All posts by phnseo

Booker scores 28, Suns rout Mavericks 110-80 for 3-2 lead

Devin Booker scored 28 points, Deandre Ayton added 20 and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks 110-80 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Suns used a huge third quarter to turn a tight game into a comfortable victory. Phoenix opened up the second half on an 11-4 run, highlighted by Booker’s two 3-pointers, for a 61-50 lead.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd called for a timeout, but it did little to stop the onslaught. The Suns led 82-60 going into the fourth with Booker pouring in 12 points during the third.

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While the Suns were finally finding some offensive continuity, the Mavs completely lost theirs, scoring just four points in the first six minutes of the third.

At times, the Dallas offense regressed to mostly watching Luka Doncic try and work magic, but he couldn’t do it all by himself.

The Mavs had 12 turnovers during the third quarter.

The top-seeded Suns bounced back after dropping the previous two matches and can win the series in Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas.

Doncic finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Brunson added 21 points. The Mavs shot just 38% from the field.

The Suns took a hard-fought 49-46 lead into halftime. Booker scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Doncic countered with 18 points, though it was a little less efficient after making 7 of 16 shots.

The Mavericks led for a majority of the first half before Booker’s baseline jam tied it at 40-all with 3:47 before halftime. Mikal Bridges had a nifty steal and then scored on a fast-break layup for a 44-42 lead.

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Longtime Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes signs contract with Houston Texans

The Texans have signed veteran defensive end Jerry Hughes, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

It marks a homecoming for Hughes, who is from Sugar Land, Texas, and played at Stephen F. Austin High School.

Hughes is the latest in the group of veteran defensive ends general manager Nick Caserio has added to bolster the Texans’ defensive line. On Tuesday, the Texans announced they signed Hughes’ former teammate with the Buffalo Bills, defensive end Mario Addison.

Last week, Houston also added defensive end Rasheem Green. Hughes’ signing was first reported by NFL reporter Jordan Schultz.

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One of the few players who were retained by the Bills from the previous regime when Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over, Hughes was the longest tenured Buffalo player last season.

The 12-year veteran played in all 17 matches but registered his lowest percentage of defensive snaps played (51.8%) since the initiation of his career.

Hughes, who turns 34 in August, was selected as the 31st-overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 draft, but he had a slow start to his career.

After three seasons with the Colts, he was traded to the Bills for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard in 2013.

The following nine years of Hughes’ career were spent with the Bills, a team with which he found success. He had 10 sacks in each of his first two years in Buffalo and concluded with at least four in all the following seasons, outside of 2021 (two).

Last season, he led the team in pass rush win rate (20.9%). Hughes is fourth all time in Bills history with 53 sacks and has 58 total in his career. He also has seven postseason sacks.

Hughes has been a longtime leader of the team’s defense as the team has continued to invest in youth, especially on the defensive line.

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Extra pit stop felt like a gamble I didn’t want to take at Miami Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton stated the late pit stop Mercedes offered him and he declined to take felt like an unnecessary risk as he once again bemoaned the timing of a safety car at the Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton was relegated behind Mercedes teammate George Russell late on, with Russell able to make a stop for fresh tyres under the safety car after a long stint on the hard tyre propelled him up the order.

With the safety car still out Hamilton was asked by Mercedes if he wanted to make another stop, to which he replied: “You tell me, man! I don’t want to lose a place to George.”

Hamilton has had a string of bad luck thanks to poorly timed safety cars recently, most famously at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when it cost him the championship, but also at races this year in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

On this occasion, Hamilton opted against pitting and Russell later passed him for fifth position thanks to the performance advantage from his fresher tires. “When you’re out there you don’t have all the information,” Hamilton told media on Sunday evening.

“You don’t know where everyone is, where you’ll come out, you don’t have the picture they have on the screen.

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“When you’re given the responsibility to make the decision it feels like your gambling and I don’t like that. I was like, ‘you guys make the decision’. Either way, we’ve just been unfortunate with the timing of the safety car today.”

Russell first passed Hamilton through the final sector, but ran wide and gave the position back.

Russell’s tire advantage was clear to see and he eased past the seven-time world champion on the following lap.

After Russell got past, Hamilton stated “strategy has not been kind to me” in another radio message.

Hamilton was complimentary of Russell’s move and said the race was proof he should have started on the hard tire, not the medium.

“George obviously did a great job in that stint. He was on the better tyre to start with, the hard tire was the better tyre, so in hindsight maybe we could have started on the hard tire.

“He did a great job to recover from that position and get the points, fifth and sixth is good points today for the team.”

When questioned if he just needed a change in luck, Hamilton said: “Yeah, I’m waiting for it! “Until then I’ll keep working as hard as I can, working with the team. We got good points as a team today.”

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New York Giants release James Bradberry after failing to find trade partner for CB

The New York Giants released cornerback James Bradberry on Monday to save about $10.1 million against the salary cap this season.

New general manager Joe Schoen was seeking to trade Bradberry since before free agency in March but couldn’t find anything that worked for all parties involved. Schoen acknowledged last week he was surprised there wasn’t more interest in the team’s No. 1 cornerback.

“Yeah, I was,” he stated Wednesday on WFAN Sports Radio. “I thought there would be more interest. There were some teams that showed interest pre-draft, and we had a couple different times there were compensation in place and the contract never worked out. Being the fact that we did have good talks with the other teams and their agents had good talks with teams, sometimes if you’re going to renegotiate a contract and couldn’t come to an agreement, it is what it is.”

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The move for the Giants was more about the money than an indictment on the player.

Bradberry, 28, was set to make $13.5 million this season and would have counted as $21.9 million on the team’s salary cap. His release leaves the Giants thin at cornerback, where the oft-injured Adoree’ Jackson is the only veteran with significant starting experience.

The Giants needed the savings to sign their draft class and operate throughout the season. They were just $6 million under the cap as of last week, according to the Roster Management System.

Bradberry had $2 million of his $13.4 million base salary guaranteed at the start of the league year.

“Listen, he’s a starting corner in the league,” Schoen told WFAN last week. “It’s just where we are financially. We still got to sign our draft picks, be able to sign our practice squad and have replacement costs for during the season.”

Despite the move, the Giants still have to eat almost $10 million in dead money against the cap. That leaves them with close to $30 million in dead money for this upcoming season, fifth-most in the NFL.

The Giants also lost one of their most productive players. Bradberry was one of just five players on the roster to make a Pro Bowl in their career. He was their top cornerback last season and made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Giants in 2020, when he had a career-best 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade.

He has been in the 60s in every other year of his career. The veteran cornerback had a career high with four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles this past campaign.

Bradberry, who went to Samford, spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers. The Giants signed him as a free agent in the 2020 offseason to a deal worth $43.5 million over three years.

He was entering the final year of that deal, which made it more difficult to trade him as a one-year rental, unless there was a new deal worked out. He has played in 92 career games (91 starts) for the Giants and Panthers.

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Dmitry Bivol scores stunning unanimous decision victory over Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas

Dmitry Bivol, in one of the biggest boxing upsets in recent memory, scored a unanimous decision over the sport’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

All three judges scored the fight 115-113, but the fight wasn’t nearly that close. Still, Bivol needed to win the final rounds on all three cards to avoid a draw. Equally puzzling: All three judges scored the first four rounds for Alvarez.

The judges’ view aside, Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the opening bell, as he used his size (including a 4-inch height advantage at 6 feet tall to the 5-foot-8 Alvarez), range and jab to keep his light heavyweight title in his ninth defense.

“I prove myself today, I’m the best [in my division],” said Bivol, who resides in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but didn’t have his national anthem played at a time when many of his countrymen are being barred from competing in major sporting events due to the war in Ukraine. “Eddie Hearn, sorry I broke your plans with Gennadiy Golovkin.”

The long-awaited trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, the biggest event boxing can deliver, was already signed for Sept. 17. Instead, Alvarez stated he plans to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch.

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“It doesn’t end like this,” said Alvarez, who entered the ring rated No. 1 pound-for-pound by ESPN.

“No excuses, I lost today; he is a great boxer … I felt his power. He comes in and he goes out. He manages his distance really well.”

As Bivol said, “Rematch? No problem.”

The 31-year-old Bivol used beautiful footwork to circle away from Alvarez’s power shots and stay out of harm’s way during the early rounds, yet Bivol also stood his ground and fired three- and four-punch combinations that met the mark.

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) tore through the opposition at 168 pounds over the past 16 months and collected all four world titles to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship, but an attempt to regain a 175-pound title proved to be too much.

The defeat is Alvarez’s first since 2013, when he was just 23 and outclassed by Floyd Mayweather.

And like the all-time great, Bivol employed expert counterpunching set up by the jab to pile up rounds.

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer applied plenty of pressure and found some success on the inside, particular with a right uppercut he ripped through Bivol’s guard on occasion. But Alvarez wasn’t able to sustain his attack.

Bivol, ESPN’s No. 2 light heavyweight, was the far cleaner puncher throughout the fight. He caught many of Alvarez’s powerful shots on his gloves and arms, his left biceps swollen and red when the final bell rang.

“He beat my arm up but not my head,” said Bivol, who was a 4-1 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook. “He kept hitting me in the arms, and I kept hitting him in the face … I expect that. I watched the fight against Callum Smith.”

Alvarez had targeted Smith’s arm in an attempt to take away the jab and left the Englishman with a torn biceps in their December 2020 fight. Versus Bivol, the strategy didn’t work.

Bivol landed a surprising amount of flush shots — 152 connects to 84 — and Alvarez’s face was already red by the end of Round 1. Alvarez is used to being in control, but he often appeared frustrated, particularly down the stretch as the seconds ticked away on his impressive run at the top of the sport.

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Torres HR in 9th lifts Yanks over Rangers 2-1 in DH opener

Gleyber Torres hit a game-ending homer to lead off the ninth inning and the New York Yankees defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1 Sunday in the opener of a doubleheader.

Torres gave the Yankees their third walk-off triumph of the season when he lifted a 3-1 sinker from John King (1-1) into the short porch in right field. His fourth homer this year propelled New York to its 12th win in 13 matches.

Torres also had a game-ending single April 23 against Cleveland and now has seven career walk-off hits, including two homers.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth after Rangers starter Dane Dunning lost his no-hit bid on an infield single by Aaron Judge to open the inning. Kole Calhoun homered on Yankees starter Gerrit Cole’s final pitch, but the Rangers committed three errors and ended a four-game winning streak.

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Cole allowed a run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

He struck out 10, walked one and threw a season-high 114 pitches, reaching 100.6 mph on the radar gun.

Cole allowed three of his hits in the first two innings, when he threw 47 pitches. After allowing his only walk, Cole retired 14 of 15 hitters before Calhoun connected.

Dunning allowed one run and two hits in six innings. He struck out five, walked three and did not throw any of his 100 pitches over 90.8 mph.

Calhoun ended Cole’s bid for a third consecutive scoreless start when he lined a full count 97.6 mph fastball to the right field seats and just inside the foul line with one out in the seventh. It was the only fastball Cole threw in the seventh.

Dunning lost his no-bid on his 86th pitch when Judge hit an infield single to third baseman Brad Miller and easily beat the throw. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single that moved Judge to third, and Stanton’s fly ball to left gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Jonathan Loáisiga followed Cole with 1 2/3 innings. Clay Holmes (3-0) worked around Mitch Garver’s double in the ninth.

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Ja Morant, with blurred vision, matches playoff career-high 47 points as Memphis Grizzlies even series with Golden State Warriors

All Ja Morant needed was one good eye to match his playoff career-high of 47 points and even the Memphis Grizzlies’ series with the Golden State Warriors.

Playing with blurred vision in his left eye after being poked in the third quarter, Morant scored the Grizzlies’ final 15 points to lift them to a 106-101 win in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series at FedEx Forum.

Morant concluded with a spectacular 47 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds to help Memphis avoid falling behind 0-2 in this best-of-seven series.

He joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only players with multiple 45-point games in the playoffs before turning 23 years old, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

And he did so after leaving the game at the end of the third quarter complaining, “I can’t see.”

“I still can’t [see],” Morant said when asked about his vision. “I can see on the middle. I can’t see on the outside. I got punched trying to get the rebound.” Morant added: “I got another good eye over here — 20-20 vision right here. Thank God for my right eye.”

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The Grizzlies trailed 97-93 with 3:50 remaining when Morant was in the midst of his fourth-quarter takeover. With starter Dillon Brooks ejected in the opening minutes due to a flagrant 2 foul on Gary Payton II, and Jaren Jackson Jr. having fouled out with 3:59 left, Morant scored on a second consecutive driving layup.

He then buried a 26-foot 3 and a 7-foot floater. Morant also drew a foul on Draymond Green as the two were chasing after a rebound that Green grabbed, but officials called a foul when he bumped into Morant with 49.8 seconds left. Morant made two free throws and then sank another driving floater to push the Grizzlies up 104-101 with 30.7 seconds left.

“I feel like I’ve just watched him transform into a true closer,” power forward Xavier Tillman said.

Morant sealed the game from the free throw line to even it up.

“Definitely big time,” Morant said of where this game ranks for him. “I felt like this was a must-win game for us. For me, I was frustrated with myself missing that layup in Game 1.”

Morant, whose career high is 52 points, was frustrated after missing a driving scoop layup over Klay Thompson and a trailing Payton at the end of Game 1’s 117-116 loss to Golden State.

Morant stated Warriors star Stephen Curry told him and Jackson after that loss that “it is going to be a battle. We are going to have some fun.”

As streamers fell from the ceiling after the buzzer on Tuesday night, Morant walked by Curry. He had returned the favor and told Curry, “We are going to have some fun.”

“I was able to return that message tonight,” Morant said. ” … I am having a lot of fun.”

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Hampson, Rodgers, Grichuk hit HRs, Rockies beat Nats 9-7

Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers each hit their first home runs of the campaign — both three-run shots — for the Colorado Rockies in a 9-7 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Randal Grichuk also homered for the Rockies, who took two of three in the series. Daniel Bard got three outs for his eighth save in nine opportunities. He has had six consecutive scoreless outings.

Washington outhit the Rockies 15-10, and Juan Soto and Keibert Ruiz had solo home runs. Maikel Franko added three hits, including an RBI double.

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Down 2-0, the Rockies went off on Aaron Sanchez (1-2) for a four-run second inning, ignited by successive doubles from Ryan McMahon and Rodgers. 

Sam Hilliard reached on a fielding error by shortstop Alcides Escobar, his third error in two days, and Hampson followed with a drive into the left-field bleachers.

Washington had the makings of a big inning in the top of the fifth when César Hernández singled, Soto walked and Josh Bell doubled in a run. But catcher Dom Nunez picked Soto off at third for the first out and after a single by Yadiel Hernandez, Jhoulys Chacin (3-1) come on and got Maikel Franco to ground into an inning-ending double play.

C.J. Cron’s one-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth chased Sanchez. One out later, Rodgers drove a 1-2 offering from Josh Rogers over the center field fence to boost Colorado’s lead 8-3.

Ruiz homered to lead off the sixth and Franco and Ruiz had RBI doubles in the seventh as Washington closed to within two runs before Grichuk’s solo shot off Kyle Finnegan in the bottom of the seventh.

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Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons to undergo back surgery; expected recovery timeline of 3-4 months

Brooklyn Nets swingman Ben Simmons will require three to four months of rehabilitation after undergoing back surgery on Thursday, but is expected to be fully recovered to return to the court well ahead of preseason training camp in September, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Simmons, 25, is undergoing a microdiscectomy procedure to address pain located in a herniated disk in his lower back, the Nets stated Wednesday in a release.

The decision to undergo the surgery was reached after “consultation with multiple back specialists,” the team said.

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Despite several attempts that ultimately resulted in setbacks, Simmons never played a game for the Nets following a Feb. 10 trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons had planned to return for Game 4 of the Nets’ Eastern Conference first-round series versus the Boston Celtics, but a week-plus of pain-free days ended with pain soreness on the eve of Brooklyn’s elimination.

Simmons and his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, met with Nets general manager Sean Marks and team officials the following day, agreeing to continue to work together on Simmons’ physical and mental well-being in the ultimate effort to try and return him to the court next season.

The surgery will clearly limit Simmons’ ability to progress on a 2022-23 return after missing the entirety of the past season with the Sixers and Nets.

Simmons, a three-time All-Star and the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year, has three years and $114 million left on his contract after this season.

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Seattle Seahawks to face Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich on Nov. 13

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL’s first regular-season game in Germany.

The league revealed Wednesday the teams will play at 9:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 13 at Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Munich.

The NFL also announced the three 9:30 a.m. ET games that will be played in London next season. The New Orleans Saints will face the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 2 and the Green Bay Packers will play the New York Giants on Oct. 9 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the Denver Broncos on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium.

In addition, the league stated the Arizona Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 21 in a Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City; it will be the fourth NFL game played at that stadium. (The Oakland Raiders beat the Houston Texans 27-20 in 2016, the New England Patriots beat the Raiders 33-8 in 2017, and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 in 2019.)

The Chiefs were arranged to play the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City in 2019 but the game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.

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Arizona lost its lone international matchup in 2017 33-0 to the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London. The 49ers are 2-0 in international games, beating Denver 24-10 in 2010 and Jacksonville 42-10 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Bucs will be seeking their first victory playing outside the United States.

They’re 0-3 in their three games played in London, losing to the Patriots 35-7 in 2009, the Chicago Bears 24-18 in 2011, and the Carolina Panthers 37-26 in 2019.

This will mark the Seahawks’ third international regular-season game in franchise history. They beat the Buffalo Bills in Toronto in 2012 and the Oakland Raiders in London in 2018.

The Seahawks have a German-born player in linebacker Aaron Donkor, who was allocated to Seattle last year as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. Donkor is from Achern, about 200 miles west of Munich, and spent the 2021 season on Seattle’s practice squad. The Seahawks received another roster exemption for Donkor this week.

The NFL revealed in February that it will play four games in Germany over the next four seasons, two apiece in Munich and Frankfurt.

The Packers were the lone team to have never played in an international game. The Giants are 2-0 overseas, beating the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the NFL’s first international game played in 2007 at Wembley Stadium and beating the Rams 17-10 in 2016 at Twickenham Stadium.

“Our fan base in the U.K. has always been extremely loyal and passionate,” Giants chief commercial officer Pete Guelli said. “The organization has had two memorable games in front of the London fans, and we look forward to engaging with them leading up to the game this fall.”

The Saints are 2-0 in London, defeating the San Diego Chargers 37-32 in 2006 and the Miami Dolphins 20-0 in 2017 at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium and the Cleveland Browns 33-16 in 2017 at Twickenham Stadium.

This will be the ninth time the Jaguars will have played a game outside the United States, which is more than any other team. The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami have each played five international games.

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