James has 14 points and eight assists at the break.

Speaking of, Jeff Teague got stuck guarding James twice with no help. Naturally, LeBron scored both times. C’mon, Indiana.

Halftime: It’s a 66-59 lead for Cleveland, and Indiana’s defense simply can’t slow down LeBron James. There’s really only one player who can guard James effectively, and the Pacers also need Paul George to average 30 points all series to have a chance. That pulls him in two directions, and is really too much to ask even for a player that good.

James has 14 points and eight assists at the break. George leads Indiana with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and four assists in 20 minutes, but he’ll have to guard James more in the second half if Indiana has any hopes of containing him.

We know they can, and after erasing a 3-1 deficit last finals, it’s hard to doubt them. So when we throw out a couple questions about whether this team is conference championship material — forget whether they can battle Golden State, because they almost assuredly cannot — take that seriously. People aren’t doubting Cleveland just to doubt Cleveland. We’re questioning them because they have given us so many reasons we can’t ignore them anymore.

But given his limited starting experience in college, its by no means a hometown lock, as the Browns easily could prefer a value at another position. If Trubisky is gone but the Browns still want a QB, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson would be the pick.

So this is technically a thing that happens on Monday, but if you live in Massachusetts, Patriots Day is a holiday and makes for a long weekend, so we’re going to count it. Watching people run the marathon and help each other cross the finish line is a great way to restore some of your faith in humanity which, to be honest, we could all probably use right now.

Rooney simply hired him without checking off any boxes or fulfilling any mandates

The hiring of Tomlin in 2007 was groundbreaking — he was only 35, a coordinator for only one year, and the Steelers fellow franchises were still trying to formulate policies and strategies for hiring coaches of color.

Elite Kids Oakland Raiders Jersey Rooney simply hired him without checking off any boxes or fulfilling any mandates, because he saw Tomlin as the best choice for the long-term future. Last season, Tomlin became just the eighth coach ever to win 100 games in his first 10 years in the NFL.

Milwaukee is only up 1-0, and this still feels like Torontos best team since they emerged four years ago. Adding players like Serge Ibaka and Tucker give the Raptors an edge they havent had in recent years, and thats important. Kyle Lowry is incredibly good, even if he hasnt always played like it in the postseason. If he can get going, and DeMar DeRozan can play better, then the Raptors likely have the highest non-Cavaliers ceiling in the conference.

Pittsburgh Steelers Limited Jersey Those things didnt happen in Game 1, though, and you can absolutely credit the Bucks defense for that. Its not all Antetokounmpo, but hes an enormous part of it. Much of Milwaukees lineup mirrors him, with their looming arms and gigantic strides. Thon Maker had several great moments in Game 1, while rookie Malcolm Brogdon played great.

But its Antetokounmpo in the middle making it all happen, and he owned Game 1. Thats Torontos biggest problem, and why Milwaukee absolutely has a chance.

NFL suspends Jets defensive back Nick Marshall four games

Jets cornerback Nick Marshall has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2017 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

Marshall, who played quarterback at Auburn before converting to defense in the NFL, had just five tackles in eight games played for the Jets last season. He had 13 tackles in 13 games with the Jaguars in 2015.
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Despite the suspension, Marshall will be eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Marshall is now the third Jets player to be suspended already this offseason. He joined tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (two games for a DUI) and wide receiver Jalin Marshall (four games for PEDs).

Joe Namath Game Jersey Marshall began his college career as a cornerback at Georgia, but was dismissed from the team in 2011 for a violation of team rules. Belichick went back to trading down and amassing future picks in 2007, setting up the foundation for one of the leagues greatest seasons. The headliner here is the fourth-rounder the team sent to Oakland in exchange for Randy Moss, who went on to set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches the following season (Bowie, the draft pick for whom he was traded, went on to play five games in his professional career). However, the franchises wheeling and dealing also brought in two other Pro Bowlers who would prove essential to the teams success.

Football players getting more specialized instruction is a good thing, but more on that in a second.

Game Youth De’Anthony Thomas Jersey Still, it’s a little hypocritical for schools to keep paying coaches more while fighting athlete compensation changes.

FBS head-coaching salaries now easily average seven figures, some elite assistants now make what head coaches made at the turn of the century, and contract bonuses and apparel deals top coaches off even further.
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Meanwhile, players have seen their compensation increase only by way of modest stipends and by benefits that are designed to help the school maximize on-field production, such as advanced nutrition programs or eligibility-focused academic support. The NCAA’s member schools have even fought compensation increases that wouldn’t come from the schools’ budgets, such as player rights licensing or Olympic-style endorsements.

There is no major declaration to make about how the standings will shake out in the AL West based on these early weeks, but it’s easy to believe that this kind of back and forth is a likely scenario throughout the year. The Astros can hit, but whether they’ll be able to pitch is a season-long question to ask. The Rangers won the West in 2016, but they also did so on the back of an absurd number of victories in one-run games, and repeating that feat won’t be simple: In fact, they’re already 0-4 in one-run games in 2017 after losing just 11 such games all of last year. The Angels have Mike Trout and a fairly balanced lineup, but the rotation, as usual, could be a problem. Then there are the Mariners, who have a whole lot of pieces, but no one yet knows if they’re the right ones.

Houston Rockets dancer gets proposal surprise instead of being dunked over by mascot

On Friday, a Rockets dancer got a special proposal surprise during Houston’s game against the Pistons. It was set up to be a routine entertainment break with Clutch, the Rockets mascot, would dunk over Casey the dancer. She was then blindfolded to make things more suspenseful — although, if this wasn’t a proposal surprise, the worst that could’ve happened would be getting pushed into a gym mat by a mascot.

But there was no dunk. Instead, Clutch got Casey’s Air Force boyfriend, Travis, on the court, and when her blindfold was taken off, all she saw was him on one knee, presenting an engagement ring. And she said, yes!

Unfortunately for Romo, he drew the shitty end of this deal. However, Romo is no hapless victim here. Throwing the season-ending pick in a home playoff game to a division rival cornerback who has a name like a Secretary of State in the Rutherford B. Hayes administration will linger longer in peoples’ memories than pulling off a 2011 Week 12 game-winning drive against the Dolphins.

Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys is the single most scrutinized position in all of sports. No matter how loud the whispers of Romo’s success become, they will never drown out the screams of his failures, even in retrospect. This may seem unfair. It might appear that Romo caught a raw deal. It may seem as if Romo doesn’t deserve this legacy. But as a well-known head of security and transportation for a grassroots Baltimore pharmaceutical corporation once eloquently stated, “Deserve got nothing to do with it.”

Osweiler has been the same quarterback throughout his career.

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“It was a shocker to me,” McNair said Monday via the Houston Chronicle. “It was unbelievable.”

Authentic Jeremy Hill Jersey On its face, this statement may seem like an obvious lie. The Texans won eight games last season with Osweiler behind center, but almost in spite of Osweiler’s play. Osweiler finished the season with 15 passing touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and his quarterback rating of 72.2 was one of the lowest in the NFL.

But McNair wasn’t shocked that the Texans decided to move on from Osweiler. He was surprised that general manager Rick Smith was able to pull off the trade. We’ll accept that.

McNair also said not meeting with Osweiler before signing him was the reason the quarterback didn’t work out in Houston.

“We didn’t know Brock well enough,” McNair said. “Coach didn’t have a chance to get to know him. That’s one of the problems with free agency.”

That may be, but Osweiler has been the same quarterback throughout his career. We’re not buying that part, Bob. “The thing that I think is really great for our team, and the thing that any coach wants from his team, is to have a never-say-die attitude and to work and to be relentless and passionate and to play all the way to the final buzzer,” Donovan said. “He embodies that in every possible way, shape or form it could be. It’s just, he’s got this desire, this drive and he’ll just find a way. Nothing’s too insurmountable to overcome. It’s a great credit to his disposition and competitiveness, and I also think it trickles into our team, especially during timeouts and huddles, because he really encourages and inspires the group.”

Gonzaga’s season was nearly perfect.

Through 37 wins this season, things broke the right way for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They avoided injury, and made a rotation filled with three high-level transfers work to near perfection.

They weren’t fazed by their lone loss of the regular season, and took advantage of a path to the national championship that featured a matchup with an 11 seed in the Elite Eight and a seven seed in the Final Four.

“The criticism is always on me,” Jones said. “Everybody tries it, if we lose the game, they always try to find the next guy who can play for Jermaine. It is never somebody else, it is always me. And sometimes, I’ll be honest, it pisses me off. I say ‘Wait a minute! When we play the big tournament, I am always the best player on the field for this country,’ but then, end of the day, they try to kick me out when we lose games? That is not fair, you know? I cannot change it. I know what it is.”
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Jones went on to bring up his experience — “If I go to the national team right now, name me a player who has more Champions League games, who played in the highest levels — name me one” — as a defense of his continued place in the national team.

But this is a bad argument for his continued inclusion in the starting XI, as is his performance at the World Cup. And he wasn’t the team’s best player at the most recent big tournament, Copa América. Not even close.

Jones was once the USMNT’s best player, but there comes a point where every player declines. It wouldn’t help Brazil to put Pelé in the starting XI right now. And it doesn’t help the USMNT to start Jones.

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You can file this under comments that should be held in private

Womens Chris Mullin Jersey Gonzaga did have to beat No. 4 West Virginia in the Sweet 16, and that was a lot more impressive than a three-point margin made it seem. The Mountaineers have a terrifying pressure defense and had beaten Kansas and Baylor earlier in the year. They weren’t able to beat Gonzaga, because the Zags’ own defense was even better.
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Has Gonzaga beaten Duke? No, though it also hasn’t lost to Duke twice and did just beat the team that dispatched Duke from the tournament. The Zags haven’t beaten Florida State, though they played the team that beat FSU by 25 in the round of 32 and then, in turn, beat that same Xavier squad by 24.

The point here isn’t to take the transitive property down a rabbit hole. It’s to illustrate that while Gonzaga’s played a smaller sample size of great competition, it’s beaten all of it. North Carolina has been far from infallible against the best opponents, too.

Kizer’s a potential first-round talent, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kizer got picked on Day 1 of the NFL draft. He’s believed to be near the top of the QB board with Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson. There are a few teams that could be pretty interested in him, according to our survey of 74 different mock drafts.

You can file this under comments that should be held in private, at the very least.

Is this tradition weird? Sure, a bit. Should Final Four players get liquid compensation for all the revenue they create, as opposed to scholarships and Nantz’s tie? Yup. But this is nonetheless a nice thing that makes a couple of people happy. That’s pretty good.