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Caris LeVert is still a cornerstone for the Brooklyn Nets

No one who has gotten to know Caris LeVert over the past half-decade — as an almost redshirt at the University of Michigan, and breakout star with the Brooklyn Nets — will be surprised to hear there will be minimal sulking after LeVert’s foot injury Monday.

It is one of LeVert’s defining traits — something that has made him a beloved teammate, and cultural keystone of the Nets’ long rebuild: He takes joy in the success of others, even when things are not going well for him. At Michigan, those in the program were stunned LeVert sustained such positivity even as three foot surgeries derailed his career.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Across the Nets, there had been universal exhilaration at LeVert’s rise from preseason backup to franchise centerpiece. Even rivals for that status found themselves swept up in it, in part because LeVert always offers them the same emotional support.

“It is all genuine with Caris,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said during an interview at the team’s practice facility two weeks ago. “He is real.”5

It all overflowed after Brooklyn’s second game, when LeVert dusted Tim Hardaway Jr., his college teammate, and coaxed in a tilting layup to beat the Knicks. When Atkinson embraced LeVert in the locker room, LeVert smiled and told him, “I owed you one, Coach,” referencing some crunch-time error from Brooklyn’s season-opening loss in Detroit that Atkinson couldn’t even recall.

Player and coach fast developed a special relationship. Two years ago, Atkinson called LeVert to wish him a happy birthday but activated FaceTime by accident. (“I don’t even FaceTime my wife,” he said, not joking.) LeVert, surprised, picked up. Ten months later, on Atkinson’s birthday, his FaceTime went off again. It was LeVert, unprompted, creating a tongue-in-cheek tradition.

“Like, who even remembers their coach’s birthday?” Atkinson asked. “And then remembers we have this silly thing?”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Jacque Vaughn, the Nets assistant who has worked most closely with LeVert, searched him out after that game winner. That shot, Vaughn told him, was proof of what coaches preached all summer.

“Never feel rushed,” Vaughn said, repeating a mantra they had developed. “You can get to any spot you want. You dictate everything. That was the shot you wanted, and no one was able to get you off of it. Never feel rushed.”

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott help save Cowboys’ season — for now

The Dallas Cowboys’ storylines entering Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t exactly positive.

The list included: a coach’s job security, a quarterback struggling to make plays, an offensive coordinator perhaps on his last chance and a defense left wobbly after its previous game. All in all, it added up to a season on the line.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But the Cowboys left Lincoln Financial Field with a 27-20 victory that seemed improbable after losing their first four road games of the season, and they find themselves alive and breathing, if not entirely well just yet.

“When you’re feeling low and you’re seeing the Grim Reaper and then come in and have your team perform the way these guys did, I promise you it’s a special feeling,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I won’t need any wings on that airplane getting back to Dallas.”6

They left Philly with a win after Jason Garrett rallied a young team that had been rattled and a coaching staff that had been questioned.

They left with a win after Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes in a road game for the first time this season. After Ezekiel Elliott rushed for more than 150 yards against the NFL’s second-best run defense and scored twice.

“I don’t know that I learned anything new [about his team],” Garrett said. “You try to build a team of guys who love football, who are mentally tough, and I think those things get revealed when you have to go through some adversity over the course of the season.

“I thought they did a great job coming back after [the Cowboys’ 28-14 loss to Tennessee the previous week], just getting back to work, not blinking. Just going back to work and understanding the importance of what this next opponent is and playing 60 minutes. Thought we did a better job of that in this game than we have in the last few games. Dealing with the adversities of the game and keep playing. Dealing with the successes of the game and keep playing.”

At times early in the game, Prescott was bad. He held on to the ball too long, which resulted in sacks — including a 13-yard sack in the second quarter.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

At times, Prescott was brilliant: At the end of the first half, he connected on five passes for 79 yards and sneaked in from a yard out with 19 seconds left for the Cowboys’ first touchdown.

With season saved for a week, Cowboys need to go on a run

It took Jerry Jones a little time to get from his suite inside Lincoln Financial Field to the Dallas Cowboys’ locker room on Sunday night.

Some players were talking about the hows and whys of their 27-20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles. Others were getting dressed, cinching up their ties for the plane ride back home. Others were making sure they had some ice on hand to numb their aches.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Heard clear above it all was Jones, the Cowboys’ owner and general manager, letting loose with a loud “Wooooh,” like he was Ric Flair, as he entered the room. Some players responded with their own “Woooohs.”5

Less than a week earlier, the players were deflated inside their AT&T Stadium locker room after the loss to the Tennessee Titans. At 3-5, the Cowboys saw their season slipping away and knew Sunday’s game against the Eagles was a must-win.

Ezekiel Elliott was asked if beating the Eagles saved the season.

“I think we did,” said the running back, who finished with 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a TD catch.

In reality, the victory has saved the Cowboys’ season for a week.

At 4-5, they remain in the NFC East chase, two games behind the Washington Redskins. A loss would have kept them alive only in a mathematical sense.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Now they have to show they can win back-to-back games. And they get the chance to do it where their 2017 season effectively died. Last November, the Cowboys lost 27-7 to the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Dak Prescott was sacked eight times. Elliott did not play, serving the first game of a six-game suspension. It was the start of a three-game losing streak that ultimately led the Cowboys to a 9-7 finish that kept them from the playoffs.

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: A golden night for Jamal Murray

Multiple overtime games, 40-point performances and blockbuster 20/20 (points and rebounds) efforts defined just another high-scoring night in the NBA.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The most exciting performance of Monday’s nine-game slate featured Denver’s Jamal Murray compiling a career-high 48 points as his Nuggets downed the Boston Celtics. Not only did the breakout scoring display secure Denver a pivotal win to improve to 9-1, with signature wins over contenders such as the Warriors, Jazz and now Celtics, but Murray’s 48 points are the most by a Nuggets player since Carmelo Anthony dropped 50 against the Rockets in February of 2011.

Murray’s 48 points are the most by a Nuggets player since Carmelo Anthony dropped 50 against the Rockets in February of 2011. They were also the most points ever scored by a Canadian-born player, while Murray became the seventh different player from the University of Kentucky to score 40 in an NBA game during the last three seasons — more than twice as many as any other school. A rising fantasy asset, Murray is enjoying a 16 percent leap in shots per game and a 13 percent jump in scoring output in his third professional season compared to last season’s strong sophomore effort.5

While impressive box scores defined the night in the positive sense, seeing Oklahoma City’s superstar Russell Westbrook leave Monday’s win over the Pelicans with a seemingly serious ankle injury was undoubtedly a tough takeaway from Monday. Westbrook needed help leaving the court and subsequent tests revealed a high-ankle sprain, although thankfully with x-rays proving negative in regards to any fracture.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Westbrook was on the way to yet another triple-double performance, with the Thunder earning their fifth straight win after starting 0-4, becoming just the third team since the merger to start 0-4 and then win as many as five straight. Though Westbrook’s status is currently unclear, the Thunder have a favorable upcoming schedule; each of their next six games come against teams with losing records, including four against the Suns, Mavericks and Cavaliers — owners of three of the four worst records in the NBA.

As Westbrook heals, shares of Dennis Schroder could prove profitable, as he’s available in roughly a third of ESPN leagues and unsurprisingly posted a season-high usage rate of 33.2 percent last night. With a strong offensive rating of 114 (team points per 100 possessions while he’s on the floor) and a usage rate at 28.3 percent the past three games, Schroder could capably turn in rewarding fantasy production with Westbrook sidelined.

With an eye on meaningful fantasy performances and relevant statistical trends, let’s delve into the night that was in the NBA.

Mahomes, Mayfield, Brees and more: Texas QBs having their moment

“In Texas, football is heavily funded,” said Greg McElroy, a former Texas high school quarterback who had a brief NFL career before moving to ESPN and ABC as a college football analyst. “It’s prioritized. Quarterback is an expensive position to learn. A lot of these guys have private coaches. These guys are trained at a young age to become college players and eventually NFL players. Part of being a great quarterback is loving the game, being obsessed with the game. You can never work too hard at your craft and in Texas, football is king. There’s nothing more important than football. Guys are so well coached in high school in Texas.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Your development is accelerated in the state of Texas. Usually you can play a little earlier in college. If you play earlier and play more in college, you’re going to be ready when it comes time to get to the NFL.”6

Mahomes, from the small Texas town of Whitehouse, and the Kansas City Chiefs finish a three-game stretch against former Texas quarterbacks on Sunday when they face Mayfield, from Austin, and the Browns in Cleveland. Two weeks ago the Chiefs defeated Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton of the Houston suburb of Katy. Last week, the opposing QB was Denver’s Case Keenum, from the West Texas town of Abilene.

The list of NFL quarterbacks from Texas includes former No. 1 overall draft picks in Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (from the Dallas area), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (Houston) and Mayfield as well as future Hall of Famers such as Drew Brees (Austin). Others, such as Keenum and Chicago’s Chase Daniel, weren’t drafted at all.

Texas QBs have stolen the spotlight in the past year, considering they have the reigning Heisman winner and No. 1 pick in Mayfield, the Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles (Austin) and the newly-minted all-time passing leader in Brees.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

And they are bonded together by some strong, unique Texas roots.

“It’s a way of life [in Texas],” Keenum said. “There are a lot of people who care a lot about it. It’s kind of what you do growing up, especially in my hometown, and I know it’s that way in a lot of hometowns. When you have that many people who care about it that much and have great coaches — I think I’ve heard of other places where it’s similar [and] not to say anything bad about coaches anywhere else, but when you’re in a coach in Texas, you’re a coach. You might teach some in the school, but you don’t go work at Home Depot or at the bank, or [as a] lawyer, doctor, financial guy. You’re a coach.

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.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard both out Monday

A star-studded matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard won’t be happening Monday.

The Bucks announced that Antetokounmpo was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol after suffering an injury in Saturday’s victory over the Orlando Magic. He was initially diagnosed as having a head contusion and returned to the game.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Bucks said Monday that “team physicians followed league protocols and consulted the league’s neurologist during the evaluation periods” during Saturday’s game and that Antetokounmpo “passed his neurological tests that created significant doubt that it was a concussion.” On Monday, Antetokounmpo reported new symptoms and a lingering headache.

Antetokounmpo, 23, is averaging 25.0 points and 14.2 rebounds per game this season. Ersan Ilyasova will start for Antetokounmpo Monday.5

“He obviously helps us a ton on both ends and does so many different things for us, so I guess it goes without saying we’ll miss him a ton,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “But I think we’re also excited about how we play and everybody being part of — defensively, offensively everything we do — and hopefully we are positioned or prepared to play with who we got.”

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“Obviously he’s our best player — one of the best players in the world — so losing a guy like that is going to hurt us, but we’re prepared for this,” he said. “I worked on rebounding it and taking it coast to coast filling in for him. So it should be a good day.”

The Raptors announced that they will rest Leonard on Monday.

This marks the second time in the last 10 days that Leonard will miss a game for rest. He also rested on Oct. 20 against the Wizards in the second game of a back-to-back for Toronto. Leonard played in only nine games last season for San Antonio with a thigh injury.

The Raptors, who next play Tuesday against the 76ers, also announced that forward OG Anunoby will miss Monday’s contest in Milwaukee for personal reasons.

What it means for the Dodgers to get all the way back to the World Series

The Dodgers begin a star-laden, highly anticipated World Series showdown against the juggernaut Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. It is yet another opportunity to claim the championship trophy that has eluded this franchise for 30 years. But nothing the Dodgers do the rest of this month can erase what took place 355 days ago, when the Houston Astros defeated them in Game 7.

“We can win two or three World Series in the future,” Turner said, “and I’ll probably remember losing the Game 7 more than winning the championships.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The culprit was actually Game 5. The Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, a premium opportunity to capture a pivotal swing game in the 2017 World Series. But they blew three leads and lost in 10 innings. They came back to win Game 6 but couldn’t recover from Yu Darvish’s five-run meltdown in Game 7.5

“We had plenty of chances,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “The whole series came down to a few pitches.”

“It stung, man,” starter-turned-reliever Alex Wood said. “It stung for a long time.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Dodgers players did their best to distance themselves from the memory in the offseason, but they couldn’t keep from bumping into each other. Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Austin Barnes, Turner and Wood all got married over the winter, constantly bringing everybody together again.

The World Series loss was a frequent topic of conversation early, but it quickly dissolved, replaced by the typical camaraderie of a team that grew so close throughout the journey.

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.”

How the Chiefs coached the recklessness out of Patrick Mahomes

One of the third-quarter throws that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes made recently against the Denver Broncos broke a lot of the NFL’s unwritten rules for a successful pass.

The right-handed Mahomes was drifting to his left. He threw the ball late to the middle of the field. The pass was made across his body.

But Mahomes still made it work. Tight end Travis Kelce was open and the Chiefs got a 29-yard gain on the play and, eventually, a field goal on the drive.

This was a case, and there have been others this season with Mahomes, when the Chiefs have benefited from letting their quarterback use his uncommonly strong arm.

“They never encourage that,” Mahomes said of coach Andy Reid and the other offensive assistants. “As long as you complete it and you get the first down, they’re fine with it. At the same time, you have to know when not to do that.
Mahomes has yet to get himself or the 5-0 Chiefs into trouble with any of his daring passes. The Chiefs have tamed Mahomes, who arrived with a reputation for making some reckless passes, without taking away the qualities that attracted coach Andy Reid to him in the first place.

That’s a big reason why Mahomes, in his first season as a starter, has 14 touchdown passes with only two interceptions heading into Sunday night’s game against the Patriots in New England.

“Most guys are told not to do that,” said fullback Anthony Sherman, who was referring to the Kelce pass but could have been talking about other unconventional Mahomes passes. “He goes out there and executes it and it’s like, ‘OK, I guess you can do that.’ … Coach Reid gives him the ability that if he thinks he can get it there, throw it and get it there. He knows he’s going to have to get the ball into some tight windows, but he trusts his arm enough.