NBA Prediction NBA Saturday Night Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Rockets

NBA Free Pick & Prediction L.A Clippers vs. Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers (51-22, 20-17 away) @ Houston Rockets (49-22, 29-7 home) 02/29- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: HOU -1.5

Over/Under: 216.5

 

Yet another big Western Conference showdown will take place on Saturday night when Los Angeles visits the Houston Rockets as the Clippers will be going for the season sweep.

 

The Rockets (49-22) will be in quest of their 12th straight home victory on Saturday night and a win against a team they have yet to defeat this season will draw them into a third-place tie in the tough Western Conference.

 

Houston is also riding a five game win streak, having won three of those without center Dwight Howard who was sidelined with a left ankle strain and he responded in his second game back with 17 points and 13 boards in their 120-98 smack down of the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

 

James Harden continued his all-star season performance by recording a triple-double with 26 points, 10 boards and 10 assists.

 

We did a great job of coming out tonight and taking care of business,” said Harden who’s been on a scoring tear averaging 31.3 over his last three games. He is also 12 of 23 from behind the arc in that same span.

 

Speaking of tears, the Rockets have been lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 118.2 points per game during their win streak and are averaging the same amount of points over their last nine games at the Toyota Center beating opposing teams by an average of 14.6 points per contest.

 

Having Howard back in the mix and with the team putting points on the board, the Rockets will need all they can muster against the Clippers…. a team that has dominated them winning eight of nine, including taking the first three games by an average of 13.3 points this season.

 

Los Angeles (51-22) is challenging the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs for the West’s best record and are closing in on their second straight Pacific Division crown. However, the Clippers sit just one game ahead of fourth place Houston after dropping two consecutive games before bouncing back with a big 109-103 road victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

 

The big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all responded against the Mavs after losing the night before to New Orleans and understand there is no room for nights off if they want to challenge come playoff time and make some noise.

 

We knew it was going to be a playoff-type game,” Paul said. “They’re just not playing for their playoff lives; we’re trying to gear up for the playoffs too.”

 

Despite the Clips having their way with Houston of late, the oddsmakers have faith the home town Rockets will get it done on Saturday night making them a slight (minus -1.5) point favorite with an over/under of 216.5, but as always… stay up to date with the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Tough one to call between these two teams, but I too am going to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and predict the Rockets to finally find some success and find a way to defeat the visiting Clippers in a close one.

 

Prediction/Pick- Houston

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

Angels lock up Trout for 6 years, $144.5M

L. A. – Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels agreed Friday night to a $one hundred forty four.5 million, six-yr contract, protecting baseball's brightest younger star beneath membership control through 2020.

The Angels mentioned the 22-yr-previous, two-time All-Star and his household shall be at a information convention Saturday in Anaheim to formally announce the contract along with owner Arte Moreno, supervisor Mike Scioscia and general supervisor Jerry Dipoto.

Few gamers in main league history have approached Trout's accomplishments in his first two full main league seasons. The speedy outfielder is a 5-software player and one of the darlings of baseball's sabermetrics crowd, known for putting up old style highlights and statistical superlatives on a regular basis.

"I feel all people is obviously thrilled that it got finished," Scioscia mentioned Friday night time at Dodger Stadium after the Angels' exhibition sport, which Trout missed with a abdomen virus. "He's a special participant and a particular individual."

The Millville, N.J., product was a unanimous selection for AL Rookie of the 12 months in 2012, and he completed second in AL MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera the past two years.

Mike Trout

The Angels agreed with star slugger Mike Trout on a $one hundred forty four.5 million, six-year contract extension.

Trout's deal came on the same day Cabrera finalized a $292 million, 10-12 months take care of the Detroit Tigers, the richest contract in American sports.

The free-spending Angels had been decided to reward Trout whereas locking up their prized possession past his first few years of eligibility for arbitration and free company. Los Angeles has been quietly negotiating with Trout's representatives all through spring training, and the club closed the deal three days before Opening Day at Angel Stadium.

Trout agreed on Feb. 26 to a $1 million, one-12 months contract for 2014, far more than the Angels have been required to supply him. His new deal runs from 2015-20.

The outfielder would have been eligible for arbitration for the primary time after this season, and without spending a dime agency following the 2017 World Sequence. Now, he cannot turn out to be a free agent until no less than age 29.

It is the latest massive-cash deal for the Angels, who are getting into the third season of a $240 million, 10-year contract with first baseman Albert Pujols, the second season of a $a hundred twenty five million, five-12 months settlement with outfielder Josh Hamilton and the third season of an $eighty five million, five-12 months contract with pitcher Jered Weaver.

But whereas the Angels' offers for Pujols and Hamilton have been criticized for their lavish nature and the 30-one thing sluggers' ensuing lack of manufacturing, Los Angeles is locking up Trout early in an uncommonly promising career.

Trout's contract is not worth as a lot as Cabrera's deal in Detroit, however it nonetheless would allow Trout to hit free agency at an age when he might be within the prime of his career.

And when his new deal ends, Trout will nonetheless be younger than the 30-yr-previous Cabrera is now.

Trout's average wage of $24,083,333 under the brand new deal is ninth in the majors, trailing only those of Clayton Kershaw, Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Justin Verlander, Ryan Howard, Hamilton, Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke.

Trout is batting314 with 62 homers and 196 RBIs in just 336 profession video games, including 40 games in 2011. He additionally has stolen 86 bases while playing stellar protection and making two All-Star teams, starting for the AL last summer.

He's one in all 4 players in baseball history to bat320 with 50 homers and 200 runs in his first two full seasons, becoming a member of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Pujols.

Trout has achieved nearly all the pieces besides group success during his quick major league career. The Angels have missed the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, and they finished seventy eight-eighty four final yr, their worst record in a decade.

The deal offers huge security for Trout. He obtained a bonus of $1,215,000 when he signed after the Angels selected him with the twenty fifth general choose within the 2009 newbie draft. He made $482,500 two years in the past and earned a $10,000 bonus for successful the rookie award, then was unilaterally renewed by the Angels last 12 months at $510,000 – $20,000 above the large league minimal on the time.

That deal sparked criticism from many Angels fans who thought Trout deserved more compensation for his outstanding play. They also nervous the relatively meager deal – and the Angels' resolution to maneuver Trout from his preferred middle subject to left final season – may bitter the budding famous person on the group.

Trout is again in middle discipline this season, and Moreno made certain Trout couldn't doubt the Angels' monetary dedication to him.

 

Dodgers end Yanks’ 15-year payroll streak

THE BIG APPLE – Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers have knocked Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees off baseball's payroll perch, a part of an offseason spending spree that has the common wage approaching $four million for the first time.

The Dodgers are ending the Yankees' 15-12 months streak as baseball's greatest spenders and as of Tuesday had a projected payroll of $235 million, based on examine of all main league contracts by The Related Press.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke has a $24 million wage from the Dodgers within the second season of his $147 million, six-year deal. Because of his ban, Alex Rodriguez will earn only $2.9 million of his $25 million wage.

New York, which last did not prime the payroll rankings in 1998, was a distant second at $204 million. After that, it was one other big hole to Philadelphia at $a hundred and eighty million, adopted by Boston at $163 million and Detroit at $162 million.

Houston is final at $forty five million, up from $27 million initially of last yr, and Miami at $48 million stays twenty ninth.

Some massive-market groups are among the smaller spenders, with the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs projected at $89 million, ranked 22nd and 23rd.

Rodriguez, who holds the file for the largest deal in baseball history at $275 million over 10 years, is suspended for the season for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Due to the ban, he'll earn solely $2,868,852 of his $25 million salary – 21 days pay for the 183-day season.

Greinke would have turn out to be the very best-paid player, even if Rodriguez was getting all his money. The pitcher has a $24 million salary within the second season of his $147 million, six-year contract, and since he can opt out of the deal after the 2015 season, baseball's accounting rules name for his $12 million signing bonus to be prorated over the first three seasons.

"We have great possession and a terrific fan base, and we have to do what we can to win games," Dodgers general supervisor Ned Colletti said last week in Sydney, the place Los Angeles swept its opening, two-sport collection in opposition to Arizona.

"I do not suppose the blokes worry about it. I know we do not worry about it," Colletti stated. "We're anticipated to win, and that is how we go about it. Money does not imply you win. Cash simply means you've an opportunity to get the best players."

As of Tuesday, the average salary projected to be between $three.95 million and $four million, with the ultimate figure relying on how many players are put on the disabled list by the point opening-day rosters are finalized at three p.m. Sunday.

That translates to an increase of eight to 10 % from final year's opening common of $three.sixty five million and would be the most important increase since 2006 or probably even 2001.

"I am not shocked. With the type of revenues golf equipment are enjoying today, the average salaries are going to go up," New York Mets general supervisor Sandy Alderson mentioned.

Illustrating the speed of escalation, the opening-day average was $1.07 million when Derek Jeter first reached the major leagues in 1995, broke the $2 million mark in 2001 and spurted past $3 million in 2008.

"I believe it is nice. I think it simply shows the game is rising, fan curiosity is there," mentioned Jeter, the Yankees captain who is retiring at the end of this season. "The enterprise of baseball looks like it's booming pretty good proper now."

The typical U.S. wage in 2012 was $forty two,498, based on the Social Security Administration, the newest determine out there and an annual increase of three.12 %.

Following Greinke on the best-paid record are Philadelphia's Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee at $25 million, the Yankees' CC Sabathia at $24.three million, and Seattle's Robinson Cano and Texas' Prince Fielder at $24 million every.

The AP's figures embody salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income for players on active rosters, disabled lists and the restricted checklist. For some gamers, parts of deferred money are discounted to replicate present values.

Payroll figures think about adjustments for money transactions in trades, signing bonuses which can be the responsibility of the membership agreeing to the contract, choice buyouts, and termination pay for launched gamers.

As an example, the Yankees are receiving $18.6 million from the Los Angeles Angels to cover a lot of the $21 million resulting from outfielder Vernon Wells, who has been released, and $thirteen million from the Chicago Cubs to pay most of the $18 million owed outfielder Alfonso Soriano. The Mets' payroll include buyouts to Johan Santana ($four.9 million present worth) and Jason Bay ($2.7 million present value).

Copyright 2014 by The Related Press

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Lakers score 51 in 3rd quarter, blast Knicks

 

L. A. – With Knicks president Phil Jackson watching from a luxurious suite excessive above the courtroom, his new crew's teetering playoff hopes bought an enormous shove from his previous group's incredible offensive present.

Xavier Henry scored 22 points, Nick Young hit five 3-pointers whereas scoring 20 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise file with 51 points within the third quarter of their 127-96 victory over New York on Tuesday evening.

Although the Lakers have sixteen NBA championships and a luminous listing of former superstars, these groups by no means had a quarter to match to the 12 magical minutes played after halftime by Los Angeles' present patchwork roster.

And no Knicks defense had ever given up fifty one factors in a quarter till this staff did it in a key sport for its postseason chase. New York dropped three games behind Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot in the Jap Conference.

"We hit photographs everywhere," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni stated. "It is infectious. If you begin taking good photographs, they begin getting in, and even the hard shots start entering into."

Certainly, the Lakers hit 19 of their 26 photographs with six three-pointers, stretching an eight-level halftime lead to 30. Nine players contributed a discipline purpose to the spree, led by nine factors from Chris Kaman in his first recreation motion in March.

"It feels good, but it solely lasts one evening," stated Henry, who played exceptionally nicely with a torn ligament in his taking pictures wrist. "We've just received to be encouraged for the remainder of the season from it."

Kent Bazemore scored 18 points as the Lakers received consecutive video games for the first time in additional than three weeks with a season-excessive 82 factors from their reserves, including Henry and Younger.

Jodie Meeks had four three-pointers as Los Angeles completed one three-pointer shy of the only-recreation club record in the course of the Lakers' highest-scoring game of the season. 5 players hit multiple 3-pointers, together with three apiece for Henry and rookie Ryan Kelly.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for the Knicks, who have misplaced two straight after an eight-sport winning streak. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 factors and Amare Stoudemire had sixteen within the Knicks' seventh straight highway loss to the Lakers since 2007.

"On the finish of the day, it's simply particular person pleasure," mentioned J.R. Smith, who had 12 points. "It's important to have delight in guarding your man, guarding the ball, and we simply did not have that the final three quarters."

The Knicks are assured of a dropping season with their forty second loss, and the Hawks have two games in hand in the playoff race. Those excessive stakes and Jackson's looming presence weren't sufficient to spur New York to a competent defensive efficiency.

"I believed we came out ready to play," New York coach Mike Woodson mentioned. "I imply, we held them to 14 factors in the first quarter, and then that second and third quarter, all hell broke loose. We just didn't have any reply for them from a defensive standpoint. I thought the plan was good starting the game, and after they went to their bench, they got here out blazing and we simply couldn't management them."

Jackson's fiancee, Lakers government Jeanie Buss, watched from the second row. The eleven-time NBA champion coach arrived late at the constructing the place he received five titles with the Lakers, who declined to re-hire him early last season, infuriating much of their fan base.

With Pau Gasol sidelined by vertigo, Kaman had thirteen points and nine rebounds because the Lakers' starting center. Steve Nash also sat out for the seventeenth time within the Lakers' final 18 games.

The Lakers missed thirteen of their 18 pictures in a 14-point first quarter, however rolled off a 22-4 run in 5 1/2 minutes to open the second. Meeks and Jordan Hill then expanded the Lakers' lead with a 12-zero run early within the third before the Lakers really bought rolling.

 

Sport notes

Young converted a four-point play in the third quarter. He has six of the Lakers' nine four-level plays this season, each franchise data… Gasol will be re-examined Wednesday before the Lakers decide whether he'll travel with them to Milwaukee and Minnesota this week… Metta World Peace, the former Knicks and Lakers ahead, attended the game. New York waived the former Ron Artest on Feb. 24. He bought a rousing ovation from the Staples Center crowd when he appeared on the scoreboard in the first half, and he sat in Jackson's field during the second half.

 

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Clips down Cavs for 11th straight

Griffin's Double-Double Fuels Clippers

 

L. A. – Blake Griffin entered the again half of his 20s with a birthday serenade from the crowd and another dynamic demonstration of why he's only getting better with age.

The Los Angeles Clippers' successful streak also will get an entire lot extra spectacular with each passing week.

Griffin had 21 factors, 11 rebounds and eight assists on his 25th birthday, and the Clippers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-80 Sunday night time for his or her 11th consecutive victory.

The Clippers' excessive-flying forward threw himself a nice little get together: Griffin has scored a minimum of 20 factors in 26 consecutive games, a mark exceeded only by Kevin Durant this season.

"This stretch of games that we have performed and we've been profitable has been a huge team effort," Griffin said. "Guys have stepped up and really carried out their part. With our crew, I don't think it is one guy that is making us go. I genuinely believe it has been a total team effort."

But Griffin is a transparent driving pressure along with his rapidly evolving all-around game. So is Chris Paul: The point guard had 15 assists and scored 11 of his sixteen factors in the last 6:04 for the Clippers, who haven't lost since Feb. 21.

The followers sang "Completely satisfied Birthday" to Griffin throughout a lifeless ball in the second quarter, and he gave a sheepish grin and a wave whereas waiting to inbound the ball.

He had already acquired a pregame tune from rookie Reggie Bullock, who scored a profession-excessive 14 points on his own 23rd birthday.

"It's probably just like the 10th time he is needed to do it this 12 months, and he looks as if he's getting worse," Griffin said dryly. "No enthusiasm. It's actually dangerous… He's bought an excellent persona. He simply cannot sing in any respect."

Luol Deng scored 23 factors and Dion Waiters had 15 for the Cavaliers, who misplaced Kyrie Irving within the first quarter to a left biceps damage. Cleveland had won on its first two stops of a 3-game West Coast street trip, but never led whereas Los Angeles matched the longest streak in the NBA this season, equaling 11-recreation runs in November by Portland and San Antonio.

"They're an incredible workforce," Cleveland coach Mike Brown stated. "They have an opportunity to win it all. I imply, you look how deep their roster is. They've playoff expertise, they have NBA All-Stars coming off the bench, and Doc is a great coach."

Irving, Cleveland's leader in scoring and assists, went to the Cavs' locker room late within the first quarter and didn't return. The All-Star Game MVP missed all five of his shots in opposition to the Clippers and was injured shortly before he left the sport.

Jarrett Jack scored seven straight factors during a 12-zero Cleveland run early within the fourth quarter, trimming the Clippers' former 21-level result in seven. But Paul shook off a tough capturing night with three jumpers in fast succession, and the Clippers closed out their sixth straight dwelling victory.

"We simply cannot begin games like that," Jack said. "We had a lull period for nearly a quarter and a half, and we just didn't exit and compete. Then the sport form of started to show in our favor, however combating an uphill battle against a workforce like that is a very powerful job."

DeAndre Jordan added 15 factors and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who matched the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Los Angeles received 17 straight games during its unbeaten run via December 2012.

Jamal Crawford missed his fourth straight game with a strained left calf, and fill-in starter Darren Collison was dominated out quarter-hour before tipoff with a stomach virus. Los Angeles already is without J.J. Redick, who hasn't played since early February.

"They don't use an excuse," Clippers coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "We've three of our high 4 guards out at the moment, and nobody talked about it (in the locker room). They nonetheless feel like every night, we have an opportunity to win the sport."

Los Angeles scored the sport's first 11 factors and jumped out to a 17-three lead just 6 minutes in when Cleveland missed nine of its first 10 pictures.

Griffin in some way scored whereas Spencer Hawes flagrantly fouled him in the last minute of the primary half, muscling the ball residence in a remarkable show of energy. His three-point play put the Clippers up fifty two-38 at halftime.

Recreation notes

Hawes received his second technical foul and an ejection with 1:19 to play whereas standing by Cleveland's bench. Hawes, who scored 14 points, sarcastically waved goodbye to referee Scott Wall as he left. "I'm given up sufficient money tonight, so I won't say anything more past that," Hawes mentioned afterward… Metta World Peace watched the sport from a baseline seat next to the Cavaliers' bench. The erstwhile Ron Artest received a hoop in this building in 2010 with the Lakers, who let him go last summer season.

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NBA Prediction Wednesday Night Preview- Golden State vs. Los Angeles

Golden State Warriors (41-24, 20-14 away) @ Los Angeles Clippers (45-20, 27-5 home) 03/12- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: LAC -7.0

Over/Under- 211.0

 

The Golden State Warriors will travel into Staples Center on Wednesday night to try to slow down the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers, who have won eight straight and lead the Pacific Division.

 

The Warriors (41-24) have been on a tear of their own, but thanks in large part to Blake Griffin, the Clippers (45-20) are enjoying their longest win streak of the season and lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 115.0 per game to bump their season average to 107.8 per contest.

 

Griffin, coming off a 37-point performance in a 112-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night has now scored at least 20 points a game over a career-high 23 games. Over that span he is now averaging 27.8 to boost his season average to 24.4 points per game.

 

He is one of those players you can’t stop,” teammate Danny Granger said.

 

The four-time All-Star has developed his game year after year since coming into the league and everybody is taking notice.

 

Blake has been doing it all year long, dominating all year long, he’s being consistent,” guard Darrin Collison said. “I think we are used to it which is a good thing. … He’s just reading the defense, if they’re pressing on him, he’s using his strength. If they’re playing off him, he’s taking that shot. He’s playing with a lot confidence right now.”

 

As well as the Clippers have been playing, the Warriors are right there with them having won five in a row to put themselves four games behind them in the Pacific Division and now sit three games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

 

Golden State took apart the Mavericks on Tuesday night winning easily 108-85 thanks in part to another great defensive performance to give themselves a bit of breathing room against the teams chasing them for a playoff spot. They held the Mavs to just 36.6 percent shooting.

 

It’s a big-time win for us,” coach Mark Jackson said. “If you lose this game, then all of the sudden there’s three teams again within striking distance. I think this gave us some breathing room, especially with the fact that we have a big game (Wednesday) night against a red-hot Clippers team.”

 

The Warriors with their high-scoring offense combined with their stingy defense of late are winning by an average of 15.7 points over their last four games.

 

It’s fun,” Golden State reserve Jordan Crawford said who put up 19 points against the Mavericks. “To be on a streak like this heading into the playoffs and to move up the standings, it brings the competitive spirit out in everybody.”

 

Leading scorer Stephen Curry (23.3 ppg) has been slowed down offensively as he tries to play through a quadriceps injury averaging only 14.8 points during their winning streak.

 

With the final clash of these two teams for the regular-season on Wednesday night, there is no love-lost between them, so expect a high intensity game and perhaps some chippiness. Both teams are on fire, but oddsmakers are giving the home town Clippers a big (minus 7-0) point edge but stay up-to-date on the latest spread as game time approaches right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Golden State has won seven of the last ten against the Clippers but have dropped six of eight at Staples Center and playing in the second of a back-to-back I favor the Clippers to win a good one to increase their lead in the Pacific Division.

 

Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

Griffin pours in 37 as Clips take 8th in row

Griffin, Clippers Win Eighth Straight

 

L. A. – Blake Griffin is nothing short of a lightning rod – for teammates, opposing players and referees. He can also play any sort of game required to keep the Los Angeles Clippers close to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Griffin scored 22 of his 37 factors in the first quarter and made 14 of 16 photographs earlier than fouling out, and the Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-a hundred and five on Monday evening for his or her eighth straight victory.

"I didn't even understand he had 22 within the first quarter till halftime," level guard Chris Paul stated. "I felt like the largest dummy, because he in all probability should have gotten the ball even more than he did. I know he will get off to good starts and stuff, but tonight it was crazy."

Things got testy with 5:28 remaining, as Griffin and P.J. Tucker started wrestling on the ground after they jockeyed for position in the paint on a missed three-level shot by Matt Barnes and Griffin fell on high of Tucker.

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker

Richard Mackson/USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker briefly scuffled on the ground within the fourth quarter, an change for which Tucker was ejected, while Griffin stayed within the sport – until he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

The 2 had to be separated, and the game was delayed while referees Bennie Adams, Jason Phillips and Matt Boland examined the video monitor to type it all out. Tucker was charged with a unfastened ball foul and then ejected, while Griffin stayed in the game – till he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

"You just sort of assess the play because it occurs," Griffin mentioned. "In the moment, I do not wish to put my crew or myself in a nasty scenario. So you simply have to weigh the professionals and cons at that time. Just to do one thing silly and get kicked out or suspended would not help. We already have injuries and guys who are banged up, so we don't need that."

The 4-time All-Star entered Monday having drawn a league-excessive 469 fouls, forty greater than Houston's Dwight Howard.

"Blake comes in and he does his job. They usually do not like it," coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "Blake will get hit as a lot as anybody. I think we now have all seen it, and it will get outdated. I do know it's very tough for him, however I believe he's doing the fitting thing. He puts his arms up – as a result of if he reacts, like some folks say he ought to, then he gets thrown out, he gets suspended, and it hurts the crew."

Darren Collison scored 20 factors and Paul added 17 factors and 11 assists for the Pacific Division leaders, who were 55.1 % from the field and improved to 23-1 when shooting a minimum of 50 p.c.

Goran Dragic had 23 factors and five assists throughout a foul-plagued 33 minutes for the Suns, who slipped a half-game behind idle Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West and are 1 half behind Dallas. Phoenix hasn't made the postseason since 2010 underneath coach Alvin Gentry, now a Clippers affiliate head coach.

"Give Phoenix credit. They're playing for his or her lives proper now and they want every win, so you knew they weren't going away," Rivers stated. "At least that is the way in which I felt on the bench."

Gerald Green, who had a career-excessive forty one factors for the Suns in final Thursday's 128-122 win over Oklahoma City, completed with sixteen factors after averaging 23.four over his previous thirteen games. Miles Plumlee, enjoying his second game after lacking the previous two because of a sprained proper knee, had 12 factors and nine rebounds as all five Suns starters scored in double figures.

Dragic came in averaging 20.5 points, third within the league amongst level guards behind Stephen Curry (23.5) and Kyrie Irving (21.5). But he picked up his third foul 2 minutes into the second quarter and wasn't a factor till the fourth, when the Suns rallied from a 19-level deficit with eight:11 remaining and received it all the way down to 109-105 on Dragic's layup with 32.5 seconds to play.

But that was as shut as they bought, as Barnes made three of 4 free throws to shut it out.

Los Angeles was leading one zero five-95 when Griffin picked up his sixth foul on a charge under the basket. Dragic made a pair of driving layups 28 seconds apart to slice the margin to one zero five-99 with 2:21 to go. But Paul responded with a sixteen-foot bank shot and two free throws for an eight-point cushion with 1:21 left.

"They got up early on us. We fell again and continued to play. It was just a type of conditions where it was too little, too late," Tucker mentioned. "It occurs to us quite a bit. In opposition to the top teams in the league, you'll be able to't get down by a lot early. Even coming again and making it shut on the end isn't enough.

"We ran out of gas."

 

Sport notes

Clippers G Jamal Crawford was on the inactive record for the fourth time in five video games due to a left calf strain. He tried to play via it during Saturday's win over Atlanta, but spent only 9 1-2 minutes on the courtroom and attempted two shots – each of which missed. "I don't know when he's coming again. I just do not know," Rivers said. "I did not assume he seemed good the opposite night time, just working. I do not become involved very often with that stuff, however he wasn't operating pure, so we'll just wait till he is back to playing 100%.".. The Clippers have scored at a hundred or extra factors in 16 straight home games since their loss to the Suns. It is their longest such streak for the reason that 1983-84 season, their last one in San Diego.

 

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Report: Danny Granger will sign with the Clippers

 

Does Granger give the Clippers an extra boost? (USATSI)
Does Danny Granger give the Clippers an extra increase? (USATSI)

 

Danny Granger's comeback from knee and calf accidents hasn't exactly gone to plan. Instead of trying to assist the Indiana Pacers overcome the Miami Warmth this postseason, Granger was traded at the deadline to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The Sixers then turned around and bought Granger out of his contract, permitting him to sign with any team he wished after clearing waivers.

It seems like Granger will spend the rest of the season battling it out in the Western Convention. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles is reporting the Los Angeles Clippers will signal Granger for the remainder of the season on Friday after they finish the paperwork for the deal.

Granger used to be among the finest scorers in the NBA before accidents took away his effectiveness. Over the last two seasons, Granger has performed in simply 34 video games and been a shell of his former self on the courtroom. This yr, he participated in 29 video games for the Pacers, averaging 8.three points on 35.9 % from the sector in 22.5 minutes.

He joins a Clippers group that might probably have a crowded core on the wings. The Clippers are ready to get J.J. Redick back in the mix, including him to Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, Willie Green, Jamal Crawford, and rookie Reggie Bullock.

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NBA Prediction Wednesday Night Preview/Pick- Rockets vs. Lakers

rockets vs lakers pick

NBA Free Pick & Prediction Houston vs. Los Angeles

Houston Rockets (36-17, 14-10 away) @ Los Angeles Lakers (18-35, 8-16 home) 02/19- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: HOU -8.5

Over/Under: 214.5

 

Former Laker Dwight Howard will make his long awaited return back to Los Angeles on Wednesday night to face his former team at Staples Center… and the fans will be waiting to give him a heavy dose of boos.

 

Last year in his first and only season with Los Angeles, expectations were high all around as the Lakers were expected to be serious contenders for an NBA championship with the addition of Howard and Steve Nash. What the Lakers encountered instead was a 2012-13 season filled with injuries, a disappointing slow start, a coaching change, internal conflicts and a quick first-round exit.

 

Despite the underachieving and disappointing end to last season, the Lakers felt they did enough to try to resign Howard to a long-term max deal in the off season, but to many… myself included, the writing was on the wall about Howard bolting from Los Angeles. The shoes of stepping in and trying to carry a storied franchise under the bright lights of Hollywood proved too much pressure on Howard and decided to sign with the Houston Rockets for $88 million dollars.

 

For Howard, the move to Houston seemed to have been the right one as he was named an All-Star and as the Rockets (36-17) are riding a season-high seven game win streak, Howard has been the main go-to-guy scoring an average of 24.7 points on 60.0 percent shooting with 12.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks during the surge as they get set to open the second half of the season.

 

Let’s face it… L.A. was just not the right fit for Howard where he clashed often with Kobe Bryant and coach Mike D’Antoni in his offensive system. Houston has proved a safe-haven for Howard.

 

We enjoy each other,” Howard said of his current teammates. “I’m happy to be here. The guys are happy to be here and we’re just having a lot of fun. I think the biggest thing for our team is that we are free, we’re able to have fun with each other, but when we step between the lines we know it’s serious.”

 

And serious it will be as the Rockets, who have won six of their last seven on the road since Jan 11 will get set to open up a five-game road trip that will also pit them against Western Conference contenders Golden State, Phoenix and the L.A. Clippers.

 

There’s going to be some tough road games,” said All-Star guard James Harden. “We’re on a roll right now but it’s going to be some tough games when we get back and hopefully we can string (some wins) together.”

 

For the Lakers (18-35), this season as been nothing but a disaster in the injury department, missing much of their fire-power all season, one injury after another, losing seven straight and 13 of their last 15 games at Staples and … this is not what we expect from a prideful Lakers team. They are playing hard and no one can fault them for that, but they simply lack the talent to close out games and put together some wins.

 

With the NBA trade deadline set for Thursday afternoon, there is talk of the Lakers dealing away veteran center and the Lakers leading scorer this season Pau Gasol, who has also had his run-ins with coach D’Antoni as Gasol questioned his role in the D’Antoni system.

 

As a general manager, we’re always looking a year or two or three down the road,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said. “Our approach going into this deadline might be a little different than it’s been in year’s past. We may look to shore up a position going into the playoff run. It may not be. But certainly I’m respectful and mindful of our record.”

 

And though the Lakers are going through their worst season in years, they have split two games in Houston this season and will be fired-up for the return of Howard.

 

The oddsmakers have the hot Houston Rockets as (minus 8.5) point favorites on Wednesday night, but get the latest odds up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Yes, these two teams are going in opposite direction and the Rockets are heavily favored but I feel the Lakers will be ready to deal Howard and the Rockets a loss. Expect the L.A. crowd to pull out all stops to distract Howard as the Lakers will look to win their seventh game in eight tries against the Rockets at Staples Center.

 

Prediction/Pick: Lakers

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

NBA Prediction Wednesday Night Game Preview/Pick- Portland vs. Los Angeles

nba pick trail blazers vs clippers

Free NBA Pick & prediction Trail Blazers vs Clippers

Portland Trail Blazers (36-16, 17-10 away) @ Los Angeles Clippers (36-18, 22-4 home) 02/12- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: LAC -9.0

Over/Under- 218

 

With the All-Star break approaching this weekend, the Los Angeles Clippers have to be feeling good with having All-Star point guard Chris Paul back in the mix and with their strong play in the first half of the season as they look to beat a struggling Portland team on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

 

The Clippers (36-18) will look to add to the Trail Blazers woes by dealing them their sixth defeat in nine games while going for their fifth home win versus the Blazers. The Blazers have not beaten the Clippers on the road since Oct. 27, 2010.

 

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Blazers will be playing in the second of a back-to-back game after losing at home on Tuesday night to Oklahoma City 98-95. LaMarcus Aldridge had a horrible shooting night going just 5 of 22, finishing with 12 points and 12 boards.

 

I couldn’t throw a rock in a lake tonight,” Aldridge said.

 

The Blazers (36-16) are the NBA’s highest scoring team at 107.7 points per contest but have failed to score in triple digits for the fifth time in eight games. Portland has lost six of its last seven games when scoring under 100 points and with the high scoring Clippers (106.7) right behind them, they will have their work cut out for them.

 

The Clippers went 12-6 during the absence of Paul, who went down with a separated shoulder back on Jan. 3 and were fired-up when he returned to action on Sunday night against Philadelphia as they gave the Sixers a 123-78 spanking. Paul scored seven points with eight assists in nearly 23 minutes of action.

 

Blake Griffin, 26 points and 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan, 10 points with 20 boards along with Jamal Crawford, 21 points were sparked by the return of Paul.

 

(Paul) set the tone,” said Crawford. “The energy from when he was introduced, to the level of play that he brings, it makes everybody better.’

 

Crawford has stepped up his game averaging 24.3 points per game in place of J.J. Redick, who is expected to miss his fourth straight game with a sore right hip.

 

The return and play of Paul on Sunday night quickly put to rest any fears of disrupting the chemistry of the team as he had feared for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers.

 

It felt great just to play. You never know what it’s going to be like until you actually get out there and compete,” Paul said.

 

Both Griffin and Paul will be headed to New Orleans this weekend for the All-Star game… Griffin as a Western Conference starter and Paul as a reserve and are feeling confident about their team when second half resumes play next week.

 

We’re hitting a lit of a stride,” said Griffin. “We’re more than halfway through the season. Hopefully, we’re getting to a point everybody’s going to be healthy and so hopefully this is the time, you know March and April that you hit your stride.”

 

The oddsmakers feel the Clippers are hitting their stride as they have made L.A. a huge (minus 9.0) point favorite against the struggling Blazers, but get the latest odds up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Although I expect a good game between these two teams, I have to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and see the Clippers taking it to the Blazers and avenging an earlier season loss 116-112 back on Dec. 26. I predict a great game all-around from the Clippers as they look to finish the first half of the season strong.

 

Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Magic, Walter again partner to buy Sparks

Sources: Suns heed caution on Gasol injury

Spurs at Heat: Betting tips

spurs,bettors

San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (-4, 204) What might have been an intriguing rematch of last season's NBA Finals has lost some luster as the San Antonio Spurs head to Miami missing several key players for their showdown with the Heat. The Spurs are down three starters — center Tiago Splitter (shoulder), forward Kawhi Leonard (finger) and guard Danny Green (finger) — but still managed a 105-79 win at Atlanta on Friday to open their three-game road trip. The Heat have won four straight regular-season meetings with San Antonio.

The Heat also have been short-handed recently with star guard Dwyane Wade missing the past four contests because of his ailing knees, but Wade is expected to play against the Spurs, allowing Ray Allen to move back to a reserve role. "It's a luxury to have the group that we have, to be able to rely on other guys when we have some of our big guys out, " Heat star LeBron James told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "With D-Wade being out for a period of gime, to be able to have a Hall of Famer backing him up … it definitely helps us. " Miami has won four straight at home, where it boasts an 18-3 record and has won seven of its eight matchups with Western Conference opponents, while San Antonio is 6-0 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.

 

TV:

1 p. m. ET, ABC

ABOUT THE SPURS (33-10):San Antonio has reeled off a season-high six-game road winning streak since its last defeat away from home Dec. 16 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The streak survived a trip to Atlanta on Friday as reserves Boris Diaw (21 points) and Patty Mills (18) were the unlikely stars. "We've got big shoes to fill until everyone gets back, Mills told reporters. "Guys go down and we have to stick to the game plan. "

ABOUT THE HEAT (31-12):

Miami has won four of five following a season-high three-game losing streak and remains entrenched in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. With Wade sidelined, Chris Bosh has been the No. 2 option behind James (26. 2 points, 6. 9 rebounds, 6. 5 assists) and the big man poured in 31 points in Thursday's 109-102 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat nonetheless will welcome Wade's return — they're 24-6 when he plays and 7-6 without him. TRENDS:

* Spurs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games. * Heat are 2-5 ATS in their last seven vs. Western Conference. * Under is 6-2 in Spurs last eight overall.

* Over is 9-3 in Heat last 12 home games.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. James has scored in double figures in 537 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history.

2. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is tied with Red Auerbach for 10th place all-time with 938 wins.

3. Miami is 25-1 when holding opponents under 100 points.

Stadium Series: No rain, no heat in LA forecast

The weather shouldn't be much of a problem in LA. (Getty Images)
The weather should not be much of a problem in LA. (Getty Photos)

Extra NHL: Scores | Standings | League Leaders | Odds | Accidents | Power Rankings

The ice is down, the sphere is prepared for the primary Stadium Series game between the Kings and Ducks at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Now all the sport wants is a promising weather forecast.

As of now, the forecast on Saturday in Los Angeles calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 79 and a low of 50 degrees and 0 chance of rain. In different phrases, it will be the exact day you’d image in Los Angeles on the end of January.

The sport will drop the puck at 7 p.m. Pacific Time after the sun goes all the way down to maintain the temperatures cooler but the greatest issue is the dearth of rain. Precipitation could be a much bigger downside than slightly warmer temperatures. In truth, the temperatures being constant this time of yr has helped, even when it is barely hotter than you’ll anticipate to be conducive for the needs of fine ice.

It is no polar vortex but the forecast provides about the absolute best scenario the NHL might have asked for at the moment of 12 months in LA apart from a rare chilly blast coming by means of.

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Tanaka says Yankees wanted him most

"Everything will be new and challenging, inch Tanaka said. "But I have to rely on the ability that obtained me this far. inch

Tanaka was 99-35 with a 2 . 30 ERA in 7 seasons with the Eagles, impressive out 1, 238 within 1315 innings. Yankees authorities have tracked him given that 2007, scouting 15 associated with his games.

The Tanaka offer caps an offseason in which the Yankees have added heurter Brian McCann and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. The four large deals total $438 mil.

"We're going to do what we've got to do to win, " Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner informed The Associated Press. "We had to make sure we had sufficient pitching to go together with our own new lineup. "

Tanaka gets the highest contract for an international totally free agent and the fifth biggest deal for a pitcher, walking only those of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($215 million), Detroit's Justin Verlander ($180 million), Seattle's Felix Hernandez ($175 million) and the Yankees' CC Sabathia ($161 million under his initial agreement with New York).

Tanaka replaces the retired Andy Pettitte in the Yankees rotator, and joins Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan volkswagen.

 

New York yankees Sign tanaka for $155 Million

Still, the Yankees are not a complete team. in second base, the Yankees have the injury-plagued Brian Roberts and career minor leaguer Dean Anna, while at 3rd they have Kelly Johnson as a possibility. At first with tag Teixeira and at third along with Derek Jeter, they have celebrity players returning from main injuries.

Tanaka is considered a top of the rotation starter. He was able to command the huge contract because of the new posting system put in place. Under the former rules, 1 team would win unique rights to negotiate with a player, which would mean a lot more for the Japanese clubs, yet less for the player.

For example, Yu Darvish, who agreed to the six-year, $60 million deal with the Rangers after the group won his negotiating legal rights with a $51. 7 mil posting bid, is 29-18 in two seasons along with Texas, striking out 498 batters in 401 innings.

Under the new rules, Tanaka grew to become a free agent, but there was a $20 million charge attached to him.

Of all the teams that were courting Tanaka – the particular Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, plus Arizona Diamondbacks – the particular Yankees had the largest provide to separate themselves from the industry. The Yankees' expenditure ($175 million in salary plus posting) is the largest actually for a free-agent pitcher.

Tanaka gets the highest contract for an international totally free agent and the fifth-largest offer for a pitcher, trailing just those of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($215 million), Detroit's Justin Verlander ($180 million), Seattle's Felix Hernandez ($175 million) and Sabathia ($161 million under their original agreement with brand new York).

Tanaka was 99-35 with a 2. 30 ERA plus 1, 238 strikeouts within 175 games for Rakuten since 2007. He had 53 complete games, including eighteen shutouts.

In his interview withAP, Steinbrenner bristled at the idea the Yankees were getting cheap without his dad around.

"There has been criticism associated with myself and my brother the last couple years that, gee, if our dad was still in charge, we'd be spending this particular and spending that and performing whatever it takes to win, inch Hank Steinbrenner said, referring to late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

"He didn't have income sharing, at least for most associated with his time, " Hank Steinbrenner added. "That's exactly what these people in the sports press don't seem to get. If it was not for revenue sharing, we would have a payroll of three hundred million a year if we wanted to. So we're doing this in spite of having to pay all that revenue discussing. "

 

Dodger Stadium game to feature Gretzky, Scully

Wayne Gretzky will be honored at the Kings-Ducks game Jan. 25.
Wayne Gretzky will be honored at the Kings-Ducks sport Jan. 25. (Getty Photographs)

Hockey is coming to Dodger Stadium later this month, and each Vin Scully and Wayne Gretzky are expected to be available.

The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will play the primary outside NHL sport west of the Mississippi River Jan. 25 in LA, and Gretzky might be honored through the game.

As well as, The Great One is anticipated to be readily available Monday at Dodger Stadium when the equipment necessary to make an out of doors hockey game attainable in SoCal arrives.

“Wayne started all of it, and in many respects to not have Wayne at this occasion can be nearly unimaginable,” NHL Chief Working Officer John Collins advised the Los Angeles Occasions. “It’s nearly a valentine to him and every little thing that he accomplished.”

The game could have a distinctly completely different feel from those played in Chicago and New York, as there may be anticipated to be palm timber and a seaside volleyball courtroom near the rink. And to ensure the California vibe is absolutely embraced, legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully is anticipated to be concerned, in accordance with the paper.

For Gretzky, who has been away from the sport for 4 years after a dispute with the league, there’s maybe no better stage for his return than Southern California, the place he as soon as electrified crowds as a member of the Kings.

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Dodgers: Puig gives up driving after 2nd arrest

"I give him credit for taking that step if nothing else, " Kasten said during a radio appearance on ESPNLA 710.

In April, Puig was clocked going 97 mph in a 50 mph zone in Tennessee, but he had those reckless driving and speeding charges dismissed after serving 12 hours of community service. Puig was charged with reckless driving again last month for allegedly driving 110 mph in a 70 mph zone in Florida.

Puig batted319 with 19 home runs in 104 games last season, finishing second to Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez in National League Rookie of the Year balloting.

Yasiel Puig

Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti both spoke with Puig after his latest run-in with law enforcement. Kasten said he also traveled to Tennessee to meet with the Cuban defector after his first incident, which came while Puig was with the Dodgers' Double-A team.

"I sat him down myself when that happened and made it clear what we expect of him, " Kasten said. "I said then that, even if he thinks he can get away with it because he's in Chattanooga, if you ever get to the big leagues, nothing – nothing – is going to escape attention. He brought that up to me today. "

Florida authorities released video of Puig's December arrest on Wednesday. The video shows the officer scolding Puig for driving his white Mercedes so fast while his mother was in the car. Puig later pleads with the officer to let him go.

 

Strahan, Brooks, Bettis among 2014 Hall finalists

The 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2014 class have been named.

(USATSI)The 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2014 class have been named. (USATSI)
A list that started with over 100 candidates is now down to the final 15.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Thursday the 15 finalists for its 2014 class. The process of naming the finalists began in September with a list of 126 potential inductees. That number was trimmed down to 25 semi-finalists in November and now it’s down to 15.

Here’s a list of the 15 finalists, including a look at the five we feel have the best chance of getting in, followed by the remaining 10. The list includes four people eligible for the first time in Derrick Brooks, Marvin Harrison, Walter Jones and Tony Dungy.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists

Michael Strahan, DE – 1993-2007 New York Giants:

Strahan probably felt pretty snubbed when his name wasn’t announced last February for the 2013 class, but he most likely won’t be feeling that again in 2014. In 15 seasons with the Giants, Strahan tallied 141. 5 career sacks, a number that ranks fifth all-time. Strahan also holds the single-season sack record (22. 5), a record that’s mostly remembered for the phantom sack Strahan got on Brett Favre to set the record. That aside, the seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro seems like a lock for 2014.

Derrick Brooks, LB – 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

If Brooks doesn’t make it into the Hall of Fame, then they should stop having a Hall of Fame. The underrated Brooks is one of the best outside linebackers of all-time and was a big part why Tony Dungy’s Tampa-2 defense was successful. In pass coverage, Brooks had the ability to cover large parts of the field, which in turn made things easier for teammates like John Lynch. Brooks finished his 14-year career with 11 Pro Bowl appearances, one Defensive Player of the Year award (2002) and one Super Bowl title.
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

If Brown’s going to get in the Hall of Fame, 2014 seems like a good year to do it. Brown, Andre Reed and Marvin Harrison will create a logjam at receiver that could lead to some long arguments when the selection committee gets together. It’s hard to argue with what Brown did in his career, he has the fifth most receptions (1, 094) in NFL history, the fifth most receiving yards (14, 934) and is tied with Hall of Famer Steve Largent for the seventh most touchdown catches (100). Brown accomplished all of this despite tearing the MCL and PCL in his left knee in Week 1 of 1989, only his second year in the league.

Walter Jones, T – 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks:The selection committee has been on an offensive linemen kick for the past the few years. With the exception of 2011, at least one offensive linemen has been selected for the Hall in every year since 2006, including two linemen – Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden – in the class of 2013. The 2014 class can make a strong case for two linemen – Jones and Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields – but we’re going to go with Jones. Over 12 seasons, Jones played in 180 games and started every single one of those. The Seahawks left tackle was a nine-time Pro Bowler and made first-team All-Pro four times. Jones wasn’t suppose to eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2015, but the Hall recently ruled that because Jones spent his final season in 2009 on injured reserve, he would be eligible a year earlier in 2014.

Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers:Bettis didn’t just drive the bus in Pittsburgh, he also drove it with the Rams for three seasons in Los Angeles and St. Louis. After the Rams made Bettis the 10th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, Bettis went out and won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award thanks to 1, 429 rushing yards, the second highest total of any back in the league. Bettis ranked third in NFL history with eight 1, 000-yard seasons and fifth in career rushing yards with 13, 662 when he retired after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL.

Morten Andersen, K -

1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings
Kevin Greene, LB/DE -

1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Charles Haley, DE/LB -1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Marvin Harrison, WR -1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts

Aeneas Williams, CB/S -

1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
John Lynch, FS -

1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

Andre Reed, WR -1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Will Shields, G -1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Tony Dungy, Coach -

1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis ColtsEdward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner -

1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers

A group of 46 sports writers have the final say on who eventually gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The writers will meet on Feb. 1 in New York and consider the candidacy of each finalist, plus two senior nominees in Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.

The Hall of Fame selection process stipulates that the number of modern-day inductees is capped at five. This means a maximum of seven players can be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The number usually falls between four and seven.

The 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced in a television special that’s set to air on Feb. 1 at 8 p. m. ET on Fox.

The list above was trimmed down from 25 semifinalists, here’s the 10 that didn’t make the cut this year:

Steve Atwater, S -1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

Roger Craig, RB -1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis, RB -

1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Joe Jacoby, T -

1981-1993 Washington Redskins

Karl Mecklenburg, LB -1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Steve Wisniewski, G -

- 1989-2001 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Jimmy Johnson, Coach -

1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins

Don Coryell, Coach -

1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

  • Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner -1989-2006 National Football League
  • George Young, Contributor -

  • 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

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Tanaka meeting with as many as 12 MLB teams

Masahiro Tanaka is expected to meet with as many as a dozen MLB teams by Friday.

(USATSI)Masahiro Tanaka is expected to meet with as many as a dozen MLB teams by Friday. (USATSI)
Superstar free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka kicked off his free agency in earnest with clandestine meetings Wednesday and will see as many as a dozen or so teams by Friday in the Los Angeles area. The Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and Diamondbacks are believed to be among teams to have meetings planned. Tanaka, who is expected to receive in excess of $100 million, and perhaps well in excess of that figure, is scheduled to be seen by a Los Angeles doctor while there in order to provide a medical status to all the interested teams.

There was no official word from any of the teams said to have meetings planned, as it appears this is being taken as a heavily guarded secret.

 

The Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, Yankees and Diamondbacks have long been known to have a keen interest in the 25-year-old righthander who went a magical 24-0 with a 1. 27 ERA for Rakuten, and earned virtual free agency via a revamped posting system that only will require the winning team to give $20 million to Rakuten, far short of what the Japanese teams received for previous Japanese pitching stars Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish.

The Jays are among several others teams to have had multiple discussions with team Tanaka, but there was no word they had a meeting planned as of yet. Other teams reported to have some interest have included the Mariners, Twins and Rangers. It isn't known which other teams have a meeting planned besides the two Los Angeles teams, the two Chicago teams, the Yankees and Diamondbacks.

It is believed Tanaka, with agent Casey Close there, may have as many as five or six meetings planned per day, and the meetings are definitely continuing today.

The Yankees along with the Dodgers are the richest teams and in the best financial position to win the pitcher, but New York's case is complicated a bit by its desire to stay under the $189-million luxury-tax threshold. Should the Yankees sign Tanaka, they may have to offload a few other contracts to have any chance to get under the $189-million mark, though their desire for the player may ultimately cost them the ability to do so – especially if Alex Rodriguez receives a favorable ruling from baseball's arbitrator and doesn't have to sit out the entire 2014 season in the Biogenesis/PED case.

Teams love the fact that Tanaka is only 25 (he just turned 25) but the one question is the heavy workload he's had early – a question that could be alleviated to some degree with the medical exam.

Scouts marvel at Tanaka's exceptional poise and mound presence, and though most suggest Darvish may be more talented, others aren't so sure. Said one GM, whose team isn't even believed to be involved, “Tanaka's the better pitcher. ”

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