we had a lot of guys who played exceptionally well individually and we played with great energy.

That need to hit both sides of the spectrum is why many of the elite two-way role players in today’s game have traditionally come from later stages of the draft than you’d expect. Not only does the player need to have the right mentality and maturity levels, but the skill set needs to be versatile enough to complement a team’s star players. And way too many times, versatility is less likely to stand out in the crowd versus a player with a singular elite skill. The two-way, multi-talented, role-playing wing is maybe the second-hardest player type to find outside of a star player. Guys like Khris Middleton and Jae Crowder, for instance, were second-rounders in part due to the fact that they did everything well, but not one thing exceedingly well until they got to the next level.
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It’s a small game and you’ve got shooters everywhere and you have to be able to protect the rim with LeBron [James] coming downhill, with [Kevin] Love posting up and Draymond’s on the bench.
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That’s a pretty scary proposition for us and I thought Kevin’s defense was unreal and was probably the key to the whole game, along with the perimeter defense of Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala], trying to do their best with Kyrie [Irving] and LeBron. But KD was amazing.

The Warriors had just four turnovers in Game 1 — a figure James alone doubled — but that increased to 20 on Sunday, with Kerr making it clear he will not accept a repeat performance when the series continues at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday.

I mean that’s been the focus the last two days — can we repeat the formula? The answer was no, we did not repeat, he said.

[This] was a game based on talent, we had a lot of guys who played exceptionally well individually and we played with great energy.

But heading to Cleveland we’re going to have to be a lot smarter. We play that same game in Cleveland there’s no way we win.

Falcons capitalize on Packers mistakes to advance to Super Bowl

When the Packers left Wisconsin for the NFC title game, they were delayed by fog. When they got to the Georgia Dome on Sunday, it looked like they were lost in a fog.

The Falcons capitalized on a number of Packers mistakes Sunday and rolled to a 44-21 victory to advance to Super Bowl LI.

It will be the second Super Bowl appearance ever for the Falcons, who last played in Super Bowl XXXII.

The Packers had absolutely no answer for the Falcons’ offense, which moved the ball at will as Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns.

By comparison, there were 96 players granted special early eligibility in 2016, and 74 in 2015. There were a record 98 early entrants in the 2014 draft.

According to many position ratings and early mock drafts, the first round of this year’s draft is top-heavy with underclassmen such as projected top pick Myles Garrett, a pass-rusher from Texas A&M expected by many to go to the Browns, as well as North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, LSU safety Jamal Adams, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore, Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer and LSU running back Leonard Fournette, all of whom are projected to go in the top 10.

This year’s more than 100-strong list continues a trend, Pro Football Talk noted: The numbers spike[d] since the NFL adopted a rookie wage scale in 2011. The restricted earnings at the top of the draft create an incentive to get to the NFL and begin the process of putting in years toward the second contract, because That’s where players now get paid in large amounts.sharks_412

LeBron James’ LA home vandalized with hate graffiti: ‘Being black in America is tough’

LeBron James’ Los Angeles home was vandalized early Wednesday morning with hateful graffiti, police said.

The LAPD told media outlets (via CBS Los Angeles) that officers responded to James’ Brentwood home around 6:45 a.m. PT and found a racial slur spray-painted on the front gate.
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TMZ Sports, which first reported the incident, said authorities are seeking the help of James’ neighbors with the hope that their security footage caught the vandal on camera.

Aside from a 26-game stint with the Grizzlies, Stephenson has undoubtedly been at his best when playing in a Pacers uniform. Drafted by Indiana in 2010, Stephenson spent his first four seasons with the Pacers, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals twice. He bounced around the league for three seasons, playing for the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves, before re-signing with the Pacers in March.

The Cavaliers swept the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, albeit by a total of 16 points – the lowest collective margin of victory in a sweep in NBA history, where Stephenson averaged 16 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on 50.9 percent shooting.

I, for one, am on board with a Lance Stephenson-powered offense in Indiana. After all, this is the same player who said his return to the Pacers would be like Michael Jordan coming back to play in the NBA or something like that.
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Hey, confidence is half the battle, right?

Watch: Neymar comes to Game 2 bearing gifts for Kevin Durant, Draymond Green

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This is a fall for Patton, but he got caught up in the combination of a glut of bigs, as well as teams not needing them. That’s fine for Brooklyn, though. The Nets get a good chance at an upside player who can block shots, rebound reasonably well, catch lobs and potentially knock down 3s in Atkinson’s system.

Take the best player available here. Adebayo has some untapped skill that he didn’t get to show at Kentucky, and he’d fit exceedingly well with Luke Walton’s preferred style of switching defense due to his mobility on the perimeter. If he can shoot, this is a steal at No. 28.

The Warriors’ duo of Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had a special visit from Barcelona superstar Neymar on Sunday, and the Brazilian did not arrive empty-handed.

Authentic Kids Marvin Jones Jr Jersey The All-Stars were influential as Golden State took a 2-0 lead over the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals on Sunday with Durant scoring 33 points while Green contributed 12 of his own alongside six assists and as many rebounds.

This is a reach on my big board with Mitchell at 17, but he’s the next-best backcourt player on a team that’s set at center with Andre Drummond, plus has a cavalcade of forwards in Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson and even Stanley Johnson potentially. So here, the Pistons take a guard in Mitchell that has a diverse set of skills and brings a level of athleticism the backcourt currently lacks.

Again, this is something of a small reach on my board, but he’s a perfect fit for what the Nuggets need next to Nikola Jokic in the future. Anunoby is a mobile defender who can protect the weak side of the rim at either the 3 or the 4 positions. He has as much versatility on that end as any player in the draft, and the team that finished 29th in defensive rating last year really needs it.

Tom Brady: ‘Damn, now it’s starting to feel like the Super Bowl!’

Thousands of Patriots fans made their way to Gillette Stadium on Monday morning to watch the team leave for Super Bowl 51.

Fans went crazy when Tom Brady grabbed the microphone to deliver some inspiring words.

Dan Hamhuis Limited Jersey While New England and Atlanta are the respective favorites for the conference title games, the trend for the 2016-17 NFL playoffs might have shifted to the underdogs during the divisional weekend.

Favorites won the first six games this postseason, but underdogs, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, won the last two. The bad news for the Steelers, though, is the Patriots are 13-3-1 against the spread this season, per Pregame.com.

A Falcons or Packers Super Bowl win would be the most shocking for different reasons. Atlanta’s Super Bowl odds early in the season were as high as 100/1, the highest among the remaining teams. The high point for Green Bay’s Super Bowl odds 80/1 came in late November.

In fact, he seemed to celebrate the score, and even went over to Williams to congratulate him. Perhaps she noticed Brown’s actions on a different play, and just recalled something different. He likely was frustrated after a game where he wasn’t much of a factor (seven receptions, 77 yards).

Devin McCourty Limited Jersey Even if Brown’s actions didn’t come on that play, he has a history of this sort of thing. Kinkhabwala noted a conversation with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin last year in which he said he told Brown to stop chasing statistics. The Steelers may want to give Brown a long-term contract in the near future, but these incidents could factor into the talks.

the Cowboys established they were going to rebuild their offense on a foundation of power running.

Free agency wasn’t much better in 2013. LB Erik Walden ended up performing better than expected, totaling 114 tackles, 23 sacks and six forced fumbles over his four seasons with the Colts. However, offensive linemen Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas both struggled with injuries. The Cherilus signing looked particularly bad when Cherilus was released only two years into a five-year, $34.5 million contract. Cornerback Greg Toler lasted only last two seasons, as did backup DE Ricky Jean Francois. Safety LaRon Landry was released after two seasons and a PED suspension.

It is painfully obvious the Cowboys were so dreadful a year ago because they lost quarterback Tony Romo to injury in the seasons second week, and they had no able replacement. They also had allowed running back DeMarco Murray to escape as a free agent, and Darren McFadden proved to be mostly adequate as a replacement.

In choosing Elliott with the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, however, the Cowboys established they were going to rebuild their offense on a foundation of power running. He rushed for more than 1,800 yards in each of his two seasons as a regular at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes went 26-2 and won the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who said the Falcons have got a lot of weapons, will have to get creative to disguise coverages. He will likely try to find some balance between blitzing to create pressure while leaving his young secondary exposed and playing zone while rushing just three or four players. The Packers dont want to play too much man defense, so Capers could dial up some zone blitzes to get to Ryan.vikings_120

Saints lose Willie Snead, Brandin Cooks to scary injuries

The Saints lost two of their top receivers late in Sunday’s 38-32loss to the Falcons.

Youth Frank Gore Jersey Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks both left the game with scary injuries as the Saints tried to mount a comeback at the Georgia Dome.
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Snead was the first to exit, getting blasted by Falcons safety Keanu Neal after a 27-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter.

Snead was able to walk off the field, but was ruled out to be evaluated for a concussion.

Cooks was also evaluated for a concussion after he landed on his head while attempting to make a leaping catch. Like Snead, Cooks was able to walk off the field.

The Packers will now host the Giants next Sunday while the Lions will travel to Seattle to play the third-seeded Seahawks (10-5-1) Saturday night. The Seahawks won at San Francisco, which fired both coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke following the 25-23 home loss.

The Falcons (11-5) wrapped up the 2 seed with a 38-32 win over the Saints. The Cowboys (13-3) had already sealed up homefield advantage in the NFC before Sunday’s 27-14 loss to the Eagles as Dallas rested several starters.

Freeney expected to re-sign with the Cardinals, whom he led with eight sacks despite not signing until five weeks into the season. When that reunion didn’t happen, Freeney fielded multiple offers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million deal with Atlanta.

Freeney produced a modest three sacks giving him 122.5 for his career and 10 tackles in 15 games as a situational player; however, the impact Freeney made isn’t reflected in his own stats but rather the second-year player he helped groom into a bona fide NFL Defensive Player of the Year contender. Vic Beasley’s sack total jumped from 4.5 as a rookie to a league-leading 15.5.

Freeney demurred when asked how much he influenced Beasley’s improvement but did allow ‘I know I’ve helped.’

College World Series bracket, TV schedule in Omaha

With the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament’s super regionals finished, the College World Series bracket is complete.

Mens Al Jefferson Jersey Here is the field for the 71st College World Series: No. 1-overall seed Oregon State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 LSU, No. 6 TCU, No. 7 Louisville, Florida State, Cal State Fullerton and Texas A&M. Those eight teams will travel to Omaha, Neb., to compete for the national championship.

The College World Series, a double-elimination tournament with a best-of-3 final, begins Saturday, June 17, at TD Ameritrade Park with the championship series set for June 26-28. Here’s the full bracket and schedule for the 2017 College World Series in Omaha (all times ET).

And Jordon wanted to help drive home that message.

I’ve seen the change that she makes in that school, and how she’s flipped that school around, and those kids, he says. I know that I can possibly do the same thing.

Jordon has long been a regular at Newburg, coming around school to visit his mom and get to know some of the kids. For those first couple of years, though, he was just Mrs. Adell’s son. This year, as the media attention on his baseball exploits at Ballard and his future baseball prospects increased, the kids at Newburg started to see him in a different light.
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So Nicole invited Jordon the baseball player to speak to her kiddos. Twice this year he has visited Newburg specifically to talk with the baseball team, not just about baseball, but about life.

Doug Williams believes black QBs don’t get enough opportunities in NFL

Doug Williams made history with the Redskins in 1988 when he became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Since that time, only one other black quarterback has held up the Lombardi trophy — Russell Wilson in 2014.

Sarkisian replaced offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan Tuesday after Shanahan took the head coaching job with the 49ers.

He coached only in the national title game for the Tide, and hadn’t coached since his public firing from USC in October 2015 for showing up to work intoxicated.

Since then, Sarkisian said he’s gotten sober and continues to maintain a clean lifestyle.

“This isn’t something that is necessarily in my past,” Sarkisian said Thursday. “It is something that I have to work on every single day, that I do work on every single day because it is important to me. It’s important to who I am as a person.

“The disease of alcoholism is a piece of me. It doesn’t define me,” he continued. “I’ve got a lot more to offer than that. And hopefully over time, everybody here in Atlanta can get a feel for that, just who I am as a person and get to know me and really develop the quality relationships that are necessary to be part of a championship organization.”

“He was a very good thrower,” Shanahan told Cleveland.com. “Tough guy, kept his eyes down the field, could get rid of the ball fast. Really liked the person. Had a chance to go out to dinner with him and stuff.

“He played at Eastern Illinois, and it was a different type of offense where you can’t always evaluate with how quick they get rid of the ball. But I really thought he was a very intelligent, tough player with a good throwing motion.”

Shanahan was the Browns’ offensive coordinator for the 2014 season when they chose Johnny Manziel in the first round. New England drafted Garoppolo in the second round.texans_017

Super Bowl 51: Ranking the 10 best Super Bowl performances by quarterbacks

Super Bowl 51 is in the books, and the Patriots have once again found themselves on top of the NFL.

Although Super Bowl MPV Tom Brady was far from perfect in his team’s 34-28 overtime win against the Falcons, that doesn’t mean his performance wasn’t legendary in its own right.
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Kids Matthew Dellavedova Jersey The Ravens were one of the teams that invested the most in 2016 by deferring cap charges to later years of player contracts, which means they should struggle with the cap in 2017. The Ravens are never really players in free agency but often look to find scrap heap players cut from other teams.

They can create another $6 million in cap space by releasing linebacker Elvis Dumervil to help them add another player.

“Those guys really are geniuses in terms of designing game plans to attack, and the plans change every week. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it keeps your mind growing.”

Like Mike, Kyle isn’t just locked into his playbook. He understands it means nothing if he’s not good to those he’s counting on to execute it.

“Kyle really cares about the team and our success,” Schraeder said. “He tries to put us in position to be successful, based on our skill sets. He’s been great to the players, and it’s easy to have a lot of respect for him.”

The younger Shanahan once dreamed of following his passion and living up to his football pedigree as an NFL receiver. But when he realized that wasn’t going to be an option, he applied all of his football energy to making this evolution to head coach. In addition to his father, he’s had championship-winning mentors all the way, college and pro 鈥?see Mack Brown, Jon Gruden and Gary Kubiak.

The fact that Shanahan never forgets what it was like to be a player on a loaded team at Texas gives him an extra edge as a coach.

“He puts in so much work,” Schrader said. “He’s working to get right mentally for every game, visualizing situations that happen so he can respond quickly.”