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Patrick Mahomes won’t admit connection between finger counting and draft

So maybe Patrick Mahomes does feel snubbed for being the 10th player and the second quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback was seen counting to 10 on his fingers after throwing a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce late in the first half of Sunday night’s 26-3 win over the Chicago Bears. Ten, as in the 10th player drafted, on the same night he and the Chiefs were facing the only quarterback selected ahead of him that year.

The Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky was drafted second overall.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I don’t know if there was necessarily a meaning,” Mahomes said later. “I was just kind of in the moment and just enjoying it. … I knew it was a big moment in the game and you look to take advantage of it when you get that opportunity against that defense.

“I was just out there having fun. … We had a big score before the half and I was just trying to enjoy it. You’ve seen me play. I play with emotion. I like to just go out there and have fun with my teammates.”7

Perhaps. But the timing, with the Chiefs facing the Bears and Trubisky, seemed to make Mahomes’ gesture more than a coincidence.

Even one of his teammates, running back Damien Williams, seemed to understand the significance. Williams offered Mahomes congratulations as the quarterback was heading off the field while counting and approaching the sideline.

Mahomes was the clear winner in the quarterback battle with Trubisky. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score. Trubisky completed 18 of 34 passes for 157 yards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Kelce said he didn’t see Mahomes’ 10 count.

“I can’t really see Pat doing that,” Kelce said. “He’s a humble guy. You know what drives everyone sometimes is something deeper. I’m sure he’s happy where he is, but that probably helped him in his early years. Kind of gave him some motive and gave him some fire.

“I think he’s the type of competitor that he feels, every single game, every single time he touches the football he’s trying to prove something. Well, not necessarily prove something but be the best he can and show the world that you know that he is the best.”

That just hadn’t been Mahomes’ way, until Sunday night. He’ll celebrate after a touchdown with his teammates, but is quick to deflect any credit to his coaches and teammates.

Mahomes, while not acknowledging the meaning of his 10 count, did indicate he remembered being the second quarterback drafted two years ago.

For Giannis and Bucks, a challenging week is only beginning

Their 18-game win streak was snapped two wins shy of the franchise record of 20 set during the 1970-71 championship season. Now Milwaukee’s focus shifts to Thursday, when the Eastern Conference leaders will welcome the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers to town.

“Yeah, obviously. It’s gonna be a good game, gonna be a test for us,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored a game-high 48 points to go with 14 rebounds and four assists Monday against the Mavericks. “The Lakers are one of the best teams in the league.

“We’ve gotta bring it, gotta play good basketball, gotta move the ball, but obviously as a team, we don’t wanna lose two in a row,” he added. “We’ve just gotta go out there and try to get a win.”

The Bucks have lost consecutive games in the regular season just once since Mike Budenholzer took over as head coach entering the 2018-19 season. To avoid doing so a second time will mean beating a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“They’ve got two of the top-five players in the world, so …” Antetokounmpo said.8

The Lakers have a top-five offense, but they’re average at taking care of the ball, ranking 17th in turnover percentage entering Tuesday’s road game against the Indiana Pacers. Only the Bucks and Mavericks shoot better, but the Lakers aren’t nearly as potent from 3. They’re more about interior offense.

That actually fits the Bucks’ strengths defensively. The Bucks allow 12.9 field goals made per game inside the restricted area and only 54.5% in that zone, both league-wide lows.

However, for the Bucks to beat the Lakers will require more than the one-man show that was on display Monday. Antetokounmpo is capable of stuffing the stat sheet, as he showed in the loss. But he got little help. Against Dallas, he scored or assisted on 59 of Milwaukee’s 82 points (72%) when he was on the floor, per ESPN Stats & Information research. He scored 48 points, and the rest of the starters scored 23.nfl nike jersey cheap

The Bucks can’t afford to shoot 41.9% from the field and 26.8% from 3 again. Some of the poor shooting Monday can be attributed to missing good looks. According to Second Spectrum tracking data, the Bucks had an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 47.1, despite a quantified shot quality (qSQ) of 54.1, meaning Milwaukee had an eFG% much worse than expected given the quality of the attempts.

Still, even if the open looks start falling Thursday, the Bucks can’t rely as heavily on Antetokounmpo versus James and Davis. They’ll need a total team effort. 2019 All-Star Khris Middleton, former Laker Brook Lopez, Wesley Matthews and Donte DiVincenzo (stepping up in the absence of the injured Eric Bledsoe) have to make an impact.

Dodgers, RP Blake Treinen finalize 1-year contract

Reliever Blake Treinen and the Los Angeles Dodgers finalized a $10 million, one-year deal Sunday.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The 31-year-old right-hander and the Dodgers reached agreement during the recent winter meetings, shortly after the Oakland Athletics declined to offer Treinen a new contract.2

Treinen was an All-Star in 2018 with a 0.78 ERA. But he struggled last season with a 4.91 ERA and lost his closer’s role to Liam Hendriks.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Dodgers have won seven straight NL West titles.

Madison Bumgarner reaches 5-year, $85M deal with D-backs, sources say

Left-hander Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal, sources familiar with the agreement told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The value of the contract was first reported by The Athletic. There is $15 million of deferred money in the deal.

This marks the second time in four years the typically frugal Diamondbacks have signed a top-tier, free-agent pitcher. In 2015, Arizona added right-hander Zack Greinke on a $206.5 million, six-year deal.

Arizona went 85-77 last season and traded Greinke to Houston in late July. The Diamondbacks haven’t had a lot of success in October lately, not winning a game in the National League Championship Series round since taking their only World Series title, in 2001.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Bumgarner will join a rotation that includes right-handers Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly and left-hander Robbie Ray, who is in the final year of his contract and sources said is likely to move in a trade. If Ray is dealt, left-hander Alex Young or right-hander Mike Leake would fill out the rotation.1

The 30-year-old Bumgarner, the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Series for the San Francisco Giants, went 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA last season, following two somewhat forgettable injury-shortened seasons.

In 2019, Bumgarner bounced back to tie for the National League lead with 34 starts and was second with 207 ⅔ innings pitched, which erased many doubts that the Giants icon could again showcase his trademark durability.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

A 10-year veteran, “MadBum” logged six straight seasons with double-digit wins, more than 200 innings and 30-plus starts — finishing with 18, 18 and 15 wins, respectively, in 2012, 2013 and 2014. But the 6-foot-4 left-hander went 4-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 17 starts in 2017, when he missed nearly three months following a dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado. He threw just 111 innings that season to match his career-low total from 2010, when he was promoted to the majors in June.

Then, Bumgarner broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive from Kansas City Royals hitter Whit Merrifield in his final 2018 spring training start, and he underwent surgery to insert pins into the finger. He returned in June and wound up going 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts and 129 ⅔ innings.

In April 2012, Bumgarner signed a $35.56 million, six-year deal through 2017 that included $12 million in club options for both 2018 and ’19. Before San Francisco staged a bit of a midseason surge to get into playoff contention this past season, Bumgarner was mentioned as a potential top trade target prior to the July 31 deadline.

Bumgarner has 1,794 strikeouts, which ranks 14th on the active list, and has a career record of 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA. He was a clutch postseason pitcher in each of San Francisco’s World Series-winning campaigns in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

Man United’s Solskjaer: Lingard back to best after off-field issues

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Jesse Lingard is back to his best after hinting off-field issues have contributed to the midfielder’s loss of form.

Lingard had not made a Premier League start since September before returning to the team to play a key role in back-to-back victories over Tottenham and Manchester City.

“He’s Man United through and through. He’s a Red, he’s got a great attitude and a great work rate.”

Lingard was caught up in controversy over the summer when he accidentally posted a video on Instagram of his friend simulating sex with a pillow in a hotel room. He was reprimanded by Solskjaer over the incident.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

This season the 26-year-old has spent two spells on the sidelines with injury and lost his place in the England squad but sent a message to boss Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020 with two impressive displays against Spurs and City.

Some United supporters were quick to jump on Lingard’s back during his dip in form but Solskjaer has told fans they cannot always see the full picture.8

“You can criticise anyone about anything, that’s the privilege some people think they have,” Solskjaer said. “For me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.

“It’s great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, I gave him his debut in the reserves against Burnley. It’s good to see him back to his old self.”nfl nike jersey cheap

After collecting six points from two tough games in the space of four days, United have moved up to fifth in the table — five points off the top four. They have a favourable run over Christmas with games against Everton, Watford, Newcastle and Burnley before a trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day and, after struggling against so-classed lesser teams this season, Solskjaer said it is down to him to lift his players for every game — not just those against the top six.

“That’s up to me, to make sure that for every single game,” Solskjaer said. “They know they have to earn the right to win a game of football.

“You’ve got to earn the right to win. It’s consistency and just being better at taking care of our chances. We’ve had chances in every single game.

“There are so many games I could go through that we should have won. We know that we have to get better results against teams that drop deeper. We’ll improve on that.”

Mets acquire OF Jake Marisnick in trade with Astros

The Houston Astros have traded outfielder Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets in exchange for two prospects, it was announced Thursday.

Marisnick, 28, a smooth-fielding center fielder, wasn’t an everyday player for the Astros because of his inconsistency at the plate. He batted .233 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs for the Astros last season in 73 starts.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“Jake is an elite defender who is an incredibly smart baserunner,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Among our offseason plans was to improve defensively and he is one of the best in the game.”

Marisnick, who has one year left on a contract that will pay him $3 million in 2020, is a career .227 hitter, with 54 home runs and 178 RBIs in seven seasons with the Marlins and Astros.8

Juan Lagares, who was the backup center fielder for the Mets last season, is a free agent.

Marisnick was suspended for two games last season after his violent home plate collision with Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who suffered a concussion and a broken nose. Marisnick apologized after the incident.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

In return, the Astros get lefty relief pitcher Blake Taylor and outfielder Kenedy Corona from the Mets.

Taylor, 24, was 2-3 with 10 saves, a 2.16 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings over 40 appearances as he rose through the Mets’ system at Class-A Port St. Lucie, Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.

The 19-year-old Corona hit .301 with 23 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in his first professional season that spanned the Dominican Summer League, the Gulf Coast League and Class-A Brooklyn.

Giannis and the Bucks clearly had something waiting for Kawhi

On any given night, Giannis Antetokounmpo succeeds at suspending fans’ disbelief and completing the unthinkable.

Antetokounmpo has levitated on blocks. He has spiked balls into the Fiserv Forum stands with superman strength.

On Friday night, Antetokounmpo came as close to flying as most can get — soaring over LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac and clobbering him with a gasp-worthy dunk to highlight a 119-91 Bucks win to improve to 20-3, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for best in the NBA.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

These are the games in which the “Greek Freak” revels.

“Now he is eating players,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, cracking a smile. “Great players do that. They understand when someone gets the best of them or a team gets the best of them, they don’t cry about it. They look at it and say, I’ve got to get better.”

On the court, Antetokounmpo believes in serving piping hot platters of revenge. He was determined to seek retribution over Kawhi Leonard — the player most responsible for sending Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks home in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals as a member of the Toronto Raptors.7

Antetokounmpo already used his animus to overpower the Raptors on Nov. 2, scoring a then-season best 36 points. After that game, he said he had “a lot of motivation” to beat the defending champions, but they were “obviously a different team.” Toronto was missing the man Antetokounmpo craved to play against the most: Leonard.

Friday wasn’t the first time the Bucks had faced the Clippers this season. Milwaukee had already gone Los Angeles to beat the Clippers at Staples Center. But at the time, Paul George had yet to debut after offseason shoulder surgery, and Leonard was taking the night off for load management, returning to action the following night in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

In some ways, Zubac was a surrogate for his teammate, Leonard. Antetokounmpo and Leonard did not go head-to-head often, so instead, Antetokounmpo unleashed in other ways. Essentially, Zubac was just a guy in Antetokounmpo’s way. Don’t get in Antetokounmpo’s way.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

The first half lacked the razzle-dazzle expected of a matchup between two of the best players in the league. Antetokounmpo scored only 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, and Leonard’s first six shots were from at least 12 feet. Milwaukee’s first-half lead wasn’t built by Antetokounmpo manhandling defenders and skillfully bullying his way to the rim, but rather by Milwaukee’s second unit.

With just over five minutes left in the first quarter and the Clippers leading by two, Antetokounmpo sauntered over to the bench. Without him, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and built a double-digit advantage. He returned with a minute and a half left and the Bucks up by 11. Overall, the Bucks were outscored by 10 points in Antetokounmpo’s 16 first-half minutes, and the Bucks outscored the Clippers by 19 in the 8:44 that Antetokounmpo was off the floor.

Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) out vs. Cardinals

Despite returning to practice as a limited participant a week ago, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner said he will be out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He isn’t speculating on his availability after that, either.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead because it’s still going to take some time,” Conner said Thursday. “We’ll see. Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but this week? Nah.”

Conner, who hasn’t played since a brief appearance against the Browns on Nov. 14, said he’s been taking scout team reps this week.

“Just don’t want to take none of the game reps away from some guys that are going to be active,” said Conner, who was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. “Nice to get out there and just run around.”7

Conner injured the AC joint in his right shoulder during the final two minutes of a win against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 28. He was wrapping up his best game of the season: 145 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Conner missed the next two games against the Colts and Rams before trying to play against the Browns in the Thursday night game. Conner realized after a quarter that his body wasn’t ready.

“I just wasn’t ready to come back,” he said. “I just tried to fight through it, but I wasn’t able to.”

Rookie Benny Snell Jr. has stepped up in Conner’s absence, particularly in the past two games. He scored his first NFL touchdown this past Sunday against the Browns, a 1-yard run to give the Steelers a 17-10 lead. He finished the game with 16 carries for 63 yards. A week earlier against Cincinnati, Snell led the Steelers with 21 carries for 98 yards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“He prepared himself well,” Conner said. “My job is to be there [for] anything he needs, questions that he has. He’s been doing great.”

Before he played against the Browns, Conner said playing with the injury was a matter of pain tolerance. He said he’s “day-by-day” at this point but isn’t ruling out returning to the field in the final three regular-season games. The Steelers are in contention for the final AFC wild card, holding the No. 6 spot if the regular season ended today.

“Honestly, taking it day-by-day,” Conner said. “So whatever that may be, I’m not going to count it out until I’m done for sure.”

Carson Wentz: Eagles fans have right to be frustrated

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is a primary focus of fan frustration for the first time in his career, following a four-turnover performance in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The heat is turned up to high in Philadelphia, and Wentz gets it.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

There were plenty of issues outside of quarterback play in Sunday’s 17-9 loss to Seattle. Wentz was without his top two linemen, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks; receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor; and running back Jordan Howard.8

With the offensive line struggling and his receiving corps not always in proper position, Wentz was in a precarious spot. But he misfired on several standard throws and fumbled three times — losing two of them — in what was arguably the worst outing of his professional career.

The offense has scored a total of 19 points in consecutive losses to the Seahawks and Patriots.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Wentz remains unshaken, he said, as the Eagles (5-6) set their sights on the Miami Dolphins.

“I have so much confidence in my ability to turn this around and do my best and get these things fixed,” Wentz said, “that I don’t get too high or too low going through these things.”

Liverpool’s confidence and persistence yields another dramatic win but title race has far to go

When Trent Alexander-Arnold readied to take a corner as the clock ticked down at Villa Park, with seconds left in his 100th appearance for Liverpool, there was apprehension among the home supporters and expectation in the away end.

It was the 95th minute, seven after Andy Robertson cancelled out Trezeguet’s first-half opener for Aston Villa and there were just 60 seconds remaining for the league leaders to rescue three points. Liverpool were several levels below their best, without rhythm or surety in their play, all afternoon and the fixture was ready to be filed under “just one of those days.”cheap nike nfl jersey

“We made it difficult for ourselves,” Jurgen Klopp admitted post-match. “We started playing football good but not exactly like we should have done. Aston Villa were ready today for a proper fight, a proper battle, defend with all they have, try to find spaces for counter-attacks and be there and have good set pieces.4

“We played good football, but didn’t finish the situations and then we conceded a goal, then it is not so easy to change these wrong decisions, this wrong path, immediately. We needed a bit of time.”

Liverpool’s poor decision-making aligned with marginal calls — Villa’s goal was ruled just onside by VAR, but Roberto Firmino’s armpit (yes, you read that correctly) was deemed to be offside when he had the ball in the back of the net — compounded the sense that it may not quite be their afternoon. But in those dying moments, the emotions of both fan bases were understandable. Dean Smith’s men have ceded 11 points in games in which they have gone ahead this season, more than any other Premier League side. Liverpool, by contrast, are the champions of division in winning points from losing positions.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It turns out that Villa supporters were justified for feeling the way they did: Sadio Mane’s deft header from Alexander-Arnold’s corner dissected Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodjia before nestling into the far corner to make it 2-1 to the league leaders.

Prior to that moment, Liverpool did not need to dig that deep or look too far to believe they could conjure another rescue act. They were decisive at the death during a ridiculous 5-5 draw with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, in which they triumphed on penalties. Their winner against Leicester City at Anfield last month arrived after 95 minutes. Their equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the next fixture materialised in the 85th minute. The “Fergie Time” concept, coined when Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides had a habit of producing late goals, has been replaced by “Klopp o’clock.”

Since the start of last season, no other Premier League team has scored more goals in the division during the last 10 minutes than Liverpool’s 23. In September 2017, after his side had conceded 13 goals from seven matches, Klopp admitted that lapses in defence had become “a self-fulfilling prophecy” for them as players got sucked into the narrative around them. That has since been positively replaced by Liverpool’s powers of recovery: since the German labelled his squad “f—ing mentality monsters” in April after Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson scored late goals in a 3-1 victory at Southampton, they have continually found ways to win even with time running out.