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INDIANAPOLIS — His sixth NBA season has been a slow transition in getting acclimated with a new team, so T.J. Warren admittedly was pressing too much.

On a Sunday night when the Cheap Minnesota Twins Jerseys
had a makeshift lineup with three injured starters sidelined, Warren adjusted well to playing a more prominent role with a season-high 26 points in a 108-95 home win over Chicago.

“It’s definitely been a process,” said Warren, acquired in the off-season after five years with Phoenix. “I’m just trying to figure out how I can fit in and where I can be effective on this team. It’s a whole new system with guys who have been together for like a month and a half now. We’re still learning each other.”

Warren, a 14.4-point scorer with the Suns, was averaging 12.8 points for the Pacers (3-3) after a humbling 3-point effort on 1-of-8 shooting in a Friday home win over Cleveland. But this night the shots were falling from the outset as he scored 14 first-half points to help the Pacers take a 13-point lead at the break.

“It’s more just him trying to find his rhythm and get a feel for where his opportunities are coming,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. “We’re still early. It’s going to take some time with this group getting a feel for each other.”

A Pacers squad already missing its best player — All-Star guard Victor Oladipo has yet to make his season debut in his recovery from knee surgery — was also without forward/centre Myles Turner (ankle) and centre Domantas Sabonis (calf contusion).

That meant McMillan was tinkering with lineups he hadn’t even tried in practice, but they worked as the Pacers won their third straight game and sixth in a row against the Bulls (2-5).

“Guys have to be ready to step up and play when that opportunity presents itself,” McMillan said. “I thought tonight, as a group, we did.”

Point guard Malcom Brogdon had 22 points and seven of the Pacers’ team-high 28 assists.

“Having Victor out, you know the type of player he is as an All-Star, and still being able to win games and put it together, it’s been huge for us,” Brogdon said. “But to have Myles and Domas out and still get this win, it’s huge for our confidence.”

Reserve forward TJ Leaf took advantage of extra minutes as a backup centre with his second career double-double, 13 points and 15 rebounds. The third-year pro had entered with seasonal averages of 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds.
INDIANAPOLIS — Malcolm Brogdon is putting up some big numbers for the Indiana Pacers.

The newcomer filled the box score again Friday night with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists to push the injury-riddled Pacers to their first home win of the season, 102-95 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I love it. This is a basketball city, a basketball state,” Brogdon said. “People show me a lot of love. I’m going to enjoy playing here.”

Especially as victories come. With their defence tightening and the bench finally finding its stride Friday, the Pacers have won two straight games after starting 0-3.

In avenging a 110-99 loss in Cleveland last weekend, Indiana held the Cavaliers to 37% shooting and forced 16 turnovers in an uncharacteristically low-scoring game.

Jeremy Lamb totalled 21 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, and Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 17 rebounds, but it was the second unit that broke open a close game in the fourth quarter.

Reserves accounted for 10 points in a 12-3 run that provided the Pacers an 82-71 advantage, the largest for either side all night. T.J. McConnell, who finished with five points and six assists, faked Collin Sexton into a foul in the lane and completed a three-point play. Rookie centre Goga Bitazde, who finished with 10 points and nine boards and blocked four shots, drained his first 3-pointer during the sequence.

“They told me I’ve got to be ready any time,” Bitazde said. “We’re all for each other. We have good chemistry. We’ve just got to try to keep doing this.”

Indiana outscored the Cavaliers by 15 points in the 25 minutes the 6-foot-11 first-round pick roamed the floor. Bitazde seized his opportunity as Indiana played without the injured All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and starting centre Myles Turner.

“Goga made huge plays,” Lamb said.

Brogdon drained four clutch free throws in the final minute to keep the Cavaliers at bay. Jordan Clarkson, who finished with 20 points and five assists, missed a 3 from the left side that would have brought Cleveland within three points in the final minute.

Brogdon was acquired in a July sign-and-trade deal with Milwaukee, where he played shooting guard and averaged 15.6 points and 4.5 rebounds.

With his new team, at a new position, the fourth-year professional has upped his scoring to 22.6 points per game along with 10.2 assists and 5.8 rebounds.

Sexton had 21 points for the Cavs, who led 26-19 after the first quarter but fell into a 42-37 hole at halftime. Indiana, which shot 41% for the game and missed 22 of 27 3-point tries, was ahead 68-61 entering the final period.

“I thought our bench did a good job in that first half as well as the second lifting us and getting us going.” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “You might have nights like that where your shot’s not falling, and you’re going to need your bench to help you.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Kevin Love had 22 points and 17 boards. … The team announced that general manager Koby Altman signed a “long-term” contract extension. Coach John Beilein reacted by expressing his hope for “a really strong partnership, that we’ve got each other’s backs all the time.”

Pacers: TJ Leaf started at power forward with Sabonis moving to centre in place of Turner, who suffered a sprained right ankle Wednesday in a 118-108 win at Brooklyn. Leaf played eight minutes and did not score. … Indiana outscored Cleveland in the paint 56-38.

REMINISCING

During shootaround, Beilein’s mind wandered back to his days in college basketball when he coached Michigan in Big Ten tournament games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“It seemed like whenever we came into this building we were on the bubble,” he said. “We had to go in here and win one, two or three games to get in the NCAA tournament, so I’ve got fond memories. I love this town. Just the way it’s laid out for fans and basketball, I love coming to Indy.”
The Bulls (2-5), winless in five road games, lamented a lost opportunity against an opponent missing key players.

“We’ve been the short-handed team that went out and scrapped it and junkyard-dogged it and beat teams that maybe we shouldn’t have beaten,” said Bulls coach Jim Boylen. “We haven’t been the team that’s favoured very often. And maybe that’s the lesson we’ve got to learn, that whether you’re favoured or not, or whether they’re hurt or not, you’ve got to bring it.”

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points and Wendell Carter Jr. added 20.

“We’ve got to take advantage of opportunities like this,” said Bulls reserve forward Thaddeus Young, who had 12 points. “I told the team in the postgame meeting this is what we call a trap game. We just didn’t take advantage.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: LaVine joined select company on Friday in his 93rd game in bumping his career point total to 2,020. The only other Bulls to score more than 2,000 points in fewer games were Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (73 games) and Derrick Rose (86), according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Pacers: Rookie reserve centre Goga Bitadze, drafted 18th overall, is making the most of his first extended playing time with nine points against the Bulls after scoring 10 against Cleveland on Friday. Prior to that, he had just two points in two games and did not play in two others.

FAMILIAR NAMES

At one point in the first half, the Cheap Minnesota Twins Jerseys
‘ lineup featured nothing but T.J.’s and Holidays with centre TJ Leaf, forward T.J. Warren, forward T.J. McConnell, guard Justin Holiday and guard Aaron Holiday.

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SAN DIEGO — The Padres introduced their new manager and hinted about old uniform colours they’ll wear in 2020. It’s easy to predict which the team’s weary, patient fans are more excited about.

When Jayce Tingler was presented at a news conference on Thursday, he was wearing the club’s classic brown jersey, which is expected to return next season.

The 38-year-old is a first-time big league manager and takes over a team that last had a winning record in 2010. San Diego has not hired a manager with prior big league experience since Jack McKeon in 1988.

“I may not be perfect,” Tingler said of his lack of experience. “But I have managed a lot of games in my mind.”

Andy Green was fired Sept. 21 after going 274-366 in four seasons.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller’s relationship with Tingler dates to 2015 and their time together with the Texas Rangers.

“I think the easy thing to do sometimes when you make a decision and it doesn’t get the result you’re looking for is going 180 degrees in a different direction,” Preller said. “But we understood what we were looking for and type of person we were looking for.”

Ron Fowler, one of the Padres owners, said he thought the Padres “sucked” and were an “embarrassment” in during the season’s second half. They lost at least 90 games for the fourth straight year and finished 36 games behind the first-place Los Cheap Los Angeles Dodgers Jerseys
in the NL West despite agreeing to a $300 million, 10-year contract with star infielder Manny Machado.

“We’ve got to win now,” Fowler said.
HOUSTON — When the Washington Nationals were down, Anthony Rendon made sure they were never out.

He was Mr. Clutch all October.

Houston starter Zack Greinke was cruising with a one-hit shutout and a 2-0 lead in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night. It would be glib to say that’s exactly where Rendon and the Nats wanted to be, but the way their season turned out, why not?

Rendon stroked a changeup into the left-field Crawford Boxes for a solo home run with one out in the seventh inning, and Washington set off on its fifth, final and most famous comeback in an elimination game this year, a 6-2 victory over the Astros for its first title in the franchise’s 51 seasons.

“We had nothing else to lose when people had written us off,” Rendon said. “We were facing elimination games that people thought that we shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So we just kept on fighting and happened to come out on top.”

Rendon, a free-agent-to-be playing perhaps his final games for Washington, hit .276 (8 for 29) in the Series with two homers and eight RBIs.

The quiet third baseman hit when it mattered most: Rendon had three homers, three doubles and a walk from the sixth inning on in the Nationals’ five elimination games.

“His swing is nearly flawless. His zone control is tremendous. His defence has been lights out,” Astros manager AJ Hinch marveled. “I think because of his obscurity, a little bit behind the scenes. He’s not on these We Play Loud games or these things. He’s under the radar. And yet he’s one of the most impressive superstars in our game.”

After overcoming a 19-31 start to finish second in the NL East and reach the playoffs, Washington trailed Milwaukee 3-1 in the eighth inning of the wild-card game when Rendon walked and scored the go-ahead run as Juan Soto singled.

With the Nats trailing 3-0 in Game 5 of the Division Series, he doubled against Los Cheap Los Angeles Dodgers Jerseys
right-hander Walker Buehler leading off the sixth inning, homered off Clayton Kershaw leading off the eighth, then doubled again and scored on Howie Kendrick’s 10th-inning grand slam.

Rendon’s two-run homer off Will Harris extended the Nationals’ lead to 5-2 in the seventh inning of Game 6 against the Astros, and Rendon added a two-run double in the ninth off Chris Devenski, capping a five-RBI night as Washington overcame a 3-2 Series deficit.

His home run against Greinke made Rendon the first player to homer in three straight games when his team was facing elimination, according to STATS.

He had only plaudits for Greinke.

“He had kept us off balance for the first six, seven innings,” Rendon said. “I just happened to get a ball over the plate in the air.”

Washington manager Dave Martinez viewed the first run as the key to the comeback, the spark the Nationals needed. He paid Rendon the ultimate managerial compliment.

“You look at Rendon, who has no heartbeat,” Martinez said. “He’s just the same guy every day, every play, every second.”
Tingler became the career hits leader at the University of Missouri and was a minor league outfielder for four seasons, never rising above Double-A. He spent the past 14 years with the Rangers, managing in the Dominican Winter League, Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League. He also served as Texas’ minor league co-ordinator, assistant general manager and interim bench coach.

“Look I’m going to make mistakes and my guess is the players are going to make mistakes, so we already have common ground,” Tingler said. “The National League is going to be new to me and I’ll need to learn, need to grow.”

Tingler said not many managers in their initial job inherit a roster with talent such as Manny Machado, first baseman Eric Hosmer, closer Kirby Yates and an exciting young shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Needs include starting pitching.

“It’s a players’ game, and if you don’t have the talent it is very hard,” co-owner Peter Seidler said. “And this hiring is just one piece of the puzzle. But I’m completely confident we got the right guy.”

San Diego has never won a World Series.

“I’ve been around a lot of very good baseball men, and I’m maybe a little bit new school and a lot of bit old school,” Tingler said. “I’m just really interested in working with a staff that can build relationships with players, push players and get the best out of them. If we’re able to do that and double down on some of those fundamentals, we have a chance to be ultra-successful here. I cannot wait to be a part of a group that brings a championship to the city of San Diego.”

Notes: San Diego declined a $2.5 million option on RHP Adam Warren, who gets a $500,000 buyout, and a $2 million option on LHP Aaron Loup, who gets a $200,000 buyout. Both will become free agents.

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CLEVELAND — John Beilein was soaked from his shirt to his socks after an unexpected shower.

Cleveland’s rookie coach had his pro basketball baptism.

Beilein picked up his first NBA win and got doused with water in the locker room by Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and the rest of the Cheap Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys
, who played the kind of ball their rookie coach has been preaching for weeks in a 110-99 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Thompson scored 25 points and made his first career 3-pointer and Love scored 21 and just missed a triple-double as the Cavs opened their 50th season at home with a solid win over a playoff team from last year.

Following the game, Beilein presented with the game ball by general manager Koby Altman before he was ambushed by the Cavs, who jumped from their seats and dumped water bottles over his head.

“Excuse my appearance,” the former Michigan coach said as he sat down for his news conference. “I just took a little bath.”

Beilein, who won at every level in college, said he’ll savour the memento from his first pro victory.

“I’m very fortunate to have a lot of game balls, but this one is going to be pretty special,” the 66-year-old said. “It’s an NBA ball No. 1, but anytime you change jobs like this it’s a very difficult time on your family, on you and everyone — it’s such a transition. It will be special.”

Cavs forward Larry Nance was thrilled for Beilein.

“It was awesome just to see him breathe a nice sigh of relief,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on us, especially the home opener so for him to get this win. First win for a lot of the guys — all the rookies.

The Cavs began their golden anniversary by honouring the club’s past. They brought back some of their legendary players and wore uniforms from the 1990s while taking a look back their history.

The present looked more promising.

Love was much more involved than during an opening-night loss at Orlando on Wednesday, adding 13 rebounds and nine assists. Thompson also had 13 rebounds, Collin Sexton scored 18 and rookie Darius Garland 12, making a key, step-back 3-pointer down the stretch to slow Indiana’s comeback.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 30 and had 10 assists to lead the Pacers.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Markelle Fultz’s first show in Orlando was a big hit.

Fultz had 12 points and six assists, helping the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-85 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

“He was the difference in the game in the second half,” coach Steve Clifford said.

Fultz was selected by Philadelphia with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. The 21-year-old guard played 33 games in two seasons with the 76ers before he was traded to Orlando in February.

He was the first Magic player off the bench with 7:10 left in the first quarter. He made his first four shots.

“Anytime you have a chance to see the ball go in the hoop, the basket just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “It just gave me more confidence. It made me say: ‘Hey, it’s back. I’m good. Let’s just keep moving.’”

Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 21 points and nine rebounds. Evan Fournier scored 16 points.

Kevin Love had 11 points and 18 rebounds for Cleveland, which trailed by as many as 20 points. Collin Sexton and Tristan Thompson each scored 16 points in John Beilein’s first game as Cavs coach.

Darius Garland finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting in his NBA debut. Garland was drafted by Cleveland with the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Fournier scored to give Orlando a 53-33 lead with 2:37 left in the first half, but Cleveland battled back in the third quarter.

Sexton made a 3-pointer and Thompson had two straight buckets to trim the Magic’s lead to 59-54 with 7:31 left.

The Cavaliers were down 73-67 early in the fourth when Terrence Ross and Mo Bamba each made a 3 to help the Magic pull away.

“There were a few key moments when we had wide-open shots and missed them, and they had wide-open shots and made them,” Beilein said. “We get it to five and then all of a sudden it’s 12. Then we get it back to five or six and all of a sudden it’s 12 or 14.”

HOW TO GET BETTER

Beilein figures the Cavaliers will get better just by playing.

“There’s nothing like being in game shape,” Beilein said before the game. “How do you get in game shape? You play games. You’ll improve exponentially once you start playing games, and that’s where the improvement should really spike now.”

REBOUNDING DEFICIENCY

“We did a lot of good things, but the rebounding game was a problem,” Clifford said. “We haven’t rebounded in preseason and we didn’t rebound tonight. And turnovers. We were just really sloppy with the ball and that was really impacting how we play.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Love (18), Larry Nance Jr. (14) and Thompson (11) led Cleveland to a 54-46 rebounding edge. … Garland also had five assists.

Magic: Fultz shot 6 for 12. He missed all three of his 3-point attempts. … The Magic have won five of eight against the Cheap Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys
since losing 17 straight.
The Cavs blitzed the Pacers to open second quarter, going on a 26-4 run. They made seven 3-pointers and outscored Indiana 39-20 in the period to open a 65-48 halftime lead.

“They pretty much did whatever they wanted,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Giving up 39 points, you just can’t have quarters like that. They were the more aggressive team, the scrappier team.”

It was Thompson’s stunning 3-pointer in the first quarter that got the Cavs going.

Thompson, who has been working on his range in practice, hadn’t attempted a 3 since the 2016-17 season, when he pulled up and dropped a 27-footer — his first make from beyond the arc in 642 games.

“No way,” Beilein said with a smile when asked if Thompson will have the green light going forward.

TIP-INS

Pacers: McMillian said injured All-Star G Victor Oladipo continues to progress as he recovers from knee surgery. He’s been scrimmaging, but hasn’t been cleared to play in full-court workouts. … G Jeremy Lamb sat out with a bruised right hip sustained in the season-opening loss to Detroit on Wednesday. He did some drills following shootaround, but was still feeling pain.

Cavaliers: Finalized a four-year, $30.8 million contract extension with F Cedi Osman, who scored just 1 point in 27 minutes. … F John Henson made his Cleveland debut after missing most of last season with a wrist injury sustained while with Milwaukee. Henson had been slowed this season by ankle and groin injuries.

BAD BOARDS

McMillan was unhappy with his team’s rebounding. For the second straight game, the Pacers got pounded inside.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond had 23 rebounds in the opener.

McLEOD HONORED

Love wore a neck tie while warming up before the game to pay tribute to Fred McLeod, the club’s popular broadcaster who died unexpectedly in September. McLeod’s widow, Beth, sent ties from her husband’s collection to select players, coaches and media members to wear for the opener.

The Cavs showed a moving video during the first quarter with highlights from McLeod, who handled play-by-play duties for the Detroit Pistons before coming to the Cavs in 2006. Owner Dan Gilbert narrated the video. He suffered a stroke in May and has been recovering at home.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said he was “tired” after his regular-season debut with the Cheap Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys
, an understandable outcome considering the whirlwind summer that saw the promising guard shipped off to Oklahoma City as part of the series of moves that brought superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George home to Los Angeles.

“I realized how much I’m not in shape,” the former Clipper told reporters with a laugh.

His performance on the court belies his self-deprecating assessment, however, as he looks more like a backcourt star in mid-season form. Through four games, the Toronto native is averaging 23.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks and has quickly emerged as the face of a Thunder team undergoing a teardown and rebuild after a decade of competitiveness.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s quick success in Oklahoma City has been an early highlight in a season that has seen a record 16 Canadian players make opening-day NBA rosters.

He scored a career-high 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting in his debut, a hard-fought 100-95 loss at Utah last Wednesday. That personal best lasted just two days, as he posted 28 points in a 97-85 loss to visiting Washington on Friday. He ended his first week in Oklahoma City by putting up 19 points and nine rebounds in three quarters of work as the Thunder hammered Golden State 120-92.

Gilgeous-Alexander added another 22 points in the Thunder’s 116-112 loss at Houston on Monday, a game that was dominated by the noise around the first meeting between star Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and his former team.

The Thunder are expected to struggle this year after losing George and Westbrook in off-season trades. But they have been surprisingly competitive, with two of their three losses coming in close games on the road against Western Conference playoff contenders.

There are more reasons for encouragement for the Thunder. The team seems to be coalescing quickly despite having three primary ball-handlers who eat up minutes in Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder. While Gilgeous-Alexander is likely the team’s point guard of the future, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has said the Canadian’s competitiveness and unselfishness will allow him to excel off the ball in situations where two, or even three, of Oklahoma City’s primary point guards are deployed.

“He’s very versatile,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said at the Thunder’s media day. “He’s got good size, he’s got good length and I think he can play in a lot of different positions in a lot of different areas on the floor.”

PROMISING START — It’s a small sample size, but rookie guard RJ Barrett has so far been as advertised in New York. The third-overall pick in this year’s draft has averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists and two steals over his first four games. That includes 21 points in his NBA debut, becoming just the second Knick to hit 20 points in his first game, and 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a 105-98 win over Chicago on Monday. The native of Mississauga, Ont., also has shown a flair for opportunistic defence with six steals in a loss to the cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets.
HOUSTON — After Russell Westbrook helped the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in his first meeting against his former team he insisted there weren’t different emotions in facing the guys he played with for so long.

“When I hoop I have no friends,” he said. “On the court they know not to talk to me.”

But as soon as Westbrook finished saying that, he walked right down the hall and bounded into the visitor’s locker room for a reunion with his former teammates.

James Harden scored 40 points and Westbrook scored 21 and fell an assist shy of a triple-double as the Rockets got the 116-112 win.

Some players seemed taken aback to see Westbrook in their locker room and a confused Dennis Schroder asked him what he was doing in there.

Westbrook smiled and said: “Same thing I’ve been doing, coming to check on my homies.”

Westbrook had 12 rebounds and nine assists after notching his 139th triple-double in his last game to pass Magic Johnson for second-most all-time.

A 3-pointer by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 3. Westbrook made 1 of 2 free throws before fouling Nerlens Noel, who made both free throws.

But Harden, who was 21 of 22 from the line, made four free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

It was the first game between these teams since a blockbuster summer trade reunited Westbrook with Harden and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City after the nine-time All-Star failed to help the Rockets to a title in two seasons in Houston.

Paul had 15 points, four assists and five rebounds.

Just before tipoff, Westbrook approached the Thunder bench and hugged coach Billy Donovan before slapping hands and greeting virtually every player on the bench. Westbrook spent the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City where he was the face of the franchise before moving to Houston in the deal the Rockets hope will help bring them their first title since 1995.

Gilgeous-Alexander had 22 points and Schroder added 22 points to lead the Thunder, who fell to 1-3.

Houston used a 39-point third quarter to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“We picked up our defensive intensity,” Harden said. “That’s going to be what gets us over the top, what gets us where we want to go. We got a little lackadaisical in the first half. Second half we picked it up and look at the results.”

The Rockets opened the third quarter with a 17-4 run to erase a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 69-66 lead with about seven minutes left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by Tucker put Houston on top and Westbrook punctuated the run with a dunk before screaming and flexing as he passed the Thunder bench.

PAUL HONORED

The Rockets honoured Paul with a video tribute that recounted some of his Houston highlights during a timeout in the first quarter. Paul got a huge ovation at the end of the video and smiled and waved to the crowd when he was shown on the Jumbotron.

“Extremely grateful,” he said of the tribute. “The fans here were always great to me and my family … some of the people here became like family to me and I try to stay in touch with those who were as genuine as could be.”

TIP-INS

Thunder: Steven Adams went to the locker room in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. He has a bruised left knee. … Oklahoma City made 13 of 35 3-pointers. … The Cheap Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys
attempted just two more free throws than Harden did alone.

Rockets: G/F Gerald Green, who has been out since Oct. 10, had surgery on Monday to repair a broken bone in his left foot and is expected to be out about six months. … Tucker finished with 17 points.HOUSTON — After Russell Westbrook helped the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in his first meeting against his former team he insisted there weren’t different emotions in facing the guys he played with for so long.

“When I hoop I have no friends,” he said. “On the court they know not to talk to me.”

But as soon as Westbrook finished saying that, he walked right down the hall and bounded into the visitor’s locker room for a reunion with his former teammates.

James Harden scored 40 points and Westbrook scored 21 and fell an assist shy of a triple-double as the Rockets got the 116-112 win.

Some players seemed taken aback to see Westbrook in their locker room and a confused Dennis Schroder asked him what he was doing in there.

Westbrook smiled and said: “Same thing I’ve been doing, coming to check on my homies.”

Westbrook had 12 rebounds and nine assists after notching his 139th triple-double in his last game to pass Magic Johnson for second-most all-time.

A 3-pointer by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 seconds left got Oklahoma City within 3. Westbrook made 1 of 2 free throws before fouling Nerlens Noel, who made both free throws.

But Harden, who was 21 of 22 from the line, made four free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

It was the first game between these teams since a blockbuster summer trade reunited Westbrook with Harden and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City after the nine-time All-Star failed to help the Rockets to a title in two seasons in Houston.

Paul had 15 points, four assists and five rebounds.

Just before tipoff, Westbrook approached the Thunder bench and hugged coach Billy Donovan before slapping hands and greeting virtually every player on the bench. Westbrook spent the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City where he was the face of the franchise before moving to Houston in the deal the Rockets hope will help bring them their first title since 1995.

Gilgeous-Alexander had 22 points and Schroder added 22 points to lead the Thunder, who fell to 1-3.

Houston used a 39-point third quarter to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“We picked up our defensive intensity,” Harden said. “That’s going to be what gets us over the top, what gets us where we want to go. We got a little lackadaisical in the first half. Second half we picked it up and look at the results.”

The Rockets opened the third quarter with a 17-4 run to erase a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 69-66 lead with about seven minutes left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by Tucker put Houston on top and Westbrook punctuated the run with a dunk before screaming and flexing as he passed the Thunder bench.

PAUL HONORED

The Rockets honoured Paul with a video tribute that recounted some of his Houston highlights during a timeout in the first quarter. Paul got a huge ovation at the end of the video and smiled and waved to the crowd when he was shown on the Jumbotron.

“Extremely grateful,” he said of the tribute. “The fans here were always great to me and my family … some of the people here became like family to me and I try to stay in touch with those who were as genuine as could be.”

TIP-INS

Thunder: Steven Adams went to the locker room in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. He has a bruised left knee. … Oklahoma City made 13 of 35 3-pointers. … The Cheap Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys
attempted just two more free throws than Harden did alone.

Rockets: G/F Gerald Green, who has been out since Oct. 10, had surgery on Monday to repair a broken bone in his left foot and is expected to be out about six months. … Tucker finished with 17 points.
Barrett has already earned praise from Knicks head coach David Fizdale, who told reporters: “He’s a stud, that’s the only way I can put it he’s a stud.”

If there’s one area where Barrett is not yet a stud, it’s at the free-throw line. He has hit just 44 per cent of his shots from the stripe.

MAKING THE MINUTES COUNT — Clippers rookie Mfiondu Kabengele might not see a ton of playing time this season, but he looked good when given the opportunity late in a 141-122 rout at Golden State on Thursday. Kabengele, from Burlington, Ont., hit his only shot — a three-pointer — and added a rebound and a block in four minutes of playing time. Clippers coach Doc Rivers took notice, and the player known in the locker room as “Fi” was presented with the game ball after the contest.

BOUCHER IS MIA — If it wasn’t clear before the season that Toronto coach Nick Nurse wasn’t sold on his bench this season, his eight-player rotation in the Raptors’ season-opening win over New Orleans was irrefutable proof. As a result, big man Chris Boucher might end up nailed to the end of the bench this year. The Montreal native has shown flashes of real potential at both the NCAA and G League levels but figures to get scarce minutes so long as Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are available.

WHICH WIGGINS? — Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins remains a hard guy to figure out. The native of Vaughan, Ont., got off a troubling start this season, posting a -26 rating in a game the Timberwolves won 127-126 over Brooklyn in overtime. Two games later, he scored 16 points in the final six minutes of the Wolves’ 116-109 win over Miami. A consistently clutch Wiggins will be key for the Timberwolves to build on their surprising 3-0 start.

FROM DOWNTOWN — Cleveland centre Tristan Thompson made his first career thee-pointer in the Cavaliers’ home-opening 110-99 win over Indiana on Saturday. The big man from Brampton, Ont., in his ninth NBA season, has attempted only 11 threes in his career, so he’s probably not going to add perimeter scoring to his offensive repertoire, especially as he’s one of the early league leaders with an average of 16 points in the paint per game.

CHECKING IN — Denver guard Jamal Murray is picking up where he left off after a breakout 2018-19 campaign. The native of Kitchener, Ont., had an average of 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and four assists and a 38.9 per cent success rate from the three-point line heading into Tuesday’s games. … Rookie forward Brandon Clarke is settling in nicely in Memphis, averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Fellow Canadian Dillon Brooks is averaging 11.3 points for the Grizzlies. … Veteran guard Cory Joseph has been seeing less of the floor so far in his first season in Sacramento, averaging 18.5 minutes per game. The native of Pickering, Ont., averaged at least 25 minutes in has last four seasons in Toronto and Indiana.

KEEP AN EYE ON — It will be a family affair Saturday as Oklahoma City hosts the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s set to be the first meeting between Gilgeous-Alexander and his cousin, Pelicans rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

CanaDunks, a weekly notebook on Canadians in the NBA, is published every Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2019.

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BOSTON — Even a walk-off victory on the final day of the season was tinged with disappointment for these Cheap Boston Red Sox Jerseys
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Eduardo Rodriguez missed out on a 20-win season when Boston’s bullpen blew a late lead, but the Red Sox overcame a soaring home run robbery by Stevie Wilkerson to beat the Cheap Baltimore Orioles Jerseys
5-4 Sunday in the regular season finale on Mookie Betts’ ninth-inning dash home.

Betts scored from first on a single by Rafael Devers with no outs. Devers’ hit caromed off shortstop Richie Martin’s glove, causing Wilkerson to hesitate in right. Betts beat a late throw by Wilkerson to give his team a celebratory cap to a frustrating season.

“I think everybody was kind of ready to go. So I just decided to go home,” Betts said.

Wilkerson made a late entry for catch of the year in the eighth. He chased Jackie Bradley Jr.’s fly ball to the edge of the visitors’ bullpen, leaped over the short wall and pulled back Bradley’s would-be homer while nearly tumbling into the seats.

“I knew if I had the space to get to it, I’d have a chance to get it,” Wilkerson said. “I had a good bead on it and just jumped up and grabbed.”

Brandon Workman (10-1) pitched one inning and struck out three to pick up the victory. Dillion Tate (0-2) got the loss for Baltimore (54-108), which was denied its first sweep of the season.

Rodriguez pitched seven innings and was pulled with Boston leading 4-3, putting him in line for a career-high 20th win. But then Baltimore’s Hanser Alberto reached on an error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading off the eighth and scored the tying run when Jonathan Villar singled off Matt Barnes.

“That’s something I can’t control as a pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “I can just go out there and get three outs every time I go to the mound.”

Boston finished 84-78 a year after winning a franchise-record 108 games during the regular season. The Orioles made a six-game improvement from 2018.

The Red Sox are the 10th team since 2000 to win the World Series and not qualify for the post-season the following year.

“It was rough. A lot of ups and downs. We never really got hot,” Betts said. “When that happens, this happens.”

While this season is something for the Orioles to build on, the Red Sox trudge into an off-season that promises to bring several changes.

There will be a new leader in baseball operations following the firing of Dave Dombrowski. All-Star slugger J.D. Martinez must decide whether to exercise a player option. Starter Rick Porcello is a free agent. The person hired will have to deal with a payroll crunch that includes finding room for raises for Betts from $20 million and Jackie Bradley Jr. from $8.55 million. Both are eligible for free agency after the 2020 World Series.
BOSTON — The Baltimore Orioles are finding reason to celebrate late in a season that’s included little to cheer.

Renato Núñez homered in his second straight game, John Means pitched five solid innings despite a rocky start and the Orioles outslugged Boston in a 9-4 win over the Red Sox on Saturday.

“The whole club, they’re playing hard,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Game 161, 50 games out or whatever we are, we just continue to compete. I’m really excited with how we played today. I thought we played with a ton of energy.”

Four home runs certainly helped energize the Orioles, who despite a record of 54-107 have a shot at closing the season by sweeping the defending World Series champions at Fenway Park.

It would be the first — and only — series sweep by the Orioles this season.

“I’m just glad we won the series,” said Richie Martin, one of four Baltimore players to go deep Saturday. “It’s really important that we got the first two games and we’ve got a chance for a sweep, which is pretty cool in Boston. That’s not easy to do.”

DJ Stewart and Trey Mancini also homered for Baltimore, which has won 5 of 8.

Means (12-11) recovered after Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back homers for Boston in the first. The Red Sox didn’t get another hit until the fifth as Means closed the season with victories in his last two starts and finished with a winning record.

“That’s what I was trying to get,” said Means, who allowed three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. “Obviously my stuff wasn’t there, but to get the win is awesome.”

Martin and Stewart drove in two runs apiece and Mancini capped off the day with a solo homer to right in the ninth, his team-high 35th of the season.

Bogaerts hit a two-run homer and Martinez followed with his 36th of the season in the first, when the Red Sox took a 3-2 lead.

Martin’s solo homer in the second tied it and Núñez put Baltimore ahead again in the third with a towering shot over the Green Monster, his second homer of the series and 31st of the season.

Boston loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Branden Kline got out of the jam when Brock Holt grounded into a double play.

Jhoulys Chacín (3-12) lasted just 2 2/3 innings for Boston. He allowed four runs on five hits, struck out three and walked one.

GOOD COMPANY

Bogaerts’ 33 homers match his total of the previous two seasons combined. He hit 10 in 2017 and homered 23 times last year. His 116 RBIs this year are the most for a Boston shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra drove in 120 in 2002.

“That’s who he is. That’s the kid that everybody has grown to love here,” manager Alex Cora said of Bogaerts. “He’s a force at this level and he’s taking pride in a lot of things. To see that kind of effort in Game 161, when everybody knows that we’re going home after the game tomorrow, is great.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

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: RF Anthony Santander missed his fourth straight game. Manager Brandon Hyde said Santander was banged up heading into the series.

Red Sox: LF Andrew Benintendi was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Benintendi hasn’t played since leaving Thursday’s game at Texas in the fourth inning after fouling a pitch off his right calf.
“I had memories here and good times here,” Martinez said. “But it’s the business side of it and I always let (agent) Scott (Boras) handle that. But obviously it would be nice to be back.”

Controlling owner John Henry has also vowed to cut back after having baseball’s highest payroll for two straight seasons. Boston is on track to pay a $13 million luxury tax this year on a payroll of $243 million.

Manager Alex Cora, who ownership said will return for a third season no matter who replaces Dombrowksi, said identifying what went wrong in 2019 isn’t hard to put his finger on.

Cora said inconsistent pitching and an eight-day stretch from July 28 through Aug. 4 that saw Boston lose eight straight games — five to the Yankees and three to the Rays — will gnaw at him.

Boston was eight games out of first place in the AL East before that stretch and 14 1/2 out by the end of it.

The Red Sox hit more home runs and scored more runs than in 2018, but poor baserunning and injuries on the pitching staff doomed the club in close games.

On the mound, starters Chris Sale and David Price made only 25 and 22 starts, respectively, as Sale battled elbow issues and Price dealt with elbow and wrist problems.

Firming up the starting rotation and bullpen are areas that ownership has also said will be addressed this off-season.

Cora has been criticized for the message he gave to his team during spring training that this season was about continuing the system that propelled them to win the title.

He disagrees.

“I was wrong saying continuation? Well maybe the other guys that said ‘turn the page’ and ‘this is a new season’ for 20 years have been wrong too,” Cora said.

SOME CATCH

Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley told reporters that Boston’s eight-time Gold Glove Award-winning right fielder Dwight Evans texted him during the game to say Wilkerson’s robbery was the best catch ever by a right fielder at Fenway Park.

TALKING ATTENDANCE

An announced crowd of 35,427 was on hand for Sunday’s finale at Fenway Park. The Cheap Boston Red Sox Jerseys
averaged 35,748 (2,895,575 total) in 2018. It decreased to an average of 35,518 (2,805,919) in 2019, but that was in 79 games because of two games in London against the Yankees.

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Just as everybody expected when Andrew Wiggins was drafted with the first-overall pick out of Kansas five years ago and traded to the Cheap Minnesota Timberwolves Jerseys
, a young Ontario-born player is helping to lead his Western Conference team to relevance and on the road to becoming a true NBA title contender.

Of course, that team isn’t the T-Wolves, and that Ontario-born player isn’t Wiggins. The team is the Denver Nuggets and the player is Kitchener, Ont.’s Jamal Murray, who was drafted two years later. As the Nuggets and Murray hope to compete for a conference crown this season, the Timberwolves enter the year very much an unknown commodity yet again with a ton of high-end talent, but no guarantees the team will be able to harness it into something tangible in a conference filled with strong teams and virtually no margin for error.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Only two years ago, the T-Wolves signed Wiggins to a maximum five-year deal worth $147.7 million, coming off a season in which the Vaughan, Ont. native averaged a career-high 23.6 points a game and shot .356 from three. While it undoubtedly carried risk, the commitment was given to a player that then-head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau saw as a franchise cornerstone alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the league’s best young bigs, and the recently acquired Jimmy Butler in what Minnesota belived to be a Big 3 that could rival the Golden State Warriors’ dominance in the West.

Just 24 months later, Thibodeau has been fired, a malcontented Butler was traded and the Timberwolves have a single playoff win to show for what should have been an era with the most promise since a Kevin Garnett-led team reached the Western Conference Finals in 2004.

So just what the hell happened here?

Well, it starts with Wiggins. From both a gameplay standpoint and personal chemistry, Wiggins and Butler never clicked. It was to be expected that Wiggins would cede shot attempts to Butler and he did, going from 19.1 a game in 2016-17 to 15.9 in 2017-18. The bounceback last season wasn’t at the expected level when his FGA rose only to 16.6 a night even with Butler out of the picture for most of the year, but the more galling issue has become Wiggins’ efficiency or lack thereof.

Among qualified players last season, Wiggins’ Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was 217th in the NBA at 12.42. Considering that a replacement-level player’s PER is 15.0, Wiggins is getting max money and playing at level below league average. Just below Wiggins last season at 12.41 was former Toronto Raptors project and now Memphis Grizzlies forward Bruno Caboclo. Among small forwards, the next-worst mark from a player on a max deal was Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics, coming off of a horrific leg break, at 15.62.

Looking at win shares, the picture is even bleaker for Wiggins. On the 36-win T-Wolves last season, Towns led the team with 10.4. Wiggins came in at 0.6, 345th in the NBA. Dwight Howard also posted 0.6 last season, but he appeared in nine games. Things aren’t any rosier defensively for Wiggins with his real defensive plus-minus at -1.55, the fourth-worst mark among small forwards in the NBA last season.

Just as Wiggins fell last season, so did the team. A season after their first playoff appearance in 14 years, the Wolves were once again on the outside looking in last April. The team finished dead last in the Northwest for the fourth time in five years and eighth time over the past decade, missing out on the playoffs by 13 games.

“It’s always tough not to be in the playoffs,” Towns told Marc Spears earlier this month. “I live for the playoffs. I have won a lot in my life. And I have expected nothing less in the NBA since day one in training camp as a rookie. … I had a great time in the playoffs, and I learned a lot more things that people don’t get to learn. I learned how to do things to benefit the team as best as possible.”

Now, Wiggins believes he’s done the same after an intense offseason workout regimen and he insists that the best is still yet to come – that his plateauing numbers are a blip and not a trend, something that he will have a chance to prove. With former Houston Rockets executive Gersson Rosas in charge of the front office and Ryan Saunders’ interim label – the son of the late Flip Saunders was elevated from head assistant upon the firing of Thibodeau in January – lifted as head coach, there is the feeling of a tabula rasa in Minneapolis this season where Wiggins will be able to change the narrative around his stagnant career.

“You learn from it,” Wiggins said of last season at team media day in late September, “and it’s nothing but motivation. You go into the summer knowing that you’ve gotta work and people are going to doubt you. People are going to think you lost a step; that you lost all of these things, but all you can focus on is yourself and the fact that I can prove people wrong and get back out there and let people know that I’m still the same player. That’s motivation. It means a lot – it makes me work harder. I want to be great.”

The Timberwolves will settle for good. In Towns, the team has a burgeoning actual, honest-to-goodness superstar who can be mentioned in the same breath as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid. The T-Wolves thought they were drafting the second coming of Garnett in Towns and, thus far, he’s mostly lived up to the hype, posting 24.4/12.4 a year ago, both career bests. The potential for Towns to emerge as a top-five player in the NBA is a very real one.

“We can be as good as we want to be, as long as we stay cohesive, we stay unified and continue to play the game we play on a nightly basis,” Towns told Spears. “… It’s easy to win one game. It’s hard to win most of the games in an 82-game season. Obviously, if we are blessed with health and play basketball the way we know we can play basketball, we will be just fine.”

But fine won’t be good enough in a stacked West. On top of more from Wiggins, they’ll need a healthy Jeff Teague, who was limited to only 42 games last season with an ankle injury. When he did play, the team was 23-19 and Teague averaged a career-high 8.2 assists. For the Minnesota offence to click, the team will need Teague as its quarterback.

The team would also like to see a jump in contribution from Josh Okogie in this second year in the league. The 20th overall selection in 2018, Okogie was a revelation for Nigeria during the FIBA World Cup, leading the team in scoring and looking considerably sharper from beyond the arc than he did in his rookie campaign. His jumper needs work, but he’s emerged as a competent wing defender.

Speaking of defending, Robert Covington appeared in only 22 contests for the team last year after coming over from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Butler trade, so what he’s capable of offering on the defensive side has yet to truly be seen in the Twin Cities. But a healthy Covington is the best overall defender on the team and capable of going up against virtually any position on the court. With a career three-point shooting percentage of .360, Covington is also one of the few deep-ball threats on the team.

In terms of new additions, the Timberwolves did nothing flashy in the off-season, but added a number of potentially useful role players in former Cheap Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys
fan favourite Jake Layman, backup point guard Shabazz Napier, now-journeyman big Noah Vonleh and reserve centre Jordan Bell.

Still, the reality remains it will take nothing short of excellence from the T-Wolves to gain a foothold in a top-heavy conference that features the Warriors, Rockets, Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz, all of whom harbour realistic title aspirations. The Wolves will need to not only be very good, but also fortunate to reach the postseason for just the second time in over a decade and a half. And what if they come short yet again?

If the T-Wolves could find a trade for Wiggins today, they would try to make it happen. For all of his talk of improvement and the intense training he underwent this summer, the chances of the team having already seen the best of the former Jayhawk are very real, making his contract all the more onerous. Should there be a potential exit ramp, it would be something that Minnesota’s management team would be foolish not to explore.

There is, of course, something considerably less palatable that the team might be forced to also consider, perhaps not today or tomorrow, but not far down the road.

In 2007, Garnett wanted a chance to win and was eventually dealt to the Boston Celtics. The trade to acquire Wiggins in 2014 from the Cleveland Cavaliers was one consummated when Kevin Love – the last man earmarked to take over Garnett’s mantle – also sought greener pastures. Historically for the Cheap Minnesota Timberwolves Jerseys
, a dearth of winning has soured its franchise player on staying with the team for the long run. So it would be folly to not consider the possibility that at some point, the same will happen with Towns.

To be clear, there is no hint right now of Towns being unhappy and he is only entering the first season of a five-year, $190 million max deal signed last year. But losing weighs on a player – we’ve seen that in the past and we’ll see it again in the future. While the team in this current construction is by no means in win-now mode, the impetus for big strides forward for the T-Wolves is evident and just because you can’t hear it loudly right now doesn’t mean that a clock isn’t ticking when it comes to Towns’s long-term future.

Though expectations for the Wolves are modest in comparison to their rivals in the Western Conference, the stakes for Wiggins, Towns and the rest of the team are just as high. The future might not be now for the Timberwolves, but there needs to be a way to get there sooner than later.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets knew to be successful this season they needed scoring production from their younger players and strong goaltending.

On Wednesday night, they got both.

Sonny Milano and Alexander Wennberg each scored for the first time this season to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Cheap Dallas Stars Jerseys
3-2.

Columbus (3-3-0) won back-to-back games and pulled to .500 with its eighth consecutive victory over the Stars (1-6-1). Joonis Korpisalo turned away 30 shots to net his third win.

Ben Bishop made 32 saves for Dallas, who have lost four straight.

Zach Werenski got the scoring started at 7:42 of the first, while Wennberg made it 2-0 at 15:01.

Miro Heiskanen cut the lead to 2-1, scoring his second goal of the year for the Stars on a delayed penalty.

Milano gave Columbus insurance at 9:07 of the third with a highlight-reel goal, skating between two defenders and shooting from between his legs to go top shelf over Bishop. Jakob Lilja recorded his first NHL point with the primary assist.

“It was the best angle to get on net, and it went in,” Milano said. “I was thinking maybe to backhand it, but it went through the legs.”
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and Minnesota Wild are both off to slow starts this season, but according to TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun, neither team is considering a coaching change right now.

New Jersey did. however, make a change to their coaching staff on Wednesday, announcing that assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald will join head coach John Hynes’ staff and serve as an assistant coach effective immediately.

#NJDevils news:

Assistant General Manager Tom Fitzgerald will join John Hynes’ staff today and serve in an assistant coach capacity.

— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 16, 2019
The Devils, who added P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds and No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the off-season, are winless through six games (0-4-2), but McKenzie noted Tuesday the blame for the slow start lies beyond just Hynes.

“They’ve not been playing well at all,” McKenzie said on Insider Trading. “So much so that today there was fake Twitter news that the New Jersey Devils had actually fired head coach John Hynes and his entire staff and it was not true at all. And it’s not something that general manager Ray Shero is considering at this time.

“So, listen, there have been so many problems with the Devils in the early going. Their goaltending hasn’t been very good. Their D hasn’t been very good. They’ve had injuries up front and, by the way, Nico Hischier is believed to be day-to-day with an injury. So we’ll see how long he’s going to be out, but maybe not that long. At some point maybe Ray Shero is going to have to look to do something to shore up his lineup. But firing the coach, at this moment in time, is not one of those considerations.”

Hynes, 44, is in his fifth season behind the bench with the Devils. He has a 141-150-43 record since joining the team, reaching the playoffs once – a first-round exit in 2017-18. Prior to joining the Cheap New Jersey Devils Jerseys
, he spent six seasons as head coach of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Wild, meanwhile, dropped to 1-5 with their 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night. The team is coming off a tumultuous off-season which saw general manager Paul Fenton fired after just one season on the job and replaced by Bill Guerin.

“It’s pretty high with new GM Bill Guerin,” LeBrun said of the patience level in Minnesota. “It’s already led to some speculation, obviously, [about] Bruce Boudreau’s future and it makes sense. I mean, he’s a coach that’s been inherited by a new GM. He’s been there awhile. His contract as a coach is done at the end of the year. He has a couple of years tacked onto that as a consultant, but the guy wants to coach. So, all of the elements are there where you understand the speculation.

“But, in speaking with Bill Guerin on Tuesday, he said, ‘Listen, I respect Bruce Boudreau. I’m going to be patient here.’ When he says patient, he means not just with him but with the entire roster before he starts making big changes. To me, I don’t see anything happening there imminently in terms of the head coach.”

Boudreau is in his fourth season as head coach of the Wild, having joined the team after a five-year stint with the Anaheim Ducks. He has a 132-91-28 record with Minnesota and led the team to a postseason berth in each of his first two seasons before missing the playoffs last spring. The 2007-08 Jack Adams Award winner, Boudreau has a 541-283-108 record in 932 games as a head coach with the Washington Capitals, Ducks and Wild.

Along with the Wild, the Dallas Stars are also off to a rough start (1-5-1) in the Central Division, and also have just one win in seven games this season. According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, however, the Stars are looking to a free agent signee to boost their lineup.

“A tough start for the Dallas Stars out of the gate as well. But the Stars organization believes they are a better team than their record clearly indicates,” Dreger said. “There’s no sense of panic coming from management or the coaching staff. In fact, they’re hoping that veteran Corey Perry can inject some competitiveness into the lineup. He could play as early as Wednesday. If not, then Friday. He’ll help bring some edge to a team that needs to push harder and they’re hoping he can help a sluggish power play as well.”

Stars head coach Jim Montgomery in his second season on the job and led the team to the second round of the playoffs last spring.
Columbus coach John Tortorella called the goal “ridiculous.”

“He made a great move to enter the zone, beats a forward at the blue line and there were still two checkers coming on him,” Tortorella said. “It’s a hell of a goal.”

Joe Pavelski scored with 4.5 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late.

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, who have been hindered by poor starts, came out strong, outshooting the Blue Jackets 17-11 in the first. Columbus had a 9-6 shot advantage through a scoreless second period and continued to dominate in the third.

“I thought we had an excellent first period,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “I thought we were skating. I didn’t love our puck management in the second. I thought in the third we were working, trying to tie it up. We gave up too many odd-man rushes. We didn’t do it together enough. There were a lot of positives to build off of.”

Bishop agreed.

“As frustrated as we are, there is still 90% of the season left,” Bishop said. “There is still time to fix this ship, but it needs to be more urgency from everybody. We have to find.a way to get the W. No matter what it is.”

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Joe Girardi’s return to the Major League Baseball coaching ranks could be close at hand.

USA Baseball announced on Wednesday that Girardi has stepped down as manager of the United States to pursue a managerial opportunity in the MLB.

“We are grateful that Joe was a part of Team USA and we appreciate the time and preparation he dedicated to our endeavor of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “On behalf of the organization, we wish him the best of luck as he seeks a manager position in Major League Baseball.

With the hiring of Joe Maddon by the Cheap Los Angeles Angels Jerseys
, there are now seven managerial vacancies in the league.

Three-time World Series champion and former Girardi teammate Scott Brosius takes over as Team USA manager for Girardi.

“Scott Brosius is respected across the baseball industry for his time as both a player and a coach,” Seiler said. “He possesses a tremendous resume and we are proud to have him step in and lead us in the Premier12 tournament. From top to bottom, the coaching staff we assembled boasts a wealth of international playing and coaching experience, and we are confident in their ability to help us achieve the goals we have collectively set for this team.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Joe Maddon is back under the halo.

Maddon agreed to a three-year deal to become the Los Angeles Angels’ manager on Wednesday, reuniting the World Series-winning former manager of the Cheap Chicago Cubs Jerseys
with the organization where he spent the first three decades of his baseball career.

“We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “Every stop he has made throughout his managerial career, he has built a culture that is focused on winning while also allowing his players to thrive. We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series championship.”

The Angels will formally introduce the 65-year-old Maddon at a news conference next week, but he already knows his way around Angel Stadium.

Maddon signed with the Angels as an undrafted catcher in 1975, and he spent the next 31 seasons working at almost every level of the organization as a player, coach and manager. He served as a big league assistant coach under five managers, and he had two stints as the Angels’ interim manager.

He was the Angels’ bench coach alongside manager Mike Scioscia during their championship season in 2002. He left to manage Tampa Bay in 2006 for nine mostly successful seasons, followed by a big-money move to Chicago to make history.

The three-time Manager of the Year left the Cubs by mutual consent last month after they missed the playoffs for the first time in his five-year tenure. He’ll still likely never have to buy a drink in Chicago again because of 2016, when he led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Maddon replaces Brad Ausmus, who was fired after one season when the Angels finished 72-90, their worst record since 1999. Ausmus was abruptly dismissed shortly after Maddon became available, and most observers assumed Angels owner Arte Moreno had his eye on a reunion with Maddon, who was the Angels’ bench coach when Moreno bought the club in 2003.

The Angels also interviewed veteran managers John Farrell and Buck Showalter and Padres hitting coach Johnny Washington for the job, but Maddon was the choice. Maddon was expected to be a valued candidate for other managerial openings around the majors, but he was clearly eager for a reunion.

Maddon kept a home in Long Beach during his 14 seasons away from Anaheim, and he has fond feelings for the organization that gave him his start.

That organization is experiencing hard times: The Angels have endured four straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1970s, and they still haven’t won a playoff game with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on their roster, making just one three-game post-season appearance after winning the AL West in 2014.

The Angels also were rocked this month by revelations about the role of a team employee in procuring opioids for pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room July 1.

The problems didn’t deter Maddon from reuniting with the Angels, where he inherits a roster with Trout as its centerpiece. The probable three-time AL MVP is signed to a 12-year, $426.5 million contract that should keep him in Anaheim for the bulk of his career.

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‘ starting pitching was easily their biggest weakness in 2019, but the rotation will benefit next season from the return of Shohei Ohtani, the two-way star who spent this year solely as a designated hitter while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Eppler also will attempt to be active in the free agent market to supplement a roster finally starting to bear fruit from Eppler’s years of rehabilitating a barren farm system.

Maddon’s managerial career away from Anaheim began with two losing seasons in Tampa Bay, but has been impressive ever since. The Rays made a 31-game improvement and won the AL pennant in 2008, leading to the first of Maddon’s three Manager of the Year awards.

He had five 90-win teams in Tampa Bay and four more in Chicago, including the 103-win Cubs who went on to that historic World Series victory. Maddon has received praise for his combination of a charismatic, old-school baseball personality and a willingness to adapt to the new world of analytics and statistical decision-making.
Retiring after a 15-year playing career in 2003, Girardi became manager of the Florida Marlins in 2006, winning National League Manager of the Year in his first season, but was fired after the season.

He became bench boss of the New York Yankees – the team with whom Girardi won three World Series – in 2008.

Girardi would go on to spend a decade in the Bronx, posting an overall mark of 910-710, reaching the postseason on six occasions and winning the 2009 World Series.

The Yankees chose not to renew Girardi’s contract following the 2017 season.

Among the clubs currently looking for a manager are the Cheap Chicago Cubs Jerseys
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WASHINGTON — Three new players helped the Carolina Hurricanes beat an old nemesis on Saturday night.

Jake Gardiner scored his first goal for his new team in the last minute of overtime, James Reimer debuted by making 33 stops and the Hurricanes rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period for a 3-2 win over the Cheap Washington Capitals Jerseys
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Fellow newcomer Erik Haula added his second goal early in the third to begin the Hurricanes’ second comeback in as many games. In their home opener, Carolina tied it in the third before beating Montreal in a shootout.

Gardiner and Reimer signed free agent deals with Carolina during the off-season, while Haula arrived in a trade from Las Vegas.

“It obviously helps us,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour of the trio’s contributions. “But it’s more them, feeling part of the group. When you can contribute, it’s automatic now. You feel like you’re part of the group. So I think it’s huge for those guys.”

Jaccob Slavin scored Carolina’s game-tying with just over 10 minutes left.

T.J. Oshie scored his second goal of the season for the Capitals. Garnet Hathaway, himself a new arrival to Washington, added his first goal and Braden Holtby made 25 stops.

But the Capitals went 0 for 6 on the power play, including a 4-on-3 advantage in overtime after Jordan Staal was called for hooking Nicklas Backstrom. The end result was another loss to the team that knocked them out of last season’s playoffs in a seven-game, first-round series.

“You can’t go 0 for 6 and then expect to have the outcome you want,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “So then it comes down to looking at why it was happening. I thought their penalty kill worked extremely hard and were able to come out with more puck battles than we were.”

Washington struggled to find a clear look in the overtime power play, coming closest to scoring when a pass deflected off Carolina defender Joel Edmundson’s left skate and struck the post.

Instead, it was Gardiner who ended the game a couple minutes later. He picked up the puck in his own end and skated down the left into a 2-on-1. As Backstrom defended the cross-ice pass, Gardiner rifled a shot that found its way between Holtby and the left post.

“I saw there was a guy trailing, and I had to make a decision whether I was going to pass or shoot,” Gardiner said. “I thought I had a pretty good angle at it.”
NASHVILLE — Roman Josi extended San Jose’s early-season woes.

Josi scored two early goals, and the Nashville Predators beat the Cheap San Jose Sharks Jerseys
5-2 on Tuesday night, dropping San Jose to 0-4.

Kyle Turris, Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro also scored for the Predators, who have won two of three to start the season.

Brent Burns had a goal and an assist and Evander Kane also scored for the struggling Sharks.

“This is a league where you have to combine work ethic with a smart game,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “We made a few glaring mistakes, and the ones we made they stuck in the back of the net. That’s what a good team will do to you.”

Josi opened the scoring early in the first period.

Colton Sissons carried the puck into the San Jose zone. From the right faceoff dot, he found Josi skating through the slot with a pass. Josi beat Sharks goaltender Martin Jones with a wrist shot high to the stick side.

“(Sissons) got it and made a nice move around a defenceman,” Josi said. “I had a lot of space there in the middle because of his moves, so he made a good play to me.”

Josi scored again at 10:25 of the second.

With the Predators on a power play, Forsberg’s attempt from the left faceoff dot hit the shaft of Jones’ stick and then deflected off the post. Josi stepped in front of the Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s clearing attempt and then fired the puck into the vacated net on Jones’ far side.

Kane halved the Predators lead at 15:12 of the second on the power play, deflecting Logan Couture’s shot from above the left faceoff circle past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne for his first of the season.

“When things are not really going your way, you try sometimes to do a little bit too much,” Cheap San Jose Sharks Jerseys
defenceman Erik Karlsson said. “I think that today we had longer periods of time when we were controlling play and we were playing the way that we want. But again, I don’t think that we started the way that we wanted.”

Rinne made 33 saves, while Jones finished with 20.

Kane returned to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for physical abuse of an official during the team’s final preseason game.

Turris gave Nashville another two-goal advantage early in the third with a wrist shot over Jones’ glove off a bank pass from Rocco Grimaldi.

The goal was Turris’ first of the season. He scored seven last season, during which he played in 55 games with two stints on injured reserve.

“It was a big goal at the time,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think that offensive players do feed off of that with confidence. I hope that line continues to produce because I liked them a lot last game and they scored a big goal for us tonight.”

Forsberg found the net at 7:24 of the third, set up by Matt Duchene, who has six assists in three games with Nashville.

“(The Sharks) were playing better, especially in the second part of the second period,” Forsberg said. “I thought we came out OK in the third, but they still had a couple of chances.”

Burns made it 4-2 at 15:37 of the third, and Fabbro added a late empty-netter.

NOTES: Forsberg has points in each of Nashville’s games this season. … Josi has scored twice 10 times but has never posted a hat trick. … Before the game, San Jose announced it had signed former captain C Patrick Marleau to a 1-year contract. He’s expected to meet the Sharks in Chicago before Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks. … Kane’s power-play goal was the Sharks’ first man-advantage goal of the season.
Haula made it 2-1 with 17:24 to play on Carolina’s third power play of the game, finding a spot just in front of Holtby’s crease and redirecting Teuvo Teravainen’s feed beneath his pads.

Slavin evened the game just over seven minutes later, as the Hurricanes converted on a 4-on-2 break. From right to left, Warren Foegele found Jordan Martinook, who then picked out Slavin, who used his hand to help control a bouncing puck before squeezing a low shot past Holtby.

“We’re just a resilient group, and I think that showed in the first game as well,” Slavin said. “It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the night, we got the two points, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

NOTES: Saturday’s game marked the last in a three-game suspension for “inappropriate conduct” for Cheap Washington Capitals Jerseys
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C Evgeny Kuznetsov. In August, the IIHF announced the 27-year-old Russian was suspended four years from international competition after violating the world anti-doping code with a positive test for cocaine. … Alex Ovechkin will throw out the first pitch at Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. … Washington was 15-1-1 in its previous 17 home openers. … After Reimer’s debut for Carolina, Petr Mrazek is expected to make his second start in goal for the Hurricanes on Sunday. … Carolina has scored power-play goals in each of its first two games.

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All other players placed on waivers Monday cleared.
Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Sunday there is no update on Dustin Byfuglien’s status with the regular season set to open this week.

“Nothing really [new] at this point,” Cheveldayoff told NHL.com. “I think it’s still status quo but certainly again, something that we’re keeping tabs on.”

Byfuglien is currently suspended by the Jets while on a leave of absence from the club and, according TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, is believed to be weighing his playing future.

The 34-year-old had four goals and 27 assists in 42 games last season. He missed significant time after suffering a lower-body injury in December and appeared in just 10 games after Dec. 29. Byfuglien returned ahead of the postseason and recorded two goals and eight points in six playoff games.

He is signed through next season at a cap hit of $7.6 million but, as a result of his suspension, will not count against the team’s salary cap until he returns to the Cheap Winnipeg Jets Jerseys
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An eighth-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, Byfuglien is a veteran of 869 NHL games and has 177 goals and 525 points in his career.

Comrie was a restricted free agent this summer and signed a two-year deal with the Jets carrying $700,000 cap hit. The 24-year-old appeared in one game with the Jets last season, allowing five goals.

The 2013 second-round pick posted a 25-20-2 record with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose last season, recording a .917 save percentage and a 2.69 goals-against average.

Dahlstrom, 24, had six assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks last season. The left-hand shot was also drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Blackhawks.

The Swedish blueliner carries a $850,000 cap hit and is signed through next season.