Cavs’ J.R. Smith held back by security at end of loss to Heat

J.R. Smith didn’t handle his team’s loss to Miami so well.

The injured Cavaliers guard was held back by Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue and escorted off the court by security after yelling at several Heat players following Saturday’s 120-92 loss to Miami.

Smith, out with a fractured right thumb, wasn’t particularly pleased with Heat guard Rodney McGruder for dunking on and shoving Cavs center Channing Frye with just over a minute remaining in Miami’s eventual blowout victory.

“We got J.R. off the floor,” Lue said, via ESPN. “He’s fiery. He’s feisty. He’s ready to get back on the floor. It happens throughout the course of a game. It’s nothing, though.”

The Cavs will surely seek redemption when they host the Heat on Monday at Quicken Loans Arena, though Smith will still be sidelined. On the upside, the veteran guard is expected to return sometime in the next two weeks.

It’s also how Harden has put up numbers this season we’ve only ever seen from Oscar Robertson. By making him a point guard in a pick-and-roll-heavy offense which focuses on pushing the tempo and shooting more 3-pointers than we’ve ever seen before, Mike D’Antoni has simplified the game for Harden to the point where he’s become a walking triple-double. He’s scoring as well as he always has, only now he’s leading the league in assists while pulling down seven rebounds per game.

It takes a unique player to be able to do what Harden has done this season — someone who can score 30 points per game efficiently while also having the vision to get double-digit assists — but there are a number of players who would thrive in their own way if they were in the same situation. From LeBron James to Klay Thompson, let’s look at seven in particular who could have similar individual success if they took over Harden’s role in Houston this season.

The rumor season got a whole lot better when Frazier was scratched from the White Sox’s lineup Tuesday

Elite Kids Derek Watt Jersey Let’s be honest: The Mets need to sell like a grandma selling Super Nintendo games at a yard sale. Their chances of a playoff spot are slim, and if they keep fighting against injuries, things won’t get any better. Duda is an interesting trade chip: He’s in the middle of a pretty good season — he has 14 homers at the All-Star break — and he could offer a team a decent power threat at first base or DH. The fact that the Mets reportedly are willing to deal him to the Yankees is even more interesting, but the cost will be the question.

The rumor season got a whole lot better when Frazier was scratched from the White Sox’s lineup Tuesday, followed by conflicting reports (both real and fake) that the Red Sox and Yankees were close to acquiring him and late-inning relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from Chicago in some sort of blockbuster deal involving prospects. From the looks of the pertinent Twitter timelines, Chicago and Boston got close to a deal, and then New York came over the top.
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Both teams desperately need a corner bat like Frazier’s (16 home runs), and controllable bullpen arms like Robertson and Kahnle are always in high demand. Which AL East contender will win this? What possible set of prospects could get this done? The White Sox know the Red Sox’s system extremely well after last winter’s Chris Sale trade; they’ve also scouted the Yankees’ system, of course, and know the minor league depth the Bombers have accumulated.

Nationals’ Anthony Rendon may be baseball’s best-kept secret

Max Scherzer doesn’t understand it. How can a guy so valuable not be an All-Star?
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It’s really hard for me to swallow that he’s not up here at the table right now, the right-handed pitcher said at a recent news conference recognizing his and four of his Washington Nationals teammates’ selection to the 2017 National League All Star team. I just think he’s had that type of year.

Game Dominique Wilkins Jersey The man to whom Scherzer was referring is Anthony Rendon, the Nats’ third baseman and perhaps baseball’s best-kept secret.

I just remember as a kid seeing Tim Raines going ‘oh my God,’ and now I get to stand next to him, said McGwire, the current Padres’ bench coach who went 0-for-3 in the 1987 All-Star Game. All you did was see them on TV and then you really get to see them and stand next to them. That’s when you get the ‘wow’ factor.

Today, the wow factor takes place on a daily basis. The starting pitchers in the 2017 Midsummer Classic, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer, have each opposed a team in the other league twice this season.

A generation ago, All-Stars and fans alike would have spent all day wondering whether Brewers closer Corey Knebel, who has struck out at least one batter in all 43 appearances this season and leads all relievers with 75 whiffs, would get a chance to face Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge, who leads baseball with 30 homers.

But the matchup happened Sunday, when Knebel struck out Judge with a 97 mph fastball in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 5-3 win.

Will De’Aaron Fox be the bane of Lonzo Ball’s NBA career?

Authentic Jason Kidd Jersey A groin injury kept Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball out of Monday night’s summer league game against De’Aaron Fox and the Kings. A least, that’s what the team said.

Authentic Cameron Payne Jersey Fans of basketball had different theories as to why Ball might sit Monday night. Despite recording a triple-double in his second summer game, Ball has shown some weaknesses in his game — namely shooting — that may have forced the Lakers to be cautious with their first-round pick.

Montana thinks the shake-up, at least in part, is due to the distraction Kapernick caused last season with his national anthem protest.

I think changes were necessary there, he said. I think it will take a year or so to get those guys understanding the system, how it works. I think there was a lot of loss for the game over the past few years with all the distractions, with Colin and all those things.

They needed to clean house, (get) a different atmosphere in that building.

I’m not sure, I think there’s an injury somewhere he probably gets in, Montana said. In most cases, you look at Tim Tebow — a great guy and everybody was talking about him. But what it comes down to is 40 percent completion or even in the low 50s, you can’t win in the league with that. You won’t be in the league very long. It comes down to his play as much as anything.

Everyone thinks it is the stance he took; one of the things you don’t look for is distractions in the locker room. You can go back to Bill Walsh and as soon as there were guys that weren’t fitting in what he was looking for, it didn’t matter how good you were. You weren’t on the team for very long. You have to have people who want the same thing, fighting for the same thing and willing to put in the time.

our Stud honor goes to the league’s star among stars.

What’s gotten into John Wall, anyway? We are accustomed to Wall as an ultra-quick ballhandler capable of barreling to the basket through a sea of defenders, but Wall’s weak spot — perimeter shooting — has been a strength in the postseason. He shot 47.4 percent from behind the 3-point line in six games against Atlanta, averaging 29.5 points and 10.3 assists. He has been just as good with his midrange game, making nearly 50 percent from 16 feet out to the 3-point line.

On a Sunday replete with excellent performances from a variety of NBA stars, our Stud honor goes to the league’s star among stars. LeBron James had 35 points, nine rebounds and six assists in leading the Cavaliers to a 109-102 Game 4 win over Toronto to complete his NBA-record 11th playoff sweep.

James can now sit back and relax while the Wizards and Celtics battle for the right to play his Cavs in the East finals. As for his preferred opponent, James deadpanned, “It doesn’t matter.”

He’s probably right: James’ seventh straight NBA Finals appearance feels like a forgone conclusion, regardless of his next opponent.

While Tony Parker has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs, the Rockets are dealing with an injury to key player of their own. Center Nene left Game 4 in the first quarter with a groin injury and was taken to a hospital for an MRI. His status for Game 5 is not promising.

The series may be tied, but none of the games have been close. In fact, the Spurs’ 11-point win in Game 3 marks the narrowest margin of victory yet.

Hopefully, fans will be treated to more excitement when the teams meet Tuesday in San Antonio.

NBA playoffs 2017: Cavs make history, Bucks obliterate Raptors, Grizzlies take Game 3

Thursday night’s NBA playoff games gave us one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, a brutal blowout and a classic visit to the Grindhouse in Memphis. You know, standard stuff.

The Pacers suffered a demoralizing loss at home in Game 3 against the Cavs and are on the verge of getting swept. The Bucks destroyed the Raptors to take a 2-1 lead in the East’s 3-6 matchup. As for the late game, the Grizzlies fought back in Game 3 for their first win of the series, but the Spurs still hold a 2-1 advantage.

These fans are great, Rondo said Tuesday, via I wouldn’t expect anything else. A couple nice words were said when I walked out of the tunnel, but that’s Boston. They’ve been doing that for me for nine years while I was here, so I don’t expect it [another way].

From 2006-15, Rondo played with the Celtics and was on the 2007-08 team that won the NBA title. After bouncing to the Mavericks and Kings, he landed a two-year, $27.4 million dollar deal with the Bulls last summer.

Despite his three-year absence from wearing a Celtics jersey, he said many folks have been kind to him outside of TD Garden.

Limited Kids Ricky Romero Jersey I’ve been walking the streets the last couple of days, he said. It’s a pretty good welcoming back 鈥?[people ask] for autographs and pictures, so they have to boo me [later]. Obviously I’ve got on a red jersey, so it’s part of it.
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Let’s take a look at what happened in each playoff game, along with the turning points and X-factors that helped shape the final scores.

Gregg Popovich’s old comments on Bruce Bowen don’t make him wrong about Zaza Pachulia

Even the great Gregg Popovich is not immune to the investigators over at NBA Reddit.

Authentic Womens Tom Barrasso Jersey After the Spurs coach went off on Warriors center Zaza Pachulia for his dangerous and unsportsmanlike play on Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, a Reddit user named nowhathappenedwas found some old quotes from Pop defending former Spurs forward Bruce Bowen for the same kind of recklessness. In the 2006 story from the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich addressed a phone conversation former NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson had with Bowen regarding the issue of giving shooters room to land.

Authentic Womens Mike Adams Jersey OH HELLO MR. ALDRIDGE! The big man throws down a vicious dunk over two Warriors defenders to put the Spurs up 30-16 at the end of the first quarter. This is certainly not the start most fans at Oracle Arena were expecting.

Aldridge is playing with supreme confidence so far. The power forward has seven points, three rebounds and three assists with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter. He’s attacking the smaller Warriors defenders. He’ll need to take advantage of the size difference if the Spurs want to have a shot at stealing this one.

The Warriors are cold halfway through the first quarter. They are 4 of 14 from the field but stay in attack mode. The Spurs have already been called for five team fouls (Pau Gasol with two in the first quarter).

Dallas ought to be the favorites to win the NFC East again

Suspensions are nothing new for the Cowboys, who have seen their defensive line take a big hit in recent years. Randy Gregory, a 2015 second-round pick, got a 10-game suspension in 2016 and is currently serving a full one-year ban after failing multiple drug tests. Demarcus Lawrence took a four-game suspension last year, while linebacker Rolando McClain’s career resurgence was cut short by a one-year suspension handed down last season.

Game Kids Derek Watt Jersey The Cowboys finished 12-4 in 2016, yet their defense wasn’t always a strong suit. They managed 36 sacks, a middling 13th-most in the league, while ranking 14th in yards allowed per game. Irving actually had the fourth-most sacks on the team, behind Benson Mayowa (six), Maliek Collins (five), and Tyrone Crawford (4.5).

Dallas ought to be the favorites to win the NFC East again, and Irving’s situation isn’t nearly as dire as Gregory’s. However, they keep losing important role players to drug suspensions on the defensive line, and that lack of depth was a consistent weakness for the team in 2016. The Cowboys will surely hope that first-round draft pick Taco Charlton can be an immediate contributor.

The Clippers could bounce back quickly around Griffin, thanks to the haul they took in from the Rockets — players like Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker should be useful for the Clippers immediately, and there is a draft pick coming next year. If the bounce-back does not happen, though, the Clippers will still have Griffin available as a trade chip in the next year or two, ensuring they don’t lose him with no return.

Game Kids Vincent Jackson Jersey For now, though, Rivers’ current group is taking shape, with Griffin as the centerpiece. He did dangle center DeAndre Jordan in trade talks ahead of the draft last week, and it’s possible that he could look into a new home for Jordan yet again. But the Clippers could not drum up too much interest in Jordan before, and thus will likely bring a Griffin-Jordan frontcourt into next year.

NBA free agency 2017: Miami Heat get first crack at wooing Gordon Hayward

In what has turned into a three-way, free-agency war for Gordon Hayward between the Heat, Celtics and Jazz, it appears Hayward will take his talents to Miami, first — for a visit.

Pat Riley and the Heat will meet with Hayward on Saturday, with the Jazz set to sit down with their star forward on Monday, according to the The Salt Lake Tribune.

Aside from the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Hayward is considered the top prize of the 2017 free agent class.

With Chris Paul off the market after joining the Rockets, the pursuit of both Hayward and Griffin will be even more of a priority for clubs competing for their services.

It has been rumored that Miami wants to sign both Hayward and Griffin, and if that happens, the Heat will be major winners this offseason.

However, Tannehill wasn’t bulletproof. Despite throwing fewer pass attempts per game than any other season in his career, he still threw a dozen interceptions in 13 games, leading to a career-worst interception rate. He threw picks at a rate higher than Blake Bortles or Landry Jones and equal to Brock Osweiler — not the company a franchise wants from a quarterback it’s slated to pay $77 million over the next four years.

A steadily gelling offensive line helped keep him upright in the pocket, dropping his sack rate from 9 percent in 2013 to 6.9 in 2016. While that mark still ranked 27th in the league, it was another improvement on a continuing trend for the Dolphins.

Celtics plan to form superteam with Gordon Hayward, Paul George

The Celtics are trying to load up on talent to compete against the Cavaliers next season, and their plan includes trying to add Gordon Hayward and Paul George, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Markus Wheaton Kids Jersey As Wojnarowski notes, the blueprint of their plan can be a bit challenging. The Celtics first need to convince Hayward to sign in free agency, which doesn’t start until July 1. Boston won’t make an offer for George before it knows for sure Hayward will sign. If that fails, the report states Boston’s Plan B will be to look at Blake Griffin in free agency.

Limited Kids Riley Reiff Jersey Another element to this deal is the fact Hayward and George will cost the Celtics a lot, so the team will need to make a lot of changes in order to stay under the salary cap. CBS Boston took a look at how this would be financially possible, and while it’s a possibility, the team would be losing plenty of valuable players.

For the Pacers’ front office, though, a trade with the Celtics makes the most sense. Wojnarowski reports Indiana is desirous of the young players and future draft picks that Boston is uniquely able to offer.

LeBron was drawing a line, implying that his Miami and Cleveland championship teams had been built differently than the Warriors. Their team was already kind of put together, James said during the Finals. For me, when I left [Cleveland] to go to Miami, we had to build something. We brought in eight or nine guys, and we had to build something, and when I came back here we had to build something again.