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Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: C’s and Rockets continue to struggle on offense

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“Jimmy Buckets” is headed to South Philly while “Jimmy” Harden might just have broken Houston out of its sustained funk in what was yet another wild weekend in the NBA.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Moniker aside, Jimmy Butler’s shift to the Philadelphia 76ers signals an important series of fluctuations in fantasy value, as ESPN’s Andre Snellings deftly details. For some context to the magnitude of the move, Butler was 11th in the league last season in offensive win shares — an estimate of wins added by a player on offense — and 12th in offensive box plus-minus, an estimate of the offensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player translated to an average team.

As a Sixers fan, I can confidently say this is the team’s most significant trade acquisition since Moses Malone in September of 1982 (no offense to Dikembe Mutombo). Eventually going “fo, fo, fo” would be great.10

Robert Covington, dealt to the Timberwolves for Butler along with Dario Saric, was the only player last season to make at least 200 3-pointers, block 70 shots and swipe 130 steals. Somehow, Covington is available in the majority of ESPN leagues as of Monday morning and is the premier endorsement in this week’s edition of free-agent finds.

Saric, meanwhile, produced just the fourth season in NBA history for a player 24-or-younger to average at least 14 PPG and six RPG while making 39 percent of at least five 3-point attempts per game in 2017-18. Essentially, precedent reveals the profile of a solid stretch forward.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Both the real and fantasy results from this blockbuster trade should prove riveting to watch unfold. It will be comparably intriguing to watching the Houston Rockets climb from a glaringly sluggish start to the season. After all, they rank just 23rd in offensive rating, and on Sunday, they broke a four-game snap of scoring fewer than 100 points. Houston also delivered its first double-digit win this season (incredible for a team that led the league in net rating last season).

James Harden scored 40 points on 20 shots last night, while Chris Paul, apparently dealing with right elbow tendinitis, scored 26 points on 13 shots in an encouragingly efficient outing. Finally netting some momentum, the status of Clint Capela, which I discuss in the injury section below, will prove important for Houston’s success in the coming games.

Fantasy hoops roto rankings: Kyle Lowry reaching new heights

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Anyone who has played fantasy basketball during the past decade knows Kyle Lowry and knows him well. They’ve seen him develop from a defensive-minded player without a jump shot in his early days to the well-rounded scorer and playmaker that he is now.

Still, it’s safe to say none of us have seen this Kyle Lowry, the 32-year-old version who in his 13th NBA season is playing the best ball of his lengthy career.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

He enters Week 5 of the fantasy basketball season as the NBA’s leader in assists with 11.0 per game while maintaining a healthy 17.2 PPG scoring average. He also is shooting 49.7 percent, averaging 2.5 3-pointers per game and chipping in defensively as well with 1.5 steals a game.

How much have people taken notice in fantasy leagues?9

Let’s put it this way — this week in one of my leagues, I offered Ben Simmons for Lowry in a trade with fellow league manager who knows his stuff. Two hours later, the trade was rejected and there was a counter offer. Simmons wasn’t enough. He wanted Giannis Antetokounmpo.

I wasn’t willing to go that far, but it’s safe to say that Lowry’s stock is on the rise. I’ve bumped him up to No. 11 this week, just ahead of Damian Lillard, who is having a terrific start to the season as well.

Other notables working their way up in the rankings this week include Lowry’s former teammate, DeMar DeRozan (22), as well as Kyrie Irving (31), Zach LaVine (37), Trae Young (47), Enes Kanter (50), Lonzo Ball (65), Serge Ibaka (66), Buddy Hield (76), Lauri Markkanen (85) and Brook Lopez (88).cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Some of these are overdue adjustments — such as Hield, Kanter and Ibaka, who were too low in previous rankings — but some are for other reasons.

Gordon Hayward ‘a bit sore’ but pushes through to help Celtics win

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When Gordon Hayward went up to attempt to block a layup try by Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton midway through the second quarter of the Celtics’ 117-113 victory at TD Garden, it looked like simply one moment among many in what easily was Hayward’s best game of the young season.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But after Hayward was called for goaltending on the play, he landed fully on his left leg — the same one he suffered a gruesome injury to last season just six minutes into his Celtics debut, costing him the remainder of 2017-18. Unlike that play, however, Hayward on Thursday night felt only a momentary flash of pain — and then got up and kept playing.

By the end of the game, he’d not only put up an impressive stat line — a season-high 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting overall, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range, plus 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a block in 27 minutes — but he’d also checked off an important box in his attempt to return to his pre-injury level of play.8

“I can feel it right now,” Hayward said afterward. “It’s definitely a little bit sore … something new that I haven’t done in a while. Those are things I just have to work through, maybe some scar tissue that I can grind out a little bit. It did feel a little bit sore, but I think it held up just fine.

“I have to get knocked down. I have to land on that one foot a little awkwardly, just so mentally I know I can do it, but also physically I can hold and be strong.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

This was a night that not only saw the Celtics finally break out of a sluggish start to the season offensively in a big way — they went 24-for-55 from 3-point range as a team, setting a franchise record and coming within one triple of tying the NBA record — but also saw Hayward give Boston glimpses of what he can do when he’s right.

Hayward opened the scoring for Boston with a 3-pointer, then followed that up with a block on a drive by Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon and a driving layup against him at the other end. It was a sign of things to come for Hayward in a game that saw him show the kind of ballhandling prowess that gives the Celtics another option on the perimeter to create shots. That, in turn, allows Kyrie Irving to hunt for shots off the ball. Irving had a second straight strong shooting game with 28 points on 10-for-20 shooting, including 6-for-12 from 3, to go with 7 assists.

“It started off with a good start,” Hayward said. “Just was out there competing, playing. … I’ve said it before, but game by game there’s different things [I’m improving on]. I’m getting more and more comfortable. Had some open looks from three that were good and was able to knock them down, and tonight was good for me.”

Exclusive: Nigeria hero Odion Ighalo nearly quit after death threats

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It was a long and nightmarish northern summer for Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo, who has rebounded to not only top of the scoring list in these Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but worm his way back into the hearts of Super Eagles fans.

After a dire World Cup campaign, where he was roundly blamed for the defeat to Argentina that saw the Africans crash out of the tournament, he’s gone on to score five goals in two qualifier games against Libya.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Scoring a hat-trick, he heard his name sung from the stands as he was subbed off after 75 minutes of the first game on the weekend. He was then serenaded by supporters in the second game on Tuesday, as he scored twice and provided one assist.

Beaming as he deflected personal praise in his first interview since the World Cup, the trademark Ighalo smile, which had been dimmed for months, flashed as he pointed to team effort instead.10

“The team really worked hard, it is a good team performance and I am happy to score five goals in two games but it is an all-round performance and I am happy with the team performance.

“We are 99 per cent sealed the ticket to the Cup of Nations,” he told Kwes√©ESPN in an exclusive interview in Sfax, Tunisia, where the second match was played.

But all of this nearly did not happen. Sitting down in the changing room of the Taieb Mhiri Stadium, Ighalo reflected on what has been a challenging last few months for him and his family.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

For a fleeting moment, the ever-present smile turned wry, then retreated as Ighalo opened up about how he and his family — including his children — endured vitriolic abuse, and even received death threats on social media, after a World Cup performance where even he admitted he had not played up to his own high standards.

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Tatum was a shining star on opening night

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I wasn’t alive for the dawn of the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers back in the 1960s, when Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were dominating the landscape and making their battles a legend. But I did have a close-up view of the next generation of that rivalry in the 1980s.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

When I was a kid, my dad’s favorite player was Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Thus, my first favorite player was Dr. J. One of my first basketball memories is watching with my dad as the Dr. J and Moses Malone-led 76ers won the championship. I was too young to know fully what was going on, but I remember that he was really happy, so I was too. That team seemed magical, and the players on it bigger than life. From then on, until Dr. J retired, I lived and died with the 76ers as my squad.

Thus, the most hated squad of my childhood was the Larry Bird-led Celtics. The Celtics were the 76ers’ fiercest rivals, and they were so darned good that it seemed (to a kid) like they always won. Bird became my most hated (and most feared) player, because he always seemed to figuratively (and literally) have his hand wrapped around my favorite player’s throat.8

That was the last peak iteration of the rivalry. Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce flirted with reviving it briefly in the 2000s, but neither team was truly championship-worthy with the talent to truly resonate.

Now, in 2018, the rivalry is back! I think. Well … maybe, anyway. (More on that below.)

The NBA season tipped off on Tuesday night with a matchup between the Celtics and 76ers, with both teams preseason favorites to contend for the Eastern Conference championship. Both squads are young and full of incredible talent that seem destined to meet repeatedly in the playoffs for the next decade.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

That sounds outstanding! But, now that the season is here, and we got to see some action play out … how’d it look?

Actually … it looked a lot like it looked when these two teams last met during the 2017-18 playoffs, when the Celtics won four games to one. The Celtics had the much better flow and seemingly a team full of shooters on offense, while on defense they had the athletic ability and defensive principles to prevent Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons from winning the games by themselves.

Clippers unveil augmented game-viewing product CourtVision

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In another demonstration of the NBA’s technological and analytics revolution, the LA Clippers on Wednesday unveiled a platform that makes multiple streams of augmented game viewing available, the first of its kind among professional sports in North America.

“What we have today is what I would call an augmented-reality interactive view of a game,” team owner Steve Ballmer said. “And that’s fantastic.”

Working with Second Spectrum, a company that has developed technology that integrates video, tracking data and analytics with machine learning, the Clippers created the CourtVision product. In addition to the flagship broadcast of the game, users will have a choice of three additional streams that essentially function as optional channels.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“If nothing ever changes, how do you ever create experiences for the fans?” Ballmer said. “Why not try this?”

The “Coach” view will diagram specific plays on the screen as they materialize during the possession. The “Player” view is an analytics-driven experience that will indicate the probability of a successful shot over the head of each player based on his position on the floor at a given moment — percentages that change dynamically in each instant. The “Mascot” view gives viewers more light-hearted animated features that celebrate events like 3-pointers and slam dunks.7

“We think everyone will watch sports this way,” Second Spectrum CEO and co-founder Rajiv Maheswaran said. “There will be a day when you look back and say, ‘I can’t imagine we all used to watch the same thing at the same time — that seems silly.'”

The product will be available to viewers in the Los Angeles market through a Fox Sports application, with plans to finalize a more dedicated application, which is currently available in only a beta version. Second Spectrum has a contract with the NBA; some 28 of the league’s 30 teams are subscribers to its service, and it owns the intellectual property that propels the technology.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

As the product launches, the streaming feeds will have a delay of approximately two minutes behind the live broadcast. Ballmer insisted that the two-minute latency will be reduced in the near future. He also allowed for the idea that as sports gaming comes into the mainstream through legal channels, an augmented feed catering to gamblers could potentially be developed.

Ballmer, who is an investor in Second Spectrum, has been particularly aggressive in his aspirations for “over-the-top” services that would eventually phase out traditional broadcasts in favor of a more personalized viewing experience. As the Clippers’ most recent local broadcast deal came up for renewal in 2016, Ballmer expressed a desire to retain many of the digital rights in order for the Clippers to launch their own OTT platform.

Brady to Gronk: A connection at its best in crunch time

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In the on-field excitement following the New England Patriots’ last-second victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski came together chest to chest.

Gronkowski then said something to Brady, which sparked a positive, passionate reaction.

“Are you kidding me? Forever! You know that!” Brady responded, taking both of his hands off Gronkowski’s head and then whacking him on the shoulder pads in jubilation.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Gronkowski didn’t get into details on what he told Brady at the time, but it was uplifting to him. He called it a “great moment.”

There have been many of those between Brady and Gronkowski during games, with Sunday night adding another to what has been an impressive nine-year connection.9

What Gronkowski might have appreciated more than anything was Brady looking his way twice on the final two drives (42 and 39 yards) despite how quiet he had been as a pass-catcher through the first three quarters, in part because the Chiefs often devoted multiple defenders to slowing him down.

As Brady said after the game, “I’ll keep throwing it to him in the biggest moments.”

Gronkowski, as he often does, delivered in a big way, in addition to solid blocking in the running game that sparked plays in the play-action passing game. The Patriots will be counting on more of the same as they prepare to visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The last time Gronkowski visited Soldier Field, in 2010, he was a rookie. Gronkowski contributed five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown in a 36-7 victory that day, as his 7-yard touchdown catch opened the scoring and sparked what quickly turned into a rout.

That was the seventh touchdown catch of his career from Brady, and the two have since upped that total to 76. A close friendship has developed since that time, as has a special football bond that Brady has grown to appreciate.

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus ‘unhappy’ at Riyad Mahrez taking penalty vs. Liverpool

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Jesus 21, has been struggling for form since a disappointing World Cup, but he insisted he felt confident to take the penalty.

“Obviously I’m not that happy,” he told reporters. “As Riyad, I’ve been practising [penalties].

“I would like to have taken it. I was confident, so I was not happy that they did not allow me. However, it was important that we didn’t lose. Pep spoke with me.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“This is part of football, sometimes these things happen. I will support Riyad if the manager chooses him again.”

Club record signing Mahrez has now missed six of his last 10 penalties in the Premier League but says he needs to put the disappointment behind him as quickly as possible.10

“I made the decision to shoot in the middle — the ball went up,” he said. “Now I have to look forward. It’s part of football — sometimes you score, sometimes you miss.

“But the most important part was that our performance was very good today. We deserved to win, but sometimes it’s important not to lose, as well.”

It did at least bring an end to a run of three successive defeats against Liverpool, who knocked City out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals last season.

The game was a far cry from the four explosive encounters last season which brought 18 goals, but Mahrez praised City’s defensive performance.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“We were very strong defensively,” he added. “It showed we can do both — have the ball and be very strong as well. It’s a good draw and we deserved to win.

“It’s very important and it’s something that we can take for the future. It showed we are not just a team that wants to play, and leaves big spaces, but we are a team who want to be strong defensively, and that’s what we showed.”

Immovable Jaguars D braced for Chiefs’ unstoppable offense

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Marrone was amazed at what he’s seen from the second-year quarterback, running back Kareem Hunt, receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson and De’Anthony Thomas, and tight end Travis Kelce. The speed, improvisation, big plays, variety of formations and motions, disguises and misdirections …nfl cheap jerseys nike

“What you’re seeing is it’s kind of — it’s unbelievable,” Marrone said. “We’ve got our hands full.”

The Chiefs (4-0) lead the NFL in scoring (36.3 points per game) and pass plays of 25 or more yards (15). In addition to having a league-high 14 TD passes and no interceptions, Mahomes has a big arm and a knack for extending plays and making tough throws while scrambling. Hill is one of the NFL’s fastest players and a dangerous open-field runner.10

No team has yet been able to contain the Chiefs’ offense, but if there is a defense that can it’s the Jaguars. They have the corners to match up with the Chiefs’ receivers. They have a safety who’s already proved he can handle an elite tight end. They have speed at linebacker to deal with the backs. And they have a defensive line that brings pressure off the edge and penetration up the middle.

Four 2017 All-Pros (two first-teamers). Eight players who have been voted to at least one Pro Bowl. Playmakers at every level.

And they’re certainly up for the challenge.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“If I’m a betting man, I’m taking this defense, no matter who we’re playing against, no matter who’s at quarterback,” safety Tashaun Gipson said. “We’ve shown that no matter who’s on offense, we’ve got the guys over here to do it. This is something that we’re built for. We’re built on speed, we’re built on toughness, and we’re built on just that fire and passion.

“I guess we’re going to have a good outing come Sunday. It’s going to be an exciting opportunity.”

Expect Gipson to be matched up with Kelce a fair amount. He drew a similar assignment when the Jaguars played New England and helped limit Rob Gronkowski to just two catches for 15 yards in Jacksonville’s 31-20 victory.

Mets’ David Wright plays four innings in final career start

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New York Mets third baseman David Wright returned to the starting lineup for the first time since 2016 on Saturday night, playing four innings against the Miami Marlins and leaving to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Citi Field.

The team captain went 0-for-1 with a walk against the Marlins and was removed after two plate appearances as planned. On defense, he handled a one-hopper to third base with no problem.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Wright, who fouled out to first base his final time up, took his position before the top of the fifth inning. Mets manager Mickey Callaway then came out of the dugout to make a lineup change, and Wright began his slow walk off the field.

As he exited, Wright shook hands with third-base umpire Mike Winters, saluted and thumped his chest toward fans and hugged each of his teammates, who poured out of the dugout to salute the captain.9

Wright later appeared in the SNY broadcast booth and described his farewell with the franchise as “incredible” and “emotional.”

“Mets fans, the city, have gone over the top with this. I didn’t know what to expect tonight. I thought I got all of my tears out, but I got in that clubhouse [after leaving the game] and they started flowing again,” he said. “What a night.”

“If I could say thank you a million time to these fans, this city, this organization … it’s first class,” he said.

On Friday, Wright made his first appearance in the majors since May 2016, appearing as a pinch hitter against the Marlins. He has battled neck, back and shoulder injuries that required surgery.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Unable to overcome his physical setbacks, he said he expects Saturday to mark his last big league game.