Mets' Jacob deGrom flirts with history in comeback win over Rockies

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The storyline of the New York  Mets continuing to give very little support to the best pitcher in baseball has gone way beyond comic relief and instead has moved fully into “this is just depressing” territory. It almost happened again Saturday afternoon in Colorado against the Rockies, but a seventh-inning rally salvaged the first half of their doubleheader (NYM 4, COL 3). Perhaps things will turn around now? Let’s take a look at how it unfolded. 

Jacob deGrom was doing his thing. You know, where he just goes out and totally dominates his opponent. It’s pretty much every outing at this point. This time around, deGrom struck out nine straight hitters, tied for the second-longest strikeout streak in history and one shy of Tom Seaver’s record. 

Here’s deGrom’s company with nine straight Ks: 

Of course, for those of

Source: Lakers to skip White House on D.C. trip

5:57 PM ET

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers will not visit President Joe Biden at the White House to celebrate their 2020 NBA championship when the team travels to Washington, D.C., for a game against the Wizards later this month, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

Scheduling challenges and continued COVID-19 protocols will prevent a visit in the April 27-28 window when the Lakers are in the nation’s capital for the Wizards game, but a future meet-and-greet with the 46th president of the United States has not been ruled out, the source told ESPN.

No NBA team has commemorated their title with a White House visit since LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were honored by former President Barack Obama in November 2016, just days after Donald Trump won the presidential election to succeed Obama in the Oval Office.

When asked in January if the Lakers planned to resume

2021 RBC Heritage scores: Stewart Cink sets another scoring record, in cruise control after Round 3

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Stewart Cink maintained his five-stroke lead and set another scoring mark at the RBC Heritage with a 2-under 69 on Saturday, moving closer to his third victory at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Cink, 47, cooled off from his pace in the first two rounds, when he shot a pair of 63s for his lowest career 36-hole score and shattered the event’s halfway scoring mark shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.

This time, Cink scrambled his way to 18-under 195, also a tournament mark for lowest 54-hole score. The record had been held by Justin Leonard at 16-under 197 in 2002.

PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa was at 13 under after a 67. Emiliano Grillo of Argentina had a 69 and was another shot behind in third.

Matt Wallace of England and

The MVP race has turned into a Nikola Jokic runaway

Apr 15, 2021

Tim BontempsESPN

Two months ago, this year’s race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award looked as competitive as any in recent memory.

But injuries have laid waste to the deep field of contenders, leaving Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic clearly standing above the rest of the field.

Jokic, who has not missed a game this season, took 90 of the 101 first-place votes cast in ESPN’s latest MVP straw poll, conducted this past weekend. If that result holds when the official ballots are cast next month, Jokic would be the first center to win MVP since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.

To gauge where the race stands with a month left in the season, ESPN asked 101 media members to participate in an informal poll that mimics the postseason awards voting. To make the balloting as realistic as possible, there were at least two voters from each

Arsenal vs. Fulham: Premier League live stream, TV channel, how to watch online, news, odds, time

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After their success in Prague on Thursday Arsenal will be looking to build momentum against a Fulham side who must start turning promising performances into victories immediately if they are to pull of a remarkable escape attempt from the Premier League trap door.

Newcastle United’s dramatic 3-2 win over West Ham United means Fulham are now seven points from nearest rivals Brighton and Burnley having played one game more. With six fixtures left a remarkable run of results will be required if Scott Parker’s men are to ensure they are not relegated. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:

Viewing informationDate: Sunday, April 18Time: 8:30 a.m. ETLocation: Emirates Stadium — London, United KingdomTV: NBCSNLive stream: FuboTV (free trial)
Odds: Arsenal -133; Draw +260; Fulham +400 (via William Hill Sportsbook)  Featured

Leicester City vs. Southampton: FA Cup live stream, TV channel, how to watch online, news, odds, time

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The second FA Cup semi-final takes place on Sunday with Leicester City and Southampton bidding to set aside their recent Premier League struggles and earn a return trip to Wembley next month. The Foxes began the weekend third in the Premier League but back-to-back defeats mean they are fighting for Champions League qualification as well as to win an FA Cup final at the sixth time of asking.

Southampton have been in league free fall since beating Liverpool on January 4 — they have won just two matches since — but the FA Cup has offered them some solace with four games bringing Ralph Hasenhuttl’s eight goals scored and none conceded. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:

Viewing informationDate: Sunday, April 18Time: 1:30 p.m. ETLocation: Wembley Stadium — London,

Watch as Villanova's quarterback throws a touchdown pass you have to see to believe

USATSI

FCS football moved its season to the spring, and Saturday provided one of the craziest plays of the entire year — spring or fall.

Villanova was down by two touchdowns to Delaware late in their matchup, and suddenly, magic happened. Quarterback Daniel Smith rolled to his right and appeared to be taken down by his shoelaces. But shortly before hitting the ground, Smith lost the ball, it flew over his head and came to rest in the welcoming arms of Charlie Gilroy for a 1-yard touchdown. At least, that’s what it will be in the box score.

Take a look at a play that looked more like a video game glitch than a touchdown pass.

That brought the Wildcats within a touchdown, but Delaware was too much in the end as it held on to a 27-20 win. Even

The All-Underrated Team for the 2020-21 season

With talk of which NBA players are the most underrated right making the rounds on social media this week, we thought it would be a good time to come up with our own All-Underrated Team for the 2020-21 season, both a starting five and an accompanying bench to go along with it.

In total, we picked 15 players at different positions who we believe still don’t get enough respect, be it from fans or the media at large.

Below, check out our All-Underrated Team for the 2020-21 NBA campaign.

Point Guard: Terry Rozier

There was a time where Charlotte Hornets point guard Terry Rozier was considered an inefficient chucker, a player capable of scoring 20 points on any given night but one who’d require a lot of shot attempts to do so.

Now, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as Rozier has blossomed into one of the most underrated lead guards in basketball, averaging 20.3 points nightly this season to go along with 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals.

Even Rozier’s shooting marks are tidy this year, as the Louisville product is hitting 40.4 percent of his outside looks and 83.2 percent of his attempts from the foul stripe, making him a very efficient high-volume scorer on the year.

Rozier is also a feisty defender, using tenacity and quick feet to make life difficult on a nightly basis for opposing guards.

Despite being given a huge role that has led to him posting the highest usage rate of his career this season (24.0 percent), Rozier has responded fantastically for the Hornets, producing inarguably his best campaign as a professional.

Eventually, more people will take notice of how good of a point guard Rozier has become, but that probably won’t happen at least until the playoffs, where the Hornets will have a bigger platform to show fans what they’ve been missing out on in 2020-21.

For the latest Terry Rozier rumors, click here.

Shooting Guard: DeMar DeRozan

During his time with the Toronto Raptors, it’s possible DeMar DeRozan was properly rated, or perhaps even a bit overrated thanks to inflated scoring numbers.

However, that is no longer the case whatsoever, as DeRozan hasn’t made an All-Star Team since joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2017-18, despite still quietly being one of the best shooting guards in the league during that span of time.

This season, the one-time 2nd Team All-NBAer probably deserved an All-Star nod, though being in the Western Conference makes that exponentially more difficult than being a player in the East, as DeRozan has been downright elite on the year, putting up 21.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.2 assists nightly in a role that has him playing one or two spots up the positional scale most of the time.

According to Basketball-Reference, DeRozan has actually played power forward for the Spurs roughly 67 percent of his time on the floor, something that would have been unheard of for the high-level scorer a few years back.

And DeRozan has responded brilliantly in that role for San Antonio, posting the best Box Plus/Minus (BPM) mark of his career (3.5), as well as the highest Win Shares per 48 Minutes (WS/48) clip of his time in the NBA (0.181).

League-wide, DeRozan actually ranks 26th overall in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) this campaign, 26th in WS/48 and 28th in BPM.

Now, outside of San Antonio, has DeRozan been talked about as being roughly a Top-30 player in the league this season, which is what multiple advanced metrics say he is?

Certainly not.

And that’s why DeRozan is the starting 2-guard in our All-Underrated Team in spite of being a four-time career All-Star.

For the latest DeMar DeRozan rumors, click here.

Small Forward: Mikal Bridges

When discussing the Phoenix Suns’ spectacular 2020-21 campaign, most of the praise goes either to Devin Booker or Chris Paul, and rightfully so, as the team’s star backcourt has been absolutely spectacular all season long in leading the Suns to a 40-15 record and the No. 2 seed in the brutal West.

But one player who deserves more recognition for his role in helping lead the Suns to such great new heights is third-year swingman Mikal Bridges, who has blossomed into one of the most effective 3-and-D wings in the Association on the year.

For the season, Bridges is averaging 12.9 points and 4.5 rebounds while posting an extremely tidy 61.8 effective field-goal percentage, which takes into account field-goal and three-point percentages.

What’s more, according to Synergy Sports, Bridges grades out as an excellent transition scorer, as well as a very good spot-up shooter and cutter, three areas that any role-playing wing needs to excel in to be effective.

Bridges is fantastic in all three key facets, as well as on the defensive end, where his length, agility and basketball IQ help him thrive.

So although Bridges may never be a star putting up over 20 points per game, in his role, that of a complementary piece on the wing who has to focus on both ends of the floor, there aren’t many small forwards you’d take over him.

And yet, the casual fan who mostly just tunes into nationally broadcasted games probably couldn’t tell you who he is.

Hence, his spot on the wing in our All-Underrated Team.

For the latest Mikal Bridges rumors, click here.

Power Forward: Tobias Harris

Given that he’s now playing his most natural position of power forward 90 percent of the time he’s on the floor while seeing action as a small forward for zero minutes this season (that figure comes courtesy of Basketball-Reference), it should come as no surprise that Tobias Harris is currently enjoying his best campaign as a professional.

Not only is Harris averaging a career-high 20.5 points per game while chipping in 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks nightly, his BPM and WS/48 marks are also the best of his career at 4.1 and 0.183 respectively, figures that place him in the Top 25 of the NBA on the season.

And yet Harris wasn’t even given an All-Star nomination this year despite playing in the weaker Eastern Conference, proving that his contributions to the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers have been completely underrated on the campaign.

No matter, as both Harris and Philadelphia probably care more about postseason success this year than individual awards, and considering how effective he’s been as a floor-spacing, face-up 4 next to Joel Embiid and setting screens/cutting for Ben Simmons, postseasons success could be right around the corner for Harris and the Sixers.

For the latest Tobias Harris rumors, click here.

Center: Clint Capela

It was a razor-tight decision here between Clint Capela and a player coming up in our bench section, but we decided to go with Capela thanks to the outrageous numbers he’s been posting this season, as well as his huge impact on both ends of the floor.

For proof of how great Capela has been for the Atlanta Hawks this season, look no further:

According to WS/48, which, in fairness, tends to favor the production of ultra-efficient big men who don’t space the floor, Capela has been a Top 10 player this season with a 0.211 mark. The other advanced metrics, VORP and BPM, have him in the Top-36 range league-wide, still very solid for a player who isn’t considered a star.

Capela’s mobility for a center, in particular, as well as his quick jumping ability, make him a special big man, as not only is he blocking 2.2 shots per game (the third-best mark in the NBA), he also grades out as an excellent transition scorer, per Synergy, as well as a very good pick-and-roll roll man.

In all, Capela’s growth this season has been huge in Atlanta’s resurgent campaign, one that has them fourth in the East with a 30-26 record.

Considering Capela doesn’t even have 90,000 followers on Twitter, despite being an above-average starter on various good teams for years now, there’s no doubting his status as an underrated player.

For the latest Clint Capela rumors, click here.

Bench: Guards

For the guard rotation off the bench on our All-Underrated squad, we went with four players: Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers), TJ McConnell (Indiana), Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia) and Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz).

It may seem unfair that the Indiana Pacers got two guards on this list considering they’ve been a bit disappointing this season with their 26-29 record, but Brogdon and McConnell have both been great on the year with little fanfare to show for it.

Brogdon is putting up over 21 points and six assists nightly while shooting 40-plus percent from three while McConnell has been beastly in his role off the bench, averaging 6.5 assists and 1.7 steals nightly in under 26 minutes of action per contest.

Ingles, meanwhile, leads the league in three-point percentage (48.7 percent) as well as in effective field-goal percentage (69.4 percent), an outrageous feat considering 71.0 percent of his shot attempts come from beyond the arc.

And Thybulle, like McConnell, has been a monstrous defender in his smaller role for the Sixers, averaging 1.5 steals per game despite playing fewer than 20 minutes nightly.

Bench: Forwards

As far as reserve All-Underrated wings, we had another four guys come to mind, again two of who came from the same team: Brandon Clarke (Memphis Grizzlies), Kyle Anderson (Memphis), Jae Crowder (Phoenix) and Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls).

According to BPM and WS/48, Clarke, averaging 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds this season, has been around a Top-60 player in the league this year, while his teammate Anderson has been right around the same range, with his BPM actually putting him in 33rd spot league-wide.

The pair of two-way wings have been extremely reliable for the Grizzlies all year long, and without them, Memphis wouldn’t be in the playoff position they’re in now.

Crowder, meanwhile, has added toughness as well as floor spacing as a 3/4 for the Suns and been another important piece to their massive resurgence this season.

And the annually underrated Young has given the Bulls solid face-up and around-the-basket scoring, as well as defensive versatility that is not easy to find for players who can man either forward spot.

Bench: Centers

The toughest choice for our starting five here was between Capela and Jonas Valanciunas, who actually grade out quite similarly as far as advanced stats are concerned.

Regardless, Valanciunas has been a borderline elite center all season long for Memphis, averaging 17.0 points and 12.8 rebounds while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor. His tenacity on the glass and bruising shoulders/elbows have made him an absolute force down low in 2020-21 for the Grizzlies.

And finally, our third center on the team will be Richaun Holmes, who actually recently talked to our friends at Basketball News about the fact that he feels he’s underrated:

Do you think your name should get mentioned more when people are discussing the best two-way centers in the NBA? Do you feel like you’re underrated?  Holmes: “I feel like my name has always been one that kind of flies under the radar. It’s always kind of an afterthought and things of that sort. I just want to continue to prove and continue to show [my value] on the floor, and let my talking get done on the floor. I just want to show the type of player that I am, just show that I’m one of the best two-way players, just show that I’m deserving of the All-Defensive Team and just continue to show [what I can do]. I want to continue to get better on the floor and just let my numbers and things of that sort prove my case.”

We agree with that assessment; the 14.1-point, 8.9-rebound, 1.6-block-per-game big man is definitely slept on nationally.


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Streaking Knicks cite early faith for winning ways

1:59 AM ET

DALLAS — Tom Thibodeau, the notoriously gruff first-year New York Knicks head coach, cracked a hint of a grin when asked about his demeanor following a 117-109 win Friday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

It was New York’s fifth consecutive victory, marking the franchise’s longest winning streak in seven years. The Knicks, who had a losing record and failed to make the playoffs in the previous seven seasons, are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 30-27 record.

“Am I happy? You know I’m never happy,” Thibodeau said. “We try not to get wrapped up in all of that stuff. I think you don’t want to get lost, and that’s the most important thing to understand what goes into winning. I think if we’re taking care of all the little things, the big things take care of themselves.

“I think we have a belief that we can win, and that’s

Butler calls sluggish Heat 'soft,' urges 'bully ball'

11:50 AM ET

ESPN News Services

MIAMI — Jimmy Butler labeled the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat as “soft” after Friday night’s 119-111 loss at Minnesota, Miami’s third straight defeat and one that dropped the Heat to 28-28 with 16 games left in the regular season.

It was Miami’s 10th loss in its past 16 games.

“It’s not frustrating because we do it so often,” Butler said. “It’s almost like it’s expected, in a bad way to put it. We just think we’re such a good team, and then reality hits us, we’re humbled. And I’m glad, because that’s what this game does for you. Home, away, no matter what opponent you’re playing against, you just stroll into the game thinking you’re nice, you’re good, this is what happens.

“I’m glad it happened to us,” he added. “And if we don’t fix it, I hope it continues to happen to us.”

Minnesota entered Friday