Steve Ballmer’s reaction to a Joe Johnson dagger was priceless

The first-round series between the Jazz and the Clippers has provided plenty of excitement and plenty of Joe Johnson heroics. He hit a game winner in Game 1 and he was huge in Game 3 as well. Who shot the dagger in Game 5? Oh, just Joe Johnson.

After Johnson hit a jumper to put the Clippers up 92-87 with 19 seconds left, the camera cut right to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Essentially, the Flyers are going to have to lose someone from that group in the near future. The question is whether or not they can control how they do it, and if they get anything in exchange for it.

What can they do? Dealing a forward to a team that either:

a) needs to find forwards in order to fill its quota of two exposed forwards that have meaningful NHL experience in the past two seasons, or,
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… is something that would make sense for the Flyers. They may not get a ton back in exchange for some of these bottom-of-the-roster kind of guys, but even a mid-round draft pick would be worthwhile given the fact that something is going to have to give here pretty soon.

Of course, this requires a team that wants one of those guys like a Laughton or a Cousins or even one of the protection-worthy guys enough to give up something of value for them. And that’s not a given. But you have to think the Flyers are going to try and make a deal work here, even if it’ll likely just be a minor one.

Some teams will be willing to look past it because of the time that has passed.

We all have lapses in judgment, especially when we’re young. With Mixon, we’re not talking about a youthful indiscretion. We’re talking about a young man punching a woman in the face with such violence that her injuries required eight hours of surgical repair. And it’s impossible to make this a “gotta hear both sides” situation, because we’ve all seen the video.

Some teams will be willing to look past it because of the time that has passed.

“What he did was terrible. It was three years ago,” an NFC executive said. “He got suspended for a year. It’s not like he hasn’t paid a price. Since he did, he’s been fine. It will come down to the owner. I think a lot of owners will be very skeptical doing it. If I was in the 20s I’d take him.”

For other teams, it’s too great of a risk.

“I did a lot of (expletive) when I was 18 that I’m not proud of but I never knocked out a girl,” an AFC executive said. “That’s just such a hot-button issue. I’m hearing too many things. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

RB Barry J. Sanders Jr., Oklahoma State: Sanders Jr.’s career started at Stanford, where he rushed for 672 yards and seven touchdowns. Following teammate Christian McCaffrey’s NCAA single-season all-purpose record of 3,496 yards in 2015, Sanders Jr. transferred to Oklahoma State, his father’s alma mater. Ironically, the record McCaffrey broke belonged to the elder Sanders.

Oh, and let’s not forget this run by Sanders Jr. at Stanford that looked eerily similar to a run his father had. The lackluster results from those selections may have dissuaded other teams from taking a chance on Gonzalez earlier. In the past, taking specialists early wasn’t a bold or rare strategy.

In just an eight-year span from 1972 to 1979, there were 15 kickers and punters drafted in the first three rounds, including three taken in the first round.

Instead, Browns gets arguably the best kicker — the second off the board after Jake Elliott of Memphis — at a strong value.
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5 weird quirks about the 2017 NFL schedule that you might care about in the fall

Authentic Mens Marcus Sherels Jersey I’m still quivering with excitement over the NFL schedule release. Body in a state of shock … mind racing … palms sweating … shaking. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. By now the effect of the league’s great big exciting primetime schedule release show has worn off (I watched the Cavs games instead, tbh). But looking at the schedule this morning, I noticed some oddities, and well, I just HAD to put those in a numbered list!

L.A.’s newest team, the Chargers, will have three games happening at the same time the other L.A. team is playing. In Weeks 2, 14, and 17, the Rams and Chargers both have home games during the 4 p.m. ET window. In Week 17, all four of California’s NFL teams will be in Los Angeles — only one of those teams has never called the city home. The Rams host the 49ers, and the Chargers draw the Raiders that week.

That leaves the Falcons to find a fit early in the 2017 NFL draft. In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Dave Choate of the Falcoholic is back to make the pick for Atlanta.

Authentic Mens Joel Bitonio Jersey For the next two rounds, the NFL resumes its tradition of having beloved players with team connections announce picks. Several Hall of Famers are included, but what I’d most like to warn you about is the incredible level of suit game that’s bearing down on you.

Also, no, that is not Washington State head coach Mike Leach. That is long snapper Mike Leach. Head coach Mike Leach is not an incredible dresser.

As a Falcons fan, I’m somewhat upset Morten Andersen is announcing for the detestable New Orleans Saints. He did play there longer, but you know what I mean. Thanks for listening to all this about NFL draft guest announcers, by the way. The list’s up there, if you missed it.

Zane Gonzalez is going to get picked way too early in the 2017 NFL draft

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Lets get one thing out of the way: Zane Gonzalez is a really good kicker. He may even be the top prospect at the position since Sebastian Janikowski. And that means that like Janikowski and Roberto Aguayo, Gonzalez is probably about to be picked laughably early.

It used to be common practice to take a kicker relatively early in the NFL draft. In the 14 drafts between 1986 and 1999, there were nine kickers drafted in the first three rounds, and then the Oakland Raiders topped everybody by taking Janikowski at No. 17 overall in 2000.

Tabors size is ideal for the position, but its his ability to leverage his frame into an advantage by using proper technique that makes the former Gator special. A twitchyplayer in coverage, Tabor has quick feet and the recovery speed necessary to play an aggressive style of defense.

Part of what makes the cornerback such a technician is his mental processing ability — Tabor is a patient player, and he has the closing burst necessary to contest passes at a high level. These traits are what help make Tabor such an excellent press corner – hes content to mirror opponents and let routes develop, but also instinctive to make plays on the ball and agile enough to recover should he guess wrong.
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Tabors 28 passes defensed, eight interceptions and three defensive touchdowns are impressive, but whats even more so is the fact that Tabor manages to play such an aggressive style while maintaining discipline. Tabor wasnt penalized often — he was only flagged six times over the past three seasons, with three of those coming in a single game — and, per Pro Football Focus, only allowed two touchdowns in his three seasons.

the Pacers have the ball down by one with 20 seconds left.

Paul George has four first half triples, helping Indiana keep up with the Cavaliers, who is shooting over 50 percent with seven makes behind the arc.

Elite Kids Kyle Lowry Jersey 20 seconds, fourth quarter: Paul George just hit a 30-foot three to give the Pacers a chance.

After a LeBron James miss, the Pacers have the ball down by one with 20 seconds left. Here. We. Go.

4:53, fourth quarter: Cleveland is still up, but Indiana is hanging around thanks to Lance Stephenson, who has 16 points. Paul George has been quiet as a scorer, but just set up Jeff Teague for a critical three. Cavs 103, Pacers 99.

End of third quarter: Cavaliers lead 92-84 as James continues to absolutely dominate: 26 points, 10-of-13 shooting, 10 assists, five rebounds. The other two of the Big Three have come up big, too, with Kyrie Irving dropping 21 points so far and Kevin Love notching 17 points on seven shots.
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6:08, third quarter: Paul George is incredible ¡ª like, damn. 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting so far in every different way, from pull-up threes in transition to post turnarounds when a smaller defender ended up on him.

Chris Paul can be admonished for many playoff performances, but in this one game, when his team needed him the most, he stepped up. The only problem was that he was the only one who cared to try. Tunsil took items such as the Apple device from this person over a period of time in exchange for a promise of a future financial agreement once Tunsil turned pro, specifics of which are unknown. Tunsil would sit out seven games during the Rebels 2015 campaign in connection to receiving free use of a rental and loaner cars as well as a free airline ticket. As the draft neared, Tunsils circle began to change ¡ª he signed with Sexton shortly after Christmas ¡ª and the would-be business manager was pushed out.

2017 NFL mock draft: Carolina Panthers land Tre’Davious White

In the first round of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, the Carolina Panthers and Cat Scratch Reader took Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. There’s nothing wrong with the selection because Howard is such a good talent. However, it leaves some obvious needs at pass rusher and cornerback going into the second round.

While Chicago is icing a weaker team than in years past due to injury, one that many were surprised to see take home the No. 1 spot in the West, the Predators have one of their best playoff teams ready for a long run.

Of course, they’ll have to get through the NHL’s dynasty team of the last decade. A tough challenge, even with the Blackhawks’ injured lineup.

Chicago has had Nashville’s number all season. Besides the Predators besting the Blackhawks at the beginning of the season, Chicago wrapped up the five-game series with a sweep of the remaining matches. Richard Panik and Patrick Kane have, particularly, been the thorn in the Predators’ side this year with a combined 16 points against.

Pekka Rinne. The Predators goaltender is arguably the team’s weakest link. Rinne’s performance this season was better than his last, but his .912 save percentage in 48 playoff games still leaves something to be desired. Where Rinne goes, the Predators go. And if he struggles against the Blackhawks, they might not make it out of round one.

Can the Predators defense, led by P.K. Subban and Roman Josi, slow down the experienced and talented Blackhawks forwards? How Nashville matches up against the Blackhawks’ top-six is key. As for Chicago, Victor Ardvidson became a force for the Predators this year. How will they manage to contain him after a breakout year?

The Blackhawks. Chicago comes into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak, but they’ll sink back into their sweet spot easily to take Game 1.
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People are actually scalping tickets at Ohio States SPRING football game

It ain’t that, man, he says. I just try to do my thing on the field to get ready for the game, instead of being in the way.
From a wide-ranging profile with NFL.com’s Michael Silver:

I’ve never seen anybody win the game in the media. But at the same time, I understand what it could do for you, if you wanted to be someone who talks a lot. But that’s not me…

Football’s just always been hella fun to me, not expressing myself in the media. I don’t do it to get attention; I just do it ’cause I love that (expletive).
And from a 2014 interview with former teammate Michael Robinson:

You think your spring games a big deal? Why dont you go to Columbus, Ohio where the demand is so high for spring games that people have resorted to scalping.

Four of the highest attended spring games of all time belong to the Buckeyes, and the last two seasons each set records. This year, the game is sold out, with tickets going for $5 each at face value. But this year, the games attendance wont get to six figures:
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Due to renovation to Ohio Stadiums C-Deck, plus a 20% chance of rain, the Buckeyes are going to have at least 20% less fans than the 100,000+ theyve showcased each of the past two seasons.
Limited Kids Prince Amukamara Jersey Some 82,000 are expected to pack the Horseshoe, so its still going to more than double all but a few schools in spring game attendance.

Awuzie played outside cornerback, nickelback, and safety

Elite Paxton Lynch Jersey “I’m a cornerback that thinks like a Mike linebacker,” he told SB Nation in an interview. He clearly prizes hitting and tackling, traits not instantly associated with most cornerbacks.

“My preparation is everything for me. I didn’t really have any hobbies outside of football. If I’m not playing football, I’m watching tape on some player. I’m trying to study on Google, just trying to find any kind of tidbit that I can.”

His play style really is sort of linebacker-ish. During a four-year run at Colorado, Awuzie played outside cornerback, nickelback, and safety. He never became an interception master (he had three in four years), but he knocked down a bunch of passes and made a bunch of tackles.

The AL West was expected to be up for grabs, and the first couple weeks of the 2017 MLB season have done nothing to change that expectation. The Astros have won four straight, and are now in first place at 8-4. The Angels were in first, but now they’ve lost five in a row and are 6-7 after dropping a series to the division-rival Rangers and getting swept by the Royals. The A’s, the only team that aren’t considered a contender in the West, sit at 5-7 after dropping a pair to Houston, while the Mariners climbed out of the cellar and temporarily forgot about their bullpen nightmares by sweeping the now-last-place Rangers.
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Tampa Bay will be without its two leading rushers with Doug Martin and Mike James out for the year due to injuries.

It’s been a rough season on and off the field for Tampa Bay. There have been injury woes and other issues, with Greg Schiano’s job security called into question. The Bucs, however, appear to be improving. They jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the road against Seattle two weeks ago, but were unable to hang on. The Bucs jumped out 15-0 against Miami last week, and rallied back to win, 22-19.

Tampa Bay will be without its two leading rushers with Doug Martin and Mike James out for the year due to injuries. Rookie Mike Glennon will once again start at quarterback. Glennon has been up and down this season, flashing some potential at times. Tampa Bay will enter the game near the bottom of the league in passing yards, averaging just 188.7 yards per game.
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But it was an away draw, which was all the Americans needed to feel OK about their chances to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Panamanians are one of the USMNT鈥檚 top rivals for a top-three spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, and they still need to come to the United States. If the USMNT beats Panama at home in October, they will have taken four points out of six off a team they鈥檙e competing with, which is good enough.

That鈥檚 not to say the USMNT is in excellent shape. Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to kick off the final round of qualifying were alarming enough that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati thought he had to make a managerial change to ensure results turned around instantly. They have, with a win over Honduras and a draw away to Los Canaleros, but the Americans aren鈥檛 done digging out of their hole.

Here鈥檚 what the USMNT is facing on their road to make the World Cup.

Garrett Celek Elite Jersey Over the five cycles that CONCACAF has used the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying format, the average third-place team has finished on 15.6 points. No third-place team has ever won more than 17 points. The USMNT currently has four points, so to reach that target of 17, they鈥檇 need to take 13 points from their remaining six matches.

North Carolina called its shot at redemption and stuck the landing

Justin Jackson knew North Carolina wouldn’t be able to escape the word all year. At least they could try to own it.

The Tar Heels had just started to get together for the new season a few short months after being on the wrong side of Kris Jenkins’ historic national championship buzzer-beater. The first thing they needed was a fresh players-only group text, one without departed stalwarts Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson and with this year’s freshman class.

The past twelve months for the Washington Redskins have been as bizarre as any for a professional sports team. Robert Griffin III has gone from questionable rookie-star, to world-beater, to injured, to being a diva for rushing back too quickly, to division champion, to symbol of Dan Snyder’s incompetence, to the medical equivalent of learning a country’s geography because we’re bombing it, to cornball brother, to diva, to being Back, to a complete and utter indictment of Dan Snyder’s decision to give up another fortune of draft picks. (Whew.)

Now we’re back where we started; a Redskins team at 3-7 and playing for their jobs.

The team is basically an inferior version of the 2007-2010 Indianapolis Colts, but with a racist nickname. One good pass-rusher, a terrible secondary, Pierre Garcon, a good running back, and a superstar under center. It’s a painfully average team that has found itself in the midst of a thousand stupid story-lines over the course of the last year, but the melodrama surrounding everything that Robert Griffin III says puts them all to shame.
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