Golden State is the first team in history to start the NBA playoffs 12-0.

The Warriors are the first team to enter the NBA Finals undefeated since the 2001 Lakers and the first team (along with these Cavs) since the 2011-2014 Heat to make three consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

Golden State is the first team in history to start the NBA playoffs 12-0. The 2001 Lakers likely would have started 12-0, but with the best-of-five first-round series, they held an 11-0 record entering the NBA Finals before losing Game 1 to the Allen Iverson-led Sixers. LA took the next four games to finish 15-1 overall.

If their current net rating holds (16.8), the Warriors would easily have the best net rating of any NBA champion over the last 30 years. The 2001 Lakers finished with a 13.7 net rating. The 1996 Bulls, who previously held the best regular-season record ever at 72-10, completed the postseason at 12.1.

For a more apples-to-apples comparison, here are the best net ratings entering the NBA Finals since 1990:

This is where all those complaints about the resting of players disintegrate. The reason that teams find days for star players to skip is because it works. The argument ends there.

Game Mens Dontari Poe Jersey Sure, Hall of Famer Karl Malone can go on a back-in-my-day rant. And he did, summing up nicely with, Get your ass playing. Yet another Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, can lay blame on analytics and, in his words, punk-ass reporters, for the rise of rest.

Elite Youth Wade Davis Jersey But suppose Barkley and Malone had known, in their respective heydays, that four or five games of well-placed rest over an 82-game season would have helped them get past Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals, something neither guy accomplished. Or what if rest during the 2003-04 season would have helped Malone avoid the knee injury that sapped him in the Lakers’ loss to the Pistons in the Finals that year? Think they’d swallow some pride and take the day off? Of course they would.

Olivia Munn, Ciara and others show that dating an NFL quarterback is a no-win situation

Sustaining a relationship with an NFL quarterback is no easy feat. Besides the arduous travel schedule, scarce opportunities for date nights and limited privacy, dating a professional quarterback can lead a woman to be the subject of constant tabloid fodder when things go poorly on the field.

Ciara. Olivia Munn. Jessica Simpson.

Ciara fell prey to the sexism that pervades todays football media culture within minutes of the Seahawkscrippling playoff loss to the Falcons last weekend.

No, the blame did not belong to the Seahawks’ defense that ceded 36 points to NFL MVP candidate Matt Ryan and his dynamic arsenal of weapons. Instead, Twitter placed blame on Russell Wilsons significan’t other, who jinxed the starting quarterbacks once-storied ability to command a triumphant offense in the postseason.

The Cowboys were rewarded for what still was a special season by having unwavering trust in Prescott. Now Prescott can trust that they will make the necessary adjustments to take a close one in a likely similar situation next year.

Time ran out on Prescott’s dazzling debut season well before many first and foremost those in Dallas expected. But he still has tons of it on his side.

The mature makeup is what got him to this point. It’s also what will get him and the Cowboys to come back and go well beyond.vikings_089

Former Lakers coach Byron Scott is still criticizing D’Angelo Russell’s work ethic

D’Angelo Russell was selected second overall by the Lakers in 2015, which typically means he’ll get a chance for plenty of minutes in his first season. That wasn’t the case, though. Instead, the coach at the time, Byron Scott, held the rookie out for much of the season while constantly criticizing him in the media.
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Well, a year removed from being the coach in Los Angeles, Scott still has some concerns about the young player. Speaking to The Orange County Register, Scott says he doesn’t regret how he handled the young player and explained his reasoning.

Kerr isn’t wrong when he says the Cavs are a great team, but there’s a pretty obvious reason why the Warriors are considered the heavy favorites. They have four All-Stars, including two recent MVP winners, and have been one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

The Cavs winning last year doesn’t really factor into this year at all when it comes to underdogs. These are two very different teams from a year ago. The Warriors added Kevin Durant while the Cavs added Kyle Korver. A slight difference in talent.
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Cavs coach Tyronn Lue didn’t want to use the underdog title at all.

We’re not going to use that as motivation, Lue said recently. It’s like, we’re in the NBA Finals. That’s enough motivation alone. Not worry about what it says in Vegas or what people are saying about underdogs. We’re not using that as an excuse. We’ve got to come out and play. Our goals were set at the beginning of the season, and that’s to win a championship. So that’s what we’re focused on.

Charlotte to host NBA All-Star Game in 2019

Charlotte, N.C., is getting a second chance.

After moving the All-Star Game from the Queen City to New Orleans last season, the NBA on Wednesday announced the 2019 All-Star Game will take place Feb. 17 in the hive of the Hornets at Spectrum Center.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a detailed statement regarding the league’s decision:

For three decades, the NBA has had a home in Charlotte. Generations of families have attended games there, and fans from many different walks of life have come together to share a passion for a team that is an anchor in the community.

However, prior to Tuesday’s practice in Cleveland in preparation for Wednesday’s NBA Finals Game 4 meeting with the Cavs, his signature shoe game had been weaker than 168 hours. Remember how the Under Armour Curry 2 lows got relentlessly roasted online? Now, that’s all about to change. Curry sported the yet-to-be-released black Under Armour Curry 4s, and it appears his sponsor has finally created some kicks as stylish and mature as Stephen’s game.
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Curry rocked the white colorway of the 4s during Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals. They were an obvious upgrade from the 3s, which, despite his immense popularity, saw disappointing sales. It appears he’ll have their black counterparts on as the series shifts to the Midwest for at least two games. The black suede finish, understated branding, white outsole and gold accents give the 4s a nearly regal appeal that will make them a hit both on and off the court, something you simply couldn’t say of his previous models.
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The black Under Armour Curry 4s look good — real good. They’re ready for the court and the club. It’s just another victory for the Dubs’ franchise player.

Grigson looked like as smart a hire as anyone could imagine

More important, it opens the door for everybody who’s in the pipeline and ready to take over an organization and the Colts’ organization has a lot more to attract an excellent candidate than the 49ers do. That includes the owners, even with Irsay’s well-documented unstable behavior. His track record of smart management hires far outshines that of Jed York.

For three years, for example, Grigson looked like as smart a hire as anyone could imagine. As underachieving as the Colts have been in the ensuing two years one of the factors pushing Grigson out the door they’re still light-years ahead of where they were when he arrived.

They have Andrew Luck, obviously. They have other pieces from a team that fell one game short of the Super Bowl two years ago. They have pieces that Grigson added to get them over the top, only to have that chance to get over the top neutralized by his personnel misfires. They still have a window to re-take control of the usually-soft AFC South, although that window is closing fast if the Titans, Jaguars and a Texans team getting J.J. Watt back are any indication.

So, the football world has seen this before, right down to the Packersfuture Hall of Fame quarterback getting the benefit of the doubt that at this time and in this place hes unbeatable. Aaron Rodgers was that guy in 2011, as he is this year now that the Packers have fulfilled his run the tableprophecy, and as Brett Favre was earlier.

Rodgers and Favre were both left empty-handed, at Mannings expense. (Of course, that was also Favres last game as a Packer.) It was a matter of Manning making more plays than his opposing number the Hail Mary at the end of the first half to Hakeem Nicks in 2011, for example and of him not making the big mistake Favres overtime interception in the 2007 game.avalanche_150

Jaguars hire Doug Marrone as coach; fans don’t seem thrilled

Game Josh Mauro Jersey The Jaguars hired Doug Marrone as new head coach, and brought back Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations, the team announced Monday.

The news probably won’t make fans in Jacksonville overly giddy. Marrone doesn’t exactly have a promising past, going 15-17 in two seasons as head coach in Buffalo. Even at the college level he had a 25-25 record during his four seasons at Syracuse. Although he did win two Pinstripe Bowls.

The longtime offensive line coach went 1-1 with the Jags this season in an interim role, replacing Gus Bradley.

Coughlin, who won two Super Bowls as the Giants head coach, was the first coach in Jaguars history leading the team from 1995-2002.

There was some excitement among Jacksonville fans when Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels interviewed on Saturday. Former Falcons coach Mike Smith was also a name in the mix.

While many of the comments on the Instagram post were lovely, several were downright cruel, including one calling Cutler a 300-pound lesbian because of his physique.

Cutler hasn’t been able to stick to his strict NFL regimen since he injured his shoulder in November, so he clearly isn’t in the best shape of his life. However, saying that he has man boobs and looks like Cavallari’s mother-in-law is pretty unfair.

Elite Teddy Purcell Jersey Either way, Cavallari came to her husband’s defense with another Instagram post, praising how attractive her husband is and calling him hot AF.

Read Steve Smith’s badass retirement letter to the NFL

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Steve Smith confirmed his retirement in a postgame interview after Week 17, and now it’s official as he sent in his notice to the league.

Smith didn’t end his career the way he wanted, as the Ravens missed the playoffs at 8-8, but the 37-year-old realized his best days are behind him. After 13 years with Carolinaand three with Baltimore, the five-time Pro Bowl receiver finished with1,031 receptions for 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns.

I think though, the most important thing that I can do, I think it’s really important that I articulate the vision that I have for this team to everyone in the building, because I know from playing for guys like Bill Walsh and [former NFL head coach] Tony Dungy and [former NFL head coach] Jon Gruden and [former NFL head coach] Mike Shanahan, I think that’s the most important thing you can do is articulate, Here’s who we want to be and here’s the type of people we are looking for if you want to be a part of this thing. I think that’s really critical.

Authentic Eric Reid Jersey And then I would say hand-in-hand with that, first of all we’ve got to evaluate what we have. I’ve got some commitments down here in Houston, I’m in Houston right now taking care some of the commitments I had to FOX. I think it’s right that I honor those. Jed wanted me to honor those and so I’m doing that. But, I can’t wait. I can’t get the film in front of me quick enough just to evaluate this roster. I know it because I follow football on a broad sense, but it just takes time and there’s no substitute for time and that’s what, I think you first have to take inventory of what you have to see what we need and that’s with the draft and free agency. It’s critical also to put together the staff that I’m going to be working with and a lot of those people are going to be in the building, we’re going to go out and aggressively pursue some of the people I have relationships with that I think are the best in the business. And so, we are going to attack it very aggressively. Like I said, I just can’t wait to get that process going and it’s already started in many respects.’

Ender Inciarte had a pretty good day in the Braves’ 13-8 win over the Reds.

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Elite Joe Colborne Jersey The Mariners’ resilience puts them in good shape to contend for a wild-card spot as the season wears on (no one is going to catch the AL West-leading Astros, who have the best record in baseball). And soon, the team’s stars will begin returning from the DL. Hernandez, who’s been out with shoulder bursitis since late April, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Tacoma. Iwakuma, a 16-game winner last season who hasn’t pitched since May 3 because of a shoulder issue, threw two innings in a simulated game Saturday.

Drew Smyly, acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade earlier this year, hasn’t played for the Mariners yet because of a flexor strain, but could be ready for action by late June.

Ender Inciarte had a pretty good day in the Braves’ 13-8 win over the Reds. The center fielder went 5-for-5 with a home run, five RBIs and two runs scored. Braves left fielder Danny Santana, who also put up some seriously crooked numbers (4-for-5, with a home run and three runs and RBIs) also gets a shout-out.

The Cardinals’ Luke Weaver (No. 38) doesn’t have an obvious path to a big league rotation spot, but he’s definitely the next man up in St. Louis if one of the current starters were to go down. Weaver struggled last year in a big league call-up, but he has the stuff and polish to be a successful No. 3 starter. He’s currently honing his craft at Triple-A, where he’s posted a 1.97 ERA and an impressive 29/4 K/BB in 32 innings.

Oakland shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto (No. 22 could get a look with the A’s if he continues to produce at Triple-A (.313/.359/.500 with six home runs). Barreto needs to improve his plate discipline, but he has plus bat speed, good raw strength and an ability to use the whole field. He probably won’t stick at shortstop but he profiles as an above-average offensive second baseman who will hit for moderate average and good power.

Counting Terrell Owens’ drops recklessly counts him out of Canton forever

The tipping point for Terrell Owens’ Hall of Fame chances was the drops chart.

Owens is never going to get into the Hall of Fame. That sealed it.

That really isn’t that extreme a reaction to that chart, slipped into Peter King’s weekly column at The MMQB on Monday, but tweeted out on its own.

No time will be wasted deciphering it, putting it into context or even mocking it that much. (In all fairness, Pro Football Talk mocked the entire “drops” debate flawlessly already.) Ironically, King in that item declared not only does Owens deserve to be in Canton, but drops are not a good reason to exclude him.

But that chart got out there for a full viewing, anyway.

And that has never been more clear than in the last 10 years, when the toll of playing this sport has hit home like it never has before. Every season that a player, Canton-worthy or not, comes out of it in one piece should be considered a miracle … not a testament to his endurance, inner strength or character. That’s patently unfair to everybody else facing the same risks.

The players are bigger, stronger and faster, the collisions harder, the rules more incomprehensible, the sport more unmanageable by refs, coaches, owners, commissioner and the players themselves.

The career-altering injuries, then, are more inevitable. That, and the conscious decisions to walk away while you still can, as Calvin Johnson and Marshawn Lynch did.

Every Hall of Fame voter should know this and act accordingly. From now on, at least. Because until this year, they did Davis a disservice.avalanche-002_501f67d731edd291-180x180

Doing that will require more cap space than what they currently project to have.

The Eagles had the biggest payroll in the NFL in 2016, which reflects in the lack of projected cap room next year. The team had a fast start but fell as the year went on and likely will look to upgrade their skill-position players to help quarterback Carson Wentz develop.

Doing that will require more cap space than what they currently project to have. Releasing Connor Barwin would save nearly $8 million, and one of their running backs would open up $4 million, which should be enough to make a run at some receivers.

Pro: Thomas, a 6-3, 271-pound defensive end, is rising up draft boards after an impressive season with the Cardinal. He had 24.5 sacks the last two seasons, including 14 in 2016. He was dominant in the Hyundai Sun Bowl victory against North Carolina.

Con: There aren’t a lot of cons to drafting Thomas, who appears to be a solid pro in the making despite just two full seasons at Stanford. That might be it. He might not be an instant-impact player in the NFL, and the same comparisons to Brown would be there again.

Pro: It likely wouldn’t cost the No. 1 pick, but the Browns could probably offer the No. 12 pick for Garoppolo, who reportedly has generated interest from multiple teams. If the Browns go here, that means Robert Griffin III’s days in Cleveland are numbered. Garoppolo has learned as a backup the last three seasons behind Tom Brady. Aaron Rodgers did just fine after three years behind Brett Favre.
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Game Mens Demarcus Lawrence Jersey Con: Cleveland goes into another season with another quarterback and even more questions. What combination of draft picks would it take to get a backup quarterback? Would the No. 1 pick be involved somehow? Would the Browns really give all that up to the Patriots?