Is LeBron James, Spot-Picker, Enough?

28e1f4b877a217d28dce02db83a4ecb3_crop_exact

LeBron James took his first shot 16 seconds into Game 2, roughly nine-and-a-half minutes earlier than Game 1. That was a sign, a clear indication that the Indiana Pacers’ series-opening blowout victory got his attention.

As a general rule, opponents should try to avoid getting James’ attention.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

Following that opening bucket, James assumed custody of the early proceedings, scoring 16 straight to open the game for Cleveland and finishing the opening period with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting. On the night, he put up 46 points on 17-of-24 shooting, 12 rebounds and five assists, carrying the Cavs to a 100-97 victory.

It was enough to make you wonder why James doesn’t do this all the time.

That’s how James and this season’s Cavs have operated, though. Nothing is ever easy…until it looks incredibly easy. And then right around the time you ask yourself how Cleveland ever loses when it can play the James card, something flips.
nfl jerseys for cheap
And you’re left wondering how it ever won.

The Pacers fought gamely, pushing the pace and forcing the Cavs to defend in transition, something they’ve stunk at all season. Indiana doubled up Cleveland in paint scoring, 62-30, and nearly did the same in fast-break points, 15-8.

Even with Victor Oladipo fighting foul trouble early, Indy spent most of the second half within single digits. If not for James’ early blitz, Cleveland could easily have lost Wednesday.

Heading to Indiana with a 1-1 split, the Cavaliers should feel both encouraged and vulnerable.cheap nfl jerseys

As great as James was, Cleveland never solved Oladipo. He attacked downhill whenever the Cavs’ roll-man defender dropped, just like he did against switches, traps and any other defensive scheme he saw. And the look he missed, a wide-open three with under 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game, could have changed everything.

“We got lucky,” James said on the TNT broadcast afterward. “We gave up a wide-open three to Oladipo, and he missed it. … cheap nfl authentic jerseys That’s easily something he can make.”

Imagine if that triple had gone down. Imagine if head coach Nate McMillan, in an overabunance of caution, hadn’t sat Oladipo with two fouls a mere 62 seconds into the game. Imagine if, somehow, the Cavs had lost a contest in which James was a demi-god stalking the earth in search of mortals to punish.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

LeBron James’ 21-Game Win Streak in Round 1 Snapped in Cavaliers’ Loss to Pacers

Victor Oladipo posted 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals as the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-80 in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series on Sunday.

LeBron James, who won 21 straight games in the first round of the NBA playoffs leading into this series, had a triple-double for the Cavaliers thanks to 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
authentic nfl jerseys cheap
The Pacers set the tone for the entire game with a dominant first half, which included a 33-14 Pacers lead after one quarter. Oladipo led the Pacers’ charge, posting 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals before halftime. The front-runner for Most Improved Player also hit four of five three-pointers, including this shot that put the Pacers up 50-34:
nfl jerseys for cheap
Oladipo received help from his supporting cast, as Myles Turner (12 points), Bojan Bogdonavic (10 points) and Lance Stephenson (nine points) helped the team to a 55-38 halftime lead. The Pacers shot 47.6 percent from the field and made half of their 14 f cheap nfl jerseys irst-half threes.hi-res-bd1d88a5db0c19e1f5b2fffc2d23a1c5_crop_north

On the other side, it was a one-man show as James had 14 points, six assists and five rebounds. He showcased his excellent ball-handling skills with this nifty move through the paint to bring the Cavs within 40-25 early in the second quarter:

No other Cavalier scored more than six points in the first half, and the team minus James shot just 10-of-31 from the field. Kevin Love led the team on the glass with eight rebounds.

The Pacers picked up where they left off in the third quarter as they took a 63-41 nfl jersey cheap  lead following a Thaddeus Young layup. Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports credited the Pacers’ energy:

However, the Cavaliers stormed back and ended the quarter on a 24-10 run. The key bucket was a Kevin Love 30-foot three-pointer to cut the deficit to 70-63:

Love was fouled on the play and missed the ensuing free throw, but the Cavs trailed by just eight heading into the fourth.

Once there, however, Oladipo continued his fantastic performance, scoring 10 points en route to helping the Pacers end the game on a 22-11 run.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer summed up Oladipo’s afternoon:
cheap nfl jerseys from china
For the Pacers, Turner finished with 16 points, while Bogdanovic and Stephenson added 15 and 12, respectively. Oladipo, Bogdanovic, Darren Collison and Cory Joseph also combined for 12 steals.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers won nine more games than last year, defended well enough in some especially committed stretches to finish 12th overall on that end and got positive performances from just about every young player with a future on the roster.

And before you go burying Lonzo Ball for his busted shot, note that he posted the second-best DRPM among point guards, per ESPN.com, while also producing the highest on-court net rating of any Laker to log at least 1,000 minutes.

A pivotal summer awaits, but the 2017-18 regular season went about as well as could have been expected.

19. Detroit Pistons (19)

“Philadelphia is good, and everyone is praising the process, how great it was, but the process is based on being as bad as you can be, historically bad for as long as you can,” Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy lamented after his team finished four games out of a playoff spot with a 39-43 record. “If that’s the process and the accepted way to build a team in the NBA, then something needs to change.”
nfl jersey
Van Gundy isn’t the only coach to think this way, but he’s uniquely positioned as the leader of one of the teams stuck in the middle because it refuses to use the incentive structure the Sixers exploited.

With Detroit spinning its wheels over the next several seasons, locked into crippling deals for Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, its unwillingness to embrace a real rebuild will look awfully misguided.

hi-res-cbe20371753543f8302371a55c14cdeb_crop_exactnfl jerseys

18. Washington Wizards (18)

The Washington Wizards must hope John Wall’s 29 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds against Boston on Tuesday are a harbinger of what’s to come. Because if they’re not, that means the blown leads, lazy defense and selfish offensive play that produced a 3-9 mark over their final dozen games will be.

It’s hard to find a playoff team that looks shakier than Washington.

nfl jerseys cheap china

17. Los Angeles Clippers (17)

The Los Angeles Clippers lost six of seven to close out a transitional year but managed to stay alive in the playoff race until the season’s final week. Forty-two wins and a top-10 offense are nothing to be ashamed of for a team that used a league-high 34 starting lineups and gave nearly 2,000 minutes to players either called up on two-way deals from the G League or inked to 10-day contracts, per ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz.
cheap authentic nfl jerseys
This was a big year for resiliency in L.A.

Odell Beckham Jr. Trade Rumors: NFC Team Rejected Giants’ 2 1st-Round Picks Offer

The New York Giants reportedly asked for two first-round picks in a potential trade involving wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. but were turned down.

Michael Silver of NFL.com reported the news by citing a “high-ranking executive of an NFC team.”hi-res-338b2bb4f7aed7205c89d3baa8c474d7_crop_northcheap nfl jersey

This comes after Ralph Vacchiano of SNY cited a team source who said it was “highly unlikely” the Giants would move the wide receiver.

The mere idea of trading Beckham would have turned plenty of heads not long ago. However, the talented receiver played just four games last season because of an ankle injury. What’s more, Vacchiano suggested the Giants are “near their breaking point with Beckham and these nuisance controversies” after he was shown in a video with a suspicious cigarett cheap nfl authentic jerseys e.

Team president John Mara even said “I wouldn’t say anyone’s untouchable” cheap authentic nfl jerseys when asked whether the team could move Beckham this offseason at the league’s owners’ meetings, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com also reported the receiver “will not set foot on a field without a new contract extension.”cheap nfl jerseys from china

The 2018 campaign is set to be the last season of Beckham’s deal after the Giants exercised his fifth-year option worth just less than $8.5 million, per Spotrac.

Even with the injury concerns, there is no questioning Beckham’s ability and potential. He was a Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons and had more than 1,300 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns in all of those years.

He is also only 25 years old and figures to have a number of impressive seasons in nfl cheap jerseys the near future if he remains healthy.

Still, at least one team reportedly didn’t think he was worth two first-round picks.

Pat Shurmur on Odell Beckham Jr After WR Reports to Giants: He Wants to Be Great

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur complimented wideout Odell Beckham Jr. for being in minicamp Monday despite not having a long-term contract and being the subject of trade speculation.

“I really believe Odell is a professional. He wants to be great. He understands the importance of the authentic nfl jerseys cheap offseason. He’s a competitive guy…I’m glad he’s here today,” Shumur said Monday.

Beckham, 25, has been featured in trade rumors in recent weeks, due in part to his contract status. The three-time Pro Bowler, who is coming off a season-ending ankle injury, can be an unrestricted free agent next year.hi-res-79d08da025a187f9497d4531e90db7f0_crop_north

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported March 29 the Giants would be open to trading Beckham for two first-round picks.nfl jerseys for cheap  Two days prior, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, “You don’t quit on talent” when discussing Beckham.

“Bottom line is, as Ernie [Accorsi] taught us, you don’t quit on talent,” Gettleman said. “… He’s on our team.”

Beckham is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in football. He had at least 90 receptions, 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons. Only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones have averaged more receiving yards per game than Beckham since he entered the league.cheap nfl jerseys

However, there have been near-constant questions about his attitude. Beckham has been criticized for multiple sideline outbursts, nfl jersey cheap though he made the point in December that his competitiveness is viewed differently than Tom Brady’s.

There have also been other questions about his maturity following his fights with opponents and off-field endeavors. Though he has never been in trouble off the field, his celebrity lifestyle has drawn some ire as the Giants have slipped in the standings.

Jimmy Butler Took Part in Timberwolves Practice for 1st Time Since Knee Injury

Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler is reportedly nearing a return to the court after suffering a meniscus tear at the end of February.
authentic nfl jerseys cheap
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Butler took part in five-on-five workouts Monday for the first time since the injury. There are only four games remaining in the regular season, but he is still reportedly on track to come back before the final game.
nfl jerseys for cheap
Kent Youngblood of the Star-Tribune reported Friday that Butler had been cleared for contact drills, although it was one of several steps in his recovery.hi-res-f338654ce3a4e41dffe68040c327f8f2_crop_north

“It’s him being ready to go,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I want him to have confidence in his body that he can go again. So, usually, what happens is you’re doing the on-court stuff. You start with non-contact. Then you phase in the contact and you build up.cheap nfl jerseys  You start with one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three and then the five-on-five. And, after each step, you have to see how it responds the next day. So far it’s been pretty good.”

Competing in five-on-five work represents a significant step if he can make it through without setbacks.

Minnesota doesn’t return to the court for its next game until Thursday against the Denver Nuggets.

The Wolves are hoping to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2004, but Butler’s injury has slowed them down. They are 8-8 since losing the four-time All-Star, falling to 44-34 on the season. Entering Monday, the team sits in the No. 7 slot but is just 1.5 games away from missing the playoffs altogether.cheap nfl jersey

With four games separating the fourth-best and 10th-best teams in the Western Conference, the final two weeks will be key.

Adding Butler—who leads the team with 22.2 points per game this year—back to the lineup cheap nfl authentic jerseys  could help Minnesota stay on the right side of the cutoff.

The NFL’s Riskiest Offseasons Aren’t Happening Where You Might Think

You’ve probably already heard this, but it’s incredibly risky to make aggressive moves like the Rams have this offseason. The way they’re building their roster will end in one of two ways in 2018: They’ll either make the 1985 Bears look like a JV squad, or they will implode in training camp when Marcus Peters punches Aqib Talib for stealing his chain and Aaron Donald goes on sit-down strike after seeing Ndamukong Suh’s bank statement. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

But at least the Rams know what they’re getting themselves into. Other teams are taking even bigger risks. They just don’t know it yet because it isn’t as obvious.

Those teams are making the NFL’s favorite bad gamble: the no-risk risk. They’re trying to somehow get better by getting rid of their best players. The dreaded culture change. The rebuilding project that is driven by personalities, not potential. The play-it-safe-and-guarantee-mediocrity gambit.

“You don’t quit on talent,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones during the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Florida, this week. The Giants brass then spent the rest of the week sounding like they couldn’t wait to quit on Odell Beckham Jr., one nfl jerseys for cheap of the most talented individuals in professional sports, because he’s sometimes a bit of a handful.

Gettleman and the Giants already traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers for loose change and are moving on from many of the big names they splurged on over the last two years. If they trade Beckham, even for a fistful of draft picks, they might as well make Quitting on Talent the team’s 2018 motto.
34d4f0aa36879e6ff8c92746fe45f272_crop_exact
Granted, much of the talent quit on the Giants last year. It makes sense for a 3-13 team to shed some salary and move on from older players.nfl jersey cheap

The Seahawks are in a similar situation. Their veterans grew expensive and cantankerous in the years since their championship, making a reboot inevitable.

The problem comes when a rebuilding team starts giving away its best rebuilding blocks, as the Giants are itching to do with Beckham and the Seahawks did with Richard Sherman, because they convince themselves that the locker room needs an attitude adjustment. That’s how teams either get stuck in endless rebuilding cycles or become mediocre for years, waiting for the stars to finally align and make everything perfect.

The no-risk risk and perpetual culture change are staples of AFC East also-ran reasoning.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

The Dolphins have been vocal about their need to change the clubhouse atmosphere since the end of last season. Head coach Adam Gase said Tuesday that he was certain that the team culture was about to improve now that the roster has been reimagined.cheap nfl jerseys

Bullied Growing Up, NFL Draft Prospect Connor Williams Now Is an Inspiration

This is what it’s like to be bullied for being bigger than everyone else. You’re called a tub of goo. Fat boy. Stupid. Lazy. You’re ignored and shunned.

This was life for Texas All-American tackle and NFL prospect Connor Williams growing up.nfl jerseys for cheap

As he recounts those memories, Williams runs his fingers through his jet black hair, still glistening from the sweat of a 90-minute workout while training for the upcoming NFL draft. He breathes deep and hesitates because this is where the conversation becomes intense.

“I never hurt myself,” he begins slowly, “and I never really heard about kids cutting themselves and things like that until about my senior year in high school. I didn’t even know it was out there. If I knew it was out there, I might have resorted to that. I can see how kids get to that point.”7d8cf7e2f9882c7eb8eb8563adcdb919_crop_north

Today, Williams, who is 20 years old, is a mere six years removed from staring in the mirror, mentally replaying the bullying and wondering if things would ever get better.

This 6’5”, 305-pound mountain of a man is in the best shape of his career. In the first two weeks here at XPE Sports, where college players train for the NFL combine, he lost 20 pounds and gained 18 pounds of muscle.

He is in peak professional shape, and an NFL scout told Bleacher Report that Williams “has the highest ceiling of any lineman in the draft. …nfl jersey cheap  He has 15 years ahead of him and a body built for the game.”

A body built for the game. The irony of that statement is not lost on Williams.

“I was so self-conscious of my body. I was bigger than everyone and heavier than everyone,” Williams continues. “Not only was I being bullied, but I was internally bullying myself.”

How intense did that bullying become? he is asked. Did he ever think of taking his own life?

“No, never. Because once I got home to my family, I could lean on them,” Williams says.

What if you didn’t have that? he’s asked. “It would be a completely different story.”

Long before their three children were born, Jimmy and Debbie Williams agreed to one unshakable rule:cheap nfl jersey  If you hide the world from your kids, one day they’re going to hide their world from you.

So instead of fighting Connor’s battles, Jimmy and Debbie had to tactfully decide when to engage in what they felt was inappropriate bullying and when to let Connor handle the situation himself.

When he was nearly twice the size of kids his age in elementary school, it wasn’t easy intervening. Other parents wouldn’t understand.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

When Connor was in fifth grade, when he had cheap nfl authentic jerseys  and weighed 160 pounds, they allowed his brother, Dalton, who was in 12th grade, to take him to wrestling practice to release some aggression.

NFL Free Agency 2018: Winners, Losers and Ripple Effects of Thursday’s Moves

The first full non-tampering day of NFL free agency is basically in the books.

And while Thursday was rather quiet compared to the bonkers authentic nfl jerseys cheap legal tampering period that preceded it, a few teams made several key moves that could impact the market as well as the dynamics of the 2018 season.

Who won and lost on Thursday? cheap nfl jerseys And how did the day’s developments impact the market? Answers ahead…1f0d4c9cae7a673bc0cc213829cfca8b_crop_exact

Dontari Poe

The two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle didn’t get a lot of nfl jerseys for cheap love on the open market last year. Whether it was intentional or not, he bet on himself with a one-year, $8 million deal in Atlanta.

It worked. Poe put together a superb season for the Falcons, recording 37 quarterback pressures on 473 pass-rushing snaps while also picking up 23 defensive stops and three passes batted down in 16 starts, per Pro Football Focus. He also had 2.5 sacks.

According to Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post, the 27-year-old is replacing Star Lotulelei on the Carolina Panthers with a three-year, $27 million deal.

Daniel Kilgore

The veteran center was traded to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday only a few weeks nfl jersey cheap after signing a contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco’s interior offensive line had become crowded, whereas Miami has a crystal-clear vacancy at center following Mike Pouncey’s release—a move ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Oh, and as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out, Kilgore will save more than $300,000 by moving from California, which has a state income tax of 13.3 percent, to Florida, which has no state income tax at all. cheap nfl jersey

AJ McCarron to the Buffalo Bills

We’ve seen what Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford can do, and Teddy Bridgewater’s knee might prevent him from becoming the quarterback many expected. With that in mind, AJ McCarron just might have had the highest potential ceiling among all of the signal-callers on this year’s free-agent market. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

The Bills landed McCarron—healthy, 27 years old and with nearly all the tread on his tires—for only a two-year, $10 million commitment.

Yes, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that number could increase to $16.5 million if McCarron hits a slew of incentives, but that would be a good thing for Buffalo. It would probably mean the McCarron experiment has been a success. nfl jerseys for cheap And don’t be surprised if that happens, because the former Alabama star has been one of the best backups in football the last four years, and he put up impressive numbers in relief of Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.   c3881145b2c990c99a8a3469c0c570e6_crop_exact

All we know right now is the Cleveland Browns are expected to sign running back Carlos Hyde to a three-year, $15 million contract, per Rapoport. That could be a reasonable deal or a terrible one, depending on the guaranteed money. But until we have that number we’ll give the Browns the benefit of the doubt and suppose that they’re only committing to the 27-year-old for a year or two.

So long as that’s the case, this isn’t a bad move for a cap-rich team that could use help in the offensive backfield.cheap nfl jerseys

Hyde is not going to single-handedly turn this downtrodden franchise around. He’s never had a 1,000-yard season, and he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in 2017. Per Renner, the 27-year-old “allowed more pressures (13) and dropped more balls (nine) than any other running back” last season.

So don’t expect this to stop Cleveland from pursuing a hot running back prospect like Saquon Barkley in nfl jersey cheap  the draft.

There’s always a chance Hyde could bloom late a la Mark Ingram in New Orleans, in which case this would look like a genius move. Right now, though, it’s at least a low-risk signing.