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Bradley Beal: Struggling Wiz will not push ‘panic button’ after latest loss

The boos started sometime in the second quarter and got uncomfortably louder, with the Wizards eventually hearing them again as they walked off the floor down 29 at halftime to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

It was part of a 44-20 second quarter that featured embarrassing defense by the Wizards and sloppy turnovers. The Thunder were outrageously hot, just to pile it on. There was a little fight in the third quarter, with the Wizards winning it 35-31, but it was too little, too late as Oklahoma City finished off a 134-111 victory to drop Washington to 1-7.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“I’m not hitting the panic button. I’m not hitting it, and I don’t think we are either as a team,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “We understand it’s still early, it’s not perfect. We understand patience is running low from everybody, from ourselves. Nobody is more disappointed than us. I’m definitely going to say that.”6

The defensive indifference was jarring at times, highlighted in the Thunder’s opening possession of the second half as the Wizards disregarded Terrance Ferguson in the right corner. He splashed from 3 to put Oklahoma City up 32.

“Offense has never been a problem for us,” point guard John Wall said. “We score the ball very well. It’s just what can we do on the defensive end. Until we figure that out, we’re going to have these same problems.”cheap nike nfl jersey

In his Wizards debut, Dwight Howard was a bright spot, scoring 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes. Beal finished with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting and tried to spark the Wizards in the third quarter, hitting a pull-up 3 and clapping and encouraging his teammates.

It didn’t work. The Thunder re-established their lead, and Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and Paul George sat the entire fourth quarter.

“I’ll never give up on this team,” Beal said. “What are we going to do about it? Just fold up early in the year and give up on the year or fight back and try to compete like we know we’re capable of doing? And I refuse to let the ship sink, so as one of the captains on the team, I put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. I’ve got to be better leadership-wise on the floor, giving more, leading by example, and hopefully guys will follow.”

Why Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid was doomed to fail — the inside story

The two most significant things Julen Lopetegui did to get himself sacked as Real Madrid manager happened before he was even appointed by Florentino Perez.

First, he failed to listen. Second, he failed to calculate.

Those who point to his team’s 5-1 thrashing at the Camp Nou on Sunday or to the Santiago Bernabeu humiliation at the hands of Levante — take your pick of moments, matches or maudlin images of the defeated Basque — are wrong.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Lopetegui, according to the Real Madrid communique that was issued, hasn’t been sacked because of a specific result or because Perez, in his wisdom, has been vigilant around the training ground and sees deep flaws in the sessions or the ideas being taught at Valdebebas. No, it is because of the “disparity between the high-quality squad and the low-quality performances” that the former Spain manager, who gave up his chance to compete for a World Cup victory for what has turned out to be a 138-day, 14-game stint in charge of Madrid, has been kicked out.6

On Thursday, May 31, he and all of his Spain squad (except the Madrid players who’d just won the Champions League for the third straight year) gathered together at Las Rozas, about 30 minutes’ drive outside the Spanish capital, in preparation for the impending World Cup. When Zinedine Zidane’s hastily arranged news conference for lunchtime that day was broadcast live on radio and television, you can forgive the 52-year-old for not being wholly attentive.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It would have been about then that Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, David De Gea & Co. would have just finished training and been heading for lunch in La Residencia, which is on site at Las Rozas and a five-minute walk from the changing rooms. But if Lopetegui didn’t stop to watch the live transmission of the then-Real Madrid manager, with a glum-faced Perez next to him, renouncing his position and standing down with immediate effect, then he must have read the following day’s media coverage.

This was worldwide viral news for the 24 hours that followed, as the shock set in and it became clear that the club, which had just made history with a hat trick of Champions League victories, was looking for Zizou’s successor. It’s utterly inconceivable that Lopetegui didn’t hear Zidane’s very clear message that while Denmark wasn’t on his mind just yet, there was “something rotten” in the state of Real Madrid.

Oakland gives long-term extensions to Bob Melvin, Billy Beane

The Oakland Athletics believe they have stability in their leadership structure to keep a good thing going and build momentum from their 2018 playoff return.

Manager Bob Melvin has been rewarded for guiding another turnaround, receiving a long-term contract extension. The A’s also reached new deals with executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane and general manager David Forst.

The extensions for all three were announced Monday by the small-budget franchise. Under Melvin’s guidance, a young, slugging Oakland club went 97-65 and lost the American League wild-card game 7-2 to the New York Yankees.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“From the moment I got here, it’s been a special place for me for a lot of the reasons I’ve already talked about in the past,” Melvin said. “It just seems like every year it gets more and more comfortable for me being at home, the people that you work for, the continuity in the organization.”5

With MLB home run leader Khris Davis leading the way, the A’s reached the postseason for the first time since 2014 following last-place finishes in the AL West each of the previous three years. They trailed the Mariners by 11 games in the wild-card race on June 15 before a strong second half — not to mention all the comeback wins and walk-offs — pushed them into the playoffs.

Last year, Melvin received a contract through the 2019 season. Melvin’s new contract is through 2021 with a club option for 2022, Beane said. Forst’s deal goes through 2023.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“There are some things we don’t have, which are obvious, and there are some things we do have: We have stability and we have loyalty,” Beane said. “It goes back a long way. Listen, we have our challenges, but we all love working here, we love working with each other.”

The surprising A’s caught the country’s attention. They went 63-29 from June 16 through the rest of the season for the fourth-best record in baseball. Yet it was the top mark in the majors during that stretch — ahead of World Series champion Boston’s 60-31. Oakland also went a majors-best 31-14 in one-run games and had 10 walk-off victories.

Klay Thompson on record 14 3s: ‘Just knew I was due for a big night’

Golden State Warriors All-Star swingman Klay Thompson set an NBA record by knocking down 14 3-pointers in Monday night’s 149-124 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Thompson went 14-for-24 from beyond the arc and 18-for-29 from the field, racking up 52 points in 27 minutes while raining down shots from all over the floor. After his struggles to start the season, both Thompson and his teammates were ready for him to break out — and he did so in record-breaking fashion.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Thompson hit shots early and often, and the Warriors repeatedly looked for him throughout the night. In the first half, Thompson’s 10 3-pointers tied Chandler Parsons’ record set in 2014. The Warriors also set an NBA record for team 3-pointers made in a half by knocking down 17 in the first half.6

“It’s the best feeling,” Thompson said of being in the zone. “Something I haven’t felt in the first six, seven games. To snap out of a slump with the record, I couldn’t ask for a better way to do it. And I’m just going to continue this momentum on Wednesday, and it’s one of the best feelings in basketball when you touch the ball and feel like it’s going in every time.”

Thompson received a loud ovation from the United Center crowd after knocking down the record-setting triple, breaking teammate Stephen Curry’s mark of 13 3-pointers in a game. It was a record Thompson and his teammates took great pride in. There was a gleeful joy within the Warriors’ locker room as Thompson left with the game ball and his game jersey in hand.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I really believe, I don’t know if I would have been able to break the records I have got in my past, just like tonight, without the system I play in or the team I’m with or the guys I play with,” Thompson said. “Because they knew even before I went out for the second half. Steph looked at the box score and said, ‘Go get it.’ And that just shows you the unselfishness that is within him. Same with KD and Draymond and DJ and everyone else that was out there on the floor trying to find me and get me good looks.”

Curry and his teammates knew Thompson was rolling at a historic pace but didn’t want to jinx the performance in the process.

“It was like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter,” Curry said. “Like, you don’t really mention anything to him. It’s kind of just everybody else figuring out ways we’re going to keep feeding him the ball and running our offense to obviously cater to him to knock down shots.”

Patrick Mahomes’ third straight four-TD game fuels Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have as many touchdown passes, 26, through a half-season as they had through all of 2017.

The most significant change is at quarterback, of course, where Patrick Mahomes has replaced Alex Smith.cheap nike nfl jersey

“We’ve put together an interesting offense over the offseason with the pieces we grabbed,’’ Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “Pat is 100 percent a part of that. You can’t say he’s not.’’

The Chiefs still have respect for Smith, a popular player in their locker room in his five seasons as their starter. But it’s just as obvious their offensive capabilities with Mahomes at quarterback are far greater.6

That was again on display Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 30-23 to raise their record to 7-1. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes, something that for him is becoming routine. He has five games with at least four touchdown passes, including the last three.

Putting that into perspective from a team standpoint, the Chiefs had 21 such games in their 58 seasons before Mahomes became their starter. From an NFL perspective, just two quarterbacks have thrown more than 26 touchdown passes in the first eight games of a season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Both players, Tom Brady in 2007 and Peyton Manning in 2013, went on to become the NFL MVP and will be in the Hall of Fame.

“I wouldn’t just say it’s the quarterback,’’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s not fair to Alex. He did a great job when he was here. But (Mahomes) is a part of it. Patrick has done a nice job. I’m not slighting that at all.’’

Packers squander what could’ve been season-changing win over Rams

Either way, those two sequences could be what prevents the Packers from salvaging their season.

And the shame of it is, they ruined what could have been a season-changing victory.

Maybe the Packers will take their near-takedown of the unbeaten Rams and use it as a galvanizing moment but the way this season has gone, that looks less and less likely with each passing week.

“It better be,” Clay Matthews said. “That’s the best team in the NFL, we hung toe to toe with them and had a chance at the end to win it. We’ve got to take that moving forward. I know we lost, but we’ve got to take that capability moving forward.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Packers, twice in control of the game, let it get away from them not just at the end of the first half but in crunch time, too, in a gutting 29-27 loss.5

The final blow was Ty Montgomery’s fumbled kickoff return that the Rams recovered with 1 minute, 56 seconds to play.

But before that, it was former Packers cornerback Sam Shields’ tip-toeing in front of the goal line to down a punt and pin the Packers. Then, whatever you think of coach Mike McCarthy’s play call — a run with Aaron Jones up the middle — it didn’t work, and the snowball kept rolling downhill. An improbable 10-0 lead over the NFL’s only unbeaten team was all but lost after Jones got stuffed for a safety with 2:47 left and the Rams scored on their ensuing possession.

Just when it looked like they survived that — and regained the lead thanks to more second-half magic from Aaron Rodgers — a Packers’ defense that played perhaps its best game in years, couldn’t hold it. To be sure, they didn’t get much help at the end from rookie punter JK Scott, whose 25-yard kick gave the Rams a short field for the go-ahead score. And just to make sure the Packers would have no chance at all, Montgomery fumbled it away.cheap nike nfl jersey

To that point, almost everything had come up green and gold.

From a Los Angeles Coliseum that was close to half Packers fans to a dominant start by defensive tackle Kenny Clark (two first-half sacks) to pass breakup after pass breakup from first-round pick Jaire Alexander (an NFL-high five) to Jones’ fast start (eight carries for 44 first-half yards), the Packers looked poised for a hallmark victory. That’s just what they needed to start a bruising stretch that takes the Packers to New England next and then to Seattle and Minnesota after a home game against Dolphins.

October hero Steve Pearce completed AL East cycle with his beloved Sox

Steve was the eldest and most fanatical of the three Pearce boys, but Chad and Kyle weren’t far behind. Whenever they’d play Wiffle ball, they were always the Sox. Even though Steve was a right-handed shortstop obsessed with Nomar Garciaparra, he always hit lefty in those games, using the ultra-light plastic bat to practice his swing from the opposite side. He was always Mo Vaughn.

Years passed, and Steve Pearce got really good at swinging the bat, be it plastic, aluminum or wood. He got so good at swinging it that, in 2005, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw fit to draft him in the eighth round. He made his big league debut in 2007 and spent the next five seasons playing for the Bucs.nfl cheap jerseys nike That is, when he wasn’t hurt.

Every time Pearce felt like his career was gaining some momentum, an injury would crop up. At the end of the 2011 season, the Pirates decided they’d had enough of Pearce’s on-again, off-again relationship with the disabled list and cut ties. It was the beginning of his on-again, off-again relationship with, well, a lot of teams.8

On June 28 of this year, when Pearce was traded from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox, he became the sixth man in major league history to play for every team in the same division. He also became the second person to play for every club in the American League East. More importantly, as far as the Pearce brothers were concerned, he became the first member of the family to play for the home team.

“The best part was telling my brothers,” says Pearce of breaking the Boston news. He speaks with a slight Southern twang, the kind that might come in handy if a ballplayer were to ever find himself in an AL East clubhouse (or four) where concealing his New England roots could theoretically make his life just a little bit easier. “They always pulled for whatever team I was playing for, but deep down they were always Red Sox fans. To be able to tell them the news that I got traded to the Red Sox, that was a great feeling for me. They were pumped. nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap They were like, ‘Holy cow, you’re playing for the Red Sox!'”

To be sure, Pearce isn’t the first big leaguer to play for the team he grew up worshipping. Minnesota native Joe Mauer has spent the entirety of his 15-year career with the Twins. Maryland’s own Cal Ripken Jr. was a lifelong Oriole. Tony Gwynn (Padres) and Brandon Crawford (Giants) come to mind as well. But unlike each of those hometown heroes, Pearce’s path to Boston — the sports-crazed city that’s in his de facto DNA — was infinitely indirect and dappled with deprivation.

Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic show Dallas a sign of the future

“Welcome to the Future,” read the slogan on the blue T-shirts waiting for fans at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night.

The Dallas Mavericks certainly envision their home opener as a sign of things to come for a franchise that is preparing for the post-Dirk era.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavs’ prized recent lottery picks, recovered from a rough start to star in a 140-136 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in front of a rowdy sellout crowd. They did so playing a fast-paced, 3-point-firing style that is sweeping through the NBA — and suits the Mavs’ young core.

“It was only one game, but that was fun,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. “We wanted Dennis and Luka to take steps forward. Dennis has gotten better. Luka is still finding his way, but what a way to find your way. It was impressive.”

It was ugly early for Doncic, the No. 3 overall pick making his NBA home debut. He went scoreless in the first quarter, hoisting an air ball among his three missed shots and committing a couple of turnovers. He didn’t exactly make up for it on the defensive end, either, as Minnesota (minus resting, disgruntled star Jimmy Butler) put up 46 points, matching the most the Mavs have ever allowed in a first quarter.6

But Doncic, the 19-year-old former Euroleague MVP the Mavs are hoping can take the torch from injured 21-year vet Dirk Nowitzki as the face of the franchise, got rolling midway through the second quarter. He finally got on the board with an and-1 floater with 6:41 remaining in the half. He followed that up with 3s on back-to-back possessions, and suddenly he had a scoring binge of 15 points in just over five minutes.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Doncic finished with 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. The list of teens to put up that kind of line, per Basketball-Reference.com data: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Lamar Odom, Clifford Robinson and now Doncic, who fully expects to experience that kind of success during his rookie season.

“I’ve played this basketball for a long time,” said Doncic, who made his pro debut for Real Madrid at age 15. “I’ve been professional. I had to grow up there, so I was ready for the game here. I mean, the game for sure is more physical. You have a lot more physical guys that can guard you, but at the end of the day, it’s just basketball.”

Kareem Hunt gets his reward for doing early-season dirty work

Hunt was rewarded on Sunday night for all of his work picking up tough yards early in the season. He scored three touchdowns, two on passes from Mahomes, in the Chiefs’ 45-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Hunt also rushed for 86 yards and caught passes worth 55 more. He provided the night’s most spectacular play in the first quarter when he broke several attempted tackles and then leaped over safety Jessie Bates for a 21-yard run.

The play set up Kansas City’s first touchdown, which was scored by Hunt on a 6-yard catch.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“It was just one of those runs you’ve got to get the team going,” said Hunt, who added he had hurdled defenders before in high school and college. “I’m never going to give up on a play. I’m going to fight for every half-inch.”5

The play was a run/pass option for Mahomes, who initially regretted giving the ball to Hunt.

“I probably made the wrong read,” Mahomes said. “I handed it to him and it should have been a tackle for a loss and then he broke a tackle and jumped over a dude.

“You see guys jump over guys but they kind of build up. They kind of know it. He had just broken a tackle and I feel like he had just started to run and he just out of instinct jumped over him. … It was a pretty sweet thing.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie, was largely left out of the Chiefs’ early-season offensive party. He rushed for 168 yards and caught only one pass in Kansas City’s first three games.

He still had three TDs in those three games, a testament to his penchant for getting the tough yards.

Inside France’s eventful break: Deschamps turns 50, comeback results and World Cup rings

In the dressing room, Deschamps is not happy at all. The coach had rushed straight there after Serbian referee Milorad Mazic blew for half-time and yells: “We are not playing as a team. We need to put the effort in, put in more intensity.”

Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane also voice their frustration, with other players visibly fuming too. The keywords: togetherness, effort, attitude, intensity, mental strength come to the fore.

Towards the end of the first half, Deschamps had changed his tactics from his usual 4-4-2 formation into a 4-3-3 far better suited to how Germany were set up. And, before his players go back out for the second half, the coach challenges them to “show me what you can do.”
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France respond like World Cup winners and rally to win 2-1, extending their unbeaten run to 15 matches.

“In the first half, it was not us. After the break, we played like world champions,” admitted Antoine Griezmann after the game. The Atletico Madrid striker scored a brace in 18 second-half minutes, including a wonderful header, to turn the game around, pile more misery on the Germans and offer Deschamps a nice 50th birthday present.

Deschamps turned 50 on Monday and was presented with a giant rectangular fruit sponge cake with a chocolate football on top, as well as a big book full of photos from the World Cup signed by all the players. “DD” asked them to get him another present as well: a win.6

“My 50th year has been a very great year thanks to you,” he told them at the France’s team hotel in Enghien-les-Bains, not far from the Stade de France. “For it to be even better, and for me to remember even more my 50th birthday, you know what you have to do [Tuesday]. I am relying on you because I trust you. I am very happy to be with you tonight because you are a bit like my second family. So thank you.”

His team did just that. After the disappointing 2-2 draw last Thursday in a friendly against Iceland in Guingamp, they put in another performance full of character and saw another shining star performance — this time from Griezmann, five days after Kylian Mbappe had saved them.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Having been 2-0 down against Iceland before Mbappe came on and bailed them out, Deschamps warned his men in the dressing room postmatch: “This should be useful to all of you. It can happen but it should not happen. You have to be aware of what we have to do so it doesn’t happen again. That’s the most important thing.”

Yet the beginning of their match against Germany was just as bad as Toni Kroos’ 14th minute penalty put them up against it.

“We can’t get into the habit of going behind. We know it. At this level, if you don’t start a game with the right aggression and attitude, you are in trouble,” goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said after the game. The memo for the two games in November, the friendly against Uruguay and the trip to the Netherlands for Les Bleus’ final Nations League group game, will be to start better.