Paul George was the guy who seemed off in the Clippers’ Game 7 loss to Denver — and it’s not just his shot off the side of the backboard or his 2-of-11 shooting from during the game. It was his comments after the game that “this is not a championship-or-bust” season for the Clippers when everyone in the organization, top-to-bottom, had been saying it was. It was his postgame dismissal of the pressure or the need to make changes.
Paul George was making some interesting decisions during the game, too, which led to an exchange with Montrezl Harrell, reports Chris Haynes of Sports Grind Entertainment.
Early in the second quarter, a struggling George had committed two careless turnovers in less than a minute. The second mishap was a half-court pass to Harrell, who was near the paint but surrounded by Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Murray picked off the pass…
Harrell approached his teammate about the risky pass, with George not taking responsibility and arguing the pass could have been caught had Harrell made the right play, sources said…
Harrell responded with something along the lines of, “You’re always right. Nobody can tell you nothing,” and expletives were uttered from both players, sources said. George eventually toned down his rhetoric, but a heated Harrell wasn’t having it. Teammates began clapping on the sideline, in part to disguise what was going on and in an attempt to defuse the situation. The incident deescalated shortly after as coach Doc Rivers took his seat to go over the game plan.
Those are the frustrations of a team coming apart in a playoff game, players get on each other and point fingers.
It also points to something Kawhi Leonard said postgame — the Clippers have to play higher IQ basketball. They made too many mental mistakes, had too many lapses. Which is spot on. The lack of chemistry was obvious, and then players just got tight and missed shots. There is plenty of blame to go around for the Clippers — Doc Rivers was slow to make adjustments, sticking with playing Harrell against Jokic, or doubling Jokic, when that was not working. The Clippers thought they could flip the switch, but they had never flipped it before, so it wasn’t something they knew how to do.
Haynes also makes it clear that Rivers will be back next season. That was never in question outside some talking heads trying to be heard. Leonard came to the Clippers in part to play for Rivers, if the Clippers want to keep their best player — and they do — then they don’t dump the coach he likes.
Paul George, Montrezl Harrell reportedly had “heated” exchange on Clipper bench originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Bengals need to make changes to coaching staff, starting lineups or both
It might be time for those in charge of the Cincinnati Bengals organization to step in and do something about what’s happening on the field.
At some point, excuses have to fly out the window. Last year was a 2-14 season for Zac Taylor and his handpicked staff and the excuses flowed. They assembled late and were unable to change up the roster they inherited. The injury bug. Etc.
This year the Bengals are 0-2-1 and the excuses could flow again. There wasn’t a preseason. The team overhauled the roster. Etc. Yet the same problems as the year prior remain and Taylor is now 0-10-1 in one-score games.
And the most important factor of all: This mess could ruin Joe Burrow.
That’s what it’s all about now. Cincinnati was lucky enough to back into a franchise quarterback who at times already looks like a top-10 player. If the players in front of him and around him can’t help him, if the coaching staff can’t do right by him, the overarching organization needs to step in and make changes.
Doing so could be the difference between Burrow sticking around and pushing for contention or yet another franchise passer wanting to get out of town.
Taylor’s playcalling has mostly been miserable, especially in Week 3. His Lou Anarumo-directed defense still doesn’t want to tackle. His offensive line is still headed up by Jim Turner, he of an iffy pro resume to begin with but oddly defended by Taylor from Day 1, and they’re still trotting out Bobby Hart at right tackle and praying a mediocre-to-terrible cast of guards can somehow come together and make it work inside. Burrow has already been sacked 14 times with 11 hurries and 30 pressures on a pressure rate of 18.4 percent. He’s taking hits that go instantly viral and it’s clear to anyone who has watched football in the past that he might not make it through all 16 games.
It kills part of me they’ll bench John Ross after actively seeking out more guys to replace him but ignore clear problem areas on the offensive line in front of a No. 1 pick. I don’t know.
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) September 27, 2020
One could dismiss this in part as a rookie holding onto the ball too long. But flick on a random play and you’ll probably see some combination of Hart getting pushed back so hard it looks like he’s a bodyguard escorting the defender to the quarterback, Jonah Williams randomly losing all sense of how to function and some tandem of Michael Jordan, Fred Johnson and Billy Price getting plopped on their rear ends like they’re getting bullied at a middle schoool’s playground.
It’s bad and something has to change.
Burrow shouldn’t be putting up a 105.5 rating in a tie game. The head coach shouldn’t be openly admitting after the game they still don’t know how to fix the offensive line and spots like right guard. That same head coach shouldn’t be 0-10-1 in one-score games, almost regardless of context. That staff shouldn’t get the ball back confronted with a tie game near the end of overtime, tuck tail and run a draw to accept that tie.
Joe Mixon, on a fresh big-money extension, shouldn’t be getting just 17 carries, averaging 2.9 yards and getting just three targets through the air. The staff shouldn’t end up making a former top-10 wideout inactive because they rostered seven and just can’t figure out how to make it work.
One can pin this on execution by players too, of course. Why are defensive backs getting flagged twice on a potential game-ending drive before the Eagles force overtime? Why don’t defenders want to tackle, multiple times missing at or behind the line of scrimmage, only for the opponent to go pick up a first down? Why is there a miscommunication that lets up a touchdown before the half? Why doesn’t the offensive line…play even passable football by putting hands on someone?
The honeymoon is over. Now the Bengals are on the ruining Burrow clock. Spending big in free agency was good. Targeting guys from winning programs, pro or collegiate, was smart. But just getting those guys in the door doesn’t mean the winning starts. The Bengals shouldn’t be having tackling issues and one of the worst offensive lines ever assembled in modern times. Other teams faced a variety of challenges, including the odd summer, and aren’t playing like this. And the line problems, in particular, are extensions of self-inflicted wounds because if we’re being honest, a smart organization would still have Andrew Whitworth playing left tackle and Kevin Zeitler at right guard.
That organization can’t give another coaching staff a decade-long leash here. More like eight weeks. What’s the answer? Free agents, trades? Moving on from positional coaches? Darrin Simmons, head coach? Trying Fred Johnson at right tackle and giving Hakeem Adeniji at guard? Anything?
Point is, it never should’ve reached this point. A team backed into a generational talent at quarterback and fixed up plenty of areas on the roster…except the league-worst offensive line? And entrusted Jim Turner to magically squeak out better performances from guys who haven’t shown anything yet?
This isn’t how you win back fans and it’s not how you function around a special quarterback. There shouldn’t be whispers around the fanbase of “maybe Marvin Lewis was right.” It’s only three games into a season, but the stakes are higher now. If the last year has been a turning point for the organization, that needs to include better response times to obvious issues, especially when it’s a talent like Burrow at stake.
Anything less than immediate changes won’t sit well with fans — and rightfully so.
Schedule, results all the way to World Series
Wild Card Series
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (8) Toronto Blue Jays
Game 1: Toronto at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m. Tuesday, TBS
Game 2: Toronto at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m. Wednesday, TBS
x-Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 1: Toronto at Tampa Bay, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(2) Oakland Athletics vs. (7) Chicago White Sox
Game 1: Chicago at Oakland, 3 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN
Game 2: Chicago at Oakland, 3 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
x-Game 3: Chicago at Oakland, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(3) Minnesota Twins vs. (6) Houston Astros
Game 1: Houston at Minnesota, 2 p.m. Tuesday, ABC
Game 2: Houston at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2
x-Game 3: Houston at Minnesota, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(4) Cleveland Indians vs. (5) New York Yankees
Game 1: New York at Cleveland, 7 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN
Game 2: New York at Cleveland, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
x-Game 3: New York at Cleveland, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (8) Milwaukee Brewers
Game 1: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
Game 2: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, Friday, time, TV TBA
(2) Atlanta Braves vs. (7) Cincinnati Reds
Game 1: Cincinnati at Atlanta, noon Wednesday, ESPN
Game 2: Cincinnati at Atlanta, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Cincinnati at Atlanta, Friday, time, TV TBA
(3) Chicago Cubs vs. (6) Miami Marlins
Game 1: Miami at Chicago, 2 p.m. Wednesday, ABC
Game 2: Miami at Chicago, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Miami at Chicago, Friday, time, TV TBA
(4) San Diego Padres vs. (5) St. Louis Cardinals
Game 1: St. Louis at San Diego, 5 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2
Game 2: St. Louis at San Diego, Thursday
x-Friday, Oct. 2: St. Louis at San Diego
Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner
At San Diego
Game 1: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 5, TBS
Game 2: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 6, TBS
Game 3: Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner, Oct. 7, TBS
x-Game 4: Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner, Oct. 8, TBS
x-Game 5: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 9, TBS
Oakland-Chicago White Sox winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner
At Los Angeles
Game 1: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 5, TBS
Game 2: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 6, TBS
Game 3: Oakland-Chicago winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner, Oct. 7, TBS
x-Game 4: Oakland-Chicago winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner, Oct. 8. TBS
x-Game 5: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 9, TBS
San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 6, FS1 or MLB
Game 2: San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 7, FS1 or MLB
Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner vs. San Diego-St. Louis winner, Oct. 8, FS1 or MLB
x-Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner vs. San Diego-St. Louis winner, Oct. 9, FS1
x-Game 5: San Diego-St. Louis vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 10, FS1
Chicago Cubs-Miami winner vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati winner
Game 1: Chicago Cubs-Miami winner vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati winner, Oct. 6, FS1 or MLB
Game 2: Chicago Cubs-Miami vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati, Oct. 7, FS1 or MLB
Game 3: Atlanta-Cincinnati vs. Chicago Cubs-Miami winner, Oct. 8, FS1 or MLB
x-Game 4: Atlanta-Cincinnati vs. Chicago Cubs-Miami winner, Oct. 9, FS1
x-Game 5: Chicago Cubs-Miami vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati, Oct. 10, FS1
League Championship Series
At San Diego
Game 1: Oct. 11, TBS
Game 2: Oct. 12, TBS
Game 3: Oct. 13, TBS
Game 4: Oct. 14, TBS
x-Game 5: Oct. 15, TBS
x-Game 6: Oct. 16, TBS
x-Game 7: Oct. 17, TBS
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: Oct. 12, Fox or FS1
Game 2: Oct. 13, Fox or FS1
Game 3: Oct. 14, Fox or FS1
Game 4: Oct. 15, Fox or FS1
x-Game 5: Oct. 16, Fox or FS1
x-Game 6: Oct. 17, Fox or FS1
x-Game 7: Oct. 18, Fox or FS1
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: Oct. 20, Fox
Game 2: Oct. 21, Fox
Game 3: Oct. 23, Fox
Game 4: Oct. 24, Fox
x-Game 5: Oct. 25, Fox
x-Game 6: Oct. 27, Fox
x-Game 7: Oct. 28, Fox
Contact Kirkland Crawford: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs: Schedule, results to World Series
Chelsea issue Pulisic injury update; Mendy debut?
Pulisic injury update has arrived, as the USMNT star is edging ever closer to a return to action for Chelsea.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
The American winger, 22, injured his hamstring in the FA Cup final at the start of August and recently suffered a small setback as he tried to be ready for Chelsea’s opening game of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s League Cup fourth round clash at London rivals Tottenham on Tuesday, Frank Lampard has the latest Pulisic injury update as new signing Hakim Ziyech is on a similar path.
“Mendy and Chilwell are in the squad for tomorrow,” Lampard said. “They’re fit and we will see whether they start or not. Ziyech and Pulisic are not far away. They are still in their recovery stage so it’s too early for them both.”
It seems like Pulisic could be in line to play his first Premier League minutes of the season when Chelsea host Crystal Palace on Saturday (watch live, 7:30am ET).
This is good news for Chelsea and the USMNT, but also shows that Lampard is being cautious when it comes to the USMNT winger, just like he said he would be when asked last week.
“There’s always a concern about a player’s fitness when the history says there’s been some injuries. Last season we did have them with Christian, I was questioned many times on him, when he did and didn’t play,” Lampard said. “Of course, when you look at a player with his recent record, you’re trying to find the right balance of getting the best out of him, which we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don’t overcook him and leave him susceptible to injury.
“Particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance. It’s a fine line. We’re working on that and Christian’s also very open to that. He wants to play, he’s so hungry to play and he’s very nearly fit now, but it’s certainly something we have to manage with him this season. We’ve all seen the talent and it’s something we want to get right. I’m not saying it’s a fundamental, chronic issue because it’s not, but we want to get as many minutes out of Christian – the really great Christian that we saw lots of last season – on the pitch.”
Pulisic was given the No. 10 jersey over the offseason and Lampard is counting on him to repeat his incredible form during ‘Project Restart’ as he ripped opposition defenses apart.
With Kai Havertz and Timo Werner settling in, plus Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount all scoring in the comeback 3-3 draw at West Brom on Saturday, Lampard has a lot of attackng options. Pulisic should be his first-choice winger, though.
Focusing on his new first-choice goalkeeper, it seems like that will be new signing Edouard Mendy.
Lampard has been very impressed with the Senegalese goalkeeper during his first few days as a Chelsea player and he could make his debut against Tottenham.
“The early signs and the interactions as a man and also on the training pitch have been very positive,” Lampard said. “He’s settled in very well in those few days and we’ve made him very welcome. It’s competition, we know that. He’s a good goalkeeper, we know a lot about him, and we will see how we go.”
Chelsea are getting players back to full fitness and with Mendy set to make his debut and Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell now up to speed and Ziyech on the way, Lampard is close to having all of his new signings playing together for the first time.
That, plus the eagerly-awaited arrival of Pulisic, is great news for Chelsea.
Chelsea issue Pulisic injury update; Mendy debut? originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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