NBA playoff scores 2017: 4 things we learned from a terrific opening day

The NBA Playoffs kicked off on Saturday with a quadruple-header and 10 straight hours of basketball. The first game of the day between the Cavaliers and Pacers came down to the wire, while the Bucks and Spurs cruised to big wins. The final game of the night between the Jazz and the Clippers came down to a buzzer beater from Joe Johnson, so we could all remember how good Iso Joe really is. Here is a quick recap from each game.

Mr. Rooney, as he was referred to throughout the organization, died Thursday at age 84. It is a day many had dreaded as he grew frail in recent years.

No one who loves the team had wanted to imagine it operating without his presence around the complex, in the owners’ box, and in the locker room shaking hands with Steelers players following most every game.

Those of us who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, in the Steelers era, were too young at first to understand the impact Dan Rooney had upon the franchise and its operations. He was the one who chose Chuck Noll as the team’s coach in 1969, near the end of another lost decade. He helped assemble the organization that built the 1970s dynasty, with Greene at the foundation and so many greats assembled around him — on the field and in the front office.
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Barrett and Kelley combined for 20.5 tackles for loss

Carolina then suffered another loss to Denver when kicker Graham Gano missed a last-minute field-goal attempt. Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said the sting of that defeat on the heels of losing to Denver in the Super Bowl set the stage for a 6-10 season.

It was almost a hangover effect, Coleman told co-host Gil Brandt and me earlier this year on SiriusXM NFL Radio. I know we didnt want to talk about it at the beginning of the season because we were trying to press forward. But really, going from the Super Bowl in February and the first game even before the actual technical start of the NFL season was with the same team you just played, all you could think about was the same team you just played.

I think for us, especially the way we lost that game in Denver, it kind of stuck with us. We werent able to put it in the rearview mirror.

ESPN recently reported that a Falcons-Patriots opener was unlikely because of Riveras complaints about Carolina suffering a competitive disadvantage. Ryan, though, says it doesnt matter when the Falcons play New England.

Its like any schedule, right? Ryan said. We dont have a choice. Well play wherever (the NFL wants) us to go.

Barrett and Kelley combined for 20.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and four breakups last year. Senior Dakota Turner should replicate a good amount of that, and tackle Noble Hall has moved to end. But between sophomore Myles Cheatum, three-star JUCO Anthony Luke, and other unproven players, someone might have to step up. SDSUs history suggests someone will, but its not a given.
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The Ravens get the pass rusher they need in the Auburn star.

Over the past three seasons, the Baltimore Ravens have dropped in team sacks from 49 in 2014, to 37 in 2015, and down to 31 in 2016. As they approach the 2017 NFL draft, it’s clear that Baltimore needs to get at least one pass rusher.

That’s exactly the aim of Kyle Barber of Baltimore Beatdown, who is here to explain his second-round pick in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft.

Boston police commissioner William Evans completed his first Boston Marathon since the 2013 bombings.

“It was hard to talk because it was so loud. We had to wait for it to die down and we just talked and read some signs,” Carpenter said. “She kept me loose, it was awesome.”

“My voice is gone because I said hello to everybody in the crowd,” Laing told the TV station. “I felt like everybody was screaming my name. It was so awesome.”

Monday’s race was the first marathon for Laing, 25, and the second for the 53-year-old Carpenter, who played 18 seasons in the NHL for the Capitals, Rangers, Kings, Bruins and Devils.

The Patriots acquired two picks in a deal with the Jaguars the year before — a seventh-round pick (232nd) in 2009 that they used for Edelman and a second-round pick (44th) in 2010 for their third-round pick (73rd). New England used the 44th pick and a sixth-round pick (190th) in a deal with the Raiders to move up to 42nd and get Gronkowski, who saw his draft status slip because of injury concerns.

The other deal not to have its genesis in 2010 was a swap of seventh-rounders, notable only because one of the players involved was named Selvish Capers.
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Questioning the refs, Jim Schwartz, Matt Schaub, and Trent Richardson

When I’m working on this Notebook at the beginning of each week I get immersed in film and miss a few things that happen off the field. After checking my twitter account Wednesday morning it was obvious I had missed something big that RGIII either did or didn’t say after the Eagles beat Washington. I knew he had thrown a late interception to seal the loss and that the offense didn’t do much until the second half.

But here I was on a Wednesday seeing posts about him not taking responsibility after the loss. There were more posts about his teammate, Santana Moss, agreeing that Griffin should have taken responsibility and implying that he hadn’t. Head coach Mike Shanahan “responding” to him by saying that the Washington offense had not become predictable.

Shooting is far and away Fox’s largest flaw, but he’s not perfect in all other respects either. His defense and his decision-making at times leave a lot to be desired.

Despite his exploits, he put up a subpar 1:1 assist to turnover ratio he posted in tournament play. He did a good job setting up his teammates and avoiding turnovers early on this year, but as he shifted to more of a scorer role down the stretch, he struggled to take care of the ball. Defensively, he has the quickness and length to harass guys, but he plays overzealously and gambles himself out of position.

If Fox was so effective at the college level despite all his weaknesses, imagine his upside if he improves. As The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote, Fox might be the No. 1 pick if he could shoot. His dazzling performance against UCLA showed why.
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Austin had a breakout game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10

The NFL also upheld the one-game suspension of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson on Tuesday. Goldson was suspended for an illegal hit to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White in Sunday’s game, a win for the Bucs. Goldson has been fined multiple times already this season, hence the suspension and the decision to stick with it by the league office.

Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams: The numbers speak for themselves. Austin had a breakout game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, showing off his ability to go zero to 60 in the blink of an eye and make tacklers miss in the open field. His return touchdown was a thing of beauty, taking what appeared to be a broken play and weaving his way through the coverage team.

With Moore out, the Broncos signed free agent Michael Huff. Huff signed with the Baltimore Ravens during the offseason and was expected to play a significant role. Things didn’t work out in Baltimore, and he was released in October. Huff has spent time at both cornerback and safety and is familiar with the AFC West, having played seven seasons with Oakland.

Mike Pouncey missed Miami’s game against San Diego on Sunday, and could potentially be out much longer. Doctors are reportedly trying to avoid gallbladder surgery, but it remains a possibility. The plan for now is to see if medicine can cure Pouncey’s illness instead of resorting to surgery.

If not, and a procedure is required, Pouncey would likely miss an extended period of time and possibly the rest of the season. As Kevin Nogle of the Phinsider wrote, Pouncey’s ability to play through pain will be a key factor in whether surgery is required.

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NFL roundup: Russell Okung activated, Matt McGloin to start and more

The San Francisco 49ers need to find a franchise quarterback. It might not happen this offseason or even in 2018, but Kyle Shanahan knows that, at some point, the team needs to find the building block it can’t rebuild without.

The Falcons had the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history within reach in February, and the inexplicable refusal to run the ball in field-goal range — in the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead — was the exclamation mark on a devastating loss.

“That’s that fine line between ‘Man, that’s a gutsy call,’ and ‘that’s a bad call,’” Quinn said.

The Panthers offense has been less impressive, especially in the 10-point performance last week in San Francisco. Cam Newton only threw for 169 yards and had no touchdowns in the win, but has completed 66 percent of his passes at home this season. New England’s defense ranks 30th in the league against the run, so DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart could be set for a big day on the ground.
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The talented offense in Carolina adds another weapon for Cam Newton

Wednesday could have gone another direction. The Warriors started the game totally unable to make shots, going down 23-3 and then 33-17 in the first quarter. But San Antonio wilted in the second half, and that’s it. With a chance to draw within 1.5 games of Golden State, the Spurs couldn’t do it — and now the race for the No. 1 seed feels like it’s just about over.

… and Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who’ll undoubtedly be the NFL’s first player to be named after a Wu-Tang member and whose name has been a reminder since 2017 that WE ARE ALL OLD. Even better, Urban Meyer’s nickname for McMillan as a recruit was “Bubble,” based on his muscular backside. Raekwon the Bubble!

Onward to the full list of starters, not all of whom will be drafted (meaning this list will need some revisions once the seventh round ends), but all of whom have very good names:

We must also mention Alabama WR Gehrig Dieter (actually named after Lou Gehrig), Washington State WR River Cracraft, Oregon TE Pharaoh Brown (following South Carolina/Rams WR Pharoh Cooper, giving us two straight drafts with Egyptian royalty), Arkansas TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Old Dominion DT Rashaad Coward (dare you to call him that!), Appalachian State CB Mondo Williams, Cincinnati DB Mike Tyson, and Wisconsin CB Sojourn Shelton.

Anyway, look at how much more pleasant and inspiring your Sunday audial experience is about to get, NFL friends.
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