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Draymond: Warriors want sweep to get more rest


As the Golden State Warriors attempt to become the first team since the 1960s Boston Celtics to go to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season, Warriors forward Draymond Green said the group is motivated to finish off the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and take advantage of the nine days off before the Finals begin May 30.

“I think it’s very motivating for us to try to sweep this series and have that time off,” Green said on Sunday. “Obviously we’re a little banged up, so nine days off would be great for us. Allow Andre [Iguodala] time to heal, Shaun [Livingston]’s old — but also allow the possibility of Kevin [Durant] and DeMarcus [Cousins] to get healthy and come back as well. So I think it’s very important for us to come out tomorrow with the right mindset. We didn’t do that against the Clippers. We extended the series and all of a sudden Klay [Thompson] and Steph [Curry] was going into the Houston series questionable because of some ankle injuries they suffered in series that should have been over. And so we understand that. We got a great opportunity.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Despite the fact that the Warriors hold a 3-0 lead in the series, Green knows the Blazers aren’t going to let Golden state roll over them in a potential closeout game. But after coming back from double-digit deficits in the second half of each of the past two games of this series, the Warriors enter Monday night’s contest with more confidence than they’ve had all season.

“We know this team is, they’re a very resilient group,” Green said of the Blazers. “They’re not going to lay down. They have great leadership in Dame [Damian Lillard] and C.J. [McCollum] and they’re going to come out and continue to play, and play with the force that they can play with. It’s on us to make sure we can play with the right mindset and focus, that we know what it takes to close out a series, especially on the road.”8

Green, who earned his seventh career postseason triple-double in Game 3 on Saturday night, has been dominant at times throughout the postseason, helping the Warriors come together after Durant suffered a calf injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. Green opened up about just how much his mindset changes when the postseason begins.

“When I finish the playoffs every year I’m exhausted,” Green said. “And more so mentally than physically because I view these games like life or death. Like I’ll be stressed out the entire playoffs. It’s like a life-or-death situation for me. That’s how I view it. And so when you have that mindset and you’re viewing it that way, it’s easy to raise your game because it’s bigger than just that particular game. And so there’s been times when I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m putting too much strain on myself. Too much stress on myself.’ And I can’t change it because this is the times I live for.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“This is what I enjoy most. This is what you play for, this is what you train for, to be at your best at this time of year, to try to win a championship. And so when you look at it from that standpoint, which is the way I look at it, it makes it a lot easier to step up to that challenge because you’re playing for something so much bigger than to win that game.”

Green has thrived in the postseason since entering the league in 2012, and like many on the Warriors’ roster, he acknowledged the grind of an 82-game regular season is tougher to handle after years of long playoff runs and the stress that comes with them.

“For me personally I kind of view the season in three different parts,” Green said. “You come into the season and you’re ready to go. In the league, you kind of hit that point of where, ‘All right, get me to the All-Star break.’ And then you come out of the All-Star break and you’re refreshed, and you’re ready to go again. And that works and that happens for like two weeks and then it’s like, ‘Get me to the playoffs.’ You feel like you’re getting life at each one of those moments. And for me personally once you get that new life in the playoffs, it’s the playoffs. If you got to find life again in the playoffs you’re going home. And you should. It’s the part of the year I love. It’s the part where you’re playing for all the marbles. If you can’t get up for this, what can you get up for?”

Jets ship LB Lee to Chiefs after GM shake-up


It didn’t take long for New York Jets interim general manager Adam Gase to make his first trade.

The team on Wednesday night agreed to send linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick. The trade appeared on the NFL’s official transactions wire Thursday.

Gase inherited personnel power earlier Wednesday, when general manager Mike Maccagnan was fired after four seasons. Gase, hired in January as the head coach, will serve as the interim GM until a new one is hired.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Maccagnan picked Lee in the first round of the 2016 draft. His days were numbered as soon as the Jets signed middle linebacker C.J. Mosley to a record-setting contract in free agency. They tried to trade Lee during the NFL draft last month, then declined to exercise his fifth-year option.10

Lee was the 20th overall pick in 2016. It was a curious choice, because at 6-foot-1 and 232 pounds, he seemed small to play inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. The coaching staff downplayed the size factor, saying he fit the growing trend of fast linebackers who could play in space against spread offenses.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The former Ohio State standout struggled in his first two seasons, especially against the run, but he showed signs of improvement in 2018. He made three interceptions — the first three of his career — including one returned for a touchdown.

Lee felt he had played well enough to earn Pro Bowl consideration, but his season came to an abrupt end after the 12th game, when he received a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He has yet to comment publicly on the matter.

Because of the suspension, Lee’s 2019 base salary of $1.84 million is no longer fully guaranteed; by rule, the guarantee was voided. The Jets had no intention of exercising his fifth-year option for 2020, which would have been an estimated $10 million.

In the Jets’ way of thinking, Lee became expendable when they signed Mosley to a five-year, $85 million contract in free agency. Mosley will replace Avery Williamson, who will slide over to Lee’s former spot — the weak-inside linebacker position.

Williamson’s $8 million salary is guaranteed, and there was no chance that the Jets would eat that much money.

Cubs’ Zobrist remains on leave amid divorce


Cubs veteran Ben Zobrist remains on a personal leave of absence from the team, and court documents filed in Chicago indicate he is getting divorced.nfl nike jersey cheap

According to the documents, his wife, Julianna, is listed as the plaintiff. Julianna Zobrist is a professional singer who has performed the national anthem for teams that her husband has played for. She also sang “God Bless America” before Game 4 of the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and Indians at Wrigley Field.9

Zobrist, 37, is in the final season of a four-year contract that he signed with the Cubs after beginning his career in Tampa Bay in 2006. He helped the Kansas City Royals win the title in 2015 and did the same the following season with the Cubs.

The team has not given an official reason for his absence, which began May 8, nor a potential return date.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I feel for him,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Having gone through that process myself, it’s no fun. For him to do it under these circumstances, we’re going to respect his privacy. There is no timeline involved. He’ll let us know.”

Zobrist was hitting .241 with 10 RBIs in 26 games prior to taking his absence from the team.

Butler after 76ers’ 36-point loss: ‘We laid an egg’


Brett Brown became a meme, Joel Embiid was mocked by Raptors fans the way he normally mocks opponents, and the 76ers suffered one of their worst losses in the franchise’s postseason history in a 125-89 defeat Tuesday night.

The Sixers now trail the Raptors 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I think we laid an egg,” guard Jimmy Butler said after the 76ers coughed up 19 turnovers leading to 31 Toronto points and failed to crack 100 points for the fourth time this series.
By halftime, Philadelphia had more personal fouls (16) than made field goals (14), and the Sixers’ two All-Stars, Embiid and Ben Simmons, struggled as much as anyone. The duo combined for seven turnovers in the first half, which was more than the field goals and assists they combined to register in that span (six).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Embiid, still reeling from the upper respiratory infection that limited him in Game 4, finished with 13 pcheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleoints on 5-for-10 shooting (2-for-6 from 3), six rebounds, one assist and eight turnovers. In the past five postseasons, only two players have finished a game with one or zero assists and eight or more turnovers: Kevin Durant in 2016 and Embiid, who has now done it twice, as he matched his one-assist, eight-turnover game in the first round against the Miami Heat last year.10

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I know I got to do a better job for us to win. I got to do the little things. When I’m needed to score the ball, I got to show up. Setting screens, I got to do a better job of rebounding the ball. So that’s on me. … I just got to do more.”

Embiid played one of his finest games as a pro in Game 3 against the Raptors, putting up 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to put the Sixers up 2-1 in the series. In the two losses since, he has totaled just 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

When the Sixers center checked out of Game 5 for good with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, fans in the stands at Scotiabank Arena — including Canadian rapper Drake, the Raptors’ global ambassador — spread their arms out and mimicked Embiid’s airplane celebration that he broke out after his late windmill dunk in Game 3.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Embiid hasn’t been able to help the Sixers land a win since.

“I just saw them shake their bodies,” Embiid said of the fans. “I didn’t pay attention about what the hell they were doing. Good for them. … I don’t care if it offends anybody, but what I do is all about having fun. I don’t care. And I’m going to do that because I know I’m going to dominate.”

Kyrie Irving’s failed leadership tells the story of the Celtics’ failed season


cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleAt first, it seemed like things were going to be just fine.

When the Boston Celtics convened for media day back in September, they were the heavy favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in this season’s NBA Finals, and arguably no team in the league had a brighter road ahead.

Brad Stevens saw something different.

“I knew going in that it was going to be super challenging, but October screamed it,” the Celtics coach told ESPN recently. “I knew after the first two exhibition games, it was going to be really, really hard.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

It turned out to be harder than he could have imagined. And in the end, it was too difficult to overcome, as Boston suffered a fourth consecutive loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday to crash out of the second round of the playoffs.9

This was not what was supposed to happen to a team that made the conference finals the past two years — and then added a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix.

There are plenty of reasons to explain why this season was so hard, and why these Celtics were so disappointing. At the root of all of them, though, is Irving — and, more specifically, his leadership through words and actions on and off the court.

Those comments became the guideposts of this long, strange trip of a season in Boston, the things that — in retrospect — were signaling to the world how hard this was turning out to be for the Celtics.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Irving’s words not only defined the Celtics’ disappointing season; they help to explain how a season that was supposed to mark Boston’s return to the top of the sport instead left all involved searching for answers.

Smith back in Panthers fold, to receive honor


Steve Smith can finally set aside the bitterness from being released by the Carolina Panthers in March 2014.

The organization announced Monday that their all-time leading wide receiver would be a part of the 2019 Hall of Honor.

Smith joins quarterback Jake Delhomme, tight end Wesley Walls and offensive tackle Jordan Gross as the first players named to the shrine since Sam Mills retired and was honored following the 1997 season.

“It’s good to be back,” Smith told the team. “There’s very few things in my life that really make me emotional to where I want to tear up.That penetrates a place I generally don’t go.’‘cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Smith was so bitter about being released by then-general manager Dave Gettleman after the 2013 season that he said he told a local radio station that if he got the chance to play against Carolina, everyone should “put on your goggles because there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.”

Smith got his shot at Carolina during the 2014 season when, as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, he had seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

“They didn’t even deserve me to spin the ball on them,” Smith said afterward.9

Smith later admitted in the NFL Network’s “Steve Smith: A Football Life” that his release was personal and that he “bumped heads” with quarterback Cam Newton.

“We bumped heads for the obvious reasons,” Smith said. “He’s the first pick and he was a star where he was. I was 31 years old. I had three kids. So we were two different people in two different phases of their life.’‘cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Gross said Smith’s lack of patience with Newton was a factor in the decision to release him.

“Really, I think the organization felt for Cam to flourish they needed Steve to step down,” he told the NFL Network.

Said former Carolina wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl, “Emotionally, it was hard for everybody because of what he’d done for this organization, the impact he’s had in the community.”

Much of Smith’s anger was directed at Gettleman because there was no advance notice of his release before it became public knowledge. Smith heard the news on a Charlotte radio station.

Being selected to the Hall of Honor by new owner David Tepper has helped heal old wounds.

“For some, long overdue,” Smith said. “For others, surprised just as much as me. Some maybe didn’t foresee that this would ever come to fruition, the reconnecting.”

D’Antoni: Tucker ‘wouldn’t let us lose’ in Game 3


“Oh, I said something to all of them,” Tucker said, cracking a slight grin after the Rockets’ 126-121 overtime win in Game 3 to record their first victory of the Western Conference semifinals series.

D’Antoni didn’t need any more convincing. He called timeout and substituted in Tucker. Suddenly, Durant appeared to be human again, scoring only seven points on 2-of-7 shooting in the final 15 minutes of the game, including overtime, with Tucker as his primary defender.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Tucker dominated the glass down the stretch, grabbing nine of his game-high 12 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime, a major factor in the Rockets’ dominating the rebounding battle by a 55-35 margin. He also scored all seven of his points after checking back in with 10 minutes, 1 second remaining in regulation. He unleashed a primal screen after fighting for two offensive rebounds and muscling in a lead-changing, and-1 putback for his first points at the 7:19 mark of the first quarter and made two smart cuts for buckets in overtime.

“That’s who Tuck is,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a winner, and he wouldn’t let us lose.”10

Reigning MVP James Harden had his highest-scoring game of this postseason. He put up 41 points, including half of the Rockets’ 14 in overtime, sinking a stepback 3 and floater in the final minute to seal the win.

Shooting guard Eric Gordon had a sensational night, scoring 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting and hitting half of his 14 3-point attempts.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Center Clint Capela made his biggest impact of the series after a disappointing first two games, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and rejecting an Andre Iguodala dunk attempt in spectacular fashion.

But it was Tucker, the lowest-paid and lowest-scoring member of Houston’s starting lineup, whom Rockets teammates and coaches raved about the most after notching their first win of the highly anticipated series between West heavyweights.

“Tuck doesn’t do any of the glamorous stuff,” said guard Chris Paul, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “All of the stuff he does doesn’t [necessarily] show up on the stat sheet. We say it all the time, but it’s always nice for other people to get a chance to see it and appreciate it. He’s easily one of the most valuable guys on our team just because of the way he plays. He plays hard, and he forces you to do the same.”

Tucker’s toughness and versatility give the Rockets the option to go small and counter the Warriors’ feared “Hamptons 5” lineup, which features Draymond Green at center. Houston played much of the fourth quarter and all but 44 seconds of overtime with Tucker, who is 6-foot-6, at center surrounded by four guards and still outrebounded the Warriors by a 17-9 margin in that span.

Shades of Brady: Pats’ Stidham 7th QB selected


The New England Patriots continue to explore possibilities to succeed Tom Brady in the future, as they selected Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham on Saturday in the fourth round of the NFL draft.

Stidham, the 133rd overall selection, was the seventh quarterback picked overall, following Kyler Murray (first overall, Cardinals), Daniel Jones (sixth, Giants), Dwayne Haskins (15th, Redskins), Drew Lock (42nd, Broncos), Will Grier (100th, Panthers) and Ryan Finley (104th, Bengals). That’s similar to Brady, the 199th overall pick of the 2000 draft who saw six quarterbacks — sometimes referred to as the “Brady 6” — selected before him.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I think he can be Tom Brady-esque because Jared’s really smart, he throws well from the pocket, he’s good at making quick decisions. I think that is a great fit for him. And he loves Tom Brady to death. I’m sure that is like getting drafted by God for him,” Slayton said.10

Stidham completed 470 of 739 passes for 5,952 yards, with 36 touchdowns and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons at Auburn after transferring from Baylor. His completion percentage dipped from 66.5 in 2017 to 60.7 in 2018, which has sparked questions.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“It’s one of those things, but I wouldn’t trade my time at Auburn for anything. I loved it there, and the great thing about Auburn is that it can really help prepare you for the next level. And sure enough, I’m lucky enough to sit here and be a Patriot and further my career a little bit.”

How much longer he furthers his career, and how well the 22-year-old Stidham ultimately develops, could help the Patriots transition to life after Brady, who turns 42 in August and has said he hopes to play until he’s 45. At the least, Stidham should have the luxury to develop behind the scenes in 2019.

Hoyer, the team’s veteran backup, enters the final year of his contract. Meanwhile, Etling will vie for a backup spot after spending his rookie season on the practice squad. When Stidham visited the Patriots’ facility in April, he said he shared lunch with Etling.

Barcelona putting La Liga title ahead of Liverpool UCL tie – Valverde


Ernesto Valverde said Barcelona will put winning La Liga for the eighth time in 11 years ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League showdown against Liverpool.

Barca host Liverpool in the first leg of their semifinal tie next week, but they have the chance to wrap up the Spanish league title by beating Levante on Saturday ahead of the UCL match.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Valverde told a news conference on Friday that the boost which winning La Liga will bring outweighs the option of making wholesale changes ahead of the game against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“You always have upcoming rivals in your head — you’re watching their games, analysing them,” Valverde said when asked if a first European semifinal since 2015 could serve as a distraction.4

“But I want to try and put Liverpool to one side because of the importance of Saturday’s game. I want the Levante game to be the crowning moment of our league season. If we win, we’re champions and that will give us a huge push going into Wednesday’s game.”

Valverde rested Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba for the midweek 2-0 win against Alaves, but all three are expected to start this weekend. There could be some subtle rotating elsewhere, though.

“It’s possible that there will be some changes, but there are four days between the two games,” the coach added. “Winning the league would be a massive boost for the Liverpool match.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Barca could even be crowned champions before the Levante game if Atletico Madrid lose to Real Valladolid earlier on Saturday. The Catalans are nine points clear of their nearest rivals with just four games to go and have a superior head-to-head record over Atleti.

They remain on track for a third Treble since 2009, too, with the Copa del Rey final against Valencia to come in May, but Valverde is particularly pleased with his side’s consistency in the league as they hone in on a 26th title.

“What this team is doing is really difficult,” Valverde said. “Last year, we won the league with games to spare. We’re in the same position this year. That’s not easy.

Source: Seahawks want 1st-rounder for DE Clark


The Seattle Seahawks are still considering trading defensive end Frank Clark, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

In return, the Seahawks would want any package to include at least a first-round pick in next week’s NFL draft, the source said.

Clark, who has yet to sign his $17.128 million franchise tag, has been the subject of trade rumors. He led the Seahawks with 13 sacks and also had four forced fumbles and an interception last season, and he added another sack in a wild-card playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Earlier this week, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said trade rumors are common this time of year, but he didn’t shoot down any involving Clark, who turns 26 in June.9

“He’s a franchised player. We love Frank,” Schneider said. “He’s an incredibly effective pass-rusher and we love him. … When you’re getting close to the trade deadline and you get close to the draft, it’s like major speculation, a ton of drama, all the news outlets and everything. I get it. It’s what we’re doing, it’s entertainment.

“People around the league know that we’re in every deal, that the people on my staff, we’re always trying to understand the landscape around the National Football League. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing our job. We can’t ever have our head in the sand with anything, but we love Frank. Obviously that’s why we franchised him.”

The Seahawks have a league-low four picks in this year’s draft, so the potential return on a Clark trade would add much-needed draft capital. But it would mean moving on from one of the game’s top edge rushers in what could be the early stages of his prime.

His 33 sacks since 2016 ranks ninth in the league, and his 2,045 defensive snaps in that span are fewer than the eight players ahead of him, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Of the 21 players with at least 25 sacks since 2016, Clark’s average of a sack every 63.9 snaps ranks seventh.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

No other player on Seattle’s roster other than defensive tackle Jarran Reed (10.5 sacks) had more than three for the Seahawks last season. The Seahawks recently added defensive ends Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard in free agency. Dion Jordan, who spent the past two seasons with Seattle, remains unsigned.

The Seahawks publicly shopped Richard Sherman in 2017 and considered trading Earl Thomas last year, ultimately hanging on to both players for one more season. So their desire for a first-round pick in any trade is in keeping with recent precedent of highly valuing players even though they might not have a long-term future with the team.