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Monday, October 23, 2017

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Jimmy Butler did not want Ricky Rubio in Timberwolves’ locker room

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler had no interest in fraternizing with a former Timberwolves player after facing him on Saturday night.

The Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda reported on Saturday that Butler told authorities not to let Ricky Rubio into Minnesota’s locker room if he tried to visit following a game between the T-Wolves and Rubio’s new team, the Utah Jazz.

Minnesota won the game 100-97. Rubio had a fine statistical line against his former team and is trying to show what he can do in a bigger role. But Utah is his team now, and the Timberwolves, who drafted him No. 5 overall in 2009 have a new culture. Butler clearly doesn’t want the two things mixing now. You have to respect his attitude.

Le’Veon Bell says Vontaze Burfict ‘gotta go’ after dirty hit

Le'Veon Bell

Vontaze Burfict’s latest dirty play against the Steelers is not sitting well with many of Pittsburgh’s players.

Burfict was seen kicking Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix in the face early in the Cincinnati Bengals’ loss to their rivals on Sunday.

The play got some attention during the game but even more afterwards.

Running back Le’Veon Bell said that Burfict’s actions did not constitute a “respectable play.”

Bell also commented on the video via Twitter, saying Burfict “gotta go” for that play.

Burfict has a long history of dirty plays, particularly against the Steelers. He is likely to face discipline from the league.

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7

Falcons Patriots

NFL Week 7 offered another nasty spate of injuries, a few blowouts, and some remarkable performances by numerous players. As usual, though, there were a good number of players who didn’t really show up when their teams needed them to. Be it an unexpected change in plans or simply being outclassed by their opponents, a list of stars and units with high expectations simply left a lot to be desired in Week 7.

Here’s a list of 15 big disappointments from this week’s slate of NFL games.

Atlanta Falcons

Few teams had more motivation entering their Week 7 game than the Atlanta Falcons. After blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl last season, the Falcons surely wanted revenge on the Patriots. Instead, they served up a stinker in Foxboro.

Facing what’s been one of the worst defenses in the league this season, the Falcons were shutout nearly the entire game and managed just seven points, which were scored with only around four minutes left in the contest. Atlanta didn’t commit any turnovers, but they found other ways to shoot themselves in the foot. They had one field goal blocked, missed another, and they failed to punch things in from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were only 2-for-9 on third-down conversions and 1-for-3 on fourth-down conversions. This was not their finest moment.

Vontaze Burfict, LB, Bengals

Burfict’s statline was unremarkable, as he contributed four tackles but little else. The real issue is his conduct. The Bengals linebacker was spotted kicking Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix in the head as a play came to a halt. This would be bad enough by itself, but it’s even worse when you consider who did it. This is Burfict — one of the league’s dirtiest players — who should really know better by now. He doesn’t, and he’ll probably never learn, and the NFL will probably want to speak with him about this — with good reason.

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Andrew Wiggins did not think his game-winning shot was going in

The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday 115-113 in one heck of a finish.

First Carmelo Anthony hit a 3-pointer to put the Thunder up by a point with under five seconds to go. Then it was Andrew Wiggins who responded by banking in a buzzer-beater to give Minnesota a 2-point win.

After the game, Wiggins said he didn’t think his shot was going in when he released the ball.

“I didn’t. I didn’t,” Wiggins said when asked if he thought it was going in.

Wiggins and teammate Ricky Rubio then celebrated on social media.

Wiggins had 27 points in the game, which tied with teammate Karl-Anthony Towns for the team lead.

Report: Colts S Malik Hooker suffers torn ACL, MCL

Malik Hooker

Indianapolis Colts rookie Malik Hooker is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL and MCL on Sunday, according to a report.

The Colts safety took a shot to his knee on a blindside block during the second quarter of his team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars:

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Hooker is out for the season due to his knee injury. Hooker seemed to confirm that with a tweet:

Hooker was drafted in the first round, No. 15 overall by Indy out of Ohio State. He didn’t take long to begin making an impact for the Colts. He had interceptions in three straight games this season and recorded 22 tackles this year.

NBC changes camera angle for Patriots-Falcons game due to fog

Patriots fog

NBC changed camera angles for their telecast of Sunday night’s New England Patriots-Atlanta Falcons game due to the fog.

Those watching the Super Bowl rematch on TV noticed that the picture in the game was difficult to see because of the fog. Around the third quarter, NBC announcer Al Michaels said that the they were switching to field-level camera angles so that viewers could get a better picture of the game.

“The fog is so thick we can’t use our upstairs cameras. You’re all better off seeing it from down low,” Michaels said.

Here’s how bad it was to start the third quarter:

And here’s how tough it was to see from the top of the stadium:

That made it tough for media members to see the field.

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Jake Arrieta has shaved and looks barely recognizable

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta has gone back to a clean-shaved look, and he is barely recognizable.

Arrieta’s wife Brittany shared a photo on Twitter Sunday of her with her husband. The pitcher looks completely different.

Compare that to this photo Brittany shared a week ago after the Chicago Cubs had beaten the Washington Nationals in the NLDS to advance to the NLCS.

Arrieta will be a free agent this offseason and could be one of the most interesting cases. He won the Cy Young award with an absurd 2015 season where he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. He’s still a strong pitcher, but those expecting him to replicate that may be left disappointed.

CC Sabathia hoping to return to Yankees in 2018

CC Sabathia is keeping his fingers crossed that Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to the Houston Astros wasn’t his final game with the New York Yankees.

After Sabathia took the season-ending defeat in Game 7 of the ALCS, he told reporters that he was hoping to return to the Yankees in 2018.

“I want to see this through,” said the veteran lefty, per Ashley Varela of HardballTalk. “This is where I want to play.”

Sabathia, 37, has finally reached the end of his contract with the Yankees after being with them for the last nine seasons. During his time in pinstripes, he has made three All-Star teams, led the league in wins twice, and won the World Series with them in 2009. Sabathia also had a resurgent 2017, going 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA during the year before delivering some big playoff performances.

Nonetheless, Sabathia has seen a lot of age-related decline in velocity and arm strength in recent years, and the Yankees may not want to continue giving a roster spot to an old ex-workhorse. Given the ups and downs that the former Cy Young winner has endured in New York however, it would certainly be fitting for him to finish his career with the Bombers, practicality permitting.

Josh Jackson did questionable gesture during loss to Clippers (Video)

Josh Jackson may be the latest NBA player to get in trouble for an exchange with a fan during this first week of the new season.

The Phoenix Suns rookie swingman was headed to the bench in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers when he did a questionable gesture that some interpreted as a shooting motion directed at a fan. The incident was also punctuated by an apparent F-bomb from Jackson.

We have already seen multiple players fined for incidents with fans, including Boogie Cousins and Kyrie Irving. Thus, Jackson may face similar punishment if the NBA determines the exchange was inappropriate, but it would probably only be a small blip on the radar for the chaos-riddled Suns right now.

Joe Thomas feared to have torn triceps

Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns

Missing his first career snap was bad enough for Joe Thomas, but missing his first career game would be even worse. That apparently could be a possibility for the Cleveland Browns left tackle.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says Thomas is feared to have a torn triceps. The lineman said on his Twitter account that he will undergo an MRI on Monday, which will give the team a better idea about his status.

Rapoport says that if the MRI confirms he has torn his triceps, he could be out for the season.

Prior to Sunday, Thomas had not missed a snap in his entire career. The Browns may have to prepare for the possibility of playing without Thomas for the first time since 2007.

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