Category Archives: Sports

Clippers beat Spurs as Leonard scored 38 against former team

Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard traded some laughs and pleasantries after Leonard’s new team, the Los Angeles Clippers, overpowered his former coach and the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

If Leonard has any more nights like that against his former club, the normally irascible Popovich won’t be smiling again.

Leonard scored 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Clippers’ 103-97 win, which handed the Spurs their first loss. It is Leonard’s first points-rebounds, double-double this season. It is also his first double-double in three meetings versus San Antonio, where he played seven seasons (2011-18) before being traded to Toronto in July of 2018.

The 38 points ties for the fifth-most Leonard has scored in a regular-season game in his eight-year career. He took a career high 32 shots.

”It was something I look forward to,” Leonard said about facing the Spurs. ”Just to be able to play against a great coach and my old teammates is always fun.” Leonard is 2-1 versus his former team. While his departure from San Antonio wasn’t amicable, Leonard said his relationship with Popovich is good, for the most part.

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Popovich didn’t have much to say about Leonard postgame other than: ”I thought he was great.” When someone tried to get Popovich to expound, he replied: ”Doc’s coaching him, I’m not. I just said he had a great game, there’s nothing else to say.”

Another thing going well is Leonard’s start with the Clippers, the team he signed with as a free agent during the offseason.

He has scored 30 or more in three of his first five games and is the first Clipper since Blake Griffin in 2015 to have at least 38 points and 12 rebounds in a game.

”Tonight was a great night for him to do his thing. We just followed his lead,” Clippers guard Lou Williams said. Leonard – who sat out Wednesday’s game at Utah due to load management – took control of the game in the second half, when he had 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Los Angeles went on a 9-1 run to take a 64-55 lead with 6:55 remaining in the third quarter. Leonard scored five of his 10 third-quarter points during the rally, including a dunk after a steal of DeMar DeRozan at midcourt.

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Joe Flacco to miss 4-6 weeks due to neck injury

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco is estimated to miss four to six weeks with a neck injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Schefter noted surgery is not viewed as a need, though Flacco will receive a pair of additional medical opinions to determine the best course of action.

Flacco will land on injured reserve because of a herniated disk. NFL Network colleague Ian Rapoport previously mentioned IR was “strongly” being considered

On Monday, head coach Vic Fangio ruled Flacco out of the team’s Week 9 game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Brandon Allen—who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 1—will start in Flacco’s place.

Denver’s bye falls in Week 10, perhaps limiting the amount of game action Flacco will miss. In his first year in Denver, Flacco has completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. He has led the team to a 2-6 record through the first half of the season.

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Injuries are not something the 2008 first-round pick had to deal with early in his career.

He started the first 122 regular-season contests, never missing a game until Year 8. He missed just six games through 10 seasons, with all six coming in 2015.

However, the 34-year-old has had to deal with injuries the past two seasons.

Flacco, then with the Baltimore Ravens, started the first nine games of the 2018 campaign before a hip injury sidelined him. By the time he was healthy enough to play again, rookie Lamar Jackson had seized the starting job on his way to leading the Ravens to the AFC North crown.

For the second consecutive season, an injury has kept Flacco out of action. And now, his season may be in jeopardy. Flacco has two years and $44.5 million remaining on his contract beyond 2019. Denver obtained the Super Bowl XLVII MVP from Baltimore in March in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick.

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David Johnson not ready to play Thursday

Although he had been listed as questionable throughout the week, an Arizona Cardinal is reportedly out for the team’s Thursday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, Cardinals starting running back David Johnson is not estimated to play.

The report coincides with an earlier one last Saturday that said Johnson would not only miss the Week 8 matchup versus the New Orleans Saints, but the team’s home game versus San Francisco as well.

This will be Johnson’s second consecutive game missed as the running back has dealt with ankle and back injuries throughout most of the season. In seven games, he’s recorded 300 yards and two scores on 77 rushing attempts, while catching 30 of his 41 targets for 315 yards and three touchdowns.

Johnson leads the team in rushing yards and attempts and only trails backup Chase Edmonds in scores (4).

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With Edmonds already officially ruled out, that leaves a running back room consisted of newly acquired Kenyan Drake, who came over in a trade on Wednesday, and Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner, two running backs signed a little over a week ago.

Before going down with a hamstring injury, Edmonds was enjoying his best season as a pro, rushing for 295 yards and four touchdowns on just 58 carries. He also caught 12 balls for 105 yards and a TD.

In Edmonds and Johnson’s absence, Drake would most likely be the one to carry the load. The former Miami Dolphin rushed for 174 yards on 47 carries in six games (two starts) played this season and added another 174 yards on 22 receptions. In his career, Drake’s ran the rock 333 times for 1,532 yards and nine scores, while catching 116 receptions for 936 yards and six touchdowns.

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Nationals defeat Astros to win Franchise’s first World Series

Howie Kendrick, Anthony Rendon and the Washington Nationals finished their amazing comeback journey — fittingly with one last late rally on the road.

Kendrick and Rendon homered in the seventh inning as the Nationals overcame a two-run deficit, rocking the Houston Astros 6-2 Wednesday night to win the first title in franchise history.

With all eyes on Scherzer and his remarkable recovery after a painkilling injection, these Nationals truly embraced their shot in the only Series when the road team won every game.

Even more against the odds: Juan Soto and Washington came from behind to win five elimination games this postseason, an unprecedented feat.

“What a story,” said Ryan Zimmerman, the only player who’s been a part of every Nationals team.

“The way this game went is the way our whole season went,” he said.

Strasburg, new lefty Patrick Corbin and the Nats brought the first World Series championship to the nation’s capital since ol’ Walter Johnson delivered the crown for the Senators in 1924. This franchise started out as the Montreal Expos in 1969 when the major leagues expanded beyond the border, putting a team with tricolor caps at jaunty Jarry Park. They moved to D.C. in 2005, ending Washington’s three-decade-plus wait for big league baseball after the Senators left town to become the Texas Rangers.

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But the unbelievable path these wild-card Nationals with the curly W logo took, well, no one could have imagined.

Because in one topsy-turvy week, they put aside the pain of past playoff failures.

“Resilient, relentless bunch of guys,” manager Dave Martinez said. “They fought all year long.”

Having lost star slugger Bryce Harper in free agency and beset by bullpen woes, Washington plummeted to 19-31 in late May. It got so bad there was talk around town the Nationals might fire Martinez and trade away Scherzer.

Instead, they stuck with the mantra that sprung up on T-shirts — Stay In The Fight.

“That was our motto,” Scherzer said.

And months later they finished it, indeed. The Nationals became the first wild-card team to acquire the Series since Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in 2014. Starting with San Francisco’s win, the last six champs have clinched on the road.

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Rams trade C Aqib Talib to Miami Dolphins

The Los Angeles Rams have traded injured cornerback Aqib Talib and a fifth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for an undisclosed future draft choice.

The 33-year-old Talib is on injured reserve with a rib injury.

The 12-year veteran defensive back played in eight regular-season games last year and five more this year, making just one interception and struggling with injuries in both of his seasons with the Rams. But he came back last year to start all three playoff games for Los Angeles, including the Super Bowl.

Talib will be an unrestricted free agent this winter after playing out the six-year, $57m deal he signed with the Denver Broncos, with whom he acquired the Super Bowl four seasons ago.

The Rams (5-3) have traded both of their starting cornerbacks this month, and they have already parted ways with three of their four secondary starters in last season’s Super Bowl. The fourth, safety John Johnson, is on injured reserve.

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Los Angeles shipped cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago to clear room to acquire Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville. This trade of Talib might have been made to free up salary cap room for another deal or to sign Ramsey to a contract extension.

The Rams are in their bye week after back-to-back victories. They play at Pittsburgh next weekend.

The winless Dolphins (0-7) could use secondary help, but Talib isn’t eligible to return until Week 15 and might not be healthy then.

Miami’s 2018 Pro Bowl cornerback, Xavien Howard, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury that bothered him in recent weeks.

Talib has played for Tampa Bay (2008-12), New England (2012-13), Denver (2014-17) and the Rams (2018-19) in his 12-year career. He originally entered the NFL as a first-round pick (20th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2008 NFL draft.

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Nationals force World Series Game 7

It’s been an unusual road to Game 7 of the World Series for Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.

Seizing the October spotlight he missed out on as a youngster, Strasburg pitched another postseason gem into the ninth inning Tuesday night as the Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 7-2 to tie this Fall Classic at 3-3.

Juan Soto ran all the way to first base with his bat following a go-ahead homer, the same way Houston slugger Alex Bregman did earlier.

Yep, these wild-card Nationals have matched the heavily favored Astros swing for swing, hit for hit – even home run celebration for home run celebration.

Now, it’s onto a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night to resolve the only Series in which the visiting team won the first six.

”It’s weird, really. You can’t explain it,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. The Nationals will try their ultimate comeback in a year when they were written off time after time, hoping for the first title in the 51-season history of a franchise that started as the Montreal Expos and the first for Washington since the Senators in 1924.

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Visiting teams have won three straight Game 7s in the Series since the Cardinals defeated Texas at home in 2011.

”I don’t think there’s a person in the building that would have assumed that all road teams were going to win,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”We’ve just got to make sure that last one is not the same.”

Washington rebounded from a 19-31 start – the Nats were given just a 1.6% option to win the Series on May 23 – to finish 93-69. They rallied from a 3-1 eighth-inning deficit against Milwaukee in the NL wild-card game, a two-games-to-one deficit vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series and a 2-1, fifth-inning deficit in Game 6 vs. the Astros.

Outscored 19-3 at Nationals Park while going 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position, the Nationals got the strong outing they needed from Strasburg, who allowed his only runs in the first inning, struck out seven and walked two while throwing 104 pitches. ”It was a mental grind out there, especially after the first,” Strasburg said. ”Just got to keep fighting.”

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Ken Whisenhunt out of OC of Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers relieved from duties offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the team stated Monday.

The Chargers are 17th in total offense, averaging 350.6 yards per game, and 14th in offensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders.

Los Angeles will hope a new offensive coordinator can help it get back on track following a 3-5 start.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn issued the following announcement regarding the decision: “This is not an easy decision and definitely not one that I take lightly. You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It’s never about just one person. At the end of the day, however, I simply felt a change was needed at this time. I want to thank Ken for his years of service to the Chargers organization and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

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This was Whisenhunt’s second tenure with the franchise with his first being a one-year run as OC in 2013.

He returned to the role prior to the start of the 2016 season after a two-year head coaching gig with the Titans.

The offense as a whole has struggled, ranking 23rd in points per game (19.6), 28th in yards per rush (3.48), T-23rd in turnovers (13) and 31st in red zone scoring percentage (70.4). They are the only team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to rush for fewer than 40 yards in four straight games (all four since Melvin Gordon returned).

The offense has faceplanted the last couple weeks after Melvin Gordon returned to the team from his hold out. The Chargers have not scored more than 20 points in a game in the last month as part of a 1-3 skid that would have been winless if not for a missed Eddy Pineiro field goal try Sunday in Chicago.

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Hamilton recovers to win Mexico GP

Lewis Hamilton recovered from a first-lap off to win the Mexican Grand Prix but will have to wait at least one more race to clinch the 2019 Formula 1 title.

Hamilton had a trip across the grass at the start of the race after contact with Max Verstappen and fell to fifth, but he executed a one-stop strategy exceptionally to overhaul both Ferraris and score his 10th triumph of the season.

Sebastian Vettel was unable to attack Hamilton after losing track position through strategy and had to settle for second in lead Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas third.

Poleman and early race leader Charles Leclerc fell to fourth as a two-stop strategy and a slow second stop cost him dearly.

Ferrari had control of the race in the early stages despite Leclerc being lightly nerfed by Vettel after running wide under braking for the Turn 4 left-hander and slowing right down through the tight right-hand turn that followed on the first lap.

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Behind, though, Hamilton had already suffered an early setback as Verstappen challenged him on the inside into the first corner.

Hamilton had already been crowded out by Vettel on the run down to Turn 1 as they chased Leclerc of the line, a move he branded “dangerous” but one that was not inspected by the officials.

At the first corner, Hamilton ran wide and had a big snap of oversteer on the outside kerb, which lurched his car to the right and put him and Verstappen on the grass between the Turns 2 and 3 complex after they banged wheels.

The incident dropped Hamilton behind Alex Albon’s Red Bull and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Verstappen fell to eighth, behind Lando Norris and Bottas.

Hamilton’s win, with Bottas third, extended his championship lead by 10 points but he needed to add 14 points over Bottas to clinch his sixth title.

That means Hamilton now has a 74-point lead with 78 available in the final three races.

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Federer withdraws from Paris Masters

World number three Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week’s Paris Masters on Monday as he fine tunes his schedule heading into the season-ending ATP Finals.

The 38-year-old Swiss lifted a record-extending 10th Swiss Indoors championship title in his hometown of Basel on Sunday and has decided not to play back-to-back weeks at this stage of the season.

The world No 3 did not drop a set on his way to victory on home soil, sweeping aside Peter Gojowczyk, Radu Albot and Stefanos Tsitsipas before destroying in-form De Minaur in the final.

An emotional Federer wept on court in Basel and conceded that the victory had ‘hit him hard’, perhaps contributing to the decision on Monday morning to pull out of the last Masters event of the year in Paris.

“I am extremely disappointed to have to pull out of the Paris Masters,” Federer said.

“I have to pace myself since I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. “I am sorry for my French fans who I will see next year at Roland Garros.”

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The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been a regular at France’s only 1000-level event outside of Roland Garros, winning it back in 2011 and reaching the semi-finals last year before losing in three sets to Novak Djokovic.

But Federer has stripped back his schedule since coming back from injury in 2016 to prioritize his family life and cited that in his winner’s speech on Sunday, before his Paris message.

“I think it might be partially reminiscing back at everything that went on this week.

“Definitely the family, the thought of the team aspect, the family aspect, everything that goes into me still being able to do it today.

“People think I just go out there and just do it and have these types of weeks or these types of matches at will.

“But there’s so much more that goes into it, let alone managing four children, [which] is a challenge, but a good one.”

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Astros hammer Nationals to take 3-2 lead in World Series

The Houston Astros handed the ball to Gerrit Cole, and he gave them a firm grip on the World Series.

Minus ailing ace Max Scherzer, the Nationals were no match in this Washington wipeout.

Cole looked exactly like the stud who dominated baseball most of this season, bouncing back from a Game 1 clunker to pitch the Astros to a 7-1 win Sunday night and a 3-2 lead.

Slumping rookie Yordan Álvarez and Carlos Correa hit early two-run homers off emergency starter Joe Ross, George Springer added another postseason drive and Houston won its third straight at Nationals Park.

What a turnaround, too — outscored 17-7 overall at Minute Maid Park, Houston hammered Washington 19-3 at Nationals Park.

Scherzer beat Cole in the opener, and was the Nats’ best hope to slow Houston. But he was scratched just 3 1/2 hours before game time because of an irritated nerve near his neck, an injury that could finish him for the Series.

With the road team winning every time so far, Houston heads home with two chances to claim its second title in three years.

Justin Verlander gets the first try when he starts against Stephen Strasburg in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Cole threw three-hit ball for seven innings, nicked only by Juan Soto’s home run in the seventh, and struck out nine.

Justin Verlander gets the first try when he starts against Stephen Strasburg in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Cole threw three-hit ball for seven innings, nicked only by Juan Soto’s home run in the seventh, and struck out nine.

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Cole’s mix of 99 mph heat and sharp breaking balls induced a bevy of bad swings from the Nats as he improved to 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA this postseason. It might’ve been his final start for Houston — he’s eligible for free agency and figures to command a steep price.

Standing tall on the mound, Cole was unflappable in the face of 43,910 fans who went from fired up to furious to flat-out frustrated.

The crowd gave Ross a huge ovation when he walked onto the field for warmups, sympathetic to his situation — he had pitched a total of two innings in almost a month.

Cole ended his outing by getting Victor Robles on a called third strike, a pitch the TV zone showed to be off the plate. Robles chucked his bat, helmet and gloves, and crowd soon began a derisive chant at umpire Lance Barksdale. Cole led the majors in strikeouts this year, was second to Verlander in wins and topped the AL in ERA. Yet he hardly looked like an October star in Game 1, giving up five runs over seven uneven innings.

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