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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Rockets reportedly shopping Dwight Howard, who says, ‘I’m not running’ from adversity

02.12.16 at 8:24 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: All-Star Celebrity Game, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: All-Star Rising Stars Challenge, 9 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Dayton at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Ohio at Buffalo, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Monmouth at Rider, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UCLA at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College hockey: Maine at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Multiple reports indicate the Rockets are shopping Dwight Howard, although the veteran center insists he’s not asking for a trade.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, to find the eight-time All-Star a new home, but Fegan told ESPN that’s not the case.

“I’m not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard,” Fegan said. “What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I.

Howard later backed his agent, telling ESPN, “Dan’s statement is true. I have not asked the Rockets to trade me, nor have I talked about right trades. I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I’m not running because we have been faced with some adversity.”

The Rockets, who replaced Kevin McHale with interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff 11 games into this season, are 27-28 following Wednesday’s 116-103 loss to the Trail Blazers, after which Bickerststaff referred to the Rockets as “a broken team.”

Howard is due to earn $23.3 million next season but is expected to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. That makes him an option to be traded before next Thursday’s deadline.

There has been speculation that the Celtics will pursue Howard — they certainly could use a center who averages 14.6 points and 12.0 rebounds a game — although there are longstanding questions about Howard’s desire to do what it takes to be a champion. The C’s are said to be interested in Hawks veteran Al Horford, who supposedly is being shopped as well.

— The two teams most affected by the death of Monty Williams’ wife held a moment of silence before they played Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

Williams, the former Pelicans coach who now is an assistant with the Thunder, is on indefinite leave from the team as he tends to his children — three of whom were injured in the car crash that took Ingrid Williams’ life.

Thunder star Kevin Durant broke down while speaking with the media during the team’s morning shootaround, saying, “I just love Coach Monty so much, man. I feel for him,” before ending the interview after 15 seconds.

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Read More: Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Mark Davis, Monty Williams

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NBA mourns Thunder assistant Monty Williams’ wife, who dies after car crash

02.11.16 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Jets, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: VCU at UMass, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. Francis (Pa.) at Robert Morris, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UConn at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Florida State at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Morehead State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa at Indiana, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oregon at California, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois State at Evansville, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Radford at UNC Asheville, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Portland, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon State at Stanford, 11 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Clippers coach Doc Rivers could be forgiven if his mind wasn’t completely on Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Celtics at TD Garden.

That’s because the wife of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, Rivers’ longtime friend, died Wednesday night from injuries sustained the night before in a car crash.

Ingrid Williams, 44, was hit while driving just outside Oklahoma City by a car that crossed the center line. The other driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rivers has known the couple since before they were married, and his son Austin played for Williams for 2 1/2 seasons before being traded to the Clippers. Rivers was informed of Ingrid’s death after Wednesday’s game, and he fought back tears when speaking to the media.

“I’m heartbroken,” Rivers said. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. There’s no better human being in the world than Monte and Ingrid. Sometimes you question everything, and this is one of those times.”

Condolences poured in for Williams from around the NBA.

Tweeted Pelicans star Anthony Davis: Completely devastated. Ingrid Williams was like a 2nd mother to me when I got to NOLA. My thoughts & prayers are with Monty & the family.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone let his emotions show when coaching his team to a win over the Pistons.

“I apologized to the team. The first half, I coached very angry,” Malone said. “I don’t know if you guys heard, Monty Williams, a good friend of mine, his wife was killed in an accident. … So I apologized to them because it’s taking my anger out on them, and they don’t deserve that.”

Terrell Owens was not selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, his first year of eligibility. He undoubtedly eventually will get in, but it won’t be because he campaigned for it. According to him, that’s behavior better left to Cris Carter.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show, Owens expressed his displeasure with Carter’s frequent criticism, dating back to when they both played. Owens referred to a 1998 playoff game in which Owens’ 49ers team eliminated Carter’s Vikings from the playoffs, after which Carter referred to Owens as “mediocre.”

“For somebody like that, for Cris Carter to come out and say something like that, I just felt like it was disrespectful,” Owens said. “And so now, you look at where I am statistically, I’ve surpassed him. And from what I heard, from a lot of guys, he begged his way into the Hall of Fame.”

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Read More: Cris Carter, doc rivers, Hope Solo, Monty Williams

GM John Elway: Broncos defense ‘in the argument to be one of the best ever’

02.10.16 at 12:20 pm ET
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The Broncos were feted at a victory celebration in Denver on Tuesday. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

The Broncos were feted at a victory celebration in downtown Denver on Tuesday. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

After finishing the season as the NFL’s top-ranked defense and dominating throughout the postseason, the Broncos brought a Lombardi Trophy back to Denver and celebrated with their fans Tuesday.

At the team’s victory parade, general manager John Elway raised some eyebrows when he said the defense should not only be considered elite, it should go down as one of the best in the history of the league.

“To me, to sit here and say, if you look at it, if you look at the performance in that Super Bowl, they are in the argument to be one of the best ever,” Elway said. “It’s hard to say that they’re going to be that, but they’re in the argument, which is a [great] compliment to them.”

Elway was the man who constructed the defense piece by piece following Denver’s blowout loss to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos transformed from an offensive-minded team to one that was carried by its defense.

“I know one thing: I wouldn’t want to play them. I’m glad I didn’t have to play them,” Elway said. “Obviously, we’re biased in the fact that we rode their coattails all the way to the championship.”

Denver’s mayor estimated that a million fans turned out for Tuesday’s celebration, with players riding a convoy through city streets after an outdoor concert.

Read More: Denver Broncos, John Elway, NFL,

Video: Bernie Sanders relaxes in New Hampshire by playing basketball

02.10.16 at 10:04 am ET
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Much has been made about Barack Obama’s love of basketball and his pickup games at the White House. Bernie Sanders, who hopes to succeed Obama as president, showed Tuesday he’s got game as well.

The Vermont Senator shot hoops with his grandchildren in Concord, New Hampshire, while waiting for the final results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic primary — which he won handily over Hillary Clinton. (Donald Trump, fresh off his appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday, won the Republican primary.)

The 74-year-old showed some skill, banking in a series of short shots.

Sanders said in a previous interview that he was a “very good athlete” and his Brooklyn elementary school won the borough championship. He ran track at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, where he said he ran a mile in the impressive time of 4 minutes, 37 seconds.

Sanders has another connection to sports: He was part of the bipartisan House Committee on Government Reform panel that grilled Roger Clemens and other Major League Baseball players on the use of steroids in baseball in 2005.

Read More: Bernie Sanders,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Browns deny using concussion protocol to cover up for intoxicated Johnny Manziel

02.10.16 at 8:21 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Clippers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Lakers at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tulane at East Carolina, 6:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Butler at Seton Hall, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Providence at Marquette, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: LSU at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Memphis at Houston, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Baylor at Kansas State, 8:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulsa at SMU, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: San Diego State at Fresno State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Rangers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: FA Cup, West Bromwich at Peterborough United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Johnny Manziel’s departure from Cleveland can’t come soon enough for the Browns.

On Tuesday the team denied an NFL Network report that it covered up for the fact that Manziel showed up at for practice the final week of the season in an intoxicated state by placing him in the concussion protocol.

NFL Network’s Michael Silver, using an unnamed Browns player as his source, reported that the team “lied” to protect Manziel, who took a couple of hard hits during the team’s Dec. 27 loss to the Chiefs.

“Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of December 30th and complained of concussion symptoms,” the team said in a statement. “He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league’s concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until January 12th after being cleared by the independent neurologist.”

Manziel missed the final regular-season game against the Steelers, and he missed a scheduled medical checkup the morning of that game after reportedly visiting Las Vegas the previous day.

Similar speculation emerged that week, with then-coach Mike Pettine strongly denying the team covered for Manziel.

Silver sent out a series of tweets defending his report, but he backtracked slightly, saying he takes the Browns at their word and regrets using the word “lied.”

The Browns have indicated they plan to release Manziel, who is being investigated by Dallas police after his ex-girlfriend accused him of hitting her in an incident last week.

— The Clippers came down on star Blake Griffin, suspending the injured forward four games and docking him an additional game’s salary because his broke his hand punching a member of the equipment staff last month. The suspension will begin when Griffin returns from his injury in a few weeks.

“We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization,” team owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers said in a joint statement. “Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team.”

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Johnny Manziel, Phil Jackson,

Panthers coach Ron Rivera defends Cam Newton’s actions during, after Super Bowl

02.09.16 at 10:32 am ET
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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been heavily scrutinized this week for his actions both on and off the field on Super Bowl Sunday.

Newton came under fire when he appeared to back away from a loose ball after fumbling in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. Then during his postgame press conference he gave mostly one-word answers before abruptly walking out on reporters, saying, “I’m done, man.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera apparently is not as concerned as fans and media members. In an interview with Pro Football Talk, Rivera defended his quarterback’s decision not to dive after his fourth-quarter fumble.

“I think he was looking for the rebound. When that group of guys came diving in, when it ricocheted backwards, he tried to turn and get after the ball,” Rivera said. “When you look at the circumstances he was looking at, I have no problem with that.”

As for Newton’s postgame surliness, Rivera said it simply was the result of the QB’s competitive nature.

Said Rivera, “The one thing about Cam that I think a lot of people have to understand is he hates to lose. He really does. And a lot of great ones have that.”

Rivera said the experience can all be used as a lesson for the future.

“Unfortunately, we just didn’t win the big one,” the coach said. “I think he’ll learn and grow from this situation and come back stronger next year.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera, super bowl

Knicks begin search for next coach after firing Derek Fisher

02.09.16 at 9:58 am ET
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Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher

Knicks president Phil Jackson decided to cut ties with coach Derek Fisher on Monday. The firing took place after Fisher led the team to a mark of 23-31 this season and an abysmal 17-65 record last season. The Knicks have lost nine of their last 10 games.

Former Lakers and Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis will step in as interim coach for the remainder of the season. While he will have a chance to earn the head coaching position, there are a number of outside candidates the Knicks may be taking a hard look at.

One name that is thrown around with just about every coaching vacancy in the NBA is former Celtics assistant and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. There’s also former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, whom Jackson reportedly preferred over Fisher but could not hire because Shaw already had a job at the time.

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list is Warriors assistant Luke Walton. The incredible job the 35-year-old did filling in for Steve Kerr this season has not gone unnoticed, and he almost certainly will be getting head coaching offers in the near future. One report indicated the Lakers would be willing to fire coach Byron Scott so they could hire Walton.

Walton and Fisher both played for Jackson with the Lakers, while Shaw and Rambis were assistant coaches under Jackson.

Read More: Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Luke Walton, New York Knicks

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Manziel’s ex-girlfriend details attack, says QB’s hit caused her to lose hearing

02.09.16 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Kings at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Stars at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Bucks, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Spurs at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: North Carolina at Boston College, 8 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Michigan State at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: West Virginia at Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Xavier at Creighton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Texas-Arlington at Texas State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: New Mexico at Utah State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: FA Cup, Liverpool at Wes Ham, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A day after a dull Super Bowl, much of the talk in NFL circles centered around Cam Newton‘s obnoxious behavior in the postgame interview area. Sadly for the NFL, that storyline had to have been preferable to the other options, as the league’s players got a jump-start on their annual offseason legal problems.

Taking the early lead for most disgraceful behavior is soon-to-be ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose former girlfriend’s affidavit regarding their recent domestic incident was made public Monday.

According to Colleen Crowley, Manziel hit her so hard that she lost hearing in her left ear. She also claims he forced her into the car he was driving, even after she jumped out in an attempt to escape him.

“Fearful for my life, I hit [Manziel] several times, hoping I could back out of the car,” she said in the affidavit, adding that Manziel “threw me off of him and I hit my head on the car window and I fell into the passenger floorboard.”

The incident started in his hotel room shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 30. Crowley said that after they argued, Manziel restrained her and led her downstairs to the car. She said she asked the valet for help but he did offer assistance.

The authorities announced Friday, after Crowley spoke with Dallas police, that they are investigating a domestic violence complaint against Manziel.

— In Philadelphia, Bills running back LeSean McCoy is being investigated for his alleged role in a nightclub brawl early Sunday in which two off-duty police officers ended up in the hospital.

According to police and media reports, McCoy was with three friends when his group got into an argument with the officers over a misunderstanding about a bottle of champagne. One officer ended up with a broken nose and broken ribs, while the other received stitches and had a possible skull fracture.

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Read More: Delmon Young, Johnny Manziel, LeSean McCoy,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: PuppyMonkeyBaby leaves lasting impression during Super Bowl

02.08.16 at 7:47 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College hockey: Beanpot consolation, Northeastern vs. Harvard, 4:30 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Beanpot championship, Boston College vs. Boston University, 8 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Magic at Hawks, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Women, UConn at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Louisville at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colgate at Army, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Clemson, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Sunday’s Super Bowl will go down as one of the least entertaining ever, a defensive snoozefest that was filled with mistakes by both teams. And as a whole, the Super Bowl commercials were similarly disappointing.

However, there were some memorable spots, including the bizarre PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial for Mountain Dew’s Kickstart energy drink. In an effort to promote the fact that the product is a combination of dew, juice and caffeine, the company featured a creature with a puppy’s head, a monkey’s upper body and a baby’s bottom half (including diaper). The animal enters a room with three men and starts chanting “PuppyMonkeyBaby” while distributing the drink. It then licks the face of one of the men before leading them out the door in a dance.

The commercial horrified many viewers, but it certainly appeared to be generating the most buzz.

Tweeted James Bates of Fox Sports: I’m scared of commercial breaks now… #puppymonkeybaby might start lickin’ stuff again.

Joked comedian Patton Oswalt: That puppy monkey baby is already being used in ISIS recruiting videos. #SB50

— One year after Marshawn Lynch was left on the sideline during the game-deciding play of the Super Bowl, the Seahawks running back appeared to indicated that he’ll be on the sideline for good.

During the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, Lynch tweeted a picture of a pair of cleats hanging from a power line along with a peace emoji. The team retweeted it along with the hashtag #ThankYouBeastMode but said there would be no further comment.

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Read More: Hue Jackson, Johnny Manziel, Marshawn Lynch, PuppyMonkeyBaby

Thinking Out Loud: Providence’s slip-up inevitable, especially considering Ben Bentil injury

02.05.16 at 5:21 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to former Big East bully Danya Abrams?

— In no way is this an excuse, but isn’t there at least a game or two every season that you just give away? That’s what last Tuesday night in Chicago felt like, when the 11th-ranked Friars fell to DePaul. It was an inevitability, no matter what happened.

— Three things in life are inevitable: Death, taxes, and losing one you thought you were going to win.

— Ben Bentil’s injured ankle was a big reason for Providence’s inability to eventually win that one. The Blue Demons had no clue how to guard him in the paint, so they did their best to keep the ball out of the paint and limit PC’s penetration. Plus, flopping to the floor and rolling up on Bentil from behind — like you see done on a football field to guys who blow out knees — that also helped, too.

— Add to the mix Kris Dunn’s relatively rare inability to put the ball in the hole, and a motivated opponent, and you have ingredients necessary for an upset. Providence beat DePaul by 27 at Allstate Arena last year. Some of those players remembered. Even though coach Dave Leitao wasn’t there, HE remembered. New Bedford guys (which he is) have long memories.

— Not for nuthin’, but Dunn is showing an alarming inability to finish some spectacular moves at the basket, which is a pretty good indication he’s trying a bit too hard. He’s also not getting contact calls when going to the basket, which is highly inconsistent for officiating crews who have been instructed to make these calls. Doubly frustrating for him, and for the Friars.

— And for my broadcast partner Joe Hassett, who rarely agrees with any call by an official. But he did compliment referee Mike Stuart at the DePaul game for “not stinking” the other night, so there’s that.

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