Wednesday, November 20, 2019

NCAAF Game Preview: Memphis vs. South Florida - 11/23/2019 - 4:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Memphis vs. South Florida - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Memphis needs to win to ensure a share of first place in the American Athletic Conference West Division, and South Florida must win its final two games to gain bowl eligibility. Free Sports Picks Daily. Those are some of the stakes in the teams' matchup Saturday afternoon in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. "I think everyone is in a must-win situation," Memphis coach Mike Norvell said as his 18th-ranked Tigers (9-1, 5-1 AAC) look to extend their winning streak to five games. "So are we. As a college football player, that's how you approach the game. "Their sense of urgency to win this game will be no different than ours. We're going into it knowing we want to play to the best of their ability. They've got to win the next two to get to a bowl game, and we've got to win the next one. That's our approach. " With East Division leader Cincinnati looming for Memphis -- and a trip to UCF awaiting USF in its regular-season finale -- neither team can afford a slip. "We've got two games remaining, and the key thing is just get to a bowl game," Bulls coach Charlie Strong said. "You gotta do it for our seniors. " The Bulls (4-6, 2-4) have lost their last two games -- to Cincinnati and Temple -- but they threw a scare into the then-No. 17 Bearcats last week before losing 20-17 on a field goal as time ran out. The defense, in particular, has played well, limiting the Owls to just one touchdown in USF's 17-7 loss before holding the Bearcats to just 278 yards in total offense. Number #1 Sports Handicapping Service. The Bulls have had at least one takeaway in every game this season and are tied for third in the nation in turnovers gai ned (22). "If you watch this defense, especially the last two or three weeks, it has played very well," Strong said. On offense, Bulls running back Jordan Cronkrite needs to rush for 314 yards in the last two games to reach the 1,000-yard mark for a second consecutive season. He gained 1,121 yards in 2018. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud had a nice night for the Bulls against the Bearcats, topping the 200-yard mark passing for a second consecutive game with a season-high 267 yards. "They have explosive playmakers and are working to put it all together," Norvell said. "We know they are capable. " For Memphis, running back Kenneth Gainwell has rushed for 1,166 yards -- No. 2 in the AAC -- and junior quarterback Brady White, a transfer from Arizona State, has passed for 691 yards in the past two games in posting league wins over SMU and Houston. "There hasn't been a night-and-day change in him," Norvell said of White, who has completed 67. 4 percent of his attempts for 285. 2 yards per game. "He's been playing at a high level. He's completing the ball. We're moving the ball down the field and maximizing those opportunities. I think he's played at a high level throughout this season. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: SMU vs. Navy - 11/23/2019 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: SMU vs. Navy - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019The stakes will be high in the American Athletic Conference when No. 25 SMU plays at Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, Md. Sports Picks for Today. The winner remains in contention for the West division title, while a loss would end hope of appearing in the AAC championship game. SMU and Navy both lost to Memphis (9-1, 5-1 AAC), and a second conference defeat would make it impossible to win the West due to any potential tiebreaker. Profitable Handicappers. The winner at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium must still hope Memphis loses. The Tigers still play at South Florida and at home against Cincinnati, which leads the East Division. Sports Experts. The Midshipmen (7-2, 5-1) are attempting to rebound after having their five-game winning streak snapped at Notre Dame last week with a 52-20 loss. Navy lost four fumbles, all of which led to scores for the Fighting Irish. Navy's starting offense amassed only 171 total yards in about the three quarters it was on the field. "This one hurts. They kicked us in the teeth, kicked us in the gut. They got after us in all phases," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We have to find a way to bounce back. We have a big game at home, and we're back in conference. Lick our wounds right now and move on. "We've got to come back in conference against SMU, a really good team. It's our Senior Day and that's a really special day for us. When you have kind of a nightmare game like this, you want to put it away as quickly as you can. " Senior center Ford Higgins, one of four Navy captains, added: "The beautiful thing about this sport and the beautiful thing about life is ther e are always new opportunities. This one's over with, and we're blessed to have another one next week. Excited to move on and roll on. " SMU (9-1, 5-1) was off last week after outlasting East Carolina 59-51 on Nov. 9. Shane Buechele threw five touchdown passes and Xavier Jones broke one of Eric Dickerson's school records in the win, which came a week after the Mustangs lost their first game of the season, 54-48 at Memphis. James Proche, who finished with 14 catches for 167 yards against East Carolina, broke Emmanuel Sanders' school record with his 35th career touchdown catch on his first score of the day. Buechele threw for 414 yards as the Mustangs finished with 636 total yards. Jones, who ran for 157 yards, had three rushing touchdowns for the third time this season, giving him 18. His total touchdowns reached 20, one more than Dickerson had in 1981, all on the ground. SMU's defense has allowed more than 50 points in consecutive weeks against Memphis and East Carolina, but the bye week might help. "We certainly haven't played as well as we played up to this point the last two weeks. I think we're a little worn down," SMU coach Sonny Dykes said last week. "We've had a lot of guys that have taken a lot of snaps on the defensive side of the ball. We didn't look as fast Saturday as we have up to this point. It's Week 11 of the season. I think having a couple days to recover will make a big difference. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia - 11/23/2019 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is all-in on running back Chuba Hubbard and feels the Canadian Cowboy deserves to be a bigger part of the Heisman Trophy discussion. Hubbard -- the nation's leading rusher -- and the No. 21 Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) will play at West Virginia on Saturday in Morgantown, W. Va. With eight consecutive 100-yard games -- tops in the nation -- Hubbard outdistances the game's top rushers by a wide margin. His 1,726 rushing yards and average of 172. 6 yards per game easily beat out No. 2 rusher Jonathan Taylor, who has averaged 146. 3 yards in 10 games for Wisconsin. Hubbard, a track star, has shouldered more of the load on offense after game-breaking wide receiver Tylan Wallace tore his ACL in practice on Oct. 30. Hubbard, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, leads the nation with 17 rushes of 20 yar ds or more -- and that includes a national-best five runs of 60-plus yards. Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, who played quarterback at OSU with Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas in his backfield, said Hubbard should be in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation next month. "How many guys will rush for 1,900 yards in a Power 5 conference school? " Gundy said. "At some point you have to look and say, 'OK, is this a quarterback award or do running backs and other positions get involved? '"He deserves to be there. " Stopping Hubbard will be foremost on the minds of everyone wearing blue and gold on the home sideline Saturday. West Virginia is tied for 74th in rushing defense, allowing 167. 1 yards per game and 3. 88 yards per carry. Opponents have rushed for 19 touchdowns against the Mountaineers, who rank 86th in total defense, yielding 421. 0 yards per contest. But the Mountaineers (4-6, 2-5) have produced good results in two of their last three games -- a tight 17-14 loss at then-No. 12 Baylor on Oct. 31 and a 24-20 upset at No. 24 Kansas State last Saturday. NBC Sports Picks. The Mountaineers' defense produced eight sacks of Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer and made multiple defensive stops in a valiant effort, but the Bears won a game by scoring less than 20 points for the first time since 2006 -- kicking a field goal then blocking West Virginia's late try. In last week's upset at Kansas State, Mountaineers coach Neal Brown sought a spark by turning to backup quarterback Jarret Doege for his first start at the school in place of Austin Kendall. Profitable Handicappers. The Bowling Green transfer tossed three scores, and cornerback Hakeem Bailey intercepted a Wildcats' pass in the end zone in the closing seconds to break West Virginia's five-game losing streak. Doege wa s selected the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Monday and will make his second straight start Saturday. Las Vegas Handicappers. The Mountaineers must defeat the Cowboys in their home finale, then win at TCU on Nov. 29 to become bowl eligible at 6-6. The first order of business is obvious. "It all starts offensively with Chuba Hubbard," Brown said. "I saw where Coach Gundy said he should be in the Heisman (race) and go to New York. I see no reason why not. "He's the complete package. He runs for power and speed. He just wears you out. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Purdue vs. Wisconsin - 11/23/2019 - 4:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Purdue vs. Wisconsin - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019No. 12 Wisconsin plays host to Purdue in its regular-season home finale on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. A victory puts the Badgers on a collision course with Minnesota a week later. Head coach Paul Chryst won't allow Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) to look beyond Purdue. But if the Badgers beat the Boilermakers (4-6, 3-4) and No. 10 Minnesota (9-1, 6-1) defeats Northwestern on the road, the Badgers and Gophers will square off for the Big Ten West Division title on Nov. 30 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The division winner will play in the Dec. 7 Big Ten championship game. "I understand and our players understand the talk and the chatter, and the noise, but all that matters is this game," Chryst said. "All that matters is that we have a good Monday and put a good Tuesday behind that. It's a pretty simple wo rld we live in. I think that's the only way to approach it. " Junior running back Jonathan Taylor was a major contributor in Wisconsin's win over Nebraska last weekend with 25 carries, 204 yards and two touchdowns. In two games against Purdue, Taylor has combined for 63 carries for 540 yards and four touchdowns. In 2018's 47-44 triple overtime win against the Boilermakers, he ran 33 times for 321 yards and three scores. Junior quarterback Jack Coan continues to be a steady presence for Wisconsin. Coan ranks fifth in the country with a completion percentage of 72. 2 and has completed 166 of 230 for 1,826 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said that Wisconsin has added a "misdirection element to their offense," which has thrown off opponents' secondary. Taylor has also been strong. Expert Sports Picks. The Boilermakers defense has allowed an averag e of 172. 2 yards per game, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten in rushing defense. "(We've) got to be able to hit him early, tackle him and get him to the ground," Brohm said of Taylor, who leads the nation with 21 touchdowns. "Whether that's tackle him low and wrap your arms around him (with) with one or two people tackling. He's a great talent. " Wisconsin's defense will need to keep an eye on Purdue senior tight end Brycen Hopkins, who is one of eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award. The honor is given to the nation's top tight end. Hopkins is tied for third in the country among tight ends with 45 receptions and is ranked fourth with 561 receiving yards. He has three touchdowns this season. Brohm has swapped out quarterbacks this season. Sophomore quarterback Aidan O'Connell orchestrated rallies in wins over Nebraska and Northwestern. In three-plus games, O'Connell has completed 49 of 72 passes for 404 yards, three tou chdowns and two interceptions. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The Boilermakers are fresh off a bye week, and won two straight games heading into the break. They've lost 12 consecutive games to Wisconsin, including six straight in Madison. --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Texas vs. Baylor - 11/23/2019 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Texas vs. Baylor - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019There were plenty of broken hearts around Waco last week when Baylor's quest for an undefeated season died in a record-breaking 25-point comeback win by Oklahoma. But the 14th-ranked Bears will still have loads to play for when they host puzzling but surely dangerous Texas on Saturday afternoon in a key Big 12 battle. Baylor built a 28-3 first-quarter lead against the Sooners but were shut out in the second half and lost 34-31 on a last-minute field goal. Hockey Handicappers. The Bears (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) have been licking their collective wounds in the aftermath of the up-so-high-then-down-so-low loss, but coach Matt Rhule said Monday there were plenty of positives for his team, even in defeat. "Our team learned a lot from that game," Rhule said. "They learned, No. 1, what we can be -- for the first half we looked like not just a top-10, but a top-five team in the country. Then, secondly, the second half showed us what we still have to do. " The Bears are tied for first place in the Big 12 with two games remaining. They can clinch a spot -- and a rematch against the Sooners -- in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 7 by beating Texas or Kansas in their season finale. "My attention and our guys' attention when we got here yesterday is completely on Texas," Rhule said. "It's Senior Day for a very special group of young men that have really, really acted and led their lives on blind faith, believing in what we could be. I know they're excited. " Texas heads up Interstate 35 after a 23-21 loss at Iowa State, with the Cyclones kicking a field goal on the game's final snap. Free Sports Picks Today. The Longhorns have won twice this year on field goals on the fina l play, but coach Tom Herman was not buying into the thought of Texas' account coming due with the law of averages. "It was pretty somber around the facility yesterday, as it should be after you lose," Herman said Monday. "We've still got a bunch of seniors in that locker room that have bled, sweat and cried for this program. We owe it to be determined to correct the mistakes that were made and do our best to go 1-0 against Baylor this week. " The loss to Iowa State assured the Longhorns their 10th straight season with at least four defeats. They have alternated wins and losses in the past six games. Best Sports Picks of the Day. The Longhorns can still earn a trip to the Big 12 title game through the back door and with a lot of hand-wringing. First, Texas would have to beat Baylor on Saturday; they'd also have to beat Texas Tech at home on Nov. 29. Baylor, meanwhile, would also need to lose at Kansas. And Iowa State would have to lose one of its final two -- this week at home against Kansas or in its regular-season finale at Kansas State. Texas is 78-26-4 all-time against Baylor. The Longhorns won in Waco, 38-7, in 2017, marking UT's largest margin of victory (31 points) against a conference opponent during Herman's tenure. --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Kansas vs. Iowa State - 11/23/2019 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Kansas vs. Iowa State - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Close games are expected from Iowa State. The Cyclones have played six games decided by one score or less, including five games decided by no more than three points. A walk-off field goal last week enabled Iowa State to beat Texas. The win propelled the Cyclones (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) into the College Football Playoffs rankings at No. 22 and gives them a chance to finish in the upper division of the Big 12 standings. Sports Touts. Time for a breather, perhaps? A matchup Saturday against Kansas (3-7, 1-6) seemingly offers that opportunity, but coach Matt Campbell is not willing to label Iowa State's final home game in Ames as a cakewalk. Campbell senses a renewed sense of enthusiasm for Kansas under first-year coach Les Miles, though the Jayhawks occupy last place in the Big 12. "Obviously, Coa ch Miles coming in and doing an incredible job," said Campbell, "and the spirit and toughness that those kids are playing with right now, that's the first thing that catches your eye. " Iowa State features ample firepower behind quarterback Brock Purdy, who ranks third nationally with a 320. 3-yard passing average after exceeding the 3,000-yard mark for the season in the stirring win over Texas. Hockey Picks. Tailback Breece Hall has found his stride against conference rivals, averaging 120. 4 yards rushing over the past five games. Incorporating tight end Charlie Kolar into a passing attack that also features receivers Deshaunte Jones and La'Michael Pettway provides Purdy a diverse array of targets. Campbell, the first Iowa State coach since the 1928 inception of the Big Six to beat every conference opponent during his tenure, has the Cyclones bowl-eligible for the third consecuti ve season. "For our kids, hanging in there has kind of been the staple of us," Campbell said. "My hope is when you watch our team play, you say, 'Man, the kids at Iowa State play really hard and play the full 60 minutes. '"Kansas has lost six of seven. A walk-off field goal against Texas Tech accounted for the Jayhawks' only Big 12 victory. They have not won a Big 12 road game since 2008 and have lost four straight in the series with Iowa State. Kansas is bidding for its first four-win season since winning five in 2009. After showing strides offensively stemming from a midseason change promoting Brent Dearmon to offensive coordinator, the Jayhawks failed to generate 300 yards in each of their past two games. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. They totaled 23 total points in losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State after totaling 85 against Texas and Texas Tech. Quarterback Carter S tanley was benched to begin the second half last week at Oklahoma State. Running back Pooka Williams also has struggled recently to find his breakaway capabilities. Stanley averages 224. 1 yards passing, while Williams (87. 9) ranks third among Big 12 rushers. In their back-to-back defeats, the Jayhawks alternated between spread and power tendencies, though Miles said of Dearon's up-tempo attack: "This is the style of offense we want to attack with. There is a great deal of experience, and we will recruit to this style of offense extremely well. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Illinois vs. Iowa - 11/23/2019 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Illinois vs. Iowa - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019It's not hard for Illinois head coach Lovie Smith to find a source of motivation for his team heading into a matchup at No. 17 Iowa on Saturday. All Smith has had to do is point out that Iowa went into Illinois and administered a 63-0 thrashing of the Fighting Illini last year. "Yeah, I think the guys have heard that a few times," Smith said. Illinois certainly has every reason to be more confident it can put up a better showing in Iowa City for the rematch. Profitable Handicappers. The Fighting Illini have resurrected their season after scaring Michigan on Oct. 12, winning four games in a row to become bowl eligible with a 6-4 record, 4-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois upset Wisconsin and is coming off one of the most thrilling wins in school history when it rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win at Michigan State 37-34 on Nov. 9. Brandon Peters threw for 369 yards in that game and the Illini forced four turnovers to push their season total to a national-best 26. "We like the position we're in," Smith said. "Life is a lot better when you are winning football games and you accomplish more than you have in the past and see the program headed in the right direction. We are all in a little bit better spirits. " Iowa (7-3, 4-3) also enters in good spirits and with momentum after the Hawkeyes knocked off previously unbeaten Minnesota last week, 23-19. Sports Handicapping Sites. The Hawkeyes will also have a lot of emotion, given they will be saying farewell to their senior class in their home finale. "It's a tough day and bittersweet day," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "You're so proud of what the guys have done to become seniors in our program and all the h urdles they've overcome. " One of those seniors is quarterback Nate Stanley, who has been one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten all season. Stanley has thrown for 2,331 yards, third-most in the conference. He hasn't had a 300-yard game this season but had been efficient, limiting his interceptions to five (three in a loss to Michigan). Ferentz said he's not surprised with the resurgence of Illinois and knows it will be a challenge for his team. "They have to be one of the most improved teams in the country, not just in our conference," Ferentz said. "You could kind of see that coming. He was committed several years ago to playing young players, and now those young players are growing up. This past month, they are playing really good football. Winning football. " The game also has some significance in the conference standings and bowl selections. Fighting Predictio ns. The teams are tied for third place in the Big Ten West division, and the winner will move into sole possession of third place with the possibility of moving up further should second-place Wisconsin stumble. Both teams will be favored in their final games of the season, with Illinois hosting Northwestern and Iowa playing at Nebraska to close the year, adding to the importance of Saturday's game to the standings. "The games do get a little bit bigger, and that is where we want to be in November," Smith said. --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Penn State vs. Ohio State - 11/23/2019 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Penn State vs. Ohio State - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019While the Penn State-Ohio State matchup on Saturday doesn't quite have the glamour it did before Minnesota handed the Nittany Lions their first loss on Nov. 9, the showdown in Columbus is still a marquee event. For eighth-ranked Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten), it's an opportunity to keep its slim hopes alive for one of the four College Football Playoffs berths. The second-ranked Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0) can solidify their poll position as well as clinch a spot in the conference championship game Dec. 7 as the East Division representative. If the Nittany Lions beat Ohio State, they would earn the trip to Indianapolis with a victory over Rutgers in the final game. "Every play matters, every yard matter, every series matters," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. Handicapper Return on Investment< /a>. The Nittany Lions present the Buckeyes their biggest challenge of the season, especially after Ohio State had no trouble getting past Maryland (73-14) and Rutgers (56-21) in its most recent games. In between Penn State and a potential Big Ten title game, the Buckeyes close the regular season at Michigan on Nov. 30. Led by quarterback Justin Fields (31 touchdown passes, one interception), Ohio State is first in the nation in scoring (51. 5 points per game). The Buckeyes also lead in scoring defense (9. 8 points per game allowed). "We're kind of just focused on one game at a time, but at the same time, these are the most important two games of our season," Ohio State defensive tackle Davon Hamilton said. "We know what we're getting into. " Penn State rebounded from the 31-26 loss at Minnesota to hold off Indiana 34-27 at home last Saturday. It wasn't pretty at times, but coach James Franklin said the Nittany Lions did enough right to be confident in their chances of winning at Ohio Stadium, something Penn State has not done in its past three visits since a 20-14 victory in 2011. "We won the field-position battle, we won the turnover battle, we won the penalty battle," he said. "And then we won the explosive-play battle, which was great. " Franklin has been at Penn State since 2014 and sees this season's Ohio State team is the most talented, "maybe in our time" at the school. While Ohio State will get a star defensive player back from suspension, the Nittany Lions might be without a key part of their attack. Standout Penn State receiver/returner KJ Hamler left the Indiana game in the first quarter with an injury. Last season against the Buckeyes, he had a 93-yard touchdown reception among his four catches for 138 yards. Franklin didn't reveal much about Hamler's status at his Tuesday press conference. "We were hopeful after the game, and I still remain h opeful," Franklin said. Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young returns from a two-game suspension for violating NCAA rules after receiving an illegal loan from a friend. He is second nationally with 13 1/2 sacks but first in sacks per game (1. 69). The Buckeyes are tied with SMU for second with 42 sacks. "He brings a big presence, and you know the other team, they're scared of him," Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison said. --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens - Date: 11/20/2019 The Montreal Canadiens are off to a fine start, and a general air of optimism hovers around the club.However, the good feeling surrounding the organization, which is off to an 11-6-4 start, took a bad twist as Montreal prepares to host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.The Canadiens learned they will be without forwards Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron, both injured in a Friday win against the Washington Capitals. Track Handicappers. The two players underwent surgeries that will keep them sidelined for lengthy periods.Drouin, 24, had wrist surgery Monday and is expected to miss a minimum of two months. He was playing well, netting seven goals and adding eight assists for his hometown team.Byron, 30, underwent knee surgery on Tuesday. He's expected to be out at least four week s.Canadiens forward Max Domi said of the news, "It's a tough pill to swallow, but other guys have to step up. Picks and Parlays. There's no doubt in my mind. We all know we have the character in here for guys to step up. When someone goes down, it's an opportunity for someone else." Montreal didn't step up Tuesday night at Columbus. Best Sports Picks of the Day. The Blue Jackets overcame a 2-1, second-period deficit by scoring four unanswered goals, including three in the third period, to pull out a 5-2 victory.The loss was just Montreal's second in regulation in the past 11 games (7-2-2). Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia scored for the Canadiens, and Carey Price made 21 saves.Montreal and Ottawa will be meeting for the first time this season.The Senators have won five of their past seven contests -- a positive span compared t o their dreadful start to open the season.Amid low preseason expectations, Ottawa struggled through a 1-6-1 stretch from Oct. 2-21.However, the Senators' defense has helped the team get its season back on track.Leading 4-2 in Detroit on Tuesday night, Ottawa saw Detroit pull its goalie for an extra skater in the third period, and Anthony Mantha tallied for the Red Wings with 2:46 left.The Senators still held on for a 4-3 victory despite getting outshot 38-33.Anthony Duclair scored twice in a three-point game, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brady Tkachuk also tallied. Anders Nilsson notched 35 saves for Ottawa, which has won five of its past seven games.In the five recent victories, the Senators allowed two goals or fewer four times. Carolina and Buffalo combined for 12 goals in two Ottawa road losses over the past two weeks.Although Ottawa's penalty-killing unit is ranked just 14th in the NHL, the Senators managed to prevent Detroit from scoring on all three of its powe r-play opportunities."It's been the best part of our game probably all year, to be honest," Ottawa coach D. J. Smith said. "Those four (defensemen) back there (Mark Borowiecki, Dylan DeMelo, Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev) are really, really competitive on the penalty kill. I thought Connor Brown, tonight, was exceptional on the penalty kill." --Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers - 11/20/2019 - 10:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 20, 2019Kawhi Leonard could miss his fourth straight game when the Los Angeles Clippers host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.Then again, the superstar forward might suit up and play.Leonard is battling a left knee injury that has bothered him over the past few weeks. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he doesn't really know if Leonard can play against the Celtics and that he might not have an answer until close to game time."Day-to-day," Rivers told reporters of Leonard's availability. "He was very close to playing Monday (against Oklahoma City). It's very possible." Leonard, the two-time NBA Finals MVP, has been superb when he has played with averages of 26.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in nine games.Los Angeles is 7-2 when it has Leonard on the court. Its record without him improved to 2-3 as the Clippers squeaked by Oklahoma City 90-88 on Monday.Though Leonard's status hovers over the team, Rivers isn't overly concerned. He says he isn't surprised over what is transpiring per Leonard's health."We knew at the beginning of the year that this is how it would be," Rivers said. "I don't think one coach or one guy has even thought about it, that it would be nice to have everybody out there." Boston also could be without a key cog as point guard Marcus Smart suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday's 99-85 road win over the Phoenix Suns.Smart will undergo further examination but he was optimistic that he could play against the Clippers."It was minimal swelling for it. I'm able to walk, I'm able to still shift and plant and move side to side, so that's good," Smart told reporters. "We'd rather be safe than sorry and because it's so early in the season, we don't want to risk any thing. We've got a day off, use it to get the treatment I need and be ready for the next game." Smart, who scored 17 points against the Suns before exiting, said he hurt the same ankle earlier this season. He is averaging 11.8 points and 4.9 assists as one of several key contributors in the team's 11-2 start.Forward Jayson Tatum led the way with 26 points and a season-best 11 rebounds in Boston's win over the Suns.The victory was important to the Celtics because they had a 10-game winning streak halted one night earlier by the Sacramento Kings."We showed a lot of heart, a lot of fight," Tatum told reporters. "We could have held our heads down after (Sunday). Sports Monitor. The streak ended and we lost a close game."But that's the good thing about the NBA, no matter how good or bad you play, there's another game coming up real soon. Professional Sports Handicappers. That's what matters." Tatum ranks second on the Celtics with a 20.2 average and leads the squad with a 7.5 rebounding average. Hockey Predictions. The double-double was his second of the season.Star guard Kemba Walker is the team leader in scoring (23.4) and assists (5.0).Meanwhile, the Clippers have yet to have Leonard and star forward Paul George on the court together.George has returned from offseason surgery on both shoulders to average 29.3 points over his first three games.He scored 33 points against the New Orleans Pelicans in his team debut on Thursday and added 37 two nights later against the Atlanta Hawks.He only scored 18 points in 29 minutes against the Thunder -- his former team -- but he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25.9 seconds left to help Los Angeles improve to 8-1 at home.George relished the winning shot as he has heard the scuttlebutt that he's not the guy to look for if a clutch basket is needed."You know, there was a big thing about (how I) can't make it to win games," George said. "That stuff doesn't bother me. I am out there to play hard and to win games. I feel confident in every shot that I take. It's up to me to make it or miss it. That type of stuff don't bother me." The Clippers have won three straight meetings and nine of the last 12 vs. Boston. Last season, Los Angeles averaged 131.5 points while winning both matchups.--Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 11/20/2019 - 8:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019Minnesota handed Utah its first home loss of the season on Monday. Hockey Handicappers. The Jazz have a quick chance to settle the score when they face the Timberwolves again Wednesday in Minneapolis.The Timberwolves rallied for a 112-102 victory behind a fourth-quarter offensive explosion. Soccer Predictions. They scored 36 points while shooting 68.8 percent from the field over the final 12 minutes. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 29 points -- including a career-high seven 3-pointers. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. Towns attempted a franchise-record 15 3-pointers.The Minnesota center made a conscious effort to draw his Jazz counterpart Rudy Gobert away from the rim and his outside shooting opened up the offense down the stretch."I saw some 3-point shots were available and I am not afraid to shoot it," Towns said. "I shot 15 and I could have possibly even shot 20." Minnesota snapped a two-game losing streak and held an opponent to under 110 points for just the second time over its last nine games. Defensively, the Timberwolves coerced Utah into getting increasingly impatient in running its offensive sets and settling for a ton of wild shots down the stretch.Several players in the Jazz rotation shot under 40 percent from the field. Donovan Mitchell had the most pronounced struggles -- bottoming out with a season-worst 5-of-23 shooting effort."As a whole we missed some open ones, but down the stretch I took some wild ones and that can't happen," Mitchell said.Utah has lost two in a row after getting off to its best start in a decade. Over the two losses, the Jazz gave up an avera ge of 33 points in the fourth quarter. They've also averaged just 18.5 assists on 35 baskets in each game.Both are uncharacteristic for a Utah team accustomed to playing unselfish offense and lockdown defense under coach Quin Snyder. The Timberwolves understand that both trends are unlikely to be more than a blip on the radar."Coach Snyder is one of the best in the league," Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. "I have so much respect for him and he'll have that team ready. They'll continue to get shots." The Timberwolves will likely need to lean on Towns to have another big game. Minnesota could be without Andrew Wiggins for a fourth straight game. An unspecified illness caused him to miss the Utah game after he sat out the previous two games due to a personal matter.Wiggins is averaging a career-high 25.9 points on 47.8 percent shooting in his first 11 games. He's also putting up career best marks in rebounds (5.1) and assists (3.6).The Ja zz just got back a key rotation player when backup guard Dante Exum made his season debut on Monday. Exum scored two points and recorded both a steal and a block in 14 minutes in his first game back from a long rehabilitation from a knee injury he suffered eight months ago."I'm sure there's a lot going on in your mind when you've been out that long and you're recovering from an injury," Snyder said. "So, I thought he really competed as much as anything and that to me is a success in and of itself." --Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The health of two key players could be crucial for the Cleveland Cavaliers when they visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.Power forward Kevin Love, who leads the Cavs in scoring (18.2) and rebounding (12.1) while ranking second in assists (2.9), sat out Cleveland's 123-105 loss at the New York Knicks on Monday night due to back tightness. It was the first game Love has missed this season.The Cavaliers were also without backup post player Larry Nance Jr., who has a sprained left thumb.Nance, who is averaging 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, has missed two straight games.It is not yet known if Love and/or Nance will be ready to face the Heat, but Cavaliers coach John Beilein surely felt their absences against New York."We were missing two really good players, and we're not really deep as it is," Beilein said. "We were missing on e of our best, if not our best player (Love), and our power sixth man (Nance). Sports Picking Services. That's a really big difference." The Cavaliers, who are on a four-game losing streak, are 2-5 on the road this season, adding to their challenge.Miami, which beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland 108-97 last Thursday night, is 5-0 at home this season and enters Wednesday on a three-game win streak overall.The Heat have been led this season by 6-7 wing Jimmy Butler, Miami's biggest offseason acquisition. After missing Miami's first three games on paternity leave, Butler has proven his worth, leading the Heat in scoring (18.4), assists (7.2) and steals (2.8). He is also averaging 5.8 rebounds and making 82.4 percent from the foul line.Butler, who has earned a reputation as an unselfish star, nearly had a triple-double in Miami's most recent game, providing 16 points, 13 assists a nd eight rebounds in a 109-94 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.But Butler refuses to take all the credit for Miami's 9-3 record, which ties the best 12-game start in team history."We share the ball well," Butler said of his Heat teammates. "We've got guys who can get the ball to the basket, and that always helps." Miami had 31 assists in that win over Cleveland last Thursday, earning praise from Beilein."Most winning teams have high assist numbers," he said.Miami's unselfish play has reached even to its center, Bam Adebayo, who is averaging a double-double with 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds but also 4.6 assists.Adebayo is one of four Heat players whose assists totals are higher than Cavaliers leader Darius Garland (3.3).The Heat, however, do have some injury concerns heading into Wednesday's game.Backup point guard Goran Dragic, who is second on the team in points (16.1) and assists (5.1), missed Saturday& #39;s game due to an illness. It is possible he could return for Wednesday's game.Two Miami players who will be out on Wednesday barring some late change of plans are point forward Justise Winslow (concussion) and wing Derrick Jones (left hip). Neither has yet been cleared to practice, although Jones is closer to a return than Winslow.--Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Utah vs. Arizona - 11/23/2019 - 10:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Utah vs. Arizona - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has built his program on toughness, physical play and a strong running game. Picks and Parlays. This year's team has a little something extra. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The seventh-ranked Utes (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) are in the discussion for the College Football Playoff, mixing their traditional strengths with a downfield passing game that takes advantage of opponents' worries about senior running back Zack Moss, the school's career leading rusher. "I love what we're doing offensively," said Whittingham, whose team plays at Arizona (4-6, 2-5) on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz. Utah, behind quarterback Tyler Huntley, is averaging 10. 89 yards per pass attempt, the fourth-best mark in the cou ntry. The Utes also lead the conference and are 25th nationally in rushing (207. 1 yards per game), while ranking third in the country in time of possession (34:36 per game). "You've got one of the best running backs in the country," Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin told reporters of Moss, averaging a Pac-12-best 106. 1 yards per game. "I think the quarterback is unbelievable, just the way he does things. He's extremely gifted, to be able to throw it and run as fast as he does. " Huntley is completing 74. 2 percent of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and one interception. He threw for a season-high 335 yards on 18 attempts in last week's 49-3 win over UCLA. Whittingham cited Huntley's "complete dedication and his complete immersion into the details of what he is doing" for the senior's improvement this season. "His preparation is outstanding," the coach said. While Sumlin frets about how to stop Utah, his bigger concer n might be how to move the ball on the Utes. The Wildcats have lost five games in a row, are coming off a 34-6 loss at Oregon and have a banged-up offensive line while going against their second consecutive top-10 opponent. Due to injuries, Arizona used three first-time starters on the offensive line last week. The three injured linemen are all doubtful for this week, Sumlin said, adding that true freshman Jordan Morgan, who started at left tackle, might also be out after missing the second half with an injury. At quarterback, Arizona has rotated senior Khalil Tate and true freshman Grant Gunnell in the past few games, with Gunnell starting last week. The two-QB look is likely to continue while the Wildcats lean on running back J. J. Taylor (640 yards, 5. 2 per carry). Utah, meanwhile, is No. 1 in the country in rushing defense (55. 4 yards per game) and has held four of seven conference foes to seven points or fewer. John Penisini and Leki Fotu are 330-plus pound tac kles in the middle of the line, while end Bradlee Anae has 10 sacks. "He might not be the first pick of the draft, but you won't have to wait too long to hear his name called," Sumlin said of Anae, a senior. "He's extremely explosive. He's created double-teams and gotten his other guys open for the pass rush. He can defend the run and the pass. " Utah is one game up in the loss column over USC in the Pac-12 South, needing to beat Arizona and Colorado (or get one win coupled with a USC loss to UCLA on Saturday) to claim its second consecutive berth in the conference title game. "The culture here we feel has been really good for many years and last year's team was similar to this year's," Whittingham said. "It just seems we've taken it up a notch this year. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Boise State vs. Utah State - 11/23/2019 - 10:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Boise State vs. Utah State - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019No. 20 Boise State and Utah State are about to engage in a showdown, but nobody's sure who will be the gunslingers. Top Rated Sports Services. The Broncos visit the Aggies in Logan, Utah, on Saturday night with the Mountain West's Mountain Division lead on the line, and who'll play quarterback is a question that doesn't prompt an answer from either side. Utah State (6-4, 5-1) features an NFL prospect in junior Jordan Love, but he departed last Saturday's victory over Wyoming with an undisclosed injury. Aggies coach Gary Andersen had no interest in discussing the subject with reporters. "No comment. There is nothing to really tell at this point, so we'll see," Andersen said. Love has passed for 2,684 yards and 13 touchdowns but also has thrown 14 interceptions. If Love can't play, sophomore Henry Colombi will start the game. He has completed 14 of 18 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Getting Boise State coach Bryan Harsin to reveal his quarterback injury situation is seldom a success. Harsin professes to talk only about season-ending injuries. Staying true to form, Harsin had nothing to offer when it comes to the status of top quarterback Hank Bachmeier (1,760 yards, nine touchdowns, four interceptions) or second-stringer Chase Cord (670 yards, nine touchdowns, three interceptions). "I'm not really going to go into that," Harsin said at a press conference, "but we're further along and (healthier) at all positions and that one as well. " Bachmeier, a true freshman, has missed three of the past four games -- one due to a hip injury and the past two games due to a shoulder ailment. Cord missed last week's win over New Mexico after apparently being injured the week before against Wyoming. T he sophomore had his passing hand thoroughly examined by trainers in the final minutes of regulation against the Cowboys and was able to finish the game. Free Guaranteed Sports Picks. Third-stringer Jaylon Henderson drew the start against the Lobos and passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns in the easy 42-9 triumph that improved the Broncos' record to 9-1, and 6-0 in Mountain West play. Harsin was impressed with Henderson's performance. "You guys all got a chance to see this kid play, and he can throw it," Harsin said of the fifth-year senior. "He can operate, and he prepares himself. This dude is really good. " Senior receiver John Hightower has been really good as well and he had four receptions for 124 yards against New Mexico for his fourth 100-yard outing of the season. Hightower has caught 37 passes for 754 yards and six touchdowns. Boise State's top defensive player also could be sidelined on Saturday. Junior pass rusher Curtis Weaver injured his right leg against the Lobos. There hasn't yet been a clarification of what type of injury he suffered. Weaver has 12. 5 sacks this season and holds the Mountain West record of 33. Utah State won't be feeling too sorry as it lost star linebacker David Woodward (93 tackles in seven games) for the campaign earlier this season. Junior safety Shaq Bond has a team-leading three interceptions for the Aggies, who have allowed an average of 38. 3 points in their four setbacks. Leading Handicappers. The shaky defense means the Utah State quarterback -- likely Colombi -- needs to be ready to put points on the scoreboard. Andersen has been impressed with the way Colombi has prepared. "Henry has stayed mentally ready," Andersen said. "Just watch him in practice. It's not like he's just over there watching the birds f ly around, the pigeons up on the press box. That's not what he's doing. He's ready. "He sees it and he understands it, and I think he's really playing it out in his mind. . . . Henry understands that those are big shoes to fill when that opportunity presents itself. " Siaosi Mariner, who played three seasons at Utah before transferring, is the Aggies' top wideout with 49 catches for 753 yards and seven touchdowns. Utah State has won eight consecutive conference home games, but this is a series dominated by Boise State. The Broncos notched a 33-24 home win over the Aggies last season to improve their series lead to 18-5. --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: UCLA vs. USC - 11/23/2019 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: UCLA vs. USC - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Saturday's meeting between UCLA and host No. 23 Southern California marks the 90-year anniversary in the crosstown rivalry. USC (7-4, 6-2 Pac-12) owns a 47-32-7 advantage in the series, which began in 1929, but UCLA holds a narrow 4-3 edge over the past seven meetings. UCLA owned a three-game streak from 2012 through 2014, then USC won three in a row. The Bruins claimed the Victory Bell last year in a 34-27 decision that dropped the Trojans below . 500 in the month of November for the first time since 2000, and left USC coach Clay Helton fielding questions about his future job status. Such speculation has not subsided in 2019, as the teams prepare to meet at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Sports Handicapper Scams. The Trojans are amid a disappointing season in which it has failed to make a na tional imprint, and the school last week hired a new athletic director, Mike Bohn, who might want to make a splashy hire. Still, a win Saturday and a Utah loss in one of its final two sends USC to the Pac-12 Championship Game -- and that would mark the third under the Helton in five seasons. USC remains in contention for a Pac-12 title by virtue of winning four of its last five, including a 41-17 blowout of Cal on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 29 of 35 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns in the romp. He has thrown for more than 400 yards in three of the past four games. "As he grew, I knew our team would grow," Helton said of Slovis. Slovis' top target, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. , has 1,118 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. "They're as talented a receiving corps as you're going to see with Pittman and (Tyler) Vaughns and (Amon-Ra) St. Brown, and Drake London's done a really nice job as a true fres hman," said UCLA coach Chip Kelly. Pittman caught seven passes for 106 yards in last year's loss at UCLA, an outstanding individual performance ultimately overshadowed by Bruins running back Joshua Kelley, who rushed for a rivalry-game record 289 yards with two touchdowns. After a slow start to 2019 due to a knee injury, Kelley ripped off three straight games with 126 yards rushing or more and seven touchdowns during a recent Bruins winning streak. UCLA (4-6, 4-3) went into last week with a path to the Pac-12 Championship Game; winning out would have won the South for the Bruins. But a 49-3 loss at No. 7 Utah derailed any hopes of claiming the conference. UCLA now needs to win its final two -- against USC and Cal -- to make a bowl game. Free Sports Picks Twitter. The Bruins committed five turnovers at Utah, including a critical Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumble that led to a Utes scoop-and-score. UCLA was driving into Utah territory and could have cut the deficit to four points; the turnover proved a critical swing. "There's not one common thread in those turnovers," Kelly said. UCLA won the turnover battle, 2-1, in last season's defeat of USC. A fourth-quarter Darnay Holmes interception set up a crucial UCLA field goal. Holmes recovered a fumble last week at Utah. Winning Sports Handicappers. This season, UCLA and USC come in with two of the worst turnover margins in the Pac-12. USC is minus-seven on the campaign, and UCLA is minus-eight after its five-turnover showing a week ago. --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Michigan vs. Indiana - 11/23/2019 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Michigan vs. Indiana - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Michigan has played its best football late in the 2019 season. But the No. 13 Wolverines can't afford to look past improved Indiana in their final road test of the season on Saturday in Bloomington. Michigan (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) has won three straight since a 28-21 loss at Penn State, a stretch that has included wins over No. 15 Notre Dame, at Maryland and over in-state rival Michigan State. Michigan has outscored its past three opponents by an average of 32 points. "You can't plant potatoes one day and expect potato salad the next day," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said, when asked about his team's improvement during his weekly press conference. "It takes time to develop. " Senior quarterback Shea Patterson is coming off his best game in a Michigan uniform. Patterson, a former transfer from Ole Miss, passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan's 44-10 win over Michigan State. With a showdown against rival No. 2 Ohio State at home looming on Nov. 30, the challenge for the Wolverines is to keep their focus on the Hoosiers. Indiana is among the top offensive teams in the Big Ten, ranking second in the conference in total offense (448. 0 yards per game) and first in passing (314. 3 yards per game). "They are as challenging an offense as any in our conference," Harbaugh said. "Fast, dynamic receivers who can catch the ball and run with it. Really good up front. And their (running) backs are really impressive. " Indiana (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) is coming off a 34-27 loss at then-No. 9 Penn State. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak and knocked the Hoosiers out of the Top 25, where they were ranked last week (24th) for the first time since 1994. "We've got to just keep getting better," Indiana football coach Tom Allen said. "Every time we take that field, we've got to play a little better as a football team. " Indiana junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for a career-high 371 yards in the loss despite the Hoosiers losing their leading receiver, junior Whop Philyor, to a concussion in the first quarter. Philyor, who has 61 catches for 863 yards and three TDs on the season, was in concussion protocol this week and was questionable for Michigan. Facing the Wolverines will present Indiana another opportunity to build its bowl resume and knock off a Top 25 team. The Hoosiers are 0-3 against ranked teams this season and 0-13 against ranked teams in Allen's three-year tenure. Indiana will honor its 16 seniors in its home finale. Several have played key roles to IU's success this season, including wide receivers Donavan Hale and Nick Westbrook, offensive linemen Simon Stepaniak and Hunter Littlejohn, kicker Logan Justus and linebacker Reakwon Jones. "It's our next game, just another opp ortunity to go out, especially for these seniors, Senior Day, the last time they get to play on that field," Ramsey said. "It's one of our season goals ahead of us but it's also a chance to go play, to go compete and go show what we're capable of doing. " --Field Level Media

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NCAAF Game Preview: Boston College vs. Notre Dame - 11/23/2019 - 2:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Boston College vs. Notre Dame - Date: 11/23/2019 Nov 20, 2019Quarterback Ian Book etched his name into the Notre Dame annals last week, setting a school record with his third game of the season with at least five touchdown passes. As the No. 16 Fighting Irish (8-2) prepare to host Boston College (5-5) on Saturday in South Bend, Ind. , the senior signal-caller remains eager about adding to that standard while keeping his team climbing toward its third straight double-digit win season. "I feel great," Book said. "I'm confident, confident with all the guys on this team. The defense is doing an awesome job getting us the ball. They play so well and give us so many opportunities, and our offense, we're starting to roll. " Book connected with Chase Claypool on four of his five scoring passes as Notre Dame routed then-No. 23 Navy 52-20 last week. "Chase always has the juice," Book said. "You can tell when he gets on a roll, you want to keep getting him the ball. Even though it might not be the clearest look, he's going to come down with it. That makes my job easier. " Book has thrown for 2,293 yards, with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 421 yards and four scores. Rested from their bye week, the Eagles have their eyes on spoiling senior day for the Fighting Irish. A victory would make Boston College bowl-eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons under coach Steve Addazio. Saturday marks the first meeting between the programs since 2017 and the first encounter at Notre Dame Stadium since 2011. Addazio said he has made sure to discuss with players the importance of absorbing the storied game-day stadium atmosphere at Notre Dame without being consumed by it. "As I told our kids, you've got to have great preparation because you've got to go into that stadium with great confidence, and you 've got to have a warrior mentality," Addazio said. "When you go out into that tunnel and get ready to go on the field, it's not easy to go beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame. . . . You've got to go in there with great confidence and understand that you're going to have to go the distance, four quarters, to beat that team on their home field. " The Eagles rolled to a school-record 691 yards of offense in a 58-27 win at Syracuse on Nov. 2, and they gained 508 in a 38-31 home loss to Florida State one week later. The attack has clicked behind junior running back AJ Dillon, who enters the game with 1,451 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 272 carries this season. A one-time Notre Dame recruit, Dillon is the grandson of Thom Gatewood, who was an All-America wide receiver for the Fighting Irish. Addazio preached balance and consistency when defending the Fighting Irish. "They've got weapons, and when you overload one thing, you leave someth ing else a little vulnerable," he said. "So you've got to have a little bit of everything in there, and you've got to be right when you're making your calls because you're playing a little bit of chess in terms of those moves that you want to do to take away this and that, take away this on this. Every time you take something away, that means you're exposing something else. " Notre Dame leads the series with Boston College 15-9 and boasts six straight victories against the Eagles, who had won the previous six meetings. Boston College is 5-7 all-time in South Bend and is looking for its first win there since 2007. --Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets - 11/20/2019 - 9:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The Denver Nuggets built expectations for this season with a breakout 2018-19 campaign that brought them within a game of the Western Conference finals.The Nuggets have been tested early this season but might face the toughest challenge to date in their next meeting.The Houston Rockets, winners of eight in a row and rolling with James Harden and Russell Westbrook reunited, can serve as a measuring stick for Denver. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. The Nuggets host Houston on Wednesday night in a matchup of first-place teams.The Rockets have needed little time integrating Westbrook into the offense after acquiring the guard from Oklahoma City in the offseason. Some thought it would be a problem having two ball-dominant guards on the floor at the same time, but through 14 games the plan has worked.Harden is averaging 39.2 points, 7.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds while Westbrook is averaging 21.6, 7.1 and 8.4 and still piling up triple-doubles. He got his third of the season Monday night in a rout of Portland.There has been no sign of ego clashes, and Westbrook only had praise for Harden after the win over the Trail Blazers."I think that a lot of people like to normalize greatness when you see it over and over again, but it's not normal because there's nobody else that can do it," Westbrook said. "If it was normal, everybody would do it. He's put himself in position to be one of the best offensive scorers of all time because of the way that he's able to score the ball at a high level in a variety of ways." Denver also has a unique player in center Nikola Jokic, arguably the best passing big man in the NBA. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. The 24-year-old poses matchup problems for opponents because he can score in the post and behind the arc, and if doubled, he will find the open man.Jokic has chemistry with all of his teammates, but he and guard Jamal Murray have developed a productive relationship. Inside Info. Through 12 games, Murray has assisted on 27 of Jokic's made baskets while Jokic has returned the favor on 23 of Murray's buckets.Murray has struggled with his shot, but had a breakout game in Memphis on Sunday with a season-high 39 points in the blowout win over the Grizzlies. Jokic scored only nine points on seven shot attempts but unlike previous games the Nuggets didn't need him to be aggressive to win.Even when Jokic and Murray aren't scoring big, Denver can rely on its deep roster. Will Barton, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris are capable of big offensive nights and that creates issues for opponents.The Nuggets' depth is also a problem for o ther teams. The bench has struggled to score in the early going so head coach Michael Malone has inserted forward Juancho Hernangomez into the rotation, and the young Spaniard has responded.He also earned praise from his teammates for his attitude while not getting out of his warmups for seven games."He's one of the best teammates I've ever had," Murray said. "He's always the first one to stand by the bench and clap for his teammates and cheer. He's always talking, even if he can't talk English." --Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards - 11/20/2019 - 7:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The San Antonio Spurs have answered a promising 4-1 start with eight losses in nine games, including six in a row to mark their longest slide since 2011.The Spurs aim to get back on track and complete a sweep of the Washington Wizards for the second straight season on Wednesday when they continue their four-game road trip in the nation's capital."When adversity hits, you can't run from it, you can't shy away from it, you can't let it get you down," DeMar DeRozan said after scoring a season-high 36 points in a 117-110 loss to Dallas on Monday."Try to channel that energy and put it in the right place so we can understand why we got beat." San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich provided an answer for DeRozan, although his response covered the team's season-long troubles as opposed to just Monday's setback.&q uot;Well, we're doing two things consistently," Popovich said. "We're offering up 10-15 points a game to start and getting in a hole. And then we're doing a great job of digging ourselves out and getting back into games."If we can cut out the former, maybe we can get back on the winning track." While the Spurs fell behind following the opening tip and failed to prevent Luka Doncic from recording his NBA-best sixth triple-double on Monday, San Antonio has gotten the better of the Wizards in the last three encounters.DeRozan capped a 26-point performance by making the game-winning basket with 5.5 seconds moments of the Spurs' 124-122 victory on Oct. 26.Washington's Bradley Beal collected 25 points and 11 assists in that contest and former Spur Davis Bertans drained all five of his 3-point attempts to finish with a season-high 23 points.Beal has stepped up his game of late, answering back-to-back 44-point performances by highlighting a 34 -point effort with five 3-pointers in the Wizards' 125-121 loss at Orlando on Sunday.While Washington overcame an 0-for-7 start from 3-point range to make 10 of its last 15 attempts from beyond the arc, its generous play on the defensive end reared its ugly head to send the club to its fourth loss in five games."We are (11 games into the season) now so we have to dial back the amount of excuses we have," the 26-year-old Beal said. "We compete hard enough to win every game. We are top five on offense, so we know that's not the problem. We just have to get stops." The Wizards, who are hemorrhaging points to the tune of 120.1 points per game, allowed 42 points in the paint to the Magic and were outrebounded 52-38."We can't keep coming back to the drawing board and saying, 'OK, we've got this now,'" Washington coach Scott Brooks said. "It's about communicating. We're playing with great effort. I'm proud of th e guys. Profitable Handicappers. This is what we do. We compete. We lay everything out there." While Beal is the team's primary scorer, the Wizards received another strong performance from their bench players. C. J. Miles (21), Bertans (15) and Mortiz Wagner (12) combined to score 48 of the team's 52 points off the bench on Sunday.Washington will hope for more of the same from Beal and the bench -- and a few more defensive stops -- on Wednesday when it opens a three-game homestand.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Elon vs. North Carolina - 11/20/2019 - 8:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Elon vs. North Carolina - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019North Carolina coach Roy Williams has been agitated early in the season by how the No. 5 Tar Heels have played, even though they've won all three of their games by double-digit margins.But it's largely a new group trying to come together, so the ragged edges have been noticeable."He shouldn't be happy with how we played," freshman guard Cole Anthony told reporters recently. "It's early in the season, but at some point it's no longer going to be early in the season." The next chance to make a better impression comes against visiting Elon on Wednesday night at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N. C.Williams has been critical of his team after its past two victories, winning 78-62 at UNC Wilmington on Nov. 8 and then last Friday night at home against Gardner-Webb, which trailed by only four points with less than 10 minute s remaining before the Tar Heels prevailed, 77-61.Nearly a dozen minutes into the game North Carolina (3-0) had more turnovers than made field goals."Do I believe we're getting better? Yes." Williams said afterward. "... We've got to play better, that's the bottom line." North Carolina players seem to be on board with Williams' assessment."We're trying to compete with the best of the best, so I feel where Coach is coming from," Tar Heels guard Leaky Black said.Anthony has been an almost-constant bright spot for North Carolina, racking up at least 20 points in every game. He's the first Tar Heels freshman to accomplish the feat in program history. His 82 total points are the most by any North Carolina player across a three-game stretch since 2011.Elon (2-2) won a pair of games against non-Division I teams before falling at Georgia Tech and at Michigan. Sports Handicapper Tracker. This marks the final outing of a three-game stretch against teams from Power 5 conferences for the Phoenix."I think in college basketball today, if you prepare to be the tougher, more together team and you can honestly say that after the game, you've got a chance to win," first-year Elon coach Mike Schrage said. "I don't care what that talent deficit supposedly is." Elon has introduced largely a new lineup this season, when it was selected last in the Colonial Athletic Association's preseason coaches' poll."As we're going to build this program, we're going to fight, and we're going to be tough," Schrage said. "... We're going to stay confident through the process. It's early in the season." Swingman Marcus Sheffield II, a transfer from Stanford, leads the Phoenix in scoring with 17.3 points per game.Williams is sixth career in Division I coaching victories with 874, just two behind former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp.North Carolina is 171-18 all-time against in-state nonconference opponents. Elon will mark the third straight foe to fall into that category.This matchup is part of the arrangement stemming from last November when North Carolina was the opponent as Elon opened a new arena on campus. Handicappers Watchdog. The schools are separated by about 35 miles.The game also counts as mainland matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Next week, North Carolina plays three games in three days in the Bahamas as part of the tournament.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers - 11/20/2019 - 8:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers - Date: 11/20/2019 The secret to success for the New York Rangers is pretty simple: Don't allow more than three goals per game. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Washington Capitals might be stirring, and they're coming to town Wednesday night.The Rangers will look to slow down the high-powered Capitals when the two Metropolitan Division rivals meet in the second of their four scheduled regular-season meetings.Both teams enter the game in the midst of mini-streaks. Baseball Predictions. The Rangers lost their second straight on Saturday, when they completed a rough two-game road trip by falling to the Florida Panthers 4-3. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Capitals won their second in a row Monday by beating the visiting Anaheim Ducks 5-2.The loss to the Panthers dropped the Rangers to 1-7-1 when allowing four goals or more. New York is 7-1-1 when surrendering three goals or fewer.The Rangers' all-or-nothing defensive tendencies -- they entered Tuesday with 66 goals allowed, tied for 10th most in the NHL -- were amplified during their Florida trek, when the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning combined for seven power play goals while outscoring New York 13-6.Head coach David Quinn lost his patience Saturday, when he benched left winger Pavel Buchnevich and center Micheal Haley for taking penalties that led to power play goals in the first period. Haley was waived by the Rangers on Sunday."If you take a lazy penalty, you're going to get benched -- and I should have done that 16 games ago," Quinn told reporters afterward. "So better late than never, I guess." The Capitals, whose 36 points entering Tuesday were seven more than anyone else in the NHL, also lead the circuit with 89 goa ls, 15 more than the Panthers. But the win over the Ducks ended a four-game stretch in which Washington scored three goals or fewer.The Capitals still collected five of eight possible points in that span (2-1-1) was an encouraging development for head coach Todd Reirden."That's a good problem to have, a lot of offense up and down the lineup," Reirden told reporters before Monday's game. "But it is hard to sustain, and I'm glad we've gotten into some lower-scoring games so we can be more comfortable in those." The Capitals are sure to be down at least one player Wednesday after right winger Garnet Hathaway earned an automatic suspension for spitting at Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson punched him at the end of a scrum behind the Anaheim net. Hathaway has to sit out until NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hands down a punishment. Washington has maxed out the salary cap and had no healthy extra players as of Monday night.Two form er Vezina Trophy winners are expected to oppose one another Wednesday night. It will be the third straight start for Henrik Lundqvist, who fell into a timeshare earlier this season with Alexandar Georgiev. Lundqvist took the loss Saturday after making 26 saves against the Panthers.Braden Holtby will likely start again for the Capitals are earning the win Monday, when he stopped 32 shots against the Ducks.Lundqvist is 21-13-7 in 41 regular-season games against the Capitals. Holtby is 13-9-1 in 24 regular-season appearances against the Rangers.

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NBA Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls - 11/20/2019 - 8:05 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019Derrick Rose will return to his hometown of Chicago for the second time this season when the Detroit Pistons visit the Bulls on Wednesday night.The former Bulls point guard drew a standing ovation and multiple "M-V-P" chants in his first visit to Chicago on Nov. 1. Good Sports Handicappers. The Bulls won the game 112-106 but much of the focus centered on Rose, who remains a fan favorite after an up-and-down tenure that included a Most Valuable Player award and multiple knee injuries."I grew up here," Rose said to reporters. "I'm really from here. Everything I represent, I think about Chicago first. What would a Chicagoan think about doing in this situation? ..."It's funny how when I got to Detroit, it's kind of like here (in Chicago). It's a hard -working town. Everybody appreciates the game. Soccer Picks. There's a rich history of winning, and they're used to a gritty way of playing, and I think I represent that." The 31-year-old Rose scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting in his first visit of the season to the United Center. He is averaging 18.4 points and 5.8 assists in eight games (one start).Detroit is hoping for a boost from Rose -- or anyone, for that matter -- after losing four straight games to the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets. Best Sports Picks of the Day. The Pistons have won only one of seven games on the road this season.Chicago is struggling, too, with three straight losses against the Milwaukee Bucks (twice) and Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls are 2-5 at home and have faced increasing criticism about the lack of rhythm i n their offense.One of several problems is the slow start for Lauri Markkanen, who is averaging a career-low 14.1 points in his third season. The 22-year-old is shooting 36.2 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from 3-point range."It's frustrating," Markkanen recently told reporters. "I've never had this kind of stretch of not (only) not hitting 3s but missing layups. It's very frustrating, but I've got to keep my head up, knowing that I worked too hard for this not to turn around." Bulls coach Jim Boylen consistently has preached the importance of stingy defense and a relentless attitude. He is more understanding when it comes to missed shots because he says those issues can be corrected."The thing I look at is, does he continue to work and communicate and take ownership?" Boylen said of Markkanen. "I feel no delusional tendencies from him. He's not making excuses, and as long as I see a guy working and caring, I be lieve he will play better and get back to who we think he can be. He has to play better, and we have to play better." The Pistons remain without veteran guard Reggie Jackson, who is recovering from a lower-back injury.Meanwhile, the Bulls do not have forward Otto Porter Jr. (left foot sprain) or center Luke Kornet (sinus surgery).This will be the Pistons' last visit of the regular season to Chicago. The teams have two more games in Detroit, with the first Dec. 21 and the second Jan. 11.--Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The Orlando Magic will try to extend their three-game winning streak when they visit the Toronto Raptors for the second time this season Wednesday night.The NBA champions defeated the Magic 104-95 on Oct. 28. Sports Monitor. The teams have yet to play in Orlando.The Raptors are 5-0 at home and the Magic are 0-4 on the road.The Magic defeated the Washington Wizards 125-121 on Sunday to complete a five-game homestand at 4-1 and they open a four-game road trip Wednesday."We needed these wins; it was important," said Magic guard D. J. Augustin, who scored 13 Sunday.The Raptors returned from a 3-2 trip against Western Conference teams to trounce the Charlotte Hornets 132-96 Monday and set a club record with 40 assists, led by a season-best nine assists from Marc Gasol."Even thoug h there were some long possessions early in the game, I thought we kept staying with things and ended up getting good shots even late in the shot clock," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "Then the 3s starting going in like crazy in the second half and that always helps your assist numbers." The last time the teams met, the Raptors held Magic center Nikola Vucevic to five points off 1-for-13 shooting.It could be more difficult this time after Vucevic was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday after averaging 21.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.33 blocks per game to help the Magic go 3-0.He posted season highs for points (30) and rebounds (17) Sunday for his seventh straight double-double and 10th of the season.Jonathan Isaac led Orlando with a career-best 24 points in the earlier loss to the Raptors. He has missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle, but could return Wednesday. Al-Farouq Aminu replaced hi m and played a solid defense.Markelle Fultz, who scored 13 points against the Raptors last month, has been emerging and scored a career-best 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting Sunday."I'm going to say it again: I think in 25 games people will see more and more, so I think this is just the very beginning," Magic coach Steve Clifford said.The Raptors had a career-best 24 points Monday from OG Anunoby, who did not play the fourth quarter after taking an elbow in the right eye late in the third quarter. Good Sports Handicappers. The club said he could have returned after treatment, but the game was under control by then.Anunoby missed the win over the Portland Trail Blazers last Wednesday after he suffered a right-eye contusion when being poked in the eye by former Raptor Kawhi Leonard Nov. 11 in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers."I wish they would catch the guy who does it once in a while," Nurse sa id. "That is two games he has gotten hit in the head and nobody sees anything." Anunoby wore goggles during the warmup before the loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, but did not use them in that game or on Monday."I just needed more time," he said. "I've got wear them for practice first and then see how it goes." Terence Davis II also had a career-best 16 points on Monday.--Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets vs. Brooklyn Nets - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets vs. Brooklyn Nets - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The Brooklyn Nets have had mixed results without Kyrie Irving on the floor, and on Wednesday they'll play a third straight game without him.The Nets made enough plays in the fourth quarter to knock off the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, but their second game without Irving was a flop. After Monday's ugly 115-86 loss to the Indiana Pacers, coach Kenny Atkinson did not hesitate in describing his team as "below average." Now with Irving out again with a shoulder injury, the Nets hope to produce a better performance Wednesday night when they host the Charlotte Hornets.The Nets dropped to 5-8 after shooting 35.7 percent, getting outrebounded 63-40 and getting outscored 41-17 in the second quarter Monday."Below-average teams are inconsistent and that's what we are right now," Atkinson said.Irving sat out due to right shoulder impingement that is considered a day-to-day injury. While he was in street clothes, the Nets lost for the fourth time in five games.Brooklyn struggled mightily in that five-game stretch, getting blown out twice and squandering double-digit leads in Utah and Denver. Free Sports Picks. They faltered on both ends, averaging 104.4 points on 42.6 percent shooting while allowing 116.8 points on 44.2 percent shooting."There's a lot of stuff that's out of your control when you play but the things that are in your control are competing every possession, playing hard every possession, having the sense of urgency, the ownership, the pride and a lot of that stuff is not there with us right now," Brooklyn forward Joe Harris said."It's there in (spurts) but it's not there consistently." With Irving out again, Spencer Dinwiddie would likely start alongside Garrett Temple. Dinwiddie scored 24 p oints Saturday and then led the Nets with 28 Monday but had little help as only Temple and Jarrett Allen finished in double figures with 10 points apiece.Charlotte has one more win than the Nets and has faced double-digit deficits in every game this season. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Hornets swept a weekend back-to-back with the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks behind clutch, game-winning 3-pointers from Malik Monk and Devonte' Graham, respectively.On Monday, the Hornets were denied three straight wins when they suffered a 132-96 loss in Toronto and were outscored 72-40 after halftime. Charlotte hit at least 15 3-pointers for the fifth time but shot 42.3 percent overall and committed 19 turnovers."We couldn't find any traction offensively and then we turned it over," said Charlotte coach James Borrego, whose team has lost its eight games by a combined 128 points."They came out and asserted themselves," Hornets forward Marvin Williams said. "They imposed their will on us and we were never able to recover." Graham leads the Eastern Conference with 49 3-pointers and leads the Hornets in scoring at 18.3 points. He had 29 Saturday but was held to 11 on Monday.The Hornets are hoping to get a better night from Terry Rozier, who is second on the team at 16.4 points per game. Rozier was held to 10 on Monday after averaging 22.6 points in his previous three games.Charlotte is 11-4 in the past 15 meetings with Brooklyn.--Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 20, 2019Luka Doncic and Draymond Green, two of the NBA's most frequent triple-double performers in recent seasons, go head-to-head for the first time this year when the Dallas Mavericks host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.Doncic flirted with LeBron James-created history on Monday in Dallas' 117-110 home win over the San Antonio Spurs as he logged his league-leading sixth triple-double of the season.What made this one particularly memorable was that Doncic scored 42 points, becoming the second-youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double that included a 40-point effort.Like Doncic, James accomplished the feat at age 20, but LeBron was five months younger.Doncic got the better of James in one area, however, as his youthful triple-double featured 42 points, whereas James scored 40 on his historic night in April 2005.& quot;This guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Monday of Doncic. "He's having one of those magical runs right now. It's a phenomenal thing to watch. It's a phenomenal thing to be a part of." With Doncic leading the way, the Mavericks have opened a heavyweight-laden, four-game homestand with two straight wins.The victories came over the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Saturday and the 2014 champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday.The other two teams to have claimed titles since 2014 -- three-time champ Golden State and 2016 winner Cleveland -- complete the homestand in the next three days.Like the Raptors and Spurs before them, the Warriors and Cavaliers will see that the Mavericks feature more than just Doncic.Big man Kristaps Porzingis, after sitting out last season with an ACL injury and beginning this year with just one double-double in Dallas' first 10 games, has come on strong in t he team's past three contests, recording a double-double in each.He had 20 points and 15 rebounds in the Mavericks' Saturday win over Toronto, then complemented Doncic's triple-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Spurs.The Warriors will be seeking their first winning streak of the season when they complete a back-to-back in Dallas.Thanks to Green's near-triple-double, Golden State dispatched the host Memphis Grizzlies 114-95 on Tuesday.Green contributed eight points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to the win, just missing what would have been his second triple-double of the season.The Warriors' defensive standout has 23 triple-doubles in his career. Doncic, who is in just his second season, has totaled 14.Green insisted the Tuesday victory, which snapped a seven-game losing streak, was more about team defense than any of his numbers."We came in fighting," he said. ""We've been talking about improving our defense. We got s tops at the start of the game, and we were able to get our tempo and we kept the game at our pace." Green and Doncic went head-to-head three times last season, with Doncic getting the only triple-double -- 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win at Golden State in March.Green had an earlier double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a December home win.--Field Level Media

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NBA Game Preview: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks - 11/20/2019 - 7:35 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks - Date: 11/20/2019 Nov 19, 2019The Atlanta Hawks hope a return home will be a remedy to help forget a difficult five-game road trip.The Hawks, who host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, have lost six of their last seven and carry a three-game losing streak into the game after a 1-4 West Coast road swing.Atlanta was thumped by the Los Angeles Clippers by 49 on Saturday and got handed a 21-point defeat by the Los Angeles Lakers the next night."We played some good teams," Atlanta guard Trae Young said. "It will be good to get a couple games at home." Atlanta's task won't get any easier upon its return to State Farm Arena. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The Bucks have won four straight and eight of their last nine, and sport the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Boston.Milwauke e won three of four games against the Hawks last season with an average margin of victory of 19.7 points, and has won seven of eight games against Atlanta.The Bucks have played nine of their first 13 games on the road and boast a 7-2 record in that time. Milwaukee is 2-0 on this current three-game trip after beating Chicago 115-101 on Monday night.Milwaukee is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averages 30.3 points and has recorded 13 straight double-doubles, the longest active streak in the league. He extended his streak of 30-point games to seven after tallying 33 against the Bulls. Only Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more in franchise history after going for eight straight and 16 straight in 1971-72.The Bucks will be without veteran Khris Middleton, who has missed three games with a left thigh contusion and isn't expected back until December. Donte DiVincenzo has replaced him in the lineup and scored 15 against the Bulls on Monday."Some really good stuff fr om him," Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said.A key for Atlanta will be to avoid a poor start, a factor that doomed the young club against the Clippers and Lakers. Digging a big hole -- Atlanta trailed by 25 in the first quarter against the Lakers -- makes it very difficult to have a chance. Free Sports Betting Picks. The Hawks could only get as close as 10 against the Lakers."We had a lot of things that didn't go our way (on the road trip)," Young said. "That's how our season has been. We'll get down big and we have to fight so hard to get back into the game that we take all the energy out of ourselves and it's hard to get back into the game." Young averages 27.0 points, an Eastern-Conference leading 8.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33.8 minutes per game. He scored 31 against the Lakers and averaged 17 points against the Bucks last season.The Hawks have struggle d since John Collins was suspended by the league for violation of its anti-drug policy. Collins has missed eight games and the team is 2-6 during that stretch.Veteran Jabari Parker has stepped up to help fill the void; Parker is averaging 17.2 points and 9.7 rebounds. In eight starts, he is averaging 19.4 points and shooting 52 percent from the field.The Hawks and Bucks will meet three more times this season, with a rematch scheduled for Nov. 27 in Milwaukee.--Field Level Media

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