11

Westbrook not interested in revisiting fan drama

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook declined to share any thoughts Wednesday about the Utah Jazz issuing a lifetime ban to fan Shane Keisel for the incident that occurred during Monday night’s game.

“If you want to talk about tonight’s game, we can do it,” Westbrook said when asked his reaction. “If not, enjoy your night.”

Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the NBA for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Thunder did not practice Tuesday, and did not hold a morning shootaround Wednesday. In the locker room before Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets was the first time Westbrook had officially been available, but he declined to talk. (By rule, Westbrook is required to be available at least once on game day before tipoff, whether at shootaround or in the locker room pregame.)11

Thunder coach Billy Donovan called the incident an “unfortunate situation” and credited the Jazz for how quickly they responded with the ban.

“It sheds to light sometimes these things that players have to deal with during the course of games,” Donovan said. “It’s unfortunate because I think a lot of people do come to the games as fans and want to root and cheer their team on, but those situations are really unfortunate. If anything, it brings light to something the league, along with players — everybody can try to make it better.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Westbrook was sensational in the Thunder’s 108-96 victory over the Nets, recording his 26th triple-double of the season with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. After one particularly thrilling sequence late in the fourth quarter that ended with Westbrook drilling a dagger 3 to put the Thunder up 13, he danced and shimmied at half court as the Nets called timeout.

“I’m extremely blessed man, humbled, to go out and hoop,” Westbrook said when asked if playing Wednesday was helpful in moving on from the recent situation. “And that’s that.”

10

DE Bennett calls Belichick the ‘Yoda of football’

Michael Bennett will soon be a New England Patriot. After the initial shock wore off, Bennett said he is looking forward to this next chapter.

“I’m excited about it,” Bennett said Monday during an appearance at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.

Bennett, who was scheduled to take a physical with the Patriots in Boston on Tuesday, said he looked forward to being coached by Bill Belichick and playing on a team led by Tom Brady.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“From a football perspective there’s a respect for Belichick,” Bennett said. “I consider him the Yoda of football when it comes to the ins and outs of what’s happening around how to prepare for a game.”10

As for leaving the Eagles after a season and joining what many fans consider the NFL’s Evil Empire, Bennett said he embraces the change.

“The Patriots are a team that people love to hate because they always win,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from that and be in that environment is good.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Bennett said the trade to New England initially surprised him. He was one of a core of NFL players who followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead beginning in 2016 and protested during the playing of the national anthem.

The protest agitated many fans and drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who condemned the protesting players and suggested they should be fired.

Belichick and Brady are enthusiastic supporters of the president. In meetings with Patriots executives, Bennett said he would continue to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.

“I explained to them that my integrity means everything,” Bennett said. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.”

He added: “The Patriots have been trying to trade for me for two years. Last year they tried to get me, the year before they tried to get me.”

12

Manchester City’s Sterling: Flashy footballer portrayal degrading’

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has spoken of his frustration over the media’s portrayal of him as a flashy footballer describing it as “hurtful” and “degrading.”

Sterling previously hit out at media coverage that he said “helps fuel racism,” after he suffered alleged abuse during a match at Chelsea in December.

Sterling, 24, highlighted a difference in the coverage of young white and black players and added that he has been unfairly depicted as extravagant.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“From the very start of my career, there has been a perception of a flashy kid from London: loves cars, loves the flashy lifestyle,” he told the New York Times. “I’m not saying I’m a saint or anything, but that is the complete opposite of who I am.

“These people do not know me. They will define me by what they read about me; that is how they will treat me. When people are making the public believe you are a character you aren’t, that is hurtful, and it is degrading.”12

Sterling has emerged as a potential candidate for Player of the Year after his hat trick in the 3-1 victory over Watford took his goal tally for the season to 18 in all competitions.

He was also a major part of England’s run to the World Cup semifinals in the summer, although that hasn’t stopped the boos that come his way at many away grounds across the country.

And Sterling said negative depictions are not just confined to football with the focus on spending among successful black people.

“It is not just me,” he said. “Whenever you see a report on a black player or a black entertainer it has to end up with money, or bling, or cars, or something flashy.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“With a successful white person, it is nice, short, sweet, what a lovable person.”

He added: “It is a stereotype of black people: chains and jewellery, bling and money. These are words that are associated with black people. If I was showing 10 cars on my driveway, if I was on Instagram biting my gold chain, or with two Rolexes on, you can call me flashy.

11

Manchester United push for De Gea contract agreement to avoid summer bids from rivals – sources

Manchester United are pushing for a breakthrough in their contract stand-off with David De Gea before the summer to avoid fielding cut-price bids for the goalkeeper during the transfer window, sources have told ESPN FC.

United have been negotiating with the Spain international over the terms of a new five-year deal for more than a year and there are fears that if the stalemate stretches into the last 12 months of his contract, due to expire in 2020, offers from Europe’s heavyweight clubs could further complicate the situation.

Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have all been linked with a move for Spain’s No.1 and bids in the summer — likely to be below De Gea’s market value — would force United to choose between cashing in on a big asset or risk losing one of the world’s best goalkeepers on a free transfer a year later.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Sources have told ESPN FC that De Gea, who has made more than 350 appearances since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, is keen to stay but only if the club can come up with a wage packet that reflects his importance at Old Trafford. He has won United’s player of the year award in four of the last five seasons and, at 28, is reaching his peak years.11

United, according to sources, are reluctant to make De Gea their highest paid player although there is still hope that a compromise can be reached.

The club are willing to offer a deal worth £350,000-a-week which would see De Gea earn more than £90 million over five years. However, that is still short of De Gea’s expectations and the next three months will be crucial as the two parties seek to find a middle ground.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

There are also concerns that the overall price of the agreement is being driven up by associated costs, including agent fees, that could end up pricing United out of the deal.

De Gea’s situation is starting to mirror a similar contract stand-off in 2015. Four years ago, United accepted a bid from Real Madrid as De Gea was entering the final year of his deal only for the move to collapse at the last minute. He was dropped by manager Louis van Gaal for the first six games of the 2015-16 season while the transfer saga rumbled on and only returned to the team after signing a new contract.

After De Gea was at fault for Arsenal’s first goal in a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates on Sunday, caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rejected suggestions De Gea’s form could suffer while his long-term future is still up in the air.

12

Cooking too long gives Dodgers’ Kelly sore back

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said hard-throwing right-hander Joe Kelly, who was scratched from his scheduled appearance Wednesday night, will throw lightly on Friday and hopes to get in a game in a couple of days.

Kelly felt tightness in his back on Wednesday. Roberts said Kelly told him he hurt his back when he stood too long cooking Cajun food.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Roberts said the injury was not expected to be serious.12

In December, the team signed the reliever, who spent the last four seasons with the Boston Red Sox, to a three-year, $25 million free-agent contract.

He has made two appearances. In his debut, he allowed two walks, two hits and one run in an inning, but on March 3 allowed just one hit in a scoreless inning against the Texas Rangers.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Roberts said that catcher Russell Martin, who has also been sidelined with a back issue, could play Sunday.

12

With Bundesliga at stake, Dortmund might be supporting Bayern in Champions League·

On Feb. 18, diners at an exclusive Italian restaurant on Liverpool’s Castle Street were disturbed by cries of joy. The club bosses of Bayern Munich, in town for the following night’s Champions League tie with Liverpool, had just received news of Borussia Dortmund’s score: 0-0 away to bottom side 1. FC Nurnberg.

The Bayern board’s laughter and jubilant shouts showed that they regarded their rivals’ meek draw as a big win for themselves. The deficit was now only three points. The championship, all but gone when Dortmund had opened up a nine-point lead before the week before Christmas, was very much back on.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Disappointment over a lack of clear direction has not gone away but seems less of an issue now the team is more settled and balanced, courtesy of in-form Javier Martinez at the heart of midfield. Bayern are increasingly able to find workable solutions in attack, too.12

Right on cue, last Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of (an admittedly awful) Borussia Monchengladbach was a demonstration of supreme confidence and unprecedented fluidity in attack. Bayern are clearly enjoying the rush that comes from hunting down their prey, step-by-step, week after week, in contrast to the boredom of walking away with it for six successive years. “It’s a more emotional season,” executive chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said last week.

Germany manager Joachim Low has also unwittingly helped to raise the temperature. His surprising move to end the international careers of Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels this week has hurt the trio’s pride and made them even more determined to prove that they’ve been written off prematurely.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Bayern are still on course for their worst points tally of the decade, but Dortmund allowing them back into the title race with a series of poor results has been met with a typically steely resolve. For the next nine weeks at least, they will pull together to ensure it is they who will be celebrating at a fancy restaurant after the last ball has been kicked.

But in Dortmund, they have nice Italian restaurants too. There’s one very close to the Signal Iduna stadium that BVB players love to frequent, and its VIP area could yet witness a party come the last day of the season on May 18.

Despite having their lead chipped away, the club have become a little more optimistic following the 1-0 defeat by Tottenham in Champions League that they can stay the course. “German champions: only BVB,” the supporters on the “Yellow Wall” south stand were chanting after the final whistle on Tuesday night. They had seen enough to feel that a terrible run of seven winless games in eight across all competitions was merely a blip.

11

Manchester United’s miracle win over PSG a warning to Manchester City – Aguero

“Looking at the recent results, we have to be very careful,” Aguero told ESPN with Manchester City 3-2 up over Schalke ahead of next week’s round-of-16 clash at the Etihad.

“We saw strange things happening this week and it helps us to know that we must be very focused on how we handle our game next week at home. [There were] so many unexpected results. PSG had a good lead after winning in Manchester and you saw how United advanced.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“The Champions League is very difficult, all teams are very good. In a long competition like the Premier League you can allow yourself some mistakes but in the Champions League you can’t. You have to be very focused, be very careful with set pieces and on all the small details.”11

City have never gone beyond the semifinals of the Champions League and the competition remains a priority for the club. This year’s final is at the home of Aguero’s former club Atletico Madrid and in the city where his 10-year-old son Benjamin was born.

“I learned during my years here that the title of the Premier League is always decided at the end,” he added. “There are some exceptions like what happened last season when we won the league a month and a half before the end. But I don’t think this will happen any time soon.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“We made history getting 100 points, it’s a difficult feat, not easy to repeat something like that. In my eight seasons in the league, I remember that six of them were very close until the last weeks.

“Obviously we are in a great shape right now after coming back from a big points disadvantage against Liverpool. We knew that the key game to win was the one we played against them and from that moment we started to narrow the gap. We needed to win for them to see that we were pushing back. Now we are top and in a great position over Liverpool.”

12

Donaldson set for exhibition debut with Braves

Josh Donaldson plans to play in his first spring training game for the Atlanta Braves on Friday night against Philadelphia.

After being slowed by injuries for two seasons, the 33-year-old third baseman signed a $23 million, one-year contract with the Braves and spent the first two weeks of the exhibition season strengthening his legs, feet and toes. He also tried to “to clean up some running technique issues that I’ve had in the past.”cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“It’s been awesome to come out here every day and to be able put some quality work in, and not have to tend to the calf,” he said. “Last year I had some shoulder issues to where I wasn’t really going into the season feeling right.”12

The 2015 AL MVP award winner with Toronto, Donaldson was limited to 113 games in 2017 and 52 games last season, when he was traded from the Blue Jays to Cleveland on Aug. 31.

Donaldson likely will get two plate appearances Friday, then not play Saturday. He doesn’t have a set number of plate appearances in mind for spring training.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“The last week or so I’ve been kind of chomping at the bit,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of conversations and we’re just trying to be smart about everything, check all the boxes off. I’m looking forward to be being able to go out there and play.”

12

Hayward almost costs Celtics, then hits winner

“I just had to get it up the length of the court,” Hayward said. “I was able to finish the play off, but really just making a play.”

He certainly did that, as his twisting, fadeaway bucket put a dagger in the Kings (32-32), who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The loss dropped Sacramento four full games behind the LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff spot.

The Kings have lost six of their past eight games, including three losses by two points (to Boston, the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets) and one in overtime (to the Milwaukee Bucks).

“I’m tired of that s—,” said Hield, who scored 23 points. “It’s life in the NBA, man. It’s hard to win basketball games — especially against good teams.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Boston (40-26) hasn’t always looked like a good team this season, but Wednesday’s win came on the heels of an emphatic 33-point victory over the Warriors on Tuesday — which could be a sign that better days lie ahead for the Celtics.12

Both Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Tuesday’s win that it would require another great effort to beat Sacramento. Sacramento shot 50 percent from the field and 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) from 3-point range to stay in the game and kept the game close throughout the fourth quarter until Hield’s free throws tied things up with 7.6 seconds left.

Boston didn’t have a timeout left, and with Kyrie Irving sitting out with a left thigh contusion, Hayward was the one to take the inbounds pass, bring the ball up the court and — when the rest of Sacramento’s defenders stayed home — went at Hield for what wound up being the game-winning shot.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“You look at the film and you always … when you watch something, you always say, ‘I should have done this, I should have done that.’ He made a fallaway fadeaway,” Hield said. “There’s nothing much you can do about that. I contested it. It’s not like I didn’t contest it. You say pressure him, but sometimes you don’t want to pressure guys way up because they have the lane to go drive full court. I don’t care who you are, you can’t guard nobody full court. I don’t care what fan thinks they can come out here and guard somebody full court. They can’t.

“You can pick and choose your poison. I tried to make it as tough as possible. I could’ve been more aggressive, but he made a tough fadeaway jump shot. Great shot, and hats off to him. It’s a great story for him, the way he’s battled [back] from injury, and so you have to tip your hat to that. Sometimes that’s how it’s going to work.”

12

Combine is huge for biggest names on NFL’s top-ranked defense

General manager Eric DeCosta estimated half of his week at the combine will be devoted to talking to agents, including those who represent middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Eric Weddle.

Mosley and Suggs are unrestricted free agents for the first time in their careers, and Smith and Weddle are potential salary-cap cuts. They have combined for 17 Pro Bowls in their careers, totaled 3,059 snaps last season and built reputations for being core leaders for a defense that became the second in team history to finish atop the league in fewest yards allowed.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Historically, we’ve been a team that’s been built on defense,” DeCosta said. “We take pride in that. I think our fan base takes pride in that. We always want to be the strongest defense we can be, understanding that the salary cap does place parameters on us that aren’t always easy to work with, to keep all your best players. We live in a salary-cap age, so we’ve got to find the right combination of players that we can keep [and] the right combination of players that we can bring back.”

DeCosta expressed a desire to keep Mosley and Suggs. He was not as effusive when addressing Weddle and Smith.12

Mosley, 26, was the Ravens’ leading tackler last season and is Baltimore’s highest-profile free agent this offseason. He is one of two players to record at least 500 tackles, eight sacks and eight interceptions since he entered the NFL in 2014 (Carolina’s Luke Kuechly is the other).

“C.J. is a critical part of our team, a big part of our defense,” DeCosta said. “We hope that we can bring him back next week. We have expectations that we’ll have some progress this week.”

Suggs, 36, is one of the most accomplished pass-rushers in NFL history, ranking first among active players with 132.5 sacks and tying Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal for 13th all time. The big question is how much does Suggs have left. His 34 total tackles were his fewest in a full season since his 2003 rookie campaign, and he managed 1.5 sacks in his final 10 games last season (including the playoff loss to the Chargers).cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I think ‘Sizz’ is definitely a guy we want back,” DeCosta said. “He’s a guy that means a lot to our franchise, as a player, but also as a leader. I would love to have him back next year.”