Does Golden State want to keep him?

So far, the United States has managed a bronze medal in the figure skating team event, but fell short of the podium in the men’s events after Nathan Chen’s struggles in the short program. The sport now moves on to ice dancing, which begins on Sunday evening with the short program and will conclude on Monday with the free dance.

As usual, the figure skating will be front and center during NBC’s primetime television coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday evening. There will also be live streaming online, via NBC Olympics (enhanced, non-enhanced) or FuboTV (NBC simulcast).

Thompson was asked during a recent media session whether he wants to remain with the Warriors when his first unrestricted free agency rears around in 2019. His answer, according to The San Jose Mercury-News’ Mark Medina:

Absolutely, he said. Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out.

It’s so far away. Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.

Popovich continued: What’s really strange is that [Tony Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.

Parker rehabbed after the injury in last season’s Western Conference Semifinals and hadn’t played until Nov. 25, but has since returned and is averaging 8.5 points and about four assists per game. He’s been demoted to a bench role behind budding young guard Dejounte Murray, but the Spurs’ biggest issue isn’t at the point guard: It’s on the wings.

San Antonio has fallen to 35-24 this season, now tied with and in danger of falling behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the fourth seed in the West. The Wolves are only two games ahead of the Thunder, who are only separated by 1.5 games from the ninth seed in the West. In short: The Spurs need Leonard back to be anything close to the team they were last year.bears_119

Manager Mike Scioscia declined to put a number on how many games he envisions Pujols playing at first.

Patriots DT Alan Branch said I didn’t know anything, honestly, when asked Tuesday on WEEI’s Dale and Holley Show with Rich Keefe if he knew prior to the game that Butler wouldn’t play. On our team, gossip doesn’t travel, let’s just say that.

I noticed he wasn’t in the game, Branch said, but then again, you never know the reason for what’s going on at a certain time in that organization, especially.

Butler’s replacement in the starting lineup, Eric Rowe, had said after the Super Bowl that he didn’t know he would be starting until close to kickoff. But Rowe also said at the time that it wasn’t a surprise to him that he played 72 of 75 defensive snaps in the Super Bowl.

As for Butler’s lack of action, Rowe said at the Super Bowl that he was surprised Butler didn’t play in the game. That wasn’t the plan, he said.

The Spartans have dominated their archrival for a decade. They have won a pair of Big Ten titles, recently finishing in the top 10 for three straight years. They have handed Urban Meyer 50 percent of his conference losses at Ohio State. Their fans are top 20 in attendance and revenue.

And yet they have not won the program’s first title since 1966. With more returning production than any other FBS team, is 2018 the year?

The slugger said he focused on flexibility and agility more than on lifting substantial amounts of weight.

There’s no doubt he can play first base enough to give us some versatility in some lineups, Scioscia said. I know he loves to play first base. We’re a better team when he plays first base. He’s a terrific first baseman.

Pujols, a 10-time All-Star, sounded a bit irritated when his 2017 season was brought up. He hit 23 homers and had 101 RBIs, but his average was .241 and his OPS was a career-worst .672.

That was last year. That’s the number you guys focus on [batting average], and you don’t care about anything else, Pujols said. This is a new year for me. I don’t even remember what happened last year.bears_047

Tennessee has no business being in the postseason.

They could be the worst team in the bracket and just don’t have the upside you need from a team to make a run through a thick group of playoff teams. Marcus Mariota can be a future star, but it’s hard to imagine it under the current regime.

I love Derrick Henry — drafted him in every single fantasy league this year, dang it — and think he could have a good first game against the Chiefs, but it’s not that difficult to bottle up the Titans offense.

Just as players’ national anthem demonstrations were, for the most part, giving way to pure football matters, an NFL owner’s ugly comment raised the ire of his players, who, after an emotional weekend in which they considered their options, responded with the majority taking a knee in protest during the national anthem.

Bob McNair, the Texans’ nearly 80-year-old owner, triggered an emotional weekend that culminated in the team-wide protest, with most linking arms and kneeling. Previously, Texans players had chosen to stand, partly out of respect for the owner. But after meeting and rejecting options like removing the decals from their helmet and remaining in the locker room for the anthem, they came to the sideline, many took a knee and linked arms before the game against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

The Chiefs are quite simply the league’s best team. The offense has been next to unstoppable while the defense has been more than adequate, even if it permitted Deshaun Watson to post some impressive numbers Sunday night. Get used to the idea of Alex Smith as an MVP candidate. Does Smith’s excellence this season complicate the Chiefs’ long-term plan to move on to Patrick Mahomes at QB? That’s an issue for another day.

Thomas is a savvy player who looks good in coverage, blitzing or attacking plays from the backside. His lack of bulk hurts him in traffic, and sometimes he can play too aggressively, taking himself out of plays. However, he is a heady player who could have his best football ahead of him.jaguars_115

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears: The Bears named the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator their next coach.

Nagy has spent the last five seasons in Kansas City, first as quarterbacks coach before ascending to offensive coordinator in 2016. Under Nagy, the Chiefs finished 13th in points scored in 2016 before leaping to sixth in the category in 2017. Kansas City saw an even larger improvement in yards gained, jumping from 27th to 20th from 2015 to 2016, and 20th to fifth from 2016 to 2017. Former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich will be Nagy’s offensive coordinator and the team gave Vic Fangio a three-year deal to remain defensive coordinator.

The Raiders have received permission to interview Dolphins offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo for Oakland’s OL job, sources told Rapoport. The Raiders announced on Jan. 12 they’ve hired offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

Remember when QB Ben Roethlisberger wondered aloud whether he just couldn’t get it done any more? No one was wondering that about Roethlisberger after his 506-yard passing performance in Sunday night’s triumph over the Ravens.

The Chargers hosted the Saints on Sunday in a game that turned out to be a total dud thanks in large part to the fact that Philip Rivers and Drew Brees didn’t play. For more on Sunday’s games, including the Steelers’ 17-13 win over the Falcons, you can click right here.

Over the weekend, we had our first full day of action in the preseason with a total of nine games being played on Saturday. For a complete roundup, click right here, but here’s a quick summary: Rams quarterback Jared Goff, last year’s top pick who struggled mightily in his rookie season, looked great in his half of action. He went 14 of 17 for 145 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles have lapped the field in the NFC East, as their dominant second half Sunday night in Dallas demonstrated. It took them a half to shake off the rust from their bye week, but once they got things revved up, Philadelphia again looked very much like the league’s most complete team.

There’s no question now that the Patriots and Steelers are the AFC’s top two teams, and by a significant margin. For each, the rest of the regular season is all about which one will host the AFC championship game.jaguars_082

Embiid entered this season as a hyper-talented but risky proposition, having played only 31 games over the first three seasons of his career.

Among the most compelling evidence, Harvey said, was smartphone metadata that showed photographs Thompson took of her bodily injuries were snapped on the same days she had spent with Elliott.

“What the NFL investigators learned was that on at least four nights between July 16 and July 21, Mr. Elliott and Ms. Thompson stayed together in the same apartment in the same bedroom. And so these injuries did not just, at least in my judgment, magically appear on her body,” Harvey said. “So while alternative theories are interesting, in my judgment they have to be supported by evidence and that was lacking in this particular situation.”

John Fox, Bears .?.?. The Bears are 3-9 this season and 12-32 under Fox as he nears the end of his third season. Not everything he has tried this season has backfired, but it sure has begun to feel that way. He was done no favors by the team’s disjointed offseason approach at quarterback with the signing of Mike Glennon and trading up in the NFL draft to select Mitchell Trubisky. Doing one or the other would have made sense. Doing both didn’t. About the only argument for keeping Fox, it seems, would be to maintain continuity and stability for Trubisky, who has had enough promising rookie-year moments since taking over as the starter to believe that he can be the real deal. But that probably won’t be enough for Fox to keep his job.

Chuck Pagano, Colts .?.?. Owner Jim Irsay surprised many in the league a couple of years ago by retaining Pagano as his coach and Ryan Grigson as his general manager. Grigson was ousted last offseason following a second straight 8-8 season and was replaced by Chris Ballard.

This made him slide in fantasy drafts, and caused many to wonder if he would ever live up to his potential. Thus, his being named to his first All-Star team is a massive accomplishment. After the announcement, Embiid then went out and did this one the court …

Instead, he decided to work in the signature catch phrase that he’s adopted for his own:

Trump also said such an owner would “be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.” He added that if fans were to “leave the stadium” in response to a protest, “I guarantee things will stop.”jaguars_042

Durant is impressed with this new Rockets squad.

“They’re very tough,” Durant said. “I really like this team, I really like their coach, they got a good home crowd. I think the difference between them last year and this year — obviously, everybody I know, everyone is going to say CP, but they’re just playing harder. I feel like they’re playing harder on the defensive side of the ball, I feel like they’ve got versatile defenders. [Clint] Capela has gotten better. It’s just more than CP. They’re doing a good job of meshing together.”

“The ball’s thrown hard, it’s not an easy catch, there’s a [middle] linebacker standing there waiting for him,” Cousins went on. “A tough task. The ball’s tipped up in the air, the safety happened to be right where the ball was tipped, and we don’t come away with any points and they get the ball. And then we fumbled a punt return and now the field position is reversed, and now we’re snapping the ball from our half-yard line, trying to move the ball down the field. So you know, it’s a combination of factors. And I just don’t see those mistakes as effort-related. I just see them as mistakes that hurt us.”

“Mainly, up until the very end of the game, Teague had more free throws than our entire team,” Rivers said. “I thought we were driving and just as physical as them. It’s rare when you’re the home team and the free throws are 39-22. And a lot of their fouls came down the stretch, when the game was over; it wasn’t even as close as that.”

Clippers big man Blake Griffin was whistled for a technical foul with 4:50 left in regulation, with his team hanging onto a two-point lead. It shifted some momentum back toward the Timberwolves and upset Rivers and his staff.

Dolphins Coach Adam Gase hinted that changes were coming after Thursday’s embarrassing loss to the Ravens.

“I’m done compromising with anybody,” Gase said Friday. “I’ll do what I think is best, and those that want to come on board, great. Those that don’t, we’ll get rid of them.”jaguars_027

Super Bowl 52 odds: Patriots early betting favorites over Eagles

The Patriots, to no one’s surprise, are the early favorite to win Super Bowl 52 over the Eagles on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.

One initial point spread lists New England as 5 1/2-point choice over Philadelphia.

The over/under (total points scored) was set at 47.5, which would indicate something like a 28-20 Patriots win if the favorite covers and the over hits.

I don’t want to take anything away from Philadelphia, Boston coach Brad Stevens said. They certainly made us look poor. If you’re not going to own your own space, then you’re going to turn the ball over.

The Celtics had no answer for Embiid, who was 10 for 19 from the floor and 6 of 7 at the foul line. He also had six assists and blocked two shots.

The Sixers forced 19 turnovers and outrebounded the Celtics 41-31 while avoiding a season sweep.

It’s been a trend for us the last two games. For whatever reason, we’ve been sloppy on offense, Horford said. Other teams are putting pressure on us and speeding us up a little bit and we’re not handling it too well.

The Colts did the Browns a favor in Week 17 of the regular season with their 22-13 win over the Texans (4-12). Thanks to a draft-day trade, the Browns own the Texans’ first-round pick, which is fourth overall after they lost to the Colts. That trade allowed the Texans to move up from 25th to 12th to select former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns then took Jabrill Peppers with the 25th pick.

The Browns also have Houston’s second-round pick (35th overall) thanks to the trade that sent Brock Osweiler to the Browns, who waived Osweiler before the regular season began.

There weren’t a lot of positives, except we also secured the No. 4 draft pick, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said after the team’s 28-24 loss in Pittsburgh to complete just the second 0-16 season in NFL history. So we’re excited to see what (general manager John Dorsey) can do with the draft picks we’ve accumulated as well as what we can do in free agency.sabres_1100

Tom Brady to cameraman: ‘F— out the way’

Tom Brady had some choice words for a cameraman while taking the field Sunday for the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars.

Brady’s frustration with the cameras continued, as he appeared to use profanity when asking for a group of them to be removed from the field.

We don’t play again until Wednesday, so I have some time to think about how to fix this, Van Gundy said. We just don’t play hard on a consistent basis. We’ve fallen behind early, but even when we had a great start on Friday (against Washington), we didn’t keep it going.

The Nets led 53-48 at halftime. The Pistons had one offensive rebound in the half, slowed by Drummond’s three fouls.

The Jaguars have made only two previous AFC championship appearances — in 1996 and 1999. They lost both, but this year’s group is confident it can pull off another upset following last weekend’s surprise 45-42 divisional win at Pittsburgh.

The Eagles and Vikings have a combined six Super Bowl appearances between them but no championships in the Super Bowl era. The winner of Sunday’s NFC championship will hope to rectify that.

While the Jaguars have been impressive in beating the Bills and Steelers, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots present their biggest challenge.

Bortles has been far too inconsistent throwing the ball to trust the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium against a seasoned team like the Patriots, even with QB Tom Brady nursing a sore throwing hand.sabres_1398

2018 NFL Draft order: Picks 1-30 set before Super Bowl 52

The Browns clinched the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Christmas Eve. They secured the fourth overall pick on New Year’s Eve.

The Eagles and Patriots, the top two seeds in each conference, will hold the final two picks after punching their ticket to Super Bowl 52.

We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of work to do, and we’re anxious to get after it.

The Giants (3-13), who ended the season with an 18-10 win over the Redskins, will pick second overall while the Colts (4-12) have the third pick. The Broncos (5-11), Osweiler’s current team, will select fifth.

The Jaguars went from the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft to a final four pick in the 2018 draft by reaching the AFC championship game. After losing to the Patriots, they will have the fourth-to-last pick in the first round — 29th overall.

The first 20 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft were set before the playoffs. Picks 21-24 were decided after the wild-card round. Picks 25-38 were locked in with the divisional round. The Chiefs (10-6), who won the AFC West, do not own a first-round pick after trading it to Buffalo (9-7) to move up to 10th in the 2017 draft to select former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Bills will pick consecutively at 21 and 22.

New England is 10-2 against the spread in its last 12 games, although it failed to cover Sunday as a 7 1/2-point favorite in the AFC championship game against the Jaguars.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, continues to cash as a home underdog. It won outright Sunday while getting three points in the NFC title game against the Vikings. That makes three consecutive underdog wins for Nick Foles-led Philadelphia.

We knew that it was going to be the same team. It wasn’t going to be any new plays, Embiid said. We were just physical. Last time they played us when they had that comeback, they were more physical than us. So tonight I think we were more physical than them.

Boston played without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who rested a sore left shoulder. Al Horford and Marcus Morris each scored 14 points.

After winning seven in a row, Boston has lost two straight.patriots_113_f059ffba91275395-180x180