Denver’s Ty LawsonWith a chance to show it is of championship mettle Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers, instead, stunk up Denver’s Pepsi Center.The Nuggets played with far more energy and much more effectively, opening a 24-point lead en route to blasting the Lakers 99-84. The win cuts L.A.’s series lead to 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday in Denver.Telling for the Lakers was that their bench was outscored 39-9, an indictment about Los Angeles’ lack of depth. Denver’s JaVale McGee had 16 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks and rookie starter Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 15 boards to help fend off a Lakers run that moved them within four points in the third quarter.But Kobe Bryant (23 points on 7 of 23 shooting) scored but one basket in the fourth quarter and the Lakers just did not match Denver’s energy or effort. It also hurt that L.A. shot just 37 per cent for the game.Ty Lawson was brilliant with 25 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Nuggets.
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent quit the NFL on Thursday as he prepared to defend his life in court against a manslaughter charge stemming from the death of a teammate in a drunk driving accident.”I am at a point where my main focus is all about getting the priorities in my life in order,” Brent said in a statement provided by the team. ”Those priorities are more important than football. Doing the right things in life are more important than football. I love the game very much. I love my teammates, but this is the right thing for me to do.”Brent’s has not touched a football since the December 8 crash that killed Jerry Brown, a college teammate and a close friend. If convicted, Brent, who was driving, could face up to 20 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter.Police authorities reported that Brent was driving with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit on the night of the accident.
A security guard looks out of the the News Corp. headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)CHICAGO (AP) — Muhammad Ali Enterprises is suing the Fox Broadcasting Company for more than $30 million for what it says was Fox’s unauthorized use of the famed boxer’s image in a video that ran just before its broadcast of the 2017 Super Bowl.The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chicago comes two years after a federal jury awarded $8.9 million to basketball legend Michael Jordan in his suit against the owners of a defunct supermarket chain for using his identity in an advertisement without permission. Last year, soccer great Pele filed a similar $30 million lawsuit against the electronics company Samsung.The suit contends that Fox used Ali’s “name, image and likeness as the centerpiece” of a video for its Super Bowl broadcast.Ali died last year.Fox declined to comment.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (April 19, 2016), we talk to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell about the Rams’ trade with the Titans and ask what the best strategy is in the NFL draft. We discuss Kobe Bryant’s final game and debate whether the rise of analytics means he is the last of a dying breed. Then Allison McCann comes into the studio to discuss FiveThirtyEight’s predictions for the NWSL season. Plus, a SigDig on Bryce Harper’s batting average and how he measures up to Mike Trout. Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Links to what we discuss are here:Bill Barnwell tells us what the Titans-Rams trade means for the NFL draft.ESPN’s Stats & Info group breaks down why this is a bad trade for the Rams.Barnwell says, to draft well, a team needs a high volume of picks.Here’s the link to Barnwell’s new podcast, The Bill Barnwell Show, in the ESPN radio player. It will be up on iTunes soon.Neil Paine assures us no team can beat the draft.Kobe Bryant’s career was more about the drama than the numbers, says Seth Partnow in Vice.Slate’s Josh Levin thinks Kobe’s last game was the perfect representation of his career.But Neil Paine says Kobe haters are stuck in 2008.Here are FiveThirtyEight’s NWSL predictions for the 2016 season.And here’s ESPN’s Graham Hays on five things you should know about the NWSL.Significant Digit: .341. That’s Bryce Harper’s overall batting average this season, which is much higher than his batting average for balls in play. FiveThirtyEight Embed Code If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
For the Dodgers, their National League pennant represents a break with many years spent as preseason darlings but postseason disappointments. At some point in each of the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 offseasons, Los Angeles was no worse than a co-favorite to win the World Series according to the Vegas odds. (There were also plenty of smart folks arguing that LA should be favored going into this season as well.) But despite their obvious talent — and massive payrolls — the Dodgers perennially found a way to come up short.Until this year, that is. The Dodgers have thoroughly dominated the playoffs thanks to a superstar turn by Justin Turner, an unhittable bullpen (led by goose-egg king Kenley Jansen), the midseason acquisition of Yu Darvish and Yasiel Puig’s redemption, among other storylines. But they’ve also gotten important contributions from unlikely sources. As Jonah Keri noted, Los Angeles’s narrative is as much about unlikely heroes such as Kiké Hernández — the fourth-year outfielder (making barely more than the league’s minimum salary) who launched three homers to help LA eliminate the Cubs — as it is about high-priced big names.Now, Los Angeles finds itself as a World Series favorite once again — but this time in October, not March. “[The Dodgers] led the major leagues in wins for a reason,” Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel said in the wake of his team’s pennant-clinching victory Saturday night. “They won a lot of games in a row in the middle part of the season.”Keuchel was quick to point out, though, that his Astros are a great team in their own right: “They’re not to be taken lightly, but we’re not to be either.”Houston’s postseason path was a lot more difficult than Los Angeles’s. Instead of cruising through in just a game over the minimum like LA did, the Astros needed four games to eliminate the Red Sox and were taken to seven games by the up-and-coming Yankees. Along the way, plenty of causes for concern emerged, including a rickety bullpen and a worrying five-game stretch against New York in which Houston brought home only 1.8 runs per game.But this is still the same lineup that led the majors in scoring during the regular season. (Even while slumping versus the Yankees, Houston hit the ball hard.) The righty-heavy Astros will also be facing a Dodger pitching staff that’s far more left-handed than the Yankee one that gave them trouble. On the other side of the ball, Houston ace Justin Verlander is just about as sharp as he’s been since his MVP days. And for those wondering about the Dodgers’ edge in rest, it might not be of as much benefit as you’d think: Since 2006, the team that clinched its league championship first has lost 10 of 11 World Series.In other words, this World Series should be close, and it could very well end up going down as an all-timer. Of course, a great matchup on paper doesn’t always translate to a memorable championship duel; conversely, sometimes a weak matchup on paper yields thrilling results. But based on what we know right now, this Astros-Dodgers matchup looks like the best possible way to end a year in which baseball’s elite teams were unusually dominant all season long.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 2014Giants def. Royals111724 *A team’s “true talent” ranking probability is derived from simulations using the team’s winning percentage and the uncertainty around its talent level.Sources: Retrosheet, FanGraphs 2017Dodgers vs. Astros35%10%38%70% When the World Series opens Tuesday between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it will be a fitting final act for one of the most stacked postseasons ever. Both LA and Houston posted triple-digit wins during the regular season — just the eighth time two such clubs have ever met in a Fall Classic, and the first since 1970 — and both looked historically dominant at various moments during the season. In a decade filled with World Series matchups that seemed mediocre on paper, this should be one of MLB’s most pedigreed championship clashes in recent memory.One way we can measure this is to look at the odds that the last two teams remaining are actually the two most talented teams in baseball, using a method similar to the one Villanova professor Jesse Frey introduced in 2004.1The difference here is that I simply used each team’s winning percentage and the uncertainty around it, based on Tom Tango’s research. Baseball is a pretty random sport, so even after 162 games — or anything short of 10,000 games, really — we don’t have a great sense of who the most talented teams actually are. Most years, there isn’t much chance that the World Series even contains MLB’s actual best team, much less that it would pit the two best teams against each other.This year, though, is different. More so than any other season this decade, there’s a legitimate chance that the Dodgers-Astros winner is actually baseball’s top team, no matter who ends up prevailing. We should enjoy it while it lasts: As recently as a few years ago, there was only a 24 percent chance that the World Series contained a pair of top-10 teams, much less the best two teams. But with baseball suddenly becoming a meritocracy again these past couple years, we’ve been treated to much stronger matchups in the World Series — and none better than this one. 2010Giants def. Rangers122931 This matchup is (probably?) the cream of the cropProbability that the World Series contains teams with true talent* of a given ranking within Major League Baseball, 2010-17 YEARMATCHUPNO. 1BOTH OF TOP 22 OF TOP 52 OF TOP 10 2015Royals def. Mets1421137 2011Cardinals def. Rangers1421137 PROBABILITY THAT SERIES CONTAINED … 2013Red Sox def. Cardinals2242051 2012Giants def. Tigers111830 2016Cubs def. Indians3272658
The Buckeyes had the winning run on first base with one out in the ninth before designated hitter Ryan Dew grounded into a double play to make the 6-5 defeat official.The Buckeyes fell out of first place in the Big Ten with the loss.Though losing the series hurt, the injury to Wimmers was more devastating.The junior was 9-0 on the season, tied for the best start in team history. If Wimmers misses significant time, the team will have to rely on an inconsistent group of starters who have a combined 14-15 record on the season.Wimmers’ status is currently undecided, according to the team.“He could be out 7 to 10 days or 2 to 3 weeks,” team spokesman Jerry Emig said in an e-mail. “We just don’t know yet.”The junior’s next scheduled start is Friday against Illinois.The Buckeyes step out of conference play this week for a two-game series with Louisville starting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium. Ohio State lost two of three games to rival Michigan over the weekend, and ace pitcher Alex Wimmers could miss playing time with a hamstring injury.The All-American tweaked a hamstring moments before his scheduled start Friday, coach Bob Todd said.The injury forced junior Theron Minium to make the second start of his career and first this season. Minium managed only one inning before normal Sunday starter Dean Wolosiansky was forced to come on in relief.The Buckeyes lost the Friday contest 4-1 and the loss of Wimmers forced the team to shuffle pitchers around for the rest of the weekend.Ohio State bounced back Saturday with a 3-2 win in 10 innings as Drew Rucinski earned the win, striking out nine in a career-high nine innings.The team went with freshman starter Brett McKinney on Sunday. McKinney went three innings.
Receiver DeVier Posey thought he had redeemed himself of a dropped touchdown pass last week against Iowa when he connected with quarterback Terrelle Pryor on third down and ran the ball into the end zone to put the Buckeyes up 24-7 over Michigan just before halftime. He even threw up his hands toward the crowd creating a “Block O” with his gloves that Nike had specially designed for that purpose. “The gloves had a black ‘Block O’ on the inside when you put your hands together and so that’s what (Posey) was trying to do,” receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. But he didn’t celebrate his redemption for long. The referee gave Posey a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. The call wasn’t explained until later, when offensive lineman Mike Adams brought his hands together and flashed the stands a “Block O” and received the same penalty, which the referee described as “showing a sign to the crowd.” “They didn’t want any hand gestures to the crowd, just celebrating with your teammates,” Sanzenbacher said. “We should have learned the first time they called us on it, but we didn’t.” During both subsequent kickoffs, the Buckeyes had to kick from their own 15-yard line instead of their 30-yard line. The gloves were a part of the Nike Pro Combat uniforms designed to honor the 1942 national championship Buckeye squad. Nike designed uniforms with a similar concept for several other teams and has used the gloves to send signals before, including when Alabama’s gloves displayed an “A” during last year’s BCS National Championship Game. “I think it’s safe to say that we will never wear gloves with anything on it again,” Sanzenbacher said.
Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee doesn’t take himself seriously. As a result, he’s made comments about football that have placed him under scrutiny — remarks that he’s later regretted. Gee told The Lantern editorial board on Wednesday that he regrets making a statement at a March 8 press conference in which football coach Jim Tressel apologized for withholding information vital to an NCAA investigation. When asked at the press conference if any thought had been given to firing Tressel, Gee replied, with a chuckle, “I hope he doesn’t fire me.” The sarcastic statement overshadowed the meandering speech Tressel offered minutes earlier. “I sometimes need to extricate my foot from my mouth,” Gee told The Lantern editorial board. “I admit that. But I have been that way for 30 years.” It’s not the first time this academic year that Gee has apologized for a football-related comment. On Nov. 24, 2010, Gee told the Associated Press that Boise State and TCU, both undefeated at the time, didn’t deserve to play in the BCS Championship. “Well, I don’t know enough about the X’s and O’s of college football,” Gee told the AP. “I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it’s like murderer’s row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.” Gee told The Lantern in January that he would try to censor his sports talk. “I’m being more careful about what I say about sports,” Gee said. “University presidents, particularly of large universities, particularly of this institution, lose their First Amendment rights.” Gee said his personality is to blame. “I have fun doing what I’m doing,” he said, “and the minute that I wake up in the morning, if I’m not enjoying myself and having fun, then I’m going to get out of the business. That’s how I’ve survived for 30 years. It’s just a way for me to deal with issues. “I take my work very seriously. I do not take myself very seriously. I never have, never will.” OSU suspended Tressel for the first two games of the 2011 season and fined him $250,000. Tressel later increased his own suspension to five games. Attorney Christopher Cicero emailed Tressel between April and June 2010 with information regarding several OSU football players making contact with the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor, Eddie Rife, who was under legal investigation for drugs. Tressel kept the information to himself. The NCAA suspended quarterback Terrelle Pryor and five other players on Dec. 23 for selling memorabilia to Rife and receiving discounted tattoos at the parlor. Gee said his opinion of Tressel never wavered, despite the coach’s wrongdoing. “Jim Tressel, I think, is a very fine person, and I have great faith in him as both a coach and an individual,” he said. “That’s the reason that we decided to suspend him and not do anything more.”
Redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion (25) looks for a shot during a game against Michigan Jan. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 64-49.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorComing off its biggest win of the season against then-No. 17 Purdue at home Thursday, the Ohio State women’s basketball team failed to build on the momentum, falling to Michigan 64-49.As things got underway at the Schottenstein Center, OSU (11-7, 1-1) struggled to shoot the ball, only shooting 6-32 from the field in the first half. The Buckeyes headed into the break trailing 25-13 and were unable to recover in the second half.OSU coach Kevin McGuff said it was tough to lose after the game, especially to rival Michigan, on the heels of a big win.“It’s tough. It’s disappointing because all the things we were so good at on Thursday, all the things we can control we didn’t today,” McGuff said. “And that’s not to give Michigan credit because they played well and they deserved to win the game based on their effort and execution, but I was very disappointed in how we responded to a great win on Thursday.”The 13 points were a season low in a half for OSU, who also shot eight percent from beyond the arc in the game’s first 20 minutes.Despite starting the second half with a bucket on the team’s first possession, things did not improve for OSU as the game progressed.It was tied for the lowest total OSU has put up this season, only scoring 49 three times against Georgia Nov. 17, Connecticut Dec. 1 and Cincinnati Dec. 15.Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said the key to holding OSU’s offense in check was stopping the guards from penetrating the basket.“We spoke all week about trying to slow them down and trying to really zone up and gap and take away their penetration, take away their ability to get to the free throw line … that was something we really focused on,” Arico said. “Make them have to beat us from the outside.”OSU finished the day shooting 20-64, including only hitting six of 25 shots from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes also struggled turning the ball over, giving it away to Michigan 14 times in the game.Arico said she was content with letting the Buckeyes take a lot of 3-pointers as long as they weren’t getting the easy shot.“Their guards off the bounce, we didn’t think we were going to be able to contain them,” Arico said. “So we were going to try to let them score from the outside and see what happened and tonight they didn’t make as many shots.”Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston led the Buckeyes with 15 points, but was one of only two Buckeyes to reach double figures.OSU’s second leading scorer, sophomore guard Cait Craft, came into the night averaging 9.9 points per contest, but only managed two points against the Wolverines.The Wolverines (10-4, 1-0) were paced by freshman guard Siera Thompson and junior guard Shannon Smith, who scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.Thompson said the team executed its game plan well, which allowed them to pull away from OSU.“We just executed the game plan and my teammates found me and I was trying to be aggressive and attack the bigs and get them into foul trouble,” Thompson said. “Our game plan just worked out today.”It was McGuff’s first Big Ten loss as coach of the Buckeyes, and the loss ends a four game win streak for OSU.The Buckeyes will look to bounce back as they head to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the Hoosiers in their first Big Ten road match, scheduled for Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Then-Temple senior forward Anthony Lee (center) looks for an open teammate during a game against Louisville Feb. 14 at the Liacouras Center. Temple lost, 82-58.Courtesy of MCTFor a time early in Thad Matta’s career as the Ohio State men’s basketball coach, his teams were built around the center position.Terence Dials, Greg Oden, Kosta Koufos, B.J. Mullens and Jared Sullinger were all standout post presences that helped carry the Buckeyes under Matta.But over the last two seasons — since Sullinger left for the NBA after two seasons in Columbus — the Buckeyes have had a bit of a crisis in the post.With junior centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald — who averaged a combined 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season — trading time down low, the Buckeyes have been forced to rely on their guards and forwards to provide the bulk of the offense.Before a game against Illinois Jan. 23, Matta said having Williams playing at his best is something the team desperately needed.“We need Amir to play well,” Matta said. “We need Amir to play consistently on both ends. We gotta get him back to tracking the ball, we gotta get him back to blocking shots more actively around the rim in terms of challenging shots … When he’s played well, we’ve played well. I know that.”But ever since the end of the 2013-14 season came at the hands of Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament March 20, Matta has been on a warpath to help improve his team’s much maligned post players.So far, it has paid off.Two players, Temple’s Anthony Lee and Virginia Tech’s Trevor Thompson, have announced their transfers to OSU since the season ended.It was announced Lee would join the program March 29, a day after forward LaQuinton Ross, the team’s leading scorer, announced his decision to forgo his senior season and make the jump to the NBA.In an interview with Cleveland.com, Lee said he joined the program because of Matta’s presence as coach.“He was talking about how much I could have added,” Lee told Cleveland.com March 30. “That if I were on the team, maybe we’d still be playing (this year).”Lee, who averaged 13.6 points per game last season for Temple, is 6 feet 9 inches tall and is more likely suited for the role as a power forward, but said in the interview he’s open to helping the team in any way possible.“I’m a stretch-four, someone who can help out inside or shoot a three,” Lee told Cleveland.com. “It is about expanding my game and helping the team in more than one area. That is really important to me.”Matta has shown his willingness before to switch to a “small-ball” lineup, playing Ross — and, before he left for the NBA, Deshaun Thomas — in the post instead of a true center like Williams or McDonald when they struggled.Although by NCAA rules a player is usually required to sit out a season after transferring, Lee can play immediately as a graduate transfer, since he is set to graduate from Temple in May.Thompson, on the other hand, will have to sit out for the entirety of the 2014-15 season.Although he didn’t play much during his freshman year at Virginia Tech — only averaging five points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.2 minutes played per game — Thompson is 6 foot 11 inches and, compared to Lee, built more as a center.Thompson announced his decision to transfer to OSU from his personal Twitter account, @TrevBallinTrey2.“Well it’s official I’m a Ohio State Buckeye Show Me Love #BuckEyeNation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Thompson tweeted at 1:29 p.m. April 13.Matta said in an OSU press release April 18 that he is excited to bring Thompson into the program, even if he won’t be able to play until 2015-16.“Trevor has proven he is capable of competing at our level,” Matta said in the release. “He will be a very athletic big man for us. We are looking forward to having Trevor in our program.”2014 recruit David Bell will also look to factor into the Buckeyes post game, coming in as a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com.But another player could prove to be the wild card in the discussion about centers next season.Myles Turner, senior at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, is a consensus five-star prospect and one of the top players at his position.Turner has yet to declare to a school yet, but has shortened the list to seven teams, one of which is OSU.In an interview with Jeff Borzello of CBSsports.com, Turner said OSU needs help at center and that he likes what Matta is doing as coach.“They need a big as well. They don’t have a true center at this point,” Turner said in the interview. “Coach Matta, I really like him and his whole coaching staff. I’ve talked to them, they’re one of the schools that I’ve talked to the most.”Turner is set to announce his decision April 30, with the final seven schools being Duke, Kansas, OSU, Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist, Texas and Texas A&M.If Matta does manage to bring in Turner, it would bolster an already highly ranked class that includes guard D’Angelo Russell, forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate and Bell.Matta said back in November that he was happy with the way the class was shaping up.“(I’m) just very, very excited about this class,” Matta said Nov. 13. “I think the biggest thing with this particular class is we got what we wanted.”Whoever it is that does take the reins for OSU at center next year likely will be helping the team attempt to improve on its earliest postseason exit since the 2009 NCAA Tournament.