Minnesota will be hungry to even the series on home ice.

Game 1 between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues was textbook NHL playoffs drama. Spectacular goaltending. Late-game heroics. An overtime win.

We’d love to see more. The problem: The odds of a blowout are high if Game 2 on Friday plays out in a similar fashion.

St. Louis didn’t play well, and they know it. Minnesota will be hungry to even the series on home ice.

On Thursday, it appeared Damian Lillard had predicted his No. 8-seeded Portland Trail Blazers — who snuck into the playoffs in the last week of the season — would knock off the Golden State Warriors, the first team to win 67 games in three straight seasons. Here’s one tweet:

See? What is Lillard supposed to say there — “actually, Warriors in five!” That would be ridiculous. He could have declined from making a prediction, but professional athletes have to be confident. They’re some of the most competitive people in the world, so of course they think they can win.

Lillard wasn’t trying to distract from his team or give the Warriors bulletin board material. (Do the Warriors REALLY need any of that, anyway?) He was asked a question and he answered it. Nothing wrong with that.

So yes, the point is this: It’s cool Lillard is confident, and he should be, and it shouldn’t be a big deal that he thinks that.

In this third quarter example, LeBron and Kyrie Irving execute a high pick and roll forcing 6’1 Teague onto a much-bigger, much-stronger LeBron. The results are exactly what you’d expect:

It’s unreasonable to expect Teague to contain Love and James in the paint, yet he was asked to do so time and time again thanks to Indiana’s defensive scheme. Head coach Nate McMillan had his players switch nearly every time Cleveland ran a pick and roll — an ineffective strategy as Cleveland shot nearly 54 percent from the floor.
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Pacers vs. Cavaliers 2017 live stream: Start time, TV schedule and how to watch NBA playoffs online

He made contact with seven New Orleans defenders, but none brought him down, as he went 67 yards for the game-sealing score. The enormous sound from the Seahawks’ fans in the stadium was such that area seismologists noticed the movement created by jumping, yelling Seahawks fans. Hence, Beast Quake. For any and all reading about this play, turn to Matt Ufford’s story about it
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What happened in the stadium next is the sort of thing that NFL Films molds into the league’s mythology, a battle-sport fought by giants and replayed in slow-motion to Wagnerian string music.

Mens Joey Votto Jersey But I was there, and I’m telling you: the sky ripped open with noise. A roar beyond sound, a physical thing more industrial than human. The earth shook. It really happened.

The No. 2 seed Cavaliers will kick off their postseason against the No. 7 seed Pacers on Saturday afternoon on ABC. Though the Cavaliers are highly favored, this is still one of the most exciting series of the first round given the return of Lance Stephenson to Indiana and the rivalry between Paul George and LeBron James. Even though James is with a new team now, we hope to see bits and pieces from those old Heat-Pacers battles.

The Cavaliers come into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak, while the Pacers went on a five-game win streak to end their season and earn a spot in the playoffs. While momentum may factor into things, the Cavaliers did win their regular season series 3-1 and will look to do more of the the same in the playoffs as they make another run at the NBA Finals.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri is too smart to base such a major decision on one game or one series

While the huge DeRozan contract indicates the Raptors are willing to invest heavily in this core, DeRozan and Lowry are at different stages of their careers. On top of that, an early exit from the playoffs would represent a serious regression. Toronto won 56 games and made the conference finals a year ago. The Raptors claimed 51 games this season, and not making it back to East finals would be a real disappointment. It’s quite different to invest in a rising status quo rather than in one that is declining.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri is too smart to base such a major decision on one game or one series. But the Raptors’ Game 1 woes are microcosms of the team’s repeated failure to grasp its potential at every opportunity. If Ujiri decides that has become part of the roster’s DNA, it’ll be difficult to invest more than $100 million in Lowry this summer.

Just about every game in the playoffs has a lot riding on the results of its first-round series. That’s especially true for the Raptors, as well. Failure here could remake the identity of the team and put an All-Star point guard in play in free agency.

Except it wasn’t enough. In order to make the postseason after the slow start, they couldn’t play like a 95-win team. They had to play like a 100-win team. And it’s extremely difficult for a team that has a 100-win-level roster to lose 10 out of their first 12 games, so we can probably assume the Blue Jays aren’t one of those outliers.

Game Kids Willie Snead Jersey If you spot a 90-win team just two wins out of their first dozen games, they’re suddenly an 83-win team. A 95-win team becomes a 90-win team, which is perilously close to being a team that misses the postseason entirely.
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we’d be hearing a lot more about Philip Rivers

Elite Devon Kennard Jersey Andre Iguodala came alive for 14 crucial points, too. Many of his came in the first half, keeping the game close and refusing to let San Antonio run away with it. They didn’t, thanks to his efforts, and the Warriors firmly closed out the game in the second half.

It feels like we’ve been viewing the Warriors more existentially with each passing week, but those times are over. Oh that’s right. Golden State is still a deadly basketball machine built to truck your favorite team. Oh, guess what. They’ve won nine straight and looked like this without Kevin Durant, whose return is likely imminent.
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But the rest of the Warriors were enough on Wednesday. Stephen Curry had 29 points while Klay Thompson heated up late for 23 of his own. Golden State’s bench may be ragtag, and you can never really know what to expect from them, but they came alive on Wednesday, too. David West had his best game in a Warriors uniform, setting season highs with 22 minutes and 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. West has been a steady part of the rotation of late, but he was also mothballed for a stretch earlier this year. His emergence can mean nothing but good things for the Warriors.

If Peyton Manning wasn’t playing so darn good this year, we’d be hearing a lot more about Philip Rivers … by more, I mean not much at all. He is averaging 328 passing yards on the road this season. His completion percentage of 71.6 puts him on pace for a career high in that category.

Problems in Miami are well documented. And I suspect the dysfunction there, not to mention an offensive line that’s even worse than it was, is just too much to overcome this week.

Detroit holds a massive advantage

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Neither defense has been very good this season, so it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see the game turn into a battle of the offenses. If that is indeed the case, Detroit holds a massive advantage. The Lions average nearly a touchdown more per game than the Steelers and are dangerous on the ground and through the air.

Jimmer Fredette Jersey Not many offenses can keep pace with Detroit in a shootout and nothing about the Steelers’ performance this season says they will be able to.

There’s a railing right above this section that fans will often stand by and watch the game. Fans sitting below this railing started yelling and screaming to security that beer/food was getting spilled on them, and then some girl claimed a guy peed down on them from above. I didn’t see that, and I honestly don’t know how much of the spillage was due to the wind or if it was deliberate. But people were getting PISSED, and at one point, people from the section below started throwing stuff back up at the rail. Security FINALLY got things settled and the people were cleared from that railing.

All the while, a football game was being played again on a field that about 10 percent grass and 90 percent mud. That didn’t stop Josh Treadwell McCown, who’s basically playing like a movie character at this point. After almost 100 years of terrible Bears starting quarterbacks and backups who seem like they’re playing blindfolded, McCown’s performance has been inconceivable. This is a 34-year-old who was coaching high school football in Charlotte when the Bears called. This is a guy who hadn’t started a game since 2008.

we will continue to look for the best over-under bet in Major League Baseball.

Welcome to one of my favorite posts of the year, where I look at the over-under totals of all 30 MLB teams and try to win you fake money. I am pleased to report that, collectively, we have won fake money. Thousands of dollars. This is the last year for this post. Next year, I will introduce an 877 number and buy up 15 minutes of paid content on your favorite sports-talk radio station every week. And I will quit this job, burning every last bridge before I go. Especially with Marc. [Editor’s note: ]

Until then, we will continue to look for the best over-under bet in Major League Baseball.

Last year, I decided that the Cardinals were the best over-under bet for 2017, and I declared that out of all 30 teams — and 60 options — that picking them to win 88 games or more was the safest bet. I also drafted Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha in my fantasy league. These facts are related.

I did not win my over-under choice from last year. You will be shocked to learn that I did not win my fantasy league, either. But if you call 877-BRIS-PIX now …

That’s OK though, because the collective wisdom of crowds saved us. There were 2,885 votes in our poll, and more than 53 percent of you picked a winner. Good job, everybody! That translated to $138,780 in fake winnings, assuming a $100 bet. Wow!

Texans fans, this may not be pretty, but hopefully it will at least be cathartic.

To kick things off, check out the numbers in the bottom right corner. Those are Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average — explained more thoroughly here) ratings for the Texans’ run and pass offense. DVOA is a fantastic measure for understanding how well or poorly a unit is performing since it adjusts for the caliber of opponents they’ve faced. And 26th in passing and 24th in rushing … well, those ain’t good.
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I bet one day his No. 9 in Dallas will be retired, too.

Jones took Troy Aiman No. 1 overall in the 1989 NFL draft and won three Super Bowls with him, but there was something extra special about this 2003 undrafted free agent quarterback from Eastern Illinois, this Tony Romo, this franchise quarterback from the scrap heap. Romo’s teammates saw it, felt it, as they embraced each other throughout the years in remarkable ways.
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Two playoff victories and four playoff losses haunted Romo. The big miscues in big games caused many people to cruelly rip him. He won 78 games and lost 49. He threw for more than 34,000 yards. He won the prestigious 2002 Walter Payton award for humanitarian contributions. But he never won a Super Bowl. Maybe he can never match the Dallas quarterbacking legend of Aikman and Roger Staubach.

But his No. 17 jersey at Eastern Illinois is retired. I bet one day his No. 9 in Dallas will be retired, too.

Williams works in a state that broke for Trump in the 2016 election. His university is a public one that relies on cooperation and funding from the state government, whose legislature is majority Republican. At least some of UNC’s boosters probably support Trump. Williams coaches a roster of players who might have varying political views. He’s got a lot to consider, assuming the White House reaches out.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will visit Trump’s White House this month. The team’s owner and quarterback, Robert Kraft and Tom Brady, have said they’re friends with the president. Several players on New England’s Super Bowl roster have said they’re not going.
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This is going to be a decision point for every sports organization that gets Trump’s invitation. If the Tar Heels do, they’ll be among the next to face it.

NFL roundup: Rahim Moore placed on IR, Mike Pouncey may need gallbladder surgery

The Denver Broncos will be without Rahim Moore for the rest of the regular season Tuesday after the safety underwent emergency surgery. Denver placed Moore on injured reserve with the designation to return, meaning he could potentially return in the playoffs.

Jihad Ward Youth Jersey Moore had surgery after being diagnosed with lateral compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome happens when connective tissue surrounding a muscle begins to swell and restrict blood flow to the muscle. In some cases it can cause nerve and muscle damage. New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had surgery for compartment syndrome in 2010 and went on to miss two games. Moore’s recovery will apparently take longer. He will miss the next eight weeks, putting him on track for a return in the AFC Championship game if the Broncos advance.
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Plain and simple, the Lions let this game get away. After dominating Pittsburgh in the second quarter, the Lions couldn’t do much of anything on offense, defense or special teams in the second half. Yes, the fake field goal was an awful decision in hindsight, but that’s far from the most concerning thing. The fact that the offense couldn’t score any points in the second half and the defense couldn’t stop anything through the air is way more troubling, and that’s why the Lions lost this game.

Next week really is a must-win situation with the 2-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town. The Green Bay Packers will come to Ford Field only four days later, and the Lions can’t afford to let another game they should win turn out to be a loss.

The Lions will travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers in Week 11, while the Steelers will be on the road against the Browns.

Seattle turned in one of its best performances of the season on Sunday

When you work from home, it is very difficult to know when you’re home from work and done for the day. The world tends to telescope down into a fairly narrow focus. I’ve noticed, recently, that I sound — for lack of a better term — just freaking weird to myself for the first few minutes I speak to my wife after she gets home from work. It’s because I haven’t said anything all day. I forget, much more often than I’d like to admit, how to be around other humans. I remember quickly, because this is kind of a basic thing, but it’s jarring how quickly this all atrophies.

Those are, as you might guess, pretty crappy moments, and it’s when I go out and walk around, or get beers with friends, or just run an errand sans headphones and half-listen to my neighborhood’s non-stop howling sidewalk goofstorm. It’s all nicer than it sounds. It’s basically the nicest and most affirmative and basic human thing, actually, this simple interacting with other people. More than that, reminding yourself what people are like, and that they’re each as real as you and everyone else, is an important thing if you’re going to write about things people do.

Seattle turned in one of its best performances of the season on Sunday, but the Seahawks lost cornerback Brandon Browner to a groin injury in the process. Browner limped off the field early in the game and did not return. Head coach Pete Carroll said the team still doesn’t know how extensive the injury is, but Browner could be out “quite a while.”

Walter Thurmond came on to replace Browner with Byron Maxwell playing outside when the Seahawks had their nickel defense on the field. Seattle has some depth at cornerback with Jeremy Lane also on the depth chart. Rookie Tharold Simon is currently on the physically unable to perform list and could be activated.9

Could the Jaguars march to 0-16 come to an end vs. Titans?

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The condition of Washington’s secondary could do wonders for the legend of Nick Foles. On the other hand, this is the NFC East, where secondaries have somehow been made optional. So Washington has a chance to make one of those end zone fades to 5’10 Santana Moss look like the perfect call.

The smart bet is on the Eagles, and Chip Kelly’s offense, to win this one. The over/under is set at 53 points, the highest of the week. Trends haven’t been very favorable for the over on the games with the highest projected point total this season. As a matter of fact, the Eagles haven’t really been prolific scorers at home, topping 30 points just once in four games … they also haven’t covered a spread at home. I think that changes this week.

Don’t look now, but the winless Jacksonville Jaguars hold a six-point lead over the Tennessee Titans at halftime. Could the glorious march to 0-16 come to an end before we even get to Thanksgiving? Even with the six-point Jags lead, Bovada still set the second half line at Titans -7.

The 0-8 Jaguars lead the 4-4 Titans, 13-7, and are in position for their first win since Nov. 25, 2017. That victory, coincidentally, also came against the Titans.

Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for a six-yard touchdown and Josh Scobee hit field goals of 32 and 44 yards, respectively, to build a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick then threw a touchdown to Taylor Thompson at the end of the half to pull the Titans back into the game.

Fitzpatrick is playing place of Jake Locker, who has been forced out of the game with a foot injury.

Game Mens Yogi Berra Jersey The Jacksonville defense has played well, forcing the Titans into three turnovers — two of them by Locker — in the first half. Fitzpatrick has played well in relief, however, going 5-of-5 with a touchdown after replacing Locker.