Week-in-Review: List of UFC, Bellator & Other Fights Announced

Yushin Okami has a date for his World Series of Fighting debut.| Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com


A complete list of serious new fights reported in the pastweek.

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Nah-Shon Burrell, Bellator112, March 14, Hammond, Ind.

Jesse Juarez vs. Adam McDonough, Bellator 112, March 14, Hammond, Ind.

Sam Oropeza vs. Cristiano Souza, Bellator 112, March 14, Hammond, Ind.

Bubba McDaniel vs. Sean Strickland, UFC171 “Hendricks vs. Lawler,” March 15, Dallas

Yushin Okami vs. Svetlozar Savov, WSOF9 “Carl vs. Palhares,” March 29, Las Vegas

Oli Thompson vs. Gzim Selmani, BAMMA15 “Thompson vs. Selmani,” April 5, London

Colin Fletcher vs. Tony Hervey,BAMMA 15 “Thompson vs. Selmani,” April 5, London

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Tony Bonello, IGF“Inoki Genome Struggle 1,” April 5, Tokyo

Ryan Jimmo vs. Sean O’Connell, UFC “The Final Fighter Nations Finale,” April sixteen, QuebecCity

Takanori Gomi vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg, UFC172 “Jones vs. Teixeira,” April 26, Baltimore

Danny Castillo vs. Charlie Brenneman, UFC 172 “Jones vs. Teixeira,” April 26,Baltimore

Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, UFC173 “Weidman vs. Machida,” Might 24, Las Vegas

Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno, UFC 173 “Weidman vs. Machida,” May 24, Las Vegas

Read The Original Article

Week-in-Review: List of UFC, Bellator & Other Fights Announced

Holly Holm is looking to lay waste to a different foe in April.

An entire checklist of great new fights reported in the pastweek.

DanielCormier vs. PatrickCummins, UFC170 “Rousey vs. McMann,” Feb. 22, Las Vegas

RaphaelAssuncao vs. PedroMunhoz, UFC one hundred seventy “Rousey vs. McMann,” Feb. 22, Las Vegas

CodyGibson vs. AljamainSterling, UFC one hundred seventy “Rousey vs. McMann,” Feb. 22, Las Vegas

Caol Unovs. Jesse Brock,ValeTudo Japan “VTJ 4th,” Feb. 23, Tokyo

JoshBurkman vs. TylerStinson, WSOF9 “Carl vs. Palhares,” March 29, Las Vegas

OzzyDugulubgov vs. Johnny Nunez,WSOF 9 “Carl vs. Palhares,” March 29, Las Vegas

Mike Coreyvs. ShaneKruchten, WSOF 9 “Carl vs. Palhares,” March 29, Las Vegas

JohnAlessio vs. TBA, Bellator119, Could 9, Rama, Ontario

YusukeKawaguchi vs. BrettRogers, IGF“Inoki Genome Struggle 1,” April 5, Tokyo

HollyHolm vs. JulianaWerner, Legacy Preventing Championship 30, April eleven, Allen, Texas

FlavioAlvaro vs. DonaldSanchez, Legacy Fighting Championship 30, April 11, Allen,Texas

DerrickLewis vs. Jack Could,UFC on Fox 11 “Werdum vs. Browne,” April 19, Orlando, Fla.

TakafumiOtsuka vs. Kenji Osawa,Deep“sixty six Affect,” April 29, Tokyo

SatoruKitaoka vs. NaotoMiyazaki, Deep “66 Impression,” April 29, Tokyo

KazunoriYokota vs. KatsunoriTsuda, Deep “sixty six Impression,” April 29, Tokyo

AnthonyBirchak vs. Kevin Croom,MFC forty“Crowned Kings,” Could 9, Edmonton, Alberta

ChrisWade vs. FrankiePerez, Ringof Combat forty eight, Might sixteen, Atlantic City, N.J.

WanderleiSilva vs. ChaelSonnen, UFC Battle Night,Might 31, Brazil



Read The Original Article

If Brady vs. Manning IV is Like the Previous Matchups, Other Names Will Play a Big Role

Manning and Brady share a tender moment

Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning. On this final workforce game, we lastly get a matchup between the 2 most famous quarterbacks of the last fifteen years. We haven’t seen these two on the same area in the put up season since January of 2007, when Marlin Jackson intercepted Tom Brady and reversed a lot of the speaking factors, not less than briefly. Prior to that instantaneous, you recognize that most people believed that Brady was going to get a remaining comeback accomplished because the ball crossed into Colts’ territory. You would possibly recall, if you happen to try to take your self again to that moment, that the Patriots with Brady have been 12-1 in the postseason, and have been simply coming off a recreation the place they tied the sport after Tom Brady threw his third interception however Marlon McCree fumbled it right back. Something seemed attainable, so long as anything concerned a Patriots playoff win. A lot has changed since that final matchup. How much?

  • Peyton Manning has received one Tremendous Bowl, Tom Brady none (three to 0 in favor of Tom Brady earlier than);
  • Tom Brady went from being the man who won within the playoffs regardless that others put up better numbers in the common season, to having some monster years, most notably 2007;
  • Tom Brady has the next yards per try since their last playoff meeting (7.83 to 7.69);
  • The 2 have appeared in 20 other playoff games between matchups, going a mixed 10-10;
  • All but one of those playoff matchups was either at dwelling or within the Super Bowl, with the one street game performed by both being when Peyton Manning played at eight-eight San Diego with a 12-4 team, due to the division winner hosting rule;
  • Manning’s last recreation in opposition to New England was his last playoff recreation with a sub-eighty passer rating;
  • Both have missed a season with an damage; and
  • Peyton Manning has, of course, changed teams.

When these two have gotten collectively in the postseason, it hasn’t necessarily been fairly. Manning’s Colts struggled within the chilly of New England twice. He threw four interceptions in one sport, and the receivers couldn't catch the ball in one other. Brady’s numbers (6.26 yards per attempt, three touchdown passes in 3 video games) aren’t eye-popping.

Image (1) Tom-Brady-Peyton-manning1-300x225.png for post 184803If something, these matchups provide some wackiness by way of who has made a difference. Earlier this yr, we saw a game determined by a punt being touched by Denver in overtime. Here are some notes that you just won't bear in mind about these earlier playoff games:

  • Offensive and Defensive linemen have scored as many touchdowns as huge receivers. Dan Klecko (go from Manning), Logan Mankins (fumble recovery) and Jeff Saturday (fumble recovery) have accounted for scores;
  • The only player to attain more than as soon as whole in the earlier Manning-Brady matchups is David Givens (2);
  • Peyton Manning has not thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver, something that should change if Denver is to win.

We simply noticed New England win a recreation with a dominating run sport and making plays on defense, with Tom Brady only having to throw 25 passes and completing 13. That’s the fewest number of completions in a playoff sport since the AFC Championship Sport towards Pittsburgh in January 2002, when Brady was injured. It’s probably only becoming that in a 12 months when Brady had his lowest yards per try since 2006 and the Patriots are successful video games like they did in the early a part of final decade, we lastly get the fourth showdown.

The previous, although, shouldn't be predictive of the long run. It needs to be enjoyable, and sure decided by somebody we aren’t talking about proper now.


Read The Original Article


At home in new stadium, Sporting KC no longer city’s “stepchild” despite other pro teams’ success

Picture Credit:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The first two years of Sporting Kansas Metropolis’s surge in popularity, after years of getting stepchild standing in taking part in other groups’ stadiums, came with the town’s two other main sports franchises mired in mediocrity or worse.

The same can’t be mentioned this year, with Major League Baseball’s Royals coming off a uncommon profitable season and the NFL’s Chiefs surging from last season’s 2-14 debacle to a 9-zero start earlier than last weekend’s 27-17 setback in Denver. But Sporting’s passionate assist has only continued to develop as they intention for their first MLS Cup closing berth since 2004.

Sporting Park is bought out to fireside-code capacity for Saturday’s Jap Conference Championship in opposition to Houston (7:30 pm ET; NBCSN, Univision Deportes, RDS2 in Canada) – and if Sporting come out on top in that match, their residence floor will probably be jammed again on Dec. 7 for the Cup ultimate.

That is especially gratifying to manager Peter Vermes, who remembers the times when the then-Wizards, even in probably the most profitable season in membership history, struggled to draw fans to cavernous Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Chiefs.

“I feel it’s nice that the Chiefs are finding success,” Vermes informed MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “I believe it’s nice for town. But the different factor is that, in the midst of all that, we have discovered our niche and our fan base is there. It says a lot in regards to the group. It says quite a bit concerning the workforce. It says rather a lot concerning the fan base.”

Vermes was a member of the 2000 crew that gained Kansas Metropolis’s solely MLS Cup – in a 12 months where the Chiefs completed 7-9 and did not make the playoffs. However the NFL group still persistently drew a capacity crowd to Arrowhead, while the Wizards’ dramatic extra time win against LA in the Cup semifinals came in front of only 8,320 fans.

Sporting routinely draw greater than twice that number for normal-season matches in Sporting Park, which opened in 2011 – the identical 12 months the membership rebranded and commenced to take the city by storm.

“We now have our own place now that we call residence,” Vermes mentioned. “The followers have a spot we’re not leasing or renting from anyone else, where we’re the stepchild there.”

But a shiny new stadium solely goes to this point in gaining and protecting fan assist. Despite stumbling towards the Dynamo within the playoffs in 2011 and last year, Sporting have been among the many league’s strongest groups and gained the 2012 US Open Cup since shifting into their new digs.

And with a win on Saturday, they might ship something Kansas Metropolis hasn’t had because the Royals received the 1985 World Series – an opportunity to win it all at home.

“It’s superior,” stated left again Seth Sinovic, who grew up in close by Overland Park, Kan. “If you happen to’d told me at the start of the year that we might have two video games at residence to win the championship, I would take it. Hopefully, we get that opportunity with a victory on Saturday.”


Read The Original Article


Four other penalties the NCAA should revisit now that it has reduced Penn State football’s punishment


NCAA president Mark Emmert (Getty Images)

Not long after saying he’ll restore some of the scholarships Penn State lost as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, NCAA president Mark Emmert was quick to say the choice should not be seen as a precedent for other faculties on sanctions.

Too unhealthy, as a result of the NCAA has made plenty of different missteps that it still has time to fix. Listed below are four punishments particularly that the NCAA should contemplate revisiting as a result of every of the original penalties was too heavy-handed and extreme:

1. USC football’s unprecedented penalties

Subject: Star operating again Reggie Bush acquired hundreds of dollars in cash and presents in 2005 from two fledgling sports entrepreneurs hoping to sign him. The NCAA also attested that USC running backs coach Todd McNair falsely claimed he knew nothing of the improper benefits Bush obtained.

Penalty: Along with forfeiting 14 victories, USC obtained a two-yr bowl ban, 4 years’ probation and the loss of 30 soccer scholarships over three years.

Why it was too harsh: USC actually deserved to be punished for Bush’s improper benefits, but there is no precedent before or since in a case like this one for a penalty as extreme as the Trojans received. No program had ever endured both a two-12 months postseason ban and a lack of 30 or extra scholarships on the time and subsequent further-advantages cases at Ohio State and North Carolina have been met with better lenience from the NCAA. It’s too late for USC’s bowl ban to be amended, but the NCAA could still restore some of the scholarships the Trojans are slated to lose. The thinning of the roster has been one of many causes of USC’s latest slippage, resulting in inadequate depth at key positions.

2. Memphis’ vacated 2008 Remaining 4

Issue: Memphis level guard Derrick Rose’s SAT take a look at was ruled invalid in Could 2008 as a result of questions about whether or not he actually took the check himself or not.

Penalty: Memphis’s journey to the 2008 national championship recreation was wiped from the file books and its 38-2 record was expunged as a result of the NCAA ruled the varsity played an ineligible player.

Why it was too harsh: This penalty at all times seemed like one the NCAA handed down because it suspected Memphis of dishonest underneath John Calipari however could solely catch the Tigers with an unwell-conceived technicality. Questions arose concerning the validity of an SAT take a look at taken by Rose in Might 2007, so the SAT safety testing company launched an investigation. When Rose didn’t cooperate with the investigation after he had already determined to show pro, the company canceled the take a look at result in Could 2008. Consequently, the NCAA seized the opportunity to retroactively declare Rose ineligible for the previous season and maintain Memphis responsible. The NCAA did all this regardless that it had cleared Rose to play earlier than the season and it had no proof he cheated on the SAT or that Memphis knew about it.

3. Previous Dominion guard Donte Hill’s misplaced season

Challenge: Hill performed eight minutes in a closed-door preseason scrimmage in 2010 while at Clemson earlier than transferring to Outdated Dominion soon afterward and sitting out the remainder of the 2010-eleven season.

Penalty: The NCAA dominated in June that those eight minutes counted as a complete season of eligibility. Because of this, Hill will not be allowed to play for Previous Dominion this upcoming season and his faculty profession is over.

Why it was too harsh: It appears incredibly unfair to take a participant’s senior season away from him for one thing as minor as eight minutes in a scrimmage no one was allowed to observe. Should Hill have been conscious of the rule when he transferred? Sure. Would it be more truthful to punish him with a short suspension quite than removing an entire year of eligiblity? Undoubtedly. The NCAA’s ruling is especially surprising because of the precedent it has beforehand set. In 2011, the NCAA selected to not take a full 12 months of eligibility from Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis for enjoying in two exhibition video games during a redshirt yr, opting instead to more justly punish him with a 4-sport suspension to begin his senior season.

four. Kim Mulkey’s NCAA tournament suspension

Concern: Mulkey made disparaging feedback concerning the officiating during Baylor’s beautiful eighty two-eighty one Candy 16 loss to Louisville. Particularly, Mulkey was displeased with the aggressive method during which Louisville gamers defended star middle Brittney Griner, with a late charging name against Baylor and with a late foul on Griner that enabled the Cardinals to sink winning free throws.

Penalty: Mulkey received a public reprimand and will be suspended for Baylor’s next NCAA event sport, whether that is in 2014 or additional sooner or later.

Why it was too harsh: Prior to now, NCAA event suspensions like this have been handed down only after altercations with a referee. Three UCSB men’s soccer gamers obtained postseason suspensions in 2010 because of a confrontation with a referee who awarded Cal a late penalty kick in an NCAA tournament match. The NCAA additionally just lately suspended UCLA men’s water polo coach Adam Wright after he confronted and verbally assaulted officials following a season-ending loss to USC. What’s different about Mulkey’s suspension is she landed in the NCAA’s crosshairs because of a press conference – a controversial precedent made worse by the very fact Mulkey had a valid level about the way in which by which Griner was defended. Mentioned Mulkey, “I thought the sport began out means too physical, approach too bodily. I thought that every one three [refs], in the event that they go previous this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game.”


New England Patriots hang on to win, but who can they count on other than Tom Brady?

(USA As we speak Sports activities Photographs) The New England Patriots for years have been synonymous with finding new methods to win every week. It seems that they will have to continue doing so.

Facing their first recreation after the discharge of Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker strolling in free company and with Rob Gronkowski sidelined with arm and again accidents, the Patriots’ id remains in flux following a 23-21, final-second victory at Buffalo.

The Bills tightened defensively in the course of the recreation when it became clear that the Patriots had no semblance of a deep passing sport. In addition they missed a recreation-changing presence at tight finish, and when Danny Amendola missed a bit of the sport with (we assume) a strained groin, Tom Brady seemed utterly not sure the place to go together with the ball.

Kenbrell Thompkins? The preseason star, who seemed like the second coming of Victor Cruz before the video games mattered, sputtered out of the blocks in this one. Brady threw his means 14 times, completing solely 4 passes, and that included a dropped landing.

Brady also threw Amendola’s approach 14 instances, for 10 completions, when it was clear that few others besides he, Shane Vereen (153 yards from scrimmage) and Julian Edelman (two touchdown catches) may very well be trusted. Vereen saw an enormous role improve following the second-quarter fumble by Stevan Ridley that was run back for a rating by the Bills. Ridley never once saw the sphere after coughing it up.

Amendola is a keeper, it appears, but he had better be. After Welker’s mostly terrific debut in Denver, the Patriots should get their cash’s price with their new slot receiver. Thompkins has an extended approach to go. Second-spherical receiver Aaron Dobson was a healthy DNP. Brady threw one go to tight end Zach Sudfeld, and it was picked on a play the rookie should have had. And what happens now with Ridley, a 1,300-yard rusher a year ago but a man with fumbling problems?

In current years, the early-season Patriots tend to look far less developed than the late-season versions. But this yr, there is likely to be extra questions about their identity than in current memory.


10 other intriguing, noteworthy games worth watching on the 2013-14 NBA schedule

Sacramento Kings followers will have many reasons to cheer once they tip off this season. (Rocky Widner/Getty)

When the NBA launched the full 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Tuesday evening, intrepid Yahoo! Sports activities NBA columnist Marc J. Spears immediately made his picks for the ten must-see matchups of the forthcoming season, giving hoop fans the dates he believes most merit circling on the brand new NBA calendar. While we would by no means presume to contradict our colleague, in a slate this huge, there’s bound to be a slew of different video games value keeping track of, so why not dig a bit deeper?

Eric Freeman has discovered 10 he liked in each of the past two seasons, and this 12 months, he is invited Dan Devine along to pick a number of he is keen to look at. Here’s what they came up with:


Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings: Oct. 30. When the Kings final played in mid-April, their future was unsure, with the NBA’s Board of Governors but to weigh in on their potential sale to the Seattle-based ownership group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Might’s decision and subsequent sale to the local group headed by Vivek Ranadivé has saved the group in Sacramento, as well as given your complete franchise new hope after several years of subpar management from Joe and Gavin Maloof. It is a new day for the team and its fans.

The last few years have seen passionate assist from devoted Kings followers on game nights when it appeared as if the franchise was close to relocation. This season’s residence opener can be a different, an event outlined not a lot by desperation as the pride and optimism that comes with a fresh begin. It will likely be a starting, not the potential finish of a protracted journey. — Eric Freeman

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Nov. 1. As I wrote earlier this offseason, I am not totally sure that bringing in/again Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and first-spherical choose Shabazz Muhammad (especially while subtracting Andrei Kirilenko) will make the Wolves a demonstrably better basketball team this season. I do, nonetheless, assume those acquisitions will assist make Minnesota a greater offensive workforce, especially when mixed with a completely healthy (fingers crossed) Kevin Love, a version of Ricky Rubio who’s had a full NBA offseason with out rehabbing from a catastrophic knee injury and (provided this glacial contract course of ultimately culminates in a re-signing) a healthy, rested and paid Nikola Pekovic.

I think that Minnesota team will be, if not glorious, then not less than immensely watchable on a night-to-evening foundation because of improved outdoors capturing, punishing inside-out play from Love and Pekovic, the always-appointment-viewing passing of Rubio and a new slew of active wings capable of activating offense in Rick Adelman’s nook scheme. I’m additionally willing to consider the chance that they will be better than I anticipate defensively, as they were in 2011-12 earlier than Rubio’s torn ACL despatched the team careening off the trail. At worst, they’re going to be fun; at greatest, they could be a risk. So let’s line them up against perhaps one of the best team within the Western Conference — a group led by Love’s Team USA buddy, Kevin Durant, and whose second-in-command, Russell Westbrook, is on observe to be back from the knee injury he suffered through the playoffs — and see which path these Wolves are on.

Also, I bear in mind this happening:

… and, seeing the prospect of early-season well being for all involved, I am very amped. — Dan Devine

Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards: Oct. 30 (Opening Night), Dec. 28, Dec. 30, Jan. 18. At first look, this is the kind of mid-profile sport that pops up on the NBA schedule each night time, a nondescript contest between two playoff hopefuls with comparatively small margins of error (and injury). But, from one other vantage, it is a matchup that makes League Go the most effective bargains in your cable company’s order form.

This offseason, the Pistons dedicated themselves to watchability after several seasons within the aesthetic doldrums, acquiring level guard Brandon Jennings and mercurial ahead Josh Smith to affix man-youngster Andre Drummond and the skilled Greg Monroe. The Wizards, alternatively, have probably the most promising younger trios within the league in max-level point guard John Wall, capturing guard Bradley Beal, and rookie ahead Otto Porter. Their 4 matchups this season could not qualify as main games between contenders, however they provide startling potential for the random leisure that makes the NBA so watchable on a nightly basis. — EF

Andrew Bynum’s return to Philly must be fascinating. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Photographs) Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. A home-and-residence, back-to-back, Friday-and-Saturday pair that includes the staff that simply signed growth/bust lottery ticket Andrew Bynum and the group whose new CEO just needed to apologize for the previous regime buying and selling for him feels like a pretty closely emotional and compelling set. Plus, the double-dip takes place early sufficient in the season that Philadelphia can neither be mathematically eliminated from anything yet or do too much harm to their tanking strategy by winning, so they may find some compelling incentive to attempt to win. Sincere(ish) competition!

If Bynum is, as planned, able to go for training camp and capable of stay upright/cellular by way of the beginning of the season — hey, it’s nonetheless the offseason, let’s stay optimistic — this might represent the first opportunity for Sixers fans to really see the 7-foot center play stay skilled basketball, which the Wells Fargo Heart devoted will likely reward with either polite applause or hurled hunks of jagged, flaming particles. It is unlikely that eventual centerpiece/2013 lottery choose Nerlens Noel can have returned from rehabbing his torn ACL in time to do something more than watch this one from the sidelines, however even when that is all he does, as we discovered last year, there’s fun available simply watching an apparently coiffed big man trip the pine for Philly.

Also, in on-courtroom terms, it ought to be fun to see which weapons All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving brings out to combat Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, whose 6-foot-6 body and quickness suggest an intriguing defensive prospect. My guess? Whichever weapons Kyrie desires, early, typically and repeatedly, persevering with a brutal starting to the Syracuse product’s NBA career that will see him face the Miami Heat, then need to examine Irving twice, John Wall twice, Derrick Rose (hopefully), Stephen Curry and Tony Parker inside his first two weeks as a professional. Welcome to the NBA, younger fella. — DD

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Dec. 29. The James Harden trade is certain to define any matchup between these teams for the following a number of seasons, or a minimum of so long as it represents the moment at which the Thunder inadvertently turned a rival right into a contender while concurrently hurting their very own possibilities at a title. Despite no matter occasions received them up to now, though, these two groups figure to be two of the West’s top groups for the foreseeable future, longer than the aging (if also ageless) San Antonio Spurs, the Chris Paul-dependent Los Angeles Clippers, and the more tenuously successful Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. Each rosters function young-ish stars with room to develop (or, in the case of Dwight Howard, return to prominence), and their general managers appear to have sufficient flexibility to improve their groups when vital.

The Harden trade, then, is nearly a distraction from the instant pleasure of watching two exciting, superb groups play each other several instances per season. The season’s first matchup ought to remind us that each one our chatter about storylines exists to organize us for what really issues: the video games. — EF

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors: Dec. thirteen. Two seasons in the past, these teams finished in the draft lottery. Final season, they climbed up into the Western Convention’s top eight behind the electrical guard play of James Harden and Stephen Curry, with Houston giving the (shorthanded) Thunder a rough go of it in Spherical 1 and the Dubs turning into postseason individuals’s champs by knocking off the Denver Nuggets and scaring the daylights out of the San Antonio Spurs. This season, they’ve made arguably the 2 largest pickups of the offseason, particularly on the defensive finish, with the Rockets landing All-Star heart Dwight Howard to anchor the interior and the Warriors executing a 3-group sign-and-trade to import Andre Iguodala to lock down the perimeter. (And lest we overlook, the Warriors had been one of many few teams granted a free-agent audience with Howard, who reportedly came away very impressed with Golden State’s workers and group.)

Both ranked in the prime five in possessions per game last season, so they like to rise up and down the ground. Both ranked within the prime 11 in points per possession, too, in order that they know what to do with the ball as soon as they cross half-courtroom. They both seem to have improved across the board, supplementing their major acquisitions with smart lower-key add-ons that seem to have bolstered their benches and neatly fleshed out their rotations. And their 4 conferences last season were bookended by Houston hanging 140 on the Warriors earlier than Mark Jackson ordered intentional fouls to keep the Rockets from setting an NBA record for made three-pointers, and Curry going off for 29 points and eleven dimes as Golden State blew Houston out by 30. Draymond Green says he doesn’t like the Rockets; the sensation, we’re certain, is mutual, and I’m betting Howard hasn’t forgotten that stray elbow from Golden State energy forward David Lee while Dwight was carrying purple and gold.

Add up the scoring, the speed, the sparks that have flown between the two groups and the inimitable spirit of the Oracle followers, and I am betting that Friday night matchup’s going to be value staying house to catch. — DD

Expect Andrew Wiggins to be a significant matter of dialog in 2014. (Sam Forencich/Getty)

Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic: March 2. Although much is subject to alter over the subsequent 10 months, the 2014 NBA draft seems to be the strongest on the prime since Greg Oden and Kevin Durant entered the league in 2007. It figures, then, that the league’s worst teams will interact in a similar rush to the underside to increase their lottery odds, all in the hopes of nabbing a future famous person in June.

The Sixers and Magic aren’t certain to end up as the NBA’s backside two squads in 2013-14, however they’re likely to challenge for the league’s dunce cap. As such, their closing matchup in March may have a big impact on the lottery, and by extension the next decade of basketball. (Or, you understand, possibly the team with the second decide will find yourself with the far better participant.) — EF

New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Path Blazers: Dec. 21. If not for the Pistons, the Pelicans might need entered the season as the league’s most intriguing group. A lottery squad in each of the final two seasons after Chris Paul’s departure, the Pelicans elected to make a push for respectability next 12 months by trading its prime picks in 2013 (which wound up being Kentucky middle Noel) and 2014 (a high-5 protected choice) to the 76ers for All-Star level guard Jrue Holiday. They then engineered a 3-team deal to import former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, with visions of versatile wing lineups featuring some mixture of these two, reportedly-now-healthy maxed-out shooting guard Eric Gordon and 2012 first-rounder Austin Rivers making issues occur on the perimeter, opening up opportunities for emerging beast Anthony Davis and flooring-stretching marksman Ryan Anderson.. offered, in fact, all of it comes collectively.

Quiet as it’s saved, though, the Blazers (who’ve also missed the playoffs in each of the final two seasons) have made an identical push toward relevance, drafting exciting small-faculty combo guard C.J. McCollum to both pair with and again up reigning Rookie of the Yr Damian Lillard, and making a number of shrewd strikes (signing swingman Dorell Wright, snaring 2011 lottery choose Thomas Robinson for a pair of second-round picks, landing middle Robin Lopez within the three-teamer that despatched Evans to New Orleans) that seem to have fortified what was arguably the league’s worst bench final season.. supplied, in fact, it all comes collectively.

By the time these teams meet at the Rose Backyard, Portland will have performed 27 games and New Orleans could have performed 24. They will have had nearly three months because the begin of coaching camp to have labored out rotations, began to develop chemistry amongst all the brand new and current items, and have had the opportunity to figure out whether their respective pushes towards capital-m Mattering in the NBA playoff conversation seem ready to take off or have stalled, which is interesting sufficient in a macro sense. And from an instantaneous run-of-play perspective, the sheer array of interesting combine-and-match talents on the ground — Davis’ awkward-yet-easy apositional frontcourt box-checking, LaMarcus Aldridge’s considerably Boshian 4/5 bristling, extra ball-dealing with guards who can play the nominal one or two than you would shake a stick at, outsized threes/small-ball fours Nicolas Batum and Al-Farouq Aminu, and so forth. — to make this a enjoyable watch in and of itself that might wind up telling us one thing more about the Western playoff picture.

And if all that does not tickle your fancy, I’ve acquired 4 words for you: Robin Lopez Revenge Sport. — DD

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: April 16. The final evening of the 2012-13 season featured an excessive amount of excitement, with Stephen Curry setting a brand new file for 3-pointers in a season, the Los Angeles Lakers avoiding embarrassment and clinching a playoff berth, and Sacramento Kings fans doubtlessly watching their workforce for the final time. Solely time will tell what 2013-14’s finale brings, but we can bet it’s going to be magical.

One thing we do know, not less than as of this writing, is that a national TELEVISION viewers will get to benefit from the season-closing tilt between the Hawks and Bucks on ESPN. It appears as though the Worldwide Chief has banked on these squads battling for a playoff spot, and it sure looks like a doozy. Will Jeff Teague rating 20 points and switch the tide in a number of fantasy leagues? Will Ersan Ilyasova take a nap in the course of the third quarter? Will Al Horford and Paul Millsap even have to play? Keep tuned for “SportsCenter!” — EF

When Rudy returns to Memphis, neither he nor Z-Bo figure to be smiling. (Joe Murphy/NBA/Getty Photographs) Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies: Nov. thirteen. The Raptors and Grizzlies faced off once last season after the trade that despatched Rudy Gay north of the border, but the meeting took place at the Air Canada Centre — Homosexual scored 13 points on 15 pictures, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 17 apiece and the Grizzlies earned a six-level highway win. It will symbolize Homosexual’s first journey to FedEx Forum as a visitor after 6 half of seasons and more than 8,500 factors scored in a Grizzlies uniform.. and yet, you surprise if Memphians really miss his iso-heavy, accuracy-light, volume-taking pictures wing sport as much as his prior level of productivity would seem to dictate.

As I’ve written prior to now, Memphis improved on each ends of the floor after the three-workforce deal that despatched Homosexual to the Raptors, redistributing the possessions beforehand utilized by the athletic swingman to more environment friendly gamers like Conley, Randolph and (most notably) Marc Gasol whereas persevering with to lock down on the defensive end en route to a visit to the Western Convention finals — a level of success they by no means reached with Homosexual playing a pivotal role. However would that method — ditch shot-jacking, unfold responsibility around, emphasize elevated participant and ball motion, operate extra via the 2 huge guys and rating just enough to let your clamp-down D take you residence — be lauded fairly as a lot as it has been if Memphis is not successful?

What if the Grizzlies — who look robust again after re-upping perimeter defending ace Tony Allen, snaring amnestied shooter Mike Miller and trading for regular backup huge man Kosta Koufos — get off to a slow begin in opposition to a troublesome slate that includes the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, revamped Pistons, reloaded Warriors and Jap Conference doppelganger Indiana Pacers? What if Gay — his jumper instantly scorching after long-overdue offseason vision correction surgery — gets off to a sizzling begin and has Toronto wanting like they may compete for one of many East’s lower-tier playoff spots? Might those few lingering voices that take a look at Memphis and say, “It would be good to have someone who may reliably create his personal shot,” find some extra pals? Or has the Grindhouse come far enough to rest on what it is aware of about its group’s id, salute Rudy for his service and return concerning the business of not bluffing?

I suspect I do know the reply to that question, however like every part else we’re talking about right now, we won’t actually know for positive until the season gets getting in earnest; then, all of the questions we pore over during the summer time will likely be changed by entire new units of quandaries that we’ll spend the subsequent eight months attempting to solve. It’s going to be great. — DD


Fernando Torres calls Tahiti ‘an example for other teams’ after Spain’s 10-0 win

Torres with Tahiti’s Rainui Aroita after the match. (Getty)

Spain beat Tahiti 10-0 in their Confederations Cup group-stage match to set a new record for margin of victory in a FIFA senior tournament. Though a decisive win for Spain was an inevitability, part of the reason the score got to be that lopsided was the mostly amateur Tahitian players’ refusal to just sit back and defend against their supremely talented opponents. They tried to attack instead of parking the bus, as far better teams often do against Spain. They didn’t play scared (or pragmatically), they just played.

As a result, Fernando Torres led Spain with four goals in the game. That makes him the tournament’s top scorer, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that he appreciated the positive and porous nature of Tahiti’s play and declared them an example for other teams to follow. Because winning every match 10-0 really would be great for Spain.

From Reuters:

“They are the example for other teams,” Torres told reporters after accepting the Man-of-the-Match award for his four-goal haul.

“They tried to play football and although the result proved there is a massive difference between the teams, that was not the most important thing. The most important thing was it was sporting contest.

“All of us have become big fans of that team. We have all had our photos taken together – it was a joy to play in that match and not just because we won so easily, but because they were sporting and despite losing they played with a smile on their faces from the first kick to the last.”

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque added to Torres’ sentiment by saying that Tahiti were “noble opponents” and that “it was humbling to play them.” Tahiti boss Eddy Etraeta, however, explained that he and his players were a bit more critical of their own performance. Because it’s easier to argue the nobility of a record thumping when you’re not the one getting thumped.

“Of course we were never going to win, but some of the goals we conceded were a bit naive and we could have done better,” Etaeta told reporters.

“But we have won a major victory here by winning the hearts of the Brazilian public.

“I think its fair to say we are better known in Brazil than we are in Tahiti.

Tahiti were undoubtedly had more support at the Maracana as the Brazilians resented both Spain’s possession heavy style of play and the success it’s brought them. But even if Tahiti aren’t praised at home, they’ve certainly won over a legion of fans — some patronizing, others genuine —around the world.

Fernando Torres, meanwhile, now has twice as many goals as Brazil’s Neymar in the Confederations Cup after playing half as many matches. And that’s even with Torres missing a penalty in the second half against Tahiti. Clearly this is all the sample size necessary to see that he’s worth far more than Barcelona’s €57 million signing.