T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is the cruelest month

It’s also been a rough March for the Hawks, who were humming along at 33-26 and seemingly comfortable in the No. 5 spot in the East when February wrapped up. But a seven-game losing streak in the meat of the month hurt Atlanta on its way to a 6-10 month, and torpedoed Hawks’ stretch run. They now sit just three games above .500 and in a virtual tie for fifth with the Bucks, with the Heat and Pacers just two games behind.
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T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is the cruelest month, but you can’t blame the Cavs — and others — for begging to differ.

The greatest exception to that theory is, of course, his college head coach, one John Thompson Jr., all 6-10 of him. Yet another reason why this hire was destiny.

Mens Benardrick McKinney Jersey It’s no secret the Kings are in disaster mode after a number of terrible trades over the past few years, capped by the trade of their best talent in years, DeMarcus Cousins, for pennies on the dollar. The team has few talented prospects and has already dealt its 2019 first-round draft pick, incidentally to the Sixers, in what was one of most lopsided trades of the decade.

It’s unclear what role the Kings want Hinkie to play in their rebuild, but according to Wojnarowski, Ranadive has been looking to place someone over current general manager Vlade Divac.

Hinkie’s Process to make the 76ers a contender was controversial at best, but it left the team with loads of promising, though injured, talent, including maybe this season’s best rookies, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, as well as Ben Simmons. The Kings have had no such vision; thus the Dumpster fire of a roster that Ranadive thinks can be led by 23-year-old rookie Buddy Hield, the main piece Sacramento received for Cousins. If there’s anyone who can turn the little talent that’s left in Sacramento into something more, it’s Hinkie, who was notorious for trading prospects at their peak for an inflated market value.

Triple-double talk aside, history shows why Russell Westbrook won’t win NBA MVP

Game Youth Jaye Howard Jersey Russell Westbrook is having a year for the ages, but if history tells us anything, he won’t be taking home the NBA’s MVP award at season’s end.

Make no mistake about it, the Thunder superstar is putting together one of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history. With averages of 31.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10.0 assists, he’s on track to become the first NBA player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson more than 50 years ago.

Williams won’t likely run as many pick-and-rolls in Houston, but he will be counted on to improve their bench. With Harden on the court this season, the Rockets are averaging 113.5 points per 100 possessions. Without him, that number drops to 105.4 points per 100 possessions. Seeing as the Lakers scored 9.1 points per 100 possessions more when Williams was on the court 鈥?basically the difference between the Knicks and Warriors in offensive efficiency 鈥?they’re hoping he can have a similar impact on the Rockets.

There’s no reason why Williams shouldn’t have a similar impact, either. Mike D’Antoni will probably use him as the Harden of the second unit, running pick-and-rolls with Montrezl Harrell while Eric Gordon and Sam Dekker space the floor around him. The biggest difference when compared to his time with the Lakers is he’ll have to take more of a backseat role when sharing the court with Harden by functioning as a spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker.

Game Youth Alex Rodriguez Jersey Hield has made 14 straight starts for the Kings. He first cracked the their top five on March 10, when he put up 18 in the first half, including four 3-pointers, before going scoreless the final 24 minutes of the contest in a 130-122 loss at home against the Wizards. Nonetheless, it was a preview of what was to come. As a starter for Sacramento, Hield is averaging 15.2 points, more than five better than his season average, on 47.3 percent shooting (41.3 from 3) as the Kings have gone 6-8.

NBA fines DeMarcus Cousins $50K for cussing at heckling fans

DeMarcus Cousins is a little less rich.

The NBA has handed the All-Star center a $50,000 fine for directing inappropriate language towards fans on multiple occasions.

It’s fair to say that on both occasions, Cousins was being heckled by fans.

The first incident happened on March 5 following the Pelicans’ 105-97 win over the Lakers at Staples Center.

New Orleans Pelicans forward/center DeMarcus Cousins has been fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate language towards fans on separate occasions, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. The incidents occurred during the Pelicans’ 105-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, March 5 at Staples Center and at the conclusion of the Pelicans’ 88-83 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday, March 6 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
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As Morris was driving along the left elbow when the Nuggets came up to defend and slapped the ball away. Morris tried to flop, but instead brought his right foot up and connected with Plumlee right between the legs.

Plumlee, who was traded to the Nuggets from Portland last month, tried to get his hand down to protect himself, but was unable to block the shot. He did remain in the game and made one of the two subsequent free throws.

Morris had 11 points in 26 minutes before his ejection as the Wizards were paced by John Wall’s 30 points in the victory.

Authentic Youth Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey Everyone wanted to know if the Celtics would make a move for Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Well, question answered: Nope. Boston has its squad and is moving forward.

Fan yelled at non-Russian Goran Dragic, ‘Go back to Russia’

After the Miami Heat’s win over the Hornets Wednesday, Goran Dragic walked back to the tunnel where he was greeted by a “fan.” This person from the crowd yelled down to Dragic, “Go back to Russia!” to which Dragic responded, “I’m not from Russia.”

The comment happened Wednesday night, but video of the moment didn’t surface until Friday morning. According to a Reddit user who uploaded the video, he attended the game with the fan who yelled out the phrase and claimed he knew Dragic was not from Russia.

The user claims the person was just trying to get in a creative heckle. Considering he got Dragic’s attention, I think it’s safe to say he succeeded.

It’s also worth pointing out that the team was not playing Casspi within its rotation, but that he has proven himself to be a useful NBA player in the past. In fact, it’s possible that he could finish the season as the second-most useful short-term player in this deal for either team. He’s hit over 40 percent of his 3-pointers over the last three seasons, averaging nearly 10 points per game in that time to pair with a versatile defensive skillset due to his ability to guard multiple positions.

Given that the trade would have worked under league rules as just Evans, Hield and picks for Cousins, it seems likely the Pelicans wanted Casspi in this deal. That the Kings just tossed him in is a real question mark, even if he does only have this season remaining on his contract.

This deal was made with the decision in mind that the organization did not want to move forward with Cousins as their franchise player, meaning it changes the entire course of the team’s direction. Earlier in the season, there had been reports of a plan for the Kings to sign Cousins to a “Designated Veteran Player Extension” coming into the new collective bargaining agreement, a deal that allows a team to start a player’s salary at 35 percent of the salary cap in effect at the time of the deal.
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Bold Jose Quintana trade addresses Cubs’ biggest need, creates more options

Hey there, Chicago. That was fun.

Limited Mens Wesley Johnson Jersey Baseball’s Windy City rivals made one heck of a fascinating deal on Thursday, kicking off what should be a thoroughly entertaining trade season. The White Sox sent lefty ace Jose Quintana to the Cubs for a solid four-player package of prospects, headlined by Eloy Jimenez, the outfielder who was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in its midseason update, and right-hander Dylan Cease, who was No. 83 on that same list.

Prospects always carry an inherent element of risk, of course, but on paper this is a very good haul for the White Sox (Jimenez and Cease were the only two Cubs prospects on that BA list, btw).

Right now, though, let’s talk about what this means for the Cubs and the 2017 season.

They were in a bit of a predicament. The Cubs won the World Series last year — obviously, you knew that — and returned the top four pitchers from that rotation. That group, which was stellar in 2016 and had similar expectations this season, has been mediocre (and that’s being kind) in 2017.
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That’s a difficult situation, especially considering three of those guys — veterans Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey — have been rotation regulars all season. Their production has just taken a hit. Lester’s ERA has gone from 2.44 to 4.25, Arrieta’s from 3.10 to 4.35 and Lackey’s from 3.35 to 5.20. Kyle Hendricks just returned from the DL, but he went from an NL-best 2.13 ERA last year to 4.09 in his 11 starts in 2017.

NBA trade rumors: Pistons, Pelicans talking Reggie Jackson trade

The Pistons and Pelicans have engaged in trade discussions regarding point guard Reggie Jackson, according to Basketball Insiders.

Now with the case up in the air, the Marlins want to seize Sack’s Florida building to fulfill the $97,200 he owes the team. The building, however, was appraised at $725,000 by Broward County.

This is nothing new for the franchise, which has sued at least nine season ticket holders since 2013, according to the New Times.

I don’t understand why Major League Baseball continues to allow Jeffrey Loria to behave like this, Daniel Rose, an attorney representing another former season ticket holder being sued by the Marlins, told the New Times. At the end of the day, what is the motive to go after fans like this? It just shows their greed and a complete lack of respect for their fan base.

Enjoy the All-Star festivities over the next two nights, Marlins fans. When the show leaves town you’ll be left with your below-average team and its deplorable owner.
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In front of LeBron James, who was a spectator for the Lakers’ 103-102 comeback win over the 76ers in Las Vegas, Ball led the way with 36 points 鈥?going 12 of 22 from the floor, but 3 of 10 from 3-point range. He also had 11 assists and eight rebounds, though did tell ESPN he has to take better care of the ball after turning the ball over six times.

The Coyotes weren’t necessarily planning to transition Marinovich from coach to quarterback, but as he threw the ball during practices, it was clear the 48-year-old still has the goods.

Game Kids Aaron Burbridge Jersey Team doctors gave him the greenlight to play, as did Mouse Davis, who invented the run-and-shoot, the offense the Coyotes run, after the team flew Marinovich to Portland to visit with the legendary football coach.

Knicks, Rockets expected to resume talks around Carmelo Anthony trade

Talks between the Knicks and Rockets to send Carmelo Anthony to Houston are expected to heat up now that New York has acquired Tim Hardaway Jr., ESPN.com reports.

Many of the pieces appear to be in place for the trade to happen. According to the report, the Rockets want Anthony; Melo is willing to waive his no-trade clause to play with Chris Paul and James Harden; and the Knicks do not envision Anthony and Hardaway being on the court together.
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The play occurred when Fultz tried to defend Jabari Brown driving to the lane, causing him to land awkwardly on his left ankle.
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Fultz was later confirmed to have sprained his ankle on the ESPN telecast after receiving X-rays. The report was confirmed by the 76ers. He did not return to the game.

Fultz’s injury has immediately drawn comparisons to the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, Ben Simmons, who fractured his foot in September and missed the entirety of the 2016-17 season. Joel Embiid also missed time with injuries in the 2016-17 season.

All in all, the 76ers have no manner of luck at all — but it seems they have avoided disaster.

If Scott can return to his previous level of play, this is an excellent minimum deal. Over nearly 4,000 minutes from 2013-2016, he averaged right around 17 points and seven rebounds per 36 minutes while hitting 3s at a reasonable clip.

Still, his 2016-17 was a disaster as he dealt with felony drug charges that were dismissed, and that’s why he’s on a minimum. This is probably his last shot at an NBA career. It’s a no-risk, low-reward situation if he can play a role as an eighth or ninth man on a team hoping to make a run. We’ll see.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had surgery to remove cancerous spot on kidney

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had a “small portion” of his kidney removed in February after tests revealed a cancerous spot on the organ.

According to the team’s website, Arians revealed the medical scare in his new book, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” which was released Tuesday.

Arians learned of the diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma in December when his doctor noticed a spot on an ultrasound taken during an examination of a hernia. The 64-year-old coach opted to wait until after the season to have it removed.

The Timberwolves were always going to be in the market for a free agent point guard this summer. The Ricky Rubio trade to Utah for Oklahoma City’s first-round pick in 2018 made that even more likely on Friday afternoon. It seems likely the Wolves did their due diligence beforehand on the best point guards of the class (George Hill, Jrue Holiday and Kyle Lowry), and they came away believing that Teague was their best bet in terms of signability and skill set.

Consider the trade like this: Rubio for Teague, that first-round pick and $3.5 million less in cap space this offseason trade (assuming, as I do, the team will use the typical eight-percent raise strategy in each year to structure Teague’s contract to conserve cap space). In that vein, I like it for Minnesota.

Teague is a better fit offensively than Rubio was ever going to be with Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins on the perimeter. Essentially replacing Rubio at the cost of Teague plus $3.5 million also allows them to stay in the market for elite power forwards with the existing cap space they have. Future money on a three-year deal isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. Because of the upcoming Wiggins extension and the Butler trade, the Wolves will be capped out following this summer.
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NBA playoffs 2017: Rajon Rondo calls Celtics fans ‘great,’ despite boos

Rajon Rondo isn’t salty that Celtics fans booed him hard during Game 1 of the Bulls’ playoff series in Boston.

In fact, he embraces the hostility and said that’s exactly what he anticipated from the Boston faithful.

Thomas, who left Boston after Game 2 and spent time with his family in Washington State in the wake of his sister’s death in a traffic accident last Saturday, rejoined the Celtics in Chicago. And despite the heavy emotional toll of the past week, he looked great, scoring 16 points (on 7-of-18 shooting) and dishing out nine assists, including this awesome wraparound to Al Horford for the jam.

Charles Sims Kids Jersey The Bulls appeared to come out flat, almost certainly feeling the loss of Rajon Rondo with a fractured thumb. He’s out indefinitely. Or maybe they thought this would be easy, ending the regular season on a hot streak, beating the Celtics twice in the Garden, and then returning home in total control of the series.

Chicago trailed by 20 early in the second quarter before rallying to a 44-41 deficit at the half.

Corey Brewer Kids Jersey What he has done this year to will that team, playing every single night, not resting like some of these other fools are doing, resting when they’re getting paid $25 million a year to play a stupid basketball game. It’s crazy, he began.

But Green remained professional. He didn’t complain about lost playing time. He had a hunch his number would be called eventually, and said he sought to keep himself sharp throughout the year.

The Cavs blew through their first two series

Game John Moore Jersey Just like that, all the consternation over how the Cavaliers closed the regular season had almost done melting away, if it hadn’t already. Remember how they finished 6-9 in coughing up the top seed in the East? Remember how they allowed 111.4 points on 47.4 percent shooting in those games? Remember the struggles against the pick-and-roll? The outcome Wednesday erased all that.

The Cavs blew through their first two series, sweeping Indiana and Toronto, and arrived in the conference finals with a 9.6-point average margin of victory to their credit. The offense was a juggernaut and the defense had rediscovered its footing. The Celtics, meanwhile, limped in following a seven-gamer against the Wizards. So this blowout was building.

Game Christian Okoye Jersey All that was left for Cleveland was to reclaim the home-court advantage it had lost to Boston a month ago. Mission accomplished on that.

The star, as usual, was LeBron James, who easily coasted past or over a slew of hapless Celtics defenders for 38 points on 14-for-24 shooting. Kevin Love provided his best support of these playoffs, scoring 32 points and making 9 of 16 3-point attempts, most of which came without a Celtic within a broom’s length (sorry, sweep reference) on defense.

LA Clippers — Retain their first rounder if 1-14 (otherwise it goes to Orlando/Toronto via Milwaukee and Toronto): Straight forward lottery protection. The Clippers are in the playoffs, so their choice goes to the Magic after sending it to Milwaukee alongside Jared Dudley in a 2014 salary dump. Straight lottery protection does not alter a team’s decision-making since a playoff berth typically has much more significance.

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