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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t expect the sting from their second-round playoff exit to fade anytime soon.

They also don’t expect it to compel general manager Jim Rutherford to give the roster a thorough makeover after the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions’ bid for a three-peat ended at the hands of Washington.

If anything Youth Avonte Maddox Jersey , the setback has given Sidney Crosby and company a chance to put their remarkable run atop the league in perspective.

No team in a generation had won consecutive Cups until Pittsburgh did it last spring and the Penguins went as far as the 1999 Detroit Red Wings and Mario Lemieux-led 1993 Penguins in their own respective quest for a three-peat.

”I think it definitely allows you to appreciate how difficult that was, but also to know we were that close to moving on too, that’s the difficult part,” Crosby said Wednesday as Pittsburgh packed up for the summer.

”I think it definitely gives you a greater appreciation how many times it could have went the other way on a pretty good run.”

The margin is always razor thin in the playoffs. And the Penguins somehow found a way to land on the right side of things through nine playoff series across three springs.

Against the Capitals, however, the bounces – and often the energy – went the other way.

Twice Pittsburgh blew a third-period lead in regulation – something that never happened during the regular season.

Goaltender Matt Murray was usually crisp but not dominant. The scoring depth that made the Penguins an impossibly tough out vanished this time around. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel did not register a point at even strength against Washington.

Derick Brassard – brought in at the trade deadline to be the third-line center role Nick Bonino filled so capably in 2016 and 2017 – was a nonfactor.

So were Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary Anthony Averett Jersey Ravens , who played beyond their years and scored pivotal goals in the process while ending their first two seasons in the league with a parade through downtown Pittsburgh with the Cup in hand.

Not this time.

The Penguins downplayed the notion they simply ran out of gas after playing more hockey than any other club over the past 32 months.

Maybe, but there’s ample proof the NHL has caught up with the team that built itself on lightning quick aggression when Mike Sullivan took over as head coach in December 2015.

Now it’s time for Pittsburgh to spend the offseason trying to get that extra gear back.

”We’re a good team,” Rutherford said. ”And we will be a good team going forward. We’ll have a chance to win again. We have the nucleus to do that.”

How? Let’s take a look back and a look ahead while the Penguins spent the rest of the playoffs watching the pursuit of the Cup on TV, if they bother watching it at all.

DINGED UP: Pittsburgh, as is hockey tradition, had several players make a go of it in the playoffs despite undisclosed or non-characterized injuries that limited their effectiveness. The group includes Kessel Youth Logan Woodside Jersey , Malkin and Brassard. Kessel picked up a career-high 92 points while playing in every single game for the eighth straight season, but had just one goal in 12 playoff games. Sullivan allowed Kessel was dealing with a health issue but added ”it was nothing significant, I can tell you that.”

Penguins rookie Zach Aston-Reese, who broke his jaw and suffered a concussion following an illegal hit by Washington’s Tom Wilson in Game 2 of the second round, is currently eating lots of ice cream, sidestepped when asked if the three-game suspension Wilson received was enough but does feel it was a positive step.
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”It’s something I guess they’re trying to get rid of and I think moving forward guys need to be a little more aware and have more control of their body when they go in and have hits like that Josey Jewell Jersey Broncos ,” Aston-Reese said.

HOT STOVE: Rutherford, who is as aggressive as they come in terms of trying to upgrade the roster, admitted there’s a chance the Penguins could move an established player or two if necessary.

”It is fair to say that this will be a different looking team by the time we open next season,” Rutherford said. ”It doesn’t mean there will be drastic changes … but they’ll be changes that are necessary.”

SPRING SPRONG?: Pittsburgh kept forward Daniel Sprong in the minors for most of the year and he responded by scoring a club-rookie record 32 goals for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It didn’t earn him a promotion during the postseason. That likely won’t be the case next season, when the 21-year-old will be given every chance to make the team out of camp.

”He will be a regular on our team,” Rutherford said.

So will Rutherford. The 69-year-old famously said he might only be around a handful of seasons when he took over in the spring of 2014. Now it appears he’s not headed anywhere.

”I think the best answer is I may be around longer than you guys Chargers Elite Jerseys ,” he said with a laugh.



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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup Final – with a chip on their shoulder.

”Everybody on this team has something to prove Youth Lamar Jackson Jersey ,” Ryan Reaves said. ”We call ourselves `The Golden Misfits’ for a reason. We’re doing a good job of proving everybody wrong.”

Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Golden Knights beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday to wrap up the Western Conference final in five games.

”It’s insane,” said defenseman Deryk Engelland, who grabbed the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after the final buzzer to celebrate with his teammates. ”Your goal is always to make the playoffs. But if I were to guess I would be sitting here doing this right now, you would be a little skeptical at the time.”

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues – when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West – to get to the final.

”It was their time,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. ”They’re just playing really well.”

Vegas will meet Tampa Bay or Washington in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown Youth Ryan Jensen Jersey , swept Los Angeles in the first round, and knocked out San Jose in six games in the second.

”All those records and everything, it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not the last team standing,” Vegas center Jonathan Marchessault said. ”I think we have a lot of gas left.”

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

”It’s very difficult to find that positive feeling at this moment,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from Pittsburgh before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa’s point shot past Hellebuyck. Reeves last goal before Sunday came 3 1/2 months ago while with Pittsburgh.

”The guys that weren’t playing Rams Authentic Jerseys , myself included, we stayed ready,” Reaves said. ”We had fun while we were doing it, but we worked hard so when we were called upon we were ready to go.”

Fleury stopped 151 of 161 shots in the series, and allowed just six goals the rest of the way after giving up four in the opener.

”Everybody’s stepping up at different times,” Fleury said.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn’t muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets’ attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go Authentic Customized Bears Jerseys , with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets had the NHL’s second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city’s history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey’s turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.
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After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury’s glove.

One of Winnipeg’s downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets’ goal in each of the first four games – a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 – but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1 Marshall Newhouse Jersey Bills , with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career – and first since 2015 with St. Louis – Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

NOTES: The Jets were an NHL-best 32-7-2 at home in the regular season, but were a pedestrian 5-4 in the playoffs, including losses in four of their last five post-season outings. …. Winnipeg had won a combined 13 straight at home before dropping a 2-1 decision in Game 4 against Nashville.



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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

It’s official. LeBron is a Laker.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced the signing of LeBron James as a free agent Monday night Falcons Authentic Jerseys , confirming the seismic shift created by the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player’s decision to leave Cleveland for the 16-time champion franchise on the West Coast.

James’ representatives at Klutch Sports Group tweeted a photo of James signing his contract with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. James’ agency already announced last week that the superstar had agreed to a four-year deal worth $153.3 million with Los Angeles.

The Lakers have missed the playoffs in a franchise-record five consecutive seasons, while James has played in the past eight NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning three titles.

The 33-year-old budding entertainment mogul immediately becomes the focus of the Lakers franchise and a possible foundation for the NBA’s next superteam, depending on whether James and the Lakers can persuade more superstars to join him in the next year or two.

Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations Youth Carolina Panthers Hats , called James ”the best player in the world” in a news release.
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”He loves to compete and is an awesome leader who is about winning and making sure that his teammates are successful,” Johnson said. ”The Lakers players are excited to have a teammate who has been to nine NBA Finals. It’s a huge step closer to returning the Lakers to the playoffs and to the NBA Finals.”

James is coming off one of his greatest NBA seasons, playing in all 82 regular-season games for the Cavaliers while finishing third in the NBA with 27.5 points per game and hitting career highs with 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists. He then carried Cleveland to its fourth consecutive NBA Finals, where the Cavs were swept by Golden State.

”This is a historic moment for the Lakers, and we could not feel more grateful and honored Tre'Quan Smith Jersey Saints ,” Pelinka said. ”When LeBron James – a perennial NBA MVP and champion who is playing at the most astonishing levels of his career – chooses to join the Lakers, it serves as the ultimate validation for what we are building here. However, we all know that the work is not yet done.”

James’ arrival is indeed validation for Johnson and Pelinka, who took over the Lakers’ front office in February 2017 with a specific plan to rebuild the franchise by persuading established superstars to join as free agents.

The Lakers already have begun assembling a revamped team around James by acquiring Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson in free agency while retaining guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Los Angeles also assembled a reasonably talented young core before James’ arrival with Brandon Ingram Josh Jackson Jersey Packers , Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.

But they didn’t even get a meeting with star scorer Paul George before the Southern California native re-signed with Oklahoma City, and their efforts to acquire disgruntled two-way superstar Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio haven’t borne fruit so far.

The Lakers don’t appear to be planning a public event to welcome James to Los Angeles, where he already owns multiple homes and spends summers with his family.

But Blaze Pizza – the growing pizza chain in which James is an investor – announced a three-hour pizza giveaway on Tuesday to welcome James to LA.

LeBron responded with a tweet , his first since June 26: ”Haven’t been to a pizza party in a minute … Culver City?”



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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to keep their slim hopes of a division title alive Youth Kareem Martin Jersey , and Alex Ovechkin is slated to become the first player in Washington Capitals history to reach 1,000 NHL games when the teams clash Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena.

The Capitals (46-25-7) are coming off a 4-1 loss Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes but still sit first in the Metropolitan Division, three points ahead of the second-place Penguins (45-28-6), who clinched a playoff spot for a franchise-record 12th year in a row Saturday with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Capitals were disappointed with the loss against the Hurricanes, which ended a five-game winning streak.

“It was a game that (we) could (have) put some more distance between us and the Penguins,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said.

Capitals center Jay Beagle said it was not a matter of putting the Penguins game ahead of the game against the Hurricanes.

“I don’t think we overlooked them, but we had better make sure we’re coming in to (Pittsburgh) in playoff mode because that’s going to be like we’ve seen a playoff matchup Cheap New Orleans Saints Hoodie ,” Beagle said. “We’ve got to go in there and get playing the right way. Now, obviously, it starts Sunday.

“We’ve got to play playoff hockey starting Sunday and get in that mindset. And it’s going to be good because we’re playing an opponent that’s easy to get in that mindset for.”

Washington winger T.J. Oshie traveled to Pittsburgh, but his status is unclear after he left Friday’s game because of a lower-body injury. Trotz indicated that the Capitals are being extra cautious with injuries this close to the postseason.

Ovechkin, 32, is the first member of the 2004 NHL draft to reach 1,000 games. The sniper Youth Logan Woodside Jersey , selected first overall that summer, scored his 600th career goal earlier in March.

The Capitals and Penguins have had a strong rivalry for decades, in recent years because of the matchup of Ovechkin against Pittsburgh star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
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This time, Pittsburgh might be more concerned about earning points to hang onto second in the division for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Penguins are 29-8-2 at home, 16-20-4 on the road.

“Now we can look to put ourselves in the best possible position,” coach Mike Sullivan said of clinching. “We’re going to take each game as it comes and try to do our very best to win each game, and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Washington has four games remaining Mike Hughes Jersey Elite , Pittsburgh and Columbus three apiece. At the very least, the Penguins are assured of getting to the playoffs, so they can make a run at a third straight Stanley Cup.

“If you don’t make the playoffs, you can’t win the Stanley Cup. That’s the first step to make the playoffs,” said Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist, who picked up his 200th career goal Saturday.

“Now we just have to make sure we try to get better every single time we come to the rink. We know what it’s all about in the playoffs. Hopefully, we have a really fun run.”

Pittsburgh could be without a significant player against the Capitals. Winger Phil Kessel Redskins Cheap Jerseys , who has played in 689 consecutive games and ranks among the league leaders with 87 points, left in the third period of Saturday’s game because of an unspecified injury.

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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

The Colorado Rockies have sent opening-day starter Jon Gray down to the minors Courtland Sutton Jersey Broncos , optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Gray was 7-7 with a 5.77 ERA over 17 starts this season, but has particularly struggled since May 13 while posting a 7.25 ERA in his last nine outings. The Rockies replaced him on the roster Saturday with outfielder Raimel Tapia Cheap Pittsburgh Steelers Hoodie , who was batting .308 with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs at Albuquerque.
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Gray appeared to turn things around June 22, when he gave up one run over seven innings in a victory over the Miami Marlins Youth Martavis Bryant Jersey , but followed that by giving up five runs and seven hits over four innings in a loss at San Francisco on Thursday.

At the start of play Saturday, Gray was fourth in the National League with 119 strikeouts.



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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

TAMPA Jaguars Authentic Jerseys , Fla. — The up-and-down, roller-coaster ride of the Eastern Conference finals comes to its final crescendo on Wednesday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the Washington Capitals at Amalie Arena in Game 7 with the winner advancing to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final, which starts on Monday.

A Lightning victory sees the Cup Final start in Tampa while a Washington win means Vegas will host the first game.

But the way in which the series between Tampa Bay and the Capitals has played out to date, determining the outcome of Game 7 might prove to be a futile effort.

“Lots of people say we’re going to lose to Columbus,” Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. “Lots of people say we’re going to lose to Pittsburgh. Lots of people said we’re going to lose to Tampa. Tomorrow is the biggest probably game in my life.”

It’s been that sort of a playoff season for the Capitals, who fell behind 0-2 to Columbus in the opening round, finally defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and jumped on top of Tampa Bay 2-0 to start the conference finals. But the Lightning won the next three games before Washington won Game 6 on home ice to force the decisive game.

“I don’t think anybody thought we’re going to be fighting against (the) Tampa Bay Lightning for the Stanley Cup final in Game 7 Youth Indianapolis Colts Jerseys ,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t think you guys (reporters) felt like you were going to be here. Probably thought you’re going to be on vacation somewhere.”

Whichever team does fall short on Wednesday will be starting their vacation one stop short of playing for the ultimate prize.

For Tampa Bay, this is familiar territory.

For the third time in the past four years, the Lightning will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and the script has pretty much played out the same way.

In 2015, Tampa Bay had a 3-2 series lead against the New York Rangers but fell in Game 6. In 2016, the Lightning were up 3-2 in the series to Pittsburgh but failed to close out the series in six games.

Against the Rangers, the Lightning won Game 7. Against the Penguins Alex Cappa Jersey Elite , Tampa Bay lost the decisive game.
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But both of those Game 7s took place on the road. This time around, home-ice advantage belongs to the Lightning as they seek a third trip to the Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

“I do like the fact that there will be 19,000 people helping us, willing us to victory,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “I want our guys to enjoy the game. It’s a phenomenal experience. This will be my third one in four years. You just have to remember, don’t let the game become really much bigger than it is. Go out, execute Customized Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys , leave everything out there, see what happens.”

That’s where some experience can come in to play.

For many of the Lightning players, they have been in this situation before as the core of Tampa Bay has been pretty much intact for the past four years. Many have been through the experience, this deep in to the playoffs, together.

“I think Game 7 is something that everybody looks forward to, at least I do. I take pleasure in playing a Game 7. I think it’s one of the most exciting moments in sports,” said Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman Cardinals Game Jerseys , who has a 7-1 career record playing in Game 7. “I think you just have to embrace it, really just have fun with it. I think what it’s all about. Usually if you have an open mindset, follow the game plan you set up, you are going to enjoy it. You will most of the time also have a good result.”

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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

CLEVELAND — The Golden State Warriors have been in this precise position before Authentic Customized Titans Jerseys , and they suffered a hiccup before they tasted champagne.

Golden State is the only team in NBA history to lead consecutive Finals 3-0. Both times it was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, including the 2018 Finals that could end with a Warriors win in Game 4 on Friday.

Last season, with a chance to clinch its second title in three years on Cleveland’s home court, the Cavs banged 24 3s and forced a Game 5.

“It’s different, man. I keep telling people,” Golden State’s Kevin Durant said. “It’s just a different vibe because we’ve been through a season with each other already as champions, going through a whole season. So we know exactly what we need to do in order for us to win.

“We wanted to do that, focus on that as much as possible. The emotions and all that stuff doesn’t really matter. We just try to play a solid Authentic Customized Cowboys Jerseys , focused game, and we’ll figure out how to feel afterward.”

The Warriors are searching for their third title in four years — all against Cleveland — and their sixth title overall, which would tie them for third all time.

Durant, solid through the first two Finals games, jockeyed into pole position to win Finals MVP for the second consecutive season in Game 3 with his playoff-career-high 43 points in the Warriors’ 110-102 win.

Durant is averaging 31.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the Finals. His numbers are a little behind those of LeBron James (37.7 points, 9.0 rebounds Nyheim Hines Jersey Colts , 10.7 assists) in this series, but Durant has the better team.

Stephen Curry set an NBA record with nine 3s in Game 2 and then shot 1 of 10 from 3 in Game 3. And the Warriors still had enough to beat the Cavs for the 10th time in the last 11 games, counting the regular season.

“We’ve had an opportunity to win two of these games in this three-game series so far, and we haven’t come up with it,” James said. “Obviously, from a talent perspective, if you’re looking at Golden State from their top five best players to our top five players, you would say they’re stacked better than us.

“We have a lot of talent as well. We’ve been in a position where we could win two out of these three games. So what do we have to do?”

No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in the NBA playoffs (0-131). But the Cavs are nonetheless a tough out. They’re 7-2 in elimination games since 2015 and have successfully faced down elimination three times already this season.

Kevin Love has registered at least 20 points and 10 boards in all three games so far Youth Kemoko Turay Jersey , giving James at least one layer of support against the vaunted Warriors.
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“We’ve given ourselves a chance,” Love said. “I know that we’ll come out in Game 4 and really compete. We’re not going to give in.”

The Cavs blew a 13-point lead in Game 3, and their disastrous final 36 seconds in regulation of Game 1 took away a win. This series could look a lot differently than it does right now, and the Warriors say they think the Cavs aren’t quite finished just yet.

“Just understand the details defensively of what we need to do against a team like Cleveland, with the threats that they have,” Curry said. “Understanding that Game 4 is going to be the toughest game that we’ve played in the series, to close it out. We’re going to need energy, effort Will Hernandez Jersey Giants , focus from every guy that steps foot on the floor for 48 minutes.”

James could be a free agent at season’s end. If he leaves Cleveland for a second time, the Cavs’ run of four straight Finals would almost certainly end. They could seek to trade Love and rebuild if that domino falls.

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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 7 days ago

Jaren Jackson Jr. is so excited about heading to the Memphis Grizzlies as the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft that he doesn’t care where he plays.

”It could be the 5 Authentic Customized Bengals Jerseys , the 4, the 3, the 2, the 1,” Jackson said Thursday night in a conference call with reporters. ”Realistically, the 5 or the 4. Whatever coach can put me in Josh Sitton Jersey Dolphins , I’m all for it.”

Well, the Grizzlies have a veteran at center in Marc Gasol. But they do need plenty of help coming off their worst season in nearly a decade. The power forward from Michigan State became Memphis’ pick after pre-draft reports that the Grizzlies might trade out of the franchise’s first lottery pick since 2010.

But the Grizzlies stayed put Thursday night and selected Jackson.

There also were reports the 6-foot-11 Jackson wasn’t initially excited about the projections putting him in Memphis. Jackson said he got a call from Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Wednesday, a conversation that put him at ease. Jackson also said scheduling conflicts was the bigger issue with him not visiting Memphis before the draft.

”I’m excited to get going,” Jackson said. ”The team they’ve got in place right now is spectacular.”

In his lone year at Michigan State, the forward averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds Youth Frank Ragnow Jersey , and 3 blocks per game. Jackson has good defensive skills with quickness that allows him to keep pace with smaller players.

The fourth pick was the highest for the Memphis franchise since picking Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick in 2009. The previous time the Grizzlies had the fourth overall pick was in 2007 when they chose point guard Mike Conley from Ohio State.

Standing alongside the new Grizzly at the draft were his father, Jaen Jackson Sr., a former NBA player and coach, and his mother, Terri, who was wearing a championship ring from Jackson’s time with the San Antonio Spurs.

With Jackson Marshall Newhouse Jersey Bills , and the selection of point guard Jevon Carter out of West Virginia with the 32nd overall pick, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said Memphis took a step back to the defensive style of its successful run over seven straight playoff appearances.

”We got two exceptional defensive players,” Wallace said. ”We got the best shot-blocker in the draft in Jaren Jackson, got the best perimeter defender in Jevon Carter. Got two great intangible guys with a lot of room to grow.

”I think we got a shot at grit-n-grind back tonight.”
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Jackson joins a franchise coming off an ugly season that featured a coach firing with Bickerstaff given the job May 1 for good after replacing David Fizdale in late November. With a rash of injuries, the Grizzlies went only a 22-60 for the second-worst record in the NBA behind Phoenix.

The poor record didn’t help Memphis in the lottery drawing with the Grizzlies landing in the fourth spot. Still, it was the first time the Grizzlies had a lottery pick since selecting Xavier Henry out of Kansas with the 12th overall pick. The choice of Henry was part of run of unproductive choices for Memphis over the years.

Owner Robert Pera predicted last week that with the right pick – someone to complement Conley and Gasol – Memphis could consider a 50-win season.

Conley welcomed Jackson to Memphis on Twitter soon after the selection .

The personable Jackson joked with the local media about being a rib-lover and showed off his knowledge of Memphis hip-hop artists like You Gotten and Young Adolph. He also expects to come in ready to contribute.

”I know that I’m young Robert Golden Jersey Chiefs , and there’s always growing to go,” Jackson said. ”Any player has to go through a lot of learning curves. I think with the vets they’ve got there, it will help me speed up the process.”

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huangjian123 PLG_KUNENA_COMMUNITY_ACTIVITY_POST_TITLE 1 week ago

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Picture this: Prince taking the stage at U.S. Bank Stadium in his hometown of Minneapolis for the 2018 Super Bowl to a dazzling display of purple lights Youth Miami Dolphins Jerseys , wowing the crowd at halftime with his frenzied guitar work, soulful singing and slick dance moves.

Perfect marketing, a die-hard fan’s dream. But it won’t happen.

Prince’s death from an accidental painkiller overdose in 2016 leaves fans to only imagine how the megastar might have topped his electrifying performance in pouring rain at the Super Bowl 11 years ago in Miami.

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”People joke, `Can we just have a Prince hologram?”’ said Mike Howard, spokesman for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. Justin Timberlake is the halftime performer for Sunday’s game.

At a press conference Thursday, Timberlake said Prince was a big influence.

”In my opinion, the greatest all-around musician in popular culture,” Timberlake said. ”The time I got to spend around him, with him Seattle Seahawks Jerseys Womens , talking about music . those are memories that I’ll take with me forever.”

But the sights and sounds of Prince still surround the big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. There’s the mural of Prince with a white dove in the Uptown neighborhood, his gold star outside Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub, or Paisley Park, his recording complex-turned-museum in Chanhassen, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Minneapolis.

”Prince is not here in being, but he’s here in spirit,” said music producer Jimmy Jam, who along with his producing partner Terry Lewis went heavy on Minnesota musical acts for Super Bowl Live , a free Youth New Orleans Saints Jerseys , 10-day fan festival on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Jam said he hears Prince music ”on every NFL telecast and highlight on all the networks.”

Jam said Prince ”is so associated with this state and with this city that his presence is definitely felt.”

Thousands packed downtown for Monday’s ”Prince Night” concert, featuring Sheila E., Morris Day and The Time, and Prince’s 1980s band The Revolution.

Fans also are getting a firsthand look at Prince’s guitars, costumes, hats and shoes on loan from Paisley Park at an exhibit as part of Super Bowl Live.

”He was magic. I think that people in Minnesota didn’t realize exactly how big he was probably until after his death, because he was our hometown guy,” Jeanette Blasewitz, 66 Titans Authentic Jerseys , of Eden Prairie said while checking out the displays.

Sunday’s game marks the anniversary of Prince’s appearance at the 2007 Super Bowl that saw the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears. Many called the show the best Super Bowl halftime ever.

Dressed in turquoise jacket and pants with an orange shirt, Prince gave a blistering rendition of his own hits, such as ”Let’s Go Crazy,” followed by covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ”Proud Mary,” Bob Dylan’s ”All Along the Watchtower” and the Foo Fighters’ ”Best of You” before finishing with ”Purple Rain” in a driving rainstorm.

Morris Hayes, 55, was a keyboardist for Prince’s former band New Power Generation and was on stage that night. He remembers organizers approaching Prince before the Super Bowl with the forecast of rain and offering to pre-record his performance. Hayes said that prompted Prince’s famous response: Can you make it rain harder?

”The fact that it did rain when it did and how (Prince) did `Purple Rain’ in the rain, you can’t beat that. … It was magical, you know Saints Authentic Jerseys ,” Hayes recalled.

Fan Melisa Rokala, 46, of Cokato explains Prince’s appeal to Minnesota residents.

”As a Minnesotan, we love our own. And we love it when our own people love us here,” Rokala said. ”He loved Minnesota. It was always his home. And his music was groundbreaking.”

She believes Prince – who once wrote a song for the Minnesota Vikings – would have been involved in a Minneapolis Super Bowl, perhaps again as the halftime performer, if he was still alive.



Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at twitter.com/jeffbaenen . Find more of his work at apnews.com/search/jeff%20baenen .

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