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Nets won’t have Kevin Durant for Lakers showdown

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Nets won’t have Kevin Durant for Lakers showdown

Nets star Kevin Durant will miss Thursday night’s marquee TNT game against the Lakers and LeBron James at Staples Center because of a hamstring injury. The Nets could get Kyrie Irving back, as the guard is listed as probable after missing their last game with lower back tightness.

This will mark a third straight missed game for Durant. After straining his left hamstring, he sat out the Nets’ back-to-back victories in Sacramento on Monday and Phoenix on Tuesday.

Irving started suffering lower back tightness during the game versus the Kings and got treatment at halftime of that win. He came back to pour in a season-high 40 points before sitting out the comeback win the next night against the Suns.

“We’re confident it will be short-term,” coach Steve Nash said at the time of Irving’s injury.

After James Harden scored 38 points to help the Nets overturn a 21-point halftime deficit — the biggest in team history — now Irving could be set to rejoin him on the court against the Lakers, who are missing Anthony Davis.

“Whether it’s the Lakers or any other team, that doesn’t get us excited because we’re still working on ourselves, if that makes sense,” Harden said. “So, obviously, we understand that caliber of team we’re playing. But then, the whole situation is we are working on ourselves.”


With fans permitted to be at Barclays Center beginning next Tuesday vs. the Kings, there is some clarity regarding Nets’ ticket availability and pricing.

For the three home games between next Tuesday and the March 7 All-Star Game, the Nets will welcome approximately 300 fans in what the organization terms “premium seats.” Following the All-Star Game, single-game tickets will go on sale, beginning at $150 per seat.

That sum will include the PCR testing, as the organization will both cover the test’s expense and handle its logistics. A Nets spokesperson said in a statement that Barclays “will be the first venue in major North American sports” to do this. Part of the ticket proceeds will be dispensed to fund vaccinations as well.

Per the statement, “Tickets for the second half of the season will go on sale to season ticket holders and the general public shortly after the NBA announces the schedule for the remainder of the season.”


With the Nets shorthanded, Tyler Johnson has stepped up, averaging 12 points and shooting 55.6 percent from 3-point range over his past three games.

“Tyler, man, he’s been great the last couple of games. He’s come in and has given us great minutes,” Jeff Green said. “His defense was really good and he’s been playing well. He’s been working hard to get back on the court after a couple of injuries early on. But he’s been great and has been helping us out the last couple of games.”

After being out of the rotation, Johnson has played in six straight and logged at least 18 minutes in five of them. He’ll come into the game against the Lakers off a solid effort against the Suns, who cut him last season. Johnson had a season-high 17 points, and has shown improved defense, even against bigger foes.

“Got to have some heart. No heart, it’s over for you. We’ve just got some guys who want to guard. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to,” Johnson said. “You’re gonna let somebody bully you around, then you really have no business being on the court.”

Green said took a hard shot to the chest just before halftime Tuesday and sat out the entire third quarter, but says he’ll be fine to face the Lakers.

“I’m cool man. I’ve been hit harder. I’ve been through more pain,” he said. “I’ll be sore, but I ain’t tripping.”


Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee soreness) is questionable. … Joe Harris is averaging 16.6 points over his past 10 games, while shooting 58.3 percent overall and an absurd 53.6 from deep.

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

Donald Douglas, the longtime executive director of the Public School Athletic League, died late Friday night, according to friend and PSAL colleague Dwayne Burnett.

Douglas was 58, according to his Facebook page.

Douglas died of a heart attack, while vacationing on the island of Jamaica, after a bad fall eventually caused a blood clot to form, according to Burnett. The Brooklyn native and Bushwick High School alum had retired this week from his post. He was PSAL director since 2004, when he was promoted from deputy director, and spent more than 35 years working for the New York City Department of Education.

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

The 2021 fantasy baseball draft season is upon us, and with its arrival comes a variety of strategies to test out and employ.

Drafting with position scarcity in mind is something we see every year, and though the catcher position is routinely linked to the strategy, the belief that you need to draft one of the top backstops early is a mistake. If you have been leaning in that direction, it’s time to change gears before you fall over.

In fantasy football, position scarcity has people drafting No. 1-ranked tight end Travis Kelce early because, in securing him, you are obtaining a significant advantage over your opposition. His production dwarfs that of anyone else at his position and on a 10-man roster in a weekly matchup, the impact is huge. The same cannot be said regarding the No. 1 catcher, J.T. Realmuto.

There is plenty to love about Realmuto from a fantasy perspective. His three-year average has him as a .273 hitter with 25 home runs and 81 RBIs. The numbers are strong, but does drafting him in the fourth or fifth round over a 40-homer Pete Alonso or a 200-strikeout Lance Lynn still give you an advantage? Not when you understand it’s just one-fourteenth of your overall team production or when you see what you can get at the position several rounds later.

Casting aside 2020 data, we can look at a number of backstops who not only hit 20 or more home runs, but also hit .270 or better in 2019 and can be obtained at a much lower cost. Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Christian Vazquez and Omar Narvaez immediately stand out.

JT Realmuto
JT Realmuto
Getty Images

You also have players such as Yasmani Grandal and Roberto Perez, who matched the power, but fell short on the batting average, or James McCann and Travis d’Arnaud, who posted strong averages, but hit for slightly less power. That’s already eight players who can provide similar numbers at a fraction of the cost, and we’re just scratching the surface.

If Realmuto was a .300-30-100 player, the conversation would certainly be different. He’s a great player but he isn’t performing at a level that leaves your opposition in the dust. If his production can be matched 10 rounds later, you’re better off using that early pick on an elite arm or a bigger bat at another position. Leave your catchers for later.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

PORT ST. LUCIE — Pete Alonso wasn’t the only big voice in the Mets organization to deactivate his social media accounts over the offseason.

But the first baseman going dark on Twitter and Instagram had nothing to do with the aftermath of a stock market saga, which was the reason owner Steve Cohen ditched Twitter, and everything to do with a new outlook on life away from a screen.

“I think that real life is just absolutely fantastic and for me, I think life is a blessing, it’s something that I feel like a lot of people, sometimes including myself, take for granted,” Alonso said Friday after a workout. “And I want to spend every second soaking in every single day because every single new day is a blessing, and I feel like especially in wake of what happened last year, there’s a lot of things that I feel like were taken for granted.

“In 2019, if you see everybody wearing this mask, you kind of scratch your head and just be like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ But there’s a lot of new social norms that are in place now that we took for granted. I think for me, I just want to be appreciative of every single day. I want to live in real life.”

Alonso had been one of the more active Mets interacting with fans through social media, especially during his Rookie of the Year season in 2019, when he adopted “#LFGM” as the team’s new rallying cry.

Though he will no longer be in touch with fans online, Alonso is very much looking forward to welcoming them back in person at Citi Field this season. After playing at an empty stadium in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Mets are expected to have at least a portion of Citi Field open to fans when the 2021 season begins.

“Playing on TV is absolutely fantastic, but being there in person where one swing of the bat or making a diving play or striking somebody out, you can make that many people in person smile, stand, clap, cheer, yell even just by doing something,” Alonso said, with a big smile breaking out. “Once I heard 40,000 people at Citi Field go absolutely bonkers, that’s an adrenaline rush that I’m addicted to.

“I can’t wait until it’s packed out again like that. If it’s 25 percent, 30 percent, I can’t wait to hear people cheer again in person. For me, it’s addicting, and I love it.”

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