Magic Erase The Nets, 100-93

first_imgORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando coach Scott Skiles is hoping to build a defense-first mindset that will carry the Magic when they struggle to score.The night of Dec. 30 was one of those nights, and his young team answered the challenge.Nik Vucevic had 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Magic rallied for a 100-93 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.Evan Fournier added 17 points and five assists for Orlando, which has won seven of nine. The Magic held the Nets to just 20 points in the final 12 minutes and overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half.“Our defense was very good on the last several possessions of the game. That was the game right there,” Skiles said. “We needed multiple stops in a row. … We didn’t play very well but still came out with a win.”Orlando’s Elfrid Payton, who has been hampered by a sprained right ankle, started at point guard, but he played just five minutes in the first half. Shabazz Napier started the second half and Payton sat out the remainder of the game.Without their primary ballhandler, the Magic struggled at times to find a rhythm on offense.Orlando tried several different lineups while searching for some cohesion, with 12 of the 13 active players seeing action.The Magic trailed for most of the second half, but used a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to cut into what had been a double-digit deficit. Then they outscored the Nets 32-20 in the final period.“There were a lot of situations tonight when we lacked some ball movement, but luckily we were able to get it back at the end, and get baskets and stops,” said Tobias Harris, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for Orlando. “We were there for each other, we were scrappy defensively.”Brooklyn led by as many as 13 but fell part down the stretch, going 3 for 20 from the 3-point line.Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 point and 15 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 points.Trailing 93-90, Orlando scored on back-to-back layups by Vucevic and Harris to take a 94-93 lead with 45 seconds to play.The Nets struggled to find an open shot on their ensuing trip and Jarrett Jack missed a rushed 20-footer off the front of the rim as the shot clock wound down.Victor Oladipo then was fouled and connected on two free throws on the other end.“We just couldn’t get a good shot in the fourth quarter,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “Their defense was pretty good and it got away from us. … Executing under pressure is important and I don’t think we handled the pressure well.”(KYLE HIGHTOWER) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Oklahoma State Pledge Thabo Mwaniki to play in O-D All-American Bowl

first_imgOklahoma State senior defensive back Thabo Mwaniki, a three-star prospect from Denton Guyer, has committed to play in the O-D All-American Bowl in December according to Adam Boedeker of the Denton Record-Chronicle.The O-D Bowl is a notable postseason all-american game that includes alumni such as Dez Bryant and Cam Newton.After missing the first game of the year, Mwaniki has recorded 35 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and an interception. He also plays on the offensive side of the ball for Guyer, where he has 9 receptions for 123 yards. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

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Film Study: What Makes KSU’s Run Game Unique

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The Oklahoma State Cowboys will have their hands full this Saturday against one of the best ground attacks in the Big 12. The Kansas State Wildcats, who are averaging almost five yards a carry, beat teams by keeping the ball on the ground and controlling the clock. Plenty of teams do that. But what makes them unique is how they do it.Kansas State has always had an adept run game. Everything for their offense sets up in between the tackles. They frequently get eight and 10 yard gains on the ground just by running the ball on simple plays like this.izOr this.wcwhamThey will also frequently add downfield route attachments, creating their infamous “pop” play.popBut what makes them truly unique is not the plays that they run. Rather, it’s how they run them. As opposed to another run-first team like Stanford, which packs everyone on the line to create more gaps, Kansas State just increases their lineman’s spacing to make their pre-existing gaps bigger.Look at these graphics below and notice the varying splits of the offensive line. There are two huge gaps, wider than the size of an average offensive lineman, on both sides of the center.ksugapThey run this quite frequently, not only in their wildcat package (above) but in their standard offense.ksugap2These huge gaps open up holes in the run game. If linebackers try and shoot the gaps, they give up their own gaps and leave defense vulnerable to both the outside run game and the pass game over the middle.If the defensive line doesn’t adjust, they allow the offensive line to outflank them, which the offense can take advantage of with outside runs.While it may not look like it at first glance, Kansas State does a lot of interesting things in their run game. If OSU wants to win in Manhattan this Saturday, they’re going to have to shut down the Wildcats’ ground attack, and that is no small feat.How do you think the KSU run game will fare against the OSU front? Leave your opinions below in the comments!last_img read more

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Penn State’s James Franklin Trolls Gundy, OSU

first_imgLast week, Mike Gundy — ever the trend setter — threw on a singlet in support of Oklahoma State wrestling and to motivate fans to get their “butts in seats”.  It worked.The Cowboys welcomed Penn State in front of a record sell-out 14,059 crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena.Unfortunately for OSU, the Nittany Lions won the last seven matches on Sunday, handing John Smith and Co. their only loss of the season.And in a bit of trolling, Penn State football head coach James Franklin and his staff showed up to a meeting donning their own singlets, sans gold chain.Congrats @pennstateWrest & @caelsanderson– big win at Oklahoma St! Compete in everything you do! #NotAGoodLookOnUs pic.twitter.com/eXMoUmkE5K— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) February 20, 2017Yikes.Points for the commitment from the entire staff but I’m still giving Gundy the nod for being the original. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

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Gundy Compares ’17 Cowboys To Historic 2011 Squad

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Since 2011 when the Oklahoma State football team was absolutely magical, comparisons to that time have been few to none from coach Mike Gundy, but he did it on Monday.It’s understandable why Gundy wouldn’t like to make the comparison, especially in the past few years. The ’11 Cowboys finished No. 3 in the nation, and as everyone knows, were up to No. 2 before their trip to Ames, Iowa.That team had one of the best statistical offenses in college football history. That team produced NFL pros including Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, Joseph Randle and Justin Gilbert.But let’s blow your mind and show you why this year’s is the most qualified comparison yet.*Just a reminder: Mason Rudolph and James Washington returned for their senior seasons, and Justice Hill will be a sophomore in 2017.As a lot of media have recognized, OSU should be one of the best teams in college football. Gundy certainly notices the potential as well as the similarities.“We were a little more experienced then at the running back spot with Joe Randle,” Gundy said. “Justice is a good player, but obviously not as experienced as Joe. Had a group of wideouts then, and we had Blackmon, who Washington could be comparable to him either way arguably.”Hill has more than double the reps than Randle had in 2010, and Blackmon’s stats were far better than Washington’s last year. But this year’s receiver corps is likely far superior to the 2011 group.Here are the receiving stats from 2011 and 2016:Add in Marcell Ateman, Tyron Johnson, Tylan Wallace and others, let’s get real: This will be the greatest group of receivers ever at OSU.Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said all credit goes to receivers coach Kasey Dunn, who not only recruited so much skill, but also has developed it into such a cohesive, close group.“I don’t know how easy it is to have that much talent in a room but yet get those guys geared and focused on one goal,” Yurcich said.More good news is that the ’17 team might be better on defense, Gundy said.Last season’s defense will likely put the ’17 group to sleep after OSU lost Jordan Sterns, Vincent Taylor, Jordan Burton, Devante Averette, Ashton Lampkin and Motekiai Maile, but Gundy is probably right. When the Cowboys were fighting for their spot in the national title game in 2011, the only problem people had was they didn’t play very good defense.The ’11 OSU scoring defense was seventh-worst in the Big 12 at a time when the conference was known for poor defending. Last year, the Cowboys’ scoring defense finished third in a much-improved defensive conference. You have to figure production won’t fall off four spots in the conference.2011 wasn’t the best defensive year, but that group was good a forcing turnovers, Gundy said. In fact, OSU led the nation in turnover margin at 1.62 per game.“(That) allowed us to get more opportunities, and then we’d get in a track meet,” Gundy said. “And we could outscore you.”The positive about the ’17 defense is depth, particularly along the defensive line, Gundy said. There are nine defensive linemen who power clean over 315 pounds, bench more than 350 – five of which can do over 400, and nine who can squat above 450 pounds.Read that again.“I think we’re back into that role that we had where we can play a pretty solid 2-deep and keep those guys fresh,” Gundy said. “In this league, your defense gets beat up in November. We got the best basketball league in the country, but nobody knows it because they beat each other up for two months. That’s what happens to defensive guys.”They just have to find a couple of cornerbacks who can be trusted and can play immediately, he said. Throw in a punter and a quarterback who will probably be tops in the nation at their positions, and you might have something special.“We talk about that, the strategy based on our personnel is and what we think we can do in all three phases,” Gundy said. “So there are a lot of similarities.“I hope it turns out that way.”last_img read more

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Van Persie scores 300th career goal

first_imgFeyenoord Former Man Utd star Robin van Persie scores 300th career goal Jamie Smith 08:36 1/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Robin van Persie Twitter/@Feyenoord Feyenoord Feyenoord v Willem II KNVB Beker Eredivisie Feyenoord v Groningen Arsenal v Manchester United Manchester United Arsenal Premier League Having hit the net in a 3-0 defeat of Willem II in the KNVB Beker on Wednesday, the Feyenoord striker hit a milestone Robin van Persie reached 300 career goals after scoring for Feyenoord to help his side reach the final of the KNVB Beker.The former Arsenal and Manchester United forward returned to Feyenoord in the January transfer window, 14 years after he left to join the Gunners.And the two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner scored his 300th career goal in Feyenoord’s 3-0 defeat of Willem II in the KNVB Beker on Wednesday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Van Persie hit 132 goals in 278 games for Arsenal before a move to rivals United helped the Netherlands international win the 2012-13 Premier League.Van Persie, who scored 50 international goals, has scored once every 67 minutes for Feyenoord since re-joining the club.Prior to joining Feyenoord, Van Persie spent just over two seasons with Turkish side Fenerbahce.last_img read more

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Barca: Iniesta doubtful for Chelsea

first_imgIniesta Barcelona captain Iniesta doubtful for Chelsea – Valverde Jamie Smith 02:23 10/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Andres Iniesta Getty Images UEFA Champions League Ousmane Dembélé Ernesto Valverde Barcelona Málaga v Barcelona Barcelona v Chelsea Málaga Chelsea Primera División The Barca boss has suggested a hamstring injury could rule his side’s captain out of the Champions League game with the Blues Andres Iniesta remains a doubt for the second leg of Barcelona’s Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea, coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed.The Barca captain had to be substituted in the first half of Sunday’s 1-0 LaLiga win against Atletico Madrid with a hamstring injury.Iniesta is expected to miss Barca’s league game at Malaga on Saturday and Valverde is unsure whether the midfielder will be available to face Chelsea, with the sides tied at 1-1 after the first leg. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “He is training separately at the moment,” Valverde told a news conference. “Obviously we do not want to rush things, it’s too early to say if he will be available for next week.”We have similar players, although he is unique. We have similar profile players, Denis [Suarez] and [Philippe] Coutinho, Andre Gomes as well.”Their characteristics are comparable and they could play in [Iniesta’s] position.”Ousmane Dembele is a contender to fill in too, although the former Borussia Dortmund winger has struggled to settle since joining Barca, with his campaign disrupted by injury.The France international played 63 minutes of Barcelona’s Supercopa de Catalunya victory over Espanyol on penalties in midweek and Valverde is willing to be patient with Dembele’s development.”Tomorrow’s game, any game – it’s good for a player,” Valverde said. “Of course he needs to play so we need to see, but we have high expectations of him as a player.”Dembele likes to take players on, he’s a dribbler and a power player who likes to break into space, he has the ability to do this. He has a lot of virtues.”He is 20 years old and there are things for him to fine-tune over time. With experience, he will start to perfect areas.”Ernesto Valverde: “Málaga really need something at the moment. They need points and this game is a chance for them” #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/JhDaB7fMOh— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 9, 2018Barca defender Gerard Pique has been battling a knee injury but Valverde indicated the Spain international will play against Malaga and is available for Chelsea.”If he couldn’t train it would be a bad sign, but he is completing training,” Valverde said.”There is no problem with managing the situation, it’s a question of asking him how he feels.”It’s a light injury, bothersome maybe. It’s more of a knock.”last_img read more

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Willian having best Chelsea season

first_imgWillian Willian on personal best season at Chelsea with goal against Crystal Palace Goal 02:49 11/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Willian Chelsea Crystal Palace Getty Images Willian Chelsea v Crystal Palace Crystal Palace Chelsea Premier League The 29-year-old gave his side the lead against their city neighbours to bring his tally up to 13 in all competitions He may not be a certain starter for Chelsea, but Willian is doing all he can to establish himself as a star for Antonio Conte’s side.The attacking midfielder is outdoing himself amid his team’s poor defence of their Premier League title and made this season a personal best against Crystal Palace on Saturday.The Brazilian opened the scoring for the Blues 25 minutes into the game at Stamford Bridge as he cut inside from the left and sent it in off the post before a Martin Kelly own goal doubled the lead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Willian has now netted six times in the Premier League this term, as well as three in the Champions League and two in each of the FA and Carabao Cups. The total of 13 in all competitions is his best tally in a single season for Chelsea.The 29-year-old has started just 16 of the 29 league games he has featured in 2017-18, but he says he is happy at Stamford Bridge and hopes to renew his contract.“My goal is to stay here at Chelsea,” he said. “Unless Chelsea does not want me anymore – then I’d have to find another club!“I want to stay here for many more years, if it is possible, to renew my contract. On that, we have not talked yet. It might happen. I’m adapted here.13 – Willian has scored 13 goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season – his best ever return in a single campaign for the club. Samba.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 10, 2018“I will have been here five years at the end of the season, I’ve won titles. I think I have the affection of the fans too.”The former Shakhtar Donetsk and Anzhi Makhachkala star is currently tied to Chelsea until June 2020.last_img read more

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In-form Ronaldo returns to Portugal fold

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo returns to Portugal fold amid dazzling run of Real Madrid form Peter Hanson 21:45 15/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) cristianoronaldo - Cropped Getty Images Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Real Madrid Friendlies Fernando Santos has welcomed his talismanic skipper back into the squad, but Nani misses out for the Euro 2016 winners against Egypt and Netherlands Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Portugal’s squad for upcoming friendlies against Egypt and Netherlands.The Real Madrid superstar was rested from the European champions’ last selection in November.However, the captain and record goalscorer is part of the 25-man group, while Ricardo Quaresma also returns to the party, but fellow veteran Pepe misses out with a fractured toe and Nani is omitted. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Striker Andre Silva keeps his place despite a difficult first season at AC Milan that has seen him score just one Serie A goal, but Monaco’s in-form forward Rony Lopes failed to earn a call-up from Fernando Santos.”We try to make the group resemble the selection with who we go to the World Cup as much as possible,” said Santos. “I keep an eye on about 40 players, but they have to do more than just play well, they also have to adapt to our philosophy.”The players who were with us in November and not now are still in the picture for the World Cup.”Portugal squad in full:Goalkeepers: Beto (Goztepe), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patricio (Sporting CP)Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Joao Cancelo (Inter), Fabio Coentrao (Sporting CP), Ruben Dias (Benfica), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund), Rolando (Marseille), Cedric Soares (Southampton)Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting CP), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv), Andre Gomes (Barcelona), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)Forwards: Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Andre Silva (AC Milan)last_img read more

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