it seems unwise to think he won’t carve out an NBA role.

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It helps me out, guys like Draymond (Green), Crowder, (DeMarre) Carroll, they definitely opened the door for a guy like me, Ojeleye said. Being able to guard the 4 and being able to come off a ball screen. If you can do it all, it just makes you that much more valuable.

And given his work ethic and mentality, it seems unwise to think he won’t carve out an NBA role.

He’s such a hard worker that I wouldn’t bet against him, Duncan said. He’s going to make it work, one way or another. That’s what he does, every single day. I’ve never been around a kid who punches the clock more like a professional every day. I have no doubts he’s going to be successful.
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Irving again, end of the second, end of the third, did some incredible things with the ball, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before doling out more praise for Irving. We had really good athletes, quick guys that make things tough on people guarding him, and he was able to raise up and make a lot of tough shots.

Irving capped off his night by switching hands for a layup between two Boston defenders in the closing minute.

For Lue, the performance wasn’t a surprise, either. For Stevens, it was a tip-of-the-cap moment. For the Cavs, it meant the Big Three were in business. Kevin Love added 17 points, and Irving’s play showed Cleveland could withstand a four-foul first half from its superstar. The latter is exactly what this team needs in a potential Finals three-match against the Warriors and for the foreseeable future.

Game 4 made one other thing clear: Irving should be up to whatever challenge comes next in his role as, in his words, an observer and a leader.

Adversity has a way of really bringing out the best people or it can bring the worst, he said. I’ve been on both sides … You just have a choice to make, and it has to be a fearless approach. I’m not going to waver or show any signs of giving up.

There’s no going back now. Cousins made $19.953 million for lesser results

The Redskins need to be wary about overpaying him in relation to the returns. The good news for Cousins is, he still plays for Daniel Snyder, who tends to do that with free agents.

There’s no going back now. Cousins made $19.953 million for lesser results. He’ll shoot over $20 million per season with big guarantees. Cousins’ signing will be tied more to the inflated QB market and keeping him away from a more desperate team willing to break the bank, like Cleveland.

Cousins puts Washington into a similar situation that Cincinnati experienced with Andy Dalton. The Bengals were forced to pay up for some stability there to match the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger and the Ravens with Joe Flacco, even with a lesser product.

The Redskins have been behind the Giants and Eli Manning. They now know the Cowboys with Dak Prescott at the helm are set up for longer-term, top-flight play. Carson Wentz and the Eagles also have a pretty promising future together. Those are three big reasons Washington needs to cave on Cousins.

Ezekiel Elliott has been outstanding as the league’s leading rusher, but history shows it takes extraordinary circumstances for running backs to win the award. Besides, in the spread-the-wealth world of the NFL Honors, Elliott running away with Offensive Rookie of the Year helps Rodgers.

Regardless if the actual voting comes through in his favor, it doesn’t matter. The Packers already discovered after the many times their defense and running game has fallen apart this season, Rodgers means everything to them. He has given them even more than they’ve ever seen before.

Thunder’s Enes Kanter rooting for Cavs to win NBA Finals

To say Oklahoma City wasn’t pleased when Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Warriors may be a bit of an understatement .

And while the Warriors and the Thunder had some heated moments this season, no one really directly said they were rooting against Durant in his future with Golden State.

That is until Friday morning, when Enes Kanter spoke with Clay Travis on Outkick the Coverage.
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The Thunder center posted one of the more fascinating interviews in a long time speaking of his detention in a Romanian airport, his family and friends’ situation in Turkey and his desire to become a U.S. citizen, but no quote may have been more fascinating than his response to Travis’ question of who he is rooting for in the NBA Finals.

Kanter has already had his run-ins with Durant and the Warriors after the former Thunder star’s defection to Golden State, and it certainly appears those run-ins are going to continue.

Game Kids Christopher Gibson Jersey Lowdown: These were clashes between NFC titans, and the winner won the Super Bowl each season. We just wish the actual games were a little bit closer. Troy Aikman threw for 322 yards and three TDs, including three deep passes to Alvin Harper, and Emmitt Smith scored twice in the first meeting. Dallas jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the second meeting and held on despite losing Aikman to a concussion in the second half. San Francisco took advantage of three first-quarter turnovers in the final matchup, and Steve Young had three total TDs in the victory.

NBA Draft rumors: Kings willing to trade No. 5, No. 10 picks to move up for De’Aaron Fox

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THE RUMOR: The Kings have two picks inside the top 10 in this month’s NBA Draft but are infatuated with Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox and are willing to trade their No. 5 and No. 10 picks in order to select him.

THE DETAILS: Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are expected to be selected 1-2, but after that it gets a bit murky with the 76ers on the clock at No. 3. Fox has rocketed up draft boards and if he isn’t taken by the 76ers, then the Suns are likely to draft him at No. 4. The Kings, seeing no way Fox will drop to No. 5, would likely trade with Philadelphia to guarantee Fox is a King.

Kerr has not coached the team since Golden State’s opening playoff series against the Trail Blazers due to complications from his back surgery. He has, however, rejoined the team for travel and practice. The next step will be getting him to last an entire game on the sidelines.

Despite the long layoff, Brown does not think Kerr’s possible return would be a distraction for the Warriors players.

We have a veteran team. I don’t think it will jolt our guys at all. I know it wouldn’t jolt me, Brown said regarding Kerr’s possible return to the bench. You know, I understand that that’s my job. But Steve is so conscientious about the players — and you know the storyline and all these other things — that he wants to make sure that he feels good enough to come back and do it on a full-time basis and not rock the boat with anyone or not cause a distraction from our team. And I respect that. I’m OK with it however it happens.

Limited Kids Jeff Beukeboom Jersey For the third straight year — and no real end in sight — the Warriors and Cavaliers are facing off in the NBA Finals. Golden State has not yet lost this postseason, and are considered the favorites to hoist the trophy.

Kerr’s return could give them the sentimental boost they need to beat LeBron James and the Cavs.

Carolina finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

So, there you have it. The Astros’ pitching staff does rank No. 1 in the American League in ERA and strikeouts, so it’s not all doom-and-gloom. But for a team that’s gunning for a World Series title this season, they shouldn’t think twice about making a move for another starting pitcher — or two.

The Astros’ farm system ranks No. 3 in baseball, and given that their core is so young — Jose Altuve, 27; Carlos Correa, 22; George Springer 27; Alex Bregman 23 — they can afford to part with some talent to reinforce their rotation.

Joining co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Coleman said losing to the Broncos 21-20 in the season opener a game in which kicker Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal in the closing seconds set the stage for the disappointment to come. Carolina finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

It was almost a hangover effect,Coleman said Tuesday night. I know we didn’t want to talk about it at the beginning of the season because we were trying to press forward. But really, going from the Super Bowl in February and the first game even before the actual technical start of the NFL season was with the same team you just played, all you could think about was the same team you just played.

I think for us, especially the way we lost that game in Denver, it kind of stuck with us. We werent able to put it in the rearview mirror.

Coleman acknowledged other shortcomings that plagued a squad one season removed from a 15-1 record and subsequent romp through the playoffs.

Hyde attributed the improvement to sounder tackling of Elliott and more defensive looks to try and make a rookie quarterback like Prescott hesitate.

Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders says he ‘would benefit’ from adding Tony Romo

NFL fans have been playing general manager for the past couple of months trying to envision what the Broncos would look like with Tony Romo under center.

Game Womens Lamar Miller Jersey Turns out, Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been doing the same thing. He believes the veteran coming to Denver would help the team and Sanders’ own numbers.

‘I believe I would benefit. But one thing about it is: I’m always gonna take it back, and I’m just gonna put it on (general manager) John Elway. In John Elway I trust, Sanders said on NFL Network. And If he does bring him over, I think Tony Romo will fit good in [new offensive coordinator Mike] McCoy’s system.

We’re on the practice field, it’s the warm-up period, what everybody sees in the game when we’re warming up. We’re just throwing a deep ball to the guys over the shoulder, looks all pretty and glamorous. And it’s supposed to be easy.

It’s my first time throwing to Jason Witten. At this point I’m like, ‘Ah I’m nervous. I’ve gotta hit Jason Witten in stride.’ So I throw the ball. It wasn’t as tight of a spiral as it should have been. And Jason, I think if he sticks his hands all the way out, he catches the ball. But I guess this is his moment of showing me how detailed and how precise this league is, and how precise I need to be in everything that I do. And he just simply watches the ball go over his shoulder and fall.

And at this moment my heart just drops. I’m like, ‘Gosh, I just blew my first pass to Jason Witten.’
Prescott, of course, didn’t miss Witten much during the season, as the 34-year-old tight end caught 69 passes for 673 yards and three scores while the 23-year-old passer earned a Pro Bowl selection of his own.

Prescott, Witten and the Cowboys now are favored to beat the Packers in their divisional playoff game Sunday.
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Prescott’s full interview with Clutts can be viewed here.

SN sources: Ex-49ers coach Jim Tomsula a candidate for Saints’ D-line position

A former San Francisco 49ers head coach may be getting back in the NFL.

Two sources tell Sporting News that Jim Tomsula interviewed earlier this week to become New Orleans’ new defensive line coach.

Sam Bradford Limited Jersey Tomsula, 48, went 5-11 as San Francisco’s head coach in 2015 before being fired after just one season. He spent last year out of football.

Tomsula was San Francisco’s defensive line coach from 2007 to 2014.

As first reported by Sporting News, the Saints are in the hunt for a new defensive line coach after firing Bill Johnson.
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He has since accepted the same position with the Los Angeles Rams, Sporting News first reported. End of first quarter. New England held a 131-58 advantage in total yards after the first 15 minutes, but Pittsburgh was driving as the quarter ended. Le’Veon Bell was being examined by Steelers trainers on the sideline after limping off the field.

True story: So, this requires a longer explanation. I covered the Browns-Cardinals game for SN on Nov. 1 of that season, and for no apparent reason, a fully-padded Fitzgerald hugged me in the locker room afterward. I had no idea why. I just said, ‘Thank you,’ and moved on. What a nice guy, for real.

For this playoff game, my buddy Kurt a Browns fan came over as the buffer. We didn’t talk about Phil Dawson. This game was awesome. Green Bay, an underdog, outplayed the Cardinals for most of the game. Palmer threw a fluke TD pass to Michael Floyd on a tipped ball. Rodgers threw his second Hail Mary of the season on the last play and I definitely ran outside and screamed because I didn’t want to wake up those two kids or get my shirt puked on. But once again, I couldn’t settle in for overtime. Fitzgerald caught a 72-yard TD and a five-yard TD. Well played, indeed. That was the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a five-minute span.

Ric Flair pumps up limousine ridin’, jet flyin’ Falcons

Ric Flair is all about football these days. Specifically, the Atlanta Falcons.

In the NFC championship. Against the Packers.

We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t Aaron Rodgers The ManNot according to Flair. That would be Matty Ice. Woooooo!
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This is how you endear yourself to your new teammates, said Merril Hoge and Kevin Negandhi on ESPN’s SportsCenter AM.

Recent Patriots pickup Michael Floyd absolutely trucked Tony Lippet of the Dolphins with a crack back block, springing teammate Julian Edelman for a 77-yard TD.

It was the most replayed moment of the weekend. It was football at it best. No dirty play. No post-play posing.

Just a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit where Floyd appeared to be a missile coming out of the top of your your TV screen.

Ever notice how you hear a phrase you’ve never heard before on NFL TV coverage a€” and all of a sudden everybody’s using it

You don’t typically hear ex-NFL coaches turned analysts speak so negatively about other coaches. The men who’ve served as head coach for one of the NFL’s 32 clubs are a small, elite club who look out for each other. For Cowher to put a bullet through Ryan’s NFL head coaching career a€” when Ryan is still only 54 years old a€” tells me two things.
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One, Cowher is delivering the conventional wisdom on Ryan throughout the league. Cowher’s highly respected. He talks to coaches, GM’s, owners. I don’t think he’d shoot his mouth off about Ryan if he had not had conversations with owners and teams who will be in the market for a head coach this season.

Lenny Dykstra knows who should be Mets manager — and it ain’t Terry Collins

Lenny Dykstra thinks now’s the time for his former team, the Mets, to replace manager Terry Collins with ex-teammate Howard Johnson, Dykstra told The New York Daily News.

The Mets are still in this race, and the fans don’t deserve to go out there and be miserable, said Dykstra, who played with Johnson on the 1986 World Series champion Mets.

I just want to take a proactive approach to this so I can get rid of it as soon as possible, Remy told the Globe. I’ll have surgery in two weeks and deal with it then.

The most important message I have is to see your doctor. Early detection is so important. I feel strong right now. I feel good about the fact we detected it early.
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Remy, 64, played 10 seasons in the majors with the Angels and Red Sox before moving into the broadcast booth with NESN shortly after retirement.

The Massachusetts native was first diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2008 and missed about half of the 2009 season in the aftermath of his treatment.
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Truthfully, I love research projects like this, in large part because draft history offers up nuggets of information I wasn’t expecting to find. Stuff like this: Longtime MLB slugger Darrell Evans was drafted five times (back when MLB had January and June drafts), opting not to sign with the Cubs, Yankees, Tigers or Phillies before finally agreeing to a deal with the Kansas City A’s. Gregg Vaughn was drafted five times, too, before beginning a career that produced 355 big-league homers.

Michael Vick can’t be subtracted from the Falcons story even if he tried,

Vick all but announced his retirement in both the Players’ Tribune and the SI interview. He’s able to bare himself about his unrequited love for the team of which he was the face for that generation, and for most generations.

Now, though, very few, if any, seem to resent this reunion. Everyone knows that without him — for better and worse, through the highest of highs and lowest of lows — this version of the Falcons, one game away from arguably the biggest sports victory in the city’s history, might not exist.

Michael Vick can’t be subtracted from the Falcons story even if he tried, the Falcons tried, a proclamation by the state of Georgia tried. None of them are trying, though. Certainly not Arthur Blank, definitely not Matt Ryan.

Vick once felt subtracted, and once felt as if he had to subtract himself. Not any more, though.

The circle is waiting to be closed. For the franchise Vick defined and once defined him, closure could be just 60 minutes away.

Revis’ attorneys said the preliminary hearing won’t be until March 15, reported. It was originally scheduled for Thursday.

Unless some sort of deal is reached in the meantime, that could leave the Jets to make a decision on Revis’ status for 2017 before the league year begins March 9 without any resolution of his case.

Revis is scheduled to count $15.3 million against the cap in 2017, with $6 million in salary guaranteed. He is due a $2 million bonus if still on the Jets’ roster the second day of the league year, March 10.

Revis has been charged with four felonies after two men claim he knocked them out in Pittsburgh on Feb. 12.avalanche-015_19caa66a1635b3ba-180x180