Category Archives: Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

You can play really well and catch three balls for 50 yards.

“The bottom line is as skill players, they want the ball,” Monken said Tuesday. “Let’s just say it like it is. Running backs want touches. They want a chance to showcase their abilities. Receivers want the ability to showcase their talents. Quarterbacks want to throw it [and] want a chance to showcase their abilities. But, this isn’t baseball where I step into the batter’s box and I have my opportunity. This isn’t basketball where I can create my own shot.

“As receivers, you’re dependent on a lot of factors to get the ball. You can play really well and catch three balls for 50 yards. And you can play poorly and end up with eight catches for 100 yards and to the naked eye, you think you’ve had a great game.

“Bottom line is we’ve got to do it better [and] we’ve got to practice it better, so when the opportunities come up, we hit those. It’s all of us. It doesn’t matter what position, but there is only one ball. I told the guys, ‘There’s only one ball.’ When you’ve got multiple skill players that are capable of making plays usually someone is being pulled to the podium and someone is upset. That’s just the way it works. I mean there is only one ball. That’s the way it works. DeSean is a really good football player and we do everything we can with all of our players to put them in a position to be successful. We’ve just got to continue to work at.”

Tight end Tyler Eifert hasn’t been to practice since Week 2, and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis declined to give an update on Eifert’s timetable. Eifert has been dealing with a back issue, similar to last season’s problem that put him on injured reserve. The Bengals are on a bye next week, which could help his chances of a return in the future. — Katherine Terrell

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Jahlil Okafor gets roasted by ‘Shaqtin’ a Fool’ for lackluster defense

Maybe Shaquille O’Neal can move on from his feud with JaVale McGee and lock onto a new target: 76ers center Jahlil Okafor.

“Shaqtin’ a Fool,” the TNT segment that caused the vicious beef between Shaq and the Warriors center, tweeted from its official account a video of Okafor’s “defense,” if you can call it that, Wednesday night against the Heat.

Yeah, that really isn’t going to cut it. Okafor appears to be giving as much effort on defense as a second-semester senior gives in a home economics class.

This kind of effort would be hard to swallow at any point in the season, but can only sting worse coming on the same day the team announced fellow center Joel Embiid will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

Antetokounmpo, the son of Nigerian migrants, was born in Athens. He spent part of last summer performing obligatory service with the Greek army, and spent part of the summer working out in Los Angeles. He’s had many addresses. But ask him where he feels home is, and he breaks out a big smile, spreads his hand and waves it around the Cousins Center in St. Francis, just south of Milwaukee.

“Here,” he said. “The practice facility.”

At 22, Antetokounmpo has established himself as the most intriguing young talent in the NBA, a 6-11 rarely-seen combination of lengthy limbs, fast-twitch athleticism and natural basketball sense. This season, he became the first All-Star for the Bucks since Michael Redd in 2004, the longest string in the league, and carries with him the future prospects of a team trying to emerge from a decade-and-a-half of mediocrity.
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Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Jazz for first-round pick

The Timberwolves made their second major trade of the offseason Friday, sending point guard Ricky Rubio to the Jazz for a first-round pick.

Utah needed to use $16 million in their salary cap that expired Friday night. In return, Minnesota received Utah’s 2018 first-round pick, via the Thunder, which is top-14 pick protected.

Minnesota acquired Jimmy Butler from the Bulls during last week’s draft. The Timberwolves also received the No. 16 pick in that deal, which they used on Creighton center Justin Patton.

With the Jazz likely to lose Gordon Hayward in free agency, and now George Hill, they could be ready to build for the future. Rubio, 26, averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 assists per game last season.

The Timberwolves, who are clearly trying to contend now, will be in search of a point guard. Guys like Hill, Kyle Lowry and Jeff Teague could all be suitable targets.

Teague is a decent scorer and passer who will keep the offense moving. He’s started at least 72 games in each of the past five seasons, so you know he’ll be on the floor.

Unfortunately for Teague, he’ll have a tough time commanding a huge contract in this market. There isn’t a huge desire for point guards, and the ones above him on this list are far more coveted. He’s not quite on the same level as a difference-maker.

The Paul George situation throws everything surrounding the Pacers into a state of flux, so don’t be surprised if Teague is on the move.browns_043

Bucks may have lost Game 4, but their mascot won on social media

The Milwaukee Bucks have been clowning the Raptors all series. From them playing Barney theme music in the arena, to this hilarious moment from Giannis after the Bucks curb-stomped the Raptors 104-77.

Ariza is on Leonard duty. So D’Antoni can’t go with Ariza at the power forward when the Rockets are staring at Aldridge, Gasol and Leonard on the court at the same time. The duty will fall to Anderson, which means Aldridge will get what he wants and Rockets fans will have to accept the possibility of another dismantling by a methodical clinic of unappealing post of moves and mid-range jumpers.

Russell Westbrook’s assault on the basketball record books has been the biggest story in the sport ever since. Westbrook may not be the best player in the NBA, but there’s no denying he’s been the league’s most captivating figure throughout its marathon 82-game regular season and first round of the playoffs.

This was the season Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double, but it was so much more than that. Westbrook’s year of inhuman achievement was powered by an emotional core any fan could relate to. He was petty, funny, embarrassing, disappointing, and spectacular, often all at the same time.

Westbrook gave us a season that will endure decades from now. This is how it happened.

In the third match up with the Spurs this season the Rockets didn’t hit a three-pointer until midway through the second quarter. They lost that game by two points, while only making six threes in the game. Houston desperately needed another shooter.nike_redskins_2172

FaceApp made Bill Belichick smile and turned Gregg Popovich into a monster

FaceApp. Your social feeds are full of people making themselves look older and younger — now its time to unleash the apps power on the world of sports. Everyone is into different things, so we have three distinct sections for you to enjoy.

I need to preface this with a warning. The natural person to feed into the youth field from the sporting world was Gregg Popovich, everyones favorite sports dad. But something happened. The app struggled, took a long time to process — it refused to churn out a creation. After three uploads I finally prevailed and took the opportunity to make a young Coach Pop.
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Authentic Youth Justin Blackmon Jersey Im sorry. Washington traded up to take Griffin with the second overall pick in 2012, and his first season was promising. After being named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, injuries derailed his career and it never got back on track. Griffin lost the starting job in Washington to Kirk Cousins, and he spent a season mostly sidelined by injury in Cleveland. The Browns released him, and hes still on the market.

Smith, a former quarterback who converted to defense while at the University of Louisville, was a force in college. He was a shadow of his college self after being drafted by Philadelphia with the 26th overall pick in 2014. Smith has zero starts for the Eagles over three seasons and has contributed just four sacks.

The Seahawks have just over $16 million in cap space to work with this offseason.

Peterson’s father, Nelson, told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that his son is interested in the Seahawks and Raiders, but Oakland’s offensive line gives the Raiders an edge.

“What we personally like is (the Raiders’) offensive line,” Nelson Peterson said. “The offensive line, they haven’t been playing around. They haven’t been trying to get offensive linemen from the bottom of the barrel and trying to make them into something.”

Improving the offensive line is an emphasis for the Seahawks this offseason, and the key will be balancing the money the team needs to spend to shore up the line with paying a veteran running back.

The Seahawks have just over $16 million in cap space to work with this offseason. The team had its sights set on guard T.J. Lang, who would have filled a tremendous need, but he ended up signing with the Lions. The team already signed tackle Luke Joeckel, the second overall pick in the 2013 draft, to a one-year, $8 million deal.

With the running backs still available in free agency and the market moving slowly, not to mention Peterson’s age, Seattle may be able to add him for a reasonable price. If Peterson lands in Seattle, he should be a good fit for the Seahawks.

This team hardly ever loses regular season games, and the Warriors have to believe they can finish the season on a relatively strong note.

If San Antonio does steal the top seed, it obviously means it’ll have home-court advantage if the two teams play each other. However, home court in the finals is determined by record, not seeding, and the Warriors have a nearly 10-game lead over the 42-21 Cleveland Cavaliers. There’s zero chance they lose home-court advantage to them in a potential NBA Finals matchup.

Having home-court advantage throughout would be preferred, but the Warriors aren’t so desperate that they’ll wear out their stars during a particularly difficult stretch of games to get it.23

Falcons vs. Packers 2014 final score: 3 things we learned from Green Bay’s 43-37 win

It was not a great night for defense in Green Bay on Monday Night Football, but that didn’t matter much for the Packers because Aaron Rodgers and the offense turned in yet another brilliant performance. Green Bay jumped out to a big lead early and, while the Falcons rallied back with a great offensive performance of their own, it was not enough. Green Bay improved to 10-3 with a 43-37 victory and Rodgers made a bit of history on the way to the win, setting a new record for the most passing yards during the first 100 starts of a player’s career.

Gruden later confirmed that McCoy had a neck sprain, but said it’s too early to know if he’ll be ready by Sunday:

If McCoy is indeed unfit for play, head coach Jay Gruden will have to turn back to RGIII, who he benched two weeks ago. Griffin was ineffective after returning from a long injury absence, prompting Gruden to hand the reins to McCoy in Week 13. But after a promising three-touchdown outing against the Indianapolis Colts, McCoy sputtered against the Rams on Sunday, throwing two picks and no scores as Washington was shut out.

McCoy was clearly playing hurt after taking the shot from Quinn and was finally replaced by Griffin late in the fourth quarter.

It’s long been rumored that Gruden doesn’t think Griffin is a fit for his offense and a report by the Washington Post last week claimed Gruden “is now done” with the quarterback. A fickle fan base has waffled on its support of RGIII, chanting his name late on Sunday just three weeks after they chanted for McCoy.

It wasn’t immediately known if the Jets tried to keep Mangold at a reduced salary.

“A great person, a great player. You could always count on Nick’s smarts, consistency and poise,” coach Todd Bowles said in a statement. “Nick’s knowledge of the game and ability to quickly process information made him an invaluable resource to his teammates. He will always mean a lot to everyone in this organization.”

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Olivier Giroud scored in the 36th minute

Cabrera has given switch-hitting Sandoval a few tips on improving his right-handed swing, which has produced only a .198 average in 338 at-bats since the start of the 2014 season. And it was Cabrera who introduced Sandoval to Echevarria. In addition to boxers, Echevarria trains football players and lists New England Patriots defensive lineman Chris Long among his first clients.

The idea, according to Echevarria, wasn’t to turn Sandoval into a fighter but rather to provide an up-tempo cardiovascular workout. Moving around the ring for three-minute rounds can help with conditioning and footwork. Echevarria also noted that delivering a power punch and throwing a baseball require a similar set of muscles and movements.

And if the Red Sox get into any bench-clearing dustups, well, beware of the Panda.

“I made a joke with him about that,” Echevarria said. “I said, ‘I hope no one throws at you this year.’

2014/2015, AS Monaco FC 0-2 Arsenal FC (agg: 3-3, Monaco win on away goals). The hope! Always the hope. Olivier Giroud scored in the 36th minute, Arsenal took 16 shots, got seven on target, and Aaron Ramsey scored in the 79th. Just enough time to inspire that dreadful hope within a fan base that has suffered the subsequent disappointment many times. “The valiant effort to overturn the first leg deficit was in vain” could very well replace the present Arsenal motto, “victory grows through harmony.”

2015/2016, Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (agg: 5-1). Mathieu Flamini started the game in a midfield two with Mohamed Elneny. Flamini did as Flaminis are wont to do and was yellow carded by the 32nd minute. Realizing his mistake, Wenger subbed off Flamini at halftime for Francis Coquelin. Coquelin did as Coquelins are wont to do, Arsenal as Arsenal does, and Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi both scored to end the game … as they are liable to do.

The Marlins have the best offer on the table for Kenley Jansen

Jim Bowden’s take: The Marlins have the best offer on the table for Kenley Jansen. The Nationals have asked his camp to come back to them before they make a deal, and the Dodgers would like to have him back — but not at Chapman range.

Rival evaluator on the White Sox trades: “They’re kicking some butt.”

Eddie Matz’s take: The Nats finally joined the winter meetings party by acquiring Adam Eaton, but the cover charge sure was steep: two first-round pitchers (Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning) and a top-50 prospect who throws high-90s cheese (Reynaldo Lopez). I guess they really wanted to move Trea Turner back to shortstop.

Here’s how Mozeliak characterized the team’s thinking on a platoon: “That is definitely part of our thinking or potential thinking. It’s not necessarily what our goal is.” It sounds like Dyson is more of a fallback.

Eddie Matz’s take: This could just be posturing — much like the Orioles did during last year’s winter meetings with Chris Davis — in an effort to get Trumbo’s camp to flinch. If it’s sincere, and the O’s are ready to move on, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, Trumbo led the majors in home runs last season, but he’s a liability in the outfield, and Baltimore already has a first baseman (see: Davis, Chris). In other words, $70 million or $80 million is an awful lot to pay for a DH.

Scott Lauber’s take: Having traded for Tyler Thornburg to handle the eighth inning, the Red Sox are turning their attention to adding another bat to help replace David Ortiz’s production. According to team president Dave Dombrowski, it would ideally be a left-handed hitter who can play first base. Mitch Moreland fits that mold.

Cowboys insist they’re not going to rest their starters with a playoff spot sewn up

The Cowboys clinched their playoff spot last week. Now, they’re just going through the motions to get home-field advantage all sewn up. When that happens, don’t expect them to rest the starters. Jerry Jones said as much on his Tuesday radio show.

That raises the bigger question of whether Tony Romo will get to see the field again this season. On the one hand, reps are good, even garbage time reps. On the other hand, can they really afford to put Romo at risk for injury? If he gets hurt in a meaningless Week 17 game, that leaves the Cowboys on the hook for a lot of money, a lot more money than they’d be on the hook for if they traded him in the offseason.

Teams almost never say they’re going to play their backups once they have their playoff spot locked down, but they usually do it anyway. The best bet for the Cowboys might be to let Dak Prescott cool his heels for a little bit, as well as Romo, and let Mark Sanchez take a few reps.

Right now, the Chiefs and Patriots each have 10 wins, 10-3 and 10-2, respectively. New England has yet to play its 13th game (that happens Monday night when they host the Ravens). The Patriots have a conference record of 7-1 versus 7-2 for the Chiefs, which gives New England a leg up in the first tiebreaker scenario.

The Chiefs have the Titans and Broncos at home over the next two weeks, and finish the season in San Diego.

If both teams win the rest of their games or finish the season with an identical record, the Patriots still have an edge because of their record against common opponents. The Chiefs and Patriots have both played the Broncos, Jets, Steelers, and Texans. So far, the Patriots are 3-0 against those teams and the Chiefs are 2-2, with losses to the Steelers and Texans.