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We’re months past the winter holidays and sellers have a great chance to think about what we’ve learned, now that the dust has settled. Each holiday shopping season is an intense, focused study in what motivates customers to buy and brings many opportunities for improvement. Looking back, it would be too easy to think that […]


Phillies top Braves as NL East upstarts meet in early-season showdown

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves left spring training with the label of fashionable young teams on the upswing, but it was hard to know precisely how that improvement might translate in the standings. Realistically, this season was supposed to be about patience, continued development and taking the steps necessary to try to supplant the (potentially) post-Bryce Harper Washington Nationals at the top of the National League East in 2019.

Parra homered into the left-field pavilion leading off the fifth, tying the score at 1.

Fifteen minutes had passed since the Rockets had rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the defending champion Golden State Warriors 95-92 to even the Western Conference finals at 2-2. Morey’s face looked pale. His cheeks were flush. Thoughts and words were hard to string together after such an intense game.

“I ended up walking outside. I couldn’t take it,” Morey said. His wife, Ellen, stayed inside to watch the end of the game and text him with updates.

Morey is always a wreck during games, but this was another level. This 65-win team might be the best he has ever assembled, and a loss Tuesday could’ve been catastrophic.

Instead, Chris Paul, the point guard who’d come to Houston with the hopes of vanquishing his playoff demons, rallied his team in the fourth quarter to save the Rockets’ season. He scored eight of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, shrugging off a painful right foot injury that has hampered his mobility all series.

After drafting Rashaad Penny, Seahawks got a trade offer for him

Usually, when teams talk trade on draft night, they’re talking about trading for a pick, so they can draft a player. But on Thursday night, the Seahawks got an offer to trade a player they had just drafted.

Seahawks GM John Schneider said that in a first, he got a call after drafting running back Rashaad Penny from a team that had wanted Penny and hoped to execute a trade for him.

“We had a team call us and try to acquire him after we selected him,” Schneider said, via Scott Barrett. “I’ve never had that before.”

Nunez broke into MLB with the Yankees, playing 270 games over the course of four seasons from 2010 through 201He played three seasons with the Minnesota Twins before joining the Giants in 2016.

While a Yankees reunion was never truly in the cards, Nunez said he still loves coming back to New York.

A lot of family here. A lot of friends., he said. My brother lives here, and it’s a great city.

Nunez started all three games of this week’s series against the Yankees, and he scored both Boston runs in a 3-2 Yankees win on Tuesday.

Jacksonville Beach police arrested and charged a local high school student with burglary, trespassing and grand theft after he allegedly tried to steal a pickup truck belonging to the Jaguars quarterback. 

The incident occurred Wednesday night while Bortles was at a party hosted by center Brandon Linder. 

The news first was reported by WJXT-4 in Jacksonville.

Bortles’ new Ford F-150 pickup was unlocked with the keys in it when police say Joseph Horton, 18, attempted to drive away in it. However, he was blocked by other cars, according to witnesses who told police the act was recorded on surveillance video. 

Horton later made his way into the house, where Bortles and others were able to keep an eye on him until police arrived. 

The high school student was arrested without incident.

Giants see Saquon Barkley’s receiving skills as his most impressive asset

The Giants have been questioned in some quarters for using the second overall pick in the draft on a running back, Saquon Barkley. Does it make sense to put that kind of value on a runner in a passing league?

Last month, the Red Sox did the same when the clubs played three at Fenway Park, so after six meetings they’re both 3-

And how about this:

The Red Sox had their best start ever this season, winning 17 of their first 19 before splitting their next 18 games, and the Yankees did the same in reverse, splitting the first 18 before winning 17 of 19.

While Patricia may feel he’s within his rights to do that, it’s the dumbest thing he could have done – especially in 2018 when the odds of something like that remaining a secret were less than zero. 

Patricia took the indignant road on Thursday, chastising the news media for pursuing a story thatfor the sole purpose of hurting my family, my friends and this organization with the intention of trying to damage my character and credibility. 

But if anything damaged Patricia’s character and credibility, it wasn’t a fuzzy accusation from 22 years ago. It was his strident belief that he’d never have to answer for it again.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association referred the allegations to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, a spokesman confirmed.

NJSIAA is aware of the situation and, as per our sportsmanship policy, has notified the NJ Division on Civil Rights, NJSIAA spokesman Mike Cherenson said in an email. He did not have more information on the allegations.

Patriots, Rams in good shape for 2019 compensatory picks

The deadline has passed for any free agent signings that will affect the awarding of compensatory picks in next year’s NFL draft, and the Patriots and Rams are the teams that look to be in the best shape for 2019 compensatory picks.

Because those big-name players weren’t the unrestricted free agents who count toward the compensatory pick formula. Players who arrive in trades, like Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, don’t count toward the compensatory pick formula. Nor do players who were cut by their previous teams, like Ndamukong Suh. But players who leave your team as unrestricted free agents and sign big-money contracts with other teams do count toward the formula. The Rams lost two such players, Sammy Watkins and Trumaine Johnson, and that’s why they’re expected to get two third-round picks.

Other teams expected to get third-round compensatory picks next year include Washington (for losing Kirk Cousins), Minnesota (Case Keenum) and Carolina (Andrew Norwell).

The NFL doesn’t publish the full compensatory pick formula, and part of the formula relates to players’ performance during their first seasons with their new teams, so it’s possible that some of this could change before the compensatory picks are awarded for next year’s draft. But right now, the Patriots and Rams are looking good.

Changes in NFL personnel departments are the norm this time of year, with employees shuffling after the draft.

If Coleman washes out of Cleveland, he’d become the latest failed first-round receiver in an eye-opening list of them. After Julio Jones and A.J. Green arrived in 2011 (Jonathan Baldwin was the first-round bust that year), round one has produced more than a few receivers who failed to live up to their potential. In 2012, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, and A.J. Jenkins didn’t work out.

In 2013, Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson became more bust than boom. (DeAndre Hopkins turned out OK.) In 2015, Kevin White, DeVante Parker (who has yet to break out), Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, and Phillip Dorsett eventually underachieved. (Amari Cooper was the exception.)The 2016 class of Coleman, Will Fuller (1,058 total yards in two seasons, so not really a bust), Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell have been uninspiring, at best. In 2017, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross failed to overwhelm as rookies.

Of course, 2014 provided a major exception to the trend, with Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin each performing at a high level, even through three of them were traded, with one traded twice.orioles_057

NFL Draft 2018: Baker Mayfield tweets recreation of Brett Favre’s draft night

Baker Mayfield drew inspiration from Brett Favre on the eve of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, on Wednesday tweeted a quote he attributed to Favre, as well as a photo recreation (right down to the jean shorts) of Favre talking on the phone with the Falcons after Atlanta drafted him in the second round in 1991. The new and old images were side by side in the tweet.

Mayfield also has his share of boosters: None other than Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath called Mayfield the “most outrageous” quarterback in this year’s draft, and he meant that as a compliment. Namath’s old team, the Jets, are rumored to be interested in taking Mayfield with the third overall pick. Sporting News’ most recent NFL Mock Draft has Mayfield going to the Dolphins with the 11th overall pick.

Toughest tests: The aforementioned Eagles game is the first of several challenges. Another postseason rematch, against the Saints, is just as tough. Beyond those game and the always-dangerous NFC North contests, road trips to LA to play the Rams and to New England to play the Patriots are the Vikings’ key games.

Biggest breaks: The Vikings are fortunate to get the Saints at home, avoiding the intimidation factor of the Superdome and welcoming New Orleans back to the site of the Minneapolis Miracle. With the exception of the Patriots game, the AFC East presents the Vikings multiple winnable games on their schedule.

Bottom line: There isn’t much reason to expect a big drop-off this season for the Vikings, so the focus turns to their opponents. If teams like the Bears, Lions, Rams and 49ers take the steps of improvement many expect them to take, the strength of Minnesota’s schedule will increase significantly. Some of those non-divisional NFC games on the schedule will have the Vikings thinking about the playoffs, but their first priority should be defending their NFC North title. Record prediction: 9-7

“It’s been a very entertaining back and forth with him (Dorsey), which makes it fun,” Mayfield said. “He’s been up front and honest about messing with me about my mistakes and I’ve been honest with him about what I learned from it, the fact that it shoudln’t have happened.”steelers_061

The true story behind the Capitals’ ‘puck girl,’ first-grader Keelan Moxley

Young Washington Capitals fan Keelan Moxley was standing near the ice before her team’s playoff game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, watching warmups, when Capitals winger Brett Connolly noticed her and tried to toss her a puck. A man behind her caught the puck and gave it to the boy next to Keelan instead. Disappointment immediately registered on the 6-year-old’s face.

The tweet has been seen on Twitter more than 14 million times, according to the site’s analytics, and the video itself has been watched more than 7.1 million times.

But what’s more telling is the fact that the tweet was interacted with more than 1.6 million times and drew more than 2,200 comments — including this one from someone with the handle @hollyrene44: I know I’m supposed to focus on the positive of the situation, she tweeted. But I hate this video. So many parallels to be made here for females who love sports. Holly Rene has 238 followers. Her comment was liked 6,900 times.

I didn’t shoot the video. I just tweeted it. But seeing how it went viral, I felt some responsibility to do a follow up.

I’ve always stayed even-keeled with the postseason, James said after registering his 20th career playoff triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. I mean, I’m down 0-1 in the first round. I was down 3-1 in the Finals. So I’m the last guy to ask about how you’re going to feel the next couple days.

Indeed, James and the Cavs crawled back from a 3-1 deficit against a record-setting Golden State Warriors team in the 2016 NBA Finals to capture the first championship in franchise history.

But that team had more time together and a combination of more top-level talent (such as Kyrie Irving, now with the Boston Celtics) and more playoff-tested role players (such as Richard Jefferson, now with the Denver Nuggets) than this season’s.

Game 1, according to James, was a rude awakening for some of his teammates getting their first real taste of competing in the playoffs on a team with a target on its back as a title contender.seahawks_163

Still unsigned, Willie Snead attending start of Saints offseason workouts: source

Some New Orleans Saints players have shared on social media their excitement for the start of offseason workouts this week.

But, one player whose attendance remained a question was wide receiver Willie Snead. A restricted free agent, the Saints offered Snead the lowest tender with a $1.907 million contract for next season, but he has yet to sign it.

The organization opened itself up to this possibility when it released veteran left guard Josh Sitton. Nelson can slide into the spot with the potential to provide Pro Bowl and All-Pro performances for the next decade.

Micah Kiser’s numbers are eye-popping and highlight a player who routinely tracks the ball and makes plays when it matters. He has a relentless motor that keeps him active in all phases and will endear him with NFL coaches who love toughness and hustle. A limited athletic skill set makes specific matchups worrisome, but Kiser’s thumping attitude is built for the NFL.

Two bad right knee injuries cannot be overlooked by NFL teams. Shaun Dion Hamilton has not been able to test for teams and needed to show his range and athleticism. Fundamentally, Hamilton is very solid and well-coached. An instinctual player who can drop into coverage and play in traffic. Despite not being the best prospect at the position, Hamilton has been able to earn playing time in a star-studded defense throughout his career at Alabama. Teams will fall in love with his IQ and leadership skills.

Josey Jewell is an ode to the throwback linebacker in playing style despite a frame that doesn’t quite match. He lives near the ball and racks up tackle after tackle, an encouraging sign that highlights his instincts and competitiveness. Jewell will struggle when isolated against above-average athletes in space and will have to rely on tape study to compensate.

Fitzpatrick is most comfortable covering the slot, and Washington traded last year’s nickel corner, Kendall Fuller, to the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the Alex Smith deal. The 21-year-old former Alabama defender can be an interchangeable piece as a safety, cornerback or nickel linebacker.  

A prospect’s role doesn’t need to be defined if he can do a little bit of everything.steelers_001

DeShawn Shead visiting Lions, then 49ers

The Seahawks indicated a desire to keep cornerback Deshawn Shead when they cut him this week. But Shead isn’t sitting around waiting.

Per multiple reports, quarterback Kirk Cousins will sign a three-year, $84 million deal with the Vikings. That’s an average of $28 million per year, $500,000 per year more than Jimmy Garoppolo will earn per year.

And while some may say Cousins should have opted for another year or two of security, it would have been a mirage if it weren’t fully guaranteed. Most teams insist on a couple of non-guaranteed back-end years that inevitable fail to reflect fair value. Cousins avoided giving the Vikings the ability to squat on him at a lower number.

As to the possibility that Cousins won’t be attractive in three years based on his performance over the next three, a couple of non-guaranteed years wouldn’t have mattered, because the Vikings would have cut him.

Shead’s contract tolled into 2018, or rolled over for another season under the same terms, after he ed only two games in 2017 in his return from a torn ACL. But Seattle General Manager John Schneider already had assured Shead he would become a free agent, so the Seahawks did right by the er in allowing him to test the market.

Shead, 28, ed all five positions in the Seattle secondary after the team signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He made 22 starts in six seasons, with 15 of those coming in 2016.

We finally know Dez caught the ball, but here are other rules the NFL must fix More Never forget that March Madness is not confined to the college basketball world.

Professors were, uh, grading on a curve.

“I’m 18, 19. I would literally walk into the store for a sandwich and a bag of chips, and I’d put my money out to pay for it, and I didn’t have to pay for it,” he says. “I had all these things given to me. And I had teachers, they’d give me things if I signed an autograph, signed a football. I didn’t know how to handle this, man. I was a rock star. I was the president of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

He in 10 games last year, with his season cut short by a shoulder injury which required surgery.Dion Lewis expected to sign with Titans

It looks like Malcolm Butler won’t be the only er leaving New England for Nashville in 2018.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that running back Dion Lewis will join Butler in making the move to the Titans when free agency opens on Wednesday. It’s reportedly a four-year deal.

Lewis, who was No. 32 on our list of the top free agents, saw the biggest workload of his professional career in 2017 and he made the most of the chance. He ran 180 times for 896 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 32 passes out of the backfield for the Patriots.49ers_220

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said the teams had been discussing a potential trade since early in the week.

Syracuse University graduate Follow on Twitter Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print comment The New York Jets shook up the top of the NFL draft on Saturday morning, completing a blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts that will put them in better position to select a potential franchise quarterback.

They had an interest to move up to (No.) 3 and kind of went back and forth for the last four or five days, Ballard said in a video posted on the Colts’ website.

But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love.

10 years! Wow, God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE! It’s been a wild ride and feel so blessed He allowed me to do what I loved for so long.

But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love.

First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him my career wouldn’t have been possible.

He blessed me with the gifts and He paved the way.

All I had to do was follow His plans for my life, and His plans were crazy awesome! Next, I want to thank my wife who has been by my side since freshman year of high school.

Scandrick reportedly requested his release from Dallas earlier in the week.

A fifth-round draft pick in 2008, Scandrick had a productive career as a slot corner, accumulating eight interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and 11.5 sacks in 125 career games.

He was Dallas’ longest-tenured defensive player and started 11 games in 2017, with 38 tackles and three passes defended.

But the odds of that happening are low. The Browns pick first and fourth and need a quarterback. With the Jets moving up to No. 3, Cleveland knows the options will be limited by the time the fourth pick comes around. And even if the Browns don’t pick Darnold at No. 1, it’s hard to imagine him falling to No. 3.

Pistons make big gamble with Blake Griffin trade, but it’s unlikely to pay off

In sports, desperate acts rarely work out for the best. What Pistons coach and front office honcho Stan Van Gundy agreed to do on Monday, 10 days ahead of the February trade deadline, amounts to utter desperation, and it’s hard to see how this works out for the best in Detroit.

Not that there is no reason for desperation. The Pistons have dropped eight straight, including losses to the Hornets, Bulls, Nets and Jazz, none of whom are remotely close to postseason contention. Things have gone sideways in Detroit, quickly, and it is no secret in NBA circles that this collapse could cost Van Gundy his job.

By shipping away Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, spare parts and a potential lottery pick to acquire Griffin, the Pistons have committed a king’s ransom — five years (including this one) and $173 million — to a player who is three years removed from last ranking among the elites. Griffin posts good numbers, certainly. No one would complain about 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

Vegas F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare returned after missing seven games with a hand injury. … Atkinson has 15 points in his last 19 games after missing 11 games with a fractured foot suffered in late December.

“He’s the Milli Vanilli of coaching,” Ball said. “What I mean is, you can go stand in the same spot like Luke Walton did and win 20-something games when you’ve got the right horses just running. Sometimes less coaching is the best coaching, but some of these guys like to act like they’ve really coached some guys that know how to play.

“How do you coach KD [Kevin Durant], Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson? You know how you coach them? You don’t. Turn your back and let them do what they do. As soon as they win the championship, everybody is like ‘Oh, he’s a great coach.’ That team was put together by Mark Jackson. And now he jumped up and (is) trying to take all the credit. That’s why I’m calling him Milli Vanilli of coaching.”

If Bridges develops as a creator, he can be a star. Both Kawhi Leonard and Gordon Hayward fit the above criteria in 2016-17 — they are obviously absent from the 2017-18 data due to injuries — and while they’re not necessarily good direct comparisons, they do provide a template for the type of two-way player Bridges could become at his ceiling.