LaMarcus Aldridge leaves Spurs game with ankle sprain


“Of course, there’s a protocol,” Popovich said of Leonard’s status before Wednesday’s game. “He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s working hard at it. He wants to be back. When and if he feels like he’s ready to go, he’ll be there.”

Following a contentious 113-102 Clippers victory on Jan. 15, several Rockets players made their way through a back corridor in the arena’s bowels into the Clippers’ locker room where they were confronted by security and team officials. The Rockets players, led by Trevor Ariza, reportedly wanted to confront Blake Griffin, who now plays for the Detroit Pistons, and Austin Rivers, who had exchanges with Rockets players and coaches during the game.

Following an investigation by the league office, the NBA suspended Ariza and teammate Gerald Green for two games.

Rivers downplayed a potential repeat to that incident in Wednesday’s matchup, which the Rockets won 105-92.

“You know, we’ve kind of barricaded all of the secret passageways,” Rivers said tongue-in-cheek, “And so, I don’t think … listen, I haven’t heard one guy talk about it, to be honest. They’re a team we want to beat. They’re, right now, they and Golden State in the West are the best two teams, probably the best two teams in basketball. They just so happen to be in the West. I honestly don’t think we are on their radar that much, except for, they want to beat us. We’ve beat them twice. Other than that, not much.”

Rivers continued with more political humor, adding, “I was joking. But I’ll be serious about it: I’m going to stay away from the barricades. We’re going to build a wall, and I’m not paying for it! Houston’s paying for it!” — a riff on President Donald Trump’s claims that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern U.S. border.

Cuban made headlines earlier this month when he revealed during a Cheap Authentic Jerseys podcast Basketball Jerseys Custom that he told members of the Mavericks that “losing is our best option.” The league responded Feb. 21 by fining him $600,000, citing “public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Silver mentioned “integrity” on multiple occasions in the subsequent memo, portions of which were published Wednesday as part of a USA Today report. He said the league doesn’t believe the Mavericks are tanking.

Richard Sherman’s 2017 season ended with a ruptured Achilles, but he expects to be back with the Seahawks next season.


Seattle reportedly shopped Sherman last year, and the four-time Pro Bowl player has only one year and a non-guaranteed $11 million left on his contract.

But is there any question whether he’ll be a Seahawk next season?

Last season marked the first time in Sherman’s career that he failed to play all 16 games. He has 32 career interceptions in seven seasons, but just eight during the last three years.

Gronkowski did that by reaching All-Pro status with — Beavis-and-Butthead giggle — 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. Gronk’s value to the Patriots was never higher with top Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman lost for the year after a preseason knee injury.

Such status was reinforced in Weeks 14 and 15 of the regular season. When he was suspended for one game because of a cheap shot against Buffalo cornerback Tre’Davious White, the Patriots got rolled by the Dolphins. Six days later, Gronk would return to once again prove unstoppable against the Steelers with a nine-catch, 168-yard showing in a Patriots win that helped clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Gronkowski did get forced out of action on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jacksonville safety Barry Church in New England’s AFC title game win over the Jaguars. While it was only the second documented concussion of his eight-year NFL career, there’s no real way of knowing how many Gronkowski has suffered during his playing days.

Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman quipped last year the Lombardi Trophy should be renamed for Belichick, and he has a point.

While Lombardi lost just one postseason game, he coached in only 10 of them. Belichick has gone 28-11 in an expanded postseason era, 27-10 with the Patriots. When Lombardi won his first two NFL championships, there were only 14 teams and winners of the league’s two divisions faced off in the NFL championship game. The road to winning a championship has become more difficult, and Belichick’s success in the Super Bowl era is unprecedented.

Belichick’s first and most recent championships are separated by 16 years — the largest span in the Super Bowl era and second to the 30 years between the first (1933) and last championship (1963) won by Halas with the Bears. Lombardi’s five titles with the Packers came over a seven-year stretch. Former Redskins Wholesale Jerseys coach Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Joe Gibbs won three titles across nine years.

With Belichick every step of the way has been Brady, and their on-field success continued in 2017 despite last month’s widely disputed report of turmoil within the Patriots organization.

The Patriots were unable to stop the Eagles from winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history as Philadelphia survived to win 41-33 Sunday in Minneapolis.


Super Bowl 52 was filled with excitement and scoring. Tom Brady and Nick Foles traded touchdown passes most of the second half, as both teams lit up the scoreboard. But it was ultimately an Eagles defensive play that cost the Patriots another title.

Brady was only sacked once, but it was one of the most costly plays of the game. Brady didn’t look quite as comfortable in the pocket as usual, but he wasn’t given the time to make accurate throws when the game was on the wire.

3. The Patriots lacked offensive balance — When Brady is hot it’s hard to go away from him, but New England needed to kill some clock in the second half and was unable to do so. New England’s drives were short and effective, but its inability to control the game clock hurt in the fourth quarter.

James White led the Patriots’ ground game with 45 yards and a touchdown, while starter Dion Lewis rushed for just 39 yards on nine carries. Brady and Rob Gronkowski tied Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the most in NFL postseason touchdowns (12) in history. Still, the Patriots needed more out of their rushing attack.

When the high-scoring affair that had just one punt ended, it was a defensive play that helped the Eagles hang on for a 41-33 victory in Super Bowl 52.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with 2:09 remaining and rookie Derek Barnett recovered to help the Eagles seal the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

But as great as Brady played, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was just as good. Foles was 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three touchdowns and an interception. Brady’s pass total was the most in NFL postseason history and Foles had the fifth-most yards in a Super Bowl.

2. Doug Pederson left nothing to chance — Pederson definitely coached to win and a pair of gutsy fourth-down calls stood out. After Clement’s 55-yard reception, the Eagles were faced with a fourth-and-goal from the Patriots’ 1-yard line.

“We had just gotten all the way down the field and I wasn’t going to let the offense stop at the 1-yard line,” Pederson told NBC Sports before halftime. “It was a play we were working NHL Hockey Jerseys on the past Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap couple weeks. Our guys executed brilliantly.”

It’s not so much the fans; Beckham’s highlight-reel catches are always worth second and third looks.


It debuted as it remains: an impossible dream, the utopian pursuit of “get it right” perfection through highly subjective second opinions, which few wanted and football never needed.

Yet, the game-wrecking, escalating lunacy persists. FOX, in its NFL pregame show Sunday, should’ve seized the tape of last week’s reversed-possession Jets “TD” — among dozens of gripe-free, reasonable TD calls that would have went unchallenged and uninspected prior to replay — to allow Mike Pereira, former head of NFL officiating and now a FOX replay inspector, to provide some practical sense and history to the senseless impracticality of replay rules.

Harrison developed a reputation as a dirty player while playing safety for the Chargers and Patriots, and that led to multiple fines that totaled more than $200,000. He was suspended for one game in 2002 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice, and again in 2007 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He still finds ways to stir it up as an analyst.

It’s his reputation within the league as a complainer and instigator that has heated up after battles within the NFC East.

Vikings: The Vikings have quickly moved on from Adrian Peterson, drafting FSU RB Dalvin Cook at No. 41 overall, in the second round. Cook averaged 142.1 yards from scrimmage per game in college. They also added OL help with Ohio State center Pat Elflein in the third round. He was a high school wrestler — just like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer — and moved from right guard to center as a senior when the Buckeyes needed help at the position. So he might be slotted as a guard for the Vikings, having played left guard.

Patriots: Fortunately, they don’t have a ton of needs, because they had no first- or second-round picks. In the third round, the Patriots went small school, picking Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers and Troy OT Antonio Garcia. Rivers had 41 career sacks at Youngstown, but faces a large leap in level of completion. Garcia is considered a project LT prospect.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said following Pittsburgh’s 23-20 comeback win he did not have an update on Shazier. He did say the 25-year-old linebacker was “receiving the necessary medical attention.”

NFL Media reported Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert took a police Cheap Blank Hockey Jerseys escort to the hospital. The team was told Shazier has a spinal contusion with some swelling is involved. They won’t know more until the swelling goes down, but it is encouraging news for Shazier. Former Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox had a similar injury in 2002 and missed just Cheap Baseball Jerseys China one game.

Here’s all you need to know about the 2017 Vikings: In three preseason games, the first-team offense has mustered exactly three points in 12 possessions.


Before the start of the football season, Cary Williams, a veteran cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles, reminded the sports world about a scandal the NFL would prefer people forget.

By comparison, their opponents on Sunday night, the 49ers — an outfit that won two games last season — scored 14 points in their first two possessions, thanks to some precision quarterbacking from offseason addition Brian Hoyer (see below).

Part of the problem Sunday was that Minnesota’s offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Sam Bradford, who was sacked three times in the first three drives. Last year, Bradford played with eight different combinations on the offensive line and finding cohesion Cheap Authentic Jerseys From China with that group remains a priority.

“It’s been good,” Bradford told NBC Sports’ Michelle Tafoya in the third quarter. “Obviously we’re still rotating some guys in there, trying to figure out exactly who’s going to be out there when we start the season but I’m happy with how those guys have played. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

Pederson, who played for Reid in Green Bay and was his offensive coordinator in Cheap NFL Jerseys Nike Kansas City from 2013-15 before being hired by the Eagles, said he knows Reid “wants to kick my tail and I want to kick his.”

The Dolphins and Buccaneers will play their respective season openers in Week 2 because both had their games postponed last week because of the damage from Hurricane Irma.

The Dolphins play at the L.A. Chargers and the Buccaneers host the Bears, whose starting quarterback is Mike Glennon, who played for Tampa Bay his first three seasons.

Football is plenty dangerous when played legally and correctly. It doesn’t need players who consistently play outside the rules. This is not the NFL of the 1970s. It is not even the NFL of five or 10 years ago. Much more is known now about the risks involved. Players need to understand that and change how they play.

Some still aren’t getting the message.

Will they end up looking back and concluding that Rodgers played a key role in ruining another season for them?


It’s still relatively early in the season and there is plenty of football left to be played. But for the Cowboys, it could become too late relatively quickly if they don’t get things moving in a more positive direction.

“In situations like that, sometimes it may seem easy to point a finger,” Witten said after the Green Bay game. “But this team really doesn’t try to do that. We Basketball Jerseys Cheap focus on winning and losing together. Give him credit. We’ll go back and look at it and get better. Certainly we’ve got to get going.”

Roethlisberger’s words … Ben Roethlisberger spoke of contemplating retirement in the offseason. Then he wondered aloud if he simply can’t do it any more following his five-interception performance in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ three-touchdown loss last Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fans in Kansas City must be sick. Others are saying this is the worst of the home playoff losses they’ve suffered over the years. False. The 1995 Divisional Round failure was much worse. The Chiefs owned the top seed in the AFC that year, yet lost to the sixth-seeded Colts, 10-7, on a day kicker Lin Elliott couldn’t hit the broad side of a barbecue joint. Really did a disservice to a great last name.

“We don’t show up expecting a red carpet, expecting anything to be given to us. We know that anything we gain, we have to earn. And so that’s our approach. We Best Site For Cheap Jerseys have to work hard and earn the community’s respect and earn their trust, and we look forward to doing that.”

Around the League

Back in London … The NFL plays the first of its four games in London this season when the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars play Sunday in Wembley Stadium. The Dolphins and Saints play Oct. 1 at Wembley, and there are Cardinals-Rams and Vikings-Browns games at Twickenham Stadium later in October. All four games are sold out.

“Everything is on track,” said Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president overseeing international play.

Among the FCS’s best running backs the last two seasons, Edmonds ended his productive college career with another outstanding season.


As a quick-twitch, elusive, open-field runner, he has remarkable lateral quickness and footwork in traffic, allowing him to maintain explosive bursts at the second level and regain his top speed as he adjusts upfield.

The Rams may or may not have staying power this season. But McVay has Jared Goff on his way to being a franchise QB. He is taking full advantage of the talents of RB Todd Gurley. And he has the Rams looking like a winner.

Cam Newton was very sharp as a passer Sunday at New England as the Carolina offense made the Patriots’ defense look overmatched. That was an improved showing by a Panthers offense that is without injured TE Greg Olsen and didn’t get much production out of rookie RB Christian McCaffrey. If Newton is going to throw the ball that way, watch out for the Panthers.

It’s stunning that the defense is this bad right now. The Patriots re-signed LB Dont’a Hightower (although he’d been sidelined with a knee injury until returning Sunday), retained CB Malcolm Butler Cheap Eagles Jerseys and added CB Stephon Gilmore in the offseason after leading the league in scoring defense last season. Some scrutiny must be aimed at defensive coordinator Matt Patricia; there is also room to wonder whether backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo should have been traded in the offseason for help on defense.

Even the customary late-game exploits of QB Tom Brady are not enough at Cheap Football Jerseys this point. But this might just mean that everyone will be saying, “Remember when the Patriots were 1-2 at home and 2-2 overall?” as they celebrate another Super Bowl title in February.

And then on Saturday, Deion Jones manned up on Sammy Watkins (or manhandled him, depending on your perspective), and the Rams followed that up by going four-and-out … for the season. They’ll be back, although losing QB coach Greg Olson to the Las Vegas Grudens hurts something fierce.

This game would’ve been a lot closer without Thomas.


Part of the problem is that it’s hard to find good head coaches, and most of the ones hired in this cycle aren’t going to work out. Everybody wants to find the next Sean McVay, but it’s more possible than not that there is no McVay in this year’s field of candidates. (And by the way, I get why everyone wants to find the next McVay, but didn’t Jacksonville go in the exact opposite direction and win only one fewer game than the Rams? Why aren’t teams trying to find the next old-school Tom Coughlin/Doug Marrone combo to design a boot-camp-style training camp and whip their sorry groups into shape?)

It’s tough to find the right guy, but teams could do a better job of helping their chances to succeed. For instance, I disagree with the separation-of-powers Giants hiring the general manager before the coach. And I kind of disagree with the Bears firing the coach and extending the GM. I think the coach is the more important hire, and if you’re doing this, you need to make sure the coach-GM combo is in lockstep and that the coach is OK with the GM. San Francisco did this last offseason. Buffalo kind of did, too, though it took a little longer to sort it all out. Would the Giants be in a better situation now if they’d changed the coach and GM together two years ago instead of just one?

Regardless, I’ll repeat my annual sermon here about coaches. You’ll hear a lot about “defensive-minded” and “offensive-minded” head coaches, and which your team needs. It’s baloney. What your team needs, no matter which team we’re talking about, is a leader of men. An NFL head coach has to be someone who can communicate and implement his vision for how to win games, who can assess his roster and figure out a way to win with it (not turn it over to bring in only players who “fit his system”). Offense, defense, whatever … this is the head coach. It’s not easy, but it’s essential.

He only played about four minutes in the quarter, but his impact was clear. When the quarter started, the score was 91-87. Thomas sparked a 7-0 run with his playmaking to push the lead up to 100-91.

In just under a minute of play, Thomas made all three of those plays putting the game away. Obviously, it’s a small sample but it’s exactly what James and the Cavaliers wanted to see out of their All-Star point guard.

In one of The Good Life scenes, Jacinto’s character, Jason, asks Ted Danson’s character, Michael, if the Jaguars will ever win the Super Bowl. Michael responds, “Jason, I can’t predict the future. But no. They won’t.”

Should the Jags continue to rewrite history, Mande said he would be Wholesale NFL Jerseys at the Super Bowl parade. While he is happy to be wrong in this case, Mande said there’s Nike NFL Jerseys From China one prediction he figures will stick.

“We mentioned the Cleveland Browns sucking in Season One,” he said, chuckling. “I don’t expect that to change.”

It appears that both Chicago and Ottawa’s windows to win are either closed or only open a crack.


When we hear analysts refer to teams’ “window to win,” it can mean one of two things: Franchise players are in their prime or a good-not-great club has all of its best players peaking at once.

For example, the Chicago Blackhawks routinely traded their early-round draft picks at the deadline for role players while superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were at the height of their powers. Last season, we saw the Ottawa Senators ride a hot streak to the Eastern Conference Final — only to have a predictable slide backward this season.

And once that window slams shut, it’s rebuilding time.

At the end of last season, the Los Angeles Kings’ window looked like it was closed, locked and boarded up. They finished 2016-17 with 86 standings points and scored the fourth fewest even-strength goals in the NHL behind three franchises building from scratch (Colorado, New Jersey, Buffalo).

Lacking the cap room to make a big free-agent splash and with few exciting prospects coming through the system, the Kings seemed to be on the cusp of fading to the back of the Pacific Division.

The Celtics are hoping that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley will be past their primes by 2019. If the Grizzlies pick in the top eight then, the pick becomes top-six protected in 2020 and completely unprotected in 2021.

This trade was one of the more puzzling ones from the 2016 draft. The Celtics traded Deyonta Davis (the No. 31 pick) and the rights to the No. 35 overall pick (someone named Rade Zagorac) to Memphis for a top-14 protected first round pick in 2019.

The Grizzlies got this pick when the Clippers traded Lance Stephenson for Jeff Green in Feb. 2016. Jeff Green: the gift that keeps on giving.

One thing about the Steelers: They tend to play much closer games than they should. Based on talent alone, they probably are the NFL’s most skilled squad.

Here comes Jacksonville, following an offensive stinker in beating outmanned Buffalo. Logic says this should be a rout.

Forget logic and remember that Ben Roethlisberger was so victimized in a MLB Jerseys China 30-9 Week 5 loss to the Jaguars that he had one of the worst games of his career.

There’s also the Antonio Brown factor: How healthy is the unanimous All-Pro receiver, who was injured in Week 15?

Jacksonville has a staunch defense with a terrific pass rush, too. Its New Nike NFL Jerseys secondary is among the league’s best.

It doesn’t happen all the time, which is what makes it so great when it does.


Sports are at their best when they remind us we don’t know what to expect. Remember next year, if your team enters Week 17 with a 13 percent chance of making the playoffs as the Bills did Sunday: As long as that percentage is above zero, it’s worth watching. Just in case.

Of the 12 playoff teams this year, eight were not in the playoffs last year, including all four NFC division winners. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that ties for the most new playoff teams from one season to the next since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990 (there were also eight new playoff teams in 2003). It’s the first time since the league expanded to eight divisions in 2002 that one conference had four division champions that weren’t playoff teams the year before.

And this isn’t a parity-means-mediocrity issue, either. Five of the six NFC playoff teams won at least 11 games, and the sixth was last year’s conference champion. These are high-quality teams and a field from which it’s tough to predict a winner. (I think I’m taking the New Orleans Saints, for example, but their first game is against a team they already beat twice, and it’s hard to beat the same team three times, so how the heck do I know?)

Roethlisberger’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in seven straight games and the Steelers ended the season with a 9-1 sprint, the lone setback a loss to New England on Dec. 17 in which his only mistake came on a poorly executed fake spike that resulted in a game-ending pick.

What’s working? Nearly everything.

Having two of the top skill position players in the league in wide NFL Jerseys Cheap receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell helps. So does the continued Wholesale NFL Jerseys China evolution of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant’s immersion into the offense following an ill-advised trade demand.

Yet Pittsburgh’s offense will only go as far over the next month as Roethlisberger can take it. Though he downplayed looking for payback after the Jaguars shut him down in ways that few teams have in recent years, not everyone is buying it.