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Rockets get everything they need to top Warriors, even series

A balanced scoring effort, career-high contributions from their non-stars and lackadaisical sloppiness/off-target shooting from their opponent — the Houston Rockets received little to none of the above in their Game 1 Western Conference finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.nfl replica jerseys cheap

But two days later, the Rockets checked off every box required to even the series against the defending champions, winning a resounding 127-105 blowout Wednesday at the Toyota Center.

Behind a playoff career-high 22 points from forward PJ Tucker, and with 27 points off the bench from guard Eric Gordon, the NBA-best Rockets led by as many as 29 points in the second half, the largest deficit Golden State has faced this postseason.214

In fact, Gordon single-handedly outscored Stephen Curry (16 points) and Klay Thompson (eight points). And Rockets forward Trevor Ariza chipped in with 19 points.

All told, Ariza, Tucker and Gordon combined for 68 points after combining for just 24 in Game 1.

Houston’s steamrolling win came at the hands of an overall slipshod performance from the Warriors, who tallied just nine turnovers in Game 1 but recorded five in Wednesday’s first five minutes, setting the table for a rough night. The Warriors notched 10 turnovers in the first half and finished with 15, which led to as many Houston points.

And aside from star swingman Kevin Durant, who carried his team with a game-high 38 points, few other Warriors offered much in the way of scoring — or much else.

Tucker came up huge for the Rockets after scoring just one point in Game 1, making 5 of 6 from 3-point range — and all his makes came from the corner, which registered as the most made corner 3-pointers by any player this postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Info.nfl replica jerseys wholesale

Overall, the Rockets shot 16-of-42 from 3-point range, with Gordon making 6 of 9 attempts. The Warriors shot just 9-of-30 from 3-point range.

Game 3 is Sunday in Oakland, California, where the Warriors have won 15 consecutive games, tied with the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls for the longest home win streak in postseason history.

James Harden: ‘We don’t really worry about who we’re playing’

“There’s no doubt about it, we’re the underdogs,” Tucker told ESPN. “They’re still the champs. They’re the champs until somebody beats them. We’re underdogs in this. People were talking about us getting swept and we’ve got no shot. We’re the underdogs, and we’ve got to keep that mentality this whole series.

“That nastiness, that’s the only way we’re going to have a shot to win. We definitely have to play harder than them. cheap nfl jerseys nike china We’ve got to play harder, and we’ve got to play smarter.”

Houston’s improved intensity — “more force,” as coach Mike D’Antoni put it — was consistently pointed to by the Rockets as the primary difference in Game 2.

“If the first game we were at a 70, tonight we were at a 95,” Harden said. “We were pretty aggressive defensively, and that allowed us to get out in transition. If we be comfortable, sit back and just allow them to get to their spots and run around freely, then they’re going to pick us apart. But if we get into them and try to make it tougher on them, good things will happen for us.”

The Rockets had a much more balanced scoring attack in Game 2 than they did in the series opener Monday, when Harden tallied 41 points in a 119-106 home loss. Harden had 27 points on 9-of-24 shooting in Game 2, and a few Rockets role players were very productive: Sixth man Eric Gordon (27 points), small forward Trevor Ariza (19 points) and Tucker all had their highest-scoring outings of this postseason.213

“Everything was fueled off our defense,” said Gordon, who was 8-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

The focus for the Rockets’ coaches and players between games was on playing harder and smarter on defense, which they consider the key to giving themselves a chance to beat the Warriors.

“We know who we are,” Tucker said. “We don’t need to win a game to know who we are. We watched film, and nobody had anything to say. We understand. We get that. For us, it’s just playing how we play. We didn’t play Rocket basketball in Game 1. We all know that. cheap replica nfl jerseys We saw it. We watched the clips.

“Our guys have pride. We knew that what we did that first game, we can’t do that again. Regardless of the outcome, we’re not going to play like that again.”

Former Seahawks, Rams, Bills coach Chuck Knox dies

Chuck Knox, who has the second-most victories of any coach in Seattle Seahawks history and who also coached the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills, died at age 86 after suffering from dementia.

The Seahawks on Sunday confirmed the news of Knox’s death.

Nicknamed “Ground Chuck” for his teams’ run-first offenses, Knox went 80-63 during the regular season over nine years as Seattle’s coach.cheap nfl jersey wholesale His debut season with the Seahawks in 1983 was highlighted by the first playoff appearance in franchise history; Seattle advanced to the AFC Championship Game against the Raiders with a road upset of Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphins in the divisional round.

Knox is the only head coach in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor, having been inducted in 2005. His 80 victories with Seattle are second to Mike Holmgren’s 86. Pete Carroll is third with 79.

“The Seahawks family is saddened by the loss of Chuck Knox, and our deepest sympathies are extended to his wife, Shirley, and the entire Knox family,” the Seahawks said in a statement. “His presence projects an external toughness, but merited instantaneous respect by the genuine care and concern he held for his players. He was one of the great influences not only in football, but in life.”201

Born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Knox compiled a regular-season record of 186-147-1 and went 7-11 in the playoffs during his 22 seasons as a head coach. He coached the Rams (54-15-1) from 1973 to 1977, the Bills (37-36) from 1978 to 1982, the Seahawks from 1983 to 1991 and the Rams (15-33) again from 1992 to 1994.

He was named the AP Coach of the Year in 1973, 1980 and 1984 and also won the UPI version of the award in 1983 and 1984.

“Chuck Knox was the best coach I ever had,” Tom Mack, a former Rams guard and Pro Football Hall of Famer, was quoted as saying in a 2016 Los Angeles Times story. “He always took the time to know each player well enough that he could talk to each player and hit their hot buttons. I never saw another coach like that.”

In their statement, where to buy nfl jerseys cheap the Rams said that Knox “established a winning culture and a legacy that will never be forgotten, being the only coach to lead the Rams to five consecutive double-digit-win seasons. The memories and accomplishments that Coach Knox left behind will continue to inspire us and Rams fans.”

Ovechkin has goal and assist, Capitals beat Lightning 4-2

Putting an emotional second-round victory over playoff nemesis and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh behind them, the Caps got a power-play goal and assist from Alex Ovechkin in his Eastern Conference finals debut and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Friday night.

Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps, nfl shop jerseys authentic who are alive beyond the second round of the playoffs for the first time in Ovechkin’s brilliant 13-year career.

”We had a really good start. We didn’t give them much,” Ovechkin said.

”I think it’s we realized we just have to play our way,” the Washington captain added. ”It doesn’t matter which position we are, which round it is. Everybody was paying the price.”

Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored for Tampa Bay, which trailed 4-0 heading into the third period.192

Game 2 is Sunday night at Amalie Arena, where Tampa Bay also lost Game 1 in the second round against Boston.

”It’s just one game. That’s the way we have to look at it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”We’ve got to get back to what got us to the conference final.”

The Capitals dominated in improving to 6-1 on the road this postseason, with Kempny giving them an early 1-0 lead.

Ovechkin made it 2-0 a mere 5 seconds after the Lightning thought they had tied it in the closing seconds of the opening period. But Nikita Kucherov’s would-be breakaway goal was waved off because Tampa Bay had too many men on the ice.

T.J. Oshie won the ensuing faceoff in the Lightning zone, getting the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who fed Ovechkin for the Washington superstar’s ninth goal this postseason – 55th overall in 110 career playoff games – at 19:54 of the first.

”That gave us a real boost … gave us some breathing room,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.buy cheap nfl jerseys online

Beagle and Eller scored in the first seven minutes of the second period for a 4-0 lead. Up to that point, the Lightning – the NHL’s highest-scoring team during the regular season – had allowed as many goals as they had shots.

Tampa Bay replaced goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with Louis Domingue after the starter allowed four goals on 25 shots through two periods.

Holtby lost his shutout when Stamkos, assisted by Kucherov and Victor Hedman, scored at 3:45 of the third. Palat added his goal at 13:03, trimming Washington’s lead to 4-2.

Stars carry Warriors, eliminate Pelicans in Game 5

The series the basketball world has been craving for months is finally a reality. The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets will face off in the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors took care of their part Tuesday night, knocking off the New Orleans Pelicans 113-104 in Game 5, clinching a 4-1 series victory in the conference semifinals.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china  As usual, it was Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant leading the way, combining for 52 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists. Draymond Green nearly had a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out nine assists.

After a close first half, the Warriors shut the game down with a 25-4 run to start the third quarter, much like they did in a Game 4 win in New Orleans. The Warriors’ dominance was on full display during this stretch as they outscored the Pelicans 36-19 in the quarter, and 12-0 on fast-break points.156

The Warriors get a few days to rest before the big showdown against the Rockets, but they’ve got to like what they’ve seen on the defensive end in the last two games of this series. Steve Kerr’s group offered a reminder to the rest of the league that when it is locked in at the defensive end it will be incredibly tough to beat. Most importantly, the Warriors have to love how Curry is responding after coming back from a sprained MCL injury in Game 2. The former MVP was 10-for-16 from the field and looked confident bouncing around the floor on Tuesday night.

For the Pelicans, the loss ends what will go down as one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. Anthony Davis finished out the season with a bang, registering 34 points and 19 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday had a triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

The Pelicans now must decide what they will do with unrestricted free agent DeMarcus Cousins this summer as he rehabs from an Achilles tendon injury and figure out if they want to bring back veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.nfl cheap nike jerseys The future is bright for a New Orleans group that registered a first-round series sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers and is buoyed by the reality that, at 25, Davis appears to be entering his prime.

The stage is now set for the Warriors to earn their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. Curry, Durant, Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are creating the kind of success that most players can only dream about. They get to chase history now each time they step onto the floor on the biggest stage in basketball. A series win over the Rockets would make them a heavy favorite to win their third NBA championship in four seasons.

Spurs forward Pau Gasol pens open letter in support of Becky Hammon in Players’ Tribune

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is being interviewed by the Milwaukee Bucks for their vacant head coaching position. Hammon has been on the Spurs’ staff since 2014, when she became the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in the NBA.

The news of the Bucks’ interest in Hammon has renewed cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal conversation about the position of women coaches in the sport. And Spurs player Pau Gasol weighed in with his thoughts about Hammon and the idea of women coaching in the NBA in The Players’ Tribune.

Gasol grew up with parents who were in the medical field. His father was a nurse and his mother a doctor. During his childhood, people would often mistake his mother for the nurse and his father for the doctor.

“In 37 years, I can honestly say, I’ve never once thought of my mom as a ‘female’ doctor.” Gasol wrote. “To me, she has always just been … a doctor.”

In his open letter, Gasol applies similar logic to how he views Hammon as his coach. He bats down the criticisms leveled against Hammon one-by-one, including the idea that somehow, her presence on the Spurs’ staff is some sort of PR stunt.

“Pop’s only standard for doing anything is whether it’ll help us in just one way … and it isn’t getting good p.r.” Gasol wrote. “It’s getting W’s. And getting those W’s The Spurs Way.”

And don’t even get him started on the locker room.154

“In terms of the locker room, and in terms of behind the scenes, there really is no practical difference in this league between having a male or a female head coach,” Gasol wrote.

It’s the underlying cultural issues that really grate against Gasol.

“It goes to this idea that as we’re making all of these amazing strides in society, in terms of increasing our social awareness, and making efforts toward ideas like diversity and equality, and just sort of creating this more inclusive world, somehow sports should be an exception,” Gasol wrote. “It’s this idea, for some people, that sports should almost be this haven, where it’s O.K. to be closed-minded — like a bubble for all of our worst ignorance. And that as athletes, if we have any problems with the way things are, we should (as the saying goes) ‘stick to sports.’

“There are pushes now for increased gender diversity in the workplace of pretty much every industry in the world. It’s what’s expected. nike nfl cheap jerseys More importantly — it’s what’s right. And yet the NBA should get a pass because some fans are willing to take it easy on us … because we’re ‘sports’?

Forsberg, Rinne help Predators beat Jets to force Game 7

Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators showed they aren’t ready for their season to end yet.

Forsberg had two goals and an assist, Rinne stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the playoffs, and the Predators beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Monday to force a decisive Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Desperation,” Rinne said after his fifth career playoff shutout. “It just shows that we have a really tight group.”

Viktor Arvidsson also scored twice, including a late empty-netter, and added an assist for the Predators. Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each had two assists.

After the Jets’ top line combined for eight points in a 6-2 victory in Game 5 in Nashville to take a 3-2 series lead, the Predators No. 1 trio of Forsberg, Arvidsson and Johansen did the same when it mattered most.

“It’s the most fun,” Forsberg said. “You can never have more fun than playing these elimination games. … Just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots for the Jets.131

Game 7 in this series in which neither team has won consecutive games is Thursday at Nashville, Tennessee, with the winner advancing to face the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final. Each team has also won twice on the road.

With the Predators up 1-0 after one period, Forsberg doubled the lead at 8:44 of the second on a great solo rush for his sixth of the postseason. nike cheap nfl jerseys After breaking his stick in the defensive zone blocking a shot, the Swedish forward raced to the bench to get a new one as the puck almost simultaneously arrived at his feet. Forsberg stayed onside, fought off Jets defenseman Ben Chairot and beat Hellebuyck short-side before crashing into the net.

Winnipeg had made an earlier push coming out of the first intermission, with Paul Stastny’s shot just wide being the best chance after Mathieu Perreault’s dump in hit the linesman and caromed into the slot. Stastny also missed from a tight angle off the boards on the follow up on Rinne.

Everybody gets burned by Fil: Forsberg uses his flash to propel Predators’ playoff run

The slickest goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs might have come in a Game 1 of the first round. Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg carried the puck by his right skate as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard approached. In a move that looked beta-tested by video game controllers, Forsberg poked the puck through his own legs, collected it in stride, scooted around a wobbly Girard, then slipped the puck past goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

The sequence took all of three seconds, but the reverberations — the instant GIFs, the social media gushing,cheap nike nfl jerseys china the highlight on loop — lasted well past the 24-hour news cycle. As Forsberg’s teammate Austin Watson said afterward: “He thinks of doing things out there that wouldn’t even happen in my dreams.”

There’s another thing the Predators want you to know about the 23-year-old Swede: You might be impressed by his dazzling moves in games, but you should see the stuff he tries in practice.

“He’s always trying something — flipping his hands over, doing something weird,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “You’re like, ‘What is he doing?’ But he pulls something off his sleeve, and it’s usually pretty impressive.”129

“He might be the most creative player I’ve ever played with,” said center Kyle Turris, acquired from the Ottawa Senators last November. “The things he tries in practice are insane. It’s really neat to watch.”

Or, as defenseman P.K. Subban said, “Everybody gets burned by Fil.”

In the playoffs, Forsberg is the anonymous assassin. His 12 points — 5 goals, 7 assists — through 11 games pace the Predators (Forsberg led Nashville in the regular season with 64 points despite missing 11 games with an injury and three to suspension). Since the start of the 2014-15 season,nfl nike jersey cheap Forsberg has 24 game-winning goals — ninth-most in the NHL in that span and more than players such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Evgeni Malkin or Jonathan Toews. Meanwhile, Forsberg’s top line is Nashville’s most lethal in the playoffs; Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson have a 53.7 Corsi for percentage and 63.6 goals for perc

Dodgers in early hole amid mounting injuries

At this time last season, the Dodgers were in third place, so it’s not as though Los Angeles needs to panic about an even slower start in 2018.kids authentic nfl jerseys

Still, the defending National League champions are having their depth tested.

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Corey Seager is out for the season . Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, Rich Hill and Yasiel Puig are among the other Dodgers on the disabled list. Los Angeles has sputtered to a 15-19 mark, and that’s only part of the problem. The Dodgers also have to contend with an Arizona team that has raced out to the NL’s best record and leads Los Angeles by eight games in the NL West.

Last season, the Dodgers strolled to a division title with 104 wins, and at times they seemed to have more starting pitching than they needed. Kenta Maeda won 13 games and wasn’t even part of the postseason rotation. Hyun-Jin Ryu made 24 starts and posted a 3.77 ERA – and didn’t pitch at all in the playoffs or World Series.

Now Ryu is on the DL, and Kershaw joined him there Sunday. Hill hasn’t pitched since April 14. With the Dodgers leaning on their depth, young right-hander Walker Buehler has been impressive through three starts, and Ross Stripling has had to make two starts after being primarily a reliever last year.

The Dodgers have still gotten a 3.34 ERA from their starters this season, one of the top marks in the NL. But star closer Kenley Jansen has been unusually shaky, and now the lineup has to deal with the absence of Seager.nfl stitched jerseys The Dodgers have outscored their opponents 151-141 on the season, so perhaps they’ve played a bit better than their record indicates – but they also have a very real hole to climb out of, with a roster that right now is nowhere near full strength.

By any other name, Khris Middleton’s game has been sweet

The 26-year-old swingman is used to living his NBA life in the shadows after six seasons in the league — five with the Milwaukee Bucks and his superstar teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo — but this was different. Prior to Game 3 against the Boston Celtics,nfl jersey wholesale Boston reporter repeatedly called Middleton “Jabari,” in reference to Middleton’s teammate Jabari Parker, asking Middleton a question as if he were Parker about his minutes after two subpar games to start the series.

“At first it threw me off,” Middleton said. “I didn’t know what he was talking about. I hear him saying, ‘Jabari, what about your comments?’ And that’s why I really didn’t know what to say at first, so I kept going to a different question. Then it finally clicked that he really thought I was Jabari afterward. A couple people let me know, too. So I didn’t know what the hell was going on really, man.”

As the Bucks get set for their most important game of the season Thursday, down 3-2 to a young Celtics team and facing the possibility of playing the last game at the Bradley Center, Middleton can look back on the incident and laugh, knowing he’s making a name for himself this postseason. He is averaging 23.1 points on 57 percent shooting through the first five games.

Middleton, who, unlike Parker, performed well in his 84 combined minutes in the Bucks’ two losses to start the series, made a mental note about the confusing shootaround exchange. He was ready when the reporter — this time referencing Middleton by his correct name — asked another question after the Bucks’ Game 3 win. In a moment that quickly went viral, Middleton, seated alongside Antetokounmpo at the podium, made light of the misstep.11

“Khris is playing great,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s great having a guy next to you that plays that well in this series. If I’m not going, if [Eric] Bledsoe is not getting his rhythm, we’ll always have Khris.”

While 40-year-old Jason Terry serves as the sage veteran presence for this group at times, it’s Middleton who has served as a calming influence for the rest of the young team. He has been the most dependable player on either team throughout this series. Entering Wednesday night’s playoff slate, nfl jerseys cheap authentic Middleton was tied for the highest 3-point field goal percentage in the playoffs, among players to take at least 10 3-pointers, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He is shooting 18-for-30 from beyond the arc — good for 60 percent. His recent play is even more impressive when considering he shot just 35.9 percent from beyond the arc in the regular season.