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The Boomers and Lithuania: A rivalry forged over two decades

The intertwined histories of the Boomers and the Lithuanian national team in major tournaments is perhaps summed up with a nod and a smile.

Mark Bradtke, legendary Boomer (and now team manager), recalls sitting one row behind Lithuanian basketball royalty, the great Arvydas Sabonis, at the FIBA World Cup draw in Shenzhen, back on a Saturday evening in March.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Once it was confirmed that the Boomers would indeed be drawn with Lithuania in Group H, Sabonis would turn to Bradtke, and shake his head in tacit understanding: oh, we’re back at it again.

“They understand the significance as well as us,” says Bradtke. “It’s just another chapter in the history of Australia versus Lithuania.”

This rivalry, perhaps the Boomers’ greatest in international basketball, has been largely forged through the Summer Games.

“Unfortunately, most of my memories of Lithuania on the court are bad,” says Luc Longley.5

In their first Olympics since regaining independence, in Barcelona 1992, Lithuania defeated the Australians in their final group encounter, relegating the Boomers to third in their group, and a dreaded crossover quarter-final matchup with eventual silver medallists, Croatia. Croatia would ultimately bundle out the Australians.

Mitch Creek was 3 months old when Lithuania would advance through to the bronze medal game in Barcelona and win an historic medal.

“I didn’t get to see it when I was really young,” he says of the seemingly inevitable clashes between these two sides in three straight Olympics. “For me, it was more like the archives, watching the VHS tapes, watching footage online, and watching those battles play out.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Four years later at Atlanta, a surging Boomers team would encounter Lithuania once again, this time in the bronze medal game. In a tense and torrid affair, the Baltic Giants would once again prevail, behind the dominance of their Hall of Fame centre, Sabonis, to win a second consequence medal, and deny the Boomers their first.

“I know the year that I didn’t play, Atlanta, because I had an ankle clean-up, [Arvydas] Sabonis hurt them in the bronze game when they came fourth that year as well,” recalls Longley.

“He was slowing down a bit there, but extremely talented, would shoot the three-ball back then,” says Bradtke, who had the onerous task of playing against one of the greatest ever centres. “[He was] a really good passer, and they had awesome shooters around him as well. It was a tough cover for all teams. He was my biggest challenge in opponent and he got the better of me every single time.”

Sanchez: I have no regrets over Man Utd move

Alexis Sanchez has said he has no regrets over his decision to join Manchester United last year.

The Chile international signed for Inter Milan on a season-long loan after 18 months at Old Trafford where he managed only five goals in 45 appearances.
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The forward has joined up with Romelu Lukaku at Inter after the Belgium international also joined the Nerazzurri this summer.

“I’m very happy I went to Manchester United,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s the club that’s won the most in England.

“When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic — I was happy there — but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.7

“I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Sanchez could feature for the club after his loan spell in Serie A but the forward said he needs regular minutes on the pitch to feel happy.

“I think that I’m happy when I play for my national team,” he added. “I was happy at Manchester United too, but I’ve always said to my friends I want to play.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“If they would let me play I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d play 60 minutes then I wouldn’t play the next game — and I didn’t know why.”

Meanwhile, Inter have confirmed Sanchez will wear the No. 7 shirt at the club this season.

Ibrahimovic: ‘If United need me, I’m here’

LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joked about returning to Manchester United after claiming he is still good enough to play in the Premier League.

Ibrahimovic, 37, has scored 46 goals in 49 games for Galaxy since arriving from Old Trafford in 2018 but after United sold Romelu Lukaku this summer with Alexis Sanchez set to follow, he hinted at a comeback.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“Nah, I did my job in Europe. I enjoyed it, I have 33 trophies that I brought with me here and hopefully I can get something here. And then we will see where that adventure finishes.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Barcelona and Juventus striker added that he still checks for United’s results and was aware of the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.6

“I look, I look, I look,” he added. “I saw the last game and I think they were unlucky. If they score the penalty, it’s a different game but a game in England is not finished until its finished.

“Anything can happen, especially in the last minutes where everything is in the heat of the moment.”

Ibrahimovic said he is not surprised to see Wayne Rooney depart Major League Soccer but is not sure what he will do when his own contract is up at the end of the year.

“No, I’m not surprised [that he’s going back],” Ibrahimovic said. “Absolutely not.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think he came, he tried, he did his best and, yeah, he had patience. You need a lot of patience and it has finished, the patience. I mean, my deal is until December 31. What happens afterwards I don’t know.

“I’m in a different position than Wazza. Wazza is much younger than me. I am old but still dominating, still making the difference. Let’s see what happens. I have to be feeling good physically.”

Man United held to draw by 10-man Saints

Manchester United’s patchy start to the Premier League season continued with a 1-1 draw at 10-man Southampton after a Jannik Vestergaard header cancelled out a brilliant Daniel James goal for the visitors on Saturday.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The result left United on five points from four games after last weekend’s shock 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace while Southampton, who stretched their winless league streak at home against United to nine games, have four points.

Wales winger James, signed from Swansea City during the close season, netted the third goal of his United career with a 10th-minute rocket into the top corner which gave Saints keeper Angus Gunn no chance.4

The visitors dominated the opening half and livewire James forced a reflex save from Gunn with another piledriver from 20 metres midway through the first half after Marcus Rashford had headed well wide from close range.

But United faded after the break and Vestergaard equalised in the 58th minute when he rose above Victor Lindelof to head home emphatically a Kevin Danso cross from the right after visiting keeper David De Gea had saved a Danny Ings effort.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The home side were forced to hang on in the closing stages after Danso was sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable foul when he hacked down Scott McTominay, with Gunn denying Rashford and substitute Mason Greenwood.

Vikings’ Mike Zimmer ‘proud, happy’ to face former QB Teddy Bridgewater

Before Bridgewater lines up under center in the Saints’ preseason opener, he’ll exchange customary hugs and high fives with the people who saw him through one of the worst times of his life. On the sideline opposite the New Orleans bench will be his former coaches and teammates from Minnesota; the ones he has kept in touch with this summer, such as Adam Thielen, Xavier Rhodes and Dalvin Cook, and others who routinely gushed about his presence as a leader in the locker room during his four seasons with the Vikings. The defenders once used to steering clear of the red No. 5 jersey in practice will now have free rein to get after the quarterback.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night will be the embrace Bridgewater inevitably shares with his former coach. Few outside of Mike Zimmer know the full extent of Bridgewater’s painstaking journey and all that it took for the quarterback to get back on the field.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Football may be a grown man’s game, but it is rarely sans emotion. All the what-ifs Zimmer has contemplated over the years of what their journey together could have been will never dissipate. While the coach’s main objective Friday is to test the strength of his team in its first live action of the season, seeing Bridgewater’s perseverance pay off is a feeling he is sure not to forget.6

“I’m so happy for him,” Zimmer said. “He texted me the day after the Super Bowl this year. I wish him all the best in the world. I want to hit him like any other quarterback, but I don’t want to hurt him. He’s a great kid. I’m proud of him that he’s been able to overcome that injury and I’ve heard that he’s been doing pretty good down there. So I’m proud of him to overcome that injury because when we got the statistics back when his knee got hurt, it was not really a very positive outlook for him to make it back.”

During training camp ahead of the 2017 season, just a year removed from when Bridgewater dislocated his left knee and tore his ACL when he planted his foot wrong in practice, Zimmer wasn’t sure whether the quarterback would ever be the same player the Vikings drafted with the 32nd overall pick in 2014.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

After more than a year of extensive rehab, Bridgewater made his way back to the active roster but saw action only in the waning minutes of a fourth-quarter win over the Bengals in December 2017. The news the Vikings got from their medical staff at the end of the 2017 season wasn’t as positive as Zimmer had hoped for the player who had, for a while, put an end to the revolving door the franchise had at quarterback for more than a decade.

The two parties eventually moved on, with the Vikings turning the chapter towards the Kirk Cousins era and Bridgewater ending up with the Saints last August via a trade with the Jets.

As the Vikings got ready to play the Saints in Week 8 last season, Zimmer asked New Orleans coach Sean Payton about the strides his former quarterback was making. The Saints signed Bridgewater to back up Drew Brees, but Payton noted the promise he saw in Bridgewater from the start.

Yankees’ Sanchez lands on IL with groin strain

The New York Yankees have placed All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain.

Sanchez suffered the injury and came out of the game after stepping awkwardly on first base while hustling out a ground ball during Tuesday night’s 14-12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning that revealed a Grade 1 strain, manager Aaron Boone said.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“On the scale of strains, I guess it’s minor — which is somewhat good news,” Boone said. “But still it’s going to be some time. We’ll just kind of see how the next few days, how the next week unfolds, and how he’s feeling, and when he gets to start back up baseball activities.

“But I don’t want to put a timeline or anything like that on it in these early days. We’ll see how he responds.”5

Sanchez was not in the Yankees’ clubhouse when it opened to reporters before Wednesday night’s game at Target Field, but he said just after Tuesday’s game that the injury felt different from the right groin strains he had last season that twice landed him on the injured list.

“It felt kind of like a cramp,” Sanchez said Tuesday through a translator. “It’s nothing like what I had last year. The pain is completely different. It just feels a little tight, and it’s not preventing me from walking or anything like that. So I’m positive about that.”

Sanchez, 26, is batting .229 with 24 home runs and 58 RBIs this season.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Catcher Kyle Higashioka and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. were recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Higashioka will replace Sanchez on the active roster, while Cortes takes over for right-hander Jonathan Holder, who was optioned to Scranton in a corresponding move.

Backup Austin Romine was scheduled to start for Sanchez on Wednesday, but Boone said Romine and Higashioka likely would split time behind the plate until Sanchez returns. It’s possible that Higashioka will get the start Friday in the Yankees’ series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boone added.

“You’ll see them both a lot,” Boone said. “You might see it alternate while we’re in Boston, but we’ll also see how it plays out and see how it unfolds.”

2019 fantasy football handcuffs: Austin Ekeler among top options

On one hand, you want to protect yourself from injuries by warehousing your star player’s backup.

On the other hand, the opportunity cost of expending that roster spot could cost you a valuable waiver pickup.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The fact is handcuffing is a valuable tool if used correctly.

Some backups are very good players, while others are not. In the event of an injury, some would be positioned for a clear path to a large share of touches, while others would see only a slight uptick in work. Most of your opponents will be thinking only about handcuffs at running back, so you can gain an advantage by considering those at other positions as well.6

When evaluating handcuffs, the best game plan is to select players with high ceilings should the player ahead of them on the depth chart miss time. For example, should Alvin Kamara get hurt, Latavius Murray would take on a workhorse role in New Orleans and would be in the RB1 discussion. If Saquon Barkley goes down, however, the likes of Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and Rod Smith would figure to share touches and none would be a clear fantasy starter. If you selected Barkley and not Kamara, don’t cross Murray off your draft board and force a dart throw at Gallman. Pick the guy who can win you a league championship, not a player who would barely be worth flex consideration.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Below is a two-part examination of the 2019 handcuff landscape. Because handcuffing is most relevant to the running back position, the first part is a ranking 1-to-32 of the top RB handcuffs for each team, as well as some thoughts on how the backfield might look if the starter goes down. Part 2 runs through a few notable handcuffs at other positions.

For updated handcuff information and advice throughout the season, be sure to keep up with our fantasy depth charts.

Josh Jackson in diversion program for arrest

Memphis Grizzlies forward Josh Jackson was entered into a diversion program to settle a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest stemming from his arrest at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami in May, according to online court records.

Jackson was entered into the program on July 2, according to the records. He also was charged with a felony charge of escape when he was arrested on May 10, but that charge was dismissed last month, according to the records.

It is not clear from the records what the details of the diversion program include. If he successfully completes the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed.7

TMZ first reported the news that Jackson was entered into the diversion program.

Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Grizzlies earlier this month.

He was arrested at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami Gardens, Florida, after he attempted to enter the VIP area too many times without a proper pass. He was handcuffed by police and then ran away from the officers before being detained, according to the police report.

Jackson, 22, averaged 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 79 games (29 starts) last season, his second in the NBA.

Before entering the NBA, Jackson agreed to enter a diversion program in 2017 to settle a misdemeanor count of criminal property damage stemming from a confrontation with a University of Kansas women’s basketball player in 2016.

Cards place Molina on IL amid series of moves

The Cardinals placed catcher Yadier Molina on the injured list with a strained right thumb and activated infielder Matt Carpenter as part of a series of roster moves Thursday.

The Cardinals expect Molina back in action “within a three-week range,” manager Mike Shildt said Thursday.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

His move to the IL was retroactive to Monday. The nine-time All-Star, who missed 12 games in May and June with a similar injury, pinch hit on Saturday but hasn’t started a game since July 3.7

St. Louis will recall catcher Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis before Friday’s game against Arizona to fill in for Molina. Knizner made his big league debut June 2, going 0-for-7 for St. Louis.

The Cardinals also brought up left-hander Chasen Shreve from Memphis, optioned left-hander Tyler Webb and outfielder Rangel Ravelo to Memphis, and transferred pitcher Jordan Hicks to the 60-day IL ahead of their series against Arizona beginning Friday night.

Carpenter has been sidelined since June 29 with a lower back strain.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Shreve appeared in 20 games for the Cardinals last season, and is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 37 games for Memphis this season.

Lucroy recalls vicious collision, not much after

Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy remembers getting leveled by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick and nothing else until he was carried onto the golf cart in Houston.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“He knocked me out,” Lucroy said Friday, reliving the play that led to a hospital visit for Lucroy and a two-game suspension for Marisnick.

Lucroy was positioned in front of home plate to receive a throw from Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Marisnick made a last-second move to his left and collided viciously with Lucroy, seemingly regretting the decision instantly. Lucroy sustained a broken nose and his third diagnosed concussion. Marisnick reached out via text message later that night.5

“A situation like that, split-second decisions have to be made,” said Lucroy, who will have his nose repaired Monday and doesn’t expect to spend much time on the injured list. “I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody. However, I did give him the whole lane, the whole foul territory, to slide. I did tell him that in the text. As a catcher, when the play’s at home, I always try to give the runner some place to slide. That’s what the new rule says. You’re supposed to do that. If you don’t, you can get called for interference. We communicated. And it is what it is.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Marisnick, who was also fined, appealed his suspension in part because he wants to elaborate on the matter with officials from Major League Baseball. In his initial statement, Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, said that though Marisnick might not have intended to injure, the Astros outfielder nonetheless violated rules designed to protect catchers from this.

The Angels have since added some depth behind the plate, activating backup Kevan Smith off the injured list and acquiring veteran Josh Thole — along with left-handed reliever Adam McCreery — from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations on Friday.

Lucroy has made it a point to position himself in front of home plate while awaiting a throw ever since he was called for interference while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers and facing the Angels a few years ago. He hopes baserunners will do their part to abide by the rules in the future.

“I mean, you can look at my face,” Lucroy said, pointing to his black eye. “There’s a reason why the rule is in place.”