Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo makes statement to be among NBA’s best

LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry would lead most people’s shortlist of greatest players currently in the NBA, but one young man not usually in that conversation is starting to make his case.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, 22, is playing on another level right now. Though his Bucks lost Sunday, 111-98 to the Hawks, “The Greek Freak” showcased his many skills.

After recently voicing his opinion that he would be among the leading All-Star voters in the Eastern Conference if his name were easier to pronouce, Antetokounmpo scored 33 points with eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals.

The final member of the Raptors’ stars, Jonas Valanciunas, came into the game having endured a tough time recently. Coach Dwane Casey even said he wouldn’t play his center late in games if he couldn’t “dominate.”

Valanciunas dominated Thursday, scoring 18 points with 13 rebounds and zero turnovers.

Rudy Gobert led the Jazz with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Both teams have the look of strong playoff contenders.

Westbrook is now the only player with multiple triple-doubles with 10-plus turnovers in a season since turnovers were compiled as an official stat (1973-74).

On the plus side, this was Westbrook’s 19th triple-double of the season, the most by any player in a season since Wilt Chamberlain had 31 in 1967-68.

Don’t look now, but the T-Wolves are starting to mesh. Minnesota’s disappointing start was a head-scratcher considering all of its blossoming stars. Karl Anthony-Towns — the brightest of those Super Cheap Jerseys China stars — scored 29 points with 17 rebounds. Ricky Rubio, who runs hot and cold, had 14 Pittsburgh Penguins Cheap Jerseys points and 14 assists.

‘Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies’: Seven reasons ’80s NBA rivalry was the greatest

The Celtics and Lakers, led by superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, engaged in that heated basketball rivalry that led to three head-to-head matchups in the NBA Finals in the 1980s.

It’s a chance to relive all that, and remember just how good those two teams were. Here are seven things to know about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry before watching…

These series are built around Magic and Bird, who began their rivalry in the 1979 NCAA men’s basketball championship game and took that to the next level. They were the epitome of do-it-all superstars. Bird averaged 23.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists head-to-head against Johnson, who averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds in those games.

There was a skirmish in a fight for a loose ball between Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and Cavs guard Iman Shumpert, during which Pachulia appeared to take swipe between Shumpert’s legs. Cavs forward Dahntay Jones was whistled for a technical foul from the bench. Even a Cavs fan was ejected from the game for a skirmish with Warriors reserve Matt Barnes.

Don’t expect the tension to let up.

It’s the finals, Thompson said. Guys are going to talk. We’re going to respond but they aren’t going to punk us. Not me. They’re not about to punk Tristan Thompson. You got the game f—ed up with that one. You can talk all you want but I’m definitely going to bark back. That’s just how I’m built.

The Cavs did not just bark, though. They fought back. They were not punked. And we’ll get a Game 5 as a result.

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Big Baller Brand releases ‘Sho’Time’ signature sneaker for Lakers’ Lonzo Ball

Moments after the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Big Baller Brand announced the release of a new version of Ball’s signature sneaker, the ZO2 ‘Sho’Time’.

The only difference between the ZO2, which is a low-cut black and gold shoe, and the ‘Sho’Time’ version appears to be color scheme.

Ball’s new shoe rocks the famous Laker purple and gold.

The Big Baller Brand website is taking pre-orders for the shoes and says it ships February 10 — just in time for the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Many around the NBA compare Ojeleye to Jae Crowder, so it makes sense that Boston would value his mix of positional versatility on defense and shooting on offense. This is the second top-20 player they’ve taken on our board, despite picks No. 3 and 37 so far. Just an absolute home run.

This is one of the best picks of the draft. There is no better mix of talent and scheme than Bell in Golden State’s defense. He will wreak havoc as a role player for the Warriors as a switchable guy who can guard 1 through 5 and protect the weak side of the rim. This is going to be tough to top Cheap Hockey Jerseys Canada as the best value pick the rest of the night.

It makes sense for the team that employs Chris Paul to Cheap Heat Jerseys get Evans, who has a little bit of that style to his game. He got a top-20 overall grade from us, so this is an absolute steal for the Clippers to get him this late. He’ll be a great backup for them if Paul re-signs.

Charlotte gets this at No. 40. He’s at least an athletic wing with good size, and those players are tough to come by in the NBA. He needs to add to his floor game, but he has potential to stick.

Watch: Derek Jeter gives emotional speech as Yankees retire No. 2 jersey

Surrounded by former teammates and managers and his family and friends, Yankees legend Derek Jeter brought the crowd at Yankee Stadium to its feet Sunday as the club retired his No. 2 jersey and enshrined him with a plaque in Monument Park during a special pregame ceremony.

I want to thank you guys for pushing me, for challenging me, for making me accountable but more importantly embracing me from Day 1, Jeter said after thanking the Steinbrenner family for allowing him to play his entire career for the Yankees, the only club he wanted to play for.

There isn’t a person or player I would trade places with now or ever and the reason why I say that is because I got the chance to play for a first-class organization and in front of the greatest fans in the history of sports.

But still, Ware knows he has a life after football.

How many times when I go through a full season do I feel great from start to finish? It’s hard, Ware said.

Football has been great for me. I love football. Always will. Heck yeah, I want to get out there and play. But I can’t let passion overrule my sense. I am walking away with respect. I gave the fans, I gave my family, I gave my teammates, everything I had every game. One hundred percent. One … hundred … percent.

Ware finishes his career with 138.5 sacks, good for eighth on the all-time list.

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MLB trying to create ‘tacky’ baseballs to reduce cheating, report says

Some baseball traditionalists believe Major League Baseball’s recent rule changes and ideas have become a bit tacky but a new possible change gives a new meaning to the word.

According to Yahoo Sports, MLB officials have been working with its official baseball manufacturer Rawlings to create a ball with natural adhesive in hopes that players don’t use pine tar, rosin or other foreign substances to gain additional grip.

The episode aired on Feb. 20, 1992, and also featured the voices of Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia and Darryl Strawberry. Much of the episode’s humor stemmed from the unusual fates suffered by many of the ringers, including Griffey’s development of gigantism caused by his overzealous consumption of nerve tonic.

But perhaps the most enduring aspect of Homer at the Bat is Terry Cashman’s Talkin’ Softball, a parody of his own classic song Talkin’ Baseball, which played over the end credits. Take it away, Terry.

As part of the event in May, Boggs and Smith are scheduled to appear at a planned round-table discussion with episode executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila, the AP reports.

One can only assume that Boggs’ opinion of Pitt the Elder hasn’t changed.

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Bud Black says David Dahl ‘still a ways away’ from returning

David Dahl was one of fantasy baseball’s most-coveted darlings heading into the season after his sterling debut last year.

Unfortunately, Dahl has not been able to shake a rib injury, which has kept him out of the Rockies lineup all season. Manager Bud Black doesn’t think Dahl will be making his season debut anytime soon.

Along with mentoring the young players, Rodriguez will serve as a councilman to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Rodriguez not returning to the field as a player is nothing new, but that Rodriguez would be welcome back to spring training anytime.

Alex is also free to do as he pleases, if he wants to try and keep playing, Cashman said. We welcome the opportunity for him to impact our young players at spring training. Alex would work directly for Hal (Steinbrenner).

All the parameters have been vocalized and they remain the same from last year. He’s got a life to live too, and I’m sure he’s going to have a lot of opportunities in broadcasting, in business. People will be tugging him in a lot of different directions.

Sorry Yankees fans, you will have to get used to seeing A-Rod hanging around Yankee Stadium without the pinstriped uniform.

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Mets LF Yoenis Cespedis to have MRI exam on injured left hamstring

Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes will undergo an MRI exam Friday to determine the severity of the left hamstring injury that forced him out of Thursday night’s 6-4 loss to the Phillies, MLB.com reported on the team’s website.

Cespedes, who left in the fifth inning after pulling up while running the bases, said doctors told him he likely will be out two to three days.

Juan Lagares replaced Cespedes in the lineup Thursday, taking over in center with Michael Conforto shifting to left.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia told Newsday Sports’ Erik Boland he has experienced similar harassment from fans in Boston. Sabathia, one of 62 African-American players on MLB opening day rosters this season, didn’t sound all that surprised to hear Jones’ story.

What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand, Jones said after the game. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check.

The Red Sox released a statement Tuesday publicly apologizing to Jones, saying the organization has zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior and a review of the events is ongoing. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts also voiced his support for Jones from his personal Twitter account.

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Jung Ho Kang to miss part of Pirates’ spring training due to legal woes

Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang will miss part of spring training as he remains in South Korea for court proceedings related to his December arrest on drunken-driving charges.

Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington told reporters Friday that Kang will stay home at least through his Feb. 22 court date. The Pirates’ first full-squad workout in Bradenton, Fla., is set for Feb. 17.

Hanley Ramirez spoke at length about his beloved former teammate upon arrival at camp, and mentioned that Ortiz told me if he tries to come back, I’m one of the reasons he’Il come back. Because we miss each other.

Boston sports anchor Dan Roche tweeted that quote and tagged Ortiz’s Twitter handle in the process, sparking an immediate flood of replies from fans hoping Ramirez had just hinted at a Big Papi comeback.

But the man himself appeared on Twitter within 15 minutes to dash everyone’s hopes, reiterating that he’s not playing baseball anymore.

Ramirez, incidentally, went on to emphasize that point, putting it as bluntly as possible to the team’s fans:

David’s not coming back; he’s home with his family, Ramirez said, via the Boston Globe. All right? You got that, Sox Nation? We’re going to have to do it.

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NFL prospect Fabian Moreau has surgery on torn pectoral, report says

UCLA cornerback and NFL prospect Fabian Moreau had surgery Wednesday for a torn pectoral muscle, ESPN.com reported, citing an unidentified source.

Moreau was at UCLA’s pro day Tuesday when the injury occurred on the bench press, according to the report.

His exact timetable for recovery is unclear, but he is projected be healthy for July’s training camps.

Originally, the injury was described to NFL.com as a little strain, and UCLA coach Jim Mora downplayed the injury’s severity.

Your San Francisco quarterback — I’m sure nobody’s ever heard of him, Trump began to a series of boos toward Kaepernick. There was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.

I said, ‘If I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky — because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.

Bleacher Report spoke to an unnamed AFC general manager — not owner, as Trump claimed — on Friday who said some teams fear the backlash from fans and Trump while others flat-out don’t like him in the aftermath of his anthem controversy last season.

Kaepernick reportedly plans to stand for the national anthem next season, but it likely won’t stop heedless comments from Trump.

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