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Sports

  • Let’s talk about that so-called Rockets-Clippers fight

    Tyler Tynes and Zito Madu break down Monday night’s tomfoolery.

    The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers played Monday night and the main event was a weird-ass fake brawl in the locker rooms. SB Nation Staff Writers Tyler Tynes and Zito Madu chat about whatever the happened:


    Tynes: So, Zito, I still don’t know what happened last night. Do you?

    Madu: Apparently Chris Paul led his men through a secret passageway in the stadium to defend the honor of his new team and coach after being disrespected by Blake Griffin, serial glass and team employee puncher. I’m assuming the first question he asked when they walked in was: “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?”

    Tynes: This honestly sounds like a new level to Super Mario. All of these dudes got offended within the last 3 minutes of the game and decided to make this into a 2 am club scuffle without any broken bottles.

    Madu: It’s the most gentrified NBA thing ever. There’s too many Chelsea boots being worn in the league for a real fight to happen.

    Tynes: Draymond Green won’t be offended like this. The sad part is that the Rockets offered up Clint Capela as tribute for whatever heinous crimes can happen in the Swiss Alps.

    At first when I heard about this, I thought this fight wasn’t even worth it. People wanna fight Blake Griffin like 25 times a season. But then once I heard it was because Austin Rivers was talking crazy? They shoulda burned the arena down.

    Madu: The fact that Austin Rivers is allowed to talk shit is the best indication that the NBA isn’t tough anymore.

    Tynes: I don’t care where I am in the world. If Austin Rivers disrespects me like that, I’m assaulting him with a Timberland.

    Madu: He’s just so annoying. He knows his time in the NBA is a product of blatant nepotism, which is fine to a degree, but then he goes around behaving as if he’s much better and tougher than he really is. Now he’s talking tough while being protected by the NBA’s tough rules against fighting. He’s the perfect teacher’s pet.

    Tynes: The sleeper in this whole fight, though? Chris Paul. Chris Paul not only has diplomatic basketball immunity, he also has some ugly ass hands, and, apparently, the fastest ugly ass hands Doc Rivers has seen. He would know, as the proprietor of some equally ugly ass hands.

    Madu: Well, he got his men there, but there was no fight in them, so at least he’s faithful to his NBA career even off the court. But I’m sure he can fight. He has that aggressive short guy thing going on.

    Tynes: It’s not a “thing” it’s just how you must survive in this world. Not something I’d know from experience, though, given I am 6-foot-9.

    Madu: I’m pretty sure you come up to my elbow.

    Tynes: There is no proof of any of this.

    The only proof we have is the following: The Rockets started a fight because Austin Rivers talked shit. A goaltend, some ripped tights, and the general NBA shit talkin shouldn’t really be catalyst enough to use the secret tunnels of the Staples Center. Austin Rivers started this in a bad suit and a walking boot and then dared Trevor Ariza to beat his ass. He might get jumped off pure principle the next time they play.

    Madu: And then the police was called. They called the police to stop a squabble, a scuffle

    Tynes: In brunch boots with Austin Rivers.

    What the hell were the Rockets thinking? The only rational excuse is that this was a promo for the next episode of “Ball In The Family.”

    Madu: The NBA is a soap opera, so I can see it. I just wanted to see Clint Capela beat Austin Rivers with his own walking boot

    Tynes: Clint Capela is the only one in this arrangement that deserves to ask questions and not be fined. Poor young man got a door shut in his face and only wanted directions to the *thinks of what the Swiss eat* Fondue? Fondue.

    Madu: He’s like the underage kid whose fake ID didn’t work, so now he has to find things to do while his friends party. ”Hey, when are you guys going to be done?”

    Tynes: It’s like he’s an Uber driver that got called to a bank robbery. He ain’t ask for all of this. He’s just tryna get paid.

    Madu: Right now, his Wikipedia page reads “who is best known for being used as a Trojan horse diversion as Chris Paul led his Rocket teammates through a secret entrance to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin.”

    Tynes: The most 23-year-old shit ever. What a way to go out.

    Madu: They basically told him to wait outside and let them know when mom is coming.

    Tynes: All this for behavior that can’t even get them called thugs by MAGA twitter. This is why Shaq and Charles Barkley and that dude in the corner of your barbershop think the league is soft. Hell, if dudes were hitting me with steel chairs every night to stop layups, I might think the same thing, too.

    Madu: I totally understand why the league can’t have fights, from the general safety and marketing perspectives. But then you end up with a league full of Drakes.

    Tynes: That must be why you love it so much. Ain’t that your favorite rapper?

    Madu: I happen to live a life that corresponds well with his “driving home at 3am wondering if it’s time to change my life” music.

    Tynes: Well, you and the NBA are perfect for each other.

  • ‘Prominent’ Cavaliers players anonymously tell reporters the roster needs upgrades

    Several players told reporters that they don’t think the current roster can solve their issues.

    “Prominent” Cleveland Cavaliers players quietly told several reporters on Monday that the team needed a roster upgrade after a 118-108 loss to the Golden State Warriors, which was the team’s eighth loss in the past 10 games. The journalists, from ESPN, Cleveland.com, and The Athletic, all quoted anonymous sources saying the team’s roster simply wasn’t good enough.

    From ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

    Several prominent players, speaking on condition of anonymity to ESPN, Cleveland.com and The Athletic, expressed doubt that the problems — an aging roster, defensively challenged personnel and a glut of redundant role players — could simply be worked out through patience and a chance to coalesce when fully healthy.

    It’s reasonable to assume that LeBron James was one of these players, given that he has never been shy about speaking out about perceived player personnel problems before. Last season, he told McMenamin on the record that the team needed a “f***ing playermaker,” and his wish was eventually granted when Cleveland signed Deron Williams.

    Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon quoted a league source, who said this: “Rotations are awful. IT (Isaiah Thomas) is so much worse than Kyrie (Irving) defensively it’s insane. There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other.”

    Cleveland has been spiraling for weeks

    The Cavaliers have only won twice since Christmas, when they fell for a first time to Golden State. Their 3-9 record in their past 12 games comes immediately after the team won 17 times in 18 games — clearly, this season hasn’t been all bad. But Cleveland expected to be trending upwards and instead have been sinking despite growing healthier, including Isaiah Thomas’ return to the team.

    The past six games has been especially troubling. Cleveland lost by 14 points to Boston, 28 points to Minnesota, 34 points to Toronto, and now 10 to Golden State. They allowed 127 points or more in three straight games, including their one win, a 131-127 victory against Orlando. The team’s defense likely can’t be fixed — not with this roster.

    Anything less than a fourth straight Finals appearance would be disappointing for Cleveland. That’s why players are speaking up, because they’ve realized the truth about their hamstrung roster.

    Cleveland has one huge bargaining chip

    Thanks to the Kyrie Irving trade, the Cavaliers have the Brooklyn Nets‘ 2018 first round pick. The Nets currently have the sixth-worst record in the league and are almost guaranteed to miss the postseason.

    I outlined the argument for trading that pick in the piece linked about Cleveland’s struggling defense above:

    – It’s dumb for Cleveland to balance “building for the future” and “winning now” when LeBron James is on your roster. How often does any franchise have the best player in the world on its team? How often does it get three straight trips to the finals and a reasonable chance at one or two more?

    – A mid-lottery pick would be nice if James leaves, but it won’t make a huge difference. If James leaves, Cleveland is and should be bad, probably for several seasons.

    – Even if James stays, how many years do you have left at this peak? Is a mid-lottery first-rounder really going to change everything for this team? Can you trust that player to be an immediate difference maker, even during a lengthy finals run as a first- or second-year NBA player?

    Given that, and given that players are now speaking publicly (if still anonymously) about it, Cleveland’s front office may see that they have no other real choice. The team badly needs a two-way wing and could use a better rim protector, too. Perhaps there’s a trade out there — Wesley Matthews and Nerlens Noel? — that could provide that to their talent deficient roster.

    Cleveland could absolutely still make it to the Finals without touching their roster; they should still be the favorites, even if there will be stronger contenders facing them than ever before. But they lost badly to Golden State last year, and it would likely be even worse this time around if they do make it that far.

  • Super Bowl 2018 Ticket Prices Reportedly Range from $950 to $5,000

    Ticket prices for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis could cost buyers anywhere from $950 to $5,000, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.

    As Robinson wrote: “Those are the ‘zero markup’ prices, mind you. The secondary market could be much higher, potentially astronomical if the [Minnesota] Vikings beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game on Sunday. How high could they go? Multiply the face value of tickets by four, five or six times their printed price. Or more.”

    This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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  • The 2018 Olympics’ breakout hockey star will be 17-year-old Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin

    The likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft will give fans a preview in Pyeongchang.

    There will be at least one NHL superstar competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Rasmus Dahlin may be just 17 years old and several months away from being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, but the precocious Swedish defenseman has already made his first Olympic roster.

    There won’t be a more exciting player in the tournament.

    Yes, the Olympic Athletes from Russia team will have KHL stars like Ilya Kovalchuk. Team USA will have Brian Gionta and everyone’s favorite waiver claim Mark Arcobello. Canada will have Derek Roy, Rene Bourque, and Wojtek Wolski. These are guys you’ve probably heard of.

    But now that Dahlin has officially made Sweden’s roster, it’s possible we look and remember this as his tournament. We won’t recall how lame it was that the NHL didn’t send its best to represent the world. We’ll celebrate how, in their place, we were treated to a three-week sneak peek of the best defenseman of his generation. And how awesome that was.

    Dahlin has the potential to make that kind of impact in Pyeongchang. He’s already playing among men in Sweden, where he’s playing a key role for Frolunda HC in the SHL. He recently looked exceptional at the World Juniors, where Sweden won the silver medal. It’s hard to envision anyone else having their name called first by Gary Bettman at the draft in June.

    Watch TSN analyst Ray Ferraro look almost dumbfounded trying to find the describe what it was like watching Dahlin for the first time.

    Ray Ferraro är skapligt taggad på Rasmus Dahlin.
    Hela intervjun i Nattens NHL, 5.40 in.https://t.co/paswWHjonNhttps://t.co/fXFw9SonDb pic.twitter.com/HoJEsO2PJK

    — Jonatan Lindquist (@Lindquistik) November 1, 2017

    You can experience that, too!

    This is the kind of over-the-top praise that usually elicits eye rolls around the hockey community, but not with Dahlin. Ferraro says Dahlin reminded him of the legendary Niklas Lidstrom? Well, Lidstrom himself agreed, and offered Brian Leetch as another comp. You know, just a couple of Hall of Famers. If anything, Dahlin is seemingly a combination of these traits, a type of defenseman we’ve never quite seen before.

    It’ll be impossible not to notice Dahlin whenever he’s on the ice. That was often the case at World Juniors, and while the level of competition will be higher with older, more experienced players in Pyeongchang, Dahlin’s combination of skating and puck handling from the back end will be unmatched.

    These Olympics were never going to be short on great stories with so many new players sharing in the Olympic dream. The fun of a ragtag American team taking on a bunch of Russian superstars nearly 40 years after the Miracle on Ice wouldn’t be lost on anyone. The wide open nature of the tournament will undoubtedly lend itself to some incredible moments.

    But the star power will be seriously lacking compared to past Olympics that had Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Henrik Lundqvist, and others taking center stage for their teams. Outside of Russia, which has a bunch of KHL stars to turn to, most of these rosters are made up of players who never dreamed of playing in an event like this. Nobody will doubt the passion and intensity of the players involved, but the talent level clearly won’t be the same.

    Dahlin will be, in so many ways, the exception to the rule in Pyeongchang. He’s going to be the youngest player in the tournament. He’s going to be in the NHL very soon. And he’s going to be the most talented player there. You won’t want to miss it.

  • Ben Roethlisberger on Todd Haley: ‘There’s Always Issues in a Competitive Field’

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger downplayed potential issues with offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Tuesday, two days after Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Roethlisberger said he met with Haley on Monday and described the situation in a tweet: “There’s always issues in a competitive field … you might butt heads at times, it doesn’t mean you have any personal problems.”

    This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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