Isaiah Thomas says Suns ‘gave me a Christmas gift by sending me away’

When the Celtics traded for Isaiah Thomas in 2015, few thought it would make much of an impact for Boston.

How wrong they were. Thomas has since developed into a two-time all-star, while ascending as one of the best guards in the NBA.

Phoenix, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to do much with the young guards they moved Thomas in order to play. Eric Bledsoe might be the best of them — they didn’t have Devin Booker at the time — but he is inconsistent.
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Thomas will face his old team Sunday when the Celtics head to the desert. He is happy to be on the away team, and he holds no resentment towards the Suns.

It’s like they gave me a Christmas gift by sending me away, Thomas said, via the Boston Globe.

Thomas is averaging 29.4 points and 6.2 assists per game this season. Boston is currently second in the Eastern Conference standings. Phoenix is second to last in the West.

Favors could be the most prominent victim of luxury-tax fears since James Harden was shipped out of Oklahoma City. OK, maybe not that prominent.

Limited Mens Willie Young Jersey That’s untenable. The Jazz have thus felt out the market for Favors, though his troubling knee history has swatted his value downward. Utah doesn’t want to sell low on Favors, and that could force them to wait and re-investigate the market either in the offseason or early next year, should Favors look healthy enough to re-establish his value.

The Times cited five sources that said a potential Clippers arena could either be on the 298-acre site or an adjacent parcel near the Rams’ new $2.6 billion stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2019 and will host the Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021. The Clippers have shared Staples Center with the Lakers since 1999.

Michael Jordan bets hundreds of thousands of dollars on golf, according to Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley says Michael Jordan likes to bet a lot of money on golf.

How much? Hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Barkley.

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, the NBA analyst said he once saw MJ bet $300,000 on a putt.

Barkley said he’s not sure why Jordan bets so much, but thinks it’s probably because he’s so competitive.

He also shared his own troubles with gambling, saying that he’s won a million dollars five times, but probably lost a million dollars 25 times.

Patton had a distinct matchup edge inside against an undersized Rhode Island frontcourt, but was unable to take advantage. He got into foul trouble quickly, and ended up being disqualified from the game after only 21 minutes of playing time. It was an extremely underwhelming performance after an extremely underwhelming second half of the Big East season.

Prior to Mo Watson’s injury, Patton was averaging 14 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on a ridiculous 74 percent field goal percentage. Without Watson, those numbers fell to 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds on 61 percent shooting. Those numbers aren’t bad, but questions still abound about him from NBA decision-makers. He’s another player that wouldn’t be guaranteed to go in the first round if he was to leave. He will also not have an extremely easy decision, given that Creighton returns a lot of the talent on its roster next season.steelers_133

The Clippers era that was built around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has likely come to a close.

Brewers right fielder Domingo Santana had the worst night, defensively. First he misplayed a Didi Gregorius single in the second inning, resulting in a two-base error as the ball rolled to the wall. Gregorius scored one batter later on Clint Frazier’s sacrifice fly to Santana in right. Following a walk to Ji-Man Choi, Santana then failed to catch a fly ball off the bat of Austin Romine.
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Fortunately for the Brewers, neither Choi nor Romine scored as Tyler Wade popped out to end the inning with the Yankees scoring just once.

Aguilar hit the first of his two home runs in the top of the fourth inning, scoring Ryan Braun, to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. But the Yankees got those runs back in the bottom of the inning on Choi’s two-run blast that also scored Gregorius, who had reached on a second Villar error. But even after an Aguilar error allowed Romine to reach base one batter later, the Yankees could not push another run across the plate.

The Clippers era that was built around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has likely come to a close. Griffin has opted out of his player option with the Clippers for the 2017-18 season, and he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Paul did the same on Friday, according to Brad Turner.

Griffin, a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection, has proven to be one of the best players in the league when healthy, but he has been limited due to injuries in the last three seasons.

Paul, 32, is on the wrong side of 30 but he is annually one of the NBA’s leaders in assists and he will likely receive serious interest as a free agent.

Game Trey Flowers Jersey The Lakers continue to stay busy in trade talks, sending the No. 28 pick (Tony Bradley) to Utah for the No. 30 pick (Josh Hart) as well as the No. 42 pick.

Cubs’ Jon Lester has worst outing ever Sunday vs. Pirates

Jon Lester took the mound at Wrigley Field on Sunday for the Cubs’ game against the Pirates, and things didn’t go so well for the lefty. In fact, it was probably his worst outing ever.
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Lester gave up 10 runs, four earned, in two-thirds of an inning. It’s the first start of Lester’s career that he didn’t make it out of the first inning.

Francona, 58, underwent a catheter ablation to address an irregular heartbeat, the team said Friday in a statement updating his health status that read in part, Terry is resting comfortably after the cardiac procedure and is expected to make a full recovery.

According to the Indians’ release, Francona is expected to be released from the Cleveland Clinic in the next couple of days and is expected to resume managing the Indians, who lead the AL Central, on July 14.

He was hospitalized Tuesday after experiencing a rapid heartbeat and lightheadedness, and Mills, a former Astros manager, has managed the team in his absence.

Mills, with the help of Rays manager Kevin Cash, and the rest of the Indians staff will lead the AL against the National League on Tuesday in Miami.

Game Kids Vincent Jackson Jersey This year’s All-Star Game returns to being a pure exhibition, as opposed to recent years when, in order to make it matter, the winning team’s league gained home-field advantage in the World Series.

Schroder and Millsap won their individual matchups this time

There is no shortage of general managers around the league who are not much interested in Anthony. So, who might be?

The Clippers remain the logical destination, according to other executives, though, it should be stressed, they’re merely speculating. We’re a long way from Anthony winding up in LA. But should the team fizzle out in the postseason for the fourth straight year of Doc Rivers’ tenure, changes are sure to be made. Four Clippers starters are heading into free agency, and three of them are looking at major payouts: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick.

“That might be the best bet,” the West exec said. “I think you’d need both sides to be a little desperate, and if things don’t work out for the Clippers, they might be as desperate for changes as the Knicks.”

Regardless of how much Wall was “fazed” by the defensive intensity, Schroder and Millsap won their individual matchups this time, and that may be the key to making a comeback in this series. In the two previous games, Wall and Morris won and talked the talk. The tables turned Saturday, if only for a night.

“They did what they were supposed to do,” Wall said. “We took care of home court. They came home — we knew the crowd was going to be amazing for them. They got Game 3. Our job is to put the pressure on them to win Game 4.”

Before Game 3, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told Schroder to calm down on the trash talk. According to Schroder, Budenholzer wanted him to act more like Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. Schroder being Schroder, he pleaded to Budenholzer that the talk was all in fun and that it made him play harder.

“I’d like it if everybody was quiet and played beautiful basketball,” Budenholzer said. “I know the trash talk is part of the game, but I also want my guys to be in control and focused.”

NBA playoffs 2017: Dwyane Wade can’t believe Bulls won two in Boston

Did you expect the eighth-seeded Bulls to be leading the top-seeded Celtics in their first-round playoff series? Neither did Dwyane Wade.

Chicago has a 2-0 lead on Boston after a pair of wins on the road, which is quite the shocker given the Bulls’ average regular season.

Kyle Juszczyk Authentic Jersey I’m going to lie? Wade said, via ESPN.com. We’re a confident team, but you don’t think you’re going into Boston and get two. You’re just trying to get one, that’s your focus. But once you’ve got that one, now it’s just another game. Now you got to try and get the next one. But coming in, I didn’t say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be up 2-0 on Boston.’ No one thought that. But we are in this position and we’ve earned it.

Millsap and Wizards forward Markieff Morris were locked in a physical tussle all game, which resulted in some heated moments.

Millsap said it was just a case of two guys playing hard.

Despite an unfavorable first-game result, Millsap remained upbeat about Atlanta’s chances this series.

I just want to reiterate that it’s a long series, Millsap said. They did what they are supposed to do. They won home-court advantage and they got this first game. They did their jobs tonight. I think it’s important that we come out and get this one Wednesday and take it back to Atlanta.
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One player the Hawks need to key on is John Wall, the point guard and leader of the Wizards. Wall was certainly playing basketball Sunday. He finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists, proving he was the best player on the court.

The NBA has certainly gone away from the physical play that dominated the game in the late 80s and early 90s, but playoff basketball should be tougher for both teams competing against each other.

Tyronn Lue has a similar issue Erik Spoelstra had when coaching James’ Heat teams.

Brad Stevens has painted a poised picture on the sidelines since leaving Butler for Boston. The man took his mid-major school to the championship game and almost beat Duke, proving he can thrive with less-heralded players.
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Tyronn Lue has a similar issue Erik Spoelstra had when coaching James’ Heat teams. Is he really a good coach, or is he just monitoring a well-oiled machine? Most would say the latter, but Lue has provided a spark for the Cavs. He also does a nice job freeing up space for Tristan Thompson in the paint. Thompson’s size could be a huge factor in this series, and Lue has shown the ability to utilize his center when necessary.

All signs still point toward another Warriors-Cavs clash in the Finals, but Boston might have enough fight and energy to make life uneasy for Cleveland.

In the end, it will be too tough for Boston to win a best-of-seven series against the defending champs without home-court advantage.

And here they come. Durant drills a 3-pointer then throws down a powerful slam to cut the deficit to four points. Still seven minutes to play at Oracle.

The Spurs are a mess on offense, but they’re doing just enough to stay ahead. At the first official timeout of the fourth, San Antonio still leads by nine with a chance to make it ten if Aldridge hits the free throw following an and-one opportunity.
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Golden State outscores San Antonio 39-28 in the third quarter, but Kyle Anderson beats the buzzer to give the Spurs a nine-point lead entering the final frame. Momentum has shifted to the Warriors following Leonard’s injury. We will see if that carries over into the fourth.

Charles Leno and Bobby Massie return at left and right tackle

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It also has to worry Paul, who has a good reputation among his fellow players and is well-liked enough to have been voted president of the NBPA. Even playing with stars DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin in LA, Paul has had firm control over his team and his locker room each year.

Can he maintain that, though, with the Rockets? Working out the Paul-Harden dynamic will be difficult enough for D’Antoni’s playbook. But keeping the locker room together will not be easy, either.
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And the Rockets pulled off a major move on Wednesday, sending Beverley, along with forward Sam Dekker and a 2018 draft pick, to the Clippers in exchange for star guard Chris Paul. It is a blockbuster that stunned many in the league, even as Paul — a nine-time All-Star — heads to a team that is intent on giving the Warriors a run in the Western Conference.

A backcourt of Harden and Paul is packed with talent, and it’s possible that the Rockets are not done dealing. But the Rockets still have an overriding question that will loom over this franchise for as long as Harden is on the roster: Can anyone play with Harden?

For the third straight season, Kyle Long is expected to play a different position on the line (LG) than he did the year prior (RG). Regardless of which sides he and fellow Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton line up, the two can make a legit case as the best guard combo in the NFL. Center Cody Whitehair is a beast in the middle, and he’s backed up by Hroniss Grasu, another capable center who’s coming off an ACL injury.

Charles Leno and Bobby Massie return at left and right tackle, respectively. They provided solidity last year, but the Bears’ reported pursuit of Ricky Wagner in free agency suggests the team isn’t sold at the position.

Umpire Joe West struck in head by ball thrown from stands

The Brewers-Marlins game Friday night at Miller Park was halted for seven minutes after umpire Joe West was struck by a baseball apparently thrown from the grandstands.

West was standing behind first base in the bottom of the fourth inning when he was struck in the back of the head by a baseball. West removed his cap, rubbed his head, then huddled with the other umpires as security personnel attempted to locate the fan who threw the ball.

West continued umpiring after the incident. No word from the Brewers on whether security located the fan.

Nicknamed “Cowboy Joe,” the 64-year-old West made his MLB debut in 1976, and is the longest-tenured umpire in the majors. He’s one of only three umpires in MLB history to work more than 5,000 games.

The trade market for Paul George has changed significantly since last season’s trade deadline, now that he has reportedly informed the Pacers he will enter free agency in 2018 with his sights set on the Lakers. Los Angeles is looking to acquire George this summer rather than waiting until July 2018, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Can the Lakers now land Paul George by offering Thursday’s No. 27 and 28 picks and either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson? They’re trying.

The Pacers are hoping Collison, who will be 30 this upcoming season, will have a similar season that Jeff Teague did last year running Nate McMillan’s offense. Teague, now with the Timberwolves, averaged 15.3 points, 7.8 assists and four rebounds in 82 starts last season.

If Collison can stay healthy like Teague, the opportunity for assists down low to Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young should be readily available for the Pacers new-look roster. browns_005

The Big3: Iverson, Dr. J, Ice Man (and Ice Cube) highlight pro 3-on-3 league rosters

The Big3 is a 3-on-3 professional basketball league that will bring some of the NBA’s greatest stars back onto the court. The league’s inaugural season began June 25 at Barclays Center in New York.

The Big3 league was co-founded by Ice Cube and is managed and operated by the players. Stars like Allen Iverson, Gary Payton, Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, Charles Oakley and more will be touring the country for 10 weeks. The 3-on-3 halfcourt league is aiming to provide a unique experience that includes players interacting with fans.
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We feel pretty confident that he will pitch for us next year, Friedman said. This is baseball, and things like this happen. Obviously, it’s personal to us. We know how hard Julio worked this offseason. He had high expectations of helping us win, as did we.

The Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, Urias, 20, was placed on the minor-league disabled list June 14, days after experiencing discomfort while pitching at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Team doctor Neal ElAttrache examined him this week at Camelback Ranch, where Urias has been resting his shoulder after an initial scan showed only inflammation, the team said.

All of us feel very confident if we didn’t protect him at all it could have happened sooner, could have happened in a more significant way, Friedman said. Dr. ElAttrache is confident he can take care of this and get him back to his accustomed level.

Authentic Marco Estrada Jersey After reaching the majors in 2016, Urias eventually settled in as a starter in August, went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA and pitched a career-high 127 2/3 innings, including 5 2/3 in the postseason.

Intent on limiting his innings in 2017, the Dodgers held him back in March and he began the season at Triple-A. He was called up after three starts but struggled (0-2 in five starts, 5.40 ERA and 1.59 WHIP) with the Dodgers. He was sent back down but continued to struggle until he went on the DL.