NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees activated All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge on Wednesday and batted him second against Toronto, giving the team a full stable of active regulars for the first time since Aug. 8.
Judge has been out since Aug. 26 after re-aggravating a strained right calf and landing on the injured list for the second time this season. Judge initially went on the IL on Aug. 14, returned for one game and promptly was put back on the shelf.
Judge is batting .292 with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and a 1.081 OPS in 18 games this season.
”Writing him back in the lineup is big,” manager Aaron Boone said.
New York has been short-handed offensively since designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton was sidelined by a strained left hamstring on Aug. 9. Stanton was activated for Tuesday night’s game against Toronto and went 0 for 4 with a walk.
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, shortstop Gleyber Torres and third baseman Gio Urshela have also been placed on the IL this season, but all have since returned. The team suffered through a 5-15 slump amid the injuries, nearly dropping out of the AL’s eight-team playoff picture.
The Yankees pounded Toronto 20-6 on Tuesday night to move a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East, with the top two teams ensured a postseason berth. The club has won six straight.
Stanton was held out of Wednesday’s lineup because Boone wants to ramp him up slowly. Judge is likely to follow a similar plan, getting Thursday off before getting pushed into back to back games. Both players got reps over the weekend at the team’s alternate training site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but neither had anything resembling a typical minor league rehab assignment.
”I believe they’re healthy so I’m excited about that,” Boone said. ”Part of the reason we’re going lightly is because they didn’t have a big rehab process as far as going down and playing games.”
Torres was also missing from Wednesday’s lineup due to a quad issue. Boone said Torres has tightness and described the injury as ”minor” but sat him for a second consecutive game as a precaution. Boone said Torres would be available to hit or play the field and expects him to start Thursday.
Starting pitchers James Paxton and Luis Severino remain on the injured list, along with reliever Tommy Kahnle. Only Paxton is a possibility to return to action this season, although the left-hander could be limited to relief work if he comes back at all from a left flexor tendon strain.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Week 3 Backfield Report
NFL depth charts are always changing, whether it’s due to injuries, coaching decisions, or performance-related issues. The running back position, in particular, can be tough to stay on top of throughout the season, as the vast majority of teams have gone with some sort of committee approach, featuring two and sometimes even three backs.
With two weeks under our belts, we now have some data to help clear some things up for us after an offseason of no preseason games and a Week 2 that saw the running back position decimated by injuries. Below is a breakdown of each team’s backfield to help us determine offenses that are using a single workhorse, committees, and situations to avoid for fantasy. I’ll use this space each week to track the numbers and provide some thoughts.
All snap counts and touches are compiled from Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference. Opportunities refers to the running back’s combined carries and targets.
Notes: Drake has one of the most secure workloads at the running back position and plays in an offense that has fired off 151 plays over the first two weeks. Only the Bengals have run more plays than Arizona. Drake’s counting stats leave a bit to be desired, but his schedule lightens up significantly with the Lions, Panthers, and Jets on tap Weeks 3-5. Drake is someone I’d actively be looking to buy at a depressed cost before he blows up. Edmonds has a nice little role of his own in coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The Cardinals are getting him targets out of the slot, and he was targeted on an end-zone shot last week against Washington. He’s a standalone FLEX who would be a top-10 fantasy back in the event Drake ever gets hurt.
Notes: Gurley saw his snap rate climb from 48% in Week 1 to 64% last week in Dallas. Atlanta was cruising along against the Cowboys, jumping out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, before blowing the game late in the fourth frame. Playing with a lead will always help Gurley, but his lack of pass-game involvement is a concern for the safety of his floor. He has just two catches for one yard on five targets. Ito Smith also attempted to vulture Gurley on a goal-line carry last week but was blown up for a loss on the play. Gurley is a fine RB2 playing in an offense that is going to put a ton of points on the board, but he’s not the engine of it like he was in L.A.
Notes: After Dobbins scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in his Week 1 debut, he saw just two carries against the Texans. Ingram took a direct snap 30 yards to the house against Houston. With all three backs playing significant enough snaps to get in each other’s way and Lamar Jackson also getting his fair share of rushing opportunities, picking a leader of this backfield each week will be difficult. It’s a good problem to have for OC Greg Roman but a nightmare for fantasy because this rushing offense is so good but also so spread out. Ingram is probably the back to own right now but Dobbins has the talent to pass him over the course of the season. This backfield gets the Chiefs, Washington, and Bengals over the next three weeks.
Notes: Singletary has a pretty nice lead on the snap share through two weeks, playing at least 56% of the downs each of the first two contests, but he’s not getting many looks close to the end zone. Moss popped up on the injury report Wednesday, missing practice with a toe issue. If Moss were to miss Week 3 against the Rams, Singletary would be a candidate for 18-plus touches. Moss is getting more chances near the end zone, but the Bills’ true goal-line runner is Josh Allen. Singletary is the preferred between-the-20s back in Buffalo as a solid RB2/3.
Notes: McCaffrey is going to be sidelined for a minimum of three weeks on I.R. after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Week 2 loss to the Bucs. Davis stepped in and handled every backfield snap and touch in his absence following the injury. Davis isn’t nearly the playmaker McCaffrey is, and it’s not even close, but this coaching staff seems to believe in him as its starter now. Davis was targeted eight times last week against the Bucs and caught all eight for 74 yards. There’s a very real chance Davis messes around and gets 20 touches against the Chargers in Week 3. Reggie Bonnafon will likely be promoted from the practice squad as depth.
Notes: The engine of the offense in the Week 2, Montgomery led the Bears in rushing and receiving against the Giants, scoring a 28-yard receiving touchdown on a little flipper from Mitchell Trubisky where Montgomery did all the work to create the score. Montgomery is very game script-dependent, but he has one of the most secure holds on early-down work among running backs. Cohen is one of the least efficient players in football, and Patterson is a converted wideout trying his hand at running back here and there. As long as the Bears are able to keep it close in Atlanta this week, Montgomery should again flirt with 18 touches as an RB2.
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Notes: As my colleague Hayden Winks notes, Mixon has major leading-trailing splits. He gets 50% of the touches when the Bengals are ahead, as opposed to 18% when behind. It’s a bit disappointing to see him come off the field so much after he played heavy snaps over the second half of last season, but it’s not like Bernard is stealing significant touches. Mixon has just one carry inside the 10-yard line to this point and is averaging 3.3 yards per tote. Better days are ahead for Mixon with dates against the Eagles and Jaguars on deck Weeks 3-4. He’s a top-10 back the rest of the way with the running pack position decimated by injuries.
Notes: Chubb would’ve absolutely wrecked the box score even more than he did last week in the Thursday night win over the Bengals if not for the presence of Hunt. This backfield looks like a pretty even two-horse show, and both popped off in Week 2. Chubb has the edge in the carries department, but Hunt has also seen double-digit rushing attempts in both games while out-targeting Chubb 8-2 in the pass game. Both backs scored twice last week. Coach Kevin Stefanski likes to feature both and ideally prefers to run his offense through his running backs. Both Hunt and Chubb should be treated as top-24 plays week in and week out. Chubb has out-carried Hunt 5-2 inside the 10-yard line to this point.
Notes: With all of the injuries at running back in Week 2, there’s an argument Elliott is fantasy’s top running back moving forward the rest of the way. He leads the league in inside-the-10 carries with nine and could have had a HUGE game against the Falcons if he hadn’t been vultured by Dak Prescott for three short touchdown runs. Elliott still got one of his own and had another taken off the board on review before Prescott stole it the next play. Elliott’s 11 targets in the passing game has been a wonderful sight and raises his floor even more. Zeke gets the Seahawks, Browns, and Giants over the next three weeks. Pollard remains elite RB insurance.
Notes: With Lindsay out, Gordon played 79% of the snaps in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers, handling 22-of-25 backfield touches. It was obviously a brutal matchup, but Gordon was able to find the end zone late with a 16-yard touchdown catch from Jeff Driskel. Lindsay is expected to miss at least one more game with his turf toe injury, but Gordon catches another tough draw against the Bucs and will be playing with a quarterback in Driskel who won’t scare the defense. Bucs DC Todd Bowles can jam up the box and sell out to stop Gordon. The volume should still be there, however, and Gordon is unlikely to leave the field much. He’s a fine RB2 play.
Notes: Despite his dropped would-be game-winner against the Bears in Week 1, Swift looks like a very natural pass-catcher and playmaker through the air. He’s seen five targets in each of the Lions’ first two games, but this three-man rotation in Detroit is sapping the life out of this backfield from a fantasy angle. Swift remains the one to have, but Peterson figures to remain a factor on early downs as long as he’s healthy. Johnson has started both games and seen seven and eight carries in each loss. Those 7.5 carries per game would look better on Swift’s line.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Notes: The NFL’s leading rusher through two weeks, Jones was downright brilliant in last week’s stomping of the Lions. He averaged over 9.3 yards per carry and continues to make plays with the ball in his hands as a pass catcher. Williams still has his role as an oft-used change-of-pace and breather back, but the Packers are sixth in the league in offensive plays and now get dates with three NFC South offenses over the next three weeks, squaring off with the Saints, Falcons, and Bucs in that order. If Davante Adams (hamstring) is going to miss time, the Green Bay offense should run even more through Jones. He’s a top-three fantasy back.
Notes: With Duke (ankle) out last week against the Ravens, David played 95% of the snaps and handled every running back touch and target. Unfortunately, that was only 15 opportunities because Houston got shellacked on the scoreboard. David’s snap share is elite, but the Texans have been blown out in back-to-back weeks to open the season. I wouldn’t expect much different this Sunday against the Steelers. But the schedule softens Weeks 4 and 5 against the Vikings and Jaguars. Duke should be back, but David has a good grip on the work.
Notes: In the Colts’ first game after Marlon Mack’s season-ending Achilles’ tear, Taylor played 67% of the snaps and handled 28-of-38 backfield touches as Indy cruised to an easy win over the Vikings. With this offensive line blocking for him, Taylor is arguably a top-five back the rest of the way. After being fed 15 touches and scoring two touchdowns Week 1, Hines saw his snap rate dip from 53% to 12% and recorded just one target and no rushing attempts. Hines’ Week 1 proved to be pretty fluky, but OC Nick Sirriani suggested Hines’ role will be different each week based on the opponent. He’s a highly-volatile RB3. Week 3 against the Jets favors Taylor big.
- James Robinson (58% snap rate, 37 opportunities)
- Chris Thompson (34%, 8)
Notes: Robinson posted his first career 100-yard game and scored his first touchdown in the narrow loss to the Titans in Nashville last week. He also saw four targets in the passing game after being targeted just once in the opener. Thompson has been a lightly-used third-down option who caught a touchdown to tie the game at 30-30 late in the fourth quarter. Thompson’s volume is too much of a concern to make him much more than a deeper-league PPR stash. Robinson runs hard and gets one of the best draws he’ll see all season Week 3 versus Miami. He should be fired up confidently as a volume-based RB2 in a game the Jaguars are favored.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Notes: CEH has played at least 62% of the snaps in each of the Chiefs’ first two games and is tied for seventh in the league with 17.5 carries per game. He’s also third among running backs with seven inside-the-10 carries. After catching no passes on two targets in the opener, CEH’s pass-game skills showed up in Week 2 against the Chargers, catching 6-of-8 targets. A tough date with the Ravens is on deck, but the rookie is in the mix as a top-five rest-of-season back.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Notes: Jacobs has seen elite-level usage through two weeks, handling at least 30 touches in each Raiders win. He’s second in the league in carries to only Derrick Henry and trails only Ezekiel Elliott in inside-the-10 carries. With nine targets to his name, Jacobs has already seen 33% of the targets he saw last season as a rookie. The increased pass-game usage has upped his week to week security, but Weeks 3-5 could be a test to that theory with the Patriots, Bills, and Chiefs on tap. The Raiders figure to be underdogs in all three matchups. Richard scored last week from 20 yards out but has just three touches so far.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Notes: Ekeler looked more like the 2019 version of himself with rookie Justin Herbert under center last week against the Chiefs. Ekeler averaged a robust 5.8 yards per carry and secured all four of his targets for 55 yards after being targeted just once by Tyrod Taylor in the opener. Ekeler needs to be catching passes to live up to his ADP. The bad news for him is rookie Kelley has out-carried Ekeler 6-1 inside the 10-yard line and saw his snap rate climb all the way to 52% after being at 27% in Week 1. Kelley handled 23 carries against the Chiefs and caught 2-of-3 targets. With L.A. favored over Carolina, a top-12 week is in Kelley’s range of outcomes.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Notes: Brown touched the ball just 11 times against the Eagles after getting 21 touches versus Dallas in Week 1. He was still in on 54% of the snaps but ended up breaking a finger, leaving his Week 3 role in question against the Bills. Akers is also hurt, too, after playing just three snaps in Week 2 before injuring his ribs. The star of the Rams’ backfield against Philly was Henderson, who played 42% of the snaps after being in on just 7% in Week 1. Henderson scored his first NFL touchdown and piled up 121 yards on 14 touches. This backfield figures to have a couple more twists and turns, but Henderson now looks like the one to have in fantasy. Week 3 against the Bills looks tough on paper, but running back is just too shallow right now.
Notes: Gaskin’s snap rates over the first two weeks: 63% and 65%. His 29 routes led all Miami running backs against the Bills. Gaskin is clearly the most talented running back on this roster, but Howard still figures to be a thorn in his side when it comes to touchdown opportunities. Howard has five carries inside the 10-yard line to Gaskin’s one. But Gaskin is averaging eight carries and 5.5 targets per game with a plum Week 3 matchup on deck with the Jaguars.
Notes: The Vikings are dead last in offensive plays through two weeks, and it’s not even close. Minnesota has run fewer than 50 plays in both of its games while getting thrashed in time of possession. The defense is bad, and the offense has two good players in Cook and Adam Thielen. Cook has a strong handle on the playing time, but he hasn’t seen the elite workloads because the Vikings have struggled to possess the ball. Cook has the Titans, Texans, and Seahawks next. Mattison is up there as one of the elite handcuffs in fantasy.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Notes: If Michel doesn’t score on the ground, he’s totally useless for fantasy. He’s been out-carried 9-1 inside the 10-yard line by Cam Newton, the Patriots’ new power runner. White missed Week 2 due to the tragic death of his father in a car accident. Burkhead was ripping up yards as a pass-catcher with 4-47 on six targets. He played 71% of the snaps. This is Cam’s backfield, leaving none of Michel, White, or Burkhead as particularly strong fantasy players.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Notes: Kamara touched the ball 22 times against the Raiders in the Saints’ first game without Michael Thomas (ankle), and Kamara ended up leading the team in both rushing and receiving. Clearly the engine of the offense now sans Thomas, Kamara is a top-three fantasy back with the Packers, Lions, and Chargers next on the schedule. Murray carried the ball 15 times in Week 1 but touched the ball just five times against Vegas. He’s mostly just a Kamara handcuff.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Notes: Barkley is done for the season with a torn ACL. Lewis was the only other running back active against the Bears last week. He handled every running back touch post-Barkley, but managed a pitiful 10-20-1 rushing line. The Giants will activate Wayne Gallman for Week 3 and just signed Devonta Freeman on Tuesday. We’ll need a couple weeks to see this backfield rotation, but Freeman is obviously the best bet for the course of the season, even if he might be washed. Lewis is confirmed not very good. And Gallman is behind him.
NEW YORK JETS
Notes: In the first game without Le’Veon Bell (hamstring, I.R.), Gore played 57% of the snaps en route to a late-career Gore-esque 21-63-0 rushing line with no catches. Perine, Ballage, and Adams all played minimal snaps behind him. Gore is a plug-your-nose desperation FLEX play against the Colts for Week 3 where the Jets are massive 11-point road underdogs.
Notes: That 40% snap rate is extremely misleading for Sanders. He missed Week 1 but was in on 77% of the downs against the Rams and totaled 131 yards and a touchdown on 23 touches. With Jalen Reagor (thumb) now out and decimating the Eagles’ wideout room even more, the Eagles should be looking to dial back Carson Wentz’s throws and start feeding Sanders even more on the ground while continuing to feature him in the pass game alongside Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and DeSean Jackson. Sanders has a tasty Week 3 date with the Bengals.
Notes: After exiting Week 1 early with an ankle injury, Conner reclaimed his workhorse role, out-snapping Benny Snell 50-10 against the Broncos and pasting them for 16-106-1 on the ground. Conner had fantasy managers extremely worried after Week 1, but he looks healthy and played 77% of the Week 2 snaps. He’s back in the RB1 mix with the Texans’ pushover defense up next, followed by the Titans and Eagles in Weeks 4 and 5.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Notes: Mostert and Coleman are now out after they both injured their knees in Week 2 against the Jets. Coleman was sent to I.R., and Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks with a sprained MCL. It leaves Jeff Wilson and McKinnon as the Niners’ new one-two combo. Wilson should be picked up in all formats. He scored five touchdowns on 30 touches last season and gets a mouthwatering date with the Giants in Week 3, followed by the Eagles and Dolphins. McKinnon may see more rushing chances, but he’s mostly been a pass-game back so far.
Notes: Carson’s snap rate jumped from 45% in Week 1 to 63% this past Sunday night in the thrilling win over the Patriots. Hyde was phased back to clear No. 2 status, and Carson handled 20 touches in the win, catching his third touchdown of the young season. He obviously can’t keep up that pace, but better touchdown luck on the ground should be in order. The Seahawks are letting Russ cook as a thrower, chucking the ball at the second-highest clip through Week 2. Carson is a strong RB1 moving forward. Hyde would only enter the convo if there’s an injury.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Notes: Jones scored a touchdown last week against the Panthers but lost a fumble later in the game and may have kissed his job away with it. Fournette’s snap rate jumped from 13% in Week 1 to 43% in Week 2, and he was the “closer” for the Bucs in the win. Fournette should lead this backfield moving forward after dusting Carolina for 12-103-2 with four catches on five targets. McCoy has nothing left in the tank and is only ever in there for his pass protection.
Notes: Henry somehow doesn’t have a touchdown to his name through two weeks and was one of the bigger DFS disappointments of Week 2 with 25-84-0 and no catches against the Jaguars. He still commands all of the work in the Tennessee backfield and is an elite RB1 moving forward. The Vikings are up next and are fresh off getting annihilated by Jonathan Taylor. King Henry is a lock for 20-plus carries every time he steps on the field.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Notes: After Barber led the league in inside-the-10 carries in the Week 1 upset over the Eagles, he played just one snap in Arizona. The Cardinals commanded that game from start to finish, so it was Gibson’s turn to see the bulk of the backfield work. Gibson played 65% of the snaps and handled 14 touches, scoring once on the ground. It should be that way most weeks with Washington projected to be one of the worst teams in the league. McKissic has played 44% of the snaps both weeks but has just 12 touches. He’s not a recommended bench stash.
Warriors stars Curry and Green to miss minicamp
Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have been excused from the Golden State Warriors’ voluntary minicamp due to family reasons.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed the absence of stars Curry and Green following Golden State’s first practice session on Wednesday.
The Warriors have returned to training after their 2019-20 season was cut short amid the coronavirus pandemic – Golden State not qualifying for the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort with a league-worst 15-50 record.
Curry only made five appearance last season due to a broken left hand sustained in October, while Green was restricted to just 43 games for the injury-hit Warriors.
“First of all, I want to make clear that this is a voluntary camp,” Kerr said. “And so [general manager] Bob [Myers] and I have both been in touch with Steph and Draymond and we are well aware of their circumstances.
“And so they both have important family issues to attend to and so they have excused absences.”
Kerr added: “Would I like them to be here? Of course. We know, we’re watching all these teams in the bubble; the ones that didn’t make the playoffs, even they got six weeks together to practice and play games and try different combinations and line-ups.
“And we haven’t had that opportunity, so we’re just going to use the opportunity that we have here over two weeks, just like the other seven teams that didn’t go to the bubble, and we’ll try to make the most of this time, get plenty of work in.
“A lot of guys are going to get a lot better and really thrive in this environment. I’m not worried about Steph and Draymond; I know how hard they work and I know they’ll be prepared for next season.”
Warriors star Klay Thompson is also recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals.
“He’s doing well,” Kerr said. “He worked out here at the facility for several days in a row, maybe four or five days in a row with [assistant coach] Chris DeMarco, and Chris gave me really positive updates.
“I was here for a couple of those days and got a chance to see him, and Klay looks great. And he’s anxious to play, so we’re excited about that.”
Tyler Herro’s unexpected contributions just a portion from a day filled with frustration
The words rolled off Tyler Herro’s lips as easily as the clutch buckets released from his fingertips on a career night when asked why he selected “Black Lives Matter” on his jersey nameplate.
“Because Black lives matter,” he responded without a hint of sarcasm or annoyance but with the same force that was necessary and shocking given the gravity of the day — and his own day.
The Miami Heat moved one win away from reaching their first NBA Finals since 2014 after a 112-109 Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics, with the unexpected contributions from Herro and his 37-point explosion, joining the ranks of Magic Johnson and Derrick Rose as rookie wonders in the postseason. In other words, the Miami Heat system working as it was designed to.
Hours earlier, the state where Herro played one year of college ball, Kentucky, did the expected as the grand jury refused to indict the officers for their roles in the death of Breonna Taylor six months ago. In other words, the justice system working as it was designed to.
Like most in the NBA bubble, compartmentalizing is what’s expected from the Heat. Keeping sane in a restrictive environment while being away from family, friends and creature comforts, playing high-level competitive basketball, and oh yeah, being reminded of what’s hovered over the country for the last several months every time you put on a jersey.
More than the other conference finalists, the Heat have dictated the terms of engagement on the floor. They can play your way, but it’s better when they play their own way. For what they lack in talent, they make up for in dedication to staying in character for longer stretches than anyone else.
Herro may have played out of character given his absence in the Rookie of the Year balloting, where teammate Kendrick Nunn finished second behind Ja Morant. But anyone watching him could see this long arc bending toward his brand of victory, his confidence brimming but not obnoxious, or corny or phony.
“I’m gonna bet on myself,” Herro said, a notion backed up by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s claims that Herro’s no longer a rookie, and that his work ethic earned the respect and trust of his teammates — an aspect more critical than the trust from the coaching staff.
Never did he look rushed or hurried or overwhelmed by the moment or the day itself, perhaps taking a cue from the man who was the ultimate “bet on myself” type, Jimmy Butler.
For three days, Butler had to endure lightweight calls for him to be more assertive, especially considering Game 3 was on the table and could’ve been pushed over the top if he summoned a superstar performance. It’s very much his moment, his validation, but seizing it isn’t as conventional and linear as some have seen it with others on this stage.
But he’s played the long game this entire season, eschewing the thirst for the raw numbers to throw in the faces of the organizations who didn’t believe he could lead. Instead, preferring to instill confidence in guys who at any moment could be the guy in a critical situation.
“I’ve been on teams where I put up a lot of shots, scored a lot of points, never went anywhere,” Butler said. “Here, it can be anybody’s night.”
Whether it’s Bam Adebayo or Goran Dragic, the avalanche of domination can come from anywhere, validating Butler’s beliefs in his teammate.
If nothing else, you see the method to his madness, or perceived passivity.
‘If you didn’t know my name, it could be me’
When Butler refused one of the twenty-something NBA-approved names or statements each player could wear on his jersey nameplate and wanting his to be blank, he looked as if he were a man going rogue, not wanting to be either unified or bold.
But Breonna Taylor was a nameless, faceless person we didn’t know about until she was no more. Everybody’s saying her name, but we’d be better off not knowing it.
“If you didn’t know my name, it could be me,” Butler said, explaining his reasoning for his blank nameplate wishes. “It still could be me. We’re all equal. We need everybody to see it that way.”
Butler said he hopes the news of the day makes the world see his logic without having to squint or ask for more elaboration, considering the blank slate of justice that has been left unfilled.
“It’s some BS they let that go down like that,” Butler said. “We know what should’ve happened. I think we knew what was gonna happen, unfortunately. That’s our country for you. You hate to see it.”
Miami dictates the terms of engagement on the floor in a way they cannot influence it off the floor. Miami Heat czar Pat Riley isn’t a Kentucky native but was a Wildcat under coach Adolph Rupp when Kentucky went against the All-Black starting five of Texas Western 54 years ago.
No one knows how Riley felt about losing a national title game under such circumstances, but he went into the winner’s locker room that night and shook hands, and has attended reunions of the historic event time and time again.
Riley, and by proxy Spoelstra, are not shy about playing games on their terms. It’s not a way, like an option for the Heat; It’s the only way. Perhaps that’s why Spoelstra has been so adamant about his frustration with the state of affairs with racism and justice in these cases. It’s been just as dogged as his determination to keep everything in the moment, to not look ahead to getting back to the Finals just yet.
“Stay in the moment,” he routinely says, his eyes trying to hide the excitement as his team is on the doorstep of something so unexpected in this unconventional setup. But the day called for equal parts jubilation and frustration, one task unfulfilled and draining, the other exhilarating and exhausting.
Spoelstra tried not to gush too much about Herro’s exploits, crediting the work. But in his own way, he could’ve been chiding a system that left so many of us unsurprised and heartbroken at the same time.
“Everyone overestimates what you can do in a day and underestimates what you can do over the course of months or a year.”
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