Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tom Brady tops ‘Madden NFL 18’ QB ratings

Tom Brady doesn’t just grace the cover of “Madden NFL 18” following the Patriots’ stunning Super Bowl comeback victory, but he also has claimed the coveted 99 Overall rating and stands above all other quarterbacks in the game.

Brady in “Madden NFL 18” features an Awareness rating of 99. Only one other player in the league (Julio Jones) could make that same claim last season.

The remainder of the quarterbacks’ ratings will be revealed at a later date, as EA Sports details only the top players at each position before it releases the numbers for all players across the league.

EA Sports recently released the first gameplay trailer for “Madden NFL 18,” which includes a quick look at new features like Target Passing, Play Styles, and WR/DB Interactions.

“Madden NFL 18” also introduces the series’ first ever story mode, featuring actors that include Mahershala Ali and Scott Porter, plus appearances from licensed colleges Texas and Oregon.

The game will release August 22 for those who buy the $80 “G.O.A.T” edition; August 25 for the standard edition. Those with an EA Access subscription on Xbox One will be able to start playing a 10-hour trial of the game August 17.
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Deron Williams ready to prove he’s not done yet in potential final chapter with Cavs

Deron Williams was in the left corner when he took a crossing pass from LeBron James, double covered near the top of the key. Williams was all alone and lined up a 3-point shot that would have put Cleveland ahead in the final seconds at TD Garden. Williams has made 44.4 percent of his 3s from the corner this year.

I thought it was good, Williams said. Felt good. Looked good.

It wasn’t. The ball caromed off the rim and backboard, and the Cavs lost.
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Authentic Womens Matt Forte Jersey The whole thing got strange when the two large men found themselves in a Twitter beef that wound up drawing in the Warriors, forward Kevin Durant and even McGee’s mother.

This is not exactly new for O’Neal. He has a long history of criticizing the big men who followed in his late-90s/early-2000s wake, most notably Dwight Howard. In a 2009 interview with Sporting News, O’Neal ripped Howard — then with Orlando, the same team Shaq played for to start his career — for essentially following in his footsteps, right down to assuming his Superman identity. Everything Dwight Howard is doing, I already did before him, O’Neal said.

When O’Neal was talking about those days recently, he pointed out that his goal in needling the big men who came after him was to motivate them, to get them to push themselves. I didn’t poke fun at (Howard), he told Sporting News last week. I was just trying to ruffle his feathers. Get him upset. I did that because it was what was done to me.

De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball and four other NBA draft-worthy Sweet 16 matchups

The Sweet 16 is set to kick off in the NCAA tournament, and there is no shortage of intriguing NBA prospects who will be on display in the coming days. In fact, here on a pretty big national stage, we will get to see several of those prospects do something we won’t see for a while yet: face off against each other, head-to-head.

Joe Williams Kids Jersey In fact, we have five Sweet 16 matchups ahead that should be of special interest to NBA scouts this week:

Brandon Doughty Kids Jersey This is the marquee matchup of the Sweet 16, a pair of Top 10—maybe even Top 5—point guards going head-to-head in a rematch of a thrilling December game. In that one, Fox was able to use his quickness to break down Ball defensively, and the Kentucky defense was able to force Ball into some awkward looks, exposing some of his weakness as a shot creator for himself. Still, both players came out well. Fox had 20 points and nine assists, while Ball had 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds (also six turnovers), ultimately leading the Bruins to the win.

We talk about things — whether it’s a small change in a pitch he throws, hitters and their swings, Gray said, explaining that the pitchers give each other small edges they can use on the mound in specific matchups. We talk about the importance of pitching in and pitching up in the zone, move your fastball, throw off-speed for strikes.

You gotta kind of figure out how your body’s going to adjust to those things, and adjust accordingly, Freeland said. For me, I’ve noticed that my body doesn’t recover quite as quickly when we get back to altitude. … So you’ve gotta make sure you drink a lot of water, make sure you’re nice and hydrated. Going back to sea level is a little easier, where you can recover quicker.

From obscurity in Greece to Bucks stardom, Giannis Antetokounmpo just keeps getting better

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been in Milwaukee for four seasons now, but he notes, It was hard to get here. A lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work.

Mark Cuban might chisel this one himself. Over Nowitzki’s 20 years in Dallas, the Wurzburg, Germany product has become the one of the NBA’s all-time leading scorers and is known as the greatest international player in league history. When he arrived via a draft-day trade with the Bucks in 1998, foreign-born NBA players were still a rarity.

Game Kids William Hayes Jersey He’s the only player since at least 2009 to put up an assist rate over 30 while also putting up a turnover rate below 7. Morris might not profile as much more than a lower-end starter or higher-end backup, but an NBA team should feel reasonably confident that they would be getting a contributor on the perimeter at a time when backup point guard is a weak spot around the NBA.

Isaiah Thomas is doing something this season that we’ve never seen before. With an average of 10.5 points per fourth quarter, he’s on pace to surpass Kobe Bryant (9.5), LeBron James (9.1) and Tracy McGrady (8.6) for the highest fourth-quarter scoring since the NBA began tracking the stat in 1996. He’s also set to end the season as the first player in 20 years to average double digit scoring in a quarter, which is an incredible feat considering Thomas fell to the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft due to concerns about how his height would translate to the pros.

Womens Tom Johnson Jersey Thomas has been incredibly efficient in fourth quarters, too. By shooting 48.7 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from the perimeter and 91.1 percent from the free throw line, his true shooting percentage in the final 12 minutes of games (67.3 percent) is better than Rudy Gobert (66.9), DeAndre Jordan (66.3) and Kevin Durant (65.1) on the season. Plus, while his defense has been a major concern, Thomas has been a net positive overall for the Celtics in crunch time.

Jimmy Butler wore an eyepatch and joked he looks like ‘One-Eyed Willy’

Jimmy Butler got poked in the eye during the second quarter of the Bulls’ win over the Cavs, and decided to dramatize it for his postgame audience.

The All-Star forward joked he looked like “One-Eyed Willy” from the movie “The Goonies” so he asked the team staff to make him an eyepatch. They obliged, and did a pretty good job of recreating the “Goonies” pirate.

Bulls fans don’t need to be concerned that their star player can only see out of one eye. After he was done fielding questions, Butler took the eyepatch off and admitted it was just a stunt for the media.

Fast-forward to Wednesday night in Boston, in a big game for the Bucks’ current playoff push, Antetokounmpo got tangled up with Celtics guard Marcus Smart late in the fourth quarter. Smart went to the ground, lifting his foot between Antetokoumpo’s legs and nearly going full Draymond Green on him. Antetokounmpo was angry, but simply put his hands up and walked away from Smart, who was called for a flagrant. The Bucks went on to win.

“He has become more mature,” Hammond said. “Leadership is difficult. I am not sure it’s natural for anyone at 21, 22 years old. I think you have to develop into it. But I think what happens is, when a player becomes one of the best players on the team, that responsibility comes with that. Now you become a leader, because now it’s your responsibility to do what you have to do. Some nights it’s Giannis doing some extraordinary things for our team and making teammates better, some nights it’s carrying our team.”
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MLB trade rumors: Sonny Gray could help these contenders if A’s make a deal

With the Cubs having snapped up Jose Quintana, an outstanding club-controlled starting pitcher, who’s the next outstanding club-controlled starting pitcher likely to be moved before the MLB trade deadline?
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That’s Sonny Gray, the A’s right-hander who has fashioned a 1.33 ERA over his past four starts. He’s had his ups and downs the past couple years, but was one of baseball’s elite starters from 2013-15 (2.88 ERA in 491 innings) and has shown that old form recently.
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Gray is under club control through the 2019 season. He signed a deal for $3.575 million this season, avoiding arbitration, and he’s eligible for arbitration in 2018 and 2019, too.

Where will he wind up? Let’s look at the likely trade destinations …

The Diamondbacks are newly minted contenders, and they’ve been using a revolving door of players in left field with Yasmany Tomas on the DL. That team could use another veteran with playoff-push experience under his belt. Same thing with Seattle, where the Mariners would benefit from an experienced outfielder as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since Edgar Martinez was the DH.

The season is still lost for the Giants (35-57), who are in last place in the National League West and 28 games back of the first-place Dodgers. But at least they know Bumgarner is still capable of quality stuff.

the Giants simply need a spark

Why it makes sense: The Pacific Northwest could use another team to join the Mariners, and rivalries between Portland and Seattle have been good in other sports. Population growth has been strong for decades and Portland is the largest city with only one of the four major sports.

Plus, the Giants simply need a spark. They’ve looked moribund and defeated in the first half, nothing like the teams that battled their way to three World Series titles during the first half of this decade. Executive VP Brian Sabean recently admitted that it seemed like the Giants had forgotten how to win, which is a damning statement about a veteran team with a top-five payroll. Bumgarner is an intimidating presence, and he plays with a certain swagger that could help the Giants as a whole regain some of the form they’ve lost. A strong finish to the season could go a long way toward improving the team’s psyche heading into the winter, and Bumgarner pitching like he’s capable of pitching could be just what the roster needs to shake things up.
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Authentic Mens Dick Butkus Jersey So who’s right? While there are sound arguments on both sides of the issue, the Giants hold the only opinion that matters. They think Bumgarner is ready, and they wouldn’t have brought him back this weekend if they thought there was any possibility of further injury. It will be interesting to see how Bumgarner performs, too; if he gets knocked around in his first few starts, will the team be inclined to shut him down for good? Or will he be his dominant self from the get go and push the Giants to respectability in the second half?

Whatever happens, the Giants and their fans finally have something to look forward to this season. Their ace is back, for better or for worse.

Terrance Knighton blasts NFL contracts after James Harden gets record deal

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Terrance Knighton has a big problem with James Harden’s massive deal.

The former NFL defensive tackle took to Twitter on Saturday to rant about the contract gap between NFL and NBA players, noting that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers deserves a bigger paycheck than the Rockets guard.

Archer, who made the American League All-Star lineup as an alternate, was in great spirits ahead of Tuesday’s exhibition.

When asked if Betts was a licensed pilot, Archer hesitated, then side-stepped the question. He instead decided to list a host of credentials Betts has that didn’t really equate to a pilot’s license.

You know what, Mookie Betts can do just about anything, Archer said. He can do a rubric’s cube in about two minutes. He’s a 300 bowler, he’s an MVP baseball player. The other day he told me he could sing, and then he flew me on a jet. He hit a home run off me, then he flew me on a jet to Miami.

Matt Paradis Authentic Jersey The two American League East rivals will be teammates Tuesday in Miami as the AL tries to win a fifth straight All-Star game against the National League.

The first thing it brought him was a little confirmation 鈥?millions liked the tweet and another million shared it, Roland Lazenby, who authored a biography on Jackson, Mindgames: Phil Jackson’s Long Strange Journey, said of the tweet. It’s Phil’s way of saying, Everything’s cool,’ and he’s still chill. But don’t get the impression it doesn’t hurt. He’s done a lot of winning in his life, absolutely hates to lose. And in New York he took one of his worst losses.

Still, Jackson has $24 million of his $60 million, five-year contract with Knicks coming his way. And the dumpster fire that is the Knicks organization is Steve Mills’ 鈥?and possibly David Griffin’s 鈥?problem now.

Spurs-Rockets matchup much more than James Harden vs. Kawhi Leonard

The Rockets’ opening series against the Thunder went pretty much as advertised, a high-scoring matchup between James Harden and fellow MVP candidate, OKC star Russell Westbrook. The scores were mostly tight, but the Rockets’ superior depth allowed them to close the series in five games. The Spurs had a harder time with the rough-and-tumble Grizzlies, but emerged after six games thanks to a generally stellar showing by forward Kawhi Leonard.

Wall and Beal are the first Washington combo to each score at least 30 points in a playoff game since Jeff Malone and Cliff Robinson in 1986.

Blame Westbrook if you want for being a ballhog, but he got little support fom his teammates. Outside of Roberson’s 12 points and 11 from Oladipo, only Doug McDermott was in double figures. McDermott scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers, in 17 minutes. McDermott was 3 of 4 from downtown, but the rest of the Thunder went 4 of 26 from behind the arc. Oladipo was 1 of 7 from 3 while Roberson missed all three of his long-range attempts.

Game 3: Raptors at Bucks, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV (Series tied 1-1) — The Bucks dominated Game 1 in Toronto, but the Raptors evened up the series before it moves to Milwaukee. The Bucks’ young players should be more comfortable at home, where Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged nearly three points more per game than on the road.

Coach Tyronn Lue praised James after he moved past Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list and confessed it was difficult to leave Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love out of the final period.

“LeBron willed us home, 41, 12 and 13, played the whole second half. That’s what playoff basketball is all about. You got to be willing to sacrifice and lay it on the line to win a game, and that’s what he did for us.
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Rockets owner fined $100K for confronting official during playoff game

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has been fined $100,000 by the NBA for leaving his courtside seat to confront an official during live action of Tuesday’s Game 5 against the Thunder, the league announced Wednesday.

Apparently upset over a no-call, Alexander took it upon himself to complain to referee Bill Kennedy in the final seconds of the first quarter.
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LaVar has previously put a $1 billion price tag on a combined shoe deal for Lonzo and his two younger sons.

Brent Qvale Limited Jersey Never in the history of modern day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft, ESPN’s Darren Rovell wrote. But the proposition that LaVar, who has been representing Lonzo on the deal, was offering also has no precedence.

But LaVar Ball is not one to give up. He has other shoe companies on his mind and is looking as far as China to find a deal for his son.

Ball said he will reach out to the Chinese brands, which include Peak, Li-Ning and Anta, and he’s not counting out taking on an entrepreneurial partner outside the business, Rovell continued.

Jae Crowder added 18 points and eight boards, and backup point guard Marcus Smart collected six assists and 11 rebounds (yes, the guard came off the bench to get 11 rebounds.) Veteran Amir Johnson made a couple of big plays, hustling down the floor in one instance to slam home a missed layup.