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OAKLAND [url=]Brent Suter Milwaukee Brewers Jersey[/url] , Calif. — The Golden State Warriors hope to have Stephen Curry back in the lineup Saturday night when the defending NBA champions open their Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the surprising New Orleans Pelicans.

The former two-time Most Valuable Player practiced with his teammates Thursday and Friday but noted afterward a final decision on whether he plays for the first time since March 23 rests in the hands of Golden State’s medical staff after the Game 1 warmups.

“I’m getting there for sure,” Curry claimed Friday. “I’ve done a lot in the last two weeks, especially with my feet, getting back to movements that I may do in a game. My knee feels pretty good. I don’t have any pain.”

Curry, who suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee in a collision with teammate JaVale McGee in a game against Atlanta, missed the most recent game against the Pelicans on April 3.

New Orleans won that game 126-120 to salvage one win in the four-game season series.

That win was one of just two the Pelicans have managed against the Warriors in their last 28 meetings, including Golden State’s first-round sweep in 2015 en route to their first of two titles in the last three seasons.

What the Warriors saw earlier this month, however, was impressive [url=]Shaquem Griffin Color Rush Jersey[/url] , as the new-look Pelicans, without injured center DeMarcus Cousins but with newcomer Nikola Mirotic, were firing on all cylinders on Golden State’s home court.

Mirotic hit six 3-pointers on a 28-point night, Jrue Holiday chipped in with 25 points, and both Anthony Davis (34 points, 12 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (12 points, 17 assists) posted double-doubles in the offensive explosion.

The sixth-seeded Pelicans stunned Portland with similar balance in the first round, with Davis (33.0 points, 12.0 rebounds) and Rondo (11.3 points [url=][/url] , 13.3 assists) both averaging double-doubles, and Holiday (27.8 points) and Mirotic (18.3) combined for 46.1 points.

But that was against the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Now the Pelicans are up against a team that has lost a total of just two games in its last five playoff series.

“We know what we’re capable of doing,” noted Pelicans backup Ian Clark, who played a key role off the bench in the Warriors’ championship run last season. “We like the underdog role. We know we’re going against (the Warriors), but why not us? Why not be able to take down the defending champions and keep moving and keep this sentimental story going?”

For the second series in a row, the Warriors’ Steve Kerr will be up against one of his best friends in the coaching fraternity.

There were few laughs when he got the better of Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in the first round, with Kerr’s former coach having missed the last three games of the series after the death of his wife, Erin.

Kerr clearly is looking forward to starting fresh against the Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry, who was Kerr’s offensive coordinator during the 2015 championship run.

“He’ll try to throw me for a loop. I’ll try to throw him for a loop [url=]Tyler Anderson Colorado Rockies Jersey[/url] ,” Kerr said. “Some things will work. Some things won’t work. But we can laugh and joke about how we’re the masterminds behind the success of our teams.”

Authorities issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, who is accused of injuring a paraplegic woman as he tried get onto the field at last year’s Super Bowl to celebrate with his brother.

The Harris County district attorney’s office said a grand jury indicted the 32-year-old Bennett, acquired earlier this month by the Philadelphia Eagles, on a felony count of injury to the elderly.

Bennett was a spectator at the game at NRG Stadium in Houston in February 2017 when he tried to get onto the field immediately afterward to see his brother, Martellus Bennett, a tight end for the Patriots at the time. Prosecutors allege he pushed through security personnel, including a 66-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was a stadium employee and who had told him to use a different entrance to access the field. Bennett is also accused of pushing two other people, including another woman, and ignoring a request by a police officer to stop as he made his way onto the field.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Bennett allegedly told the people he had pushed [url=]Richard Rodgers Color Rush Jersey[/url] , ”You all must know who I am and I can own this (expletive). I’m going down to the field, whether you like it or not.”

Acevedo called Bennett ”morally bankrupt” for pushing the two women. Police said the disabled woman suffered a sprained shoulder when she was allegedly pushed by Bennett, hitting the back of her 800-pound, motorized wheelchair.

”Mr. Bennett may think that because he’s an NFL player and some time passed … he may have thought that, number one, rules don’t apply to him, number two, he doesn’t have to respect the dignity of a paraplegic woman who’s trying to earn a living,” Acevedo said at a news conference.

Acevedo said a detective did not actively start working the case until September because the police department had prioritized more serious cases.

The charge of injury to the elderly can be filed if a person intentionally or knowingly causes injury to a person 65 or older. It carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10 [url=]Fred Warner Color Rush Jersey[/url] ,000 fine. County authorities say they’re talking with Bennett’s legal team about surrendering on the charge.

The Eagles acquired Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks, where he became one of the dominant defensive linemen in the game. Bennett had 8 sacks last season and has 54 in his nine-year career. Bennett has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary of just $1.65 million in 2018. That number jumps to $6 million in 2019 and $7.5 million in 2020.

”We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information,” the Eagles said. ”Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Bennett’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, did not respond to a message seeking comment Friday.


liny195 by liny195 @
There’s a definitive answer every year to the question of who is No. 1 in the NBA draft.

But who is the No. 1 pick of all No. 1 draft picks ever? Or No. 1 among the list of No. 2 draft picks? Those are questions that have no definitive answer [url=][/url] , except perhaps in a handful of rare cases.

Here’s a look at The Best of The Best – the top all-time NBA picks in each of the top 30 draft spots. The best No. 1 overall pick, the best No. 2 overall pick … and so on.

One note: This doesn’t include the territorial selections that were used through 1965, which ruled out Wilt Chamberlain.

The list of top picks in each of the 30 draft slots:


Arguments for the best-ever overall pick could and should be made for LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, among others. When in doubt, give it to the man who has more points than anyone who ever played the game and who mastered perhaps the most difficult shot to guard in NBA history.


You didn’t know Bill Russell was a No. 2 overall pick? Jerry West was too, and he’s The Logo for goodness sake, but the 11 rings make Russell the call here. Also [url=]Authentic Josh Allen Jersey[/url] , it’s time to lay off Portland. Sam Bowie wasn’t the biggest ”oops” pick of all time. Si Green was picked before Russell in 1956.


The easiest pick of them all. Except for Portland in 1984, when the Trail Blazers took Bowie No. 2 ahead of MJ. OK, now it’s really time to lay off Portland.


Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Bosh and Russell Westbrook were all No. 4s as well, but Paul’s body of work over 13 seasons and counting can’t be overlooked.


Charles Barkley will think this pick is terrible. So will fellow No. 5s Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Scottie Pippen and Vince Carter. Wade’s scoring wins out.


Second-easiest pick of this process. Only Adrian Dantley comes close, and he absolutely doesn’t come close.


He will be the leader in 3-pointers, by a ton [url=][/url] , when his career is over. Fellow No. 7s John Havlicek and Chris Mullin merit consideration, but why wait?


As time goes on, people might forget how vital The Chief was to those Celtics teams of the 1980s. That shouldn’t happen.


Jordan was the only true candidate at No. 3, Bird was the same at No. 6, and Nowitzki stands alone at No. 9 as well.


Pierce and Nowitzki have haunted those who made the decisions at the top of the 1998 draft – where Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby and Raef LaFrentz went 1-2-3 – for 20 years and counting.


Kiki VanDeWeghe was a No. 11 pick and so was Klay Thompson, but Miller is the deserving call here. His shot was art.


Drafted in 1972 and didn’t come to the NBA until 1976, Doctor J ekes out the pick here over Chet Walker – a seven-time All-Star.


This could easily have been Karl Malone. But Kobe has five rings and an Oscar.


The Glide was automatic for 20 points a night for basically his entire career. Apologies to Tim Hardaway.


Someday, this spot might go to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard. But Steve Nash going this low in 1996 should remind everyone how good that draft was.


This is yet another reminder that Sam Bowie wasn’t the only mistake made in 1984.


This was a difficult group [url=]Bradley Chubb Color Rush Jersey[/url] , and Shawn Kemp was probably the better player. Nellie gets the call on total body of NBA work.


There are some really good players at No. 18, including Calvin Murphy and the vastly underrated Ricky Pierce. Dumars’ role on the Bad Boys was invaluable.


When looking at No. 19 picks, two things stand out: Rod Strickland should have been an All-Star, and that Tiny was better than many remember.


So consistent for so long, and now with his son in the league that means more people will get educated about Sr.’s game.


Michael Finley and Ricky Davis also went this far down in the draft. Rondo was an absolute steal in 2006 – except he wasn’t a steal for Phoenix, which drafted him and then traded him to Boston for cash.


Still sad. Still missed.


Tayshaun Prince was so good and World B. Free was as much fun as anyone, but English had about a 10-year run where he hardly ever missed a game and dropped about 25 every time he was out there.


Officially, the hardest of all 30 picks. Don’t just look at his NBA numbers. Look at his whole career. He did things no big man was doing 20 years ago. Terry Porter, Andrei Kirilenko [url=][/url] , Kyle Lowry, Sam Cassell, Derek Fisher, Latrell Sprewell all went No. 24 as well … good luck to whoever No. 24 is this year. There’s a legacy to follow.


Jeff Ruland was known as ”McFilthy” and became a good college coach, Tony Allen was a true defensive star, but Price’s game is too solid to miss here.


Now running the Sacramento Kings, Divac gets to pick No. 2 in this year’s draft. The guy he takes there would be well-served to learn from Vlade.


Before he became a political operative, Rodman was as good at rebounding and defense as anyone in the game.


If he The brother of New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins had an alleged altercation in his brother’s New Jersey home that led to the death of a 25-year-old man.

In releasing the complaint and the warrant against 34-year-old William H. Jenkins, of Fair Lawn [url=]Chad Thomas Color Rush Jersey[/url] , on Thursday, the Bergen County prosecutor’s office says Jenkins showed extreme indifference to human life in recklessly causing the death of Roosevelt Rene.

The complaint says William Jenkins got into an altercation with Rene on Monday night that resulted in Rene’s death. Jenkins then fled and was arrested later Monday by the New York State Police on an unrelated matter and held in the Ontario County Jail.

William Jenkins, described by the prosecutor as an employed music producer, has been charged with one count of aggravated manslaughter. He remains in custody in New York. No court appearance has been scheduled.

The prosecutor’s office did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press seeking the identity of William Jenkins’ attorney and a motive in the death.


liny195 by liny195 @
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is doubtful for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers with a strained right hamstring [url=]Authentic Martin Kaut Jersey[/url] , coach Brad Stevens said, while adding that he could return later in the series.

Stevens said Brown still had some soreness on Sunday, a day after the Celtics eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks and a day before the second-round opener. Brown had said he was going to have an MRI, and Stevens said tests were negative.

”It looks like it could be something that allows him to play as the series goes on [url=][/url] ,” Stevens said.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Brown averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this season. He left Saturday night’s clincher against the Bucks in the first quarter; the team announced that he was available to return, but Stevens decided to play it safe.

Brown said afterward he was told it was a Grade 1 injury – the least severe kind. He was put on anti-inflammatory medication.

”Whatever it takes, I wouldn’t miss this series for the world [url=]Kolton Miller Color Rush Jersey[/url] ,” Brown said Saturday night.

The Celtics are already without stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, as well as Daniel Theis.

”We don’t think about what’s happened throughout the season,” center Aron Baynes said. ”We have that `next man up’ mentality. We’ll miss Jaylen; he’s definitely hard to make up for. It’s just all being able to collectively do it.”

Eric Wood’s first NFL career playoff appearance will have to be his last.

The Buffalo Bills veteran center and respected leader stunningly revealed on Friday that a debilitating neck injury has left him with no choice but to retire after nine seasons.

In a statement released by the Bills on the team’s Twitter account, Wood said the injury was discovered during his season-ending physical.

Wood added he has since been informed by doctors that the injury is so severe he would no longer be cleared to play – even with surgery or further treatment.

”I appreciate and thank everyone for their thoughts [url=]Kevin Hogan Color Rush Jersey[/url] , concerns and prayers,” Wood said, noting he will have more to say during a news conference scheduled to take place at the Bills headquarters on Monday.

”Huge loss today for the Bills organization,” Bills guard Richie Incognito said following the AFC Pro Bowl team’s practice in Florida.

”He’s been a great friend to me [url=]Denzel Ward Color Rush Jersey[/url] , great teammate, great leadsad day.”

Incognito then grew emotional in saying Wood was in good spirits after the two spoke.

”Typical E-Wood,” Incognito said. ”He’s putting his positive spin on it already.”

The revelation of the injury comes as a shock to the Bills. .

liny195 by liny195 @
Things are coming a little easier this summer for Derrick White.

White [url=]Cheap Sam Darnold Jersey[/url] , the 29th pick in last year’s draft, is off to a fast start in the NBA Summer League. He scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a lopsided 103-81 victory over Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The 6-foot-4 point guard, who played in 17 games last season for the Spurs, also had nine assists [url=]J'Mon Moore Color Rush Jersey[/url] , six rebounds and two blocks in an impressive all-around performance.

”I am just feeling more comfortable this year,” White said. ”I am learning what works and what I need to do to be successful.”

White continued his solid play from the night before, when he had 22 points and seven rebounds in the Spurs’ 92-76 loss to the Utah Jazz.

White is vying for more playing this season, especially with Kawhi Leonard’s future with the Spurs uncertain.

Young [url=]Tre'Quan Smith Color Rush Jersey[/url] , this year’s No. 5 overall pick, continued to struggle in Utah, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting. In two games the former Oklahoma star is just 9 of 36 from the field, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range. Young had three assists and three turnovers.

Young averaged 27.4 points last season for the Sooners.

SPURS 103 [url=][/url] , HAWKS 81

Jeff Ledbetter had 16 points and three 3-pointers, and Amida Brimah had eight points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio (1-1). The Spurs rested first-round draft pick Lonnie Walker IV.

John Collins had 19 points and first-round pick Omari Spellman had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks (0-2).


Derrick Jones Jr. had 21 points and Duncan Robinson added 19 to lead the Heat (1-1). Lakers first-round draft picks Svi Mykhailiuk had 12 points and Moritz Wagner had eight points and five turnovers. Los Angeles is 0-2.


Wayne Seldon and Kobi Simmons each had 20 points. No. 4 overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr. had 10 points and eight rebounds after a dominating performance the night before when he scored 29 points on eight 3-pointers for Memphis (2-0).

The Jazz (1-1) rested first-round pick Grayson Allen.

WARRIORS 71 [url=]Paul Worrilow Color Rush Jersey[/url] , KINGS 54

First-round draft pick Jacob Evans had a team-high 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, adding five rebounds and two steals for the defending NBA champions.

Marvin Bagley III, the No. 2 pick in the draft, was held to seven points on 3-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds for the Kings (1-1). Justin Jackson had 20 points [url=]Joseph Noteboom Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but the Kings only shot 27.5 percent from the floor.

The Buffalo Bills have begun restocking their depth at running back by reaching deals to re-sign Travaris Cadet and Taiwan Jones.

Cadet has six years of NFL experience split among five teams. He was signed by Buffalo on Nov. 4 and appeared in six games before breaking his right ankle in a 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots on Dec. 24.

Cadet had taken over the primary backup duties behind starter LeSean McCoy. He finished the season with 96 yards rushing and 119 yards receiving.

The Bills signed Cadet after Jones broke his left arm during an onside kick in a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets on Nov. 2. Jones was mostly used in special teams situations.

The two will compete with newly signed free agent Chris Ivory for backup jobs.


liny195 by liny195 @
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano apologized to his teammates [url=][/url] , the organization and the fans for his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement.

Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.

”I wanted to apologize genuinely to the city of Seattle and to all the fans and the young baseball players in the (United) States and the (Dominican Republic) and most importantly to my teammates,” Cano said. ”I wanted to show my face to you guys. I don’t think for me it’s fair to just come back and walk into the clubhouse.

”I wanted to do this earlier. But I don’t want to be a distraction for the team. So I was waiting for the right time.”

Cano said he couldn’t discuss details of the testing process but maintained the substance was prescribed to him in the Dominican Republic for the treatment of a medical issue.

”I’ve been getting tested for the last 12 seasons and I’ve never had an issue with MLB policy,” he said. ”I was treating for some medical ailments and I was being supervised by a doctor. But at the same time, I understand that everything that goes into my body, I’m responsible for that.”

He said the suspension was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather.

”I love this game so much,” Cano said. ”For me, baseball is everything. You know I hate to sit in the dugout and have a day off and being away from the game and not being able to sit in the dugout and cheer for my teammates, that makes it even harder.”

Mark Texeira [url=]Troy Niklas Color Rush Jersey[/url] , a former first baseman for the New York Yankees and Cano’s teammate, said on a New York radio show that he was ”not surprised” Cano was suspended for PED use. Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman made comments seemingly suggesting the same.

”Every time you hear a negative comment, it’s going to hurt anyone,” Cano said of his former colleagues. ”But I don’t really pay attention because what I really care about (is) those who come out and say positive things like C.C. (Sabathia) and Mariano (Rivera). Because if you focus on the negative then you’re always going to live in the past. I’m one who looks ahead. I don’t really care what they said. They can say whatever they want. I hope none of them or their family go through a situation like this because it’s easy to go out and judge anyone.”

Cano has remained close to the team and does workouts at Safeco Field before the team arrives each day. He leaves the stadium before his teammates get to work and watches all the games from home. He will head to his father’s academy in the Dominican Republic in the near future to begin ramping up his baseball work.

Cano was hitting .287 with a .385 on-base percentage, .441 slugging percentage, 10 doubles, four home runs, 23 RBI and 21 walks for the season when the suspension was handed down in May.

The Mariners would love to get Cano’s bat back in the lineup, but finding a spot for him in the field could be more troublesome. Dee Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence after moving back to his old position from center field. With Cano ineligible for postseason play [url=]Thomas Rawls Color Rush Jersey[/url] , Gordon will need to play second base in the playoffs as well should the Mariners qualify for the first time since 2001.

Cano said he was open to whatever role the team wants him to play upon his return.

”This is not about myself. This is about us as a team,” Cano said. ”We are playing for the city of Seattle. All of us, the city, my teammates, and myself. I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win. At the same time I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”

Cano went on the disabled list on May 14 due to a fractured bone in his right hand with the suspension being handed down the following day. The Mariners have a 34-16 record in the 50 games Cano has missed. Barring any postponements, Cano is eligible to return to the Mariners on Aug. 14.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Armed with their prized possession acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline, the San Jose Sharks have an opportunity to assume a commanding lead in their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff Series against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night at Honda Center.

Evander Kane scored two goals in his first playoff game and Joe Pavelski registered two assists to back a 25-save performance by Martin Jones in a 3-0 Game 1 victory on Thursday night.

Acquired by San Jose general manager Doug Wilson in exchange for a conditional draft selection in 2019, a conditional draft selection in 2020 and Danny O’Regan on Feb. 26 [url=]Youth Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , Kane has delivered what was asked of him upon his arrival in Northern California. Kane registered nine goals and five assists in 17 regular-season games and continued his production with a pair of decisive second-period goals.

Kane shrugged off the suggestion that the increased pressure of playing in his first postseason contest would affect his ability to contribute to the San Jose post season effort.

“I’ve played in a lot of big games before,” Kane said. “This is game one, obviously it’s exciting to be in the playoffs. It’s more so, just the first period, getting that out of the way and getting a feel for how I was going to feel, and how the game was going. I thought I got better as I went along.”

Kane arrived in Northern California with a questionable reputation after stops in Atlanta, Winnipeg and Buffalo but has fit seamlessly in the Sharks locker room. He gave credit to his teammates effort in the victory.

“We played great,” Kane continued. “I think all four lines did a great job of checking. We got a lot of pucks that go up into the stands and that is credit to our team, with a lot of good sticks. I thought Eric Fehr’s line there did a great job checking. Along with Logan Couture playing really good defensively [url=][/url] , down low there, winning a lot of battles. It was a great team win, and obviously Martin Jones made the stops when he needed to.”

The Ducks were thoroughly disappointed in their effort, a lackluster performance after closing the regular season with a 10-1-1 record in their last 12 games to secure home ice advantage as the second-place team in the Pacific Division.

Anaheim lapsed into the bad habit of taking costly minor penalties that was a deciding factor in the loss. They paraded to the penalty box six times, including consecutive penalties by Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf, creating a 5-on-3 man disadvantage that led to Kane’s opening score. Anaheim could not get back on track in the pivotal second frame, getting outshot 17-9 and surrendering all three Sharks goals.

“You can’t afford to take seven minors and give the opposition an opportunity to practice their power play,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “It takes any momentum you had building in the game and flips everything in their favor. San Jose did a good job in the faceoff circle and kept the puck in our zone. They might not have scored, but they had almost two minutes in our zone. It’s very taxing on your penalty killers.”

Carlyle struggled to explain the Ducks’ poor effort given their strong play in the final weeks of the regular season.

“We just didn’t seem to have our legs [url=][/url] , our hands or our minds tonight. Three checks from our standpoint. We didn’t execute with the puck, we didn’t show any aggressiveness in our skating game and we showed we were weak mentally from the standpoint of undisciplined acts we committed.”

Faced with the possibility of dealing with an 0-2 series deficit as the series moves to the HP Pavilion with a loss, the game is essentially a must-win for Anaheim. While the veteran team is not panicking after only one defeat, Getzlaf knows the importance of the victory against a team the Ducks have only defeated once in five games this season.

“We just have to regroup. It’s one game and it’s best of seven. It’s about the process and getting better every day. We have to understand what we did wrong and build from it now.”

Ducks defenseman Josh Manson has confidence his team can bounce back and even the series.

“I think there’s a lot of character in this room,” Manson told the Orange County Register. “You know when there’s adversity, guys can step up to the table. We have guys that have won, and they know how to win games, and there’s guys in that room that can take over games. I think we do have a good group for response games.”

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DETROIT — Out of the playoff picture and with only a few games remaining in 2017-18 [url=]Danny Shelton Color Rush Jersey[/url] , the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators are focusing on young players who will, hopefully, be part of their futures.

Detroit will host Ottawa on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in a matinee game.

Anthony Mantha, in his first full NHL season, leads the Red Wings with 24 goals. He had a goal that ended an 11-game drought [url=][/url] , his longest of the season, and an assist in Thursday night’s 6-3 road win over the Buffalo Sabres. At 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds, Mantha has the talent and size to develop into a consistently dominant player.

Mantha has been dominant at times this season and he’s working on being more consistent.

“I think my consistency this year was a little better the whole year,” Mantha, 23 [url=]Isaiah Oliver Color Rush Jersey[/url] , told

After splitting a four-game weekend set in Seattle, the Boston Red Sox return to work Tuesday night when they open a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

The Red Sox went into their off day on Monday just a half-game behind the New York Yankees, but they have won six of their last nine games thanks to a starting rotation that has been among the best in baseball during the last two weeks.

Chris Sale will look to keep that going Tuesday when he takes the mound for his 16th start of the season. The left-hander snapped a three-start losing streak his last time out, allowing just a run in six innings of a 5-1 victory over Baltimore.

Sale had allowed 10 runs in 10 1/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros on May 27 and June 1, respectively. He rebounded by holding the Chicago White Sox to a run in eight innings while striking out two on June 8 in a 1-0 Red Sox loss before getting back in the win column against the Orioles.

“I have a good rhythm and tempo going for me right now [url=]Authentic Sampo Ranta Jersey[/url] ,” said Sale, who has held opponents to no more than a run in nine starts this season. “I’m feeling good. That’s the way I like it.”

He’s 10-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 26 career appearances (18 starts) against the Twins, who also had Monday off after a 3-3 road trip that saw them drop two of three to the Detroit Tigers and take two of three from the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians.

They’ll begin the day third in the division, five games behind Cleveland and 2 1/2 behind Detroit.

“It was a good series win (in Cleveland),” third baseman Eduardo Escobar said. “We’ll be ready Tuesday for another series at home. This team will be OK. We go out there and play hard every day [url=]Bradley Chubb Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but sometimes you have to give credit to the other pitchers.”

The Twins will turn to their own budding ace for the series opener.

Right-hander Jose Berrios is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in his last six starts. He has allowed more than two runs just once during that stretch and has struck out 51 while walking only 12 in 43 2/3 innings, including 24 strikeouts with two walks in his last three outings.

Berrios took no-decision his last time out. He held the Tigers to a run, seven hits and a walk while striking out seven in six innings, but the Twins’ offense and bullpen couldn’t get the job done in a 5-2 loss.

“He threw a hell of a game,” reliever Addison Reed said afterward. “That was fun to watch. He works his tail off [url=]Tyler Austin New York Yankees Jersey[/url] , and it shows when he’s out there. The thing that I’m most (upset) about tonight is not getting him the ‘W.'”

Berrios has one previous career start against the Red Sox. He allowed four runs and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss at Fenway Park last season.


liny195 by liny195 @
The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Nate Solder and added former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kareem Martin.

The Giants announced the signings late Thursday night [url=]Cheap Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , more than a day after free-agency opened.

Sources close to the team had confirmed on Wednesday the agreement with Solder, the former New England Patriots left tackle. The signing of Martin, who spent his first four seasons in Arizona, is new and reunites him with defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who ran the Cardinals’ defense last season and was hired by new Giants coach Pat Shurmur.

Solder, who is considered the top free agent offensive lineman, is expected to be the foundation on a new O-line.

”We had such a great experience in New England, we love those people, they’ve taken great care of us [url=][/url] ,” said Solder, who signed a four-year contract worth $62 million. ”It was hard to leave; we had a lot of success there, and hopefully coming here that we’ll have the same.”

Solder has played in 98 regular-season games with 95 starts — 81 at left tackle, 11 at right tackle, and three as a tackle-eligible tight end.

”Nate has been a quality left tackle in this league since the day he entered,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. ”He’s physically matured and he’s become as good a run blocker as he is a pass blocker.”

Martin started 10 games this past season, and played in all 16. He had a career-best 23 tackles.

”With Bettch being the defensive coordinator, that played a big role in my decision,” Martin said. ”After playing in that defense for the last four years [url=]Patrick Omameh Color Rush Jersey[/url] , three with him being the D.C., I learned a lot and I was able to grow a lot. I wanted to continue that maturation in this defense under him, so that played a big role in my decision to come here.”

A third-round draft pick, Martin has played in 56 regular-season games with 14 starts. His totals include 46 tackles (35 solo) 4 1/2 sacks, one interception, four passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and nine special teams tackles. He is also fast enough to cover tight ends.

The Toronto Maple Leafs know they’ve just completed the best statistical season in franchise history.

And Frederik Andersen knows he now holds the team’s all-time record for goalie wins in a season.

What remains a mystery for the Leafs is their first-round playoff opponent.

Andersen made 31 saves to pick up his 38th victory of the season Saturday and Toronto closed out its schedule by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

The Leafs finished with a club-record 105 points – bettering the 103 earned in the pre-lockout 2003-04 season before the shootout was introduced to break ties – but will have to wait until the Boston Bruins play the Florida Panthers on Sunday to see where they open their next playoff chapter.

A win for the Bruins over the Panthers, who have been eliminated from postseason contention [url=]Clint Frazier New York Yankees Jersey[/url] , would see Boston move into first in the Atlantic Division and set up a meeting between Tampa Bay and Toronto.

A victory in regulation for the Panthers, meanwhile, would see the Leafs and Bruins square off.

Asked if he would be watching Sunday’s finale, a makeup game after Boston and Florida were snowed out in January, Andersen indicated he has other plans.

”No,” he said. ”I’m going to watch the Masters.”

Auston Matthews scored his 34th goal of the season to match his jersey number and added an assist for Toronto (49-26-7), which also set club records for overall victories and home wins (29).

Zach Hyman, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau had the other goals for the Leafs, who are going to the playoffs for the second consecutive spring. Jake Gardiner added two assists.

Andersen’s 37 victories coming in saw him sit tied with Ed Belfour (2002-03) and Andrew Raycroft (2006-07) for the most by a Toronto goalie in a season.

Now he sits alone in first.

”It’s fun when you set goals at the beginning of the year and then you achieve some of them [url=][/url] ,” Andersen said. ”It goes without saying that there are bigger goals.”

Leafs coach Mike Babcock was pleased to see his team come through for its goalie in a game that didn’t mean anything in the standings.

”He’s been a huge part of our team,” Babcock said. ”That record is a special, special thing.”

Daniel Carr and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal (29-40-13). Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the visitors as the Canadiens wrapped up a disappointing season.

The players observed a moment of silence before the game to honor the victims of Friday’s horrific crash in Saskatchewan that saw a tractor-trailer collide with a bus carrying a junior hockey team, killing 15 people and injuring 14 others.

The Leafs and Canadiens also sported Broncos decals on their helmets.

Tied 1-1 through 40 minutes, Hyman chipped a rebound past Price just 37 seconds into the third for his 15th goal and 40th point of the season after Matthews took the initial shot.

Andersen made a good stop on Brendan Gallagher’s one-timer with four minutes to go, before the Leafs went to the power play with 3:45 left when Michael McCarron hacked Matthews to the ice with the center bearing down on what could have been his 35th goal.

But Kadri wouldn’t be denied with 2:50 left when he backhanded his 32nd over Price before Petry then scored his 12th with 40.2 seconds left in regulation.

Marleau put things to bed with his 27th on a Price mistake with 9.8 seconds still on the clock as the Canadiens limped to the finish line after topping the Atlantic with 103 points last season.

”We’re still playing the game we love,” Gallagher said. ”But the games haven’t been meaningful.

”Just never want to feel this (way) or go through this ever again.”

Down 1-0 after Matthews extended his point streak to 10 games – he now has seven goals and seven assists over that span – late in the first, the Canadiens came close when Andersen denied Gallagher twice on a power play in the second.

”He’s been unbelievable for us, probably our best player all year [url=][/url] ,” Matthews said the Leafs goalie. ”He’s kept us in games, won us games all throughout the year and been a brick wall.”

Montreal got even with 3:56 left in the second when Carr scored his sixth on a rebound.

Matthews struck on the power play with 1:55 left in the first when William Nylander wheeled down from the point, froze Price and delivered a sweet cross-ice feed for a wide-open net to get the ball rolling on a milestone night.

Now all the Leafs can do is sit and wait to find out where they’ll open the playoffs next week as the Atlantic’s No. 3 seed – either Boston or Tampa.

”We don’t know who we’re playing,” Babcock said. ”Both teams are very good hockey clubs.

”We’re in for a great test and it should be a lot of fun.”


Canadiens: Season over.

Maple Leafs: first round of the playoffs.

More NHL hockey: .

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