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Kevin Durant Closing In On 20k Points

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant has been sidelined from an calf injury, but he has a chance to make history with his return. Durant is 25 points shy of scoring 25,000 points before the age 30. If he does it on Wednesday, he would become the second youngest player to do it behind Lebron James.

The Warriors All-Star forward spoke to ESPN about the opportunity to join  Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as the only players do it.

“Man, that’s some great company, and there’s so many names I never thought I’d be in the same conversation with,” Durant said. “But to know — to have it in numbers, in black and white — to know that you belong in that group is pretty special to me. I’m telling you, man, it’s never been a goal of mine to count how many points I have. That’s not why I play the game. To be under 30 and do it, that’s special to me too. You play in this league for so long, and having an opportunity to do something like this at this age, you just can’t take it for granted, because there’s not too many players on that list.”

Durant went on to say he never envisioned making it to this milestone.

“I had one goal when I came into the league, and that was for me to win Rookie of the Year, and I just kept building after that,” he said. “My second year, I wanted to average 25. Every year I had a goal, but I never envisioned me with 20,000 points, 30,000 points. I was just taking it a day at a time, just trying to lock in, stay in the moment, and here I am.”

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Drake And The Raptors Are Donating Millions To Youth Groups

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Drake continues to be an ambassador for the NBA and more notably for his hometown team the Toronto Raptors.  Drake and Raptors President Masai Ujiri held a press conference in the arena atrium to announce their $3 million (USD $2.4M) donation to help two basketball initiatives.

A million Canadian dollars will go to refurbishing 12 local community basketball courts over the next three years, while $2 million will go to the nearly century-old nonprofit federation Canada Basketball to develop the sport from the grassroots to pro.

This “Welcome Toronto” project “is an immersive brand experience focused on art, community and ball,” according to the franchise, and includes six themed nights per year for the next three years, new OVO-edition uniforms and an OVO-designed black and gold home court — but it’s the charity donation that makes it most important to Drake.

“The biggest thing I’m most proud of with this partnership is the million dollars that we’re going to be giving to the city to redo these courts” said Drake “hopefully, to create an amazing atmosphere for anyone in that community to come out and either play casual basketball or potentially breed the next generation of Canadian basketball superstars, which goes to our other donation of 2 million dollars to Canada Basketball who have produced incredible talent.”

The Toronto Raptors and Drake's OVO announced the "Welcome Toronto" program which includes donations to charity, plus OVO-themed attire and home court.

The Raptors announced six Welcome Toronto games for which they’ll wear the black-and-gold, OVO-inspired uniforms they unveiled last week, games that will be played on a black-and-gold Air Canada Centre court designed specifically for the occasion.

The games are: Jan. 26 vs. Utah, Jan. 28 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, Feb. 2 vs. Portland, March 23 vs. Brooklyn and April 6 vs. Indiana.

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Lebron James And Steph Curry Named Captains For ASG

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Lebron James and Steph Curry will put their GM skills to the test after receiving the most votes for the NBA All-Star teams.

The new rule changes allow both players to pick the starters for there teams no matter the conference. The coaches will pick the reserves for each team the same way.  James, as the NBA’s top vote getter, will make the first pick in the draft to determine sides for the All-Star Game next month in Los Angeles.

Curry has been an advocate for the change in the format and was excited at the prospect of becoming a captain. “Why not?” Curry said. “I’ll be the first to usher in the new system. I used to go to the playground all the time and you wanted to be the guy picking teams. That meant you were something on the court back in the day. It’ll be a cool vibe to see how it all shakes out and how unique you can make the lineups.”

After the announcement, Steph took to Twitter to showcase his excitement.

Curry is having fun with the process stating “I may just have to go pick all guards, get the shortest team possible, have some fun with it.” Though that’s not possible with some of the rules. Steph has not decided who he would draft to the Chef Curry squad but thinks picking the reserves is where most of action will be.

“It’ll be interesting to see, probably after the starters are picked, as the reserves are going and you see how the teams are going and you have to pick certain positions, certain skill sets, to try to round out a solid team or just go crazy with it and come up with something funny, like I said, maybe if I could pick 12 guards, see how that goes.”

King James put it plain and simple,  “I’m trying to win.”

“This is the reason they did this format to make it very competitive,” James said. “The All-Star game hasn’t been what it should be the last few years. I’m going to take it upon myself and obviously the rest of the guys to go out there and play the game the right way and compete. Our fans deserve it.”

Lebron also gave some insight on how he manages teams with video games.

“I’m not telling you,” James said. “I’m going to try to build the best team I can. I don’t play fantasy anything. And I don’t trade guys onto teams when I play 2K or play the video games so this is different for me. But I know watching guys and loving their game and all that, if you had an opportunity to play with that guy, how special that would be.”

Checkout our predictions for the starting lineups for the game.

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What We Learned From 2018 College Football National Championship

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Every boy dreams of the day he gets an opportunity to play in the College Football National Championship game. This day came for many freshmen, true freshmen at that. But imagine being a backup to a 25-2 starter Jalen Hurts who has all of the credentials yet still having your name called to start the second half. Well, that’s exactly what happened to true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, but not until the Georgia Bulldogs struck first.

I can guarantee nobody would have predicted younger brother Riley Ridley to outplay big brother Calvin Ridley in the first half either, but he certainly did. With: 12 left in the first half, Sophomore WR Mecole Hardman took the snap on a designed run to the left for the game’s first touchdown. That touchdown put the Bulldogs up 13-0 following a couple Rodrigo Blankenship field goals and was a prime example of how the game was going at that point.

Although being outscored and outplayed by Georgia in the first half, Nick Saban again showed that he’s tough to be outcoached. As Kirby Smart drew up a creative game plan to start the game, it’s how you finish that matters. Saban knew he needed a spark to start the second half, so he decided to bench Hurts and go with true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. It didn’t take long at all before Tagovailoa made a huge impact by making an impressive third-down run for a first down. The freshman put a classy drive together by eventually hitting Henry Ruggs III for a 7-yard score to bring the Crimson Tide within six points.

Just when it looked like Alabama was back in business, another true freshman by the name of Jake Fromm launches an 80-yard dart down the sideline to Hardman for his second touchdown of the game. The high tempo game was then back to a two-score game that didn’t stop there, it was actually just getting started. After both freshmen quarterbacks traded interceptions on back to back positions, Tagovailoa is then able to get them within field goal range. Kicker Andy Pappanastos does the rest by draining a 43-yard field goal to bring them within 10.

Georgia will then go three and out to give the ball back to the Crimson Tide once again. Oh, how the “tides” have turned by this point in the game. Alabama then gets a huge energy boost in its ensuing drive from freshman running back Najee Harris who then pounds the ball right down the field to give Pappanastos a thirty yard try this time. Pappanastos knocks it down to come within seven with 9:24 left in the game and make it a 20-13 score.

With another missed opportunity on a third and short, the Bulldogs found themselves giving the ball up to the Crimson Tide with only a touchdown lead. Just when it looked like Georgia had stopped Alabama’s momentum, Malcolm Parrish gets a huge pass interference call on third down to keep Alabama’s drive alive. With a crucial fourth down from seven yards out, Tagovailoa throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley to make it 20-20 with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

The ensuing drive by Georgia is shut down yet again by Alabama with enough time to do some damage. After making all of his field goals inside forty yards during the regular season, Pappanastos hooks it wide left for the second time of the game inside that range as time expires in regulation. Alabama wins the coin toss in overtime but defers the ball to Georgia first to see what they need to score in order to attempt to beat Georgia. The Bulldogs decided to be conservative by running the ball on the first two downs forcing themselves to pass on third down and they take a sack. That allows for a long 51-yard field goal attempt by sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship who is clutch and sends it right through the uprights to go up 23-20 in overtime.

On Alabama’s first offensive play from scrimmage in overtime, Tagovailoa does what every quarterback is taught not to do and gets sacked for a 16-yard loss. It doesn’t take him long to make up for his mistake though. The very next play he looks off senior strong safety Dominick Sanders to allow himself enough time to throw a perfect 41-yard toss to Devonta Smith for the exciting finish and win.
Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide get a 26-23 victory in a thrilling matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs while Tua Tagovailoa gets the offensive MVP award and Da’Ron Payne receives the defensive MVP award. Nick Saban also gets his second straight championship, as well as a 5th national title in 9 seasons. Saban now ties Bear Bryant with 6 national titles.

VIA: AJC

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