Blue Flower

The Suns had been 7-of-10 from the field with zero turnovers on possessions when Booker drove to the basket in Game 5 prior to the Holiday steal, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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On the way to the finals, both the San Francisco Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks had double-teamed him the entire way on defense, an attempt to keep him under control while forcing other Lakers to do more on offense than normal. The Celtics’ approach was to play straight-up man-to-man, one-on-one, an attempt to shut everyone down, not just the best scorer. This gave West free air, room to maneuver. He went over and around Emmette Bryant, Larry Siegfried and Don Chaney. Half his shots seemed to go through the steel rim with 4½ inches to spare on all sides.Toronto Raptors

Booker advanced all the way to the heart of the paint before picking up his dribble. After his pump fake to get P.J. Tucker off his feet didn't provide Booker enough space to get off a close-range shot because Giannis Antetokounmpo hustled over to help on defense, the Suns shooting guard tried to recalibrate.Oklahoma City Thunder

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Without speculating, it’s likely for different reasons, as it became well known Thomas was disliked strongly by Michael Jordan and other members of Team USA in 1992 both on and off the court. There aren’t many who figure to make more of an impact than Young can right now.Washington Wizards

"This is a great reminder ... that we have to continue to be as diligent as possible," he said.

In fact, Space Jam 2 does something that Lucasfilm, Disney, and the forces behind the Star Wars franchise were all too cowardly to do in an intelligent way: Kill off one of its most iconic characters.

The Aussies were flying around defensively and challenging shots toward the end of the game, and the Americans' tired legs showed. Lillard and Durant missed crucial open looks and, in a final indignity, Jayson Tatum tossed up an air ball on a corner 3-point try with the team down five with a minute to play. Though it was better than the next possession, which resulted in a turnover.San Antonio Spurs

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Long-time assistant coach Kyle Gustafson has been named assistant coach/special assignment coach under former Winterhawks coach Travis Green, now the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.Vegas Golden Knights

NHL teams must submit their list of protected players by Saturday. They can protect eight skaters and one goalie or seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.

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McLeod completed his third NHL season with the Devils, recording career highs with nine goals and six assists in 52 games. He scored his first career NHL goal on Jan. 26 against the Philadelphia Flyers and had two game-winning goals during the season. The 23-year-old had a team-high 42 penalty minutes.

Ellis, 30, spent his entire career with the Predators. He had 18 points in 35 games last season, and has averaged over 23 minutes per game in each of the last four seasons. Ellis, who fills a right defensive need for the Flyers, is signed through 2027 with a $6.25 million cap hit.New Jersey Devils

At just 25, Hill had two older veteran goalies he was fighting with for time in the net in Arizona. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson noted in a statement announcing the trade that Hill's combination of youth and experience was a primary factor in San Jose.New York Rangers

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“It is a special relationship,” Rinne said of Saros. “I’ll be watching him for sure. I already talked to him earlier a few days ago. So he’s up to speed.”St. Louis Blues

F: Blake Wheeler (NMC) F: Kyle Connor F: Nikolaj Ehlers F: Mark Scheifele F: Pierre-Luc Dubois F: Andrew Copp F: Adam Lowry D: Neal Pionk D: Josh Morrissey D: Dylan DeMelo G: Connor Hellebuyck

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Using part of the buyout savings, the Panthers re-signed 25-year-old defenseman Gustav Forsling to an $8 million, three-year contract. Zito said the Panthers are looking forward to watching Forsling continue to develop after setting career highs with five goals, 12 assists and 17 points in 43 games last season.New Jersey Devils

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The Kraken will be picking one player from every team, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, who are excused since they themselves are a newer expansion team. So that is 30 players, with at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders, that will be founding members of the Seattle Kraken after the draft. Calgary Flames

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They started on Friday by sending veteran defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik, with the Red Wings retaining half of Panik’s salary.

The Boston Bruins could use another scoring winger, which makes Zach Hyman an interesting option for the Original Six club in NHL free agency.

The back-to-back champion Lightning have easily the deepest pool of available players. Top-line winger Ondrej Palat, longtime forward Alex Killorn, third-line center Yanni Gourde and young defenseman Cal Foote are all exposed. Squeezed by the cap that's remaining flat at $81.5 million, they could also work out a side deal with the Kraken to take Spokane native Tyler Johnson and his $5 million price tag for three more seasons.Carolina Hurricanes

Lessons Kraken, rest of NHL can take from Vegas expansion draft Shea Weber could miss 2021-22 NHL season with injury Bruins have to build out defense with Carlo extension, no MillerColumbus Blue Jackets

"There's no better feeling than winning a Stanley Cup," Keith said. "I've been fortunate to do it before, but I think it just fuels that fire to do it again. For me, as I get older and my career moves along, I want to be able to compete at the highest level and win.
The outfielder got off to a great start in his second stint with the Sox, including an Opening Day home run against the Angels, but a slump followed mid-April. His leg issues also landed him on the 10-day injured list in June.

"We're all still in awe of his ability to do that," said AL and Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash. "The way he handled everything was pretty remarkable."Baltimore Orioles

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Coming to Chicago is minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball. No money was exchanged in the deal, so Atlanta is on the hook for the remainder of Pederson's salary.Colorado Rockies

Even though they lost their best player, Ronald Acuña Jr, to a season ending ACL tear, there is still reason to believe they could make a push for the division with the right additions. The risk the Braves front office is willing to take to make this happen is the big question.

One All-Star just waiting for the phone to ring is Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Eduardo Escobar. Second sackers around the league took notice when Chicago White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal was declared out for the season with a hamstring tear, including Escobar.Oakland Athletics

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“We just think he should be here, always supporting,” Sonja said during an interview with Bally Sports West. “He coached Brandon all the way up. He’s his Angel in the outfield now.”Minnesota Twins

The topic of conversation on Monday’s First Take was Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels two-way star who spends some nights striking out batters and other nights bashing home runs. Smith and co-host Max Kellerman were discussing if Ohtani being baseball’s top attraction at the moment is good or bad for baseball (a stupid and loaded question, if ever there was one for First Take).
It was an incredible run for the Canadiens, who surged back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, then swept the Winnipeg Jets, then stunned the Vegas Golden Knights to make their first finals appearance since 1993. Is this an impressive first leap forward for the Canadiens as a Stanley Cup contender, or a one-time underdog run that resulted from the stars aligning in a nontraditional season?Philadelphia Flyers

When the Caps re-signed Brenden Dillon in 2020, I thought that immediately made Orlov expendable considering the prospects in the pipeline at left defense. In the 2021 postseason, however, Orlove was Washington's best defenseman, even better than Carlson. That made Orlov and Carlson the two obvious picks.

Bringing Reilly back, especially on significant term, somewhat limits how much the Bruins can bulk up their defense.Calgary Flames

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"Teddy has proven to be a versatile, two-way center, as well as a fixture on the penalty kill," general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. "He is a valuable player for our team."

Beech was the highest-profile prospect in the deal -- the 7th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft. He played 100 games for Pittsburgh over the course of four seasons and tallied 10 goals with 17 assists. He even made a return to Washington and played in 69 games with eight goals and 18 assists during his second stint early in the Alex Ovechkin era. But Washington didn't make the playoffs in either season. Columbus Blue Jackets

Wyshynski: The Kraken are drafting under the same rules that the Vegas Golden Knights benefitted from in 2017. They have the same positional and salary cap roster requirements; the other 30 teams in the expansion draft have the same protection limitations that could hand over the eighth-best forward, fourth-best defenseman or second-best goalie to the Kraken.

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Each of the leagues used groundbreaking marketing and promotional tactics, new rules, and a style of play that forced the evolution of already established leagues.New York Rangers
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The U.S. women’s Olympic team was in unfamiliar territory having dropped two exhibition games in a row for the first time in a decade.

MILWAUKEE (AP) Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis is relying on lessons he learned earlier in his career as he adapts to his inconsistent playoff usage.San Antonio Spurs

There were a number of two-way contract players that played a significant role for their teams last season: Juan Toscano-Anderson with the Warriors, P.J. Dozier with the Nuggets, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus with the Heat, Yuta Watanabe with the Raptors, and Jordan McLaughlin of the Timberwolves, among others.Oklahoma City Thunder

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Milwaukee Bucks legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were among those in attendance for Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Bucks and Suns.Utah Jazz

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The Lakers would have to do some extreme jumping through hoops to reacquire Ball. As a team well over the salary cap, signing him outright would not be an option. A sign-and-trade would be their only avenue to acquire him.Sacramento Kings

The American League won again, beating the National League 5-2 for its eighth consecutive All-Star Game win. Those who took the AL as a small underdog were happy. The game went under the total, which moved to 11 due to the Coors Field factor, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made those who bet on him to win MVP very happy by winning the award. 

“Just because I know him a little better, he’s probably screaming in front of the TV, and probably in the last possession, he probably took his shirt off and started playing defense, sweating, jumping on the bed,” Antetokounmpo said with a laugh.”

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ESPN: Francis spoke a lot about second chances at your news conference. You've said in the past about failure that "if you evaluate it, deal with it, learn from it, a lot of good can come out of it." I don't want to qualify the Philly experience as a "failure," but what did you learn about yourself in evaluating it?

"As part of the last stimulus package, there was a federal 26% discount for solar," Sopel said. "So you see the way the government is going."New York Rangers

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Like Crosby and Malkin, Kris Letang has an NMC. For the occasional Letang trade rumors, they’d be silly to let him walk for nothing.New Jersey Devils

Ritchie vs. DeBrusk is easier than it may seem. Yes, Ritchie was the better player last season, but his ceiling is also apparent. The Bruins can’t afford to lose DeBrusk, a proven scorer, for nothing. He could be this expansion draft’s William Karlsson, so the team should protect him. 

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Some teams were put in a tough situation by having too many no-movement clauses during the Golden Knights expansion draft. A great example was the Blue Jackets, who were forced to protect Sergei Bobrovsky, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell because of their NMCs. That meant Columbus had to expose players like Josh Anderson, Ryan Murray and Joonas Korpisalo, and GM Jarmo Kekalainen didn't want to lose any of them.

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A number of people from the hockey world have also shared their stories and expressed their condolences. Like Merzlikins, many noted how Kivlenieks always had a smile on his face.Minnesota Wild

The NHL and NHLPA are both looking into Weber's injury status and what it could mean for the remaining years on his contract. The Canadiens' captain has five more years on the 14-year contract he signed in 2012, carrying a salary-cap hit of $7,857,143 annually.Edmonton Oilers
The 59-year-old will try to make the transition back to management as smoothly as possible, using his experience away to offer a different perspective.Minnesota Wild

In return, New Jersey sent Mikhail Maltsev and the 61st overall pick of the draft, originally from the Islanders.Edmonton Oilers

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Carlo is a very good shutdown defenseman who defends well against opponents' top-six forwards and logs around 20 minutes of ice time per game. He also excels on the penalty kill, blocks shots, plays a physical game and brings much-needed size and strength to Boston's blue line.

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No salary was retained in the first blockbuster trade of the NHL offseason since the Stanley Cup Final ended last week. Keith has two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit just over $5.5 million. He turns 38 on Friday.

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Parise scored just seven goals and 11 assists in 45 games last season, and he was a healthy scratch toward the end of the year. For his career -- which includes seven years with the Devils -- Parise has 393 goals and 417 assists in 1,060 regular-season games over 16 NHL seasons.

Lessons Kraken, rest of NHL can take from Vegas expansion draft Shea Weber could miss 2021-22 NHL season with injury Bruins have to build out defense with Carlo extension, no MillerColumbus Blue Jackets

Those are all fair questions, and there are others. But, really, can you truly blame the Canadiens for sticking with Ducharme as head coach? For all we know, maybe this is the start of something special.Anaheim Ducks
The Phillies are in contention in the NL East and a healthy Wheeler is vital to their chances. Girardi and others are very concerned about Wheeler’s rising workload. You can bet that Girardi favored Wheeler making the appearance he’d earned. And you can bet he was thrilled that it was brief and painless. Get out of Denver, get a couple days of rest, then back to the playoff race Friday. It was win, win for the Phillies and Wheeler.Boston Red Sox

On the mound, he’s 4-1 with a 3.49 earned-run average in 13 starts, good enough to become the first man selected to the All-Star game as both a pitcher and a position player. He will hit and pitch in Tuesday’s game, American League manager Kevin Cash said.

Where they’re going is even more promising. They’re not yet grizzled at 22, but they are great, and know now that improvement is always possible, that anything, really, is within their grasps.San Diego Padres

Game notes: The Tigers open the second half of the season Friday, looking to end a four-game losing streak at the hands of the Twins. The four games in Detroit follow a four-game sweep by Minnesota before the All-Star break. Jose Urena needs a good start. He hasn't gone five innings or more or given up fewer than four runs in a month. In his last five starts, Urena's ERA has gone from 4.25 to well over 6.Chicago Cubs

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Pederson joined the Cubs on a one-year, prove-it deal that has given him the chance to play every day. Historically, he's mashed right-handed pitching and struggled against lefties.Minnesota Twins

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Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker fell to the Mets at No. 10 overall Sunday in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Chicago was able to get fourth-round pick in outfielder Christian Franklin to sign his deal $39,500 under his draft slot. While the Cubs are still paying him $425,000, sixth-round pick in left-handed pitcher Riley Martin got an incredibly raw deal. He signed for a measly $1,000, which is a whopping $262,700 under his draft slot. Who says staying in school is the best course of action?

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"Obviously, the player was upset, understandably so,'' umpire crew chief Jeff Nelson told a pool reporter Saturday night. "We tried to make sure that there was a security presence in left field, that the issue was addressed by security, and then also balancing that with continuing the game and keeping the game moving, knowing that we had continuous rain.''Arizona Diamondbacks

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As the Cubs enter trade-deadline season as sellers – they already traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves for a first base prospect – Alzolay headlines a group of young pitchers who the Cubs could build around for their next championship window.Colorado Rockies

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The Mets begin a new series against the Cincinnati Reds on the road on Monday at 7:10 p.m. No pitcher has been named for them against Cincy's Victor Gutierrez.

"And I played with him that tournament, and he just did everything. He bunted, he hit, he fielded, he threw guys out, he made unbelievable plays. And this is when we were 13 or so. At that point, I kind of figured, 'This guy, no matter how old he's going to be or whatever the case, he's going to have that same chip on his shoulder and he's going to be special.' And it's been the same to this day."

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“Yes, absolutely, this an important issue,” Alonso said. “Getting money into the guys’ hands is great. It’s great for guys to get paid. Right now I’m not focused on the details. I’m just going to enjoy the All-Star festivities. But when it comes down to it, when it comes to crunch time, I’ll be really diving in and focused trying to do the best I can to grow the game in a positive way.”

Take Friday for example. Chafin didn’t use more than five pitches on any batter. His one strikeout took three pitches. He was out of the inning in 12.  Cleveland Indians

Alan Ingraham, 64, of Woodhaven was the batboy for the NL and was perched on the dugout step next to the bat rack.Chicago Cubs
• Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner, who waived his no-movement clause to be exposed in the draft. His contract carries a $9 million cap hit through the 2026-27 season. It's notable that he played for Seattle general manager Ron Francis in Carolina and that Kraken assistant GM Jason Botterill signed him to that contract while in Buffalo.

“The whole run, the whole journey it was so stressful,” Rinne said. “It also showed how difficult it is to win and really makes you appreciate and respect the trophy.”Carolina Hurricanes

Among the notable names who are under contract for the 2021-22 season and were left exposed by their teams:New Jersey Devils

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Salary cap space is the one big advantage Seattle has here. It is a completely clean slate for this season and in the future, and it should not want to waste that by taking on too many players with excessive term. A large portion of the Golden Knights’ initial picks were players on expiring contracts, which not only gave them assets that they could have flipped at the trade deadline, but also kept their long-term salary cap flexibility open.

Determine whether Don Granato is the guy. Granato inherited the Sabres amid an 18-game winless streak and helped turn things around for a 9-11-2 finish (pretty significant for hapless Buffalo). He got the players to buy in and helped players such as Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson turn things around. Here's an endorsement from Mittelstadt: "A lot of guys, including myself, owe Donnie quite a bit. He challenged me when he took over and pushed me to become a better player. I think it's that simple. I think a lot of the strides ... made are partly because of him pushing me or a lot to do with pushing me. Obviously, we don't know what's going to happen, but I owe Donnie a huge thank-you."

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Tuukka Rask is 34 years old and expected to have hip surgery. He projected his return date could be sometime in January or February. There's no need for the Bruins to re-sign Rask before getting an idea of how his post-surgery recovery is going. Rask said after the season that he only wants to play in Boston, so there shouldn't be too much fear from the Bruins about him signing elsewhere.New York Rangers

Bolts Jolts, a Lightning fan account on Twitter, posted a screen grab from a fan-shot video that showed Pat Maroon of the Lightning holding the damaged Cup.Philadelphia Flyers

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