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Sunday, January 20, 2019

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QB Casey Thompson will reportedly return to Texas

The Texas Longhorns’ quarterback room got some good news Friday, with quarterback Casey Thompson opting to return to school.

Thompson, a freshman, had previously entered his name into the transfer portal, but following the departures of two of his fellow backups, he has opted to stay.

The move ensures that Thompson will back up starter Sam Ehlinger, who has two years of eligibility left. If he sticks around, Thompson could get the chance to start eventually, too.

It had looked like Thompson, a former four-star recruit, would leave school this summer. However, when both Shane Buechele and Cameron Rising opted to depart, Thompson ended up staying after all.

DeMarcus Cousins laments ‘fakest love’ received in Warriors’ debut

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins didn’t really enjoy the attention foisted upon him during his Golden State Warriors’ debut on Friday evening.

Cousins was trailed by cameras everywhere he went and booed relentlessly by Los Angeles Clippers fans during his debut, and he found the attention a bit much.

It may not be what he wants, but Cousins will probably want to get used to it. The likes of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant will probably remain the real center of attention for Golden State, but Cousins is a demonstrative star who will get his fair share of attention, especially if he makes contributions like this.

Report: Reds ‘best positioned’ to acquire Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

The Cincinnati Reds appear more likely than ever to acquire Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Reds are “best positioned” to acquire the starting pitcher after trade talks have advanced further in recent hours.

It sounds as though trade talks have been steadily progressing, with the Reds clearly in the lead. They’re hoping that they can help Gray rediscover the form that made him such a highly-coveted pitcher when he was with the Oakland Athletics a few seasons ago. It seems increasingly likely that the two sides will get this over the line.

Anthony Davis reportedly out 1-2 weeks after spraining finger

Anthony Davis

New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis will miss 1-to-2 weeks after spraining his finger, but that’s assuming it responds well to rest.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Davis will wait a few days and see if he needs to see a specialist depending on how his hand responds.

This will cost Davis at least three games, and it’s a bit nerve-wracking to see the word “specialist” invoked after his injury Friday night. X-rays were negative, however, and hopefully the issue will simply respond to rest.

Teammates joke about Drew Brees’ hair loss during career

Drew Brees

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are back in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. Though the team has had other double-digit win seasons since then, they haven’t gotten this far in the postseason for a while, and a lot has changed since.

Brees says that his current teammates had jokes for him about his change in appearance over the years. Specifically, they clowned him for his hair loss.

Whatever Brees has lost in hair he’s picked up in ability and veteran savvy. His 74.4 completion percentage and 115.7 passer rating lead the league and represent the highest marks of his career. Even at 40, he’s playing at an incredibly high level — possibly the best ball of his career.

10 key questions for NFL conference championship weekend

Jared goff

When we go to bed on Sunday night, we will know which two teams will contest Super Bowl LIII in two weeks. The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints have been here before, while this is newer for the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs. Expect the weekend to feature a lot of offense, as it’s the calling card for these four teams much more than any of their defense.

What factors will determine the AFC and NFC champions? Here are 10 key questions to watch out for this Sunday.

1) Can the Chiefs get pressure on Tom Brady?

Long considered vital to the notion of containing Tom Brady is the need to pressure him and hurry him. The Chiefs, it could be argued, actually have a pretty solid pass rush. Chris Jones had 15.5 sacks this season, Dee Ford added 13, and Justin Houston contributed nine. Kansas City doesn’t necessarily have to sack Brady to be successful, but those three and their defensive teammates need to at least give him something to think about. The Chargers failed to do so a week ago.

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DeMarcus Cousins showcases 3-point shot in Warriors debut

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins made his Golden State Warriors debut on Friday night and wasted no time showing how well he will fit in.

Cousins played 15 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers before fouling out. He attempted 11 shots — four of which were threes. He was 5-for-11 overall and made three of his 3-point attempts, including consecutive threes early in the fourth quarter.

Cousins began to really incorporate the 3-point shot into his game three seasons ago with Sacramento and continued to hoist threes during his season and a half with the Pelicans. He’s a career 33.8 percent 3-point shooter, but that mark will likely go up this season as he takes advantage of spacing created by Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.

Cousins being able to defend opposing centers, help on the glass, and shoot the floor will make the Warriors even more dangerous than they already are.

Carmelo Anthony hints at basketball return in Instagram post

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony seemed to hint at a return to basketball in an Instagram post on Friday.

Anthony posted a photo of himself appearing to be riding in a car. The caption was a quote saying “Things Of Quality Have No Fear Of Time.”

The easy interpretation is that this relates to his NBA career. Anthony has not played since reaching an agreement with the Houston Rockets in November to no longer play for them. He still has been taking up a roster spot though, and past reports said he might not find a new team until February. The Athletic’s Sam Amick even reported that Anthony has multiple options and will likely pick one before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

Even though he has not played in a while, Anthony seems to believe he is something of quality and the layoff won’t be an issue.

Blake Griffin settles lawsuit with Brynn Cameron

Blake Griffin Pistons

Blake Griffin has settled his lawsuit with Brynn Cameron, the mother of his two children.

Cameron filed a lawsuit against Griffin last year, alleging that he ditched her and their kids to pursue a relationship with Kendall Jenner.

The suit said Cameron and Griffin were set to be married in 2017 but they called it off a month before after Griffin asked Cameron to sign a prenuptial agreement. He then supposedly took up a public affair with Jenner.

The two resolved their custody battle of their children, but it wasn’t until recently that the palimony suit was settled, according to The Blast.

Griffin’s relationship with Jenner fizzled out and he is now in his second season with the Detroit Pistons after previously being a lifelong Los Angels Clipper. Cameron, whose brother Jordan is a former NFL Pro Bowl tight end, also has a child with Matt Leinart.

Did Lynn Swann ban USC Song Girls over ‘Fire Helton’ chants?

USC Song Girls

Lynn Swann continues to get on the bad side of USC fans, and his latest act will only fray the relationship further.

Swann, the Trojans’ athletic director, has blocked the famous USC Song Girls from performing at USC home basketball games for the rest of the season. The Los Angeles Times reported the news on Friday, saying Swann put the order into effect in late November.

Instead of the Song Girls, a dance group called the Trojan Dance Force performs at basketball games.

When pressed for a reason for the decision, a former Song Girls captain (as well as The Times) received the following statement from USC:

“Due to ongoing game management concerns, time constraints and space issues at the Galen Center, the USC Song Girls will not perform at the remaining men’s and women’s basketball games for the 2018-19 season.

“USC Athletics and the Division of Student Affairs jointly made the decision after trying various options over multiple years to accommodate both the Song Girls and the Trojan Dance Force, which was established in 1994 to support USC basketball, at the arena.”

So their reason is that there isn’t enough room for both groups to perform. But many people are not buying that answer and are wondering why he cut the team so abruptly.

The Daily News’ Scott Wolf wrote on Twitter that some Song Girls alumni believe Swann banned them after being told some of the current members joined in on a “Fire Helton” chant at USC’s football game against Notre Dame in November.

Note that reporter Shotgun Spratling said during the game that some Song Girls had joined in on the chant.

USC lost that game 24-17 and finished 5-7 last season — their worst finish since 2000. The timeline of the Song Girls joining in on the chant on Nov. 24 and being blocked from performing at basketball games a week later seems to sync up.

Swann has already shown defiance towards the fans by retaining Helton. Blocking the Song Girls from basketball games will upset fans further.