Any time your immediate competition adds a superstar and you do nothing in response, that’s a loss.

Are the Celtics favorites to beat the Cavaliers in a seven-game series? That’s a negative. But the series will be infinitely more competitive than last year’s five-game dispatch of Boston in the conference finals. And if you’re a Cleveland team playing for a championship, the last thing you want to do is spend energy beating a conference foe.

They’re going to need that energy to avoid getting swept by the Warriors, anyway.

Because Ball is the talk of the basketball world. From his quirky jumper to the shoes he wears, everyone eats up Ball content. (Our traffic confirms this). Ball’s second game against the Celtics was the first sellout in Summer League’s history. Plus, he’s a Laker. That sells anywhere.

We still don’t know what the right price is for the Ball family. Maybe Big Baller Brand is still seeking a partnership. Maybe Ball will settle for a bigger endorsement deal. Maybe it’s still $1 billion for the family. It could still be outrageous.

But as this process has continues, Ball’s popularity has only continued to rise. Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas will have to at least take a peak to see if the Ball family’s ask is in the ballpark. It would be irresponsible not to.

Many are overreacting to Ball’s summer league performances, but that actually gives the companies even more reason to invest in Ball. If he drives this much interest Cheap NFL Jerseys Nike during Cheap Authentic Jerseys From China Summer League, the intensity will only increase in the regular season. If the Lakers make the playoffs — a humongous, very unlikely if this year — Staples Center may explode.

Every day is dinger day in MLB, but there’s only one Home Run Derby

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.

Happy Home Run Derby day, y’all! Sure, we see homers constantly in our day-to-day lives, at least from April through October, but something about the Derby is different. And this holds true even in today’s game, where we’ve had multiple studies in the past few weeks saying that the baseballs are different and causing more homers more often, even forcing a response from Major League Baseball on the subject.

What no one in Los Angeles wants to think about right now is that neither of the Mariners or Cubs won the World Series in their respective record years, and Seattle didn’t even make it to the Fall Classic before being eliminated.

That’s not to say Devers is going to go Miguel Cabrera on AL pitching or anything, but it’s a reminder that making room for a bat in the lineup, glove be damned, is something Dombrowski has been willing to do in the past if he thinks that the overall outcome is a positive.

The good news for the Nationals is that they just filled two spots in their bullpen with one trade, nabbing Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle for Blake Treinen and last year’s second- and third-round picks. The two relievers have combined for 70 strikeouts and eight walks in 60 innings, which vaults them immediately Cheap Bruins Jerseys to the top of the bullpen depth chart. And, considering that the trade didn’t devastate their farm Cheap Blank Hockey Jerseys system, they can still afford to make another deal.

Hall of Famers Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Raines salute Adrian Beltre for 3,000th hit

Some days, the timing of baseball is almost unbelievable.

Sunday was one of those days. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has been churning toward his 3,000th career hit for quite a while, and it’s possible he could have reached the milestone — which is essentially a guaranteed ticket to the Hall of Fame — a day earlier.

One more grounder could have skipped under a fielder’s glove. One more blooper could have found a clean spot on the outfield grass. Or maybe a look-at-me umpire might not have thrown him out of a game last week for moving the on-deck circle.

But none of those things happened. Beltre’s 3,000th hit came on a line-drive double down the third-base line shortly after 4:30 p.m. ET, at home in front of an adoring crowd.

The hit came mere minutes after another Texas baseball legend, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, finished an emotional and amusing Hall of Fame induction speech.

Rodriguez continued: “He’s a great man. He deserves that and many more. He works hard for it. What he’s done for baseball is unbelievable, on and off the field, with his leadership in the clubhouse and with his teammates, and the way he plays the game on the field for nine innings. The thing is, it’s not going to be his last game. He still has a lot left in his career.”

The main argument against going with technology over the umpire is how the strike zone is set, batter to batter and pitch to pitch. This is where subjectivity comes into play on both ends. While an umpire is more likely to miss a pitch or be fooled by a catcher with excellent framing The Best Cheap Jerseys skills, a machine is more likely to have the zone slightly out of place. Gameday stringers do the best they can to mark the zone on a screen for each batter, but players tend to move while in the the batter’s box. In USA Cheap Jerseys the end, you can’t avoid some level of the human element.

what happened Wednesday shouldn’t fall solely on Fleury.

Marc Methot, Derek Brassard and Zack Smith also scored in the first period. Smith’s goal forced Penguins coach Mike Sullivan to pull goaltender Marc-André Fleury from the game and insert backup Matt Murray. The Senators scored the four goals on just nine shots with Fleury in net.

Fleury’s poor play Wednesday raises a question: Should Murray start Game 4 Friday?

Fleury did not look sharp, but he has played too well this postseason for the team to bail on him now. Plus, what happened Wednesday shouldn’t fall solely on Fleury.

The first two goals he gave up were bad bounces. On Hoffman’s goal, the puck took a bad bounce off the end boards and confused Fleury. On Methot’s goal that made it 2-0, the puck deflected off Ian Cole’s skate and went in.

Brassard received a backdoor pass alone in front and tapped it in to make it 3-0. By the time Smith undressed Fleury and scored a wraparound goal to make it 4-0, it was obvious Sullivan had to do something to stop the bleeding.

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The Penguins’ offensive misfortune from earlier in this series Cheap Blue Jays Jerseys seems a distant memory as the defending Stanley Cup champs have cracked the Senators’ suffocating 1-3-1 trap. They’re clicking, outscoring the Sens 10-2 the last two games thanks to a seven-goal outburst in Game 5. About the only thing in Ottawa’s favor: Both teams (Oilers, Ducks) that lost by six or more goals this postseason won their next Cheap Authentic NFL Jerseys game and the series.

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant dynamic explosive on court

The Golden State Warriors may have some bad news for the rest of the NBA — they’ve apparently settled on a rotation that makes superstars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant even more effective.

Last Sunday against the Sacramento Kings, coach Steve Kerr went with an experimental rotation that put Curry and Durant in the game together for most of the first and third quarters.

Since then, the Warriors are 3-0, but breaking down the analytics even further, the San Jose Mercury News reported the team has been especially explosive with Curry and Durant together.

“[Bogut] is smart out there, he’s a very good rim protector for that smaller team. I think the coaches always look at every possibility for us to compete and win some games. Throw whatever lineup we need to throw out there to be successful.”

The Mavs are currently last in the Western Conference with an 11-25 record after their 102-95 home loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

Coach Rick Carlisle has remained mum on what he plans to do with the starting lineup, but having Nowitzki willing to take on a lesser role should make any upcoming decisions a little easier.

“I think it’s too early to judge any of that stuff,” Carlisle said. “Last year there was all that talk about (Chandler) Parsons struggling (coming off an injury), and I said, ‘Hey, don’t judge Pittsburgh Penguins Cheap Jerseys it until after the All-Star break.’ And that may be what we’re looking at with (Nowitzki).”

Nowitzki had been battling an Achilles injury early in the season and also missed Super Cheap Jerseys several games from an illness in December.

Donnel Pumphrey knows his NFL draft stock depends on pass-catching abilities

MOBILE, Ala. Donnel Pumphrey ended his college career as the FBS’s career leader in rushing yards with more than 6,000 over the last four years. Production-wise, he checked all the boxes NFL teams could ask for in a college running back.

But a different set of numbers likely will impact where, or if, the Cheap High Quality NFL Jerseys San Diego State product gets drafted.

Pumphrey weighed in at just under 5-8 and 169 pounds at the 2017 Senior Bowl, the second lightest player at the event in Mobile, Ala., (only above Memphis kicker Jake Elliott). His hand size just 8 ? inches is the smallest of any offensive skill position player. Those three numbers, combined with his eventual 40 time, will be the focal points of his scouting report for NFL decision makers.

Pumphrey been working to shift his national attention from college success to a role NFL teams can buy into. His rushing success is one thing, but for a diminutive running back prospect, his immediate value needs to be as a pass catcher.

Yeah, I certainly know that, Pumphrey said. It’s something I’ve been working on since my junior summer, before the season, getting better with my routes and breaks and such.

Howard doesn’t have to sell his upside to NFL teams; they know he has a rare skill set, and he’ll show his near-Vernon Davis-level athleticism at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in February.

But this week, he needs to show that his lack of production in college isn’t a concern, and that he can be the centerpiece of an offense in the NFL.

Cubs’ Jason Heyward says racist taunts are just ‘a part of sports’

Jason Heyward wasn’t surprised when he heard Adam Jones’ complaints about hearing racist taunts at Fenway. The Cubs outfielder said, unfortunately, that’s just what happens to black players in baseball.

“It’s a part of sports,” Heyward said Tuesday night. “People are going to say whatever they think is going to help their team win and try and get under somebody’s skin. And then they’ll start drawing a line somewhere. It’s something I feel like a lot of people would just like to not hear anymore ever, but it’s part of life.”

Jones was upset not only because he heard the N-word, but because a fan also threw a bag of peanuts at him during Monday’s game. On Tuesday, Red Sox fans Cheap Jerseys Kids cheered Jones during his first plate appearance, but that didn’t really solve the problem.

The defending World Series champions are just 17-16, in a tie with the Brewers — who won just 73 games last year — for third place in the National League Central. Both teams are just a game back of the Cardinals (18-14), and a half-game back of the Reds (18-15), who snapped the Yankees’ six-game win streak on Tuesday.

While pitching was Chicago’s strength last year, it’s been one of the team’s weaknesses so far this season. Ace Jake Arrieta, who was the 2015 Cy Young winner and threw a no-hitter last year during an 18-8 season with a 3.10 ERA, has seen his ERA balloon to 5.35 after surrendering nine runs, five earned, in five innings on Tuesday.

“We’re all focused on hitting,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I want us to play defense and pitch.”

Darrelle Revis free agency: Best fits include Patriots reunion, Pittsburgh homecoming

The next wave of free-agent signings is underway, and Darrelle Revis is still out there. He says he’s “actually 10 pounds lighter” than he was last season — and that doesn’t include the weight of all those shaky criminal charges that are off his shoulders now.

So, which teams could use a cornerback who’s turning 32 this summer, who just two years ago was still worthy of his “Revis Island” nickname, who has a Super Bowl ring, but who was so off his game with the Jets last year that teams are questioning whether he’s washed up?

Who, in addition, could make the transition to safety that previous Hall of Famers have (Ronnie Lott, Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson), but who some have doubted has the temperament to change?

That’s a lot — but lots of teams have secondary needs.

Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton crushed a ball with a 468-foot home run to left against the Mets. It was one of two home runs on the day for Stanton, who now has four of the five longest home runs at Citi Field in its nine-year history.

The Royals mustered just one hit against the Indians in a 1-0 loss, spoiling a solid start by Danny Duffy. The Royals have just five hits in their last two games and have not Cheap Girls Softball Jerseys scored more than three runs since a 6-1 win over the White Sox on May 3. The Royals are MLB’s lowest-scoring team at just 82 runs in 30 games. The Royals have been shut out four times so far this season and scored just one run on seven occasions.

Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis declared cancer-free

Chad Bettis is cancer free.

The Rockies pitcher announced Wednesday on MLB Network Radio that recent exams showed there were no signs of cancer in his body.

“I feel great,” Bettis said. “I got an early Christmas present the other day. The doctor called me on Dec. 22 and told me that I’m cancer-free, so all is good and I’m ready to push forward here.”

Bettis, 27, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November and had a testicle removed. He said he was sidelined for two weeks from his conditioning program, but soon was able to resume some workouts.

“After that two-week process, I started full workouts,” Bettis said. “I’m actually throwing now and working out again.”

According to Bettis, he will have blood work done every few months to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned and there are no complications.

Ever since Bettis fully joined the Rockies in 2015, he has posted a 22-14 record with a 4.57 ERA.

So far, their version of “Moneyball” is being inconsistently liberal with their Cheap Green Bay Packers Jerseys massive salary-cap space. Sure, the extra “currency” for April is nice, but then again, they might throw it all away by giving up too much for Garoppolo. Options are one thing; getting real results with them is another.

The growth of baseball is multifaceted. It’s not as simple as “Here’s a tournament for the world; enjoy.” It’s the prime example of what international growth should be. It’s the crown jewel of expansion in the game. But it might not even be the most important thing MLB is doing to grow baseball around the world.

Gregg Popovich is shutting down James Harden with mind control

The Spurs were off to a hot start against the Houston Rockets. It’s the kind of start San Antonio was hoping for to bounce back from a 126-99 loss in Game 1 of the second round.

After only scoring 39 points in the first half of Game 1, the Spurs scored 65 and held the lead in Game 2. Some coaches would be content with that momentum, but coach Gregg Popovich was livid.

Just look at the way he stared at James Harden as the second quarter ended. He knows the Spurs have the lead, but he also knows Harden can single-handedly change that. Harden and the Rockets did set a franchise playoff records for three-pointers on Monday, after all. The only logical reaction for Pop would be to stare at Harden until his superpowers are gone. It’s like The Force, only that it’s fueled by a love of rare wines, I assume.

Free throws have always been a punishment for breaking the NBA’s rules, but in the past years, hacking bad shooters has turned the penalty shot into an advantage. It’s certainly not why we watch basketball. Ideally, the sport is a free-flowing, end-to-end product with constant motion and infrequent breaks in action. Intentional fouling directly undermines that goal.

Don’t blame Mike D’Antoni for using the strategy. He waited as long as he could to break out the strategy, and fouling Roberson helped his team win the game.

Don’t blame Andre Roberson. For some reason, he can’t shoot free throws, and that will always be a weakness in his game. It’s not because he doesn’t work on it during every practice and shootaround. It’s not the fault of the hundreds of hours he has spent working to become a better shooter.

In fact, Roberson used to be a better shooter. He hit 70 percent Cheap UK Basketball Jerseys as a rookie before falling off the next season. This is as much mental as it Cheap Throwback NBA Jerseys is physical.