Veritable ballet master Zito Madu on how Mike Conley is a predator in sheep’s clothing.

There was a good deal of saltiness on Sunday I’d like to share with you. First up, a media member asks Steven Adams and Westbrook — sitting together at the podium — about the failures of Westbrook’s supporting cast. Westbrook did not appreciate that question.

Let’s stay with Rockets-Thunder. Check out Houston’s bench completely losing their minds laughing at Andre Roberson, who is struggling from the free throw line. Sheesh! That’s exceptionally rude!

And finally: After an in-game confrontation, Jimmy Butler flatly calls Marcus Smart’s bluff and declare that the young Celtic is not about that life.DAMN.

Veritable ballet master Zito Madu on how Mike Conley is a predator in sheep’s clothing.

Robin Lopez stays weird, unties and then ties Jae Crowder’s shoe after Crowder kicks away Lopez’s own shoe.

Steve Kerr spoke about his health issues and seems to be in quite terrible shape. Best wishes to him. (Did you know he broke an NBA rule by taking off his sports coat in Game 2, and that rule is referred to as the Stan Van Gundy Rule?)

Game Mens Ameer Abdullah Jersey No one’s really paying much attention, but Draymond Green is trash talking the Hades out of Moe Harkless.

The main reason of the collapse was also a hot topic in the post game press conference. When Steven Adams was asked about the team’s struggles, Russell Westbrook interjected saying that it was the entire team, not just one player out there.

I don’t wan’t nobody to try to split us up, we all one team. Regardless if I go to the bench, if Steven is on the floor, if I’m off the floor, we in this together. Don’t split us up. Don’t try to split us up, make us go against each other.

Game Mens Manti Te’o Jersey Either way, the Thunder are now down 3-1 and are headed to Game 5 in Houston. They need to figure out something or their season will be over soon.

How John Ross III became Mr. 4.22, the fastest man in NFL draft history

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At Washington, John Ross was the man, racking up 17 touchdowns and over 1100 receiving yards in 14 games. The degree of difficulty will increase significantly now that he’s a Cincinnati Bengal, but Ross has already overcome plenty to make it this far. This is his story.

Youth Justin Williams Jersey The first time he touched the ball in high school, it was a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD
When Ross was just 14 years old, he was set to return the opening kickoff in his first football game. He asked his coach what to do when he got the ball. His coach simply said, Run, and do not let anybody tackle you!

The other guy returning asked the coach what to do if they kicked it to him, to which the coach responded, Give it to [Ross].

Ross ended up taking the kickoff back 100 yards, and it was the start to what has been a remarkable career on the gridiron.

Ross felt like everybody wanted football for him more than he wanted it for himself. He wanted to just pick up his grades and find something else for his future.

His coach called his grandmother to explain what was going on. She told Ross that he wasn’t going to quit. She said, I kept you out of trouble all these years. Football is for you.

His grandmother told him, Every game you gonna be at, I’ll be there with you. Don’t forget I’m your No. 1 fan. I told him that from day one. Since then, Ross has thrived.

Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer had an interesting comp for Monk recently: Blazers guard C.J. McCollum. Both players are about 6’3, can get hot from deep in a hurry and thrive off dribble pull-ups. Monk is a superior athlete and McCollum is a better ball handler, but it’s an interesting comparison. The Mavs would be just fine with adding a scorer of McCollum’s caliber in this spot.

Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Sergei Bobrovsky are the NHL’s Hart Trophy finalists for league MVP

The 2016-17 season has been the year of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. Unsurprisingly, both were named finalists for the Hart Trophy, along with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on Monday evening.

Buster Skrine Elite Jersey The NHL’s MVP award has oftentimes gone to the player with the most points by the end of the season, but this year is a two-horse race with Crosby in the mix.
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McDavid, just a year removed from his rookie season with the Oilers, posted 100 points on Edmonton’s roster. The 20-year-old almost single-handedly lifted the Oilers to a playoff position with his 30 goals, 70 assists, and a league-leading 1.22 points per game over a full season.

On the other hand is Crosby, who overcame another concussion at the start of the season to post 89 points in 75 games for the Penguins. His points per game pace of 1.19 is second only to McDavid and his 44 goals on the season are the league’s highest this year and his highest goal total since the 2009-10 season.

Bobrovsky, however, is a bit of a surprise. The Blue Jackets netminder is a Vezina Trophy finalist, and his .931 save percentage led the NHL over 63 games played. Bobrovsky won 41 games in the net for Columbus this year, third overall in the NHL.

There will likely be debates over whether another player could have slotted into Bobrovsky’s slot, such as Nikita Kucherov ¡ª who posted 85 points in 74 games.

The Hart Trophy will be awarded at the NHL Awards on June 21 in Las Vegas.

Dobbs frequently struggles with his underneath accuracy and delivery

“Much of the punditry occurring right now says Allen is a top five pick on Thursday evening, although some small-minded simpletons have him falling out the top ten because of arthritis in his shoulder that Allen has stated will not affect his career in the NFL. You can look at his Combine numbers and be underwhelmed and that’s all well and good, but this is as pure a “look at the tape” pick for any team in the draft. Turn it on and realize you have a franchise player ready to go. As far as character goes, there are not too many who can outshine him, either.” — Read More at Team Speed Kills

Allen is an intelligent lineman who adapts well to whatever offenses can throw at him. However, his combine numbers failed to stand out, painting him as merely an above-average athlete compared to some of the other edge-rushing defensive ends available in 2017. As a result, his big numbers may have been the result of playing alongside scores of NFL talent in Tuscaloosa — a bevy of other players that kept opposing offenses from focusing on him.

His speed turning the corner may not hold up against NFL offensive tackles, forcing him to move inside more often and stripping some of the versatility that makes him such an exciting prospect. If he’s going to stick as an interior lineman, he’ll have to add a bit more bulk — though his solid lower-body drive helps mitigate any lack of pounds in the trenches, his sub-300 pound status may prevent him from being a three-down player in the NFL.

Dobbs frequently struggles with his underneath accuracy and delivery. His throwing motion causes him to air mail passes, too. Plus, his footwork needs improvement.

But Dobbs’ biggest flaw is turnovers. He threw 29 interceptions and was sacked 65 times in four seasons. The former Vol isn’t afraid to take chances — as he did here last season against Appalachian State, an effort that led to a fumble recovered by Tennessee — but ball protection is paramount at the quarterback position.

2017 NFL draft announcers: Each team’s player guests for 2nd and 3rd rounds

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The NFL draft’s annual tradition of booing the garbage out of commissioner Roger Goodell has come and gone, with Philadelphia delivering a powerful rendition. For the rest of the draft, other people will handle pick announcements. Philly might boo them, too.

Choate: I suspect you won’t find a bigger Dorian Johnson enthusiast than me, but even acknowledging that fact, this is an ideal marriage of need, round, and fit.

Johnson is already solid in pass protection and figures to be a fine run-blocking guard at the NFL level once he has a little experience under his belt. He’ll have an easier time learning on the job next to Alex Mack and Ryan Schraeder. He’ll need to work on his consistency and effectively lock down some of the more agile defensive tackles in the NFL to really excel, but he should be able to step right in as a starter for Atlanta. The Falcons, meanwhile, address their two most glaring 2017 needs in the first two rounds, snagging two immediate starters.

I don’t view guard as the team’s biggest need — I took Derek Rivers in the first round with Forrest Lamp on the board, after all — but Johnson is simply too good to pass up here. I genuinely think he’ll be an above-average starter in the NFL for 8-10 seasons, hopefully all of them with the Falcons.

Game Mens Danny Amendola Jersey Analysis: If Choate is at the front of Dorian Johnson fanboy line, I’m right behind him. Although I don’t rate him incredibly high, I think he’s an immediate starter at the next level. For a good team, I’m more in favor of filling holes early than taking the best player available. Johnson would slot into the starting lineup straight away and help bolster Atlanta’s blocking.

Teez Tabor adds ballhawking skills to Lions secondary

Limited Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Jersey Teez Tabor might be best known for his name change, but the former Florida cornerback is a ballhawk who can make a major difference on defense. On Day 2, the Detroit Lions added the turnover machine to their secondary, ignoring his poor Combine numbers and selecting Tabor with the 53rd pick in the second round.

The former Gators cornerback has the instincts and aggressiveness to become a playmaker on the outside. Lining up opposite Darius Slay in Detroit could be a perfect scenario for the young defensive back.

Bakers draft stock may be high now because of what he did at Washington, but he was a highly-touted prospect as a recruit, too. According to the 247Sports Composite, Baker was the No. 1 prospect from the state of Washington and the No. 6 ranked athlete,or player without a designated position, nationally. His days at Bellevue High School featured three straight Class 3A state titles, and Baker was named The Associated Press and Seattle Times State Player of the Year in 2013. He also participated in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which features the nations top recruits each year on the rosters.

Baker was actually committed to play at Oregon during his recruiting process. He visited Washington in Jan. 2014, and on Signing Day the next month, he signed with the Huskies. When Chris Petersens staff arrived in Seattle in 2013, it made landing Baker the top priority.
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It was the No. 1 thing we had to get done when we first arrived here,co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said via ESPN. All you had to do was watch the tape — he was a once-in-a-decade type of a player.

Once Baker got to UW, he started all three seasons from 2014-16, including as a true freshman. During his Huskies career he totaled 200 tackles, along with 13.5 for a loss.

Another positive for the NFLRA is the leagues decision to loosen restrictions on touchdown celebrations.

Damian Lillard scored a career-high 59 points in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 101-86 win over the Utah Jazz on April 8. He did it without a turnover, scoring the third-most points without a throwaway since 1983, and the win pushed Portland a game and a half past the Denver Nuggets for the West’s eighth seed.

It was a great night for Lillard, maybe the best of his career.

But instead of keeping the game ball for himself, the 26-year-old point guard made a noble decision. Lillard sent the rock to Joe Johnson, who scored the 20,000th point of his highlighted career at the Moda Center.

I know I was going to take the game ball, but I think it was [his] 20,000th point, Lillard said in his postgame interview. So I told them to give it to him. You know, it’s an accomplishment for him as well.

Another positive for the NFLRA is the leagues decision to loosen restrictions on touchdown celebrations.

Game Youth Nicklas Backstrom Jersey Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then were trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what hes doing in the end zone, Green said. We dont really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great.
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The issue well still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether its a foul or not a foul, hopefully well get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.

C.J. McCollum scored at will against the NBA’s best defense

Eat like the French, drink like the British, and play basketball like C.J. McCollum, because he’s unbelievably good at this sport. The Portland Trail Blazers’ costar rattled off 27 points in the first half in a blistering performance, keeping Portland with the Golden State Warriors step for step in the two team’s first 24 minutes of postseason play and leaving the game tied at 56 at halftime.

“We are proud to announce Gerard as the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history,” said Golden Knights general manager George McPhee said . “He is an experienced head coach, has had success at multiple levels and has a great reputation amongst the players who have played for him. We undertook a very detailed due diligence process over the last several months and canvassed a number of qualified head coaching candidates to ensure we found the best coach for our group. And we believe we have found that coach in Gerard.

“We look forward to working with him to build a team that our fans and our community are proud to support.”
Gallant was not out of a head coaching job for long, as he was fired in November from the Florida Panthers organization over differences in team direction. The 53-year-old led the Panthers to a franchise-best 47 wins and 103 points in the 2015-16 season, earning him a nomination for the NHL’s coach of the year award.

The former Panthers’ coach wasn’t the only man on the market for Vegas. Over the course of the last few months, Claude Julien, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff, Darryl Sutter, Michel Therrien, and Jack Capuano were all made available. Of course, Julien was picked up by the Canadiens and Hitchcock is going to Dallas, but it’s been quite the glut of choices.

Vegas team owner Bill Foley said on a radio show yesterday that the new head coach will be “flexible” and “responsive” to the team’s needs.

In 328 NHL games coached across the Blue Jackets and Panthers, Gallant has a 152-140-31 record.

Which NBA Playoff series interests us most?

We made it everybody! Another regular season is in the books and its finally time put DNP-rest and tanking behind us to concentrate on the postseason. We dove into all eight postseason series on this playoff edition of the Drive & Kick podcast.

We start out West with the Clippers and Jazz, which looks like the most competitive series on the board. Its also the one with the most on the line. Both L.A. and Utah have massive offseason decisions to make.

We also have a Russell Westbrook-James Harden matchup in the first round. Those MVP votes will be put to the test early.

Limited Womens Rasual Butler Jersey In the East we started with the Celtics and Bulls. I think this will be tight. Gonz thinks it will be a walk. The best series in the East should be Toronto and Milwaukee, though.

Although the majority of Lynch’s fame has come on the west coast, his first NFL home was out East. Lynch was selected by the Bills 12th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. Lynch knew that Buffalo was in New York… but didn’t realize it wasn’t New York, New York.

I didnt know what to expect, I just knew I was going to New York, Lynch told E:60. I thought I was gonna be out there with Jay-Z, and then when I finally landed in Buffalo… [there was] slush on the ground. It had just finished snowing. I didnt [know anything about snow].
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Its a credit to the sheer magnitude of Embiids 786 minutes that hell finish second on my ballot. Its also an indictment on the rest of this underwhelming rookie class. Had the season ended when Embiid underwent surgery, this wouldnt have been a contest. But we still had half a season to play, and Brogdon has been a steady contributor throughout the campaign.

The fact that he is 24 years old doesnt bother me when you consider that hes only 16 months older than Saric, whos been playing professionally since he was a teenager. It certainly doesnt bother me any more than calling Embiid a rookie when hes been in the NBA for three years.

The first woman to run the Boston Marathon did it again 50 years later.

Switzer finished the 2017 race with at time of 4:44:31. Fifty years ago, she did it in four hours and 20 minutes — a difference of just 24 minutes.

Switzer is one of the most influential women in distance running, but is often left out of the pantheon of world-changing sporting achievements. Now, on the anniversary of her run, Kathrine’s story deserves to be told again.
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Kids Jon Singleton Jersey Speaking to ESPN, Switzer’s story begins in her childhood home shortly before attending high school. She told her parents she wanted to be a cheerleader, to which her father responded:

A year later, I spoke to Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee, who was very much here to talk about Boulware’s new look.

“First of all, let’s talk about Ben beard,” he said. “I don’t know what he’s got going on. He’s got a little patch of hair up there. He got more hair in his beard than he have on his own head. I feel like he oughta trim that up and put it up top a little bit.”

Boulware’s maintenance only recently expanded to include beard oil. Back in December, he spoke about being called out by a cashier for having dry whiskers.

So that’s four teams out of 76. Not impossible. To give you an idea of just how possible it is, Hoyt Wilhelm was 4 for 76 at the plate in 1959. Whenever he got a hit, it was like a team with a 2-10 start making the postseason.

Now for the bad news: 64 of those 76 teams finished under .500. It makes sense that so many of them did, because it isn’t just bad luck that made most of these teams start 2-10 or worse. Most of them were awful teams, too. The 1962 Mets and 2003 Tigers, for example, were famously bad.