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The Jets measured up Zach Wilson by asking a linebacker to give him a hug

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The Jets measured up Zach Wilson by asking a linebacker to give him a hug

The Jets are already embracing their next franchise quarterback — figuratively and literally.

BYU passer Zach Wilson was selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, becoming New York’s next best hope at solving its long-standing quarterback conundrum. Wilson, though, wasn’t without his warts entering the draft.

MORE: Full list of Jets’ 2021 draft picks

Wilson’s height and weight had become a conversation point before the draft. Though his measurables were about average (6-2, 214 pounds), his slender build gave some analysts and evaluators cause for pause.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports that the Jets had a solution to figure out just how big Wilson was: At BYU’s pro day, the Jets asked 49ers linebacker and BYU alum Fred Warner to give Zach Wilson a hug so the Jets could get a better idea of just how big the quarterback was and how he measured up.

Breer reports:

Warner was there to support Wilson and the rest of the Cougars trying to make their case to all the NFL teams there that day. He also served as a human measuring stick.

 

Hey Fred, can you go give Zach a hug real quick?

 

The first-team All-Pro obliged his old defensive coordinator, and in doing so helped Saleh, GM Joe Douglas and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur put the final piece in place for the Jets’ decision on what to do with the second pick. The 6-3, 230-pound Warner is roughly the same size as Patrick Mahomes, and, as he approached Wilson, who’d faced questions about his size, the Jets’ brass could actually see it.

After the hug (and clean medical reports), the Jets were more comfortable with Wilson and feel like he could add a bit of weight to thicken up his frame entering 2021. 

While Wilson may be on the smaller side compared with other quarterbacks selected in the first round, one thing is unquestionably big, and that’s his arm: Wilson put on a show at BYU’s pro day and in multiple games throughout his college career, culminating in a 33-touchdown, three-interception season with the Cougars in 2020.

The question remains though: Would things have worked out differently if someone gave Sam Darnold a hug?

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NBA playoff schedule 2021: Full bracket, dates, times, TV channels for play-in, playoff games

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NBA playoff scenarios 2021: Updated playoff picture, seeds ahead of play-in tournament, first round

It hasn’t been an easy NBA season, but the league managed to navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and reach the playoff stage.

This year’s postseason will look slightly different with the addition of the play-in tournament, which will expand the field from 16 to 20 total teams. But when it comes down to the playoff bracket, the mission is still the same: Win 16 games, and capture the Larry O’Brien trophy.

NBA STANDINGS: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for playoff spots

Here’s everything you need to know about watching the 2021 NBA playoffs, including TV schedules for play-in and playoff games.

NBA playoff bracket 2021

(NBA)

How to watch NBA playoff games

NBA playoff games will once again be split between ESPN and TNT. First- and second-round games are scattered across both networks. Every NBA Finals game will be shown exclusively on ABC.

The primary outlets for live-streaming 2021 NBA playoff games are Watch ESPN and Watch TNT, both available on desktop and by downloading the mobile apps.

Games on ESPN can also be streamed on fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial.

NBA playoff schedule 2021

Note: This section will be updated when first-round matchups are finalized.

May 18

Game (play-in) Time (ET) National TV
Hornets vs. Pacers 6:30 p.m. TNT
Wizards vs. Celtics 9 p.m. TNT

May 19

Game (play-in) Time (ET) National TV
Spurs vs. Grizzlies 7:30 p.m. ESPN
Warriors vs. West No. 7 10 p.m. ESPN

May 20

Game (play-in) Time (ET) National TV
Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Loser 8 p.m. TNT

May 21

Game (play-in) Time (ET) National TV
Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser TBD ESPN

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Wizards’ Scott Brooks pokes fun at LeBron James with play-in tournament comments

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Wizards' Scott Brooks pokes fun at LeBron James with play-in tournament comments

The Wizards closed the 2020-21 NBA regular season with a torrid stretch. They were 17-6 in their final 23 games and went from a likely lottery team to a participant in the NBA’s inaugural play-in tournament.

Washington finished its climb up the standings Sunday. It defeated the Hornets 115-110 to secure eighth place in the Eastern Conference, which is a win-and-in spot in the conference’s four-team tournament.

Under the old playoff format, the Wizards would’ve clinched the No. 8 seed and guaranteed themselves a spot in the posteason with Sunday’s win. They would have started playing for their lives in a seven-game series, not a one- or two-game set.

MORE: Knicks clinch No. 4 seed in Eastern Conference

Wizards coach Scott Brooks saw that as an opportunity to poke fun at the play-in tournament and LeBron James’ recent comments about it.

“I’m with the King,” Brooks said. “Who created this play-in thing? Whoever did that, they need to be fired.”

Seconds later, Brooks affirmed that he was just kidding. He was paraphrasing James’ comments from May 2 when the Lakers star said that “whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired.”

Unlike James, Brooks thinks the play-in tournament is a net positive for the NBA, despite his team finishing eighth in the East.

MORE: How the play-in tournament works

“I love this [format]. It created so much excitement the last two weeks and, as we all know, any time you can create excitement and meaningful games in the last 10 games of the season is great for everyone involved,” Brooks said. “Fans, TV partners, everybody. I love it. Even though we’re not the 8-seed, I still love it.”

The play-in tournament gave fringe playoff teams like the Wizards incentive to compete later into the season. Brooks is right about that. Now, it’s a matter of whether the on-court product will match the late-season chase to make (or avoid) the tournament.

With stars like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant, Domantas Sabonis and one of James or Damian Lillard guaranteed to participate in the play-in, there is a good chance it will live up to the hype.

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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani adds to highlight reel with go-ahead HR in 9th off one of MLB’s top closers

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Angels: Albert Pujols release about giving Shohei Ohtani more ABs, moving Jared Walsh to 1B

Matt Barnes was one out away from sealing a Red Sox victory when Angels DH Shohei Ohtani stepped into the box.

It was a mano a mano battle between one of baseball’s best pitchers and the emerging two-way superstar.

Ohtani won the battle.

MORE: Albert Pujols to sign with Dodgers

He hit a monster two-run home run that curled around the Pesky Pole at Fenway Park to give the Angels a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth inning Sunday. LA went on to win by that score.

Teeing off against Barnes is no easy feat. Before Ohtani batted in the ninth, Barnes had allowed two hits and no runs in his previous 8 2/3 innings. For the season, he was averaging 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings and had allowed just one home run in 18 appearances. At one point, he had a negative FIP, something that is unheard of. 

But Ohtani managed to get the best of him Sunday and add another highlight to his superb season.

Ohtani’s homer was his 12th in 2021, tying him for the MLB lead with the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Mariners’ Mitch Haniger. His 29 RBIs are tied for the Angels’ team lead with Jared Walsh. His .597 slugging percentage is second on the team only to Mike Trout.

Ohtani has been spectacular as a pitcher as well. He has thrown 25 2/3 innings over five outings, with a sparkling 2.10 ERA and 14 strikeouts per nine.

In short, he is one of the game’s most electric players right now. Barnes knows that.

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