Sixers finish 3rd in NBA merchandise sales behind Warriors and Cavs

The Philadelphia 76ers were the No. 3 merchandise seller in the NBA this regular season, behind only the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, according to sales on the league’s official online store released Tuesday morning.

It’s the highest ranking the Sixers have had since they finished the 2002-03 season in the same position.

Spears: Giannis Antetokounmpo and the No. 7 seed Milwaukee Bucks will knock out the injury-plagued Boston Celtics. Losing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will be too much for Boston to overcome. All-Star balloting showed fans are high on Giannis. CBS’s “60 Minutes” has featured the Bucks star. It’s time for the Greek Freak to make some playoff noise.

Herring: Not sure if I’d quite go as far as to predict it — I guess I don’t see a true upset in this round, as lame as that sounds — but I could absolutely see the Pelicans beating the Blazers. Portland’s guard play is better, but Jrue Holiday is the most well-rounded player in the backcourt on either team, and he’s capable of helping New Orleans steal a game. It would require a Herculean effort from Davis and likely hot shooting from E’Twaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic. But there’s enough talent to get it done if Alvin Gentry can design a solid game plan.

The Giants recently hosted Barkley on a pre-draft visit to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, and Cabinda says he couldn’t give him a strong enough endorsement as a teammate or locker room leader. 

King’s comments came during a question-and-answer session at Arizona State University’s sport summit.

The Minnesota Vikings did a wonderful job during free agency to address the team’s two biggest needs. Guard is now the most glaring hole on the roster after Joe Berger’s retirement. 

Rapoport added that Worley was found passed out inside a vehicle blocking a highway. 911 was called.

The 23-year-old cornerback attended Philadelphia’s Penn Charter High before heading to West Virginia and eventually the Carolina Panthers. He was traded to the Eagles this offseason in exchange for veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith.
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Eagles’ Doug Pederson to throw out first pitch at Phillies home opener

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Monday that Doug Pederson, coach of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Phillies’ home opener on Thursday.

In his second year as coach, Pederson led the Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory, a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots.

That all-corners approach seems appropriate for an organization so thorough in its processes, though the Dodgers have long been one of baseball’s most diverse teams. It makes for an interesting mix of clubhouse personalities that despite their differing backgrounds seem to mesh just fine.

It’s pretty seamless, Roberts said. It’s funny hearing what people think is normal and how they adjust. For me, to get an outside view of how these guys interact with one another, it’s a lot of fun.

Looking around that clubhouse, you couldn’t help but notice how similar it looked after the game on Nov. 1, when the atmosphere was a little more somber. Chargois wasn’t there, nor was reliever Scott Alexander. Kemp watched the World Series on television, with what he has admitted was a bit of jealousy.

The major league ball is slicker and smoother, the Japanese baseball softer with higher seams. Every Japanese pitcher has had to adjust to a mound that is harder and — they say — steeper. In Japan, the looseness of the dirt allows pitchers to dig out a landing spot that gives them the confidence to repeat their delivery. Ohtani’s ability to get down the mound gave him the downward tilt that made his splitter vicious and his fastball appear to be rising as it approached the plate. This spring, in contrast, his release point varied, leading him to both spike and sail fastballs. It’s rare for big league pitchers to bounce fastballs, and Ohtani bounced a ton of them in Arizona.

(Start at the 0:20 mark of this video to see how loose and fluid his motion was in Japan. And then watch the fastball that starts at 2:40 here to see the difference.)

Those in Japan who know Ohtani best have noticed a reluctance to stride out as far as he did on the softer mounds. They wonder if he will adjust his mechanics, and how soon. Their worst fear is that he’ll hurt an elbow or a shoulder before he figures it out.
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Jets add best available cornerback, Trumaine Johnson

The best cornerback available in free agency is heading to the Jets.

Trumaine Johnson has agreed to terms with the Jets, according to multiple reports.

And they said now if we ignore it maybe go to stop.caught 8 passes for 111 yards the losing effort.The -Benz Stadium also host the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.He has authored many newspaper and magazine articles, a dozen books, and is President of the Mowday Group, Inc.I was Canton last weekend for the induction of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 and saw three more first-team all-decade selections get their busts — Kevin Greene, Marvin and the late Dick Stanfel.

Whether he’s able to unseat McCown and start for the Jets remains to be seen, and the short-term nature of the contracts likely means they’re still going to draft a quarterback with the sixth overall pick.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some put on football helmets and uniforms to play a game for a living. Soon-to-be drafted former LSU running back Derrius Guice is the latest example of this.

A 2014 fourth-round pick of the Patriots, Fleming started six games for the Patriots last year in the regular season, and was also a starter in both the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.

Johnathan Hankins (25), Colts He’s available because the Colts didn’t want to carry the hefty contract that they gave him last year.

He’s a quality early down player who can also boost your pass rush from time to time.

Bennie Logan (28), Chiefs His quiet season in Kansas City suggests he’s better suited for a 4-3 nose-shade role, as opposed to a true nose tackle or 3-4 defensive end role.

For multiple years as a nose shade, his lateral movement ability brought unique playmaking prowess to Philly’s run defense.

DaQuan Jones (26)—Re-signed with Titans (three years, $21 million) He can beat bad blockers off the snap, and at times he has flashed as a run defender.49ers_212

The Los Angeles Rams thus far have sat on their hands in free agency.

Keeping Sammy Watkins would have been nice, but the market has a way of ripping players with upside away at big financial risk.

The Rams can’t afford to take a step back offensively around Jared Goff, though, so looking to a deep wideout market is key as the offseason continues.

Then again, it’s been an odd market, with guys like Paul Richardson and Ryan Grant getting big deals. But with options for free agents drying up, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Rams to look to Terrelle Pryor or Jordan Matthews for help.

Losing the trio of Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford wasn’t a big deal, especially when the endgame was landing Kirk Cousins. The Vikings should feel just fine about their offense, as rookie breakout back Dalvin Cook will make his return and Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will pace the passing attack.

More beef in the defensive trenches was a good idea, too. That explains why they brought Sheldon Richardson aboard on a one-year deal, according to Schefter.

Minnesota should now turn back to its offense and gobble up some talent in the offensive trenches.

Guys along the line are getting paid huge money this offseason, and good depth isn’t something teams should put a price tag on at this point. Someone like Cameron Fleming or Matt Slauson could do the trick.

Martin, who was due to make nearly $7 million in 2018, started the season with three games remaining on a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances in 2016.

He then was benched in favor of second-year back Peyton Barber for the final three games of the 2017 season and was a healthy scratch in Week 15 for violating a team rule.

He entered a drug rehabilitation program and was suspended for the final game of the 2016 season.

Because Martin engaged in conduct detrimental to the team, the Bucs were no longer on the hook for any of the guaranteed money from the five-year, $35.75 million deal he signed before that season. patriots_144

Aaron Judge, Yankees leadoff hitter: The case is compelling

Imagine being a starting pitcher against the Yankees. Now imagine seeing that Aaron Judge is leading off.

First-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone is letting his imagination run, and that’s exactly what he sees: Judge as a table-setter.

Judge hit mostly second or third last season. A jump up to the 1-spot wouldn’t be that big a leap. The stats say it should work, too.

One of Cooperstown’s newest denizens was just 27 years old and had averaged 76 stolen bases with a .307 batting average from 1982-86. Yet, no teams other than the Expos made him an offer that included a raise over what he made in 1986. But because the point here isn’t to delve into the ugliness of collusion, we’ll just point out that Raines made a pretty spectacular return to the diamond.

In his first game back as a member of the Expos, Raines tripled off Mets starter David Cone in his first at-bat, walked and then stole second in the third inning, singled in the sixth and singled to lead off the ninth and came around to score. In the 11th, Raines put the exclamation point on his return: He smacked a grand slam off Jesse Orosco, giving the Expos a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

He may never have signed with the Royals had the team been able to lock up first baseman Eric Hosmer to a deal, but since the former No. 3 overall pick signed with the Padres, Kansas City had some money to burn.

The other candidate for the team’s title of best position player, and the reason Brinson is playing in right, Kiermaier is freaking good. He’s one of the few people you can call the best defender in the game and not get heat for it. Kiermaier’s defensive highlights are in heavy rotation on YouTube for a lot of people, and he’s an above-average hitter on top of that. The only knock on him is that he’s missed a decent amount of time with injuries over the past two years, but making a lot of diving catches on a field made of astroturf and concrete is going to do that to you. The sooner Tropicana Field gets handed over to a demolition company, the better.

Signed Wednesday by the Rays, Gomez provides yet another great outfield glove. He’s got a bit of pop in his bat, he loves to run wild on the bases, and he’s entertaining if nothing else.seahawks_029_5d99a80004baac3e-180x180

Kevin Durant has fun with All-Star draft, says he’s coming for Stephen Curry

Let no one say the NBA’s new All-Star draft isn’t fun.

The All-Star game, which has a draft for the first time in 2018 in lieu of the traditional East-vs.-West format, now pits the Warriors’ Kevin Durant against teammate and team captain Stephen Curry, one of two selectors for this year’s teams. Of course, LeBron James, the other All-Star selector, took Durant for his own team.

The Capitals have allowed power-play goals in five of their last seven games, having killed 72.7 percent (16 of 22) of penalties in those games.

Lindholm doubled the lead to 2-0 at 13:15. He fired a shot from the blue line that goalie Braden Holtby couldn’t see through traffic for his 10th goal, tying his career high set in 2015-16.

“We didn’t help ourselves a whole lot starting that way, but it wasn’t just that,” Capitals center Lars Eller said. “It was execution of passes, losing battles along the wall, being second on puck. Just being a split-second behind all the time. We’re not really a slow team, but in the first we looked slow because we were always chasing.”

When the star guards are paired with the 6-1 Shabazz Napier — yet another point guard — the Blazers really run. According to NBA.com, that trio is one of Portland’s best three-man lineups that’s played at least 120 minutes in terms of net (20.5) and defensive rating (93.0), and it holds the fourth-best offensive rating (113.4) to boot. A larger sample size will truly determine the effectiveness of this lineup, but it’s been great so far.

But after that, the next best three-man combo that includes both Lillard and McCollum is way down the list, when they play next to Ed Davis (6.9 net rating).

Again, the duo is good enough that they make it work. And Stotts has been smart about splitting time and giving both of them a chance to play with a variety of lineup combinations. That’s why the overwhelming majority of lineup stats — with any decent sample size — feature one of the two stars on this team.
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Super Bowl 52 beer prices: Hooooo boy that’s a lot of money for a Bud Light

The amount of time that will pass between the Super Bowl pregame show and the moment when commissioner Roger Goodell finally hands over the Vince Lombardi Trophy is approximately 10 hours. That’s a lot of time to do without a beer.

And for more than the price of a pitcher at happy hour, you can have your own 16-ounce can of what Anheuser-Busch has generously described as “beer” since 1982.

At Brothers Bar & Grill in Minneapolis, a chain that’s a staple across Big Ten towns throughout the Midwest, Bud Light pitchers will run you $5 on Monday nights. At Gary’s Liquors in Chestnut Hill, Mass. — near Boston College — a 12 pack of tall boy aluminum cans, the same kind with which vendors are walking up and down the U.S. Bank Stadium steps, will run you $14.99. A 30-pack of regular cans costs $21.99. In Philadelphia, the Pennypack Beer Distributor will sell you 24 12-oz. bottles for $20.14.

Assuming you’re going to drink a modest four beers over four hours at your Super Bowl party, you’re saving a solid amount in beer money alone by staying home.

My next question is, I wonder what he ordered from Panda Express — I’m assuming it was one hell of an order, since he doesn’t have to worry about playing in a game in a few hours.

Branch missing is a big loss for the Pats against the Eagles, but the defense did fine without him toward the end of the season regardless. Branch re-signing with the Pats last offseason was one of the biggest keeps for New England along its defensive line.

We’ll see how much the defense misses him Sunday against Philadelphia.

The Capitals also allowed a goal late in regulation Thursday night, but it was the game-winner in a 3-2 Washington loss on a night the Panthers held a ceremony to honor the victims of the recent shooting in nearby Parkland.bears_081-223x223

Each MLB team to recognize shooting victims by wearing Stoneman Douglas caps

Major League Baseball players will honor victims of last week’s shooting in Florida by wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats at spring training games this week.

Several Grapefruit clubs had first planned to honor victims by wearing the school’s caps before their league openers.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said that within 48 hours, all 30 teams were confirmed to wear the school hats during pregame warm-ups for their exhibition openers. Players, managers, coaches and umpires will have the option of wearing the caps during those first games. The hats might later be signed and auctioned to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, the official victims fund.

You still need a QB, though, and Zac Thomas gets first crack at the job. The sophomore led a garbage-time field goal drive against Georgia last year, but that’s about the extent of his experience. He appears to be pretty mobile, and co-coordinators Shawn Clark and Frank Ponce don’t appear to be changing much of the system.

If Thomas can’t cut it, there are other options. Sophomore Jacob Huesman and redshirt freshman Peyton Derrick have good size, and incoming three-star freshman Stephon Brown, at 6’5, 220, has great size. But the best-case scenario is probably that the third-year Thomas figures things out.

Nate Woody’s last game was maybe his most impressive. Part of the reason for App State’s surge all the way to No. 18 in S&P+ is that the Mountaineers utterly destroyed an awesome Toledo team, 34-0, in the Camellia Bowl. That one game led to a jump of 17 spots in the overall rankings.

Rasmus was hitting .281 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs in 37 games for the Rays when he left. He has hit 165 home runs and batted .242 in nine seasons with St. Louis, Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay. He has hit more than 20 home runs in a season four times in his career.

The left-handed-hitting Rasmus is expected to compete with Alex Presley, another left-handed-hitting outfielder, for a spot on the major league roster.

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said in a text that Rasmus is a proven veteran player in the AL East, who is a versatile outfielder with good power and speed to make a meaningful contribution.

Back in 2002, the Colorado Rockies became the first squad to utilize a humidor. Club officials noted the balls used at Coors Field were lighter and smaller than MLB specifications, suggesting the dry air, along with the reduced pressure, dries them out. Balls already travel more in the mile-high thin air, so the hope was not only for improved grip but also that a slightly heavier, larger ball would carry less in home games.royals_037

Philadelphia and New England were the best teams in the league all season, and they have backed it up with strong playoff runs.

When the Eagles meet the Patriots in Super Bowl 52 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, it will mark the fourth time in five years that the top seeds in the NFC and AFC have battled for the NFL championship.

The Eagles and Patriots match up well with each other, offensively and defensively.

A good 13 years since the franchises met in Super Bowl 39, who will take the rematch in Super Bowl 52? Here’s an early prediction.

The Patriots are vulnerable in linebacker coverage but have the cornerbacks and safeties to contain big plays. The Eagles’ defensive weaknesses lie on the edges of their back seven.

The Eagles will make more plays in the slot with Nelshon Agholor working on former Eagle Eric Rowe, and the Patriots will see Danny Amendola cool off against Patrick Robinson. Overall, not much will separate the offense explosiveness. And with weather not being a factor, the game likely will come down to the final possession.

In the end of a close, somewhat high-scoring game, it’s easier to trust the steady Brady over the streaky Foles.

“I’m convinced he’s not 40 years old,” Theismann told USA Today. “I think his birth certificate was sealed hermetically a long time ago, and he’s a genetic freak is what he is.

“When your arm starts to wane, you don’t make those (precision) throws anymore. And in Tom’s case, I haven’t seen any dropoff.”

Theismann isn’t the only one to give credit to Brady’s throwing arm. Ron Jaworski, who was a quarterback in the NFL for 17 years, echoed similar thoughts.

“The ball comes out with a great deal of velocity. His mobility may even be better at 40 than it was 30. It’s amazing. I marvel at the guy. At (38), I was at the end of line and I was hanging on,” Jaworski said.bills_033

Some who condemned Jackson have finally admitted it was too much.

In 2014, former FCC chairman Michael Powell told ESPN the Magazine that the committee had acted “unfairly” toward the singer. “It all turned into being about her,” Powell said. “In reality, if you slow the thing down, it’s Justin ripping off her breastplate.”

As for Timberlake, he recently said that he “stumbled through” his handling of the situation. Jackson family insiders reveal he had to ask a few times before Jackson finally agreed to quietly meet up with him a few years ago in Los Angeles. After talking for a while, the two patched up their differences and sealed their friendship with a kiss and a long embrace.

That said, however, the Jackson insider explained that, “Publicly, Janet will tell everyone she’s forgiven Justin, but privately, she’s reluctant to trust him. He’s reached out to her about doing some things together but I don’t think she’s ready for that. Is she still angry? No. She doesn’t wish him any ill will. Does she still think about it? Not all of the time, but certainly since he’s doing the halftime show again, it’s definitely been a dinner table topic.”

Just looking at those numbers alone, I can justify a big payday for Donald. He has a long resume of providing disruptive production, and his consistency warrants the kind of contract that puts him on the top of the hill for defenders. Considering the current high-water marks for pass rushers (Miller’s deal for $114.5 million over six years, with $70 million in guarantees) and defensive tackles (Ndamukong Suh’s deal for $114.3 million over six years, with $60 million in guarantees), Donald should be the league’s first $20 million defender, based on his work as a disruptive playmaker at the point of attack.

The only time New England won the Super Bowl and Brady wasn’t named the game’s most valuable player was the 24-21 Super Bowl 39 win over Philadelphia. That year’s winner, wide receiver Deion Branch, had 11 catches for 133 yards thanks in big part to Brady. When New England lost the Super Bowl twice with Brady to the Giants, his counterpart Eli Manning winning game MVP both times.

The Eagles have given up some big games to athletic tight ends this season, including Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Evan Engram. With two weeks to recover from his concussion, Gronk should be full go for the Patriots.

We want to see Gronk win just to see him smirk while getting the game MVP ball from Roger Goodell the morning after.

Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2011, has the ultimate chance at a revenge game as New England’s unquestioned top running back. The Eagles got ripped by a pair of diminutive dashers in the NFC playoffs, first Tevin Coleman and then Jerick McKinnon.

Philadelphia stops the run well, but it has trouble with backs like Lewis who are elusive in the open field.bills_006

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