That was ugly.
The Los Angeles Clippers were up 3-1 on Denver and led by double digits in every one of the last three games, but couldn’t close the series out. Denver showed the resistance, the grit, and the ability to execute under pressure in eliminating the Clippers from the playoffs.
NBA Twitter had some serious schadenfreude with the entitled Clippers — and that started with Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
My last tweet before I finish this glass. They did vote they ain’t wanna play no more. . . But I didn’t think they was gonna go out like that 😂
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 16, 2020
@patbev21 I guess I should extend this Cancun invite since I haven’t made my arrangements yet 😂😂😂
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) September 16, 2020
They were not alone, NBA Twitter piled on the Clippers:
Playoff P did what he always do in Closeout Games…Kawhi Leonard Perkins was Horrible!!! I told y’all Clippers was all BARK and NO BITE!!! Carry on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) September 16, 2020
“Bring it in fellas” – Doc Rivers
“Cancun on 3… 1-2-3 CANCUN” – LA Clippers
Man….. CARRY ON!!!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) September 16, 2020
The Clippers have died as a team right in front of us!!
Team beats talent every time.
— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) September 16, 2020
No coach has comeback from a 3-1 deficit twice.
Mike Malone can do it twice in a row!
Only one coach has blown multiple 3-1 leads (this would be his third)…
Doc Rivers. pic.twitter.com/i5IKFzVXjx
— Damien Barling (@damienbarling) September 16, 2020
Game 7 duo power rankings:
1. Jokic and Murray
2. Lillard and McCollum
259. Kawhi and PG
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 16, 2020
Lillard, McCollum lead Twitter roast, reaction to Clippers after 3-1 collapse originally appeared on NBCSports.com
NASCAR at long last adds schedule variety with 2021 changes
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR promised radical changes to the 2021 schedule and delivered Wednesday with six road courses, the first dirt race for the Cup Series since 1970 and new stops in Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas.
Dropped from the lineup were Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway, two ”cookie-cutter” intermediate tracks that were part of a staid schedule that lacked variation or originality. Michigan International Speedway, Dover International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway each lost one of two Cup Series points races.
Atlanta Motor Speedway and Darlington Speedway in South Carolina each added a second race to their schedules.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will move the Cup Series cars to its road course after 27 years of racing on the big oval. The revamped ”Brickyard Weekend” also will feature a new IndyCar Series race, making it a doubleheader for the second year in a row.
Indinapolis joins Road America in rural Wisconsin and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin as new road course events on a schedule that already included Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) and the Charlotte Roval. NASCAR for decades ran at just two road courses eac season and will now have six to satisfy fans who have begged for more diversity on the schedule.
Speedway Motorsports will promote the road course event at COTA after moving its traditional spring date at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth to the venue. To compensate for the loss of the points race at TMS, Speedway Motorsports has moved the All-Star race from Charlotte to Fort Worth.
”Everything is bigger in Texas, including our passion for NASCAR and NASCAR will be even bigger and better in Texas in 2021 with the addition of this race in Austin,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
The All-Star race began in 1985 and was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway every year but one until this season, when the pandemic caused a relocation to Bristol Motor Speedway in East Tennessee.
Bristol will also experiment with a dirt race by filling the 0.533-mile bullring with dirt for the first race of its kind since Richard Petty won at the half-mile State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh on September 30, 1970.
The March 28 dirt race will replace Bristol’s traditional spring race on the concrete as NASCAR chose the track over dozens of existing and proven dirt tracks across the country. The most noticeable snub was to the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway in Ohio, which hosted the Truck Series from 2013 until this year’s race was canceled by the pandemic.
NASCAR scheduled a full release of the 2021 lineup later Wednesdaybut individual tracks began announcing their plans earlier.
Kentucky Speedway is off the schedule for the first time since 2011. The original owners of the track in Sparta filed a federal lawsuit against NASCAR for the right to host a Cup Series race and the fight dragged on from 2005 until 2009. Speedway Motorsports eventually bought the property and moved a race to Kentucky in 2011.
The battle to land Cup races has long been difficult as NASCAR controlled the schedule and tracks paid sanctioning fees to host events. Because NASCAR also owned most of the major facilities, it controlled the market and dictated which tracks got Cup races.
Legal challenges began in 2002 when a Texas man named Francis Ferko filed a lawsuit demanding a second race at Texas Motor Speedway. The suit dragged on until settlement talks between Speedway Motorsports, owner of Texas Motor Speedway, and International Speedway Corp., the arm of NASCAR that controlled its properties, delivered a second race to Fort Worth.
Little has changed to the schedule since Kentucky was added, and in 2015 NASCAR signed five-year sanctioning agreements with the tracks that guaranteed race dates through 2020. The contracts left little room for overhaul, but NASCAR understood fans had grown disgruntled with the same old schedule.
NASCAR vowed to address it in 2021, the first year after the contracts expired. The pandemic this season forced a slew of changes, including doubleheader weekends, midweek races and a shared weekend with IndyCar.
The 2021 schedule has no midweek races on it because television ratings did not match the perceived fan enthusiasm for Wednesday nights.
Week 4 Fantasy Busts
From a fantasy lens, dozens and dozens of players being sidelined is already greatly impacting the depth of your league and roster. Starting stars is as justifiable as ever, but I am still here to take a flamethrower to your optimism on a weekly basis, highlighting a handful of upcoming “busts” for the forthcoming slate of games. Let me be clear – I like fun, I prefer to focus on positives and, most of all, do not hate any of these players. I simply believe they will perform below their normal output.
Patriots QB Cam Newton at Chiefs (-7)
Total: o/u 53.5 – 56% Started
Cam Newton currently stands as the QB7 in fantasy points per game – safe to say I’m skittish in telling you to expect a fantasy output below his 25-point average… yet a few points send me in that direction. Through three games, it is clear the Patriots understand their offensive limitations, namely due to the lack of individual playmakers outside of the quarterback. Cam’s average intended air yards is 4th lowest in the NFL (6.4). To expand, 14 of 17 completions last week against the Raiders traveled less than six yards downfield, including eight behind the line of scrimmage. Only Julian Edelman can be trusted to win downfield, so manufactured touches to running backs and receivers closer to the line of scrimmage are the most reliable route to getting the ball into skill position players’ hands. Cam is always a threat to score two touchdowns near the goal line which would eliminate any “bust” label, but his passing game ceiling seems to be closer to Raiders/Dolphins levels than Week 2 versus Seattle.
Also consider what this Chiefs Defense limited Lamar Jackson to on Monday night – 97 passing yards on a team with much more receiving talent. Jackson added 83 yards on the ground to salvage his day, but L-Jax and Cam’s running styles are drastically different – swiftness versus hammer. Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick can make any pessimism look moronic, but I’ll consider Newton a lower end QB1 while facing the best pass defense he’s come across during his time with the Patriots thus far.
Prediction: 24 of 34 for 195 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs. 11 carries for 47 yards and 1 TD.
Bucs QB Tom Brady vs Chargers (+7)
Total: o/u 43.5 – 38% Started
Through three games, Brady is the QB17 in average fantasy points per game despite attempting over 36 passes per contest. That is not Brady’s fault. Yes, the miscommunications with Mike Evans and others stood out in Week 1, but Brady has been quite dialed in and has been let down, especially with drops, by his supporting cast and LT Donovan Smith. Brady’s ineffectiveness when pressured is obvious, dropping to 33rd in yards per attempt when disrupted. This has been a strength of the Chargers this season. As always, LAC continues to deal with a mountain of injuries, namely Derwin James and Chris Harris. In this instance, DE Melvin Ingram and DT Justin Jones, two players who missed last week, are imperative in order for the Chargers to keep a strength strong. This “bust” hinges on their status, with Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery also possessing the ability to create havoc in a game with a projected low-ish total.
Prediction: 23 of 35 for 225 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT
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Falcons TE Hayden Hurst at Packers (-7.5)
Total: o/u 57.5 – 48% Started
On paper, Hurst has filled in for Austin Hooper as the team’s top TE. Yet the volume difference is drastic when comparing the two. Through three games last season, Hooper handled 22 targets – compare that to Hurst’s 16, including just three last weekend against the Bears. It’s even more concerning when you consider Ryan has five more attempts this season through three games versus 2019. With Julio Jones out last week and Russell Gage absent for much of the game, you would think the target distribution would never get more narrow for Atlanta. Still, Hurst was not featured. One theory – OL questions and injuries to both tackles is forcing Hurst to help more with protections on passing downs. That question likely remains against a Packers team that tries to attack the quarterback from multiple angles.
Prediction: 7 targets, 4 catches for 45 yards
Giants WR Darius Slayton at Rams (-13)
Total: o/u 48 – 42% Started
Now a two-time “bust” list contender, Slayton made me look foolish in Week 1 with a signature spiked week performance on the back of 102 yards and two scores against a Steelers Defense with more loose ends than expected, including a 41-yard touchdown. Since? Two games, six receptions and 86 yards while the pieces around him continue to be eliminated due to injury. Daniel Jones has been pressured on over 40% of his dropbacks this season, the most in the NFL. Now the Giants get Aaron Donald and Co. With Sterling Shepard on IR, Slayton stands out as the Giants’ best outside option, meaning he likely draws Jalen Ramsey’s focus this week. A long touchdown is always in the range of outcomes with Slayton, but that is simply not a style I want to rely on in a difficult matchup.
Prediction: 7 targets, 3 receptions for 43 yards
Colts QB Philip Rivers at Bears (+2.5)
Total: o/u 45 – 6% Started
It’s unlikely many of you are starting Rivers at this point with the Colts’ QB averaging 14 fantasy points per game, but with the Falcons scoring 26 last week and the Lions posting 23 points in Week 1, the Bears Defense could easily allow the Colts to reach their projected total of 24 points as road favorites. Through three games, Chicago’s defense has been a true run funnel by allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points in the air this season – compared to 25th on the ground. As Rich Hribar points out, the ceiling for opposing quarterbacks has been two touchdowns for nearly two full seasons. In Rivers’ favor, we have yet to see the best of T.Y. Hilton and Nyheim Hines is a player with a few special spiked weeks in him, but the losses of Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman, two players this team intended to rely on, likely lowers the week to week possibility of a ceiling performance from Phil.
Prediction: 21 of 28 for 234 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT
Colts part ways with quarterback Chad Kelly
The Chad Kelly experiment may have run its course.
The Colts announced they had released the quarterback from the practice squad, and signed wide receiver Krishawn Hogan to take his place.
The final pick of the 2017 NFL Draft and the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has had a tumultuous career.
He was released by the Broncos in 2018 after an arrest for criminal trespassing, but the Colts have kept him around. He was suspended the first two games of the 2019 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He has appeared in one regular season game, for the Broncos in 2017.
The Colts drafted Jacob Eason in the fourth round this year, giving them someone to develop behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett.
Colts part ways with quarterback Chad Kelly originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
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- Week 4 Fantasy Busts
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