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LeBron James seeks fifth MVP award; James Harden, Anthony Davis eye first


In the Rookie of the Year group, Simmons and Mitchell both shined on the court this season. Simmons, who missed his first season in the NBA with a foot injury, had 12 triple-doubles this season and ranked fourth in assists per game (8.2). He helped lead Philadelphia to 52 regular-season wins, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Mitchell averaged 20.5 points and helped Utah win a surprising 48 regular-season games.nfl replica jerseys wholesale

Tatum is the only rookie whose team is still alive in the postseason. However, his playoff stats aren’t a factor for the award.

Among coaches, Casey helped build a strong bench unit in Toronto and changed the club’s offensive approach en route to an Eastern Conference-leading 59 wins. He was fired after James and the Cavaliers swept the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs. Stevens navigated injuries to several key Celtics, including Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who was lost for the season on opening night due to a leg injury. Snyder helped the upstart Jazz finish fifth in the Western Conference after a subpar start. Houston’s Mike D’Antoni won the award last season.215

Gobert’s DPOY candidacy comes despite his missing significant time due to a left knee injury. He averaged 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game and was the linchpin to Utah’s stifling defense when healthy. He will have competition from Philadelphia’s Embiid (11.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks) and New Orleans’ Davis (11.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks). Golden State’s Draymond Green won the award last season.

Oladipo’s bid for most improved player follows a fantastic season with the Pacers. Oklahoma City dealt him to Indiana as part of the Paul George trade, and Oladipo thrived in the new environment, averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for a surprising Indiana team. He improved his scoring by seven points per game. Capela also presented a strong case after averaging 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game for Houston and its much-improved defense. Dinwiddie averaged career highs of 12.6 points and 6.6 assists for Brooklyn. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo won the award last season.

In the sixth man award vote, Williams is considered a favorite among the group after posting 22.6 points and 5.3 assists per game for the Clippers. Gordon, who won the award last season, averaged 18 points per game in the regular season. Toronto’s VanVleet was integral to the Raptors’ success, averaging 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench.

Gordon is looking to join Williams in being a repeat winner. If Gordon were to win, he would be the first back-to-back winner of the award since Detlef Schrempf, who won in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons for the Pacers.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Other season-ending awards given out on June 25 will include executive of the year, sportsmanship award, lifetime achievement award, teammate of the year and a community service award.

Derrius Guice all smiles, a ‘ball of energy’ in rookie minicamp


The smile showed up whenever he answered a question. Or when he bounded onto the field. Or when he ran off the field. Derrius Guice was happy — to be in Washington, to worry only about football and not school, to impress his new coaches.

And, for now at least, he’s not worried that he was the seventh running back selected in the draft. Maybe he’ll renew that slight for fuel during the season. After the draft, he said the Redskins “definitely got a steal.”nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

“I’m not worried about the other running backs,” Guice said. “They’ll do great things there. I’m just worried about me and my organization … it really don’t matter. It’s one of those things you can’t control. All I can do is control what I do for this organization.”200

His stance might change during the season. After all, he likes to run angry and a player who some viewed as a first-round talent only to fall to late in the second round will have plenty of motivation. Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis, who once endured a similar stumble, said he ran angry for his first five years.

For now, it’s all about learning the plays and getting acclimated to a new city. Guice provides hope for a Redskins run game that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard runner since Alfred Morris in 2014. Nobody topped 751 yards last season. And they haven’t had anyone with Guice’s potential since Portis, who retired after the 2010 season.

But it was hard to miss Guice’s smile, mainly because it was omnipresent. He called it a dream come true being on the field. He said the most fun part was just running with a football and not training for drills he wouldn’t have to worry about again, like the 10-yard shuttle run.cheap nfl jersey wholesale

“Just football all day,” he said. “That’s the best part about being a pro, you don’t have to worry about X, Y or Z or other things to worry about. Just learning these plays and putting it to the test.”

Guice will be part of a backfield that also includes third-down back Chris Thompson. Samaje Perine, a fourth-round pick last year, likely will be part of that group, too. After that, it’s uncertain who will be part of this unit — whether Rob Kelley or one of a handful of options.

Braves haven’t been fazed by unexpected early success


Since then, the Braves have managed to get both younger and older, as if that were possible. The old part comes in the form of 37-year-old third baseman Jose Bautista, whose three-run shot off Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the fifth inning gave Atlanta a lead it never relinquished. It was Bautista’s 333rd career homer and his second since joining the Braves on May 4. Bautista had homered in 29 big league parks during his long career, but never at Wrigley. Make it 30.

“Well, I was aware that I had never hit one here,” Bautista said. “So I’m glad I got that off the list. Any time you can do something positive for the team, especially if it’s a game-winning hit, you’re going to enjoy it. I’m glad I got it done.”cheap nfl jerseys china

The game, which ended about an hour before Wrigley Field was hit with a torrent of rain, was a precursor to another series against Chicago — both teams headed for the airports afterward to catch flights to Atlanta. The Cubs and Braves will square off in a three-game set beginning Tuesday. For Atlanta, in many ways this week marks one of those measuring stick kind of tests a coming-of-age team needs to pass in order to be labeled as bona fide.163

If the Braves are extra amped up about the coming matchup against the powerful Cubs, they won’t admit it. They are too busy talking like a team that expected to be doing what they are doing all along.

“We’re trying to carry it day in, day out,” said catcher Tyler Flowers, who homered, singled and walked three times during Monday’s victory. “Routine. Having a plan. Going out there with a plan and execute. Honestly, we’ve done a good job of that. It’s a nice mix of youth and veterans in here. I think a lot of the veterans are doing a good job showing the younger guys how to go about it day in, day out. It’s not about one good road trip.”

When that originally scheduled game on April 15 was called off, Atlanta already was off to a solid 8-6 start and sterling second-year second baseman Ozzie Albies in particular had been turning heads all across the league. Albies shined that weekend as the Cubs and Braves split a pair, going 5-for-10 and leading off the insane April 14 game with a home run off Chicago starter Jose Quintana.

Albies played a little deja vu ball on Monday, once again touching up Quintana to start the game. It was a homer that had all sorts of meaning, even beyond possibly giving Quintana the heebie jeebies the next time he sees Albies in the on-deck circle to start a game. official nfl jerseys cheap Two of Albies’ four career leadoff homers have come off the struggling Cubs lefty. The blast moved Albies into a tie for the big league lead with 13 homers. Reaching that mark in Atlanta’s 40th game allowed Albies to tie the mark for the fewest games a second-sacker has needed to hit 13 homers.

Harden, Curry, KD and everything that will decide the West


The Rockets have been preparing for this all season — longer, even — and here is what they face: a Warriors team that is 24-3 in the playoffs since signing Kevin Durant. Houston has to beat them four times in seven games. Golden State with Durant has lost three times in six playoff series. Last season’s Cavaliers might have been one of the greatest single-season teams ever, and certainly were one of the greatest offensive teams ever. They got one game.customized nfl jerseys cheap

But these Rockets were built over the summer, and then tweaked midseason, specifically for this series. They are 50-5 when all three of James Harden, Clint Capela and Chris Paul play. By any measure, they represent the most profound challenge the Warriors have faced in the Durant-Stephen Curry era.

They can match any style: fast, slow, big, small. Hell, they might be able to dictate the style of this series. Some will cast this as a battle for the soul of basketball: isolation showboats and the math geniuses behind them against the protectors of the beautiful game. There is a kernel of truth there. The reality is Golden State has the tools to win both sorts of games. Durant has inoculated them from any stylistic limitations. They have seen every switching scheme in existence, and know how to break them with smart cuts and passes.

Let’s dig into some of the major questions and X-factors:151

? Houston can surround Harden with four good defenders, and Golden State usually offers one safe-ish place to hide him. The matchups will be fun, even if they switch in a blur on every possession.

We don’t even know yet who the Warriors will start: the Death Lineup, with Draymond Green at center, or a more traditional lineup probably featuring Kevon Looney in place of Andre Iguodala. If Golden State starts small, Houston can stash Harden on Iguodala, slot Capela onto Green, Paul onto Curry, Trevor Ariza on Klay Thompson, and the immovable PJ Tucker onto Durant. Against bigger lineups, Houston could match up across positions — with Harden on Thompson (gulp) — or slide Harden onto Green, or even Looney.

I would bet (reluctantly) on the Warriors starting Game 1 with Looney. He defended Anthony Davis well, and it just seems like the Steve Kerr move: start with someone who can body up Capela, and keep one ace in the hole. Golden State is also thin on wings — cheap nfl nike jerseys from china centers compose almost half of the roster for some reason — and starting all the best ones deprives the bench of some pop. Smart staggering can mitigate that, but the Warriors are also concerned about overtaxing Iguodala.

? Whether Golden State’s centers serve any purpose in this series will be one of its pivot points. Only JaVale McGee — and basketball gods help any coach who counts on McGee in this round, against this opponent — can do the Rudy Gobert/Pau Gasol “stand near the rim and raise your arms” thing and bother Harden. None of them can reliably switch onto Paul or Harden. Looney will pull it off one of every three or four times, but he’s walking a tightrope. Kerr might try Jordan Bell at some point for added speed.

Cavs sticking with Kevin Love as starting center, Tristan Thompson as reserve


The Cleveland Cavaliers, at least for the time being, will stick with Kevin Love as their starting center despite the All-Star’s individual struggles at the position this postseason, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Wednesday.

“Whatever is good for the team is what we’re going to do,” Lue said. “I think it spreads the floor out for us. nfl jersey wholesale [Jonas] Valanciunas is going to go to help and try to block shots. Kevin is going to have open shots all night, so, whatever is best for the team is what we’re going to do.”

Love had a rough go of it in Cleveland’s 113-112 overtime victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors, starting just 1-for-8 from the field before settling in to finish with seven points on 3-for-13 shooting (1-for-4 from 3) and 13 rebounds.56

Valanciunas, at 7 feet tall and 265 pounds, dwarfs Love’s listed 6-foot-10, 251-pound frame, and it showed on the court early in Game 1. Valanciunas began the game 6-for-12 from the field through the first three quarters as the Raptors controlled the flow through him.

Lue brought in Tristan Thompson to play center alongside Love late, shifting Love back to his natural 4 spot, and Valanciunas slowed down significantly, shooting 1-for-7 in the fourth quarter and overtime combined (and 1-for-6 with Thompson guarding him in that stretch, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information).

Love was asked after the game if he was more comfortable playing power forward.

“It’s been my whole career I’ve played at the 4,” he answered. “I would say absolutely. Ty sees something different, and I think offensively, once I get myself going, we could use that to our advantage. As of right now, I need to find some easy buckets. They were right there tonight, I just couldn’t put them down.”

Love, who hurt his left thumb in the Cavs’ playoff opener against the Indiana Pacers, nfl jerseys cheap authentic is averaging just 10.9 points on 31.9 percent shooting overall (38.5 percent from 3) in eight games in the postseason thus far.

C’s coach Brad Stevens: ‘Game 7 in TD Garden is what you play for’


Boston Celtics big man Al Horford has been on both benches at TD Garden for a deciding Game 7 during his 10-year NBA career.wholesale nfl jerseys As the Celtics brace for a win-or-go-home showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, Horford knows as well as anyone the value of home-court advantage.

A stagnant Celtics offense sputtered Thursday night in Boston’s first chance to close out its Eastern Conference first-round series against the Bucks. But as the series shifts back to Boston, Celtics players believe they have an advantage playing on their home turf.

“TD Garden is going to be great. As a basketball player or fan, one of the places you want to enjoy and be, it’s TD Garden for a Game 7,” said Horford, whose first postseason trip, with the Atlanta Hawks, ended with a Game 7 loss to Boston’s most recent Big Three during the team’s 2008 title run.8

Added Horford: “I’ve been on both sides. It’s tough about [Thursday’s loss], but I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday.”

Celtics players lamented their offensive inconsistency during Thursday’s 97-86 loss at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks turned bad Boston offense into easy transition baskets while building a double-digit first-half lead, then fended of some second-half surges.

Now the Celtics need a win Saturday to extend their season.

“The result is our guys get to experience a Game 7, which, again, official nfl jerseys cheap we didn’t want,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Game 7 in TD Garden is what you play for. It should be what you’re excited most about. What you worked for all summer, what you worked for all year. It’s a blast.”

The Bucks expect a frenzied atmosphere in Boston.

“It’s going to be crazy. It’s do or die at this point,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “The crowd in Boston is rowdy, just like they are here. It’s going to be a great game. There are no secrets between teams. It comes down to who has more will.”

Coach Brett Brown says 76ers and Joel Embiid ‘very unified’ in handling of his injury


Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said on Tuesday that the organization, Joel Embiid, his representatives and team doctors are “very unified” in how Embiid’s injury is being handled.

The All-Star center expressed frustration cheap nfl throwback jerseys late Monday night about being held out of the Sixers’ Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat thanks to injury.

Embiid has been sidelined since March 28 because of a broken orbital bone and concussion. He has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol but has not yet been cleared to take contact. There remains no definitive timetable for Embiid’s return, though Brown said Tuesday that it is not “that far away.”200

“It’s still moving forward,” Brown said before the Sixers’ practice on Tuesday afternoon. “What I can say is there is a very unified effort with his representation and the people around him. With the people that did the operation, the doctors, with our medical staff, with the team, with me, the coaching staff. We’re all doing this. There’s a unified sort of spirit and line of communication.”

There are still a few medical hurdles for Embiid to clear as he returns from surgery, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The recovery is a process of ramping up to different stages of activity.

Internally among the Sixers, there is optimism that Embiid will return when the series is in Miami, although it’s unclear whether he will play in Game 3 on Thursday, according to sources.

Embiid was expected to practice with the team on Tuesday, participating in shooting drills and other non-contact activity. His presence on the practice floor was encouraging to Brown, who added that Embiid was progressing toward being cleared for contact.

“We’ll get up and down and do some script stuff,” Brown said. nfl jerseys cheap shop “It’s progressing. When that ultimately leads to an answer — he’s playing — I don’t believe is that far away. But we’ll learn more over the next 48 hours, I suspect.”

Wade scores 28 points off bench, Heat tie 76ers at 1-1


Dwyane Wade sat alone, wrapping his 36-year-old knees in ice long after the Miami Heat practiced Sunday afternoon at Temple University. The media throng that throwback nfl jerseys cheap covers the Heat seemed more focused on Hassan Whiteside’s virtual no-show in the first game of this playoff series against the 76ers and the adjustments the team would have to make for this series to be competitive.

Wade’s paltry 19 minutes in Game 1 didn’t even register as a significant storyline at this stage in his career. That’s about what he had been playing since rejoining the Heat after a midseason trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anything more he could give them than that was seen as a bonus, not something the Heat could count on.

Fellow Heat lifers Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard each came over to him as he worked on his knees and stopped for a conversation. Wade will be joining them as Heat emeriti soon enough. Always welcome around the team, always a part of the family … once their playing careers were over.199

I asked him why he was wrapping his own knees in ice. The Heat have plenty of trainers for tasks like that. Wade laughed and said, “I like doing this myself.”

After all, how many more times would he wrap those knees in ice after a practice? No, if these are indeed the last days of his Basketball Hall of Fame career, Wade is determined to do everything exactly the way it should be done.

Which is how he approached Monday’s game against the Sixers. The Heat had brought him back for games just like this: down in a playoff series, needing a win at all costs and desperate for the type of calming, veteran leadership the three-time NBA champion can provide.

Wade delivered a throwback 28-point performance in cheap nfl throwback jerseys 26 minutes off the bench to propel the Heat to a 113-103 win and snap the Sixers’ 17-game win streak.

“Just taking time to think, that’s all I’m doing,” Wade said. “Taking time to think and looking at every angle and what’s the best situation for me to be in. That’s all. It’s a lot of different, it’s a lot of different things that come into play.”

Aaron Rodgers on Packers moves: ‘You’ve got to trust the process’


If Aaron Rodgers is frustrated over a lack of a input into the moves the Green Bay Packers make — and there have been multiple events that suggest he is — the two-time NFL MVP wouldn’t come right out and say it.

Instead, he said he understands his job description.

“Well, I think I know my role, nfl jerseys from china and that’s to play as well as I possibly can at quarterback,” Rodgers said Tuesday on the first day of the Packers’ offseason workouts.

“There are decisions that are going to be made from a personal standpoint. That’s the toughest part. You’re in this business for a long time, and you start relationships with your coaches and players. As you get older — and I knew this as a young player — if I had the possibility and success to play a long time, I’d probably outlive a lot of close friends in this business. Because the longevity offered to a quarterback is obviously greater than a guy who’s banging heads all the time, or running all over the field. So that’s the toughest part about the whole thing, is losing guys over the years.”

This offseason, Rodgers said goodbye to his favorite receiver, Jordy Nelson, and his quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, whose contract was not renewed. Rodgers told ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo at the Super Bowl that he was not consulted when the Packers made a change with his position coach. Head coach Mike McCarthy hired Frank Cignetti Jr. to replace Van Pelt, who coached Rodgers since 2014 — the second of his two MVP seasons.189

New general manager Brian Gutekunst said on the day he released Nelson that he talked with Rodgers, but only after the move was made.

After Nelson’s departure, Rodgers told Milwaukee radio station 102.9 FM, “I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches coach and personnel people make their decisions That’s the way they want it.”

Then on Tuesday, official nfl jerseys cheap Sports reported that Rodgers has grown frustrated with the organization and that it could impact the negotiations on a contract extension that started this offseason.

Netherlands striker Bas Dost retires from international football


Prolific Sporting striker Bas Dost has announced his retirement from international football after just 18 caps for the Netherlands.

Dost, just 28, has scored 193 goals in 364 appearances in his professional career,nfl wholesale jerseys but has netted just once for his country since making his debut in March of 2015.

He watched from the bench in the Netherlands’ 3-0 friendly victory over Portugal last month but said on Tuesday he’d contemplated quitting the national team for quite a while.

“I have suppressed the feeling that I wanted to stop with [international football] for a long time,” Dost said.

“The fact that I felt really rotten for a week [after the last international break] was the deciding factor.176

“It did not go well with Netherlands for whatever reason. I have come to the moment when I say ‘no more.’ It just has not worked.”

Dutch manager Ronald Koeman said of Dost’s retirement: “Bas told me personally — I think that was good of him. I’m sorry he is retiring.

“I certainly saw a role for him with Netherlands. nfl jerseys from china When I started as the national team coach, I said that I would like to use the first four international matches to try out players and playing methods so, in that sense, much is still open.

“But I respect the decision he has made, also because I understand that he has had this feeling for some time.”