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Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Joel Embiid ready to pounce on writer who doubted 76ers

Joel Embiid 76ers

Not a single one of us is safe from Joel Embiid’s troll game, as one prominent media figure learned the hard way on Monday.

NBA writer and Twitter personality Rob Perez (a.k.a. World Wide Wob) tweeted a bold claim before the season began, anticipating that Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers would not surpass their Vegas over-under of 42.5 wins.

Fast-forward roughly seven months later. The Sixers knocked off the Charlotte Hornets on Monday by the final of 108-94 for their 39th victory of the season. With the 43-win mark now very much in striking distance, Embiid decided to remind Perez of his tweet from back in August by liking it.

You can see the tweet for yourself under Embiid’s “likes” section on Twitter.

The Sixers only need to go 4-9 in their remaining 13 regular season games to reach 43 victories, so it looks like Perez can preemptively consider himself the latest victim of Embiid and his amazing memory.

Justin Turner suffers broken wrist after being hit by pitch

Justin Turner

Dodgers fans’ worst nightmare came true: Justin Turner is likely looking at an extended absence.

Turner left Monday night’s spring training game after being hit by a pitch on the wrist.

Turner went in for X-rays, which showed he has a broken wrist.

These types of injuries typically cause players to miss around 8-10 weeks. Freddie Freeman returned from a broken wrist in under seven weeks, which was considered freakishly fast.

Logan Forsythe may see extra time at third base while Turner is out. Chase Utley and Enrique Hernandez could end up filling Forsythe’s spot at second.

Spurs fans give Zaza Pachulia harsh treatment

Zaza Pachulia

Almost a year has passed since his incident with Kawhi Leonard last postseason, but Zaza Pachulia is still Public Enemy No. 1 in San Antonio.

Pachulia’s Golden State Warriors played the Spurs in San Antonio on Monday, and the seven-footer was given quite the brutal treatment by the home crowd. The Mercury News’ Mark Medina detailed how Spurs fans showered Pachulia with far more than the usual boos, jeering him when he touched the ball and even going so far as to laugh and applaud at his in-game missteps.

As hinted at above, Pachulia has been reviled by the San Antonio faithful ever since he appeared to step underneath Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last year’s Western Conference Finals. It also doesn’t help that Leonard has yet to return to form ever since, be it from that injury or from various others.

Granted, the Spurs got the 89-75 victory over the short-handed Warriors on Monday, and Pachulia finished with a mere six points and three rebounds. That might not be enough to appease the local fans though, as they probably would have preferred for Pachulia to never have been let back into the city.

Kirk Cousins’ father throws some shade at Redskins’ front office

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins’ father indirectly threw some shade at the Washington Redskins organization during a recent radio interview.

Don Cousins attended his son’s introductory press conference with the Minnesota Vikings last week. Don was interviewed by 1500 ESPN Radio’s Darren Wolfson after the press conference and was asked about his son finally having some longterm stability. The elder Cousins then began talking about team leadership and how important that is.

“I’m thrilled that he’s part of an organization that, from every indication I get, is a healthy, well-led organization,” Don Cousins told Wolfson. “That was our No. 1 priority. It was the No. 1 thing that we looked for, that we talked about, that we prayed about, was to be a part of an organization that we believed was well-led and was unified from top to bottom, everyone heading in the right direction, together.

“We do believe, as Kirk said just a moment ago, within organizations, no matter what you’re leading, everything rises and falls on leadership. We believe this organization’s well-led.”

Why all the emphasis on proper team leadership from the front office? Well, you may already know that that has long been a sore spot for the Redskins, Kirk’s former team. Almost every description Don gave would be the opposite of what Washington’s front office is like. The organization was plagued with leaks, inconsistency, and a lack of a clear vision. Perhaps nothing demonstrates that more than the way Scot McCloughan was fired.

Finally playing for a team that has complete faith in him will be a big deal for Cousins. It’s no wonder they made that a point of emphasis during free agency.

Draymond Green exits Warriors game with pelvic contusion

Draymond Green

The Golden State Warriors cannot seem to stay healthy.

Draymond Green left Monday night’s Warriors game against the San Antonio Spurs with what the team termed a pelvic contusion. Luckily the X-rays were negative.

Green was nailed in the hip/groin area by Danny Green, who was going up for a layup in the second quarter.

Green did not return after that.

Draymond missed a game last week with a shoulder injury but has since returned to action. The Warriors are without Steph Curry (ankle), Klay Thompson (thumb) and Kevin Durant (ribs). Being without Green makes them hardly resemble Warriors we know.

Tennessee DB Rashaan Gaulden explains his middle finger vs Alabama

Rashaan Gaulden

Players are forced to answer all sorts of questions as they prepare to enter the professional ranks. For Tennessee defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, that meant answering for the middle finger he flipped to Alabama fans during a game in October.

Gaulden was asked about it and gave a pretty reasonable explanation, saying that he’s passionate and hates Alabama.

Gaulden apologized the same day for his gesture. But when you put it into context — Tennessee hadn’t scored a touchdown in several games until that — it’s somewhat understandable to that Gaulden got carried away.

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah views Gaulden as an immediate starter in the NFL.

H/T Rocky Top Talk

Each Sweet 16 team’s most important player

Marvin Bagley

We’re down to 16 teams left vying for the national championship in college basketball, and each one has charted a very different path to get here. In a tournament filled with upsets, stars have emerged in unexpected places, and some teams now have dreams of playing in the Final Four that they might not have had last week.

Here are 16 key players — one for each team — who will have a big say in who makes it to the Elite Eight later this week.

1) Marvin Bagley III, Duke

After Rhode Island was bludgeoned 87-62 by the Blue Devils, Rams coach Dan Hurley remarked that going up against Duke was like facing an NBA team. That’s because Duke has a handful of NBA players, chief among them being Bagley. Out of all the players left in the tournament, the freshman may well have the most ability to take over any game he’s playing in.

Though he has yet to put up one of his notorious double-doubles in the tournament, Bagley has been remarkably consistent. He has scored 22 points in each game so far, adding seven rebounds against Iona and nine against Rhode Island. The Syracuse bigs are going to have a very tough time dealing with him.


Yasmani Grandal to see majority of action at catcher for Dodgers

Yasmani Grandal helmet

Yasmani Grandal is reversing a trend that seemed to be developing at the end of last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Dave Roberts said on Monday that Grandal will get most of the at-bats for the team at catcher in the upcoming season, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin.

Grandal, 29, played in 129 games last season with 482 plate appearances. His OPS was .767, as he still had 27 doubles and 22 home runs, but he fell off late in the season. As Grandal struggled in September, Austin Barnes got a greater share of the action at catcher and became the primary catcher during the playoffs.

Barnes started off the postseason well against Arizona, but he found hits tougher to come by during the World Series. Now after Grandal has hit well in spring training while Barnes has struggled, it looks like Grandal has regained his spot as the team’s primary catcher.

Joe Thomas gets massive hug from LeBron James at Cavs game

Joe Thomas LeBron James

Joe Thomas was honored at Monday night’s Cleveland Cavaliers game and received quite a surprise.

The longtime Cleveland Brown announced his retirement last week. He attended Monday’s Cavs-Bucks game and was honored with a video and standing ovation during a timeout. But then the best surprise of all came when LeBron James went over to give him a hug:

Thomas was thrilled when James tweeted about him after he retired. Imagine how he’ll feel about getting that kind of respect from The King.

Report: Dan Hurley close to becoming UConn coach

Dan Hurley

Dan Hurley is close to becoming the next UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach, according to a report.

Hearst Media in Connecticut’s Jeff Jacobs reported on Monday that UConn is close to landing Hurley.

Despite Jacobs’ report, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman says Hurley is not close to a decision.

The 45-year-old is the head coach at Rhode Island and believed to be the top candidate for both the Pitt and UConn jobs. Goodman says Hurley prefers the UConn job to the Pitt one thanks to the Huskies’ tradition. However, he is expected to meet with Rhode Island first to see what efforts they can make to keep him.

Hurley went 38-23 in two seasons at Wagner before moving to Rhode Island. He just completed his sixth season as head coach of the Rams and has led them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament two years in a row.

Hurley has been mentioned as a candidate for the UConn job for the last two weeks.

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