing at it — he’d still have ended up a major league pitcher. cheap nike nfl jerseys from china His inability to hit wouldn’t have been any obstacle to his progression to the majors.

Again, most pitchers won’t be that guy. But almost 400 pitchers were forced — forced, not selected — to bat in the majors this year. At least one of them has to be that guy, and by that guy, I mean: You. The person who meets this standard will be baseball’s true hero. It’s easy to go on TV and do something you can do. It’s courageous to go on TV and do something you outrageously can’t.