Lakers’ LeBron James: ‘Can approach every day like a champion’

As LeBron James embarks on his 16th season when the Los Angeles Lakers open their season against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, the three-time champion is imploring Luke Walton to keep him on the court.

“I’m always fresh,” James said after shootaround Thursday morning. “All my coaches want to figure out a way of how to lessen my minutes. I keep telling them I’m strong enough to play most minutes, but they won’t listen to me, so, it’s OK. I like it.”

Earlier this week, Walton said he would play James a “reasonable” amount of minutes this season. Last year, James led the league at 36.9 minutes per game.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

But that doesn’t mean Walton will keep James on the bench too often.11

“LeBron will play a lot of minutes, yes,” Walton said Thursday. “It will be a consistent theme for us this year.”

James will turn 34 in December and played sparingly in the preseason, but Walton said his star hasn’t shown any signs of aging.

“I told him … that his legs seem to be getting younger as training camp goes on,” Walton said. “It normally works the other way. But he’s jumping higher, he’s moving quicker the more we get out there and play. So it’s like I said: There’s one game tonight. We’re obviously excited to be playing regular-season games now, but he looks very good.”

Walton also commented on the mentality James has brought to the Lakers’ young core.

“He’s good,” Walton said. “He’s a pretty serious guy, but there’s moments of laughter and joy mixed in. But he’s got that locked-in look.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

It would appear that for the first time in nearly a decade, James’ team isn’t considered a lock to compete for a championship. But that hasn’t affected his mental approach to the season and striving for a fourth ring.

“It’s just my goal. It’s always been my goal … maybe the last 10 or 11 years where I felt like it’s championships,” James said. “I want to win championships, and putting my mind into that and thinking about it. I think when you have championship habits, you have championship thoughts, and things come into fruition.


Antoine Griezmann brace sees France rally past Germany in Nations League

Antoine Griezmann scored twice as France came back from a goal down to beat Germany 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday.

Germany manager Joachim Low admitted he was feeling pressure over his job following a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday which left them bottom of their Nations League group.

An early goal from the penalty spot gave Germany the lead before 10 minutes when Toni Kroos rolled the ball home past Hugo Lloris after a questionable call for handball on France’s Presnel Kimpembe.

Germany should have been up two minutes later, but Leroy Sane misplaced a cross to Timo Werner on a lightning-fast counter-attack and Lloris was able to come out and cut off the pass.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“We should not be disappointed tonight after such a performance,” said Loew after the match. “We were on the same level with the world champions and we should have scored a second goal in the first half. But the French have a lot of quality and scored two goals from just a handful of chances.”

Kylian Mbappe came closest to scoring an equaliser for France, but Griezmann’s ball over the top of the German defence was just out of the Paris Saint-Germain striker’s reach as the visitors took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room.2

Mbappe had another great chance go begging just after break when he poked a right-footed shot wide of Manuel Neuer’s goal after getting in behind the German defence.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

France were back on level terms just after the hour mark when a well-marked Griezmann was able to redirect a perfect Lucas Hernandez cross over Neuer to make it 1-1.

And France would then take the lead with a controversial penalty of their own, as Griezmann left no doubt from the spot after Mats Hummels was whistled for a harsh foul on Blaise Matuidi in the box.

“This is the difference between a team with a lot of confidence and a team like Germany which lacks some confidence and is maybe not as efficient,” France coach Didier Deschamps told reporters.

“There is nothing better for my team, my players, than this. The best vitamin is victory and tonight we had a difficult game and won against a difficult team.”

The result means the Netherlands and France will be left to battle it out for top spot in League A’s Group 1 with the loss meaning Germany cannot reach the final.


Why Jake DeBrusk is more vital to the Bruins than you might think

It wasn’t the swine flu. Although Jake DeBrusk admits it certainly made for a more compelling tale from the road after the Boston Bruins returned from China.

“I don’t think it was actually swine flu,” he said. “But it felt like swine flu. Very similar. Very awful.”

As the Bruins went through China during the preseason, with games in Shenzhen and Beijing, everything was going through their 21-year-old winger. “We went on a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to the airport and then a flight for 12 hours after that. That was tough.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

He was impressive in stretches last season, with 16 goals and 27 assists in 70 games, playing big minutes with center David Krejci on the team’s second line. He managed 143 shots on goal, fifth among Bruins forwards, and picked up a few votes for the Calder Trophy. But he was a rookie, and with that inexperience came bumps in the road, such as his one assist in six games and five games without a point.12

The role DeBrusk is playing for the Bruins this season is a critical one. His performance as the second-line winger could influence everything from lineup decisions to whether GM Don Sweeney feels the need to go shopping for another winger, as he did in acquiring Rick Nash last season. As DeBrusk’s sophomore campaign gets rolling, it’s that dependability that coach Bruce Cassidy needs to see.

“What we’re looking for is a little more consistency on the nights when the offense isn’t there,” he told ESPN last week.

“Saying that young guys disappear is maybe a little unfair. But sometimes they’re not as dialed in as they need to be. Mentally, they’re not as strong as the older guys, who know there are going to be rainy days. Some rainy weeks and months. So you just have to find a way to contribute. That’s what happens with the younger guys. They have a level of success, and that’s what they want every night, but life doesn’t work that way.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

DeBrusk knows this. That’s why he has sought council on how to handle what he has called “some ups and downs” in his first NHL season. “I listen to the veterans here. [Krejci] was helping me out, saying stuff that he went through. Obviously, he’s played for a while. He understands the game,” DeBrusk said.


Houston’s repeating storyline: After slow start, rally falls short

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Houston Texans’ 0-3 start, safety Tyrann Mathieu said, is how close the team has been to turning its record around.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“[We could be] 3-0,” Mathieu said. “Every game this year we’ve started slow and … we’ve lost three games by 15 points. It’s not like guys are just blowing us out. We’re really beating ourselves.”

In their first three games, the Texans have scored 19 points and had 482 total net yards in the first half. That has jumped to 40 points and 707 total net yards in the second half.

In the locker room after the Texans’ 27-22 loss to the New York Giants, players had a difficult time explaining why this team has started off so slowly before a strong second half.

“If I was a psychic … I could tell you,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “I just do my job.”10

Added Mathieu: “I can’t pinpoint it for you.”

On Sunday, even the defense struggled in the first half, allowing the Giants to come away with points on each of their four first-half drives. On the other side of the ball, the offense managed just two field goals and was 1-of-5 on third down.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Because the Texans couldn’t get the running game going in the first half — an area that had been a highlight in the team’s first two games — Houston had to “basically [abandon]” it and rely on the passing game. Deshaun Watson threw 25 passes in the second half compared to 15 in the first half, and finished 24-of-40 for 385 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Regardless of the reason why the Texans have not been able to get off to a quick start, Mathieu said, “we just have have to play better.”

“We play in phases where we dominate in one period, and the next period we look like we don’t know what we’re doing,” he said. “The leadership, we have to be better. We’ve got to show up with intensity, with passion and just hold everybody accountable.”

That starts next Sunday, when the Texans travel to Indianapolis to face the 1-2 Colts. At 0-3, Houston knows it doesn’t have a choice but to come out swinging to start that game.

“We need to start fast, and we need to finish stronger,” defensive lineman J.J. Watt said. “We figure it out for a little while in the middle, and we need to come up with a solution as to why and how we can get it going early and finish stronger at the end.”


Barcelona hit eight past Huesca with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez braces

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored twice each as La Liga champions Barcelona turned on the style to hammer Huesca 8-2 on Sunday and join Real Madrid as the only teams in the league to win their opening three games.

Top-flight debutants Huesca took a shock early lead in their first league visit to the Nou Camp when Colombian forward Cucho Hernandez deflected the ball in from point-blank range but Messi soon dampened the celebrations of the visiting supporters by cannoning a shot in off the post to level in the 16th.

An own goal from Jorge Pulido gave Barca the lead and Suarez extended it by scoring for the first time in five games in all competitions after the video assistant referee (VAR) overturned an offside call from the linesman.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Huesca’s Alex Gallar pulled one back before half-time to make it 3-2, but any hope of a revival from the visitors was soon killed off by three Barca goals in 11 minutes from Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic and another strike from Messi.7

Jordi Alba capped a brilliant performance to score the seventh after setting up two of the earlier goals, while Suarez added No. 8 with a penalty in stoppage time as Messi turned down the chance to complete a hat trick, offering the spot kick to the Uruguayan instead.

The thrashing lifted Barca above Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga standings on goal difference after three games, with the Catalans scoring 12 and conceding two while Real have netted 10 and conceded twice.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“We were sleeping at the start of the game but their goal helped wake us up and we reacted well,” Suarez said.

“It’s good to be top of the league before the international break, but the best thing about this win is seeing how well we played.”

Barca also put eight goals past Huesca in their last meeting at the Nou Camp in the Copa del Rey in an 8-1 win in 2014, while this was their biggest win in the league since thumping Deportivo La Coruna 8-0 away from home in April, 2016.


No pressure, Jared Goff: Rams are ready for a Super Bowl run

Not to minimize the issue of nail-biting, but if this is what qualifies as a major problem in Goff’s world, he has come a long way in 12 months. This time last year, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft was coming off a frustrating rookie season, confronting an external perception that he might be a bust, and working with a new coaching staff that didn’t initially know what to make of him.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“I would say that we had a lot of confidence in terms of what he could become, but we were really just getting familiar with each other,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “What you did really like about him was, when you look at his history, this is somebody that’s overcome some adversity. And I never sensed that he was fazed by the way the rookie year went.”

He was not, and the result of the Goff/McVay partnership was a stunning 2017 turnaround for both quarterback and franchise. The Rams went 11-5 last year, their first winning season since 2003, and won the NFC West. That may not have been possible if not for Goff’s ability to shrug off negatives.10

“He has a great ability,” Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth said of his young quarterback, “to not let the past be his label.”

Which was great last year, but this year is a different story. Now, for Goff, McVay and the Rams, the pressure is on. They’re not sneaking up on anyone this time. They’re the favorites to repeat as division champs and they’re being hailed as a Super Bowl contender in what looks like a loaded NFC. The question about this year’s Rams is no longer “When will they get it together?” It’s now, “What can they do for an encore?”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“We can’t rest on our laurels,” Rams general manager Les Snead said. “Even after successful seasons, there are going to be those moments where you’re watching the film and throwing your remote. And you can’t let the wins diminish those moments. You have to take a hard look at where we can improve.”

Snead and the front office got after that in a big way, bringing in marquee defensive players such as Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh, trading for speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks and locking up star running back Todd Gurley on a lucrative four-year deal. At this writing, they still hadn’t done the same for defensive superstar Aaron Donald, but they’re working on that. Assuming Donald gets signed and in camp in time for the start of the season, the roster looks primed for big things.


Unlikely duo might patch Indians’ holes in the outfield

Cleveland’s center fielders rank 28th in the majors with a combined .628 OPS, and the right fielders had an aggregate 12 home runs and a .399 slugging percentage entering Tuesday night’s game at Fenway Park. Bradley Zimmer (shoulder) and Tyler Naquin (hip) are recuperating from season-ending surgery, and Lonnie Chisenhall’s hamstring issues have been persistent enough to temper expectations that he’ll be back anytime soon.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

The front office tried to upgrade the product by acquiring Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers at the non-waiver deadline July 31. He lasted a mere six games and 15 at-bats before a life-threatening bacterial infection derailed his season. There’s no timetable for his return.

So what’s a manager to do? Keep running out the names at his disposal, pat a few guys on the fanny and hope the production exceeds the résumés.5

While Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez were going a combined 0-for-8 Tuesday, the Indians got some big contributions from complementary sources. Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a home run, and Greg Allen was strong on both sides of the ball in a 6-3 victory over Boston at Fenway Park.

It was the Indians’ second straight win over the Red Sox, who are in the midst of only their second three-game losing streak this season.

This one was a statement game on behalf of veteran players who keep hanging around for the love of the game and prospects who show flashes of promise through a combination of confidence and opportunity. In the first two games of the series, Cabrera and Allen are a combined 8-for-13 with three home runs.

Cabrera, 34, was one of baseball’s premier hit collectors during his peak. In 2011, he batted .305 with 201 hits and 102 runs scored for the Kansas City Royals. But his reputation took a hit in 2012, when he received a 50-game PED suspension and participated in a fake website scam in an attempt to cover his tracks. He even relinquished his 2012 batting title with the San Francisco Giants because he didn’t want to benefit from an achievement that he considered “tainted.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After stops with the Blue Jays, White Sox and Royals, Cabrera couldn’t get a sniff on the free-agent market last winter. He was all but begging for a job when the Indians signed him to a minor league contract in April.