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Stephen Curry’s frustration grows as Warriors continue slide down Western Conference standings

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Stephen Curry's frustration grows as Warriors continue slide down Western Conference standings

Stephen Curry is known for bringing incredible positivity to the court. His pregame shooting routine, his in-game celebrations, his support of teammates — the Warriors star exudes joy.

Well, except for Sunday night. Even the two-time MVP couldn’t put a good spin on the state of Golden State’s season.

MORE: Russell Westbrook responds to critical comments from Stephen A. Smith

After the Warriors’ 117-111 loss to the Hawks, which marked Golden State’s seventh defeat in its past eight games and dropped the team to 23-27 overall, Curry couldn’t hide his frustration.

“[To] keep it real, we all had higher expectations for where we were supposed to be this season,” Curry said. “And guys want to outperform — when they go out there, they want to exceed the expectations for themselves, for the coaching staff, whatever it is. And when it doesn’t happen, it’s frustrating.

“I hope it stings. I hope it’s uncomfortable. I hope that it motivates you to keep grinding, challenging yourself to get better. I hope nobody is content just being in this middle-of-the-road situation. So, we’re going to find out how we respond down the stretch of the season, see what we’re made of.”

Since moving to a season-high four games above .500 in late February, the Warriors have gone 4-12, sliding from seventh in the Western Conference standings to 10th with little room separating them from the Pelicans (22-27) and Kings (22-28) for the final play-in spot. And it’s not that the Warriors have just struggled to win lately — they’ve struggled to be competitive, losing eight of the 16 games in that stretch by double digits.

“Still a good amount of time [left in the season], but you cannot play the way that we’ve played the last significant stretch and expect things to change,” Curry said. “So, it kind of is what it is. We got to make the necessary adjustments. It sucks right now. Losing sucks. It’s a terrible feeling in the locker room. We don’t really have much to smile about. And it’s kind of the vibe right now.”

Curry would never throw others under the bus, but the harsh reality is that his fellow Warriors and the coaching staff have not given him enough help. The 33-year-old is having a terrific season, averaging 29.4 points, 6.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from 3-point range.

When Curry is on the floor, Golden State has a net rating of 2.7. When he sits, that number is a disastrous minus-9.7.

2020-21 Warriors Off Rating Def Rating Net Rating Eff FG %
Curry On 112.7 110.0 2.7 56.1
Curry Off 99.8 109.5 -9.7 50.4

“The hard part is trying to answer some of the questions around how we can get better and how we win games,” Curry said. “The situation is what it is. We have a lot to improve on, and there’s a challenge there that we all need to take head on. It’s uncomfortable right now. It’s frustrating for everybody, but it will test us to find a way to make these last 20 games matter and give us something to show for it towards the end of the season.

“Right now, it’s frustrating, for sure. I hope everybody in the locker room hates losing as a motivation just to stick with it, to stay connected and to figure it out.”

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Is Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer? Twitter debates retired receiver’s credentials

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Is Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer? Twitter debates retired receiver's credentials

Julian Edelman called it quits Monday, announcing his retirement after an 11-year NFL career, all of it spent with the Patriots.

Edelman’s final stat line: 620 receptions for 6,866 receiving yards (11 yards per reception) and 36 receiving touchdowns; 58 rushes for 413 yards (7.1 yards per carry); 177 punt returns for 1,986 yards and four touchdowns. His yardage ranks 156h in NFL history, and his receiving touchdowns are tied for 261st.

Zero Pro Bowl selections. Three Super Bowl rings. One Super Bowl MVP. And a member of the Patriots’ 2010 All-Decade team.

Now, the ensuing debate: Are those numbers good enough to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (which Edelman won’t be eligible for until 2026)? The pure numbers say no, but that didn’t stop Twitter users from making “HOFer” and “Edelman” trend Monday evening as they discussed Edelman’s Hall of Fame credentials.

MORE: Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer in May 2019 made a compelling argument that Edelman’s Hall of Fame case isn’t so cut and dry. Working in Edelman’s favor is the fact that only Jerry Rice ranks ahead of Edelman in postseason receptions (151 to Edelman’s 118) and receiving yards (2,245 to Edelman’s 1,442). He was also one of the favorite targets of Tom Brady — himself a first-ballot Hall of Famer — as the two won three Super Bowls together.

But Edelman only led the Patriots three times in receiving yards, and never put together more than 1,117 yards in a season (in 2019, his last fully healthy season). He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons and never scored more than seven receiving touchdowns a year. People were also quick to point out his stats pale in comparison to other non-Hall of Famers with considerably better stats, including Hines Ward, who in 2021 failed to make it into Canton for the fifth consecutive year.

Regardless of whether Edelman makes it into the Hall of Fame, the fact that his candidacy is so hotly debated — not even 24 hours removed from announcing his retirement — is a testament to his impact on the game.

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Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

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Why did Patriots cut Julian Edelman? Failed physical only part of New England roster move

The Patriots sent shockwaves throughout the NFL on Monday — tremors, at least — with the announcement that they would cut veteran receiver Julian Edelman.

Multiple reports suggest that New England cut Edelman, 34, because he failed his physical; he would have played his 12th season in the league in 2021 after missing the final 10 games of the 2020 season while recovering from knee surgery.

That said, New England’s decision to cut Edelman was more than just a simple failed physical. Either way, Monday’s decision could put the cap on an 11-year career that saw Edelman catch 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns and win three Super Bowls.

NFL MOCK DRAFTS 2021: Compare Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, Todd McShay & other experts

Here’s everything you need to know about the decision, and Edelman’s future in the NFL.

Why did the Patriots cut Julian Edelman?

The initial reason for Edelman’s tenure ending in New England was a failed physical. That makes sense on the surface, considering that the 34-year-old receiver played in the fewest games in a given season since he entered the NFL in 2009. Considering how busy New England coach/GM Bill Belichick was in free agency, it also stands to reason that Edelman would have seen fewer targets in 2021 after the Patriots added receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

However, that was only part of the Patriots’ decision. Per Mike Weiss of ESPN, the decision could simply be a formality and precursor to Edelman retiring from football.

Edelman later confirmed rumors that he was, indeed, retiring. Edelman, in a pre-recorded video, announced his decision.

Why is Edelman retiring from the NFL?

In the video, Edelman credited an undisclosed knee injury from the 2020 season as the reason for his retirement. He underwent surgery on Oct. 29 and did not return for the remainder of New England’s 7-9 season.

“Nothing in my career has ever come easy. And, no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy, either,” Edelman said in his announcement. “I always said, ‘I’m gonna go until the wheels come off.’ And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I’ll be making my official announcement of retirement from football. It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family. And I’m honored, and so proud, to be retiring a Patriot.

That last line also puts an end to any rumors that Edelman will attempt a comeback somewhere else in the NFL — notably, in Tampa Bay with former teammates Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

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Dustin Poirier says Conor McGregor never donated promised $500K to former’s charity

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Dustin Poirier says Conor McGregor never donated promised $500K to former's charity

Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor are confirmed to be fighting again … on Twitter.

The latest clash between the two UFC fighters stems from a Poirier claim Sunday night that McGregor and his team failed to deliver on a promised $500,000 donation. It would have gone to Poirier’s charity, “The Good Fight,” after their UFC 257 bout in January, which Poirier won via second-round TKO.

McGregor responded in kind, saying that Poirier never said exactly where the money was going and how it would be used.

MORE: Francis Ngannou wins heavyweight title at UFC 260 after KO of Stipe Miocic

All this stemmed from a 2020 exchange between the two fighters where McGregor teased a comeback outside of UFC. He proposed a PPV with Poirier, saying all the money would go to charity. He eventually settled on the $500,000 amount, which would be donated after their January bout. Poirier confirmed in December 2020 that McGregor’s team had begun the process of donating to his foundation.

Poirier and McGregor’s online squabble further devolved from there, with Poirier claiming that McGregor’s team quit responding to emails and McGregor calling Poirier a “brain dead hillbilly” — before canceling their trilogy fight.

Both fighters have reportedly signed contracts to a trilogy fight on July 10 at UFC 264, though that promotion hasn’t been made official. What’s also uncertain is whether McGregor’s claim that the fight is off is him simply letting off steam or retaliation against Poirier.

Just another day in the UFC.

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