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    The Golden State Warriors are demonstrating the power of roster continuity and chemistry and they’re not the only contender benefiting. One of the most beautiful and impressive sequences of the NBA Playoffs so far ended in a missed shot. It was near the end of Game 3 of the first-round series between the Nuggets and the Warriors. Draymond Green had the ball in the high post and was looking for Stephen Curry, who was trying to shake loose from Aaron Gordon. Green sent Curry a bounce pass between Nikola Jokic and Gordon. For a brief moment, it looked like Curry had an open lane to the basket but Jokic rotated, prompting Curry to pass the ball back to Green. Curry immediately dashed to the corner where Green passed him the ball a second time. Again, it looked like Curry had an open look but Gordon closed out, forcing Curry to sidestep and pump-fake in the hopes of recreating that opportunity, though with no luck. The ball went back to Green. This time, with Gordon out of position after biting very...
    The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning.’ The Boston Celtics evened their series against the Miami Heat with a big Game 2 win, while the Golden State Warriors will be looking to keep the pressure on the Mavericks and go up 2-0.  With the Conference Finals rolling on, I tapped in some of the best minds from The Step Back and FanSided’s NBA network to break down some of the biggest lingering questions.1. Which role player left in the NBA Playoffs is most important to his team’s championship aspirations — Andrew Wiggins, Reggie Bullock, Al Horford, or P.J. Tucker?Ben Ladner, The Step Back: Given how important he is to the Warriors’ ability to slow down wings like Luka Doncic, Jimmy Butler or Jayson Tatum, I think the answer is Wiggins. Bullock’s 3-point shooting is a bellwether for Dallas’ offense, Horford’s defense and connective playmaking helps tie Boston together on both ends and Tucker’s defensive versatility unlocks Miami’s best lineups, but Wiggins is the most...
    CHRISTIAN PULISIC is desperate to make his mark on Chelsea but until he improves his consistency he will continue to frustrate Thomas Tuchel and the Stamford Bridge faithful. The winger, 23, scored in his previous Premier League match at Leeds - his eighth goal in 38 games this year - but followed that up with a lacklustre display in the FA Cup final. 2Christian Pulisic disappointed on a frustrating night against LeicesterCredit: Getty 2Pulisic looks to the heavens after missing a great chance to scoreCredit: AP Tuchel continued to show faith in the American however, starting him ahead of Mason Mount and Kai Havertz against Leicester. But once again Pulisic did not deliver, struggling to get involved in the match and failing to show a killer instinct in the box. He had the perfect partner in attack in Romelu Lukaku but he failed to get onto the end of the striker's flick-ons, unlike Hakim Ziyech. The Belgian also played a brilliant ball across the six-yard box early in the second half but Pulisic was asleep - and even his lightning...
    BRENDAN RODGERS claimed Chelsea are the best team his Leicester side have faced this season. And the Foxes boss insists having key players unavailable has cost the Blues dear. 3Ben Chilwell has not played since injuring his knee in NovemberCredit: Reuters 3Reece James ran riot at the King Power earlier in the season but has missed matches through injuryCredit: EPA Rodgers, a former coach at Chelsea, heads back to Stamford Bridge with Leicester in their rearranged Premier League clash tomorrow. And despite Thomas Tuchel's men being out of Sunday's title showdown, the Northern Irishman was full of praise for the stricken Chelsea. Rodgers - whose side were outclassed 3-0 at the King Power in October - said: "I would go as far as to say Chelsea are the best team we have played this season. "When we played them early on in the season, they were at the top of their game. I thought they were outstanding. READ MORE ON CHELSEABLUES CLUES Chelsea aim to shake off Wembley nightmare with win over Foxes "Not long after that moment,...
    The template had been established, and proven worthy of application in the NBA, for as long as we can remember. Acquire as many superstars as possible and the rest will fall into place. Coaching and filling out the roster are tertiary. The Heat’s Big 3 enhanced the fad and, as recently as the Lakers title in 2020, it still felt like the chosen path to a title. Having problems getting past LeBron James? So what? Do everything to get Kevin Durant in Golden State or Kawhi Leonard in Toronto. Is Boston stuck at the hump? Just trade for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. But more recently there’s been a shift, as holes in the superstar strategy have turned into craters. The Nets are the obvious example and most relevant to this market. Their Big 3 of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden is already fractured and finished with just one playoff series victory. The failure of GM Sean Marks left him with no cap space and no control of his own first-round draft pick until 2028. In Philadelphia, the different...
    Less than a month from his 36th birthday, a rejuvenated Al Horford has helped keep the Celtics alive against the Bucks. Plus: a note on the NBA’s MVP award. The NBA playoffs have a way of producing unlikely heroes. In arduous battles where each team knows the other’s tendencies, anticipates its tactics and keys in on its stars, critical games — or even an entire series — can turn on ancillary players outperforming expectations and carving out an edge neither team counted on. Al Horford — who turns 36 next month and has logged 39 minutes per game in five games against the Bucks — is the latest role player to step into the spotlight, having crawled out of the woodwork to completely change the complexion of one of the best second-round playoff bouts in recent memory. Al Horford has been a difference-maker for the Boston CelticsWith Robert Williams missing Games 4 and 5 with left knee soreness, Horford has practically been Boston’s only available center, which has unlocked highly effective small lineups in which he acts as a floor-spacer,...
    Getty Sean Marks at Press Conference The Brooklyn Nets have been questioned over who is really in charge of the team since it acquired its two stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. For a long time, league circles have speculated on the power that Brooklyn’s two stars have in the organization. Some of this is typical around superstar players. Some has been brought on by the two’s own words. Kyrie birthed some of his in his famous appearance on Durant’s podcast in 2020 when he said the Nets don’t need a head coach.  For context, the two were talking about the hiring of Steve Nash, and Irving said: “And I think it’s also going to change the way we see coaches. I don’t really see us having a head coach. You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.” These aren’t the only statements that suggest that Irving and Durant have a lot of control on what happens in Brooklyn. Sean Marks on Nets Player EmpowermentOn Wednesday, May 11, Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks and...
    Numerous major domestic cricket events are held every year, but none of them come close to the Indian Premier League. The IPL stands at the top irrespective of which one of its aspects is considered. It features the best players from around the globe in teams competing against each other to clinch the prestigious IPL trophy. Besides this, the event also receives enormous viewership. According to Economic Times, the first half of the 2021 edition of IPL garnered over 380 million viewers. This can be deemed as substantial proof of the fact that IPL is indeed a globally-renowned top-tier tournament. Fantasy cricket is another area where the IPL amasses a huge set of fans. The major T20 tournament facilitates fans to indulge in fantasy cricket online. By playing fantasy cricket games, fans can create their virtual team consisting of real players and predict the outcome of real cricket matches. Moreover, fans can also appoint the captain and vice-captain based on their preferences. There are numerous platforms available on the Internet that allow players to play fantasy cricket games and compete...
    EDDIE HOWE will act as mediator today to avoid a fallout in Newcastle’s camp after Allan Saint-Maximin appeared to criticise the club’s strikers. The winger said in an interview with a French magazine that “the day I have a player capable of finishing actions, I will make seasons with 10-15 assists”. 1Allan Saint-Maximin held clear-the-air talks with boss Eddie HoweCredit: Reuters A “concerned” Saint-Maximin sought out Howe in his office yesterday, with the Newcastle boss insisting he will not fine him because the quotes were taken out of context. But Howe and Saint-Maximin will address the squad to ensure there is no lingering damage. He said: “He was concerned yesterday and we spoke. In no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity we’ve built. “We will be speaking with the squad and making sure there is no fallout because that unity has been our strength, and it’s vital we protect that at all costs. Read More In FootballALLAN KEY Saint-Maximin takes swipe at Newcastle team-mates but denies he's jealous of Mane “I don’t think I’ll be...
    There’s something about a City Series game that brings out the best in everyone. A good-natured rivalry, the availability of $14 beers and Chicagoans’ love of a spirited argument always seem to put fans in the right mood. “You’ll see maybe one fight in the outfield and the bleachers once in a while,” White Sox starter Lucas Giolito said before Tuesday’s series opener at Wrigley Field. “But this series over the past few years, like the second inning — ‘Oh, we got one already.’” The Cubs marketing department missed out on an opportunity to have former Bears center Olin Kreutz throw out the ceremonial first punch, but otherwise it pulled out all the stops. The trophy that goes to the winner of the annual crosstown series was on display on a table in the rain next to the Cubs dugout for one and all to see. It was part of the pageantry that comes with the Cubs-Sox series, though no one was in the stands and the only one paying any attention to it was the Cubs mascot. It was...
    Getty Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics As the Boston Celtics succumbed to the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening game of their playoff series, it quickly became clear that the team needs additional shooting off the bench. As things stand, the Celtics roster is full, and cap space precarious, but Boston will head into the off-season armed with a mid-level exception that could be incredibly beneficial when speaking with free agents. Ideally, any new addition to the team will be a veteran in the league with a track record of shooting an above-average clip from deep on respectable usage. Of course, finding players like that within your price range isn’t the easiest task, but bargain hunting never is. Still, there will be a few options for the Celtics to explore, with one of the more notable names being Otto Porter Jr. from the Golden State Warriors. In a recent article for Bleacher Report, Grant Hughes noted that Porter Jr. was one of the more under-the-radar players to be hitting the open market at the end of this season, and that...
    By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston BOSTON (CBS) — Certainly, the Patriots’ draft strategies have been questioned in the past. Sometimes, the critics were proven to have been very correct. Other times, not as much. This year, though, feels like a crossroads of sorts. Unlike in the past, when an unsuccessful draft wasn’t going to stop the Patriots from marching to the AFC Championship Game, the stakes were a bit higher for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in three seasons and is losing ground in the AFC East. If the Patriots failed to add players who can quickly make an impact — especially after a tepid free-agency period — then the decisions are sure to be scrutinized like never before. Of course, the reverse remains true. If New England gets contributions in year one from a handful of new additions, then the draft “experts” and “gurus” will have to reevaluate their standards. That latter scenario does feel a bit difficult to envision, but the forthcoming season will provide the canvas for the story to be written — whatever it...
    THE Serie A in the 90s was home to some of football's biggest EVER legends. From Paolo Maldini playing in defence, to the Brazilian Ronaldo tearing opponents apart up front for Inter Milan. 5Ronaldo was one of the Serie A's biggest attractions during the 90sCredit: GETTY IMAGES 5Ronaldo dramatically returned to Man Utd in the summer, leaving JuventusCredit: REUTERS 5Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Salah and Ronaldo are the Prem's biggest stars 5The likes of Maldini, Zidane and Ronaldo make the best Serie A XI of the 90s The likes of Zinedine Zidane were at the peak of their powers. The late, great Diego Maradona - who is regarded as one of the best ever - was still knocking around at Naples-based Napoli. Even Gabriel Batistuta, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers ever, was playing in Italy during that golden decade. England's own Paul Gascoigne makes SunSport's best XI of the 90s too. But how does it compare to the Premier League's best players today? Cristiano Ronaldo makes the best current Prem team alongside the likes...
    ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves is pushed off the plate during the first inning of an MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Truist Park on April 28, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) It’s going to take more to achieve the goal of back-to-back World Series championships for the Atlanta Braves. With a 10-11 record, the Atlanta Braves have a lot of work ahead of them this season. While it is April, the Braves aren’t on a good trend in their current state. It’s not a great look. After such a wild and tremendous run last season to get to the series, fans want nothing less. The team received good news when they were able to activate right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., from the injured list. Because he suffered a right ACL tear early last season, the club will keep a close eye on his workload. MLB.com reports, “The 24-year-old outfielder likely won’t play day games following night games for the next couple of weeks, but there might be...
    The Ravens have no shortage of picks on the final day of the 2022 NFL draft on Saturday. Baltimore has seven selections overall, including six in the fourth round and one in the sixth. General manager Eric DeCosta sees those mid-round picks as a great opportunity to improve the team. “We know we’re going to hit on some players and we could miss on some players. But our scouts will be jacked up,” he said Friday night. After taking Michigan linebacker David Ojabo in the second round and Connecticut defensive tackle Travis Jones in the third, DeCosta said the Ravens have 85 draftable players on their board, but it’s a matter of finding the right ones. “We got to nail it,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been thinking about [as] coaches and scouts over the last nine months.” From Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant to Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross, here are 10 players the Ravens could target when the final four rounds begin Saturday at noon. JoJo Domann, LB/S, Nebraska Domann missed the final two games of the season because...
    For years, the Yankees have controlled New York with huge spending on big-name free agents. Now, Steve Cohen’s wallet has the Mets in position to compete. Would you rather have a bridge named after you or pay whatever it takes to bring a baseball championship to the Big Apple? If you are Steve Cohen, the New York Mets owner, you open your considerable wallet to watch blue and orange streamers descend onto buses of players parading to City Hall for the first time since 1986. If you’re a Mets fan, you’re giddy over the prospect. George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner, aka “the Boss”, was famous for dropping buckets of cash to lure star players to the Bronx, enticing them to the largest media market, the chance to add more trophies to the case in Monument Park and join a team built on doing whatever it takes to win. Over the years, big-name players like Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriquez, Hideki Matsui, David Cone (a former beloved Mets pitcher), CC Sabathia and others racked up significant deals to play for the...
    Getty Fat Joe, New York Knicks As the New York Knicks front office begins to pick up the pieces of a failed season, they will be taking stock of everything in the organization, from the coaching staff to the players. It’s clear the team needs to hone in on a direction for the future, and with young exciting talents like RJ Barett and Obi Toppin, they would be foolish to chase immediate contention. However, that doesn’t mean the Knicks shouldn’t look to improve their supporting cast, and potentially their coaching staff either. And that’s where New York legend Fat Joe comes in, as he believes he could instantly add “15 to 20” wins to the franchise by teaching the players how to hold themselves accountable and play with pride. “I’m going to tell you all the truth: They let me coach the Knicks and be an assistant coach on the Knicks, we would definitely win 20 more games. It’s the lion in my eyes. It’s like, I’m letting my crew know like, ‘Yo, we got to go down.!...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s Draft Day. After a disappointing 8-9 season marked by a raft of injuries to key players, the Baltimore Ravens enter the NFL Draft with several obvious holes to fill at offensive tackle, cornerback, edge and defensive tackle. Fortunately for the team, executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta has 10 total picks to play with, opening up the possibility he could move around the board. ????????????????????'???? ???????????? ????????????❗️ pic.twitter.com/ro9YlujZxr — Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 28, 2022 The start of the draft Thursday at 8 p.m. marks the end of mock draft season — at least for 2022. Here’s a look at who the experts have the Ravens taking at No. 14 overall. READ MORE: Convicted Ocean City Killer Benjamin Sifrit Denied Parole ATHENS, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 23: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after sacking Kellen Mond #11 of the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Sanford Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Jordan Davis DT, Georgia, 6’6″, 341 pounds...
    Next1 of 3Prev postUse your ← → (arrows) to browse CLEVELAND, OHIO – APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the second inning of game one of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on April 20, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) The Chicago White Sox should already have these three players on the trade block. The Chicago White Sox aren’t going to run away with the American League Central after all. Seemingly the best team within this division, they’ve been slow to start in 2022 and tumbled far down this week’s MLB Power Rankings. The roster may not be nearly as powerful as once thought. With a still incredibly talented roster and a chance to turn things around before the end of the 162-game schedule, it’s not yet time to begin panicking. However, fans should have some concerns. The team could find themselves either selling in July or potentially selling pieces in order to improve their chances at a playoff run. As we close out April,...
    A cigar dangling in his left hand, Steve Bisciotti considered the question and looked toward the horizon. Amid the serenity of a postcard-perfect day in Palm Beach, Florida, the late-afternoon sun bouncing off the sky blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, came a nervous excitement. Someone had just asked about trading draft picks. “I drive Eric crazy,” the Ravens owner said at the NFL owners meetings last month. The trade machine in his own head started to whir, calculations Bisciotti had learned from watching general manager Eric DeCosta, the architect of the strength-in-numbers strategy that has come to define Ravens drafts. “I can tell you what I could turn that 14th pick into right now in a million different scenarios,” Bisciotti said, and he replayed a typical conversation with DeCosta: What if the Ravens traded down nine spots in Thursday’s first round to get another second-round pick, somewhere in the 50s? Then what if they traded out of the first round altogether, dealing No. 23 overall for No. 39 and an early-third-round pick? Wouldn’t that be something, trading away the...