11

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.

1

Usain Bolt scores two goals for Central Coast Mariners in trial game

Playing in a central striking role, he scored his first in the 55th minute to put Central Coast 3-0 up with a powerful left-footed finish after racing onto a Ross McCormack through-ball. He promptly produced his famous lightning bolt celebration.

His second goal came in the 68th minute when he capitalised on a defensive error to tap home from close range.

Bolt had a number of other chances before being substituted in the 75th minute, but he struggled early in the game to maintain possession.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Just under 6,000 people turned up on Friday night at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, and they gave Bolt plenty of support whenever he touched the ball, especially one enthusiastic horn blower.1

“Scoring a goal in your first proper match, the first start and scoring two goals, it was a good feeling,” Bolt told Fox Sports. “Because this is what I’ve worked for. I’ve tried to prove myself — I’ve tried to get better. I think I’ve improved in every area.

“I think my touch is that little bit better. My vision needs to improve a little bit more. I think my running off the ball is where I’ve improved most.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

McCormack added: “The best thing about Usain Bolt is he’s so humble. He’s fitted in well with the lads. From my first day even to where he is now, the transformation is huge.”

Before his double, Bolt wasn’t always convincing, either in his finishing or in holding and distributing possession.

As early as the second minute, he broke clear but wasn’t able to get a shot on goal, as he lost the ball before getting to the penalty area.

In the 23rd minute, he won the ball in the penalty area after losing it, but his close-range shot came off a defender and was comfortably saved.

He came close in the 39th minute when he had his best moment of the first half. The 195cm Jamaican made a strong, well-timed run and jump at a left-wing cross from Tommy Oar, winning an aerial contest and putting a firm header just wide of the post.

12

For a few hours, Mikolas kept Cardinals’ postseason hopes alive

The silver lining in all of this for St. Louis was that it had Mikolas, one of baseball’s breakout performers who dons one of baseball’s breakout mustaches on his upper lip. Mikolas bears the nickname “The Lizard King” which is what The Doors’ Jim Morrison called himself, saying, “I am the Lizard King. I can do anything.”

All the Cardinals needed was one more king-like performance from Mikolas, and they got it. Mikolas cruised through eight innings against the Cubs, allowing only an unearned run in the first. St. Louis scratched out a pair of runs to back him, one those also being of the unearned variety, and escaped with a 2-1 win.

Not bad for an unsung free agent, signed out of Japan last winter, who hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2014. He’s come a long way, literally and figuratively.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“To be the guy that they’re looking to,” Mikolas said. “That’s another dream come true. A lot of hard work and effort.”

Still, under the elimination column, the number remained ‘1.’12

“It’s fun,” Mikolas said. “A lot of intensity. I think that’s why a lot of these guys play baseball, to compete against the best and have a great time. We played a great game, and it was a lot of fun.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mikolas won his 18th game with the performance and lowered his ERA to 2.83. He finishes a perfect 10-0 on the road. In a topsy-turvy season for the Cardinals, Mikolas has been the constant. He reached the 200-inning mark, during which he walked just 29 batters all season. He posted his 20th quality start in 32 outings.

True to form, Mikolas did not walk a batter on Saturday, the 12th time he has done that this season. His rate of 1.3 walks per nine innings is the lowest of all qualifying pitchers in baseball. That, and a well-developed ability to work off the inner part the plate, has allowed him to succeed in the Era of Strikeouts, even though his own whiff rate (6.6 K/9) is well below the big league average.

“Miles is a microcosm of what we look at,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, “That’s consistent competition, and that’s what you’re going to get out of him. That’s what wins. Credit to him. He shows up well-prepared, even-keeled, and goes out and pitches. Just a fantastic job today.”

It was a nice bounce-back performance for St. Louis after Friday’s 8-4 loss, during which St. Louis committed three errors in one of the more ragged efforts of the brief Shildt era. For a time on Saturday, it looked like more of the same, like the Cardinals were doing an ugly face-plant to finish their season.

11

Chargers’ Joey Bosa preaches patience with bruised foot injury

Joey Bosa’s competitive nature perhaps got the best of him regarding his bruised left foot.

Wanting to return to the field as quickly as possible, Bosa pushed through the pain during his rehabilitation work with trainers in August, and in his zest to help his Los Angeles Chargers teammates, apparently he made things worse.

“I was really hard on myself, because I could have prevented this if I wasn’t so set on pushing back,” said Bosa, who is likely out until after the Chargers’ bye week.nike nfl jerseys cheap china “But you live and you learn. It’s a huge learning experience I’ve already taken from it.”

Bosa said he has never had a foot injury before. He missed the first four games of his rookie season in 2016 due to a lingering hamstring strain suffered on his first practice back after a lengthy contract holdout during training camp.11

Bosa also played for the entire 2017 season with a dislocated finger suffered during a Week 6 contest against the Denver Broncos his rookie year. Bosa had surgery to fix the issue this past offseason.

The Ohio State product has not played yet this season and now that he knows the extent of his injury, Bosa said he’s not taking any shortcuts.

“To anybody out there that is upset that I’m not out there, trust me I wish I was out there,” Bosa said. “But if you wanted me to be out for the rest of the season, then I can go play next week. But if you want me to actually play one snap this year at least, then this is what I need to do.”

The Chargers could use him. With Bosa out, the Chargers have posted a 2-5 record, allowing 28 points per game. With Bosa, the Chargers are 13-15, giving up just 21 points a contest.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“There’s some creative things that we’ve done in the past,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, when asked about replacing Bosa’s production. “But I still think that we’ve got to cover better and we’ve got to rush better. They work hand in hand.”

10

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.”

11

Manchester City’s Leroy Sane hails ‘fantastic week’; Sergio Aguero injury doubt

Leroy Sane marked a week to remember with a goal in Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Fulham, days after becoming a father for the first time.

Sane, 23, left the Germany camp for the birth of his daughter, Rio Stella, last week and on Saturday made his first Premier League start of the season, taking just 97 seconds to open the scoring.

“[It was] a fantastic week for me — I became a daddy this week,” Sane told Premier League TV. “It was also a good game today and we won, we played a good game.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“I’m relaxed at the moment, I train hard and when the manager gives me an opportunity, I show him what I can do. The next game on Wednesday is a really important game.”11

The winger was left out of the squad for City’s last game ahead of the international break against Newcastle United, but Pep Guardiola was delighted with his performance as City maintained the pressure on early leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.

“Even in this period when he didn’t play, we never had doubts about Leroy’s quality,” the City boss told a news conference. “He showed us many times in the last years and today he played again so good.

“We cannot forget sometimes this kind of thing happens, he is [young] and sometimes you can be up and down at that age. He has to realise for himself like a professional he has to do. I’m delighted for his performance and [give him] a big compliment.”

City’s own setback was an ankle injury to Sergio Aguero, which saw him replaced in the second half, and Guardiola is unsure whether he will be fit for Wednesday’s Champions League opener against French side Lyon.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“We had a problem with Sergio Aguero, he got injured in the first half and we didn’t want to take a risk,” he said.

“Something in the ankle, when he fell down, he felt something. He finished good the first half and the second half started a little bit uncomfortable. He could play but after 3-0, no risk. Tomorrow we will see how he wakes up [for Lyon].”

City missed a number of chances to win even more comfortably despite David Silva and Raheem Sterling adding to Sane’s strike.

12

No mistake about it: Mystics are headed to first WNBA Finals

It took 20 years, but they are the star-crossed Mystics no more. Washington is going to the WNBA Finals for the first time, thanks to resilience, persistence and — finally — some good breaks going their way.

The Mystics beat the Dream 86-81 in Game 5 of their semifinal series Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion. When they left this building a week ago after a Game 2 loss, the Mystics were feeling upset and worried. Elena Delle Donne had injured her left knee late in that game, and it was hard not to fear the worst.cheap nfl nike jersey

But Tuesday night, Delle Donne sat in the Washington locker room wearing a WNBA Finals hat with the Mystics logo on it. She finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Her knee was elevated with a bag of ice on it, but she was smiling along with the rest of her teammates.12

“Pure joy,” Delle Donne said of her emotions when the buzzer when off. “And just being so proud of this team and what we’ve been able to overcome throughout this season. I’ve said it a lot, but it’s the culture that has gotten us through so much.”

“Culture” used to be the last thing that worked in the Mystics’ favor. This franchise was 3-27 in its inaugural season in 1998, and it had 12 coaches in its first 15 seasons. The Mystics at times were derisively referred to as “the mistakes.”

The Mystics have made the playoffs in five of Thibault’s six seasons. This is his third trip to the WNBA Finals, having made it there in 2004 and 2005 with Connecticut.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Almost every time we’ve been challenged this year, we’ve had a bounce-back,” Thibault said of his team’s mindset. “Tonight, [the Dream] came back and took the lead on us, and the bounce-back came back again. It’s a great accomplishment for our franchise. These players have a lot to be proud of.”

Last year, Delle Donne joined the Mystics via trade, and Kristi Toliver — who had 19 points Tuesday — came as a free agent the year after winning a WNBA title with Los Angeles. Both wanted to be in Washington because it’s close to home. Toliver is from Harrisonburg, Virginia, and went to college at Maryland; Delle Donne is a Delaware native who played for her home state university.

8

Romelu Lukaku gets Manchester United on track but questions persist

It has been a busy and momentous few months for Romelu Lukaku. He was instrumental in Belgium’s advance to the World Cup semifinals, scoring four times and being hailed by Roberto Martinez, his national team’s manager, as the “perfect” striker for his country.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

His two against Burnley in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory have given him three goals in four Premier League games. It was a match that also saw him draw level with the Premier League tally of Didier Drogba — 104 goals, an amount that he achieved 30 matches quicker than the legendary Chelsea forward. He is still only 25 and his goal-scoring feats already look set to keep him in the history books.

And yet, and yet, the questions still persist.8

How can there be any doubts over Lukaku’s quality? Well, an alternative view is that he has already cost them at least one victory so far this season. When the game was scoreless against both Brighton and Tottenham, Lukaku missed two eminently presentable opportunities that would have changed the direction of the game. In both cases, United’s opponents capitalised on Lukaku’s profligacy to take the lead.

Lukaku is often compared to either Drogba or Ruud van Nistelrooy, but the truth is that he is not yet quite like either. Drogba was a player who frequently scored from distance and who was a relentlessly physical presence, whereas Lukaku’s key strength lies in his ability to evade contact — to disappear from his marker’s radar in a crowded penalty area. Lukaku’s game is actually more similar to that of Van Nistelrooy, in terms of his movement and the positions from which he scores, yet the one thing that marks the Dutchman apart from Lukaku is his consistent ruthlessness in front of goal. When it comes to that,Van Nistelrooy is uniquely brutal.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Lukaku has faced similar accusations his career — that he is not at his best in big matches, that he cannot score when his goals are most needed. He could fairly argue there is far more to his game than gracing the scoresheet. Against Japan at the World Cup, having missed a clear header earlier in the game, he was instrumental in Nacer Chadli’s late winner; against Brazil in the quarterfinal, he laid on Kevin de Bruyne’s goal with a superb assist. Yet Lukaku knows that his playmaking is not the primary criterion on which he can and should be judged. To that extent, he must improve.

7

If Paul Pogba wants to go, Manchester United should just let him

The drama surrounding Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United continued to unfold this week, with the midfielder hinting that a move may well be on the cards.

The only future he was prepared to commit to was “right now” before repeating that he was “currently” a United player but “who knows what will happen over the next couple of months.” These certainly aren’t the encouraging words United supporters would hope to hear from their best outfield player. (Deepening the mystery, Pogba on Thursday night, after France’s match against Germany, commented on the exit rumours, saying: “It’s not me who is talking.”)cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

While some fans may be desperate to cling on to him, many will have to acknowledge there’s no point keeping hold of a player who doesn’t want to be there. And there’s no pride in pandering after a want-away player either, especially not for supporters who believe their club is the biggest in the world.7

This isn’t a totally foreign situation for them, though. During the summer of 2008, star man Cristiano Ronaldo was regularly linked with a move to Real Madrid and he was all too happy to encourage the rumours. “Only God knows” was his standard response when quizzed about his United future. “I love to play in white,” he said when interviewed following a Euro 2008 game for Portugal, with a cheeky grin on his face. “The white of the national team,” he added.

Watching your best player flirt with another club and the possibility of leaving is always fairly painful. Pogba’s claim that “I give it my all for United always” is of little comfort, especially when his start to the season has been anticlimactic, with him acknowledging that his attitude wasn’t right in his team’s defeat against Brighton.

But if he wants to go, United should allow him to leave. The medal he won this summer will only add to his astronomical transfer value. Yet the more depressing reality is that it is unlikely United will know how to spend it. If their transfer business following Ronaldo’s sale is anything to go by, as well as the many windows since, there’s small comfort in knowing they can demand a large sum for him.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In the summer, given a choice between the player and manager, many supporters would have picked the former. He was seen as the long-term hope for the club while Jose Mourinho was only ever going to make it until the end of the season, at most. Yet Mourinho has seen his stock rise in recent weeks, with fans in the Stretford End and the away end at Burnley making their feelings known, and the manager reciprocated by entering the pitch to applaud them.

9

Injured team captain David Wright thinks he will be cleared by Mets this year

The 35-year-old third baseman participated in a simulated game before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He faced Anthony Swarzak and Tim Peterson and hit an opposite-field homer to right-center off Peterson for his only hit.

Wright has not played in a major league game since May 27, 2016, due to neck, back and shoulder injuries that required surgery.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think so,” Wright said when asked if he thought the Mets would clear him to play this year. “The communication has been fantastic.”9

Wright hit .171 with two RBIs in 41 at-bats during 12 games of a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment from Aug. 12-29.

“Where he got to at the end of the 20 days was not where we thought he needed to be,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Friday. “Honestly, it does get more difficult to foresee a situation where he could come back to that level.”

Wright intends to have another simulated game on Tuesday, then meet with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, a son of owner Fred Wilpon. Jeff Wilpon watched Saturday’s session.

“The last thing that I want to portray is that there is some sort of rift between the Mets and I. That’s false,” Wright said. “There’s been communication, and I know where they stand and they know where I stand. So the communication, especially recently, has been fantastic, and I look forward to meeting Jeff in the coming days and formulating a game plan from here to the end of September.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

A seven-time All-Star, Wright has salaries of $20 million this year, $15 million next season and $12 million in 2020, the final year of his deal. If the Mets reinstate him from the 60-day disabled list, it would likely diminish the amount of insurance money they could collect on his contract.