Neymar Scores in Return from Injury, Brazil Beat Croatia 2-0 in Friendly

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Neymar made his first appearance since February and scored on his return to action, as Brazil beat Croatia 2-0 at Anfield in an international friendly.

Sunday’s friendly was hardly a spectacle, as neither side appeared interested in putting on a show. Chances were few, but Neymar scored a great goal in the second half. Roberto Firmino added to the lead late.

Here are some key takeaways from Sunday.replica nfl jerseys wholesale

Surprise, Surprise: Brazil Need Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar finally made his return to the pitch in the second half on Sunday, playing his first minutes since February. The 26-year-old provided a spark off the bench and scored a lovely goal, a thumping strike that hit the crossbar on the way in.

It’s no big secret he’s been Brazil’s most pivotal player for years, and the first 45 minutes of Sunday’s friendly once again underlined this. Not because the Selecao couldn’t score in the first half―rather, their tactical setup suffered because manager Tite had to shift. Brazilian Football made this simple but pivotal observation:

Against Croatia’s solid midfield, Fernandinho and his team-mates couldn’t move the ball quickly enough or find the openings to put their forwards in position. Granted, it was only a friendly, and the bulk of the players played at half-speed, replica nfl jerseys china but the issue was still plain to see.

Moving Philippe Coutinho further back gives the team an extra creative force that can push the pace if needed. It’s a small tweak but one that could have a major impact against the top teams at the World Cup.

Save It for the World Cup, Guys replica nfl jersey

The final weeks before a major tournament are always a little scary, as teams try to schedule several friendlies to prepare but run the risk of injury. Just ask the Belgians, who played their first friendly against Portugal on Saturday and watched Vincent Kompany, Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard all pick up knocks before the final whistle.

With that in mind, you would expect players to hold back just a little bit. There was none of that at Anfield, however, as Ivan Perisic went in hard on Gabriel Jesus, risking an injury. Minutes later, Fernandinho did this to Sime Vrsaljko:nfl replica jerseys wholesale

Croatia Will Be Trouble in Russia

The Croats lack the defensive depth and top-end talent along the back line to be considered candidates to win the World Cup, but don’t be surprised if they end up knocking out one of the favourites at some point in the tournament.nike replica nfl jerseys

A midfield setup of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic could rival any in the tournament, and there’s enough attacking depth and versatility to make changes when needed. Between the pace of Perisic, the power of Mario Mandzukic and the nfl jersey replica  trickery of Marko Pjaca, defenders will hate facing Croatia.

Argentina may be the favourites in Group D, but their defence is their weak point. Don’t be shocked if Croatia make that clear on June 21.

Eric Gordon Says Rockets Would Be in NBA Finals If Chris Paul Played in Game 7

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Houston Rockets swingman Eric Gordon believes things would have gone differently in the final two games of the Western Conference Finals had a hamstring injury not sidelined point guard Chris Paul.nfl youth jerseys cheap

“If he was out there, we would be playing on Thursday,” Gordon said after Houston lost Monday’s Game 7 to the Golden State Warriors 101-92, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

There is certainly a case to be made for cheap nfl youth jerseys Gordon’s opinion, as the Rockets built double-digit leads in the first halves of Game 6 and Game 7 only to lose their advantages without the veteran’s steadying presence helping dictate the pace.

Paul would have given Houston another offensive option when it missed 27 consecutive three-pointers in Monday’s contest and could have provided important defense against Stephen Curry when the two-time MVP went into takeover mode in the third quarter.

Alas, Paul was not on the floor, and the Warriors will nfl youth jersey now turn their attention to a fourth straight NBA Finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a series that starts Thursday.

DeMar DeRozan and the SGs Most Likely to Be Traded During 2018 NBA Offseason

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Our look at the NBA’s next crop of offseason trade candidates is raging onward.

Since point guards were the focus last time around, it only seems right that we zoom in on the other half of the backcourt now. Position breakdowns get dicey when moving into swingman and wing territory, so we’ll be using Cleaning china nike nfl jerseys cheap The Glass’ exhaustive possession data as a guide to determining which players qualify as shooting guards.

The rules haven’t changed since the floor-general installment. These trade candidates have not all been linked to specific reports. They’re here because an overwhelming amount of evidence suggests they may not be long for their current digs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Many find themselves in the mix due to a stale status quo. Others are because of expected free-agency pursuits and luxury-tax allergies. A certain special someone is just straight-out unfit for the roster around him. cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Not all of these players will be dealt before next season. Heck, all of them could stay put. But they won’t survive the summer without at least frequenting the rumor mill for weeks, maybe months, on end.

Matt Harvey Throws 4 Shutout Innings as Starter vs. Dodgers in Reds Debut

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Matt Harvey’s Cincinnati Reds debut was nearly perfect.nfl jerseys for cheap

After being designated for assignment by the New York Mets and subsequently traded earlier this week, the right-hander made his first start in a Reds uniform against the reigning National League champs on Friday night. He couldn’t have made a much better first impression.

The only hit he allowed was fluky. Reds right fielder Scott Schebler lost a fly ball in the sky with one out in the second inning, and the ball fell between him and center fielder Billy Hamilton for a triple. That turned out to be the only baserunner the newest Red would allow on the night. He was pulled after throwing 55 pitches in four innings.

The way Harvey was cruising through Dodgers hitters, not allowing many hard-hit balls, some may have been surprised to see such a quick hook. However, this was his first start since May 3, and he had not thrown more than 35 pitches in a start since April 19.

Given that Harvey has undergone both Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet surgery within the past five years, Cincinnati was not going to push him too far his first time out. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay even tweeted on Thursday that Reds manager Jim Riggleman was hoping for four innings out of the pitcher.

Fay also reported that the right-hander got cheap nfl authentic jerseys  some work in by throwing 60 pitches during a workout on Tuesday.

Friday’s start was reminiscent of his 2018 debut, five innings of one-hit, shutout baseball. The Reds are hoping that he can build on this success rather than follow his Mets form, where he allowed at least four runs in each of his next three starts cheap nfl jersey  (which cost him his spot in New York’s rotation).

Is the 29-year-old Harvey back to his All-Star form? It’s important to remember that this was just one game—and one against a struggling team. However, it was a promising start to his Cincinnati career to say the least.nfl jersey cheap

B/R’s MLB 20 for ’20: Projecting Top 20 First Basemen in 2020

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Baseball is a tough sport to predict day in and day out, and it becomes exponentially more difficult to project when looking years into the future. But that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing here.nfl jerseys for cheap

Back in the summer of 2015, I wrote a series dubbed “B/R’s MLB 20 for ’20” wherein I predicted who the top 20 players would be at each position when the 2020 season rolled around.

Three years later, it’s time for an update.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

In this edition we look at the first base position, where Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt will all still be in the prime of their careers and vying for the top spot, alongside reigning National League Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger.

Before we dive into the top 20, we’ll take a look back at that original list with the benefit of hindsight and also shine a light on a few prospects who could be making waves two years from now.cheap nfl jerseys

Enjoy.

Kevin Durant, Warriors Blow Out Anthony Davis, Pelicans to Take 3-1 Series Lead

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The Houston Rockets are one win away from their second trip to the Western Conference Finals in four years.

Houston seized a 3-1 lead in its playoff series against the Utah Jazz on Sunday with a 100-87 victory in Game 4 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. As a result, all four second-round postseason series are 3-0 or 3-1 as the Rockets, Golden State Warriors, cool nfl jerseys Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics close in on the next round.

Chris Paul led the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists behind 12-of-23 shooting from the field, while James Harden added 24 points, four rebounds, three dimes and four steals. Donovan Mitchell spearheaded the Jazz’s offensive attack with 25 points, nine rebounds and four steals, but his side didn’t have the firepower to counter the top seed’s All-Star backcourt.

Sunday’s matchup—and the series as a whole—set up as a defensive battle considering the Jazz boasted the league’s second-best defensive rating during the regular season compared to Houston’s sixth-best nfl jersey authentic

The defensive prowess on each side was on display for stretches with Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert protecting the rim and wings swarming outside shooters, which put the onus on the individual offensive players to execute difficult shots and plays.

The difference was the Rockets have two of the best offensive playmakers of their generation handling the ball on almost every possession to do just that.wholesale jerseys nfl

Harden did much of his damage early with a combination of pick-and-rolls, step-back jumpers and drives, where he would either draw contact, finish at the rim or free up his teammates. It wasn’t all great for the MVP candidate, though, as he struggled with turnovers (eight) and finding his rhythm (8-of-22 from the field) down the stretch when Utah dialed up the defensive pressure.

That’s when Paul took over.cheap china nfl jerseys

The nine-time All-Star played early stretches with the second unit and extended the advantage to double digits with a mix of floaters and mid-range jumpers. He also served as the primary ball-handler after the Jazz closed to single digits in the fourth quarter and probed the defense in critical moments to create looks at the rim for Capela (12 points and 15 rebounds) or himself.

His presence helped keep Utah at bay even with Mitchell doing his best to penetrate and find some type of offense against the stout Houston defense.

Western Conference Opening Round

1. Houston Rockets vs. 8. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Houston Rockets have been the NBA’s best team in 2017-18, and they should be almost impervious to any first-round matchups. Drawing the Minnesota Timberwolves is the least appealing option out of the candidates that existed during the season’s final week, but James Harden and Co. cheap nfl jerseys china still match up nicely against their opening foes.

Even with Jimmy Butler back on the court, the T-Wolves aren’t a great defensive team. They allow 105.1 points per 100 possessions when he’s logging minutes (the best mark of any rotation member), but that would still be just the No. 12 defensive rating in the season-long standings. Plus, Butler isn’t going to play 48 minutes per game throughout an entire postseason series, despite Tom Thibodeau’s enduring presence as Minnesota’s head coach. authentic nfl jerseys

A team with defense as its primary weakness isn’t going to topple the top-seeded juggernaut that’s climbed to its perch on the shoulders of historic offensive efforts. Harden and Chris Paul are going to have a field day, easily overcoming the absence of Luc Mbah a Moute as he tries to recover from a dislocated shoulder in time for the second round.nfl jerseys wholesale

Prediction: Rockets in five.b10b7f075e280e5ea410090f87232ccd_crop_exact

2. Golden State Warriors vs. 7. San Antonio Spurs

Watching the Golden State Warriors over the last few weeks, you get the sense they’re just biding their time and waiting to flip the proverbial switch at the most opportune moment. Injuries have decimated their rotation at times, but they still boast the services of three healthy wholesale nfl jerseys All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Beyond that, their bench is filled with useful veterans who understand their roles, as well as some high-upside youngsters. nfl jerseys china

But the Dubs aren’t the same without Stephen Curry, who isn’t likely to be available for this first-round clash with the San Antonio Spurs. On the season, they’ve notched a 2.9 net rating sans their star point guard (easily the worst mark on the roster), and that dropped to minus-2.7 since his second-to-last injury on March 8.

This is concerning. The defending champions are vulnerable until their floor general returns, no matter how impressive nfl jerseys from china Quinn Cook has been while capitalizing on this unforeseen opportunity.

However, the Spurs aren’t suited to pull off the upset. Head coach Gregg Popovich will milk as much production from his troops as humanly possible, but San Antonio is outclassed without Kawhi Leonard. It overachieved throughout the season with a roster filled of middling talents and downward-trending veterans, but it now has to deal with its leading offensive star (LaMarcus Aldridge) lining up against Golden State’s premier individual stopper (Green).

Moritz Wagner, Michigan

What he’s done: Michigan’s leading scorer during the regular season, Moritz Wagner has seen his production drop a bit with opponents collapsing the defense on him inside. The 6’10” junior forward is averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds on 47.4 percent shooting, compared to 14.3 points (52.4 percent shooting) and 6.9 rebounds for the year.

Why he’s here: Wagner has still been integral to the Wolverines’ run to the Final Four, particularly on the defensive end, as Michigan has held its foes to 59 points per game and 37.9 percent shooting. He’s blocked just one shot, but opponents have made only 42.6  nfl jersey percent of their two-pointers and many of those makes came when Wagner wasn’t on the court.

What to expect: Wagner will need to avoid the foul trouble that has plagued him in the tournament, having committed 15 fouls in 110 minutes. Loyola doesn’t have anyone to match up with him inside, though, so as long as he defends cleanly he’ll be a cheap nfl jerseys china major player.51e25dabf6ee8ede251da93388826f26_crop_exact

What he’s done: Omari Spellman has taken his inside-out game to another level in the NCAA tournament, averaging 11.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while going 9-of-19 from the three-point line. For the season, the 6’9″ redshirt freshman forward has made 44.6 percent of his threes, the top rate on a Villanova team that makes 40 percent of its outside shots.

Why he’s here: Spellman had 18 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the Sweet 16 win over West Virginia, contributing on both ends of the court (including on the same play when he blocked a shot to start a transition possession and then slammed home a missed shot).authentic nfl jerseys

What to expect: Villanova isn’t very big on the inside, leaving Spellman as the main rim-protector against Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike and others. But where he’ll have the most value is on offense, forcing the Jayhawks to guard him.wholesale nfl jerseys

What he’s done: Charles Matthews is Michigan’s top scorer and rebounder in the NCAA tournament, averaging 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor. The 6’6″ junior guard came in averaging 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds on 49.3 percent shooting.

Why he’s here: A transfer from Kentucky, nfl wholesale jerseys Matthews sat out the 2016-17 season and spent most of his first year with the Wolverines as their third option on offense. With Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman struggling and Moritz Wagner getting double-teamed regularly, nfl jerseys china Matthews has taken advantage of his newfound opportunities.

What to expect: A Chicago native, Matthews will have a size advantage over whichever Loyola guard defends him. That might prompt him to try more three-pointers despite going 3-of-15 from outside in the tourney and shooting a pedestrian 32 percent from long range for the season, though he’ll also look for separation when inside the perimeter.

Kevin Durant Out at Least 2 Weeks After Rib Injury Diagnosed as Fracture

Kevin Durant is the latest Golden State Warriors star to be sidelined by an injury.

The 2014 NBA MVP had already nfl jerseys for cheap  been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to sore ribs, but it apparently isn’t only a day-to-day injury. According to Connor Letourneau of  nfl jerseys cheap china the San Francisco Chronicle, Durant will miss at least two weeks due to an incomplete rib cartilage fracture.
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Durant explained to reporters Friday how he suffered the injury, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:

Earlier this season, Durant missed time due to a sprained ankle and a cheap nfl jerseys china  right calf strain. However, he had played in each of Golden State’s past 27 games heading into Friday.

The 2017 NBA Finals MVP is enjoying another fine season, averaging 26.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.9 blocks per game.

While having Durant, Curry and Thompson each sidelined by  authentic nfl jerseys injuries is hardly ideal, Golden State can do without them for the rest of the regular season. The Warriors have already clinched their fourth straight Pacific Division title and are all but locked into a top-two seed for the postseason at 52-16. They may not catch the Houston Rockets for the No. 1 seed, wholesale nfl jerseys but home-court advantage isn’t crucial for the defending champions.

Instead, Golden State’s top priority over the next month is to get everyone healthy for the playoffs.

‘I Don’t See It’: NBA Scouts, Execs Doubting Trae Young After NCAA Tourney Exit

NBA scouts are turning on Oklahoma’s Trae Young, whose historic freshman season ended with an 83-78 overtime loss to Rhode Island in the NCAA tournament.

“I would not take him in the lottery,” one scout responded after the game.cheap nfl jerseys china

“Not a fan,” replied an Eastern Conference executive. “Love his passion and dedication, but he must learn to be more efficient.”

“I don’t see it with him,” said an executive from the Western Conference. “He’s erratic with the ball, and he’s a teaser. Volume shooter. I have concerns on him.”hi-res-677cf0f405406c996fa6110ed6e7ffbd_crop_north

Despite leading the country in scoring and assists, questions have popped up over the legitimacy of his production, style of play, plummeting efficiency and defensive effort.

“As he matures, he’s going to have to balance out his impulsive play, authentic nfl jerseys because while that’s flashy and all of us love to see it when he’s hot, it’s not going to take you very far as a team,” added another scout. “Defensively, he has to be better, plain and simple.”

Despite going for 28 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the first round, Young showed unsettling negatives as well, including questionable 30-foot hero shots in crunch time, careless passing (six turnovers) and hands-down defense on shooters.

“I believe he had only had one such game, versus Kansas, that was a winning effort,”wholesale nfl jerseys  said the first executive.

At 6’2”, 180 pounds and with short arms, minimal explosiveness and a heavy reliance on threes (10.3 attempts per game, 36.1 percent) and free throws (8.6 attempts per game), Young has size and scoring limitations that concern scouts.

“I believe only 15.0 percent of his field-goal attempts are in the mid-range,”nfl jerseys wholesale  said the executive, who pointed out the need to be able to stop and pop inside the arc. “Can he get his shot off versus quality defense?”

Young was far less effective this season when his jumper was contested around the perimeter.