This Week in US Sports: Clippers one-up Lakers, Home Run Derby shocks world

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

There is never a dull day in the NBA, but this past weekend may have been the craziest moment in league history.

We will get to that in a second, but we will also touch on the Home Run Derby and the Houston Texans who are looking like a train wreck once again.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Clippers eclipse Lakers

This was as crazy of an NBA offseason as there has ever been. An MVP candidate (Anthony Davis) was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, two stars signed with the Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving), the Boston Celtics reloaded with an All-NBA guard (Kemba Walker) and the New York Knicks are the Knicks.

But all of that news paled in comparison to what happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning when news broke the Los Angeles Clippers were going to get both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. While the Leonard news broke first, what we came to find out was Leonard had convinced George to accept a trade to Los Angeles from the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, while he signed seemingly on his own with the Clippers, what actually went down was the George trade was agreed to which sealed Leonard's move to Los Angeles.

Now the Clippers and Lakers have even odds to win the NBA Finals next year, but the Clippers have much of the momentum and possibly the best defensive tandem in the NBA in George, Leonard and Patrick Beverley. The Western Conference is going to be fun next year.

 

2. Home Run Derby for the ages

For years the Home Run Derby has been stale. A few years ago, the MLB was forced to change the format from 10 outs to a timed round in which players could hit as many pitches as they want rather than being selective and taking pitch after pitch. Some rounds would seem to creep into the 30-minute range and fans were losing interest.

Absolutely no interest was lost on Monday though in a Home Run Derby for the ages. This derby featured a man (Joc Pederson) who hit 39 home runs in a round and lost (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 40) and an event where a rookie bashed 91 balls over the fence and did not win (Guerrero).

There were 321 total homers in the event and the final between two rookies (Guerrero and Alonso) took three overtimes to decide. The Home Run Derby was not boring this year, it was what a Derby was always supposed to be.

 

3. Drama in Houston

The Houston Texans have been one of the better organisations in the NFL over the last several years as they have made the playoffs three of the last four seasons while winning their division five times since 2011. But all that success seems to be in spite of themselves and this offseason is a perfect example as to why.

Houston selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in 2014. He has 29 sacks and 67 quarterback hits in his career and has been named to three Pro Bowls while missing a total of six games over the last four years. And yet, the Texans do not want to sign him to a long-term deal. In fact, they likely will not be signing him to a long-term deal at all this offseason, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Even more damning may be the team's ineptitude in the front office. General manager Rick Smith left last year to take care of his sick wife, but it was reported he did so because of a rift with Bill O'Brien. Then the man hired to replace Smith was fired after one year with the team, but after the Draft. Finally, the team decided on Thursday they were not going to hire a replacement GM and will run the team as a committee next season. The Texans are lucky to be in one of the worst divisions in the NFL, otherwise they may be getting more flak for their actions.

 

4. Chad Mendes retires

A former WEC title contender has retired. Chad Mendes, who accumulated an 18-5 record and had Conor McGregor beaten and bloodied on short notice, has decided to end his long and illustrious career in the WEC and UFC.

"I just want to say THANK YOU to all my fans and everyone that tuned in to watch me battle!" Mendes wrote on Instagram. "With 29 years of competing and 11 year in the Mma game, I feel it's time for the next chapter in my life! It's been an incredible journey with so many life lesson along the way. I feel extremely blessed to be living this life I live and can't wait to see what the next chapter has in store for me!"

 

5. Astros' Marisnick suspended two games

Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick has been suspended for two games after running over Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a game on Sunday, MLB announced on Thursday.

Lucroy sustained a concussion and broken nose on the play and manager Brad Ausmus called for Marisnick's suspension after the game as did St Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

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  • Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook ruled out for Saints against Bears Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook ruled out for Saints against Bears

    Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook have been ruled out for the New Orleans Saints' meeting with the Chicago Bears, the team announced on Friday.

    Running back Kamara has been dealing with an ankle injury over the past week and was listed on the Saints' injury report with a knee issue in addition.

    Tight end Cook has also dealt with an ankle injury and neither player practiced this week.

    Kamara was last week listed as questionable ahead of the Saints' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and wound up playing, rushing 11 times for 31 yards and catching seven passes for 35 yards.

    He has rushed for 373 yards and one touchdown on 86 carries this season. Kamara has also caught 33 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown.

    Cook has appeared in six games, catching 15 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

    The injury report also stated quarterback Drew Brees will miss Sunday's game with a thumb injury he suffered in New Orleans' Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

  • NFL news and notes: Chiefs, Mahomes receive good news; 17-game schedule may be on horizon NFL news and notes: Chiefs, Mahomes receive good news; 17-game schedule may be on horizon

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' injury is reportedly not too serious and a 17-game schedule may be on the horizon.

    All that and more on this edition of NFL news and notes. 

    Three things that matter Mahomes likely to return this season

    When Mahomes went down with a knee injury during the second quarter of the Chiefs' 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos, the NFL world held its collective breath. But a new report suggests Mahomes' injury is not as serious as it was initially believed.

    NFL Network's reporting the reigning NFL MVP had an MRI on Friday and it confirmed the diagnosis of a dislocated knee cap and that there is "no significant additional damage."

    The Chiefs plan on him returning later this season.

    Kansas City currently sits at 5-2 and first place in the AFC West. Three of their next four games are at home before a bye in Week 12.

    Cooper practices for Cowboys

    Amari Cooper suffered a thigh bruise during the Dallas Cowboys' 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 6, and had to exit last week's 24-22 loss to the New York Jets early in the game due to the lingering injury.

    “From the time I had hurt it in the Green Bay game to the time I talked to you guys, it had taken a huge leap,” Cooper told reporters on Thursday. “So I thought it would continue to get a lot better each and every day - but it kind of plateaued and it only got a little bit better every day.”

    Dallas desperately need Cooper to be healthy, especially with the team in the midst of a three-game skid after starting the season 3-0. It remains to be seen whether Cooper will suit to against Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

    “You know it’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be a dogfight for us,” Cooper said. “It’s a divisional game, and it’s always a dogfight.”

    NFL Players' Association open to discussing 17-game regular season

    In recent years, rumours of NFL owners wanting to expand the regular season to 18 games have surfaced and been major talking points.

    It seems players have begun to warm up to the idea, with ESPN reporting the NFLPA is open to discussing a 17-game regular season as part of the next collective bargaining agreement. The report states the NFLPA is in favour of expanding the season as long as the players' share in revenue is increased by a "sufficient amount" in the new deal.

    While a formal 17-game proposal has not been created, the report states details have been discussed regarding the new schedule, including bye weeks for teams before Thursday night games, moving the Super Bowl back to Presidents' Day weekend and players getting paid on a 52-week schedule as opposed to just during the season.

    The current CBA expires in March 2021.

    Two things that don't matter Broncos' Fangio saying he's disappointed by offensive performance this season

    You do not have to be a football expert to notice Denver's offense this season has been below par. The Broncos have scored more than 20 points just twice this season, and in Thursday's home loss to the Chiefs, they only managed six against a porous Kansas City defense.

    "It was all levels of our passing game (that) were problems," coach Vic Fangio said. "Protection sometimes, receivers not getting open sometimes, [the Chiefs] using good coverages for us that maybe we weren't ready for; it's certainly a problem we have to get rectified moving forward. ... It's disappointing not to be ultimately competitive out there."

    Last offseason, Denver general manager John Elway traded a 2019 fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft to Baltimore for quarterback Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP was coming off a season where he only played in nine games and has not looked like the signal-caller who lead the Ravens to a championship seven seasons ago. 

    Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have seen five different quarterbacks start games for them and can't seem to find stability at the position. Not to mention the team opted to hire a defensive-minded coach in Fangio this past offseason, so it was not like things were going to improve on the offensive side of the ball this season.

    Bears quarterback Trubisky practices, listed as questionable to face Saints

    Mitch Trubisky has been sidelined after dislocating his shoulder and partially tearing his labrum on September 29 against the Minnesota Vikings.

    The Chicago Bears released their injury report on Friday, and while Trubisky was a full participant in practice all week, he is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

    "That where we have him at," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "He's been doing good in practice and I like where he's at. We said earlier in the week that it was going to be a day-by-day thing and so far he's stacked good days together." 

    Chicago have played one game in Trubisky's absence: a 24-21 loss to Oakland Raiders in London. But having the former first-round pick might not make things any better for the Bears.

    The 25-year-old has looked pedestrian at best in the four games he has appeared in, leaving Chicago to rely on a tenacious defense to stay in games. 

    Friday's tweet of the day

    After Mahomes' scary injury, the quarterback took to Twitter early on Friday morning to voice support for his team and give an update on his situation.

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