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作者 主题: We just wanted to be that team tonight  (阅读 21 次)
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« 于: 八月 14, 2018, 02:55:20 pm »

Tennessee safety Kevin Byard is hoping to scratch one more thing off his bucket list.

The second-year safety tied for the league-lead with eight interceptions and led the NFL with 10 total takeaways Evander Kane Sharks Jersey , though he has yet to reach the end zone. Byard sees no better time than Saturday when the Titans (9-7) visit the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) in an AFC wild-card game in his postseason debut.

”I’m just hoping to get in the end zone this time I can get an interception,” Byard said. ”That’s just my whole thing, trying to help this team anyway I can.”

Byard just earned his second AFC defensive player of the week award for adding two more interceptions in a 15-10 win over Jacksonville in helping the Titans clinch their first playoff berth since 2008. Scoring off Alex Smith won’t be easy with the Chiefs quarterback having been intercepted only five times all season.

Coach Mike Mularkey believes Byard is the kind of player who can help the Titans win their first playoff game since January 2004. Mularkey also has no problem with how confident Byard is.

”He backs it up, that’s the best part about it,” Mularkey said. ”He’s not a big talker, trash talker. He’s not cocky at all. He’s a good football player, has a lot of confidence. We all have a lot of confidence in Kevin. He deserves it. He shows if you do what you’re asked to do and you’re in the right place, good things happen and it continues to happen for him.”

The Titans took advantage of geography in making Byard the first pick of the third round in 2016 after he set a school record with 19 interceptions at Middle Tennessee where he landed after Kentucky pulled a scholarship late. His performance wasn’t enough to earn Byard an invitation to the NFL combine.

Once with the Titans, the 5-foot-11, 212-pound Byard impressed coaches and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau with how quickly he picked up the complicated schemes. Byard started the final seven games of his rookie season. Byard didn’t get his first interception in the NFL until his 20th career game, but he’s the kind of safety that gets his hands on passes in bunches.

Byard picked off three passes in a win at Cleveland on Oct. 22 Odell Beckham Jr Jersey , then he grabbed two more in a win over Baltimore on Nov. 5. That put him atop the NFL for a few weeks with six interceptions .

That’s a big reason why Byard won the fan voting to start at safety for the AFC in the Pro Bowl. But Byard wound up as an alternate after voting by coaches and players, though he said Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle reached out to him after the roster was announced. He says Weddle told him to keep his head up and offered to watch film with him.

LeBeau isn’t about to compare Byard to safeties he’s coached in the past, like Troy Polamalu who’s among Byard’s football role models with Ed Reed and Brian Dawkins. That would be too much pressure for any young player. But LeBeau says like Polamalu, he knew quickly that Byard would do OK in the NFL.

”He’s a player that’s on the rise no question about it, and he’s playing great football,” LeBeau said.



LeBron James is tired. The young Boston Celtics seem to be getting stronger.

Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points – his ninth 20-point game of the postseason – and Boston beat Cleveland 96-83 on Wednesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics held James to two fourth-quarter points, earning their 10th straight victory in Boston to remain perfect at home this postseason and move within one win of their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010.

”I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games. That’s when I have the most fun,” said Tatum, who needs one more 20-point game to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s rookie record of 10 in a postseason.

”I can’t say it enough: We’re one win away from being in the finals,” Tatum said. ”The playoffs bring the best out of people.”

Game 6 is in Cleveland on Friday night Tremaine Edmunds Jersey Youth , with the decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday if necessary. The home team has won every game so far in the series, and none has been closer than nine points.

”We’re looking forward to having an opportunity to force a Game 7,” said James, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds but also had six turnovers. ”It’s up to us to see if we can come back here for one more.”

Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and 21-year-old Jaylen Brown had 17 points for Boston. Tatum added seven rebounds, four assists and four steals one day after finishing a single vote shy of a unanimous selection to the NBA’s All-Rookie team.

”The sky’s the limit” for Tatum , Brown said. ”He’s going to continue to get better. He’s my workout partner. I expect it in myself and I expect it in him.”

Kevin Love scored 14 points for the Cavaliers, who are trying to reach the finals for the fourth consecutive season. James has played to the end in seven straight seasons.

To extend that streak, he’ll need to win two in a row.

One of them will be in Boston.

”Our focus – LeBron’s focus – is to win,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. ”That’s the only thing that matters.”

The Celtics opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter and nursed it the rest of the way, holding on through a four-minute scoring drought that saw Cleveland score nine straight points to cut the deficit to 83-71. But Terry Rozier hit Horford with an alley-oop to snap the skid Reuben Foster Jersey , and that was as close as the Cavs would get.

Reserves Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart each scored 13.

FADING STAR

James had one basket on four shots in the fourth quarter, and afterward conceded that he was worn down. He finished 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the game; the Cavaliers made just 9 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc and shot just 42 percent overall.

”I had my moments, but I think everybody at this point is tired, worn down whatever the case may be,” he said. ”I was still trying to make plays, put our team in position to win.”

GOONING IT UP

Boston went on a 15-3 run in the first quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a nine-point lead. The Celtics scored nine in a row at the end of the first quarter and into the second to take a 36-19 lead, their biggest of the game.

That’s when the Cavaliers fought back .

After a hard defensive play by Morris sent Larry Nance Jr. into the first row of seats, Morris appeared to wander over and say something. Nance to jump up and body checked him; Morris responded with a one-handed shove to the face.

Aron Baynes and Brown came in to break it up, and Terry Rozier put a body on Nance. After a review, the referees called technicals on Rozier, Nance and Morris. Kyle Korver made the foul shot to make it 36-20 and Cleveland went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points Jason Witten Cowboys Jersey , 36-28.

But Morris made a long 3-pointer to stop the scoring drought, and soon hit another to cap an 8-2 run that made it a double-digit lead.

Smart said the Celtics wanted to more aggressive at home.

”At their place, they were the aggressor,” he said. ”That showed and they came up with the victory. We just wanted to be that team tonight.”

TIP-INS

Teams that win Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series win 83 percent of the time. … James had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists at the half. Tatum had 13 points, and Horford had 10 points and seven boards at the break. … Baynes made his first start of the series, subbing for Morris. … It took until midway through the third quarter for a Cavs starter other than James or Love to make a basket. J.R. Smith sank a floater to make it 63-50, and George Hill followed with a jumper of his own. … The Celtics were 10-0 in the playoffs at home in 1986. … Horford had his 7th double-double of the postseason, matching a career high he set in 2015.

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