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

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“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.

Rockets’ Harden wants ‘a fair chance’ from refs

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Houston Rockets guard James Harden pleaded for a “fair chance” from officials after Houston’s 104-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Sunday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Harden and the Rockets were specifically upset about what they believed were several incorrect non-calls on his 3-point attempts, on which the Warriors were allowed to close out without giving Harden the required landing space. According to Harden and coach Mike D’Antoni, the referees admitted at halftime that they missed four such calls in the first half.

Harden also thought he got fouled on a pair of 3-point attempts in the second half, including by Draymond Green on a potential game-tying attempt with 7.4 seconds remaining. Klay Thompson was the defender on the other non-calls that upset the Rockets.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I mean, I just want a fair chance, man,” said Harden, who scored 35 points but was 9-of-28 from the floor and 4-of-16 from behind the 3-point line. “Call the game how it’s supposed to be called, and that’s it. And I’ll live with the results.”8

Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, later told NBA TV that Green did not foul Harden on his last 3 attempt because Green was going across, and not into, Harden’s path, and in addition, Harden “jackknifed” his body so that his feet made contact with Green.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Harden was 13-of-14 from the line, but the Warriors were called for only one foul when he attempted a 3-pointer. That occurred in the first quarter, when Harden’s shooting arm was clearly hit by Golden State forward Alfonzo McKinnie.

Harden referenced the series-ending injury suffered by Kawhi Leonard in the San Antonio Spurs’ Game 1 loss to the Warriors in the 2017 Western Conference finals, on which he landed on Zaza Pachulia’s foot after shooting a jumper, as a reason referees need to be vigilant about enforcing the rule requiring 3-point shooters to have space to land.

“We all know what happened a few years back with Kawhi,” Harden said. “That can change the entire series. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called, and we’ll live with the results. It’s plain and simple.”

Badgers won’t let Watt wing it at commencement

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J.J. Watt was prepared for his May 11 commencement address at the University of Wisconsin. Or at least he thought he was.

Then he was asked to send a copy of his speech when he was done writing it.

“I said, ‘Nothing. Just give me a black screen and tell me when to stop talking.’ That was literally my plan. But I found out you have to write some stuff down. So I have about a month to figure it out.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Houston Texans defensive end started his college career at Central Michigan but transferred to Wisconsin as a walk-on in 2008. He played for the Badgers for two seasons, and although Watt did not graduate from Wisconsin because he declared early for the NFL draft in 2011, he said he knows what everyone actually wants from a commencement speaker.10

“I mean, I have some messages I want to say,” Watt said. “I have some things I want to get across. But let’s be honest: They just want to go drink beer afterwards. They’re excited. I know how commencements go. They just want the person to give a cool message for about five minutes, and then get off the stage.”

Watt said he isn’t nervous about speaking in front of the crowd, saying he’s “really excited about that.”

“I get to go back to Wisconsin [and] Camp Randall [Stadium],” Watt said. “I never graduated, so I get to see what graduation looks like. It’s an honor. It’s such a true honor.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I grew up 45 minutes from Camp Randall, so being invited to go back [and] have the opportunity to go back to a school and a team that I watched growing up and idolized, walked on and eventually got a scholarship from [and] now to be able to speak at their commencement, it’s an unbelievable honor. I take it very seriously. Even though I said I wasn’t going to write a speech, I take it very seriously. I’m humbled.”

Lester to IL for hamstring issue; Collins up

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Cubs ace Jon Lester was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a left hamstring injury suffered in Monday’s home opener against the Pirates.

Appearing on 670 The Score radio Tuesday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that Lester will miss one or two starts but didn’t confirm a trip to the IL. On Wednesday Maddon said that Tyler Chatwood would start Sunday in Lester’s spot.

“We could avoid using that spot just based on off-days,” Maddon said. “And if we get some rainouts in there, which we don’t want, but if it were to happen other things can happen too.”cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

The Cubs called up lefty Tim Collins Wednesday to take Lester’s place on the roster. Collins, who appeared in 38 games for the Nationals last season after returning from back-to-back Tommy John surgeries, was signed very late in the spring by the Cubs.

Lester left the game in the third inning of Monday’s 10-0 victory.9

He sent out a tweet about his injury earlier Tuesday. It was not clear if he knew at the time that he was heading to the IL.

“I didn’t feel anything as far as a pop or anything like that,” Lester said after the game. “Kind of more along the cramping sensation. We’ll find out more [Tuesday].”cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Lester’s injury occurred while he was running the bases in the bottom of the second inning. He slid into second base on an RBI double and moments later slid into home as part of a six-run inning by the Cubs. The veteran says he’s never had leg problems before. (Lester, 35, has made at least 31 starts every season since 2008.)

“In my mind, I’m making my next start,” he said. “[Tuesday] may tell us something different.”

While warming up before the top of the third, Lester grabbed his left hamstring. He then faced two batters, allowing both to reach, before Maddon went and got him. Brad Brach replaced Lester.

Bucks reach 60-win mark for first time since ’81

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The Milwaukee Bucks checked off one more regular-season accomplishment on Sunday night in Fiserv Forum: beating the Atlanta Hawks 115-107 and securing their 60th win of the season. As the clock wound down and the Bucks’ dribbled out the clock, Bucks fans chanted “Sixty!” at the top of their lungs.

With just one or two games remaining on most schedules, no other team will be able to reach the 60-win mark this season. Still, there were no champagne showers or cake-cutting ceremonies to commemorate the moment after the game, despite the club reaching the mark for the first time since 1981.

“We have bigger goals ahead of us,” said coach Mike Budenholzer. “But it’s important for the group to enjoy it and celebrate it. Not a lot of people get to participate on a team that can win 60 in a season. It’s down our list of priorities, but it’s certainly something to be enjoyed.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Enjoying the 60-win mark is something new for Budenholzer, who said he took very little time to celebrate after leading the Hawks to the mark in 2014-15. Budenholzer now joins Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, K.C. Jones, Mike D’Antoni, Don Nelson and Rick Adelman to win 60 games with multiple franchises.9

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 30 points and nine rebounds, said that he won’t be doing anything to mark the occasion. Ultimately, he hopes to accomplish more, but he did take a minute during his postgame comments to reflect on how far the team has come since his rookie season, when the Bucks won only 15 games.

“Now, we have four times that amount,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s big. Our goal coming into the season was to get 60 wins.”

He continued: “I think you enjoy it in the summer, when you look back. You enjoy it a little bit right now, but if you enjoy a moment for too long, I think you lose track of what is important.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The Bucks continued body maintenance in the game against Atlanta in preparation for the playoffs. Budenholzer played Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton only 25 minutes each. No player played more than Sterling Brown, who was on the court for 28 minutes.

While both Antetokounmpo and Middleton said the Bucks have one eye on the playoffs, they both said they have not paid close attention to the shuffling going on at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Here’s hoping: LeBron, Simmons still a chance for Melbourne showdown

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Marvel Stadium could be the stage for a dream match-up between NBA superstars LeBron James and Ben Simmons when Team USA take on the Australian Boomers in a highly-anticipated FIBA World Cup warm-up series.

More than 90,000 tickets have been sold for the two-match series to be held in August as teams prepare for the World Cup that kicks off in China on August 31.

USA Basketball national team director Sean Ford and Basketball Australia acting chief executive Paul Maley led a delegation that toured the Docklands facility on Tuesday afternoon.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Ford outlined the difficulties involved in assembling a roster of NBA superstars, but is hopeful James, an unabashed fan of incoming coach Gregg Popovich, will opt to play.10

“I think he would like to play for coach Popovich, but of all the athletes, LeBron probably has the most going on both on and off the court,” Ford said. “I mean we would love to have him … who wouldn’t, right?

Whether ‘King’ James is present for the August 22 and 24 games or not, Ford is confident there will be plenty of big-name NBA talent on show for the locals.

“It’s hard for us to say ‘These five or six guys will be here’,” he said. “I’m confident that we will have a quality team here with high-level NBA players … who exactly they will be I can’t say right now.”

Meanwhile, Simmons remains coy about his availability for the 2019 World Cup.

With a mega-dollar contract extension with Philadelphia 76ers in the offing, he has a lot to lose if he suffers a major injury playing for his country.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“He is a 22-year-old and most of us can only comprehend a little bit of what his life is like,” Maley said. “He’s in the middle of a season where they are legitimately hopeful of going deep into the playoffs, then there’s contracts coming up and all sorts of things.

Celtics owner: ‘Worst February’ I can remember

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Count Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck among those disappointed with the team’s performance of late.

Speaking Saturday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Grousbeck said the Celtics just finished the “worst February” he can remember since taking over the team in 2002. The Celtics were 5-6 last month, including a finishing stretch in which they lost four straight games.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Grousbeck acknowledged that the Celtics aren’t necessarily worried about finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference, adding that the team as constructed has “the capability of getting to the Finals.”1

“We also have the capability of losing in the first round,” Grousbeck said, according to Boston.com. “We have a very, very good set of opponents in the East, all of whom have beaten us in the last month.”

Grousbeck’s uncertainty echoes comments that some of his team’s players have made during the season. Amid that losing stretch to finish February, guard Marcus Smart said the team is “just not together,” while Kyrie Irving has more than once discussed the need for some of the younger Celtics players to mature and understand their roles.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Houston Rockets (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC), the Celtics (38-25) sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth and home-court advantage in the first round.

“I really have a lot of hope for these guys,” Grousbeck said. “I give us a chance. I don’t think anybody wants to play us in the playoffs. I really do think, after 16 years in the league, that these guys still have a chance.”

Drew Brees bonds with Jared Goff, but not ready to pass torch

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Drew Brees and Jared Goff were at the Pro Bowl together last year — a fate both would like to avoid this time around.

But it provided a special bonding opportunity for the quarterbacks, who will now square off when the New Orleans Saints play host to the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox).new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Goff, 24, said he appreciated that Brees was willing to share insight on things like his warm-up routine and approach.

Brees, who turned 40 on Tuesday, said he was glad to have the chance to “pay it forward” after so many veteran quarterbacks helped him out early in his career — even though his Saints and Goff’s Rams seemed destined for this type of showdown for NFC supremacy.10

“Listen, I was a first-, second-, third-year player in this league at one point. And I had an incredible mentor in Doug Flutie in San Diego,” said Brees, who then went on a brief tangent on how Flutie “never got the respect he deserved” as “one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play professional football” across the NFL, USFL and CFL.

“And I’ve had other guys, too. I remember the Super Bowl run in ’09, having Trent Dilfer reach out to me, having Kurt Warner reach out to me — and throughout my career, especially early on in my career, I had a ton of guys that I would speak to. And I always appreciated that, I always felt like that made a difference.

“And I told myself at that time that hopefully I could play long enough to where there’s guys that start asking advice from me. And I want to make sure that I pay it forward just like those guys did.”

As for Goff, specifically, Brees said: “Oh man, he’s tremendous.“cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“There’s not many guys that are just better pure passers/throwers,” Brees said. “You watch what they do with their offense, there’s a lot of moving parts, and I think he handles it very, very well. He creates great timing and rhythm in the passing game. And obviously he had a phenomenal season last year, but he’s had an even better one this year. The future is really bright for him.”

Chiefs end home playoff curse, advance to AFC title game

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If the Kansas City Chiefs could have designed the way they will enter the AFC Championship Game, they would have drawn up their 31-13 divisional-round win against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Chiefs didn’t merely beat the Colts on Saturday, they used them as a launching pad. Kansas City will have a full head of steam going into next week’s game against the winner of the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots (1:05 p.m. ET, Sunday). The AFC title game will be in Kansas City for the first time.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “It’s something we feel as an organization we should have accomplished in recent history. Since Andy [Reid] came here, we’ve had a lot of shots. But finally we get a chance to win that AFC championship and to get to do it at home is so special for us.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The victory was a big confidence boost for the Chiefs, particularly on defense. They played their best defensive game of the season, forcing the Colts to go three plays and punt on each of their first four possessions.10

The defense pitched a shutout until the Colts scored an offensive touchdown with less than six minutes left. The Colts scored their first touchdown on a blocked punt in the second quarter.

The Chiefs, who entered the game allowing 18 points a game at home, didn’t allow a touchdown in their final regular-season game, a 35-3 win against the Oakland Raiders.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Kansas City made some recent defensive lineup changes that seem to be working. Third cornerback Charvarius Ward and safety Jordan Lucas, who is starting in place of the injured Eric Berry, have played well over the past couple of games.

The Chiefs had been plagued by defensive penalties most of the season but against the Colts they had just one — a pass interference call against Ward with 41 seconds remaining. They had no defensive penalties against the Raiders.

“You could feel the energy all week,” Reid said. “I think some of the young guys are maturing right in front of our eyes and playing well. We added a couple of guys in there. … Everybody’s taking up their game.”

With the emphatic victory, the Chiefs buried their many playoff demons. They won at Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs for the first time since January 1994. The streak included losses of one, two, three and four points.

Manchester United target Herrera, Mata, Young extensions – sources

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They have been free to negotiate with clubs outside England from Jan. 1 but United are confident they will reach agreements as negotiations continue.

Mata, 30, is keen to stay at Old Trafford but has been the subject of interest from a number of clubs in the Premier League and across Europe.cheap nfl nike jersey

Herrera would also like to stay and is prepared to snub interest from former club Athletic Bilbao to extend his contract. Herrera, according to a source, is happy playing under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after starting three of the Norwegian’s five games in charge. He was rested for the FA Cup victory over Reading and is expected to start against Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday.11

Young, 33, is also open to staying but is keen to seek assurances about how many games he is likely to play. The full-back has options in Italy, Spain, the United States and China and has not ruled out playing abroad if it means getting regular first team football. After spending last season at left-back under former manager Jose Mourinho, Young has made himself the regular right-back with Luke Shaw taking over on the left.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Joel Pereira has returned early from a season-long loan spell at Vitoria Setubal. The 21-year-old is likely to head back out on loan before the end of the January transfer window.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is also free to return to Old Trafford from Fulham after being told he is not in manager Claudio Ranieri’s plans. The Dutchman, 21, was due to spend the season at Craven Cottage but could now find a new club ahead of the second half of the campaign.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Sources have told ESPN FC that United also expect a number of under-23 players to head out on loan with Ethan Hamilton, Regan Poole and Ro-Shaun Williams among those who could secure a temporary move for the rest of the season.