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By elaine95, 2018-10-12

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson officially named Nick Foles the team’s starting quarterback for Thursday night’s game against the Falcons and it really wasn’t much of a decision.

Pederson reiterated on Tuesday that Carson Wentz has yet to be cleared for contact by the Eagles medical team after tearing his ACL late last season and changing that status isn’t going to be up to the coach. Pederson did say he believes Wentz’s clearance is coming sooner rather than later Armani Watts Color Rush Jersey , however.

鈥淐lose,鈥?Pederson said, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of WIP. “I’m no doctor, no expert. Still leaving it up to the medical team. He’s had some great workouts here in the last few days. We’ll see.”

Pederson said Wentz wants to be on the field, “but he also knows that the longevity of his career, he and I, hopefully we’re in this thing for the long run.” In the short run, the offense still belongs to the guy who piloted it well enough to be named the Super Bowl MVP in February.

Joe Mixon took a handoff from Andy Dalton and found the hole off right guard for a 25-yard run in the first quarter of a game at Pittsburgh on Oct. 22. The Bengals lost 29-14, falling to 2-4. For Mixon, it would be the longest run of his rookie season.

That’s not what Cincinnati expected when it took a public relations hit and drafted Mixon in the second round last year.

But it wasn’t only Mixon who came up short. Giovani Bernard had a pair of 25-yard runs as his best efforts. The Bengals’ running game finished last in the league with those 25-yard runs as their longest from scrimmage.

The Bengals’ running game was one of the worst in their history. In four games, the running backs failed to produce a run of at least 10 yards. Andy Dalton had a 25-yard scramble in one game that matched the biggest gain on the ground all season.

”I’m glad it’s a new year Youth Mason Rudolph Jersey ,” Mixon said. ”We definitely are going to make that up, for sure. I can tell you that now.”

Mixon is going to be leading the way.

The Bengals were so enamored of his ability to catch passes as well as break long runs that they took him in the second round of the draft, knowing they’d get a public backlash . He was suspended for his freshman season at Oklahoma for punching a woman in the face.

He made little impact as a rookie, sharing time with Jeremy Hill. His only noteworthy game was a 114-yard effort over winless Cleveland on Nov. 26. He had 96 yards in the final game against Baltimore.

Unhappy with the results, Mixon changed his diet in the offseason and lost 12 pounds, getting back to his playing weight at Oklahoma. He’s looked good in training camp at 216 pounds, with coach Marvin Lewis singling him out for praise on Wednesday.

”I’ve been excited about Joe Mixon and what he’s doing,” Lewis said.

Hill left as a free agent after the season, leaving Mixon and Bernard to share the bulk of the plays at running back. Coordinator Bill Lazor has redesigned the playbook to fit their ability to catch passes as well as run the ball.

”He knows we both can do anything,” Bernard said. ”It’s not the situation of a first-down back or a second-down back or third-down, it’s none of that. It’s just plug-and-play.”

The biggest problem with the running game last season was the offensive line Sam Darnold Jersey Elite , which provided little room to run. The Bengals made it their overriding priority in the offseason, trading with Buffalo for left tackle Cordy Glenn and drafting Ohio State center Billy Price in the first round.

”There’s been a lot of urgency within the offensive line to get things moving, and it shows,” Bernard said.

GIO’S DONATION: Bernard helped his future mother-in-law donate a van to an injured Marine veteran on Tuesday, the team’s day off. Bernard drove the van – owned by his future mother-in-law – during his rookie season.

”It was obviously hard to see it go, but it was fun to see it go to a family that needs it,” Bernard said.

CLEARED TO PRACTICE: Linebacker Brandon Bell passed a physical on Wednesday and was cleared to practice. He was limited for the first five days of camp.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Tyler Boyd reached over cornerback Darqueze Dennard for a catch in the corner of the end one during a goal-line drill, drawing cheers from teammates. He also made a slick over-the-middle catch during an 11-on-11 drill. Boyd was slowed by a knee injury last season and finished with only 22 catches in 10 games.

NO TELLING: Lewis declined to say whether Tyler Eifert would play in any preseason games. The tight end is coming off his second back procedure and was cleared to practice on Monday.

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By elaine95, 2018-10-12
A Santa Clara County judge ruled Wednesday that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will not have to stand trial on domestic violence charges after determining there was no evidence that Foster ever hit his ex-girlfriend.

Judge Nona Klippen said prosecutors didn’t meet the burden of probable cause on charges of felony domestic violence and forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness.

Foster was also charged with felony possession of an assault weapon after officers found a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle in his home while investigating his ex-girlfriend’s domestic violence report. That charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

The 49ers have not allowed Foster to take part in the offseason program while he dealt with these charges and general manager John Lynch had said he would be cut from the team if it was determined that he hit a woman. Foster will be allowed back Thursday now that the domestic violence charges have been dropped.

”It has been made clear to Reuben that his place on this team is one that must continue to be earned Scottie Upshall Jersey ,” Lynch said. ”We will continue to monitor the remaining misdemeanor charge.”

The prosecutor’s office released a statement expressing disappointment in the judge’s decision.

”We are disappointed because the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Foster seriously hurt his girlfriend,” the statement said. ”Some have wondered why we still think Mr. Foster hurt his girlfriend when she said that he didn’t. Recantation is common among domestic violence victims. Some are scared, some feel guilty, some are coerced, some need money. Whatever the cause, we move forward on cases when victims falsely recant because we know that if we don’t more victims will be hurt.”

The accuser Youth DJ Moore Jersey , Elissa Ennis, recanted her accusations two days after telling police she was hit in the head eight to 10 times by Foster. She testified at a preliminary hearing last week that the injuries were caused by a fight with another woman and she gave prosecutors video of that fight. She said she lied initially because she wanted retribution after Foster tried to end their relationship.

Klippen said recantations aren’t uncommon in domestic violence cases but said there was no supporting evidence in this case that Foster had attacked Ennis.

”The injuries appear more consistent with a fight with another woman on a street than with being hit in the head by this defendant,” Klippen said while ruling from the bench.

Klippen also pointed to the fact that Ennis appeared ”unusually calm” while making a second 911 call reporting the incident. A bystander who gave her a phone to make the call testified she wasn’t frantic and didn’t appear to have serious injuries, and there was no evidence of prior abuse. Ennis also testified that she had made false allegations in another case after a boyfriend broke up with her.

Prosecutor Kevin Smith had no comment while leaving the courthouse after the ruling and Foster only gave a thumbs-up before getting into a car with his attorney.

The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall last year after questions about his health and character caused him to drop from being a possible top 10 pick.

Foster delivered on the field, ranking second on the team with 72 tackles in 10 games as a rookie and looking like a key part of San Francisco’s defensive future.

”I’m excited to get him back, give him a hug and move forward Chargers Elite Jerseys ,” left tackle Joe Staley said.

Foster was charged in January in Alabama with second-degree marijuana possession before the incident in February that led to this case. Foster is due in court next month for a hearing in his marijuana case.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will ”continue to monitor all developments in the matter which remains under review.”

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said recently that the team would be moving on without offensive lineman Vadal Alexander after Alexander failed to report to training camp this month and the team did just that on Tuesday.

The Raiders announced that they have waived Alexander. Alexander’s departure does not result in an open roster spot as Alexander was taken off the 90-man roster when he did not report.

Alexander was a seventh-round pick in 2016 and played in 24 games for the Raiders over the last two seasons. Alexander is suspended for the first four games of the regular season, which will likely impact any bid for a job elsewhere if Alexander is looking to continue playing.

The Raiders recently signed Oday Aboushi to compete for a depth role on their offensive line. Breno Giacomini, Jon Feliciano, Denver Kirkland and David Sharpe are also in that mix.

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By elaine95, 2018-10-12
Even Julio Jones was caught off guard when someone mentioned all the various body parts he’s had to nurse back to health this season.

Ribs. Thumb. Knee. Hip. Back. Ankle.

The ankle twice Breeland Speaks Color Rush Jersey , in fact.

”Whew! All that?” he asked, sounding a bit incredulous.

Then, with a slight smile and shaking his head, Jones added, ”Long season, man. Long season.”

He’s got a routine to cope with all the aches and pains.

During the week, Jones is often limited in practice or doesn’t even take the field. But by the time the game rolls around, he’s always ready to go.

”He has a real process to do that,” coach Dan Quinn said. ”We’re fortunate that he’s played with injuries and kind of knows the routine of how to do it.”

That will be the case again for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles .

After sitting out two days of practice with a sore ankle and going through a limited routine Thursday at the final full workout before the game, the star receiver will be in the starting lineup for the 18th consecutive time this season.

”The thing with being injured, it’s really just blocking it out,” Jones said. ”Don’t use it as an excuse.”

Quinn noted that the Falcons usually have an extensive walk-through before each practice, and that’s a session that Jones rarely misses no matter how much he’s hurting. He uses the time to get familiar with the game plan, run some routes and hone his timing with quarterback Matt Ryan.

If Jones is limited during the actual practice, he focuses on plays in which he’ll likely be the primary receiver.

”We try to feature him on plays that are unique for him and Matt to be at full speed,” Quinn said. ”When he goes, it’s these full-speed, aggressive routes. So that helps him as far as the timing goes.”

Jones has been on the injury report eight of the last 10 weeks, along with two other weeks early in the season.

None of the injuries were serious enough to keep him from playing, but they did require plenty of tender loving care to make sure there were no setbacks. That’s why David Bakhtiari Jersey , over the course of the last four months, the injury report has listed him as limited or out of practice more times than he’s fully participated.

Game day is a different story.

”If you say you’re gonna go, go. Don’t bring it up in the middle of the game,” he said. ”We know it hurts. Don’t let your mind be negative. Just stay positive. If something’s hurting or anything like that, I never relay it back to (the sideline). I know it hurts. You don’t want to talk about it and bring that stuff up during the game. If I suit up, I’m going. I’m not saying anything about it.”

A turning point in Jones’ pain threshold came during his sophomore season at Alabama. He broke his left hand in a game, had surgery the next day and was cleared to play the following week.

He wasn’t at his best.

”I was a little timid to catch just because of the pain,” Jones recalled. ”It was messing with me mentally.”

Since then, he’s learned to block out his various injuries.

”It’s gonna hurt,” Jones said. ”But I’m out here. I made the decision to be out here. I don’t care about it hurting.”

Jones’ production dipped this season, part of a wider drop-off under first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and there have been a few more drops than previous seasons – most notably, what should have been an easy 39-yard touchdown catch in a November loss at Carolina .

But, overall, it’s been another huge season for Jones. He had 88 catches for 1,444 yards – an average of 90.3 per game – and earned second-team honors on The Associated Press All-Pro team.

He’s usually even better in the playoffs.

Last week, he had nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown with just under 6 minutes remaining that finished off a 26-13 upset of the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round.

”It’s win or go home,” Jones said. ”I’m not a numbers guy. Whatever it takes to get the win.”

Jones also got to do a bit of gloating this week after his alma mater won another national championship with a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.

Not that he had any doubt about the outcome. Jones didn’t attend the game, even though it was held at the Falcons’ home stadium, and insisted that he went to bed before halftime.

”I was out Vincent Rey Jersey ,” he said. ”I didn’t learn (the score) until the next morning. I was like, `Oh, that was a good game.”’

Someone noticed he wasn’t wearing any Alabama gear.

No need to rub it in, he quipped.

”When you’re accustomed to things,” Jones said, trying to hold back a smile, ”you don’t brag.”

Jon Gruden would like to see instant replay for officiating disappear. So would Pete Carroll.

The two Super Bowl-winning coaches aren’t fans of video reviews, particularly the slow-motion replays. They also recognize that replay isn’t going away.

”I don’t like instant replay,” Carroll said Tuesday at the NFL meetings. ”I like the game played on the field. The scrutiny of the officials has become so intense, they don’t call the game like they used to, I feel. That didn’t mean I didn’t argue with them any more or any less.

”There are so many reasons why replay has been a positive factor in our game, but I don’t like it,” the Seahawks coach added.

Gruden returned to coaching this year, with the Raiders, after working as the ESPN analyst on Monday night games. So replay was a beneficial tool for him as an announcer, giving him an opportunity to break down the action even more insightfully.

As a coach, he would have no qualms if it was eliminated.

”Let the naked eye make the call,” Gruden said. ”Eliminate instant replay and let the officials call the game.

”Slow motion is the biggest problem with replay. Throw slo-mo out and get back to common sense.”

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07

OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-10)

OPEN CAMP: July 26 Russ Grimm Jersey , Napa, California

LAST YEAR: Raiders plummeted from 12 wins in 2016 to six last year as QB Derek Carr and offense regressed, defense struggled, and coach Jack Del Rio was fired. Oakland's offensive output dropped by more than seven points per game, takeaways fell from 30 to 14, and Raiders got almost no production from past three draft classes in becoming one of league's biggest disappointments. That led to move to bring coach Jon Gruden back for second stint with Raiders after spending past nine seasons in broadcast booth.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Gruden, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Martavis Bryant, RB Doug Martin, LB Derrick Johnson Womens Greg Olsen Jersey , CB Rashaan Melvin, S Marcus Gilchrist, LB Emmanuel Lamur, LB Tahir Whitehead, WR Ryan Switzer, OL Kolton Miller, DT Maurice Hurst, DE Arden Key.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: Del Rio, WR Michael Crabtree, RT Marshall Newhouse Youth Corey Crawford Jersey , LB NaVorro Bowman, CB TJ Carrie, CB Sean Smith, CB David Amerson, P Marquette King.

CAMP NEEDS: Biggest priority is getting 2016 Defensive Player of Year Khalil Mack into camp after he held out entire offseason while seeking long-term contract. Mack is entering final year of rookie deal and Gruden and new DC Paul Guenther are eager to get most important defensive piece on practice field. Other main issues are learning Gruden's system and figuring out offensive tackle situation with LT Donald Penn coming back from foot injury and rookies Miller and Brandon Parker battling Breno Giacomini for time.

EXPECTATIONS: Owner Mark Davis has wanted to bring back Gruden ever since taking over team seven years ago. He's hoping move pays off in team's final two seasons in Oakland before move to Las Vegas in 2020. Gruden is being counted on to bring out best from Carr, who went from MVP candidate in 2016 to mediocre last season as he dealt with injuries. His protection got worse and his receivers were inconsistent. Even if Gruden does manage to spark offense, defense will need to take big step forward for Raiders to get back into playoff contention.

It’s common in fantasy baseball to factor parks in when helping value players. Lorenzo Cain saw a boost in value in season-long leagues because moving from Kansas City to Milwaukee was expected to boost his offensive numbers. Daily park shifts can similarly help us to deduce value in each game.

At this point in the evolution of daily fantasy baseball, using offensive park factors is fairly common practice, and the edge is reduced in knowing parks in Colorado, Texas Womens Terrell Suggs Jersey , and Cincinnati are offensive boons while parks in San Francisco and Pittsburgh favor the pitcher.

But one area of park factors that is seldom discussed is their effect on strikeouts. A close look at the data shows that certain parks inflate strikeout totals while other parks suppress strikeout totals due to some combination of several factors: amount of foul territory, elevation, batter’s eye, and potentially other small, unknown but impactful factors.

A good example of this is Houston ace Gerrit Cole. Cole moved from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, a park that historically suppresses strikeouts at a high magnitude, to Minute Maid Park, a park that historically increases strikeouts. Minute Maid Park has the third least amount of total fair and foul territory, and Cole’s home strikeout rate has risen from 21.6 percent in 2017 to 38.7 percent in 2018. Clearly, there are other factors at play Mikko Rantanen Jersey , but Cole’s home strikeout rate has increased at a rate 2.5 times greater than his away strikeout rate has increased.

This is important since strikeouts are the most important category to focus on when selecting a daily fantasy pitcher. Viewing park factors in this light helps to find overrated and underrated spots for pitchers to pitch in.

Philadelphia, Chicago (AL) and Cincinnati are all traditionally hitter friendly parks that inflate strikeout totals, while Oakland, Kansas City and St. Louis are traditionally pitcher friendly parks that suppress strikeout totals. These are stadiums where the market may not react correctly when evaluating starting pitcher value for daily games.

This column was provided to The Associated Press by DailyRoto, Miami Dolphins Elite Jerseys

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
Six first-team All-Americans Ryan Miller Jersey , including Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, are among 22 players who will attend the NFL draft.

Four of the highly rated quarterbacks in this crop also will be at AT&T Stadium – Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen. Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield has chosen not to attend.

Barkley and Chubb are projected to go in the top five picks.

The other AP All-Americans planning to be on hand April 26 are Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.

Also attending will be UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin. Griffin, the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year, had his left hand amputated when he was 4.

The NFL said Thursday that other draft-eligible players attending will be:

Louisville CB Jaire Alexander, Florida DT Taven Bryan, Texas-San Antonio DE Marcus Davenport Authentic Blake Wheeler Jersey , Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds, Alabama LB Rashaan Evans, LSU RB Derrius Guice, Florida State S Derwin James, UCLA T Kolton Miller, Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch, Washington DT Vita Vea, and Texas T Connor Williams.

If the Golden State Warriors are worried as they head into Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on the brink of elimination, they aren’t showing it.

”We have a chance to tie the series at home. That’s a pretty good position to be in,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”We’ve got to win two basketball games and we’ve done that an awful lot, so we’re very confident.”

The defending champions trail Houston 3-2 in the best-of-seven series after consecutive wins by the Rockets Richard Panik Jersey , capped by Thursday night’s 98-94 victory . Now the series shifts to Oracle Arena, a place where the Warriors have lost just one time in their last 17 playoff games.

Stephen Curry said the Warriors are encouraged despite falling behind in the series because they believe both games could have gone their way and that a few simple corrections will get them back on track.

”We have an opportunity to re-establish ourselves at home, get a big win, keep ourselves alive, and then roll the dice into Game 7,” Curry said. ”Not all is lost.”

Houston’s big win in Game 5 was tempered by a hamstring injury to star Chris Paul which will keep him out of Saturday’s game. It’s a major blow for a team which is looking to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in more than two decades.

The Rockets believe they can absorb this loss and don’t seem daunted by the setback, noting that they found ways to win in the regular season in many games where Paul sat out with injuries.

”I don’t have a doubt,” D’Antoni said. ”They see the challenge … whether CP’s there or not, it’s a heck of a challenge, and they’re up to it. They’re looking forward to it.”

James Harden, who has struggled offensively in the last two games and went 0 for 11 on 3s in Game 5 http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/brian-quick-jersey , rolled his eyes when asked if Paul’s injury puts more pressure on him.

”Pressure for what? It’s Game 6 of the Western Conference finals,” he said. ”There is pressure on everybody.”

While that may be true, the onus is on Harden to step up and deliver an MVP-caliber performance if the Rockets hope to close out this series. Harden has had plenty of playoff disappointments in the last few years and embraces the chance to get Houston back into the finals.

”It’s an opportunity that a lot of people never had and probably won’t ever have,” he said. ”It’s our job to go out there and have fun with it and do the same thing we’ve been doing. We want to take advantage of it.”

While the Rockets will be down a starter, the Warriors could get one back if Andre Iguodala can return on Saturday. The Warriors have missed the defensive presence of Iguodala who has missed the last two games with a bruised left knee.

Iguodala is listed on the injury report as questionable for Game 6 and Kerr said he didn’t have an update on his condition on Friday. But he did address what it would mean to Golden State if he’s healthy enough to go on Saturday.

”He’s a great player,” Kerr said. ”He’s one of our keys, and we’ve missed him the last two games. But we can’t count on it. Injuries happen, and you’ve just got to play with whoever’s out there. So we’re hoping he’s back, and we’ll see what happens.”

Iguodala’s absence has been magnified in this series that has morphed into a defensive slugfest instead of the high-scoring shootout that most expected when it began. The Rockets take great pride in the fact that they’ve limited Golden State to less than 100 points in the last two games and think continuing to play great defense is the only way they’ll advance.

”It’s something we talked about building up all year,” Houston’s P.J. Tucker said. ”To see our defense now be as good as it is, we still think it could be a lot better. We watched film Womens A.J. Green Jersey , and honestly … we didn’t play great defense last night. Everybody will talk about how good a defense we played, but we really don’t feel like that. So just keep working and trying to get better.”

Kerr said the experience of his team, which is trying to reach the finals for the fourth straight year, will be valuable as the Warriors try and climb out of this hole and force Game 7. He referenced the conference finals in 2016 when they fell behind Oklahoma City 3-1 before winning the next three to take the series.

”We’ve been here before,” Kerr said. ”We’ve faced elimination on the road before – this team has – a few years ago. We faced series deficits before. We’ve won all of those series. Our guys have the ultimate confidence that we can get it done this time, too.”

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
Tyler Skaggs‘ return to the Los Angeles Angels‘ rotation for a makeup game against the Royals on Monday was only the start of what manager Mike Scioscia hopes is a wave of positive news.

The ailing Angels Sonny Milano Jersey , who were in Kansas City to make up a game frozen out on April 15, have seen just about everybody experience some kind of injury this season. They’ve ranged from the typical nicks and bumps to the strained elbow ligament that has Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani on the shelf.

The Angels had 15 players on the disabled list just over a week ago, the first time they’ve had that many since the stat began being tracked in 1987, and still had a dozen there when they flew into Kansas City.

Skaggs was the latest to rejoin the fold after being scratched from last week’s start with tightness in his hamstring. When asked who’s next, Scioscia deadpanned: ”We’re not going to handicap it.”

But, the skipper added, ”We have a whole team back in Southern California that works out every day.”

Skaggs is among the 27 pitchers who have played for the Angels this season, the most in team history through 78 games. He also is among the 48 players who have appeared this season, which means Los Angeles needs to suit up just eight more to break a club record set last year.

Right-hander Garrett Richards‘ workouts took a step forward Monday when he threw a bullpen session off the mound. Richards has been out 10 days with a left hamstring strain, but Scioscia cautioned that his session was ”more of a touch and feel” than bearing down in anticipation of a start.

”This is really just getting on there, seeing how it feels, and obviously we’ll have to progress from there before he’s back in there,” Scioscia said. ”How quickly it comes, we’re not sure.”

Roughly the same prognosis was given for infielder Zack Cozart. He just began to get into ”baseball activities,” Scioscia said, but he’s still in the evaluation phase as he returns from a shoulder injury.

There was no real update on his two biggest stars: Ohtani and outfielder Mike Trout.

Ohtani will be evaluated Thursday Authentic Khalil Mack Jersey , three weeks after he received stem cell and platelet-rich plasma therapy. The Angels hope his elbow will have showed significant enough improvement that he can avoid Tommy John surgery, which would shelve Ohtani as a pitcher for at least a year and possibly two seasons.

What makes Ohtani’s situation unusual, though, is his ability to hit. The Angels could use his bat in the lineup even if he’s not hitting, and that creates question marks about how to move forward.

”We anticipate, if everything goes well on Thursday, he’ll swing the bat before he’s pitching,” Scioscia acknowledged. ”So, we’ll wait until our evaluation on Thursday and we’ll see.”

Trout has avoided the disabled list as he recovers from a sprained right index finger, but he was relegated to designated hitter on Monday for the sixth straight game. The hope was that Trout could test his hand in center field after about a week, which means it could happen any day.

”We’ll wait and see what the medical staff decides as to when he can go out and throw, and progress out to play centerfield,” Scioscia said. ”He’s not going to play centerfield tomorrow. It’s going to take – we’ll see how it progresses when he starts to throw.”

Indeed, there’s a lot of wait-and-see in Scioscia’s world these days.

Jason Witten mostly held it together while announcing he was retiring after 15 years with the Dallas Cowboys to go into TV.

One wavering moment came when the tight end turned to owner Jerry Jones on a stage in front of his family, teammates and club employees in what normally serves as the dining room in the team’s practice facility.

”The hardest part of this decision was knowing that I would never be able to hand you that Lombardi Trophy,” Witten said during his 15-minute speech Thursday. ”I told you back in 2006 that I would not let you down. I hope that in your eyes Ray Nitschke Jersey , I held up my end of the bargain.”

Just days away from turning 36, Witten is leaving to be the analyst for ESPN’s ”Monday Night Football” telecast, a move the network confirmed after Witten’s retirement announcement.

The decision by the franchise leader in games, catches and yards receiving is the same one friend and longtime teammate Tony Romo, the club passing leader in yards and touchdowns, made last year with CBS.

They joined the Cowboys together in 2003 – Witten a third-round pick out of Tennessee and Romo the undrafted quarterback three years from becoming the starter. They left without getting Dallas to an NFC championship game, and the Super Bowl drought for a franchise with five titles is at 23 years and counting.

”Jason has given so much to this team, to this franchise. He emptied the bucket here,” Jones said, responding to a question about that missing Super Bowl after speeches by all three on stage: Witten, Jones and coach Jason Garrett.

”When I look at where we were with the great legacy of our fans that have had 56 years of being around some of the greatest people and names of players ever … to me, no one has ever given more of himself and no one has ever made any bigger impact.”

The circumstances for Witten and Romo were different. The Cowboys were anticipating a 16th season, which would have been a club record, from their 11-time Pro Bowl player. Romo had lost his job to Dak Prescott while injured and was deciding last offseason whether to play elsewhere.

As recently as two weeks ago, Witten suggested he might play until he was 40 and said he ”absolutely” was returning. He acknowledged the offer from ESPN changed things.

”In those moments, those other things didn’t exist http://www.officialflyersproshop.com/authentic-adidas-nolan-patrick-jersey ,” said Witten, set to call the Cowboys’ home game against Tennessee on Nov. 5. ”I was certain when I went through it that I wanted the blessing of Jerry and his family, an opportunity I have to stay around the game.”

Dozens lined Witten’s walk from the entrance to the team’s headquarters, down some stairs and a long hallway to the dining room.

His retirement ceremony, with Prescott and star running back Ezekiel Elliott watching from the same row, came not far from a huge picture of Witten’s signature moment – a 2007 game when he ran nearly 30 yards and was tackled without a helmet after it was knocked off.

The Cowboys hung that picture over the entrance to their indoor practice field long before Witten pondered retirement. He spent two seasons walking under it.

”Whenever young kids come up to me and ask me, `How do you grow up and play for the Dallas Cowboys, and have that type of career?”’ Witten said. ”My answer was always the same, the secret is in the dirt. I was never the most talented, never the flashiest, I relied on grit.”

Witten was also known for durability, holding club records for consecutive games (235) and starts (179). He missed one game, the fifth of his rookie season because of a broken jaw, and returned 23 days after rupturing his spleen in a preseason game to play the 2012 opener.

With 1,152 catches for 12,448 yards Zay Jones Jersey , Witten joins Tony Gonzalez as the only NFL tight ends with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards. His 15 seasons are tied for the most in Dallas with defensive end Ed ”Too Tall” Jones, safety Bill Bates and late offensive lineman Mark Tuinei.

”He’s one of the best and most complete tight ends ever to play this game,” Garrett said. ”The stats and the credentials speak for themselves. They don’t really begin to tell the story. Over the last 15 years, he’s played virtually every play.”

Witten is third on the Cowboys’ list with 68 touchdown catches. He trails Dez Bryant, released last month with 73 TDs, and Hall of Famer Bob Hayes (71).

Without Witten and Bryant, the Cowboys are missing their top two receivers from last year and essentially for the past six seasons. Among the tight ends left behind, only one has a catch in a regular-season game: Geoff Swaim with nine over three seasons.

The Cowboys are high on Blake Jarwin and hope that former Baylor basketball player Rico Gathers can develop after missing his entire second season with a concussion. Dallas drafted Stanford’s Dalton Schultz in the fourth round last week.

”There’s an old saying in pro football, the circus doesn’t stay in town forever,” Witten said. ”And when you’re young, I think it takes on a meaning that when your opportunity comes, grab it. I’ve decided that the time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of Dallas Cowboys.”

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
Johnny Manziel spent much of the first day of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ training camp as an observer.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner watched a lot of the session Sunday Womens Devante Smith-Pelly Jersey , a day after signing with the Canadian Football league club. Manziel threw while working with the five other quarterbacks and did short tosses to receivers, but knelt off to the side or stood with quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison during 1-on-1 pass drills and 7-on-7 sessions at Ron Joyce Stadium.

”That’s because he doesn’t know the terminology, he doesn’t know anything,” Tiger-Cats coach June Jones said. ”Dan was walking through each route as it was called. But (on Monday) guess what? We’re going to walk in and start taking a couple.”

Manziel has plenty to learn about Canadian football. Standing on the field for the first time only served to further drive that point home.

”Spacing is a little bit different on the defensive side if I had to look at anything,” Manziel said. ”On offense, I’ve never ran this many routes that are predicated off of one defender … every route has an opportunity to break three or four different ways, which is different.

”But I think it gives you the versatility and offensive weapons to be able to attack coverages more intensely than it would just running a fixed route. I know it’s going to take some time but now I see it more-so and my expectations are tempered.”

Hamilton’s other quarterbacks include starter Jeremiah Masoli, CFL veterans Vernon Adams Jr., and Bryant Moniz along with youngsters Dane Evans and Chris Merchant of the Vanier Cup-champion Western Mustangs.

Jones said the Ticats aren’t waiting for Johnny Football to become familiar with their offensive terminology and schemes.

”He’s got to catch up because we’ve got guys in there and he will,” Jones said. ”We have plenty of time in camp. I’d say in 2 1/2 weeks he’ll have a handle on everything.”

The 25-year-old former Texas A&M star was selected in the first round – No. 22 overall – by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL draft. He was released in March 2016 after posting a 2-6 record over two tumultuous campaigns.

Manziel actively pursued an NFL contract this offseason, throwing during pro days at both Texas A&M and the University of San Diego, and participating in The Spring League – a development circuit for players overlooked by the NFL.

He has dealt with several off-field issues. In 2016, a domestic assault charge against Manziel in Dallas was dismissed after he took an anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance-abuse program. In a recent interview, he said he’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking.

The CFL approved the signing, saying that in December it began the process to determine if Manziel could join the league. Manziel had to meet certain conditions, including an assessment by an independent expert on domestic violence Bobby Massie Jersey , a review by legal counsel and a discussion with Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

”I’ve been very upfront with my past and the fact that I haven’t been perfect by any means,” Manziel said. ”Obviously, the magnitude of my mistakes in the past are something I’m definitely not proud of but at the end of the day I feel like I’ve come a long way from that person that I was at that time.

”I feel I’ve grown a lot and feel through the mistakes I’ve made they’ve turned me into a better person, they’ve turned me into a man. I’ll never be able to outrun my past . . . the only thing I can do is grow and hopefully be a better person moving forward and I have every intention of doing that.”

Marc-Andre Fleury never believed the expansion Vegas Golden Knights were a team built just for the future, and that losing would be acceptable because it was the inaugural season.

On Sept. 13, the three-time Stanley Cup goaltender said: ”It’s not something I accept. Every guy here wants to win. We know where we’re at, we won’t accept losing. We’re looking at winning some games.”

With help from Fleury, the Golden Knights did a lot more than win some games. They’re one of the most successful expansion teams ever. In any sport.

”It’s a good thing it worked out, so I don’t look like a fool,” Fleury said Friday about his bold preseason statement.

”Every guy here has a lot of pride in the way we play, the way we look at ourselves as a team every night. We all have pride in winning and I think it’s shown throughout the season, and in the (first round of the) playoffs, too.”

Fleury dominated the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. The Golden Knights became just the sixth team to allow three or fewer goals in a playoff series going back to 1980.

With an 0.65 goals-against average Fleury joined a short list of goalies since 1967-68 who have won all four games of a playoff series and kept their GAA to 0.70 or fewer.

Same ole Fleury, different team.

”We played some very sound hockey and when we didn’t, when we were having a bad period or a bad stretch, goaltending was there to help us stabilize Womens Cameron Jordan Jersey ,” Vegas general manager George McPhee said. ”And that’s why he’s here, that’s what he gets paid to do and he does it very well.”

Next up: the San Jose Sharks.

After fans watched a stellar goaltending matchup between Fleury and Kings’ Jonathan Quick, the 14-year veteran faces a San Jose team that had goalie Martin Jones stop 128 of 132 shots in a sweep of the Anaheim Ducks.

”Their goalie is very good; their defensemen also contribute to their attacks, they’re a quicker team than L.A. I think they’ll create more offensively,” Fleury said. ”It’ll be a little more fast pace and a little more open hockey, they’ll be a little more up and down.”

Fleury will prepare with a meticulous approach and tranquil execution that impresses teammates.

”His calmness in the net is unbelievable,” defenseman Shea Theodore said. ”When you’re having little chit chats on the ice and you’ve been hemmed in and they’ve had five or six or seven Grade A chances and he’s been flopping around, you go to talk to him. . He’s just so calm and so patient in the net, I feel it definitely calms our group down.”

Forward Cody Eakin said Fleury always lets his teammates know he is aware of their play.

”It’s just a huge part of his game, tracking pucks, being sharp, or knowing what’s going on around him – he’s phenomenal at that,” Eakin said. ”It gives you confidence when he’s talking to you, or you can talk to him, or skate by and give him a wink. He’s pretty amazing.”

Amazing, like the Golden Knights’ improbable season. And Fleury said they’re just getting started.

”We’re not done here http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/jason-croom-jersey ,” he said, ”hopefully we have a long way to go.”

STATWATCH: Fleury stopped 127 of 130 shots in the first round, a save percentage of .977. His career playoff save percentage is .910. He had two shutouts while allowing three goals in 275 minutes against the Kings.

While Fleury doesn’t get consumed with stats, there is one that matters to him.

”Wins,” he said. ”I’m not out there to prove anything, I just want to win games. If I can help the team get wins, that’s all that matters. If I win and the team wins, everybody’s happy, the coaches, the fans, and at the end of the day that’s why you play.”

The last time Fleury led his team to a first-round sweep was in 2009, when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup – the first of three in his career.

BIGGEST MOMENT: Any one of the three times Fleury hoisted the Stanley Cup was a big moment during his career. But not the biggest, according to him.

”My first game was pretty big, because that’s always been my dream to play in the NHL,” said Fleury, who allowed two goals and stopped 46 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Kings in his NHL debut on Oct. 10 Kyler Fackrell Jersey , 2003. ”I never thought I would make it. But the first time I could play and made some saves in a game, I thought that was so cool.”

Fleury didn’t say where a Stanley Cup with Vegas would rank, keeping his focus on San Jose.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: During an interview on NHL Network, former teammate Ryan Whitney asked the prankster goalie if he had moved on from Olive Garden, which Fleury laughingly said fit his budget back then. Nowadays, Fleury’s pregame meals are catered to his liking by the chefs at City National Arena, the team’s headquarters.

”On game day I always eat the same stuff. I just go with noodles, oil and chicken, a little vegetable, a side salad,” said Fleury, who said he cherishes the vibe on game day, including the drive to T-Mobile Arena.

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe says an injury to his left hand didn’t affect his play in the Bucks’ Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Bledsoe’s left thumb and hand were wrapped after the 92-87 loss on Tuesday night. The right-handed shooter was 5 of 15 from the field.

Bledsoe said Tuesday he hurt the hand during Game 4 on Sunday Jack Mewhort Jersey , but that he felt good and that the injury didn’t affect him.

Bucks coach Joe Prunty said after practice Wednesday that Bledsoe has told him he is fine and ready to go for Game 6 on Thursday in Milwaukee. Prunty says he doesn’t think the injury is affecting his starting point guard.

It’s unclear if center John Henson will be ready for Game 6 after missing the three previous contests with a back injury.

The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

During the mandatory rookie camp back in June, the New York Giants required players to take a yoga class. Running back Robert Martin walked in, looked around at his new teammates and thought, man, this is crazy.

"We usually don't do yoga," he said. "We stretch, but we don't do yoga."

Even as a first-timer, though, Martin immediately knew how the two were different .

"It definitely felt weirder than regular stretching John Gibson Jersey ," he said. "It was a lot harder because you have to sit in certain positions we've never been in before."

Players like New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Giants quarterback Davis Webb prefer yoga because it requires a set amount of time dedicated to the practice. That is the activity . They can focus on their body without worries of what's next and feel an immediate difference afterward.

The poses in yoga are more beneficial than typical stretching because they incorporate all parts of the body into the movements, Los Angeles Chargers Director of Football/Medical Services James Collins said. Stretching is linear. Yoga is non-linear, helping multidirectional joints such as the elbow, wrist, ankle, hip and shoulder.

All of the major joints are encased in a capsule and contain fluid to help prevent friction between bones. Yoga helps maintain the capsules.

"I describe it to (a player) as really thick saran wrap that covers his joint so that the fluid stays in there," said Collins, also the Professional Football Athletic Trainers' Society president. "But at the same time, that saran wrap needs to have its flexibility 鈥?keep it stretched out 鈥?so the join can function properly."

Joint integrity comes down to maintaining mobility Zach Hyman Jersey , he said. Because yoga is a multidirectional exercise, it allows the joint to move in every direction it can.

Take the hip. Downward dog, pigeon pose or runner's lunge are just some of the yoga poses that benefit the hip. Downward dog alone has multiple variations to stretch the hip in different directions.

"But if we lay down on the floor at home and just pull our leg straight up over our head, that's linear," Collin said. "So that joint is only getting work in that direction."

The knee is not multidirectional, he said, which is why it's so vulnerable to getting hurt. It's not made to go certain ways.

National Athletic Trainers' Association president Tory Lindley, who's Director of Athletic Training Services at Northwestern University, believes yoga creates a more conducive environment for muscle lengthening. It doesn't just jump right into poses. It's a progression Womens Jordan Reed Jersey , working through the whole body rather than just parts.

Static stretching doesn't allow that.

"We've gone away from pre-practice stretching," Lindley said. "There's much better benefits from a pre-practice dynamic workout, which is what the vast majority of teams regardless of sport will do. And then post-practice, when flexibility training is beneficial, in most cases that environment is much more about let's get off the field as quickly as we can versus let's take time to dedicate to the stretching or flexibility piece."

The debate isn't if yoga should be done before or after practice, it's when is there time to aside for yoga and yoga alone.

Gwen Lawrence, the founder of Power Yoga for Sport who worked with Giants for 18 seasons, said NFL players should do yoga twice a week with sessions lasting an hour. That's best case scenario and more realistic for the offseason. Right now, Kaleen Lugo gets 45 minutes once or twice a week with the Chargers Pernell McPhee Jersey , depending on their preseason schedule. During the regular season, players should at least do it on their recovery day, whether the team offers it or they do it independently.

It should become a routine so players can develop and advance their personal practice.

"Just a straight sun salutation," Giants linebacker Jordan Williams said of doing progression of yoga moves. "When you start getting that flow through 鈥?warrior, warrior lunge, runner's lunge and then bring that through with downward dog and upward dog 鈥?I love that."

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
On the night of the All-Star Game http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/patrick-dimarco-jersey , Manny Machado will proudly represent the Baltimore Orioles, the only team he’s played for in the big leagues.

It just might be his final appearance in an Orioles uniform. With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline looming, it won’t be long before the four-time AL All-Star is dealt from last-place Baltimore to a contender.

Machado was drafted by the Orioles with the third overall pick in 2010 and has been a starter in Baltimore since 2012. His contract expires after this season, and the Orioles don’t have enough money to keep the 26-year-old shortstop and build a decent team around him.

If there was ever any doubt about their intention, the point was hammered home when manager Buck Showalter removed Machado in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against Texas because the field was messy following a rain delay.

”A month ago he wouldn’t have come out of the game,” Showalter said. ”We know that. You know it.”

Machado does, too. What he doesn’t know, however, is how it might feel to play for another team.

”The only thing I’ve ever known has been the Orioles organization,” he said Monday. ”The drafted me, I came up with them, played with them. So I don’t know anything different.”

Machado wasn’t the only All-Star facing the prospect of switching teams in the next two weeks. Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and pitchers Jacob deGrom (Mets) Kailer Yamamoto Jersey , J.A. Happ (Blue Jays), Blake Snell (Rays) and Brad Hand (Padres) could be headed to contenders.

”Starting pitching is always big during the trade deadline, whether it’s me or somebody else who’s having a good year,” said deGrom, 30, a member of the Mets for his entire career.

The Blue Jays are going nowhere this season in the AL East, but Happ knows he might be going somewhere else.

”I know it’s certainly a possibility,” Happ said. ”But I was talking to one of the guys earlier, he was in a position last year where everybody was telling him he was going to be traded, and it never happened. I can’t imagine going through a month of that kind of anxiety and then have nothing happen.”

With Machado, there seems to be little doubt that he’s headed elsewhere. The only questions now are where, and when.

The rumors Authentic Pekka Rinne Jersey Kids , the massive media crowd around him Monday and the prospect of his imminent departure from Baltimore did nothing to diminish Machado’s joy at being an All-Star again.

”To see the guys around the clubhouse, it’s pretty awesome,” Machado said. ”It’s always a blessing to be here. No one will ever take away how much fun I’m going to have these two days.”

He insists he’s not thinking about whether Tuesday night might be his last in Orioles attire.

”No, no. I’m putting it on and I’m going to represent the organization in the right way,” Machado said. ”If it is, it is. If not, I’ll be there on Friday (in Toronto), back with my teammates.”

Machado would be a solid addition to any contender. He converted from third base to shortstop this season, and has played the position well enough to easily win the fan vote at the position.

”People didn’t think I should have made the move in my walk year, but I did. I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop,” Machado said.

By far the best performer on a very bad team, Machado leads the Orioles in batting average (.315) Authentic Randall Cobb Jersey , home runs (24), RBIs (65) and walks (45).

”We’ll see where he ends up in the next week or two,” Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich said. ”I know we’re one of the teams rumored to be in to get him.”

DeGrom (5-4, 1.68 ERA) would be a welcome addition to any team. The righty wants to win but would prefer it be with the Mets.

”I’ve been here my whole career and really enjoyed my time,” he said. ”I want to get back to where we were in ’15 (a playoff year). I don’t think there’s any better place to win.”

That’s exactly how Happ feels.

”If I could have my choice, I’d like to win with the Jays,” he said. ”That’s my focus until it changes.”

Hand (24 saves) won’t waste time thinking about the possibility of being dealt by the Padres.

”I feel like I’ve been asked my thoughts on being traded for the past year-and-a-half now,” he said. ”Nothing happened last year, so I don’t think my mindset is going to change. I try not to worry about that kind of stuff.”

The Kansas City Chiefs roster overhaul continued on Friday, as the team has traded star cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams. ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news:Chiefs are expected to trade CB Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams, sources tell ESPN. Teams are in final stages of talks and barring an unexpected snag, the trade is expected to be agreed to as early as today.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23 Dan Skuta Jersey , 2018Marcus Peters to LA Rams trade is now officially agreed to, per source; cannot be processed until March 14. But Peters expected to be a Ram.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23, 2018The 25-year-old Peters had been mentioned aplenty in trade talks in the early stages of the offseason. Named to the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons, Peters struggled during the 2017 season, and was suspended by the team following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Week 13. In that game against the New York Jets, Peters picked up a penalty flag and threw it into the crowd.Kansas City has made a handful of sweeping changes since losing to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round. Quarterback Alex Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins, receiving a third round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller in return. The Chiefs will roll with 2018 first round pick Patrick Mahomes as their next quarterback. http://www.officialusafootballs.com/chicago-bears

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By elaine95, 2018-10-07
Buffalo's quarterback competition is now down to two after the Bills traded veteran AJ McCarron to the Oakland Raiders.

The Bills received a fifth-round pick for McCarron.

Buffalo also has released wide receiver Corey Coleman Marcedes Lewis Jersey , a 2016 first-round draft pick by Cleveland whom the Bills acquired last month.

The trade leaves second-year pro Nathan Peterman and first-round pick Josh Allen vying for the starting quarterback job in Buffalo. Peterman had a solid preseason for Buffalo, posting the best numbers of the group, while Allen has shown flashes and a strong arm after being drafted seventh overall in April.

McCarron was initially considered the front-runner to land the starting job after signing a two-year contract in March, but struggled with inconsistent play. He also suffered a right shoulder injury in Buffalo's second preseason game against Cleveland, which hindered his pursuit of the starting job.

McCarron returned to lead the Bills to a late comeback victory at Chicago on Thursday night, though his performance was spotty.

The Bills chose not to hold onto Coleman, who has been a disappointment since the Browns made him the 15th overall selection two years ago. Buffalo traded a seventh-round pick in 2020 for him.

Other notable releases include tight end Nick O'Leary and punter Jon Ryan. O'Leary had been Buffalo's No. 2 tight end the previous two years but had fallen down the depth chart this preseason. Ryan was signed on Aug. 21 after being released by Seattle after 10 years with the Seahawks. Incumbent Colton Schmidt outlasted Ryan in a brief competition.

Wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, a sixth-round pick, remains on the roster after a strong finish to the preseason, as does undrafted receiver Robert Foster. Marcus Murphy earned a backup running back spot behind LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory following a terrific preseason.

Buffalo's roster may not be set as areas of concern remain along the offensive line, where the team is still attempting to replace offseason departures center Eric Wood, guard Richie Incognito and tackle Cordy Glenn.

__

AP correspondent Mark Ludwiczak contributed to this report.

This was not exactly the same shot from Kevin Durant.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals again, yes.

Left wing pull-up, yes.

Back in Cleveland Womens Cameron Jordan Jersey , yes.

Final minute again, yes.

But this one was deeper than his dagger was a year ago – and it cut deeper as well. And on a night where Stephen Curry couldn’t shoot and Klay Thompson wasn’t much better, Durant put the Golden State Warriors on his slender shoulders and carried them to the brink of becoming back-to-back NBA champions for the first time.

Durant’s 33-footer was the final act in his 43-point night, and the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3 of the finals on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the title series for the second straight season. A year ago, his shot from a bit closer – 26 feet, officially – put the Warriors ahead to stay in what became a five-point win. This time, the longer one put Golden State up by six and sent fans starting to head toward the exits.

”Different game, different season, different feel,” Durant shrugged afterward, knowing full well how similar it was to the one he hit last season and knowing what it means right now. ”Just a different vibe around the team.”

No, it isn’t.

That team had a championship vibe. Soon, maybe Friday, maybe not until Monday Charles Clay Jersey , this team will have the same.

This was why the Warriors needed Durant, and this is why Durant needed the Warriors. He was an elite player before he went to Golden State. He’s now about to be a two-time champion because he went to Golden State. And it’s a reminder to the rest of the NBA that when the free-agency shopping kiosks open on July 1, this is the team to be chasing.

They did not have a super regular season. They are a Superteam, without question.

To win any NBA Finals game, on the road, when LeBron James has a triple-double, when they trailed most of the night, when the deficit was as many as 13 early, when Curry and Thompson shot a combined 7 for 27 … only a Superteam can pull that off.

”It’s almost like playing the Patriots,” Cleveland superstar LeBron James said Wednesday night. ”You can’t have mistakes. They’re not going to beat themselves. You know, so when you’re able to either force a miscue on them, you have to be able to capitalize and you have to be so in tuned and razor sharp and focused every single possession. You can’t have miscommunication, you can’t have flaws … because they’re going to make you pay.”

James had a triple-double. He’s three rebounds shy of averaging one in this series. He even had the highlight play of the series, a shot (which was really a pass) off the backboard to himself that he rebounded and viciously dunked. And he’s still down 3-0.

He’s not conceding. But he is clearly tipping his cap to the Warriors Authentic Jameis Winston Jersey , his nemesis in each of the last four Junes and a team that’s one win shy of beating him in three of those series.

”That’s what championship teams do,” James said. ”That’s what championship players do. They rise to the occasion, and that’s what Golden State has done the last four years.”

Durant has made quite a career out of rising to the occasion.

He was amused earlier in this series by a question that suggested the defining moment of his career was the 3-pointer in Game 3 last season. (”You know, I had a pretty solid career before I hit that shot, I felt,” Durant said.) He will be equally amused when he gets asked if the shot he made Wednesday will also be a defining moment. He’s been an MVP, a Finals MVP, an Olympic gold medalist already.

This is just what’s next.

”I was definitely excited,” said Durant, who tends to try and keep emotions to himself. ”It’s hard to make shots at this level in the NBA and I understand that. But at the same time I knew the game wasn’t over.”

It may as well have been. Cleveland got within four on the next possession after Durant’s dagger, but never any closer.

”They have a number of guys that can bail their team out on any play, any game, any possession,” Cleveland’s Kevin Love said. ”And he’s been that for them a number of times. Defenses try to plan for him Justin Faulk Jersey , but when you’re 6-11, 7-feet and you’re shooting a lazy pullup on the left wing from 27 feet that’s pretty tough to guard.”

For the record, Durant made every effort to defer the credit Wednesday night. He didn’t think his shot was the biggest of the game. He thought Curry’s lone 3-pointer in 10 tries – one that put the Warriors up by four with 2:38 remaining – carried more weight, and he might have been right.

But Durant finished it off. The game. The season. The title, basically.

”You know, we’ve got a lot of depth,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”We’ve got a lot of guys who can play, and they’re all chipping in. But we should probably go back to Kevin Durant, shouldn’t we? That was amazing what he did.”

Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Reach him at treynolds(at)ap.org

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