Ravens OL John Urschel retires from NFL at 26

John Urschel may have the greatest mind in the NFL. He is a Ph.D candidate in mathematics at MIT and has published multiple research papers in his time there as well.

Now he is retiring from the NFL at 26, the Ravens announced Thursday.

“This morning John Urschel informed me of his decision to retire from football,” coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “We respect John and respect his decision. We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Kershaw, who is a leading candidate for both the National League Cy Young Award and MVP, walked straight to the team’s clubhouse following the second inning. He was replaced by Ross Stripling, who gave up an RBI double to Brandon Phillips in the top of the third.

Kershaw, who is 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA, had lost some velocity on his fastball from the first to the second inning.

He may have been injured during a second-inning pitch to Braves catcher Tyler Flowers. Kershaw grimaced after throwing a pitch and his battery mate, Austin Barnes, saw Kershaw’s reaction and went out to the mound to speak with him. Flowers walked, but Kershaw struck out Matt Adams to end the inning.

Kershaw did miss 2 1/2 months last year because of a herniated disk in his lower back. It has not been an issue this season and he has not missed any time. It is unknown if Sunday’s lower back tightness was related to last year’s injury.

Cavaliers blow out Celtics to reclaim first place in East

While the Cavaliers and Celtics were deadlocked in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James downplayed the importance of their showdown in Boston as just another regular-season game.

Authentic Kids Josh Reynolds Jersey Taking nothing from them, they’ve been playing some great ball, but I’m not one to get caught up in the regular season, he said Tuesday, per ESPN.com . I’m sorry. I’ve been to six straight Finals, man. I’m the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. Sorry.]

Whether he was caught up in it or not, James was as intense as ever, leading his team back to first place in the East with 36 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks in an emphatic 114-91 win.
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Golden State began the week at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as heavy 5-to-11 favorites to win the title. When oddsmaker Jeff Sherman got to his office Wednesday and read up on Durant’s injury, he made a slight upward adjustment to 1-to-2 odds. A few hours later, the Warriors’ price was lengthened to 5/8.

The more we looked into it, the Warriors say they are pleased with the prognosis but he’s getting re-evaluated in four weeks, so he could end up being out much longer, Sherman told Omnisport on Wednesday. So it’s sounding more and more like into the playoffs is more probable than an end-of-the- regular-season return, so we adjusted it a little further. It sounds later rather than sooner. …

With the way their weight is pressed against him, it’s hard not to fall for it.

The shimmy is actually how DeRozan shook Derrick Rose to score the game-winning jump shot against the Knicks this season.

Which, by the way, is almost identical to the game-winner Bryant hit against the Bucks in 2009.

It goes back to Bryant’s idea of being predictable. Even though defenders know DeRozan prefers to shoot over his right shoulder, they have to respect his ability to turn over his left shoulder because he’s proven he can knock them down. Doing so, however, leaves them vulnerable to him creating the slither of space he needs to get off a shot.

Limited Womens Tyler Bozak Jersey Williams is clearly an upgrade over Brewer, so it comes as no surprise the Rockets needed to include a first-round pick to make the trade happen. It’s not a huge loss for the Rockets, though, because they’re better off having Williams down the stretch the stretch of this season and all of next season than another draft pick. D’Antoni has been dealing with a 10-man rotation anyway — one which includes three players they’ve drafted since 2014 — and Williams will take over all of Brewer’s minutes moving forward.

Limited Womens Nick Novak Jersey Plus, there’s only one player from that rotation who isn’t under contract next season: Nene Hilario. Everyone else will be back unless the Rockets decide to move on from them in the offseason.

Look at the Wizards, they were kind of on the same wave as us. Didn’t even make the playoffs while we did. Now this year they’re the second-best team in the East. The adversity made them better. It can make us better, too. What I come from and my background made me who I am. As comfortable as I am with the good times, I’m also comfortable in adversity. Yeah, I might feel some type of way when somebody comes for me or says my name. But when it’s all said and done, it ain’t gonna rock me.

Jimmy Butler to Bulls teammate’s enthusiastic high-five: ‘Stop doing that’

Luca Sbisa Youth Jersey Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double Thursday in a win against the 76ers, but he still had some complaints about the game afterwards. Mostly, he was (jokingly) upset with his teammate Bobby Portis for an overly-enthusiastic high-five.

Limited Kids Calvin Johnson Jersey The painful celebration came after Portis hit a jumper as the third quarter finished. Hyped from scoring, the forward put all his strength into the hand celebration and Butler reacted immediately due to the stinging sensation that tingled through his fingers.

Evans and Galloway seem unlikely to be on the team for the rest of the year. Plus, the team only received one first-round pick in the deal, and it seems likely that first-round pick will come somewhere in the 12 to 16 range by the time the season ends due to how much the Pelicans just improved their standing in the league. The pick also has no upside, as the team agreed to the Pelicans’ top-three protection stipulation on it. Oh, and the Sixers have rights to swap their pick with the Kings’ pick, meaning the Kings literally have a zero percent chance at getting the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 despite deciding to hit the reset button and possessing two first-round picks.

Is one seemingly non-elite prospect and one middling first-round pick enough for a top-15 player in the NBA, especially given the team’s draft constraints at the top? It’s difficult to make the argument that it is. By any standard of a superstar trade, the Cousins deal comes up lacking, both in terms of quantity and quality of assets acquired.

Hawks’ Dwight Howard fakes out Celtics fan who really wanted his jersey

Dwight Howard knows a fake fan when he sees one.

The Hawks center was ejected from Monday night’s game against the Celtics after receiving his second technical in the third quarter for hanging on the rim — an ejection the NBA later said never should have happened. On his way off the court, Howard wanted to give away a souvenir.

That’s where Antetokounmpo is still defining himself. His talent is obvious, and we’re seeing that his ability on both ends of the floor makes him, potentially, one of the best players in the league. He doesn’t shortchange his talent, and even this summer, when he went to Greece to train with the army and play for the national team, the Bucks sent with him strength and conditioning trainer Suki Hobson, as well as assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who has been instrumental in working on Antetokounmpo’s offseason development.

With his youth, though, Antetokounmpo is still prone to mental mistakes such as missed passes, ill-advised drives, over-aggressiveness. Antetokounmpo harps on those shortcomings. He studies game films and keeps notes on the mistakes he made, the things he could have done better. He doesn’t spend much time reliving the things he did well. He can be tough on himself, maybe too much so. But that relentlessness might be the key to unlocking the rest of his potential.

“I do worry that he’s too hard on himself,” Hammond said. “Jason (Kidd) worries about that, too, at times. But, in my 26 years in the NBA, I have had a chance to observe a lot of different players, observe Hall of Fame-type players. You know, just being around those guys, I think that is what those guys have, too. They’re never satisfied. They want to make every shot, they want to make every big play, they want to win every game and they want to be great. I think that’s kind of who those guys are.”

Yoan Moncada, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, primed to make White Sox debut

White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada likes playing baseball in front of big crowds.

When the Cuban star originally signed with the Red Sox, he spent the first several weeks of his professional career in extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. By the time he finally made his debut with Boston’s Class A club in Greenville, S.C., on May 18, 2015, he was almost starved for attention.

He says he loves playing in front of a lot of people, a lot of fans, translator Laz Gutierrez said before that game, as Moncada offered a laugh that needed no translation. That was one of the things about Fort Myers that was driving him a little crazy.

Marcus Peters Youth Jersey MORE: White Sox pitcher Derek Holland knows value of a loose clubhouse

Moncada has been playing in front of big minor-league crowds with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the top affiliate of the White Sox and highest-drawing team in the minor leagues, and now he’ll get his full-time opportunity on baseball’s biggest stages after his call up to the parent club Wednesday.

Moncada had 49 stolen bases with an .817 OPS in 81 games for Greenville in 2015, then had 15 homers, 31 doubles, 45 stolen bases and an .918 OPS in 106 games split between high-A and Double-A in Boston’s organization in 2016. He made his big-league debut in September, going 4-for-19 with the Red Sox.

Quandre Diggs Youth Jersey Then came the December trade to the White Sox — you remember that one, the blockbuster that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox — and Moncada was assigned to Triple-A to start the 2017 season. Truthfully, he probably could have made his Chicago debut months ago and learned on the job in the big leagues, but the White Sox were in no rush.

Redick shouldn’t have any problems fitting in defensively either.

Why it makes sense: The Charlotte metropolitan area’s growth in recent years has been strong, and with no teams on the Eastern seaboard between Washington and Atlanta, there is room to fit a Carolina franchise into the major leagues. Charlotte is the third-largest media market in America without a major league team, behind Orlando and Sacramento, cities that are relatively close to major league franchises in the Tampa and San Francisco Bay areas, respectively.

Why it might not happen: Charlotte recently built a minor league ballpark downtown, and expanding that stadium isn’t an option. Charlotte’s future as a major league city might be in the more distant future.

Limited Mens Nick Holden Jersey Redick shouldn’t have any problems fitting in defensively either. While he lacks the physical tools and speed to be considered an elite wing defender, he’s developed into a good team defender with his attention to detail and willingness to compete.

Plus, Embiid’s ability to protect the rim as well as any big man in the league should cover up any of Redick’s weaknesses on that end of the court. The 76ers allowed only 99.1 points per 100 possession when Embiid was on the court last season — what would’ve been the best defensive rating in the NBA last season — compared to 108.1 points per 100 possessions when he was on the bench. As long as Embiid can stay healthy, Redick should be able to execute Brett Brown’s scheme well enough for them to be at least an above-average defensive team.
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The combination of Redick’s shooting and his defense would make a lot of teams around the NBA better. Where doubt likely began to creep in for teams interested in signing him this offseason was over how much money to commit to someone who will be in their late 30s at the end of a four-year contract.

Chris Archer let Mookie Betts fly him to All-Star game

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Rays ace Chris Archer is soaking up his MLB All-Star Game experience this week with a good friend on a rival team.

Archer talked Tuesday about how he and Red Sox slugger Mookie Betts came to Miami in unique circumstances.

Mookie was the co-pilot on a five-seater, single-engine jet from Tampa to Miami, Archer, who was a passenger, said, via DRaysBay. He was responsible for the takeoff. We kind of bobbed and weaved through some clouds.

Rodgers signed a five-year extension worth $110 million with Green Bay back in 2013, while Harden inked a four-year extension worth $228 million with Houston on Saturday.

NFL makes billions a year. Time to get back to that negotiation table. And this time we need to stay strong and not budge. Make em Pay!!!

But he didn’t stop there. In addition to Rodgers, Knighton named Tom Brady, Aqib Talib, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Ben Roethlisberger as standouts who deserve more money than certain NBA stars. He ended his tirade by clarifying that NBA players shouldn’t necessarily earn less, but NFL players should certainly be earning more.

Game Kids Mark Fayne Jersey Knighton, 31, announced his retirement from football in April and disclosed his desire to pursue a career in coaching. A third-round pick of Jacksonville in the 2009 NFL Draft, he had stints with the Jaguars, Broncos, Redskins and Patriots before hanging up his helmet after eight seasons.

Wizards won’t last long without solving 3-point problem

The Wizards know well what their problem is when it comes to defending the Celtics, who have now scored 252 points in two playoff games against Washington. They knew it before Game 1. They knew it before Game 2 and they know it now that we’re heading into a Game 3.

Eastern Conference scout: “No one wants to say this, but in a lot of ways, they were a better team last year. They won five more games this season, that’s not a giant leap ahead, year-over-year. Especially because the East was worse this season — you had six teams that won 48 games (or more) last year. They played slower this season, they were a little more of a half-court team. I think the offense is good, but they still don’t have the pick-and-pop big man they need for how the offense is set up. The bench isn’t great, either. That’s the roster, that’s not Brad.

“So I think maybe the expectations are too high just because they got the first seed, and again, that is not something that is Brad’s fault. What would bother me, though, is they went and got (Al) Horford, and I don’t think they necessarily got better. He is not a big enough part of the offense. And Brad has not gotten them to defend the way they did last year where they were so good at forcing turnovers and converting on the other end. They overachieved on defense last year, and you’d expect them to come back to reality a little. But they’re only a so-so defensive team now. I think on that, you point to the coaching.”


Kent Bazemore remembered it well.

I think you’ve gotta believe in yourself, I think you gotta put in a lot of work off the court to make sure you’re ready, Green said. You know the famous quote, sometimes you have to be ready so you don’t have to get ready. I do a lot of things that, it’s like, off the camera, that a lot of people don’t see me do. So, I just always try to prepare myself like I’m going to play even when I wasn’t going to play. And when I wasn’t playing, my thing is, I was always enjoying the team’s success, always enjoying somebody else’s success.
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Now, there has been a role reversal. The rest of his Boston teammates are benefiting from Green’s success. He might nearly have been a Clipper last July, but instead, he’s a happy Celtic this April.

Kent Bazemore remembered it well.

Leonte Carroo Kids Jersey Paul is normally so quiet, Bazemore said. For him to speak up really got our attention, we needed to get our s— together. It took us 78 games to figure it out, but we’re here now.

Millsap scored a team-high 26 points in a win against the Celtics. Next came a win in the first game of a home-and-home trip against the Cavaliers with Bazemore, Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard all on the bench. After that was one of the more improbable wins in regular-season history. The Hawks fought back from a 26-point fourth quarter deficit against the Cavs, electrifying the Atlanta crowd with a 44-18 run in the final frame on the way to a 126-125 overtime win.

That scary five-game stretch? The Hawks finished 4-1 with the only loss coming against the Pacers in a meaningless regular-season finale.

We’re finally playing how we’re supposed to, Millsap said. I’ve been saying all season that when we get it together, it’s going to be all good.