Here were the NBA Christmas Day games we wanted

How do you know you’re not a kid anymore? When you stop waking up at 7 a.m. on Christmas Day, eager to sprint downstairs to tear apart wrapping paper clinging to your presents, and instead roll out of bed a couple hours before noon, killing time before the five-game slate of NBA games that happens each and every Buy Cheap Jerseys year.

The league displayed the Timberwolves last year, and showcasing them again with Jimmy Butler in tow would have made even more sense. The Los Angeles rivalry and the Cavaliers vs. Warriors showdown are both inevitable, we’re betting. UPDATE: Guess not on the LA showdown! No Clippers!

There are few surprises in terms of who will be getting national TV games: plenty of action on ABC, ESPN, and TNT for the Warriors, Cavaliers, Rockets, Thunder, Celtics, and, uh, Lakers. Y’all really have to stop being surprised the Lakers are on TV so much: they draw, and as a Pacific Time Zone team they have the advantage of scarcity. Some West Coast team has to host late games. You can only give the Warriors, Clippers, and Blazers so many of them.

The 18-7 Sparks needed every bit of Johnson’s production against a 13-14 Wings squad that watched Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike score 21 points apiece. This was a huge win for the Wings as they are fighting for a playoff spot.

It was Toliver’s night to shine, as she tallied 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead the Mystics to an 85-80 win over the Mercury. Toliver came up big down New Vikings Jerseys Cheap the stretch, scoring seven of Washington’s last 11 points, including a clutch step-back jumper to give the Mystics a three-point lead with 13 seconds left.

The Mystics now have a two game lead over the Mercury for the fourth seed in the WNBA Playoffs. They also play each of their next three games at home, since this was their first home game since the All-Star Break ended.

Nuggets’ Will Barton won’t sign extension, eyes 2018 free agency, report says

Nuggets small forward Will Barton will not agree to a contract extension this offseason, thus officially joining the 2018 free-agent class, ESPN.com first reported.

Barton, 26, has been one of the NBA’s best sixth men for the last few seasons. He’s entering the final year of his three-year, $11 million contract. He has averaged 14.4 points and 13.7 points game during the last two seasons, respectively.

Johnson might be of the belief, as several NBA executives are, that the Pacers’ failure to surround George with better teammates has accounted for his unhappiness and public flogging of teammates during tough times. The theory goes that George’s mood will be vastly improved if he finds himself playing with better players, or returns to his native California to star for the team he grew up rooting for.

X-factor: In clutch time, can the Jazz turn to someone other than Johnson? At one point in the fourth quarter, Utah went more than six minutes without a bucket after being stuck with 96 points from 8:00 to 1:54 on the clock. The guy who finally broke that scoreless streak? Joe Johnson. Hayward and George Hill scored 66 of Utah’s 106 points for the game, so it feels odd to criticize those two, but they do need offer Johnson some sort of assistance in the final minutes.

Hill’s performance also highlighted the backup point guard issue on the Jazz bench. Quin Snyder may need to hand Raul Neto some of Shelvin Mack’s minutes because Mack isn’t producing much. The former Butler star has five points in 33 minutes for the entire series, while Neto scored five points in three minutes in Game 3 after not playing in Games 1 or 2. There at least needs to be a threat at the position, and right now, it’s not Mack.

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Cincinnati came into the season with some pundits claiming they could go to the Super Bowl. So far, at 4-2, the Bengals have the look of a team that should make the playoffs, but it is hard to say Buy Cheap Jerseys how far they can go. Marvin Lewis’ team has struggled at times, losing to the Browns and nearly losing to the Bills. At the same point, they have had impressive wins over the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.

The defense has been the strong point for Cincinnati, ranking eighth in yards against per game, while being a top-10 unit in that department against both the run and pass. Most importantly, the Bengals only allow 18.5 points per game, seventh-best in the league.

On offense, things are more troublesome. At first glance, Cincinnati is 12th in yardage and has playmakers all over the field in A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Giovani Bernard. However, the team is only 23rd in scoring with 20.2 points per game. Should Cincinnati have aspirations of playing deep in January, the offense will need to figure out how to finish drives.

Dave Choate at The Falcoholic asked three important questions for the Falcons if they’re going to beat the Bucs:

Can the Falcons build a pass rush? The secondary has been remarkably solid outside of Thomas DeCoud and Robert McClain, and even McClain seems to be improving. If the Falcons can get after the quarterback, they’ll make the unit look better than solid. The fact that the Falcons still haven’t figured out how to generate a consistent pass rush, but they have to if they have amy hope of winning.

Mike Nolan needs to dial up more blitzes, guys like Jonathan Massaquoi must step up and the Falcons need to think about how they can get Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu opportunities. Since they’re still pushing hard this season, it might be Buy Cheap Jerseys Online worth poking around the market, though as I said the other day, I’d like to avoid giving up too many assets.