ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 27 Womens Kareem Hunt Jersey , Glendale, Arizona
LAST YEAR: Cardinals dealt with myriad injuries but managed to pull out win in Seattle in finale to finish 8-8 in coach Bruce Arians’ final game. He announced retirement next day. Arians finished with franchise-record 50 wins, but his teams failed to make playoffs in last two years. QB Carson Palmer, after another season shortened by injury, also announced retirement. 8-8 record came despite loss of standout running back David Johnson when he dislocated wrist in opener. It was another standout year for Larry Fitzgerald: In 14th NFL season, he finished second in league in receptions with 102. Outside linebacker Chandler Jones led NFL with 16 sacks.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Steve Wilks, QB Sam Bradford, QB Josh Rosen, QB Mike Glennon, RT Andre Smith, RG Justin Pugh, WR Brice Butler, WR Christian Kirk Womens Greg Olsen Jersey , CB Jamar Taylor, RB Chase Edmonds.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Arians, Palmer, S Tyrann Mathieu, WR John Brown, WR Jaron Brown, QB Drew Stanton, OT Jared Veldheer, CB Justin Bethel, OG Alex Boone, DT Frostee Rucker, ILB Karlos Dansby, DT Josh Mauro Authentic Shea Weber Jersey , TE Troy Niklas, OT Earl Watford.
CAMP NEEDS: With new coach and new systems on offense, defense and special teams, plenty for Cardinals to work on once they don pads. While most practices will be held in air conditioned comfort of University of Phoenix Stadium, Wilks says he wants some workouts outside in sweltering Arizona summer heat. There will be several important position battles, including for No. 2 receiver spot behind Fitzgerald. There’s also intrigue at quarterback, where Rosen has drawn praise as Cardinals bring along Bradford slowly after last year’s knee injury. Rosen will try to unseat Glennon as backup. Wilks and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy want much of offense built around dynamic Johnson, who led NFL in yards from scrimmage two seasons ago. But Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp in contract dispute. Wilks also has cut camp shorter, ending it on Aug. 13 – just after second preseason game – and moving back to practice facilities.
EXPECTATIONS: Outside of Cardinals organization, expectations aren’t high. Many early forecasts have them finishing last in the NFC West. But Wilks has impressed players with his system and he says team has cornerstones of great players – Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Johnson and maybe Bradford – to build winning team. Preseason games will be particularly interesting as Rosen is likely to get extensive playing time.
The New Orleans Pelicans are fighting for their playoff lives. The Golden State Warriors just want to get back to full strength and defend their championship.
”Tonight we’re playing a team that desperately needs to win,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”You can tell the teams around the league that have to win. They’re getting after it. They’re playing for their season. Our season begins next week.”
Anthony Davis outdueled Kevin Durant down the stretch on the way to 34 points Chris Ivory Jersey , and the Pelicans snapped a 10-game losing streak to Golden State with a 126-120 win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
Durant scored 19 of his 41 points in the third quarter to go with 10 rebounds and five assists. He made big 3-pointers with 6:39 remaining and at the 4:52 mark that got Golden State to 112-111, but the Pelicans kept answering.
The NBA Finals MVP made things more difficult after halftime on Davis, who also had 12 rebounds for the Pelicans while having his way with the Warriors’ defense from the start.
The Pelicans beat the Warriors for the first time since April 7, 2015, in New Orleans, and at Oracle Arena for the first time since April 24, 2012.
”I just thought we played about as perfect as you have to play to beat them,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. ”They’re just such a great team. They just keep coming at you. We were never comfortable.”
Durant also committed a costly late turnover that led to E’Twaun Moore’s pullup jumper with 23.5 seconds left. KD lost the ball for another key steal less than a minute earlier but immediately got a rebound on the other end that led to Andre Iguodala’s dunk on the other end to get Golden State to 121-119 with 1:01 left.
Quinn Cook, who has been an admirable fill-in for the injured Stephen Curry after his promotion from the G League, added 21 points with five 3-pointers in the Warriors’ final regular-season home game.
This was primarily the KD and Davis show.
Davis shot 13 for 24, while Nikola Mirotic made four quick 3-pointers and six in all on the way to 28 points. Jrue Holiday scored 25 and Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists.
Durant tied the game on a layup just before halftime but Davis scored again to give him 19 points on 9-for-14 shooting in the first half. New Orleans led 67-65 after sizzling shooting by both teams – 59.6 by the Pelicans to 57.4 for Golden State and seven 3-pointers apiece.
Draymond Green just missed a triple-double for the Warriors, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He had seven of Golden State’s 17 turnovers.
Pelicans: New Orleans had 39 assists Authentic Carl Gunnarsson Jersey , Moore adding seven. … G Ian Clark missed his second straight game – this one against his former team – because of a sprained right ankle. … New Orleans has given up 110 or more points in each of the last 11 regular-season meetings vs. the Warriors.
Warriors: Iguodala, who had been uncertain to play with a sore left knee, received a second-quarter technical. … Golden State will go with a center by committee for now, with Kevon Looney earning the start Saturday. … Shaun Livingston was out to rest his sore right knee. The Warriors had won their previous five regular-season home finales. … Golden State dropped to 10-4 in the first game of back-to-backs. … Warriors President and COO Rick Welts was honored for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Stephen Curry, dressed and with backpack on, hopped up and down a few times on his tender left knee in the locker room with a big grin alongside athletic trainer Chelsea Lane. They’re going on the quick road trip to Phoenix.
Curry did some light work on the court then iced his injured left knee before the game while munching popcorn at his locker.
He’s still a week from having his sprained knee re-evaluated and Kerr ruled him out for the first round of the playoffs.
”We’ll talk a week from today,” Kerr said. ”There’s nothing to report.”
The Warriors waived forward Omri Casspi after the game. Casspi has been sidelined by an ankle injury and Golden State needed to clear a roster spot in order to make room for Cook to be on the playoff roster.
The Pelicans had a four-day break and dropped from fourth place to eighth in the Western Conference standings.
That’s how wild this final stretch has been and still could be.
”It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Gentry said. ”I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Pelicans: At Clippers on Monday.
Warriors: At Phoenix on Sunday looking for a 15th straight victory vs. the Suns and playing their 14th and last back-to-back.
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