The young Los Angeles Lakers have become the most entertaining group of players to follow on social media.

Last week was the week of beefs in the NBA. From rivals to teammates to celebrities, shots were taken and shade was thrown. The roasting never stopped as the focus shifted to the postseason, and we kept track of it all.

Their season-long Instagram and Twitter battles have extended into the offseason, with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart at the center of it all.

In fact, they were so active on social media this week that we could pick only their three best moments and had to relegate the rest to honorable mentions.

Preston Tucker (L), 47.4 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Want to hedge against Velasquez at this difficult stadium? Tucker, a former prospect who’s getting some run while the Braves wait on Ronald Acuna, has knocked all his hits in 2018 off righty arms, including three homers. He’s slowed a bit since his hot start but should continue with top-side platoon work for the near future.

In San Jose, Martin learned the value of immersing himself in the community. Fellow Sharks say that Martin is a regular during hospital visits and community events. Martin personally bought four lower-bowl season tickets, and for every Sharks home game he offers the seats to youth, families and nonprofits — people, Martin says, who wouldn’t normally get to see an NHL game. Including the playoffs, it has been a $49,444 commitment from Martin so far; 584 people have benefitted from his gesture. Over the summer, Martin also started his own foundation, Shine A Ligh7, which supports mental health in children, specifically raising awareness about bullying and depression. His first event in Minnesota last summer raised about $100,000.

When he was at his best, Lawson looked like one of the NBA’s rising dual-threat point guards. The No. 18 overall pick in the 2009 draft, who won a national championship at North Carolina, averaged a career-high 17.6 points and 8.8 assists for the Denver Nuggets in 2013-14. The following season, he averaged 15.2 points and a career-high 9.6 assists, ranking third in the NBA in assists per game both years.orioles_056

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely says gun photo with daughter, prom date was ‘a joke

Jay Feely clarified that the photo of him holding a gun while standing between his daughter and her prom date was intended to be a joke.

The former NFL kicker tweeted out the picture on Saturday night with the caption “Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom #BadBoys,” creating some backlash.

“The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke,” Feely wrote on Twitter Sunday morning. “My daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking. I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue.”

RHP David Hale was claimed off waivers from the Yankees after he pitched two scoreless innings for New York in Monday’s series opener, then was designated for assignment. Minnesota recalled 6-foot-10 RHP Aaron Slegers from Triple-A Rochester Thursday morning, but optioned him back to the minors following the game to make room for Hale. RHP Tyler Kinley was designated for assignment.

Tyler Austin’s suspension was cut from five games to four by John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, and the New York first baseman will start serving the penalty on Friday.

Yankees: 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) will continue his rehab assignment when Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre returns to action Friday. … OF Clint Frazier (concussion) was scheduled to play for Class A Tampa on Thursday after appearing in two extended spring training games. … CF Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right oblique) is taking part in light baseball activities, including hitting off a tee. … 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) and OF Billy McKinney (sprained left shoulder) are headed to Tampa to continue baseball activity.

Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli had three hits and a career-high six RBI, including a three-run homer in the third inning. His two-run double in the eighth pulled the Pirates within 12-10.

Corey Dickerson also had three hits for Pittsburgh, and Moran homered.

Daniel Stumpf (1-0) retired all four batters he faced for his first major league win. Shane Greene pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save in six opportunities.

Jameson Taillon (2-2) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Martin homered in the first game two pitches after fouling a ball off his groin. He needed about five minutes to regroup before hitting a drive to straightaway center.steelers_052

Swanson, 27, spent his first four NFL seasons in Detroit, starting 42 of the 53 games he appeared in.

The Jets added depth and experience Tuesday, agreeing to contract terms with center Travis Swanson, a former Lions third-round draft pick out of Arkansas, according to NFL Network. The Jets also added to their tight end stable by signing Bucky Hodges, a 2017 sixth-round pick of the Vikings.

He started 11 games last season before a concussion in late December forced him to finish the season on injured reserve.

Balance Kapler’s clubhouse- and dugout-centric world view with an intellectual curiosity that consumes him, and you’ll find a complicated figure at the crossroads of two contradictory and often contentious worlds. Kapler is reluctant to use the word “mantra” because it has a new-age tinge that perpetuates a stereotype he’s trying to shake. But a quote from author Malcolm Gladwell summarizes his fondness for respectful debate and divergent viewpoints among the people in his circle.

“That’s your responsibility as a person — as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible,” Gladwell said. “And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.”

According to the newspaper, Francois told police the marijuana belonged to his girlfriend and that the last time he used marijuana was in December 2017.

Francois is expected to be the Seminoles’ starter next season. Florida State coach Willie Taggart told the newspaper that he had met with Francois following the incident.

“He’s still with our football team,” Taggart said Saturday. “We talked about his responsibility as a student-athlete here, and he understands my expectations and what I’m looking for, especially when it comes to our quarterback.”

The newspaper reported that the Tallahassee Police Department received a tip from someone at a drug crime scene that he had seen a grocery bag full of marijuana at Francois’ apartment.

The police collected Francois’ garbage four times between the end of February and the beginning of April. Based on what police found in the garbage, they obtained a search warrant and conducted the raid on Thursday.
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Dolphins tender Jake Brendel, Mike Hull, Jordan Lucas

The Dolphins announced they tendered three exclusive rights free agents 〞 center Jake Brendel, linebacker Mike Hull and cornerback/safety Jordan Lucas.

Brendel ed all 16 games last season as a reserve offensive lineman. He also saw action on special teams.

Hull has ed three seasons in Miami, which originally signed him as an undrafted college free agent. He has ed in the Dolphins’ last 35 games, with four starts.

Indianapolis —?Eric Ebron has found a new home.

The former Detroit Lions’ first-round draft pick, who was unceremoniously cut before the start of the new league year, has signed a two-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL Network reports that pact with the Colts could be worth up to $15 million with incentives. Ebron was set to make $8.25 million with the Lions in 2018, had he not been released.

However, this has been met by plenty of public hesitance to go that route from the 29-year-old in the final two years of his five-year, $70 million where he is scheduled to make $33 million over that span. According to the Todd Archer of ESPN, the Cowboys’ recent actions in free agency have further indicated that Bryant’s future is no longer on stable ground.

Had the Cowboys been able to land Watkins, Bryant would no longer have been a Cowboy. With Thompson and Hurns, Bryant’s future looks dicey at best.

The Cowboys have said they need to address Bryant’s contract in some manner but have yet to have discussions about a pay cut. Bryant is set to make $12.5 million in 2017 and count $16.5 million against the cap. If the Cowboys cut Bryant — the franchise leader in touchdown catches — they could save $8.5 million or $12.5 million, depending on the designation.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, the 2013 NFL defensive rookie of the year, currently is in Minnesota for a visit, per a source with knowledge of the situation.

The Jets traded Richardson to the Seahawks last year for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick. The Seahawks opted not to tag Richardson, but they hope to keep him.

The Vikings would install Richardson on a defensive line that currently includes Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, and Danielle Hunter.49ers_185

NFL draft order 2018: Pick selections take shape as new league year begins

The last team to pick No. 1 overall in back-to-back drafts was who else but the Browns. They selected Tim Couch and Courtney Brown with the top picks in the 1999 and 2000 drafts, respectively.

The Chiefs offense grew stagnant in their playoff contest against the Tennessee Titans after tight end Travis Kelce suffered a concussion, because the unit lacked an option opposite Tyreek Hill. Kansas City signed Watkins to a three-year, $48 million deal in hopes of being another dynamic vertical threat.

Mahomes has one of the league’s strongest arms, and the Chiefs plan on taking full advantage of his skill set.

“We will try to utilize his strengths,” Reid said, per the Kansas City Star’s Terez A. Paylor. “One of the things as a coach, that is what you do. You exploit their strengths and you work on things they need to get better at. Will the offense change a little bit Yeah, it will.”

The Chiefs mentality won’t be the same in 2018 since they’re expected to be far more aggressive with different key components at crucial points on the roster.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions acted late Friday night on Trump’s publicly stated wishes to fire former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — just hours before he was set to retire with full benefits — the president celebrated the ouster as a triumph that exposed “tremendous leaking, -lying and corruption” throughout law enforcement.

The move emboldened Mc-Cabe, who said in a public statement that his dismissal was a deliberate effort to slander him and part of an “ongoing war” against the FBI and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Like former FBI director James B. Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, McCabe kept contemporaneous memos detailing his fraught conversations with the president, according to two people familiar with the -records. The danger for Trump is that those memos could help corroborate McCabe’s witness testimony and become damaging evidence in Mueller’s investigation of whether Trump has sought to obstruct justice.
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The top challengers for the Predators, Lightning

Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan take a deep dive into the NHL postseason bubble and cover Alex Ovechkin’s chase for 600 goals. They also welcome former Penguins and Sabres coach Dan Bylsma of the NHL Network to talk hockey analytics, as well as Kings broadcaster Patrick O’Neal of Fox Sports Los Angeles. Listen ?

Unless something crazy happens, the postseason will begin with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators as the top seeds and the clear-cut favorites to represent their conferences in the Stanley Cup Final.

“It just looks like (Laine, Stastny and Ehlers) have such a good chemistry,” Wheeler told the team’s web site. “It just seems like once they got together, (Laine) has had a lot more time and space to get that shot off. Man, you get (Laine) open, it’s going to go in the net.”

Laine’s 38 goals trail Alex Ovechkin’s 40 for the league lead and he already surpassed the 36 he scored last year when he led all rookies in goal scoring as an 18-year-old.

“Things are going pretty well,” Laine told reporters following Tuesday’s victory, Winnipeg’s third straight. “The team is winning, and our line is playing pretty good hockey. So, I’ve got to be satisfied with that.”

Meanwhile New Jersey’s Pavel Zacha is ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Jets because of an undisclosed injury which kept him out of the third period of the win over Montreal. He could be replaced by Brian Gibbons, who has been sidelined since Jan. 20 with a broken thumb.

Thursday’s clash is the second and final meeting this season between the two teams. Back on Nov. 18 the Jets beat the Devils 5-2 in Winnipeg, making it five wins in their last six outings against New Jersey.

“Whatever that is, whether it’s mental or just execution of a few plays, we’ve just got to find a way to do it. No one’s going to feel sorry for us or change the outcome but us.”
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New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur has added two more members to his coaching staff.

A source tells Sporting News that Deshea Townsend is being hired as assistant defensive backs coach and Ben Wilkerson is being named assistant offensive line coach for the Giants.

Townsend, 42, served as the Titans’ defensive backs coach the past two seasons. He branched into coaching after a 13-year NFL career that included 12 seasons as a Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back.

The top candidates speculated to (for lack of a better term) replace McDaniels not only sound great, but they could well fit better than McDaniels would have. That doesn’t change the fact that the Colts chose McDaniels as their best option of many, sold themselves to him above all the others — presumably including his previous and now current Patriots employers — and had Luck on board on the next stage of his interrupted career.

Now, the Colts have to start over and work from behind. Just dating this back to the day Chuck Pagano was fired, they had gone through 38 days of searching for their next coach and mapping out the immediate and near future. (Realistically, you know they had things in motion before that.) Will their next hire’s vision match that of McDaniels? Look similar? Look vastly different, or subtly different?

The timetable for his return to football is unclear, but he seems to be making progress.

Now that the underdog Eagles are the top dogs in the NFL, there are lots of lessons other NFL executives and coacheslearn from their impressive championship run.

Let’s start with having a general manager willing to take chances. I’m not just talking calculated risks GMs take with every player drafted, free agent signed and trade made. I’m talking about the big swings and major risks Eagles GM Howie Roseman took as he built this team.

There was the hiring by Roseman (and owner Jeff Lurie) of a first-time head coach in Doug Pederson, a move that was panned by many Philadelphia fans and media. One national publication ranked it the worst of the seven head coach hires in 2016.bills_031

If this were “Jeopardy!,” the answer would be: “What is ‘So what?’?”

Imagine being at the game and tapping a stranger on the shoulder while the game’s being played, to tell him, “Texas is 5/10 and KU is 5/9 on field-goal attempts, this half.” The guy would summon an usher, one with a straitjacket.

Kosar thought he was helping his father out of a jam, but later learned that Dad had his own $1 million contract with the team. Between that, never-paid-back loans to family and friends, and bad investments spearheaded by same, Kosar lost about $15 million.

Koonce tells of “an onslaught of requests from his family shortly after his first payday,” including from “aunts, uncles and distant cousins he barely knew.” Due to the familial connections, he found himself unable to say no. A trucking company he began with his sister cost him more than $500,000.

“Guys open up restaurants, and that is one of the most volatile industries you can get into,” said linebacker Bart Scott in the book. “[Friends] ask you to do it, and then you ask for their business plan and they say ‘What is that?’ Exactly.”

That is Marshawn Lynch mowing down Titans’ All-Pro defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. There aren’t many running backs on the planet who can do that. Lynch averaged an impressive 4.2 yards per carry in the win (18 carries, 76 yards).

Despite it all, in 1988, given his third second chance, Wilson became an important part of a 12-4 regular-season team that included Boomer Esiason at quarterback and Ickey Woods, James Brooks and Wilson as formidable, multi-tasked running backs.

But the night before that Super Bowl, the word spread: There would be no Stanley Wilson. With the game in Miami, cocaine capital of North America, he had binged that day, apparently all day — the day before the Super Bowl, for crying out loud — and he was out of it, gone, done, through.

Last heard from, Wilson in 1999 was convicted of stealing $130,000 in property from a home in Beverley Hills to feed his addiction. He was sentenced to 22 years state prison in Lancaster, Calif.

24. Adrian Peterson, running back, Vikings (12): Peterson remains a source of fascination, but for many of the wrong reasons — namely, he is a child abuser who to this day doesn’t think he did anything wrong. On the field, Peterson will take an even bigger role in Minnesota’s playoff hopes now that Teddy Bridgewater has been lost for the season.
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Tom Brady agreed that the tight end who has been among the league leaders in offensive pass interference penalties is frustrated

Minnesota’s defense also is excellent against the run (No. 2-ranked) and must not get worn down in the pass rush, as Drew Brees did to them with his up-tempo offense in the second half of the divisional game. But Foles is definitely not Brees, so look for more blitzes to be called by Zimmer and defensive coordinator George Edwards. Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen has an advantageous matchup with Eagles left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaita, who may need some extra help. Also, corner Mackenzie Alexander will need to play better in coverage than he did against New Orleans.

“He’s 270 pounds, so when they put a 190-pound player on him, any time there’s any contact, just by inertia the other defender is going to move,” Brady said on his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show. “You basically limit it to a noncontact play and it’s just try to out-quick someone, which obviously those guys are a lot quicker.

The NFL determined after a lengthy investigation that Elliott was guilty of domestic violence in a series of incidents last year in Ohio involving his former girlfriend. Elliott was not charged with a crime by authorities in Columbus, Ohio. The personal conduct policy allows the league to take disciplinary action even when a player is not charged with a crime, however.

The punishment fits the crime. Gronkowski may be one of the players who transforms the offense and an enormously entertaining guy, but he caught White unaware with his late hit, slamming his helmet against the ground on a play that was already dead. Granted he was frustrated at how overmatched defenders play him, but that’s no excuse.

Gronkowski opened his postgame remarks with reporters by apologizing for the late hit on White, who had stepped in to intercept a Tom Brady pass late in the Patriots’ victory over the Bills in Buffalo. White was out of bounds, the play was dead and yet Gronk bodysurfed him, a move for which he was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Danny Amendola was flagged for the same thing, as was Buffalo’s Micah Hyde. The Bills’ Jerry Hughes was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct involving an official, so, somehow, the Bills were the ones losing yards on the play.

“First off, I definitely want to apologize to No. 27,” he said of White, who went off with a head injury and is in concussion protocol. “I’m not in the business of that. I was just really frustrated at that moment.”
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It’s going to be odd- rush and he runs into me.

In other roster news, league sources say the Knicks are inching closer to finalizing a deal with Trey Burke, who successfully rehabbed his value with strong play for the team’s Westchester affiliate and has tellingly been held out of action at the Showcase. New York will have to clear a roster spot to sign him. The casualty could be veteran guard Ramon Sessions, who is on a one-year deal and has taken a back seat while Jarrett Jack has won minutes at the point.

In promoting the nearly 5,000-word story, ESPN says it is based on interviews with more than a dozen Patriots staffers, executives, players and league sources with knowledge of the team’s inner-workings, all of which led to the conclusion that Belichick, Brady and Kraft have had serious disagreements.

Brady’s agent, Don Yee, issued a statement Friday morning (via NFL Network) in which he didn’t completely refute the reports of a rift, though he did say, It’s tough to have a response since (the story) didn’t appear to me to have one on-the-record quote. All I can suggest is don’t believe everything you read.

Statement from Tom Brady’s agent, Don Yee, on ESPN report about #Patriots power struggle: I don’t really know what to say it’s tough to have a response since it didn’t appear to me to have one on-the-record quote. All I can suggest is don’t believe everything you read.

That quote doesn’t exactly come off very well coming from him. Jackson went 1-15 last season and 0-16 in 2017. I’m not a mathematician, but 1-31 does not seem great.

Now to be fair, Jackson hasn’t been put in a great position to win. It’s clear the Browns have been committed to a rebuild by stocking up on draft picks and trying to build the team through the draft. You can see flashes there at least on the defensive side — the Browns gave up only one 300-yard passing game all season.

Because the reception to his quote was not great, Jackson attempted to clarify what he meant by saying what he did:

That still doesn’t come off a whole lot better. It honestly takes a lot of guts to pat yourself on the back after nearly going 0-16 in 2016 and then actually doing it in 2017. Though it appears by all accounts, he’s going to keep his job. So I suppose he can say what he wants.

But things will get better for the Browns before they get worse, right?
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