NBA Finals

1. Houston Rockets vs. 3. Philadelphia 76ers

Boiling a playoff series down to a single stat is reductive.

Let’s do it anyway.

During the second half of the season, when they no longer faced a murderers’ row, the 76ers emerged as one of the league’s best defensive teams. No squad was better at depressing its foes’ shooting percentages, and Philly also forces a fair number of turnovers while cleaning the glass to avoid allowing too many second-chance opportunities. cheap custom nfl jerseys

But the Sixers do have a major weakness that plays right into Houston’s hands:nfl custom jerseys cheap  fouls. 710325ebebaca22e8429447d188f26bc_crop_exact

Only the Memphis Grizzlies (0.333) allow more free throws per field-goal attempt than Philadelphia (0.293), which spells trouble against a team that makes a living at the charity stripe. Led by Harden’s endless parade, the Rockets rank third leaguewide in the offensive version of the same statistic. And they’re going to exploit that advantage, which could only be magnified if Philly’s youngsters get slightly shaken by playing on the Finals stage.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Even if they don’t, that’s bad news for a foul-prone centerpiece such as nike nfl jerseys cheap Joel Embiid. Despite improving substantially upon his rookie efforts, the big man is still averaging 3.9 whistles per 36 minutes.

We’re projecting this as the first opportunity for Simmons and Embiid to hold up the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but it won’t be their last. And when they inevitably return to this final battle for the NBA’s ultimate reward, they’ll get to grow from this initial experience.

But they aren’t there quite yet.

Even during a season in which the Eastern Conference features the better-than-ever nfl jerseys cheap nike Raptors and the James-led Cavaliers, it remains the weaker half of the league. The Rockets, on the other hand, are the toast of the Association.
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They’ll prove it when Harden and Paul finally get those pesky playoff monkeys off their backs.

No. 25 to No. 21

25. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (23)

Fournette was a big part of Jacksonville’s run to the AFC Championship Game last year, grinding out 1,040 yards on the ground and rushing for nine scores. However, he also averaged just 3.9 yards a carry as a rookie. While he’s unquestionably a talented tailback, Fournette would need to raise his per-carry average to vault up a list like this one next year.nfl jerseys cheap nike

24. T.J. Watt, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers (23)

It’s unsure at what point in the development of the Watt children that their parents started feeding them quarterbacks. But just like older brother Justin James (his friends call him J.J.), Watt showed an affinity for feasting on signal-callers early as a pro, notching two sacks in his NFL debut on his way to seven total in his inaugural go-round. He’s only just scratched the surface of what he’s capable of.

23. Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns (22)hi-res-c8ecb1e02268f4fffdfb205d84fcb48a_crop_exactnfl nike jerseys cheap

At first glance, Garrett’s 31 tackles and seven sacks might not appear overly impressive from a player who was selected first overall in the 2017 draft. But Garrett also missed five games last season—when he was on the field, the burst and explosiveness that helped convince Cleveland to take him was on display. If he can stay healthy, watch out.
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22. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (24)

A year ago at this time—after guiding Dallas to 13 wins and an NFC East title as a rookie—Prescott likely would have ranked inside the top 10 on this list. However, without Ezekiel Elliott to lean on for part of 2017 (Elliott missed six games), cheap nfl jerseys nike Prescott struggled—he threw nine more interceptions than the season before and saw his passer rating fall by 18.3 points. Prescott’s third season could be a make-or-break one.

21. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (24)

Gordon has steadily improved over his three seasons, topping 1,000 total yards back in 2016 and then upping that to 1,105 rushing yards and over 1,500 total yards last season. Gordon also played in all 16 games last year for the first time. If he can back last year’s numbers up, the Bolts have the makings of a sneaky-good team in the AFC West in 2018.

Cincinnati Bengals

A Cincinnati Bengals team coming off back-to-back losing seasons looks rather stale after another quiet March.
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Sure, they upgraded at left tackle by trading for Cordy Glenn, but that acquisition—plus the addition of steady linebacker Preston Brown—isn’t enough. The Bengals still lack game-changing players and are putting too much on the shoulders of quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver A.J. Green and defensive linemen Geno Atkins, nfl custom jerseys cheap Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson. 164f1f645d6fdff8dc504a390bacf1ea_crop_exact

Dalton has regressed, trouble-making linebacker Vontaze Burfict does more harm than good (and faces another suspension to start the season), the defense lacks teeth altogether (it ranked 30th with just 14 takeaways in 2017) and Glenn’s presence won’t fix a mediocre offensive line.

The Bengals have a better chance at falling to the AFC North basement than slaying the Steelers or Ravens. cheap customized nfl jerseys

In 2017, the Seattle Seahawks were a nine-win team that ranked in the middle of the pack (14th) at Football Outsiders in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) and weren’t hit particularly hard by injuries in what was an injury-filled season across the NFL. Remove Richard Sherman, Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Paul Richardson and DeShawn Shead from that roster and what do you get?

Trouble, even with a magician at quarterback. cheap nfl custom jerseys

In addition to lacking talent along the offensive line, nfl jerseys cheap nike in the offensive backfield and in the receiving corps, the Seahawks now lack depth on both sides of the ball. Without Russell Wilson, they’d be a bad team. With Wilson, they’re still probably kicking off a miniature rebuild.

Stephen Curry’s Message to Backup Quinn Cook: ‘You Better Not Hesitate’

It’s impossible to fill the shoes of a two-time MVP. Especially one who is the entire system of his team.

But with Stephen Curry potentially out through the first round of the NBA playoffs, Quinn Cook will have to lead the ailing Golden State Warriors in his absence.

For Cook, who has played 24 games with the Warriors this season, it’s all about finding the confidence to play his game. That’s exactly what the Warriors need from him during their bizarre injury pileup cheap custom nfl jerseys .

“That’s the biggest thing for me is the coaches, all the vets are telling me to do that,” Cook said of having the confidence to play his style. “When it’s your first year on the team and you’ve had some struggles at times, certain guys, certain coaches [would be like], ‘Maybe he can’t do it at this level’ or would tell me to pass the ball a little bit more.cheap customized nfl jerseys “9bd875ef7ae2ea40026cb37048aa081b_crop_north

Cook doesn’t need that. When the rest of the starting lineup is comprised of Nick Young, Patrick McCaw, JaVale McGee and Kevon Looney—as it was during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Utah Jazz—he needs to be the offense. He’s done just that recently, as he’s averaged 20.6 points, 5.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds over the Warriors’ last five games.

“I’m telling you, Steve [Kerr], every player on my team: Dot [Livingston], Kevin [Durant], Steph [Curry], Draymond [Green], all of them were telling me to keep shooting. If you hesitate, they would get mad cheap nfl custom jerseys at you. So the fact that they kept their nike nfl jerseys cheap confidence in me has really been the reason I’ve been able to have some high-scoring games. It’s because they really believed in my ability.”

This isn’t just stat-stuffing, daily fantasy numbers. The Warriors still need Cook to be a contributor when Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green return. And so long as Curry remains sidelined, Cook could be a difference-maker in the first round of the playoffs, too.

To keep producing the way the Warriors need him to, Cook has to keep his confidence up. That’s a team effort in and of itself.nfl jerseys cheap nike

“I remember Steph telling me, ‘I don’t care if you go 0-of-25. That 26th shot, you better not hesitate.’ To hear that from a guy like that, it does a lot for your confidence. It really shows you I can stop putting pressure on myself and really play my game.”

Jordy Nelson, Raiders Agree to 2-Year, $15 Million Contract

James Jones of NFL Network reported that the deal is for two years and $15 million with $13 million guaranteed.

Per Tafur, the Raiders are also releasing nfl custom jerseys cheap veteran wideout Michael Crabtree.customized nfl jerseys

Nelson spent the first 10 seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl in 2010 and reaching the Pro Bowl in 2014. He registered 85 or more receptions three times, 1,200 receiving yards four times and at least seven touchdown receptions five times.

Nelson struggled with Rodgers injured during the 2017 season, however, catching just 53 passes for 482 yards and six scores. With the emergence of Davante Adams as a star on the outside and the reported signing of tight end Jimmy Graham, Nelson became expendable in Green Bay.  hi-res-01e111f1b40bab70f216a942474d768c_crop_north

At 32, it’s fair to question whether Nelson’s best football is behind him. On the other hand, he’s only one season removed from producing 97 catches, 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. Oakland is banking on that version of Nelson to return and provide a boost in the 2018 season.

Nelson’s arrival in Oakland means quarterback Derek Carr cheap customized nfl jerseys will still have one of the better wideout combinations in the NFL with Amari Cooper the other half of that dynamic duo.

The Raiders were 16th in both passing yards (3,631) and passing touchdowns (23) in 2017, seeing those numbers drop significantly from 13th (4,051 yards) and eighth (29 touchdowns), respectively, in 2016. As the Raiders seek a return to the cheap nfl custom jerseys postseason after missing out in 2017, Carr and new head coach Jon Gruden will hope Nelson provides a spark for the team’s offense. nike nfl jerseys cheap