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last updated: Mon, 02 May 2016 00:39:46 -0400

NBA's Warriors keep cruising, Heat and Raptors book clash

Klay Thompson scored 37 points as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors leapt to a quick leadKlay Thompson and Draymond Green made sure the Golden State Warriors barely missed injured superstar Stephen Curry in a 118-106 victory over Portland in the first game of their NBA Western Conference second-round playoff series. Thompson scored 37 points and Green notched the first post-season triple-double of his career as the reigning champion Warriors leapt to a quick lead and never looked back on their home floor in Oakland, California. Thompson drained a three-pointer 17 seconds into the contest and the Warriors rolled from there.


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Sport | The Guardian
last updated: Sun, 01 May 2016 14:52:57 GMT2016-05-01T14:52:57Z

Warriors stroll past Trail Blazers as Stephen Curry resumes shooting practice

  • Portland Trail Blazers 106-118 Golden State Warriors
  • Hopes rise that injured MVP could play a part in Game 3 of series
  • Klay Thompson stars with 37-point game for reigning champions

Klay Thompson scored 37 points in another brilliant performance as fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry watched injured, and the Golden State Warriors again dominated without their MVP to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-106 Sunday in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

Draymond Green had his second career postseason triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the defending champions.

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NYT > Sports
last updated: Sun, 01 May 2016 21:44:06 GMT

Giants 6, Mets 1: Giants Discover, and Exploit, a Weakness Against Syndergaard
San Francisco base runners were 3 for 3 in steal attempts against Noah Syndergaard and snapped the Mets’ eight-game winning streak.

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CNN.com - Sport
last updated: Sun, 01 May 2016 12:39:57 EDT

Leicester City edges closer to Premier League crown
Close, but no cigar. Leicester City's hopes of celebrating its first ever English Premier League title were put on hold Sunday after a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

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Fox Sports Top Stories RSS feed merging with Breaking News
The Fox Sports Top Stories RSS feed is merging with Breaking News. Please use http://feeds.news.com.au/public/rss/2.0/fs_breaking_news_13.xml instead.

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FOXSPORTS.com.au | Breaking News
last updated: Mon, 02 May 2016 07:26:00 GMT

Paper Talk: Pirlo’s worst corner kick ever?
ANDREA Pirlo is known as one of world football’s true dead ball specialists. But he didn’t cover himself in glory with this horrendous corner kick!

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ESPN.com - TOP
last updated: Mon, 2 May 2016 00:40:26 EST

Draymond Green is not a superstar -- or is he?
Draymond Green is not a superstar -- or is he?

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Bears release veteran safety Rolle, guard Slauson - Sports Illustrated


Chicago Sun-Times

Bears release veteran safety Rolle, guard Slauson
Sports Illustrated
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The Chicago Bears released safety Antrel Rolle and left guard Matt Slauson on Sunday after sending strong signals in the draft that the veterans' days with the team were numbered. Rolle, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, has 26 ...
Adam Jahns breaks down Bears' 2016 DraftComcast SportsNet Chicago
Bears part ways with safety Antrel Rolle, offensive guard Matt SlausonESPN
Chicago Bears release former Husker offensive lineman Matt SlausonOmaha World-Herald (blog)
New York Times -Scout -NBCSports.com -UPI.com
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Concern? Maybe a little…
OK, so things have gotten a little sloppier after that first great series. No need to worry too much, right? It’s still ridiculously early, of course. Maybe not a great start, but certainly not a bad one. That said, every game the Pirates fall behind the Cubs is paining me – already. That’s because from […]

OK, so things have gotten a little sloppier after that first great series. No need to worry too much, right? It’s still ridiculously early, of course. Maybe not a great start, but certainly not a bad one.

That said, every game the Pirates fall behind the Cubs is paining me – already. That’s because from what I’ve seen of the Cubs (and again, still ridiculously early, so this could change) – they are really freaking good. Terrifying lineup. Great front line pitching. Adequate bullpen. Even if the Pirates end up being a very good team again this year, it’s very easy to envision a situation like last year where they get stuck in the wild card anyway, just because they’re paired with a truly dominant team in the division. And that’s not even mentioning the Cardinals, who don’t seem all that scary anymore (for now) but surely won’t go quietly.

Anyway, I certainly don’t want to make too many sweeping generalizations about teams and worry about the standings too much in mid April. But I just don’t want to see the Pirates get in a big early hole. Right now it’s just a couple games, but one bad stretch could balloon it, and that would be trouble.

Moving on to the actual state of the team, some good and bad from the past week or so:

THE GOOD:

OBP

All the talk this spring was about how the Pirates were going to be an on-base-percentage-focused team, and so far that has shown to be true. They are second in the league (behind guess who, the Cubs) entering Thursday with an excellent .375 mark. Last year they finished at .323. Obviously that will likely go down as the season goes on, but the change is evident, and it has mostly been effective. Sure, the power is down, as we expected, but that’s exactly how you can make up for it. And certainly don’t count me among those worried about hitting with RISP. As a high OBP team, you’ll have some maddening games like that where you leave a ton on base. It evens out. You saw a perfect example of that with the awful loss on Sunday and then a great win on Monday.

And maybe my favorite thing about this new OBP trend? Grinding opposing pitchers down. Through nine games, the opposing starter has gone six innings just twice, and both times it was only six, no more. Getting to the bullpen early is a great thing. Even when the offense isn’t totally clicking, they’ve shown an ability to at least stretch innings and at bats out somewhat, and that helps in the long run.

THE BAD:

Pitching depth

The Pirates have a pitching depth problem, and amazingly (so far) the problem isn’t entirely related to Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Locke. Both have actually pitched well so far (granted, tiny sample). But this rotation is very thin right now, and it’s compounded by a bullpen that isn’t exactly equipped to handle short, subpar starts. The back of the Pirate bullpen is excellent, as it has been for years. Neftali Feliz looks amazing, and Tony Watson and Mark Melancon are their usual selves. But beyond those three…trouble. I’m not sure if we should be super worried about Arquimedes Caminero, because I said that a few times last year and he bounced back, but it hasn’t been a great start for him – Tuesday’s loss is pretty much all on his shoulders. But even if you count him as OK, you surely can’t feel great about Kyle Lobstein and Cory Luebke (and, for now, emergency callup A.J. Schugel). Getting Jared Hughes back will help, but still, at this rate, it’s going to be hard for the Pirates to hold down the fort and get to those big three in the back whenever a starter fails to get them through six, or if they’re trailing at any point and Hurdle doesn’t feel ready to use one of his prized bullets.

And there’s not a ton of sure bets to get through six strong in the rotation right now. Liriano’s injury is hopefully just day to day, but if it’s worse than that…um, then what? Does Vogelsong go in there for good? (He did pitch well on Tuesday, but…) Do they rush up a prospect? (Glasnow and Taillon both had strong AAA debuts, which is encouraging, but we know the Pirates love to be cautious.) And that’s not even mentioning Nicasio, whose second start raised all the concerns I had about him initially (two pitches, maybe not cut out to be a durable starter with his high-effort style). He’ll get more chances and hopefully be OK, but remember, the plan was for him to be one of the key guys bridging the gap in those middle innings. With him and Hughes both out of that role, the Pirates better get six out of their starters most nights or they’re going to have more problems.

Other thoughts

  • Michael Morse was DFA’d. I’m sad I never got to see one of his tape measure homers (he mashed in BP) in a game, but he was expendable. The Pirates brought up the extra arm (Schugel) while Liriano is down, and once Liriano is back, I expect them to give Jason Rogers a shot off the bench. I love Rogers’ bat so I’m good with that.
  • Jung Ho! He’s been cleared for all baseball activity and should be good to start playing full games in extended spring training. No need to unfurl the Korean flags until he starts playing rehab games in Altoona/Indy, but hopefully we’re getting close.
  • Despite a couple of iffy final lines, I do like this from Jon Niese so far: 12 K’s, 2 walks. The ironic thing is that he said he was looking forward to pitching in front of a better defense (the Mets’ D was bad), and the defense behind him has hurt him quite a bit in both his outings.
  • I don’t like David Freese hitting third. How about Cervelli, or even Polanco?
  • I do like what I’ve seen from John Jaso so far, especially on defense. He’s handled it much better than, well, you know. And as advertised, he’s getting on base.
  • Chris Stewart hit a home run. That might be the most incredible thing to happen all season.

Original article: Concern? Maybe a little…

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