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Listen to Go4it! Guest: Hall of Famer Drew Pearson

Listen to Go4it! Hall of Famer Drew Pearson talks making the Hall of Fame, career, Super Bowl 55, his Hail Mary catch against Vikings, his belief that Dak Prescott is the guy for the Cowboys, Tom Brady being the GOAT, and more.

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Report: Blake Griffin to sign with Nets

The Brooklyn Nets have another piece to the puzzle. According to The Athletic’s Sham Charania, Blake Griffin has cleared free agency waivers, and the six-time NBA All-Star is expected to sign with the Nets.

The 31-year-old Griffin and the Detroit Pistons agreed to a buyout on Friday. 

During three-plus years with the Pistons (2018-21), Griffin posted averages of 20.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 33.3 minutes over 138 games (all starts). He earned All-NBA Third Team honors and his sixth NBA All-Star selection while averaging a career-best 24.5 points and leading the Pistons to the NBA Playoffs in 2018-19.  

In 20 games with the Pistons this season, Griffin averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.

It should be interesting to see what role Griffin will have in Brooklyn, but the assumption is he will probably be a starter. With what they have in terms of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant, Griffin will get a lot of good looks. If he can stay healthy, Griffin can definitely help the Nets. He gives them depth and another guy who can score the ball.

Drafted first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Griffin holds averages of 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 34.7 minutes in 642 career NBA games.

Embiid, Simmons out of 2021 All-Star Game

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will replace Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the starting lineup for Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played tonight at State Farm Arena in Atlanta (8 p.m. ET, TNT and ESPN Radio). Team Durant head coach Doc Rivers made the decision to go with Williamson to replace Embiid.

Embiid and his teammate, All-Star Ben Simmons, have been ruled out of the 2021 NBA All-Star game due to the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Embiid and Simmons were exposed to COVID-19 through their personal barber, who had a positive test result and is awaiting another test. Both players traveled by themselves on private planes and had no exposure to other players or people down in the Atlanta bubble. 

Fortunately, both players did not come in contact with the other All-Stars in Atlanta.

Blue Coats to battle Spurs in G League playoffs on Monday night

It’s onto the playoffs for the Delaware Blue Coats (10-5), who lost their regular-season finale to the Memphis Hustle, 106-95, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

Paul Reed posted his league-leading 12th double-double of the season with a game-high 27 points and season-high-tying 16 rebounds. Reed added a rookie career-high six assists, three steals, and two blocks. 76ers assignment player Isaiah Joe scored 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers for the Blue Coats.

Delaware, the No. 4 seed in the NBA G League playoffs, will play the first playoff game in franchise history on Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET(ESPNews) against the No. 5 seed, the Austin Spurs (10-5). It is a single-elimination format, so it’s win or go home.

These two teams met in the regular season on February 21 when the Blue Coats defeated the Spurs, 122-107, in the only regular-season meeting between them.

In that contest, Reed delivered his seventh straight double-double to begin the season with 15 points (7-14 FG), a game-high 14 rebounds (six offensive), and a pair of steals in 31 minutes of action. Rayjon Tucker posted 23 points (7-13 FG, 5-6 FT), five rebounds, and a game-high three steals in a game-high 35 minutes.

In a single-elimination game, anything can happen. Both of these teams have identical records, so even though Delaware defeated San Antonio in the regular season, these teams appear to be evenly matched on paper.

 

 

Conley replaces injured Booker in 2021 NBA All-Star Game

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker on Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, the league announced on Friday.

In addition, Conley will replace Booker in the 2021 MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest, which will be held on March 7 before the NBA All-Star Game.

This is the first NBA All-Star selection for Conley, who is in his 14th season.  He is averaging 16.1 points and 5.7 assists and shooting a career-high 42.2 percent from three-point range in 29 games this season. The 33-year-old Conley has helped the Jazz post an NBA-best 27-9 record.  He joins two Utah teammates, Team LeBron center Rudy Gobert and Team Durant guard Donovan Mitchell, in the NBA All-Star Game.

Booker is unable to play in the NBA All-Star Game or participate in the MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest because of a left knee sprain.  He was named to the NBA All-Star Game by the Commissioner as an injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.  Booker is averaging 24.9 points and 4.4 assists in 31 games this season.

The NBA All-Star Game and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest are part of NBA All-Star 2021, which will take place on one night.  TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage on March 7 will begin at 5 p.m. ET with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.  NBA All-Star Game coverage will begin at 8 p.m. ET, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime.

Chaka becomes first Black female official in NFL history

Maia Chaka has been added to the NFL roster of game officials for the 2021 season, the league announced on Friday.

Chaka makes history as the first Black woman ever named to the NFL’s officiating staff.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said via a statement from the NFL. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. I​t is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”​

Chaka enters the NFL after an outstanding collegiate officiating career, including stints in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

In 2014, Chaka was selected for the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, which identifies top collegiate officiating talent to expose them to some of the same experiences as NFL officials, working to determine if they have the ability to succeed as an NFL official.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance – including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said TROY VINCENT, SR., NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system and a graduate of Norfolk State University.

Adams stops Bohachuk in eight

Former world title challenger and winner of The Contender, Brandon Adams scored a spectacular eighth-round stoppage over previously undefeated Serhii Bohachuk to capture the WBC Continental Americas and WBO NABO Junior Middleweight titles in the main event of a Ring City USA card at the Felix Pagan Pintor Gym in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

The was televised on NBC Sports Network.

Adams came out strong in the early rounds as he took control by working on the inside.  In round three, he was questionably deducted a point for low blows on punches that landed on the high beltline of Bohachuck.  

Adams continued pushing on as he not only battled Bohachuk,  but a slippery ring surface.  The Watts, California native showed his championship experience as he hung tough in the middle rounds and waited for, and eventually got his moment in round eight.

In that round, Adams landed a big left hook that hurt Bohachuk along the ropes.  Adams jumped on his prey and landed another booming left hook on the chin that sent Bohachuk to the canvas.  Bohachuk got to his feet, but stumbled, and the fight was stopped at 2:47.

“It was real tough in there with the ring being wet, and the referee taking that point,” said Adams. “I had to dig in deep, and regardless of what was happening during that fight, it was me against them, and I had to embody that and use all of the strength that I had to connect on one of those punches from “The Cannon.”

“He brought another side out of me that I knew was in me, but the people got to see it tonight.  I am a professional.  I have to figure out how to get The W,.  I am going to keep on doing what I have to do to keep winning.”

With the win, Adams, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders is now 23-3 with 15 knockouts.  Bohachuk, who came in perfect, is now 18-1 with 18 knockouts.

Photo: Tom Hogan

Mavs’ Porzingis, Richardson happy with team’s direction as they head into All-Star break

The Mavericks(18-16) go into the All-Star break playing some decent basketball. Dallas has won three straight and 10 of their last 13, including Wednesday night’s 87-78 home victory over the Thunder(14-21). 

Dallas was without their star Luka Doncic, who missed Wednesday’s game due to lower back tightness.

The Mavericks struggled with their shot against OKC and shot only 39% from the field, including 8-40 from three-point range. In the first half, Dallas was 1-19 from three-point range, but it was all about what Dallas did on defense. They held OKC to a season-low of 78 points.

After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle talked about the rough shooting night and the great defense.

“What a tough game,” Carlisle said. “It was going to be difficult, it was going to be physical, it was going to be tight,” Carlisle said. “The shooting wasn’t there, particularly in the first half. When I looked at halftime, it was hard to believe we were 1-for-19 from 3. But we just kept with the process, stepped into some shots in the second half. The defense was tremendous — maybe our second-best game other than one early on—three sub-20-point quarters. The defensive belt tonight went to the entire team, which is a bit of a departure but appropriate for the circumstance.”

Now, the focus is getting rest during All-Star weekend. The Mavericks had a lot of issues with COVID-19 in the first half of the season. Guys like Josh Richardson,  Jalen Brunson, Maxi Kleiber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell all missed time due to health and safety protocols, but now those guys are healthy.

According to Kristaps Porzingis, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds against OKC, Dallas is starting to get a rhythm. 

“I started the season late. Maxi [Kleber] and Dwight [Powell] and everyone was catching the virus,” Porzingis said. “We didn’t have the whole team playing for a while. It just took time, and also the schedule was really tough. It was a combination of things. The good thing is that we are getting in a rhythm lately and want to keep it going after the break.”

Richardson, who had 16 points on Wednesday night, added: “We have had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. We have had six-game skids, three-game skids and have just been all over the place. But I think we are starting to find good form, and hopefully, it carries over after the break.”

Dallas is playing good basketball right now, and you wonder if the break is coming at the wrong time because this team seems to have found a rhythm. The rest should be good for this team as they prepare to make a playoff push in the final 36 games of the regular season.

Photo: @dallasmavs/twitter

 

Giants release Tate, Mayo

The Giants have released wide receiver Golden Tate III and linebacker David Mayo, the team announced on Thursday.

Tate, 32, played the past two of his 11 NFL seasons with the Giants. He joined the team as a free agent back in 2019 after signing a four-year, $36 million deal. Before joining the Giants, Tate played for the Seahawks, Lions, and Eagles. 

In 23 games(14 starts) with the Giants, Tate caught 84 passes for 1,064 yards (12.7-yard avg.) and eight touchdowns.

Last season, Tate played in 12 games with four starts. He was inactive for the season opener vs. Pittsburgh (hamstring) at Washington on Nov. 8 (coach’s decision) and the season’s final two games (calf injury). Tate caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. 

Mayo, 27, joined the Giants six days before the start of the 2019 season and played in 27 games with 15 starts in two seasons. His totals included 100 tackles (62 solo), including 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

In 2020, the six-year veteran tore the meniscus in his left knee, underwent surgery, and spent the season’s first five weeks on injured reserve. He played in each of the final 11 games, starting two, and led the Giants with nine special teams tackles (six solo). He had 20 tackles (12 solo) on defense, including two for loss and forced one fumble.

Mayo debuted with the Giants the previous season, when he played in all 16 games, including starts in each of the last 13. He tied for second on the team with a career-best 80 tackles (50 solo), including his first two career sacks.

Before joining the Giants, Mayo played four seasons for the Carolina Panthers and was in training camp in 2019 with the San Francisco 49ers.

Blue Coats clinch playoff berth behind Paul Reed’s 10th double-double

The Delaware Blue Coats (9-4), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Canton Charge (4-9), 103-97, on Wednesday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. With the win and NBA G League Ignite’s loss to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the Blue Coats clinched a playoff berth for the first time in Delaware franchise history.

76ers two-way contract player Paul Reed scored 14 of his 26 points (10-17 FG, 2-4 3FG, 3-3 FT) in the fourth quarter, the most for any Blue Coat in a single quarter this season. He added 12 rebounds, including a season-high nine boards on the offensive glass. It was Reed’s 10th double-double in 13 games.

Delaware’s Justin Robinson tallied 17 points (7-16 FG 2-6 3FG, 1-4 FT), seven rebounds and a game-high eight assists in a game-high 35 minutes of action. Michael Frazier II scored 18 points (7-14 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-4 FT) off the bench, while Jemerrio Jones posted a game-high plus-24 rating with five points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The Blue Coats overcame a 16-point deficit in the game. They won the rebounding battle, 52-49, and scored 20 more points in the paint (54-34). Delaware swiped at least 10 steals (11) for the ninth time in 13 games.

The NBA G League playoffs begin March 8. The Blue Coats will play two more games this week to complete their 15-game regular season schedule.

UP NEXT: Delaware will take on the Salt Lake City Stars on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Williamson, Morant, Ball headline NBA Rising Stars rosters

NBA All-Star Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies lead the list of 20 players selected by NBA assistant coaches for the 2021 NBA Rising Stars rosters.

NBA Rising Stars, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during NBA All-Star, will not be played this year due to the limitation of having All-Star events all on one night.  To recognize deserving players, the NBA kept the custom of having the league’s assistant coaches vote for Rising Stars rosters, which comprise 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States (U.S. Team) and 10 first- and second-year NBA players from outside the United States (World Team).

Williamson and Morant lead a U.S. Team roster with 10 players from 10 different teams.  Joining Williamson and Morant are Charlotte Hornets guard and two-time reigning Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month LaMelo Ball; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards; Sacramento Kings guard and two-time reigning Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month Tyrese Haliburton; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro; Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter; San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Keldon Johnson; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.; and Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman.

Six countries are represented on the World Team roster, including five players from Canada.  The World Team is composed of Heat forward Precious Achiuwa (Nigeria); Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada); Washington Wizards forwards Deni Avdija (Israel) and Rui Hachimura (Japan); New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett (Canada); Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (Argentina); Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (Canada); Oklahoma City Thunder guards Luguentz Dort (Canada) and Théo Maledon (France); and Warriors guard Mychal Mulder (Canada).

The World Team includes five players who participated as campers in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball and development community outreach program: Avdija (BWB Europe 2018; BWB Global 2019), Barrett (BWB Global 2017), Campazzo (BWB Americas 2009), Dort (BWB Global 2017) and Hachimura (BWB Global 2016).

NBA opening-night rosters for the 2020-21 season featured 107 international players from 41 countries, marking the seventh consecutive season that opening-night rosters had at least 100 international players.  A record nine international players have been named NBA All-Stars this season, including a record five international players voted to start the All-Star Game and a record six All-Star selections from Europe.