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Clippers rout short-handed Lakers 104-86, end 2-game skid

Marcus Morris scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Clippers dominated the short-handed Lakers in a 104-86 triumph on Sunday to end a two-game skid.

Kawhi Leonard had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Paul George added 16 points for the Clippers.

“We set the tone early defensively, we were physical and got into bodies,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

The Lakers trailed the entire game in which they were without injured All-Star duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as Andre Drummond and Wesley Matthews. They’ve dropped six of nine.

Montrezl Harrell led the Lakers with 19 points against his old team. Marc Gasol was the only starter in double figures with 11 points. Kyle Kuzma’s shooting typified the Lakers’ offensive woes. He was held to six points as one of four starters who combined to shoot 12 of 41.

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“We got to play the right way on the offensive end,” Kuzma said. “Defensively, we’ll be all right. Offensively, we got to find ways to play together. Can’t win games scoring in the 80s and 90s. Got to find ways to incorporate everyone.”

The Clippers built a double-digit lead midway through the second that the Lakers never reduced to single digits the rest of the way.

“Credit the Clippers’ defense,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “They got up into us and we didn’t handle their pressure at all and we had a tough shooting night. We got to play through their pressure and physicality better than we did.”

Five different Clippers powered a 12-3 run to start the third, with George’s 3-pointer capping the spurt that created their largest lead of 24 points. They matched that lead later in the quarter on a 3-pointer by Luke Kennard, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth.

The Clippers stretched their lead to 20 points in the second, running off 10 in a row that ended with back-to-back 3-pointers by Marcus Morris.

The Clippers raced to a 13-2 lead to open the game, making their first six shots. Markief Morris scored the Lakers’ first seven points.

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New-look Los Angeles Rams add veteran to their wide receiver corps, secure deal with DeSean Jackson

The Los Angeles Rams agreed to terms with veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Sunday.

Jackson fills a much-needed role as a deep-threat wide receiver on an offense that will feature quarterback Matthew Stafford next campaign.

“We’re always trying to add some juice, and we’ll see what the next month and a half entails,” Rams coach Sean McVay stated Friday when asked if the team needed to find a wideout to stretch the field for Stafford.

“Every offense probably in the NFL would love a deep threat, right?” Rams general manager Les Snead said, answering the same question. “If I added to that, it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that catches one deep ball a game; those can be low-percentage throws. But when you definitely have skill players with juice, that can threaten the top shelf of the coverage.”

Jackson’s deal is for one year, the team stated. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Jackson has recorded the most 60-plus-yard touchdowns (24) in NFL history.

The 34-year-old, who is entering his 13th NFL season, ranks sixth all time in yards per reception (17.4).

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In Los Angeles, Jackson reunites with McVay, who served as his offensive coordinator for three seasons with the Washington Football Team from 2014 to 2016. Jackson joins a receiving corps that contains Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and second-year pro Van Jefferson. The Rams also utilize tight end Tyler Higbee in the passing game.

However, McVay’s offense has lacked a true deep-threat receiver since trading Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans after the 2019 campaign.

“We need to be more explosive offensively, but we’ve been a really explosive offense with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Higbee being centerpieces of it; those guys are going to continue to be that,” McVay said.

“But when you talk about opportunities, you have to call plays that give you an opportunity to be explosive, and that’s where my contribution is. Anytime that you have guys that can do that, that definitely is a benefit.”

Jackson became a free agent when he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in February.

Jackson’s return to Philadelphia was limited by injuries since he was obtained from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, reuniting the deep-threat receiver with the team that drafted him.

The excitement of the reunion was fueled by two touchdowns of longer than 50 yards in the 2019 opener versus Washington, but Jackson wound up playing in just three games that season because of a core muscle injury.

Jackson then missed 11 games in 2020 with an injured ankle. Overall, he has 612 receptions for 10,656 yards and has scored 60 touchdowns (including four rushing and four punt returns).

He was selected by the Eagles in the second round of the 2008 draft and played six seasons in his first stint with the team, before joining Washington in 2014.

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Damon Harrison says it’s ‘time to move on’ from Seattle Seahawks

Veteran defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison tweeted Sunday that it’s “time to move on” from the Seahawks.

NFL Network reported that Harrison asked for his release after learning he would be inactive for Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks plan to grant Harrison his release, the report stated.

A Twitter user replied to the NFL Network tweet and wrote “don’t leave,” tagging Harrison, who replied with his reasoning for wanting out.

“Didn’t want to but it’s time to,” Harrison tweeted. “I came here to help and I’ve done that and now it’s time to move on. I came back this year to play and that’s all I want. Team is back healthy and playing really well.. [It’s] my time to head out. Still all love and respect for the hawks!”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stated he would discuss the situation with Harrison on Monday.

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“We’re going to talk tomorrow,” Carroll said after the Seahawks clinched the NFC West title with a victory against the Rams. “I just know that he was disappointed that he wasn’t active for this game. That’s what we’re talking about.”

The Seahawks signed Harrison, 32, to their practice squad Oct. 7 after he decided to play in 2020.

He didn’t make his Seattle debut until Nov. 15 versus the Rams. The 6-foot-5, 350-pound player had to work himself back into football shape and then had to wait for an opening in Seattle’s defensive tackle rotation, which he got when Bryan Mone injured his ankle.

Harrison, a first-team All-Pro in 2016, was credited with nine tackles and a forced fumble in six games with Seattle. He averaged 23 defensive snaps per game, according to Pro Football Reference, while playing behind starters Jarran Reed and Poona Ford.

The Seahawks activated Mone off injured reserve Saturday. Harrison wished Mone and several other teammates good luck against the Rams on Twitter. The Seahawks would be NFC West champions for the first time since 2016 with a victory.

Harrison’s contract includes a $1.05 million base salary, according to Roster Management System. That amount prorated over six games equals roughly $370,588.

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Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey not expected to play Sunday

It appears the Carolina Panthers will again have to find a way to play without their best player.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey is not expected to play Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a right shoulder injury he suffered the previous Sunday.

According to Schefter, McCaffrey will now be considered “week to week.” McCaffrey will receive a second opinion on his shoulder injury, ESPN’s David Newton reports and CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones confirms.

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The former No. 8 overall pick made his return to the field last week versus the Kansas City Chiefs after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2 against the Buccaneers.

Overall it was a pretty impressive return, as McCaffrey rushed 18 times for 69 yards and a touchdown, and also caught 10 passes for 82 yards and another score. However, he did suffer the shoulder injury which puts his status in doubt moving forward. 

Despite being double-digit underdogs against Patrick Mahomes and Co., Carolina took Kansas City down to the wire. The Panthers lost 33-31, and the 31 points they registered ties for the highest point tally Carolina has recorded this campaign. 

The shoulder injury occurred with 1:10 remaining when safety Daniel Sorensen slammed the Pro Bowl back to the ground near the sideline after a 1-yard catch.

With McCaffrey out, again expect Mike Davis to take over as the dual-threat weapon in the backfield. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is coming off of an impressive performance against the Chiefs, as he completed 36 of 49 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 19 yards and another score.

He will also be expected to step up in McCaffrey’s absence.  McCaffrey didn’t miss a game during his first three NFL seasons, including last year, when he became the third player in league history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

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New England Patriots’ Cam Newton to rejoin team after covid-19

The New England Patriots activated quarterback Cam Newton from the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday.

Newton is likely to practice with the team on Thursday, which likely would lead to his starting on Sunday versus Denver.

New England was 2-1 with Newton as its starter, then lost at Kansas City when he was sidelined after testing positive for the coronavirus. Newton had tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 2.

Three Patriots remain on the COVID-19 reserve list: cornerback Stephon Gilmore, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and practice squad DT Bill Murray. Gilmore was the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

New England players say they have found an ally in coach Bill Belichick amid growing local criticism of the NFL’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Belichick’s approach to the virus outbreak within the walls of Gillette Stadium has earned him praise from those in the Patriots’ locker room as they navigate the stops and re-starts of this unusual NFL campaign.

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“Bill has done a good job of (saying), ‘Hey, this is forever kind of changing, it’s very fluid,’” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “But once we get it, (he says) ‘This is what we’ve got, this is what we’re gonna do,’ and I think all of us have just kind of (fallen) in line.”

New England players returned to the team’s facilities on Wednesday for the first time since participating in a walk-through Saturday to prepare for their now twice-postponed game versus Denver.

After a fourth positive COVID-19 test last Sunday, the NFL rescheduled the game with the Broncos — initially set for Sunday, but bumped to Monday after a handful of positive tests last week — to this coming Sunday.

Devin’s brother, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, was among those who voiced their displeasure with the league and its players’ union last week, claiming “they don’t care” about the well-being of players over profit.

“When he speaks, it’s from talking to a lot of different people — obviously with the (players association), but I would say most importantly the guys in our locker room,” Devin McCourty stated.

He added, “I think the biggest thing he said was the guys in the locker room, the guys in the organization, coaches, players — that’s what it’s about. It’s us keeping each other safe. It’s hard to imagine people outside of our building are gonna care more about our safety. I think that’s just a common sense thought.”

New England’s facilities were shut down last week from Wednesday through Friday, and another positive test kept the team away until this Wednesday, when players were permitted to return in limited numbers for workouts.

“Knowing that tomorrow was unknown as to when we would get back, it’s a challenge — but I think that’s just all about being a pro,” safety Adrian Phillips said. “When you get to the league … you’re gonna have some obstacles that you have to overcome, and this is just one of those obstacles.”

In what was initially set as their bye week, the Patriots plan to hold their first practice on Thursday, barring additional virus-related setbacks.

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Royals announce Alex Gordon’s retirement after 14 years

Alex Gordon, who hit one of the biggest home runs in Royals history and gained seven Gold Gloves in left field, announced his retirement on Thursday.

The Royals stated Gordon will play out the final four matches of the season, making Sunday his last game in the major leagues.

Gordon, who was the second overall pick in the 2005 draft, played his entire 14-year career (2007-20) with the Royals. He is one of three Royals position players to play at least 14 campaigns in Kansas City, joining George Brett (21 seasons) and Frank White (18).

Both of those players have had their number retired by the team. Gordon is the Royals’ all-time leader in leadoff home runs (14) and hit-by-pitches (121). He is also in the top 10 for multiple franchise career statistics. That contains home runs (190, 4th), doubles (357, 5th), extra-base hits (573, 5th), hits (1,641, 6th) and RBIs (749, 6th).

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After making his debut as a third baseman, Gordon was sent to Triple-A following a slow start and moved to left field. Gordon thrived in this new position, winning seven Gold Glove awards.

Gordon’s biggest moment came in the 2015 World Series. With the Royals trailing 3-2 in Game 1, Gordon stepped to the plate with one out and crushed a home run to center field off Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

The Royals went on to win in 14 innings and took the championship in five games.

Gordon re-signed with the Royals on a $4 million, one-year contract after his $72 million, four-year deal expired following the 2019 season.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 draft by the Royals and has since become one of the most popular players in the franchise’s half-century existence.

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Aaron Judge first Yankee in 13 years to homer in 5 straight

Aaron Judge homered for the fifth straight game Sunday, becoming the first New York Yankees player in 13 years to accomplish the feat.

The big slugger connected off left-handed reliever Matt Hall in the second inning, sending a three-run drive off the second deck in left field at Yankee Stadium to give New York a 3-2 lead over the Boston Red Sox. Judge went deep again in the eighth, blasting a two-run shot off Matt Barnes to give the Yankees their final two runs in a 9-7 victory.

“I really think he’s on a mission right now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. The previous Yankees hitter to go deep in five consecutive games was Alex Rodriguez in September 2007.

Judge joined A-Rod as the only players in club history to hit five home runs in the first eight games of a season. Rodriguez also did that in 2007.

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With no fans allowed at Yankee Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic, teammates in the dugout were easily heard bellowing in excitement when Judge connected.

“Not locked in yet. Still trying to find it,” Judge said. “I’m feeling good.”

Judge, who used the coronavirus hiatus to rehab a fractured first right rib and subsequent punctured lung, entered the shortened season with a clean bill of health. 

“He’s healthy, man. He’s a stud,” Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said. “He’s in a groove right now. It’s a guy that you don’t want to take your eyes off when he’s hitting.”

Judge had never homered in four games in a row until he connected during Saturday’s 5-2 triumph over Boston. The two-time All-Star led the American League with 52 home runs in 2017, when he was the AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for MVP. Limited by injuries the past two years, Judge hit 27 homers each campaign.

The home runs Sunday gave Judge six homers and 14 RBIs in eight games this year.

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Thompson wins 3M Open, 2nd Tour win in 7 years

American Michael Thompson obtained the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota on Sunday by two strokes to claim his second career PGA Tour triumph and his first in seven years.

The 35-year-old was solid throughout the tournament and didn’t buckle under pressure, sinking a 12-foot putt on the par-five 18th to seal the win under sunny skies at TPC Twin Cities.

“It has been a long time,” an emotional Thompson said after his round of four-under 67.

“I’m really sad my wife and kids aren’t here to celebrate this with me. I can’t wait to see them. Babe, I love you,” he stated. Thompson, who was tied for the lead coming into Sunday’s final round, produced his best shot on the par-four 16th, where his long shot from the greenside bunker landed a couple feet from the hole.

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He made the birdie putt to retake the lead and never looked back, finishing 19-under 265 for the tournament, which was played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fellow American Adam Long finished second after carding 17-under 267 for the tournament while nine players tied for third at 16-under including Tony Finau, Max Homa and Richy Werenski.

With the victory, Thompson, who came into the tournament ranked 218 in the world, will now be qualified to compete at next month’s PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Thompson’s only other victory came at the Honda Classic in 2013. He was a runner up at the 2012 U.S. Open.

Next up for Thompson is the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis starting Thursday and then the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco the following week.

“That’s what makes this game so unbelievable is that we have to play for our job every year,” he said. “To know that I have security for two more years and to get into all those tournaments … it’s just a huge bonus. I’ll have to get my mind right for sweating next week, but oh man, it’s just so exciting.”

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Tiger closes inconsistent Memorial with 4-over 76

Tiger Woods wrapped up the Memorial Tournament on Sunday with a 76 in his final round, putting him six strokes over par for the week.  

Consistency was an issue in his first official tournament since February, and he was tied for 41st place when he finished play at Muirfield Village Golf Club. He was more than 10 strokes behind leader Jon Rahm going into the clubhouse.

Woods was under par in two of his first three rounds, but he had just three birdies to go with five bogeys and a double bogey in Round 4 in Dublin, Ohio.

The round started well for Woods, opening with a birdie on the first hole thanks to a long putt.

He was accurate with his drive for the first few holes, but it was his short game that abandoned him as the round started to unravel.

A bogey on No. 4, double bogey on No. 7, and two more bogeys on No. 8 and 9 ruined any opportunity he had at a promising final round, ending up four over on the front nine.

In his defense, the problems were consistent for just about everyone playing Sunday Things got a little better on the back nine, seeing more fairways and greens in regulation. He navigated the tough conditions to earn pars before closing with a strong run on the final few holes.

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Though his work on the green was rough earlier in the day, the back-to-back birdies featured putts of 17 and 21 feet.

He also hit the fairway on 10 out of 14 drives, the most of any round this week, per PGATour.com. The closing performance should provide plenty of momentum heading forward this season.

A bogey on 18 is also excusable, as it came after a brief weather delay before he returned for his final three strokes.

This was the first PGA Tour event for Woods since the Genesis Invitational, before the campaign was suspended because of the coronavirus. Fans last saw him at Capital One’s “The Match: Champions for Charity” in May, an exhibition alongside Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Regardless of the result this week, Woods saw the value in competing against the best in the world.

“Well, I think that getting back into the flow and competing again and playing at this level, I hadn’t done that in a while,” he said, per Mike Wells of ESPN. “Playing home and playing out here is so very different.” The next step is to stay healthy, particularly with his back apparently feeling stiff at times during this tournament, per Wells.

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Yankees’ Aaron Judge out another day with stiff neck

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was held out of action for a second consecutive day Sunday due to a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year was scratched from a simulated match Saturday after waking up with a sore neck, and the right fielder was not included in either lineup for an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.

New York manager Aaron Boone stated Judge got treatment at Yankee Stadium on Sunday and was improving.

“Just thought it was better not to push through it today,” Boone said.

The Yankees are set to open a pandemic-shortened season July 23 at Washington. Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and used the coronavirus hiatus to recover.

He had been swinging at full strength for at least a couple of weeks before camp opened and had been a full-go in intrasquad action over the past week.

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The 6-foot-7 star has missed time each of the past two campaigns.

He broke his right wrist on a hit-by-pitch in 2018 and went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

When he’s been on the field, Judge has proved himself to be one of the sport’s most complete players, but staying healthy has been an issue the last two seasons. After playing in 155 games in 2017 — when he won AL Rookie of the Year honors going away and finished second in the MVP voting — Judge was limited to 112 games in 2018 and 102 games in 2019 because of different injuries.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka played catch Sunday to 100 feet and is ramping up his cardio but remains in concussion protocol. The Japanese starter was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s 112 mph line drive eight days ago. Boone is still unclear when Tanaka will return to the mound.

Boone said Clint Frazier is expected to resume playing the outfield this week after being limited to designated hitter so far due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

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