Cubs’ Jake Arrieta hits fifth home run of career against Pirates

Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta has won the N.L. Cy Young Award, pitched two no-hitters and led all pitchers in single-season wins. He has also won a Silver Slugger Award last season.

Facing a 2-2 count, Arrieta crushed a pitch from Ivan Nova into the first row of the left field bleachers, tying the game 2-2. It was his fifth career home run, all of which have come since 2015.

He has the second-most home runs by a pitcher over the last three seasons, behind only the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who has hit 10.

That’s one way for a pitcher to get run support.

The Blazers pick Swanigan here, a killer rebounder that also has a ton of skill for passing and shooting the basketball. The key is going to be defense. If he can get into good enough shape to defend the perimeter and play the 4, this makes a lot of sense. If he can’t and is stuck at the 5, well, the Blazers have Jusuf Nurkic and just took Zach Collins. But he’s an NBA rotation player, in all likelihood.

This is a bit of a reach for us. We had Kuzma at No. 46 on our board, as his overall consistency was poor over the course of his career at Utah. One game, you’d get high effort, and he’d go for 20 and 15. The next, he’d go for nine and five. But in terms of his skill, he can knock down 3s as a stretch-4, which is interesting given what the Lakers have on their roster currently.
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Game Youth J.J. Wilcox Jersey This pick will go to Utah as the Jazz give up 30 and 42 to move up and take Bradley. Bradley is a statistical darling on a per-minute basis, but he’s also a reach here for us. Athleticism is a major concern, as he is heavy footed and doesn’t have a ton in the way of explosiveness. Maybe the Jazz can do as much for him in the way of explosiveness as they did for Rudy Gobert. If they get a backup center, they’ll be happy with this. I’m skeptical, though.

NBA Finals 2017: Kyrie Irving’s big night still not big enough for Cavs

The Cavaliers knew they’d need more from Kyrie Irving to climb back into the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

Irving delivered more. He gave them 38 points on 16-of-29 shooting (though he was 0 for 7 from 3), six rebounds and three assists in Game 3. With every stutter-step, pull-up jumper and weave through the lane, Irving gave Cleveland a shot to beat the Warriors.

And yet, even with Irving going for 38 (and LeBron James scoring 39), the Cavs lost 118-113 and fell into a 3-0 hole heading into Game 4. The Warriors are now 15-0 during the 2017 NBA playoffs.

“That’s a bunch of B.S. That’s just Baby talking. I’ve heard Baby say to me multiple times, ‘You know why Doc is so good, Doc is so great’ — and then now he’s saying bad things about him. It’s a huge contradiction. It makes no sense to what he’s doing,” Rivers said. “That has never had a play in the team. I’ve earned every stripe that I’ve gotten. I’ve earned every playing time.”

Part of Davis’ complaints also stemmed from the fact he felt he wasn’t playing enough with the Clippers.

“You got me on the bench, knowing that I could play, but you still go play Spencer Hawes,” Davis said in February. “You’re just trying to cover your own butt because Spencer’s not panning out the way you want him to pan out, and I just don’t like that.”redskins_047

The problem is star NBA players make so much money playing and with their marketing income

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Much of this comes from the Warriors’ other top star, Stephen Curry. Curry’s approach is considerably different from that of Westbrook, who keeps the media at arm’s length and can be hardheaded. Curry is the league’s aw-shucks star, the guy to whom kids and casual fans gravitate. Since coming to Golden State, Durant said, he has gotten tighter with Curry. So now he wants to have beers with us media types.

The problem is star NBA players make so much money playing and with their marketing income. This too often renders ineffective the rule allowing incumbent teams to pay more on maximum deals than other teams in free agency. So Durant could afford to turn down the Thunder’s offer of $153 million over five years and opt for a two-year, $54.3 million deal with the Warriors. And the incentive of taking a fully guaranteed max deal for security against injury is not a big concern for players who already are super-rich. Plus, career-ending injuries rarely occur in basketball.

If I were an NBA GM, I’d be seeking an NFL-style franchise tag that would allow teams to keep their best players by tendering one player per team the average of the top five paid players at his position. NFL players and their agents holler about the restrictiveness of the franchise tag, but they almost always get long-term deals done at top-of-the-market value.
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Absent that franchise tag or a similar mechanism, the only recourse for an NBA GM is to try and build his own super team. That’s tough to do for the likes of Portland and Detroit — no offense to those cities, but they aren’t as enticing as Miami/South Beach or the Bay Area. (Or New York, Chicago and Los Angeles if those teams ever get it together).

Stephen Curry’s Game 2 sideline ‘nap’ makes internet mad

TV cameras appeared to catch Stephen Curry taking a quick sideline nap during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
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Dallas 鈥?Frank Ntilikina, PG, France. The Mavericks need to add depth of talent all over the roster, and though they plan to pursue free-agent point guards, Ntilikina could be a long-term answer. He is raw, but he’s a 6-5 point guard who has already shown the ability to be a lockdown defensive player on the perimeter and a talented playmaker. Comparisons to Dennis Schroeder are common for him.
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Sacramento 鈥?(from New Orleans). Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky. The only concern about Monk is that he is 6-3. If he were 6-6 and had the same ability to knock down shots, he would probably go in the top four, and even at his height, he will get considerations from teams higher than this. Consistency has also been a question mark 鈥?for example, after he had his stunning 47-point display against North Carolina in December, he followed by scoring 17 on 6-for-17 shooting against Louisville. But he was 18 for most of the season, and 18-year-old shooters are naturally inconsistent.

Charlotte 鈥?OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana. The Hornets could add to their stockpile of young big men here. Or they could do something novel: Take a risk, something to which this franchise has been averse for years. Anunoby is out with a torn ACL he suffered in January and will need time 鈥?maybe all of next year 鈥?to recover. But he is a tough perimeter defender who was on his way to being a lottery pick before the injury. The Hornets badly need to upgrade their defense, and Anuonby is a guy who can do that, with some patience. If not Anuonby, the Hornets could still focus on the wing with the likes of Terrance Ferguson, Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard.

The top seed and consensus best team in the NFC on the Giantsfirst ride was the Cowboys.

There are sure to be more general managers tossed overboard after next season; it’s the norm, and this year is the exception.

Jimmy Raye III, the Colts’ vice president of football operations and now their interim GM, is a strong candidate to be promoted; there was mild surprise that the 49ers and other teams (that is, those that chose not to fire anybody) didn’t give him more consideration this offseason. Chris Ballard, the Chiefs’ director of football operations and also highly regarded around the league, reportedly was interviewing with them Wednesday.

Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta is on their list, as he is with several teams every offseason; he was groomed under Ozzie Newsome for years and routinely turns down interview requests to stay in Baltimore. Vikings assistant GM George Paton is the presumed favorite for the 49ers opening, but that’s not a done deal, and the Colts have interest.

The top seed and consensus best team in the NFC on the Giantsfirst ride was the Cowboys. The Giantsopponent in the next round should they survive the Packers will be the top-seeded Cowboys. The order would be reversed, but the path would still be familiar.

The Giants won that 2007 playoff game in Texas Stadium, thanks both to two Manning touchdown passes and Tony Romos interception in the end zone in the final seconds. Making the right plays, avoiding the wrong ones again.

Plus, theres this: The Giants opened the 2011 postseason with a win over the Falcons, who would be favored to face the Giants in the NFC title game this year.

Again, though, the biggest common denominator is Manning, who cannot be underestimated this time around, even after a season that can most diplomatically be described as uneven, solely because of his past playoff transformations.
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Panthers’ Graham Gano calls outs Buccaneers for ‘bush league’ tactics

Panthers kicker Graham Gano missed three field goals Sunday during Carolina’s loss in Tampa Bay, and he had a reason why after the game.

Gano said the video board operator at Raymond James Stadium maliciously showed footage of him lining up to kick, which created the visual of two sets of goal posts the one on the field, and the one on the screen. Gano said when Tampa Bay kicker Roberto Aguayo lined up, the board showed a solid red background.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he won’t hold Watson’s decision against him.
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Ryan Mathews Womens Jersey There are going to be other guys that are not participating either, so I won’t hold it against him,Jackson said, via cleveland.com. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. He’s still a draftable player, there’s still a process we have to go through to evaluate him and see if he can fit here with the Cleveland Browns.

The report says the Browns, who have the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks in the draft, are interested in top quarterback prospects Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.

That makes sense, because the Browns started five different quarterbacks last season and none of them did much to provide hope for the future.

Jackson still thinks highly of Watson and understands his decision to rest.

I think he’s a high-character guy,Jackson said. I think he’s made of the right stuff. I don’t think there’s anything malicious about his decision. I just think he’s like a lot of guys who have made this decision to do what’s best for them.

Jason Garrett is no match for Dak Prescott in throwing contest

Dallas Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott knows how to toss the pigskin.

The Pro Bowl quarterback showed off his skills during a friendly throwing competition against his coach, Jason Garrett.

Limited Womens Jake Gardiner Jersey With those skills, it’s not hard to see how Prescott tied the NFL record with 13 wins as a rookie quarterback.

Garrett can help his ego recover with a win on Sunday night, as he leads the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl.

The Lions have trusted their cornerbacks in recent years and haven’t invested substantially at the position in some time. Darius Slay is still a strong feature cornerback, but with the Packers in the division, the Lions need to continue to invest in their corners. Some feel Wilson is at or even above his teammate Jalen Tabor as a prospect.
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The Dolphins relied on Cam Wake to generate their pass rush without Oliver Vernon, and Mario Williams was a bit of a letdown in 2016. Thomas is a versatile interior and outside rusher who can fit any defense Miami wants to use if/when coordinator Vance Joseph heads elsewhere.

Paul Perkins is a capable running back in the Giants’ rotation, but it’s about time they find themselves a workhorse to bring some life to their rushing attack. Foreman is a special talent who’s worth a late first-round pick. I don’t think we’ve ever seen it to this extent, Clinton Portis, who rushed for nearly 10,000 yards in a nine-year NFL career with the Broncos and Redskins, told Sporting News in breaking down Bell’s patented patience.

It’s not like he came in and changed anything big

Reds left-hander Amir Garrett has a pattern this year of alternating quality starts with bad outings. Sunday he was dreadful. He gave up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, on seven hits (including three home runs) and three walks.

Michael Thomas Kids Jersey Justin Upton crushed a David Robertson pitch for a three-run walk-off home run in the Tigers’ 7-4 win over the White Sox. What made it even sweeter for Upton is that Robertson walked J.D. Martinez to face him.

Nationals (35-20) at Dodgers (35-23), 10:10 p.m. ET: In a repeat of one of last year’s NL Division Series, the Nationals and Dodgers meet in the first game of a three-game series. This won’t be the best pitching matchup of the series (Gio Gonzalez for the Nats goes versus Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Dodgers) but these two star-filled lineups make every game of this series worth watching.

He just kinda slid in and is adapting to what we do, Carpenter said. It’s not like he came in and changed anything big; he’s fitting in nicely.
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But that’s not to say that Fowler, who has struggled at the plate with a .223 average and .316 on-base percentage in his first season with the Cardinals, doesn’t still bring the same smile and positive attitude every day. He’s just not making big changes to the Cardinals’ well-established culture.

He’s been great, Carpenter said. He’s a guy with a lot of energy and a good personality. He has been a good impact, for sure.

Paul DeJong, a rookie second baseman in his first stint with the big-league team, also paints a toned down picture of Fowler’s presence in the clubhouse.

Yadi, Carp, and Waino, the veterans that have been around kind of lead it, DeJong said. (Fowler) has been a great addition to the team. He treats me with respect, he treats everybody with respect. That’s all you can ask for.

Todd Gurley personally asked new Rams coach Sean McVay to keep RBs coach

Todd Gurley had two position coaches in two seasons. He didn’t want the make it three in as many years.

After the Rams announced Sean McVay as their new head coach last month, the Rams running back reached out to McVay asking him to retain running backs coach Skip Peete on his coaching staff.

“It was one of those situations when you go into these interviews where you have your projected staff in place,” McVay told reporters Friday during a news conference to introduce his coaching staff. “Skip was a guy that I heard a lot of really good things about, I had never had the chance to work with him before, but he had worked with a couple of people that I’ve worked with that I hold their opinion in high regard. He was a guy I was interested to sit down with and wanted to really get a chance to talk some football, learn what he’s about.”

Njoku said he talked to Graham, Shockey and Olsen throughout his career at Miami. It could be football, school or personal. They listened, but they also set a high standard for Njoku. Miami has a stake in the “Tight End U” argument, after all.

“I treat them like my family, my brothers and they guide me along this type of journey,” Njoku said. “I can’t thank them enough. … It’s always a blessing to be brought into the same conversation as those greats.”

Njoku, however, won’t compare his game to any of those tight ends. For those looking for one, he’s a cross between Graham and Winslow. The route-running and blocking are there. So is the playmaking ability. He flashed that again with a 23-yard touchdown during which he dragged West Virginia’s Ezekiel Rose for a few yards in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
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Fitzgerald and Manning beat out fellow finalist Greg Olsen

Something doesn’t seem fair when the Super Bowl champions will have this much cap space in 2017, but the Patriots are the most well-managed team in the league, and it shows both on and off the field.

Limited Kids Bryce Callahan Jersey Expect a good deal of their cap room to go toward new contracts for Donta Hightower, Malcolm Butler and possibly Martellus Bennett while also looking to keep some of their other veterans on lower-cost contracts. Though New England has made a few free-agent splashes in the past, such as signing Darrelle Revis in 2014, expect it to be cautious in the way they spend their money, with the focus more on bargain veterans.

Fitzgerald and Manning beat out fellow finalist Greg Olsen, the Panthers’ Pro Bowl tight end.

Each of the 32 NFL teams selected a nominee before those players were whittled down to the three finalists.

“Quite simply this is the most meaningful honor an NFL player can receive and I am flattered beyond words that the selection committee deemed me worthy of it,” Fitzgerald said. “More than anything it is a reflection on my parents whose words and example taught my brother and me the value of service and the importance of giving back.

Limited Womens Mike Webster Jersey “Atlanta sports fans, if they’ve put in the time, always expect the other shoe to drop,” said Matthew Hand, 43, a Falcons fan from Cumming, Ga. “Among my friends and family, we refused to get ahead of ourselves. We weren’t going to get comfortable (Sunday) unless we had a two-possession lead at the 2-minute warning. That’s just how it is.”

Hand adds: “What happens to Atlanta is almost supernatural. … I want to scream.”