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Monday, April 23, 2018

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Donovan Mitchell sets Jazz rookie playoff record

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell continues to make a name for himself this season, and now he has a nice record to add to his resume.

Mitchell set a Utah Jazz record for most points by a rookie in a playoff game with the 33 he scored while leading his team to a win in Game 4 against Oklahoma City on Monday night. The 33 points surpasses the 31 from Karl Malone in 1986, which was the previous team rookie record.

Mitchell has been a stud in the postseason for the Jazz. He’s averaging 27.5 points in four playoff games and has his team up 3-1 in the series. This is an increase from the 20.5 points per game he averaged in the regular season, which has him in contention for Rookie of the Year.

Jae Crowder ejected after late-game skirmish

Jae Crowder Steven Adams

Jae Crowder was ejected late in the Utah Jazz’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night for his role in a skirmish.

With under six minutes left in the game and the Jazz up by 20, Russell Westbrook whipped Crowder in the chest with his arm. That led Crowder to be upset and look for Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams came over to try and hold Crowder back. In the process, Crowder tried pushing Anthony away and caught Adams with an inadvertent arm to the face.

Westbrook was called for a foul on the play, while Crowder received a tech and was ejected.

The officials wanted to make sure that the situation didn’t get out of hand considering the bad blood that’s been brewing in the series.

Report: Rick Pitino contacted by Detroit Mercy about head coaching job

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino may be getting an opportunity to land back on his feet in the Horizon League.

Tony Paul of the Detroit News reported on Monday that the former Louisville coach has been contacted by the University of Detroit Mercy about their head coaching vacancy. Paul does add though that the university’s search to fill the position is “all over the map.”

Detroit Mercy is a private Roman Catholic school that produced well-known NBA players such as Dave DeBusschere and Spencer Haywood back in the day as well as lesser-known ones like Willie Green and Ray McCallum in more recent years. They finished last season with a miserable 8-24 record though and fired head coach Bacari Alexander after two years at the helm as a result.

As for Pitino, he has been vocal about his desire to continue coaching but is probably too disgraced to land a job at a bigger university. He was also recently linked to an opening at another mid-major school.

Watch: Mitt Romney taunts Russell Westbrook during playoff game

Mitt Romney Westbrook

Russell Westbrook was most certainly public enemy No. 1 in Salt Lake City on Monday night, and even Mitt Romney got in on the act.

The former presidential candidate was in attendance for Game 4 of the Utah Jazz’s playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After Westbrook picked up his fourth foul late in the second quarter, Romney was among those to taunt the Thunder guard.

Romney, who previously served as governor of Massachusetts, has announced his candidacy for a senate seat in Utah. Taunting one of the Jazz’s postseason enemies will certainly help endear him to the voters. And Westbrook hasn’t exactly helped his popularity in the state with his comments on Ricky Rubio.

Josh Rosen says opponents have used anti-Semitic slurs against him

Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen is opening up about some of the anti-Semitic language that has been directed towards him on the gridiron.

In a lengthy feature by Michael Silver of NFL.com that ran on Monday, Rosen, whose father is Jewish and who identifies as a Jew, revealed that he has heard taunts from opponents based on his heritage.

“I get a lot of Jewish things,” he said. “My nose, particularly. I get, like, ‘Stay the f–k down, you Jewish b—–d. I’m gonna break your f–king nose, you Jew.'”

The 21-year-old sounded largely unfazed by the offensive smack talk though.

“I really like when people try to get in my head,” Rosen continued. “I like away games more than home games. I like silencing crowds; that’s a big thing … When people really get into me, it gets my competitive juices flowing. I love seeing heartbroken fans. Some stadiums, the fans are really close to you, and they’ll call you names: ‘Rosen, go back to your hot tub.’ And when you beat them and get to turn around and wave? It’s the best.”

Rosen, who spent three seasons at UCLA, is now projected to be a high first-round pick in the NFL Draft later this week. To an extent, he has made himself a target for opponents with some of his controversial behavior. But going after somebody on the basis of race, religion, or otherwise is obviously crossing a line.

H/T Bleacher Report

Barry Trotz not ready to talk about Penguins yet

Barry Trotz

The Washington Capitals may have advanced in the playoffs to face the Pittsburgh Penguins next, but Barry Trotz is not ready to talk about that series yet.

Trotz was asked after Monday night’s series-ending 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets about facing Pittsburgh again. He said he didn’t want to go there.

You can understand Trotz’s reaction for a few reasons. First, teams and coaches are entitled to celebrate a series win before thinking about their next opponent. Secondly, facing the Penguins isn’t just any other series.

Washington and Pittsburgh have met in the playoffs the past two years, with the Penguins winning each time. The teams have met 10 times in the playoffs, and only once has Washington won — in 1994.

The Caps have been one of the most beleaguered NHL teams in the postseason. This is yet another chance to finally overcome that.

Houston Astros lose game to Angels on challenge

Yuli Gurriel

Monday night’s Houston Astros-Los Angeles Angels game ended with umpires overturning a call on a challenge that gave the Angels the final out.

The Angels were leading the Astros 2-0 but were in some trouble with runners on first and second with two out. Yuli Gurriel was on second after singling and Alex Bregman was on first after a walk. Keynan Middleton struck out the next two batters and was facing Max Stassi with the game on the line.

Middleton bounced his 0-2 pitch, which was blocked by catcher Martin Maldonado. Both runners tried to advance on the ball in the dirt, and Maldonado recovered and threw to third to get Gurriel. Gurriel was called safe, but it was clear that Maldonado’s throw had beaten him and Luis Valbuena had applied the tag, so the Angels challenged.

It didn’t take long for the umpires to review the play and overturn the call to declare Gurriel out. That ended the game, taking the bat out of Stassi’s hands with a chance to tie the game or take the lead.

Those who say instant replay is bad for baseball should look at this as an example of where it is helpful. It was clear on replay that the umpires had blown the call on the field, so it was good they had a chance to review the play and correct it.

And while many people are criticizing Gurriel for getting thrown out at third, the real big mistake was by Bregman, who ran so far trying to advance that it forced Gurriel to try. Gurriel got a late jump and may have felt pressure behind him to run.

Alabama players troll UCF with national championship rings

Alabama logo

Alabama received their national championship rings and did a little trolling at the expense of the UCF Golden Knights.

On Monday, members of the Crimson Tide football team received their rings for winning this year’s college football national championship. Unsurprisingly, players took to social media to show off their hardware. Tide players Mac Hereford and Isaiah Buggs included shots at UCF in their posts on Twitter, with Hereford tagging UCF in his tweet and Buggs calling Bama “the real” champs.

UCF has embraced the notion they should have been the national champions for last season after going a perfect 13-0. They went to Disney World to celebrate their “championship.” The UCFPD even got a national championship car.

The Golden Knights have faced some backlash for their claim, though. Kirk Herbstreit criticized the school for their national title talk. Alabama’s Damien Harris has already trolled UCF. Now, his teammates are joining in.

James Harden: ‘It’s pretty scary what we’re capable of’

James harden

James Harden shared the same sentiment of nearly all observers following the Houston Rockets’ Game 4 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

The Rockets scored a ridiculous 50 points in the third quarter against Minnesota and won by a blowout 119-100. Keep in mind that it was a 1-point game at the half.

Harden, who had 36 points in the contest, said his Rockets hit a switch.

“We hit the switch — the switch that we’ve been trying to hit from the beginning of the playoffs. On both ends of the floor. It’s pretty scary what we’re capable of when defensively we’re locked in like that and offensively we’ve got it rolling,” Harden told TNT’s Kristen Ledlow.

That’s what everyone who was watching had in mind. Harden had 22 points in the first eight minutes of the third quarter, while he and Chris Paul combined for 37 in the quarter.

The Houston Rockets can be scary when they are on fire. They are Warriors-level scary.

Reggie Miller misspeaks, calls Ricky Rubio ‘Marco’

Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller had a pretty humorous blunder during Monday’s playoff game between Minnesota and Houston.

The TNT analyst accidentally called former Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio “Marco” while providing commentary during Game 4. He had to be corrected by play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan.

As if messing up Ricky Rubio by calling him “Marco” weren’t bad enough, Miller then couldn’t figure out whether Marco Rubio was a senator or governor in Florida. Yes, Reggie, Marco is a senator.

It’s OK, Reggie. It’s not like we haven’t seen this sort of thing several times before.

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