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Kevin Love Thumb Injury Diagnosed as Torn Ligament; Will Be Ready for Game 3

Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love suffered a partially torn ligament in his thumb in Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN, but he is not expected to miss any time as a result.

Love was seen checking out his hand on the bench in the fourth quarter of Game 2. nfl jerseys wholesale However, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue revealed after the game that “he’s good,” per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports.

The veteran big man had 15 points and eight rebounds in a 100-97 victory that evened the first-round series at one game apiece.

Love has struggled with injuries all year long, most notably missing 21 games with a broken hand.nfl jerseys china  Since coming back, he has also dealt with a tooth injury and concussion symptoms.

This is the second year in a row, and fifth time in 10 career seasons, he has failed to top 60 games played.

When healthy, however, Love remains one of the more versatile big men in the league.nfl wholesale jerseys  He earned his fifth All-Star appearance, including his second in a row, thanks to his effort offensively and on the glass.

He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during the regular season, shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range.

Unfortunately, the 29-year-old’s health could be an issue once again, putting more pressure on a shallow Cavaliers bench. nfl jerseys from china Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. could be called upon to pick up the slack in the low post next to LeBron James if the injury affects Love’s play.

LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers: 15.41

Age: 33

Type of Free Agency: Player Option

2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 27.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 9.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks
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2017-18 Advanced Metrics: 589.57 TPA, 28.6 PER, 13.8 WS, 14.02 RPM Wins
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Age can’t bring LeBron James down.
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He’s the oldest of our top 10 free agents, but he’s been so marvelous for the Cleveland Cavaliers that he’s still the No. nfl hats 1 finisher with room to spare. That’s what happens when you lead the NBA in TPA, trail just James Harden and Anthony Davis in PER (among qualified players), accumulate more win shares than everyone but Harden and sit behind only Harden and Russell Westbrook in RPM Wins.

James might be 33 years old, but he’s doing things he’s never done in his NBA tenure. His rebounding and assist averages are career highs. He’s tracking toward the first 82-game season of his professional life. He’s putting up triple-doubles more frequently than ever. The highlights just won’t stop coming. nfl shirts

Perhaps he’ll decline by the end of his next contract, though even that’s unlikely while he keeps signing short deals with opt-out clauses to maintain financial upside and roster flexibility. That won’t stop every team from coveting his services and understanding that the extreme value he provides in the official nfl football near future will make up for whatever happens on the back end.

Will James stay with the Cavaliers? Will he team up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the Philadelphia 76ers?nfl wholesale  Are we ready to see him thrive alongside Harden and Chris Paul as a member of the Houston Rockets? Could he begin a new era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball?

That’s a conversation mired in uncertainty. This one isn’t.

James is the leading member of this free-agency class. Period. End of story.

Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets: 12.72

Age: 23

Type of Free Agency: Team Option

2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 18.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks
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2017-18 Advanced Metrics: 333.21 TPA, 24.4 PER, 10.3 WS, 12.74 RPM Wins

At this point, you shouldn’t doubt that Nikola Jokic is one of the NBA’s elite centers. He’s carried the Denver Nuggets to the brink of the playoffs in the brutal Western Conference, submits gaudy box-score numbers on a nightly basis and plays better-than-advertised defense. original nike nfl jerseys

Cue Ben Falk of Cleaning the Glass: 51e7123a0c3ef1b2501792b812c05cd0_crop_exact
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“Jokic’s critics are right: he does have real deficiencies. Denver’s eFG% defense has been really bad with Jokic in the game, hasn’t gotten much worse when he sits. The Nuggets have also forced many fewer turnovers with their big man playing.

“But it turns out that those issues are outweighed by the things he does really well: prevent shots at the rim and rebound through size and positioning, all without fouling.”

Falk contains plenty of statistical proof that the defensive concerns surrounding Jokic are largely hyperbolic. But everything can be summarized in a simple statement: The big man struggles at the point of attack and protecting against the shots that do occur at the rim, and we’re not used to paying mind to the areas in which he excels because best nfl jerseys from china  they happen away from the primary action.
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In an attempt to negate the actual flaws, the Denver Nuggets will continue trying to surround him with the right pieces. His free agency isn’t going to be a dramatic affair. The front office will inevitably turn down his team option to avoid letting him hit unrestricted free agency in 2019, then immediately offer him a max contract before he has a chance to sign an offer sheet with a different franchise.

Boom. The 23-year-old center will be locked up throughout the foreseeable future, ready to continue passing both the eye test and any metric-based evaluations.

Omari Spellman (Villanova, PF, Freshman)

NBA draft projection: Nos. 20-50, 2019

Omari Spellman hasn’t done enough to build a solid first-round resu where to buy cheap nfl jerseys me for 2018. But this strong NCAA tournament, plus another big game against Kansas, should help him earn a spot on scouting watch lists entering the summer and 2018-19 season.

He turned heads during Villanova’s win over West Virginia (18 points, eight rebounds) in the Sweet 16, when the 6’9″, 245-pounder drilled four threes and blocked three shots.

Spellman isn’t an exciting athlete, but he packs a unique mix of power, length and foot speed. And he’s made 44.6 percent of his 139 three-point attempts.buy cheap nfl jerseys a7a92ae78420bb6d4af723cadbe8abf4_crop_exact

Regadless of what happens in the Final Four, he’ll need to return to improve his post game (.833 PPP, 55th percentile) and effectiveness as a roll man (.846 PPP, 28th percentile).

But Spellman will wind up drawing more NBA attention for his fit than his talent. And in certain instances for bigs, where can i buy nfl jerseys cheap it’s about checking the right boxes—not all of them.

NBA draft projection: Second round, 2018 or late first round, 2019

No Final Four prospect has more to play for in the draft-stock game than Malik Newman. His resurgence has been the biggest talking point over the past week following his 32-point outburst against Duke.

It was his second 30-point game of the month (Oklahoma State, March 8). Since his first, he’s averaging 22.7 points over a seven-game stretch.

Is this late run meaningful or just a hot streak?where can i buy cheap nfl jerseys  It should look more convincing if he’s able to cap it off with a productive Final Four.

Throughout the season, he’s improved his body and decision-making. buy cheap nfl jerseys china Newman has shot 51.6 percent on two-pointers (up from 40.7 percent at Mississippi State two years ago) and 41.5 percent from three while turning the ball over just 1.8 times per 40 minutes.

The 6’3″ combo has become one of the top pick-and-roll ball-handlers (1.06 PPP, 95th percentile) in the country, both as a scorer and passer (1.30 PPP, 93rd percentile).

Newman didn’t receive enough love after declaring for the draft in 2016. buy cheap authentic nfl jerseys Today, he’s a more mature, sharper player. This next game against Villanova could ultimately determine whether Newman should strike while the iron is hot and declare or return as Kansas’ lead guard for 2018-19.

Udoka Azubuike (Kansas, C, Sophomore)

Udoka Azubuike has improved his body a great deal, but he still doesn’t fit the profile of a modern NBA big man. It won’t mean he can’t carve out a role with his finishing potential and enormous presence in the paint. wholesale cheap nfl jerseys

His 1.77 PPP around the basket ranks No. 1 in the country (minimum 40 possessions). He’s shooting 77.2 percent from the floor, taking only high-percentage dunks and lay-ins off cuts (1.71 PPP, 99th percentile) and pick-and-rolls (1.64 PPP, 99th percentile nfl jerseys wholesale cheap ).d2aeaacdfe293d00d032f1ef04fa8d36_crop_exact

At 7’0″, 280 pounds, Azubuike is an easy-basket target at the rim, though he’s also been a highly efficient low-post scorer, shooting 70.1 percent on those possessions.authentic nfl jerseys cheap wholesale

The big question is whether he can move with NBA bigs or fit into an offense without hurting spacing. He can’t play outside the paint (41.7 percent FT, zero made jumpers) or guard away from the basket. And he isn’t skilled enough to be considered a realistic option to feature from the elbows or short corners.

He’ll still be worth looking at as a potential backup center/ cheap wholesale nfl jerseys interior specialist for a team trying to beef up its front. But it would make sense for Azubuike to return as a junior to continue improving his conditioning, footwork and touch.

The Dynasty That Never Was? NBA Rivals See Cracks in Warriors’ Armor

Remember when the Golden State Warriors were destined to rule the NBA for the foreseeable future and win, to borrow a phrase, “not five, not six, not seven…” championships?

Ahh, such good times.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Forgive the past tense on that, uh, golden visage, but the injury machete that has lopped off the Warriors’ four All-Stars—Steph Curry (sprained knee), Kevin Durant (cracked ribs), Klay Thompson (fractured thumb) and Draymond Green (sore shoulder, china nike nfl jerseys cheap contused pelvis)—has opposing coaches and executives revising their projections for just how long the franchise’s current run of three NBA Finals’ appearances will go. While the majority still consider them the favorite to repeat as champions and win their third title in four years this year, they all included a big if—as in if they’re healthy, including their two-time league MVP, Curry.hi-res-d21a62f6fb7a4198fdadbe78cbcc52a1_crop_north

“This may be the edge Houston needs,” one Western Conference scout said. “If [Curry] is not 100 percent, I mean.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

While Durant and Green returned Thursday night, and Thompson is expected back sometime in the next week or so, the length of Curry’s absence has yet to be determined—and considering how he wasn’t quite the same two years ago when he resumed playing after a less severely sprained knee ligament, it’s fair to question if he can come anywhere close to that 100 percent mark this spring.

“I would still favor Golden State, but their depth will be challenged,”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping  said an Eastern Conference executive with a championship on his resume. “I don’t care what era you’re talking about, it requires a certain amount of luck when it comes to health. They’ve had that over the last few years. The law of averages has reared its head a little right now.”

As for how long they will remain the team to beat moving forward, the same executive believes what we’ve seen this season—stretches of indifferent effort along with the injuries—indicates they are beginning their inexorable slide, at least as presently constituted.nfl cheap jerseys nike If they manage to snare another championship this season, he sees them capturing, at most, one more beyond that.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I’m Still the NBA’s MVP Favorite

Everything was in place. It was going to be the year of Giannis.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Through his first 10 games, Giannis Antetokounmpo was on a tear and the prohibitive favorite to win MVP. Averaging roughly 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while shooting 60 percent from the field, the Greek Freak was stuffing the stat sheet and one-upping himself with highlight after never-before-seen highlight on a nightly basis.765411d17725169d71089726a3114703_crop_north

After a 32-point effort on 14-of-18 shooting in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 116-107 win over the Golden State Warriors, buy nike nfl jerseys cheap there’s no doubt that Antetokounmpo remains one of the league’s most dominant and valuable players. James Harden and LeBron James may have overtaken him in the public narrative, but he certainly doesn’t think things have changed.

“I still am,” Antetokounmpo told Bleacher Report when asked if he is still the MVP favorite. To be sure, that’s his opinion, yet he acknowledges the public narrative. “I’m one of the best players in the league. We’re going to the playoffs. I’m still in the discussion. I might not be the favorite anymore, but I’m still in the discussion. That’s how I feel.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Bucks forward Jabari Parker added: “He’s the MVP in all our books. nfl nike jersey cheap He’s a great teammate, and we love what he does for us.”

Things have leveled out a little bit. His season numbers normalized to a cool 27-10-5, and his field-goal percentage dipped to 53. He was bearing a Westbrookian load at 34.7 percent usage through his first 10 games, and it might have been difficult to keep up,cheap nike nfl jersey  but that’s hardly reason enough to kill off his MVP case.

“I thought he was too, s–t,” Warriors forward Jordan Bell said when asked if he thought Antetokounmpo would be the MVP. “I don’t think the hype died down. I guess it did, but he’s still killing it. His numbers are the exact same.”

Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors

In February, ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton went through a detailed statistical analysis of the Rockets, attempting to determine whether they’d become the biggest threat to the Warriors’ longstanding dominance. Here’s the key takeaway:authentic nfl jerseys cheap

“While the Warriors should probably still be favored in a playoff matchup because of their potential to tighten up their rotation and play harder when necessary, the gap between them and the Rockets no longer looks nearly as large as we expected before the season.nfl jerseys for cheap  By virtue of their success at full strength, the Rockets have played their way into serious championship contention.”

The gap has closed since Pelton posted that article Feb. 27. While the Warriors have suffered numerous key injuries and continued to hemorrhage points on the defensive end, the Rockets have kept rolling toward the NBA’s best record. Since Feb. 28, Houston’s 9.6 net rating literally triples Golden State’s 3.2.38d293d6cecab58641b36fe098fd9581_crop_exact

Could that change when the Dubs are once again at full strength? Sure. Will it matter that they can “tighten up their rotation and play harder” cheap nfl jerseys during the Western Conference Finals? Of course.

But the Rockets can rely on their starters for more production, too. They’ll also have the luxury of continuity while Golden State attempts to rejigger the offense upon Stephen Curry’s return to the lineup. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll get to play the decisive Game 7 in front of their hometown cheap nfl authentic jerseys faithful at the Toyota Center, where they’re 30-6 with a 9.0 net rating.

This is Houston’s season. The 2017-18 campaign presents a chance for James Harden to shatter the narrative that his performances decline in the postseason, and he’s never before played better basketball. Chris Paul finally gets to go both to and beyond the Western Conference Finals.nfl jersey cheap

Though it’s worth noting you can easily pull a surplus of statistics that support either of these squads, a feeling can sometimes supersede everything else. And this year, Houston has inspired a lot of positive feelings.

Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers

Talented and dangerous as the 76ers may be, they’re going to nfl online store  run into the same problem that first stopped the Cavaliers in these predictions: The Raptors are just…better.

So much of the analysis of the No. 1 seed centers on the team’s depth. Fred VanVleet has been excellent off the pine. Ditto for Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, Pascal Siakam and virtually nfl jersys everyone under head coach Dwane Casey’s purview who happens to begin games on the bench. Toronto’s 9.5 net rating from its second-string players easily outpaces the mark earned by the No. 2 Houston Rockets (7.9). The Sixers, meanwhile, are down at No. 18 (minus-2.7).10a7f8913e2ae879252ca4f1c22e0052_crop_exact

But as illuminating as that focus can be, it also prevents the starting lineup from receiving due credit.the nfl store

If you’re worried that the Raptors will have to shrink their rotation in the postseason, as so many teams often do, don’t be. Not only should they be able to keep relying on a bench that’s taken down plenty of opposing outfits comprised solely of starters, but their opening bunch has been deadly in its own right. Take a gander at the top net ratings for starting lineups in the Eastern Conference this season:

Philadelphia 76ers, 7.8
Toronto Raptors, 6.8
Boston Celtics, 6.6
Indiana Pacers, 3.9
Milwaukee Bucks, 3.4

No, it’s not a coincidence that the two top marks belong to cheap nfl merchandise our representatives in this penultimate round of the playoffs.

But Toronto has a number of advantages that allow it to make up for the deficit. nike nfl hats Given its playoff experience, the fact its top players have gone through a full professional season before, the high-powered bench and the ability to win nfl official store games on either end of the floor, it should put an end to the upstart Sixers’ deep run.

2001-02 Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins currently possesses the NBA’s best combination of overwhelming physicality and pirouetting finesse, but he still can’t hold a candle to the exploits of prime Shaquille O’Neal. The Los Angeles Lakers center was an absolute monster around the turn nfl replica jersey of the century, throwing opponents for loops in every manner imaginable.

How important was O’Neal to the Purple and Gold?

Well, the team was loaded with talent, featuring O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry leading the charge. It went 58-24 during the regular season, then charged through the playoffs, bookending hard-fought victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings with sweeps of the Portland Trail Blazers (opening round) and New Jersey Nets (NBA Finals).nfl replica jerseys china hi-res-2a839d64c8fe2fb29297d624a604f2d0_crop_exact

And yet, the team could still only muster a meager 1.4 net rating when its bruising big man was pondering new nicknames on the pine. That number skyrocketed to 11.3 when O’Neal played, and his on/off differential (9.9) was rather easily Los Angeles’ replica nfl jerseys wholesale best mark. Bryant, by contrast, saw the team improve by two points per 100 possessions when he wasn’t playing.

Despite operating on the wrong end of 30, Larry Bird shot 52.7 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from three-point territory and 91.6 percent from the charity stripe for the Boston Celtics in 1987-88. And these marks weren’t coming with limited volume, as he took 3.1 attempts per game from beyond the arc and still found time to average six trips to the stripe.

Bird enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the best shooters in NBA history, but this was his coup de grace. He’d never averaged more points (nor did he again), and that career high was established while he spent every game with an unconscious shooting touch. replica nfl jerseys china

This season couldn’t quite stack up with his MVP-winning efforts in 1984, ’85 and ’86, but that was largely due to declining defense as back injuries started to factor into his game. His scoring was still top-notch—especially when you remember that many of the team’s key pieces were starting to show signs of wear and tear, no longer able to draw quite as much defensive attention away from the Indiana State product.

Bird had four other campaigns that didn’t result in trophy ceremonies but replica nfl jersey still deserve historical credit. None can touch this one.