Porter takes advantage of DeMar DeRozan watching the ball

Sonny Gray, A’s. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that “once Quintana went off the board, Oakland’s Sonny Gray stepped from the on-deck trade circle to the plate,” and the surprising Brewers, according to multiple reports, have showed the most interest in the 27-year-old right-hander. He broke out in 2015, when he was 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA and an All-Star but has been bothered by injuries. A plus: He can’t be a free agent until after the 2019 season and is making only $3.6 million this year.

Gerrit Cole, Pirates. GM Neal Huntington hasn’t had “a real conversation about Gerrit, and I don’t see us doing so,” he told Peter Gammons (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The right-hander, 26, is under club control for two more seasons. Huntington told Gammons that “to go move Cole and [Andrew] McCutchen and throw up a white flag is a bad message to the players.” Posturing for a better deal maybe?

Michael Fulmer, Tigers. Sure, GM Al Alvila would prefer to deal Justin Verlander (or Jordan Zimmermann) over Fulmer, 24, who is 10-6 with a 3.06 ERA. But “I think Al is being forced to listen,” an unidentified NL executive told the Boston Globe. “The Tigers could get a huge haul for Fulmer, but they’re trying to get their payroll down and get younger. Trading Fulmer is not necessarily the way to do it.”

Here, Porter takes advantage of DeMar DeRozan watching the ball. Notice how he doesn’t just sprint towards the basket once Wall makes his move.

Porter does a good job of reading how the Raptors are defending Wall and makes himself available for a pass as soon as Wall has some breathing room. It goes to show how cutting can be a skill, not simply a matter of lucking into being in the right place at the right time.

Lillard on Sunday also became the first player in Blazers history to make 1,000 3-pointers.

The 101 points Irving, James and Love combined for marks a Cavaliers franchise record for a trio.

The Lakers took the loss despite playing about as well as could be expected. They shot 52.9 percent from the field and turned the ball over a season-low six times.

This was a game Cleveland had to have — not necessarily for standings sake, although their lead over the Celtics for first place in the East certainly isn’t insurmountable; more so to save face, considering the unpopular decision to rest their three stars in Saturday night’s nationally-televised game against the Clippers.

Damian Lillard dropped a season-high 49 points as he carried the Trail Blazers to a 115-104 win at Miami. He was remarkably efficient, making 14 of 21 shots, including 9 of 12 from 3-point range.

Lillard, an All-Star Game snub, has been one of the best players in the NBA since the break. His 29.8 points per game since then are surpassed only by Russell Westbrook’s 34.5, per CBS Sports. Portland (32-37) is 9-4 during that span.
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Lillard on Sunday also became the first player in Blazers history to make 1,000 3-pointers.
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This is on the 30 NBA teams, and all their openings over the years, that kept passing him over. After all the interviews, all the years on the bench, all the hands-on-tutoring, all the osmosis of working next to four head coaches on five franchises, all the times running the show in summer league, the mountain of off-season and in-season work.

All the dues he paid. All the dues some coaches are constantly told have to be paid, right before someone with less experience, or no experience, or only college experience, bogarts the line ahead of you.

NBA Draft 2017: Harry Giles is the most volatile first-round prospect in recent memory

On July 23, 2015, Harry Giles stepped onto the floor at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, surrounded by fans on one side of the arena and a cavalcade of college coaches and media on the other. In the front row alone, Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie, Kentucky’s John Calipari, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and his eventual college coach, Mike Krzyzewski — surrounded by assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer — sat and watched as Giles displayed the dizzying array of physical gifts that made him the No. 1 player in high school basketball by most scouting services by the time the summer ended.
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That day, Giles ran the floor like a gazelle, moved laterally like a player six inches shorter, and explosively leapt with ease. His lean, wiry, 17-year-old frame belied the strength within — he held his position on the block and overpowered weaker AAU players who couldn’t keep up athletically. It was clear his skill level in terms of shooting or creating offense was still a work in progress, but he was a versatile monster on both ends of the floor who controlled the game.
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Celtics (37-21) at Pistons (28-30) 6:00 p.m. ET — Boston needs to bounce back after an ugly loss to Toronto on Friday that saw tempers flare on both sides. The Pistons have an abundance of quality players, but they can’t get the same guy to step up on a consistent basis. Isaiah Thomas has been one of the best players in the NBA this season.
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You don’t want to overreact to three games, but something doesn’t seem right. Jrue has the look of a guy who hasn’t yet returned from the break, rather than one galvanized by his team’s acquisition of another superstar.

So what is actually going on? Is he overly flustered by the nearly impossible burden of pleasing two bigs who thrive with the ball in their hands, and aren’t really accustomed to playing any other way?

Karl-Anthony Towns’ father pondering lawsuit against Timberwolves, mascot

The lawsuit, should he file it, would be for negligence after the team’s mascot fell into Towns, causing an injury. The 54-year-old says he suffered a significant leg injury in the Jan. 26 game against the Pacers after the mascot slid down the arena stairs and ended up crashing into a chair, which then hit Towns’ knee, causing considerable pain, according to SI.

Elite Womens Dede Westbrook Jersey Even though they suffered a 126-98 loss, the Suns have to come away impressed with this starting five. There were three double-doubles among the starters with Chriss (23 points, 11 rebounds), Len (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Ulis (10 points, 12 assists) playing well. Then there’s Booker, who led the team in scoring with 28 points and has played well all season long.

Elite Womens Luke Glendening Jersey The lineup was younger than seven of the eight NCAA Tournament teams that played Thursday night, with only Purdue being older. The younger players were given more playing time as veterans sat because of the Suns’ poor record (22-49 entering the game).

We view it as open. Any championship window, no matter how small that window is, I think if you recognize it, you have to go for it. We think, as long as we have this roster, we are capable and have the potential to do it. Last year, we had injuries in the playoffs. The year before, we blew a 3-1 lead, but nobody talks about the fact that Chris missed the first two games of that series because of a hamstring injury. We had to deal with the (former Clippers owner Donald) Sterling mess the year before. I don’t know if it’s the Clippers’ curse or whatever, but we’ve had to deal with a lot at a bad time. For our group, we look at this postseason as another potential championship. That’s how we’re looking at it. First thing’s first: we need to get out of the first round.

Phoenix Suns Gorilla slides into action, pounces on stray object during play

Some sports mascots might look lame (averting my eyes from you, Pierre the Pelican), but they all need to be athletic to do what they do on the field, court and ice. Case in point: The Suns Gorilla.

Phoenix’s mascot turned into a simian savior Tuesday night during the Wizards-Suns game, when he dived onto the floor during play to remove an object that had rolled onto the court. The Suns say it was a “rogue drumstick,” which could have caused an injury if an unsuspecting player or official had stepped on it.

Fox Sports Arizona reports the Gorilla’s “DE-fense” drumstick went astray, but at this point we don’t care who’s responsible. We’re just glad a person in a gorilla suit made like a superhero to save the day (or at least save someone from turning an ankle).

But there’s a case against Wade getting the ultimate honor. He never was a league regular-season MVP, finishing in the top three in voting only one time. To get a statue, a player should have won the regular-season award at least once and been among the top voters a handful of times. On our scorecard, players who get statues are all-time greats, preferably candidates for Mt. Rushmore. We love Wade, but he’s not in that rarified air.

In addition, two of Wade’s three titles came as he was cast as the No. 2 option behind James. He was Finals MVP in 2006 when the Heat defeated Dallas. But he led the NBA only once in scoring and was 40th in scoring when he left, with a shade over 20,000 points. When he’s through, he’ll likely finish out of the top 30 all-time in that department. Sorry, no statue in Wade County.saints_016-223x223

Why you shouldn’t involve baseball in your family’s gender reveal

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Gender reveals are taking over the internet. They’re obviously special moments for those involved and if done correctly, they have the chance to go viral. But if something goes terribly wrong, they’re definitely going viral.

So with that said, involving batting practice in your gender reveal is probably a bad idea.

What if you really get ahold of one and send a blazing comebacker at your wife? Also a terrible outcome.

It seems like a lose-lose scenario. If there’s a bad toss, or dare I say, you whiff, the ball might explode and reveal the baby’s gender while you stand there looking silly. If you make solid contact with the ball, sending it back toward the pitcher and for some reason it doesn’t break, the pitcher better be a Greg Maddux-level fielder on the mound to avoid catastrophe.

Memphis Grizzlies Authentic Jersey It’s time to take batting practice out of gender reveals and come up with a better idea.

Baseball has cracked down on PEDs in the game since the start of this century, so what’s causing the sudden surge in the long ball department? Players are bigger and stronger, yes. The ballparks are more hitter-friendly, sure. But did Major League Baseball decide to wind the balls juuuust a little tighter this year and give the game a jolt of excitement? We’re not apt to buy into conspiracy theories around here, but man, that’s a lot of home runs

NBA free agency: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope now unrestricted as Pistons renounce rights

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is now free to sign with any NBA team after the Pistons renounced his rights Friday, ESPN reported.

The shooting guard had been a restricted free agent, but with Detroit set to acquire Avery Bradley from the Celtics in a trade reported earlier Friday, any possibility of Caldwell-Pope remaining in Motown disappeared.

You can make an argument that Lowry was a top-five point guard in the NBA last season, and he would have certainly made All-NBA if he hadn’t missed 22 games late in the season. Over $30 million per season is what top-15 NBA players cost now, and the Raptors have done well to get it on a shorter term given that it’ll be for his 31 through 33 aged years.

Avery Bradley is headed to the Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris, the teams announced Friday. The Celtics also are sending a 2019 second-round pick to Detroit.
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Francona was supposed to manage the American League’s All-Star team on Tuesday, but bench coach Brad Mills will now handle that duty in his place

Mills has taken over for Francona since the manager’s most recent trip with the club, to Detroit last weekend, but he admitted not having Francona around is difficult.
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Tucker’s long-range accuracy plays a significant role in shaping coaching strategies from both Baltimore and the opposition regarding field position. But ideally for the Ravens, the offense will generate more touchdowns in 2017 so Tucker doesn’t again have to account for such a high percentage (41.1) of Baltimore’s overall scoring.

Such improvement also would increase the chances that Baltimore can improve on last year’s 8-8 record. Asked to provide a specific reason for optimism among Ravens fans about that happening, Tucker said, Time will tell how good we can be. We haven’t even gotten into training camp yet.

Raptors to trade DeMarre Carroll to Nets in salary-clearing move

The Raptors are trading forward DeMarre Carroll to the Nets, as Toronto looks to clear salary-cap space after signing Kyle Lowry to a three-year, $100 million deal, ESPN.com reports.
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Carroll has two years and $30 million left on his contract, and removing him from the books helps the Raptors avoid paying a luxury tax.

It was scary leaving Toronto, a place where people really loved and supported me, and I wasn’t sure if that great feeling would follow me. When I arrived in Miami, I was just hoping for glory and mention amongst the immortals of basketball. What I got was so much more.
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An 11-time All-Star, Bosh left Toronto after seven seasons to join the Heat in 2010. Alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, Bosh helped Miami win back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.

Bosh, 33, played in just 44 games during the 2014-15 season and only 53 games in the 2015-16 season because of blood clots in his lungs. He was not cleared to play last season, and his career is unlikely to resume after last playing in February 2016. Nonetheless, Bosh’s legacy will live on in the rafters at American Airlines Arena after Heat president Pat Riley announced, the number ‘1’ will never be worn by another player.

Bosh’s full letter to Miami can be read here.

It’s a funny thing about NBA roster moves.

“It was great,” Horford said. “I took advantage. I made sure I gathered myself and it was awesome, I feel like it was a big lift for us.”

It was a highlight for Horford in a game that ranks among his best as a Celtic: 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 5 for 5 from the free-throw line, nine assists and seven rebounds. It was also an exclamation point to a Horford postseason revival in the Celtics’ last three wins, following the wave of criticism that dogged him after Boston lost the first two games of the series.

It’s a funny thing about NBA roster moves. For years, fans in Boston lamented the fact the team had been unable to lure top-tier free agents. They got one when the Celtics signed Horford, an All-Star for the Hawks last year, to a max $113 million contract. But many of those fans spent the year largely unimpressed with their big prize. Horford averaged just 14.0 points this season, one of his lowest outputs, and 6.8 rebounds, the fewest of his career.

Horford did average a career-high 5.0 assists, however, helping Boston’s offense as a facilitator rather than a finisher. So while there was disappointment among large swaths of Celtics backers, there was satisfaction from Horford’s coaches and teammates.

Let’s take a look at our predictions for each first-round matchup in the Western Conference NBA playoffs:

The Warriors enter the playoffs having won 15 of their last 16. That sort of dominance is exactly what teams should strive for heading into the playoffs, and Golden State has Kevin Durant back after a knee injury cost him all of March.

I don’t know what it was. They played well and we didn’t.

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Harden finished with just 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting and turned the ball over six times before fouling out with 3:15 remaining in the game. Houston’s MVP candidate didn’t even attempt a shot before knocking down a 3-pointer with 6:18 remaining in the second quarter.

I really didn’t have a rhythm at the beginning of the game, Harden said. As a team, and as a unit, we just didn’t have a rhythm and they capitalized on that.

Everything falls on my shoulders. I take responsibility for it. It’s tough, especially the way we lost a Game 6 at home. It happened, now we move forward.
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Harden said the Rockets did not take the Spurs lightly even though San Antonio was without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard because of an injured ankle.

Some nights, life hits you in the face, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. I know they feel as bad as I do and this is going to hurt and linger. Hopefully this will spur us on.

Just watching him wince a little bit when the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a long shot (to play Wedneday). But if there’s anybody who will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo because of the competitor he is. He obviously wants to get back out there and is doing everything he can to put himself in that position, knowing it’s still a long shot that happens.

Rondo has played through tough injuries before, but this will be a hard one to overcome. Even though he’s left the door open for a return in this series, it seems unlikely at this point.