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Jerami Grant agrees to three-year, $60M deal with Pistons

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Free-agent forward Jerami Grant has agreed to a three-year, $60-million deal with the Detroit Pistons, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.

The tough defender is coming off a strong year with the Denver Nuggets, hitting 39.9 per cent of his threes and averaging 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists a game. Grant, 26, also stepped up in the post-season with Will Barton sidelined and helped the Nuggets make a run to the Western Conference Finals.

Source: – Sportsnet.ca

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Forge FC falls in CONCACAF quarters – TSN

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Forge FC lost a heartbreaker to Haiti’s Arcahaie FC in Scotiabank Champions League quarterfinal play Tuesday, conceding a cheap goal on a goalkeeping blunder in regulation time and then losing a penalty shootout.

The win earned Arcahaie a berth in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League, alongside the confederation’s elite club teams, while moving it into the final four of the CONCACAF League — a 22-team feeder competition that sends six teams to the top-tier CONCACAF tournament.

Forge, the Canadian Premier League champion, has a chance to make the Champions League via a do-or-die play-in match next week.

Guerry Romondt saved Forge’s first two penalties — from Daniel Krutzen and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson. Arcahaie substitute Ose Charles converted the decisive kick in the 4-2 shootout win.

The game was knotted at 1-1 after regulation time with Forge dominating play. but unable to get the go-ahead goal.

“Obviously this is one that stings,” said Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis.

“We’ve played two games in the last 2 1/2 months. This is the third one,” he added. “So there’s some kind of rhythm that’s not going to be there. And the toughest thing to do in this game is score goals.”

Forge looked in complete control up 1-0 early in the second half but conceded the tying goal in the 59th minute on a mistake by Triston Henry. He delayed playing a back pass from Kwame Awuah and his scuffed clearance attempt deflected in off onrushing Arcahaie forward Kervens Jolicoeur.

“That’s something maybe that’s going to happen once in his career,” Smyrniotis said.

“This one kind of stings but he’s fantastic. He’s goalkeeper of the year in the Canadian Premier League for a reason. It’s unfortunate that this comes at this moment but we’ve got to look past it,” he added.

After the tying goal the game was delayed by a hole in the Arcahaie goal netting, requiring several zip-ties to close the gap.

Krutzen opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot after David Choiniere was taken down in the box by Hantz Anacius. Romondt dove the right way but Krutzen’s shot found the corner.

Krutzen also converted a penalty — in second-half stoppage-time — to give Forge a 2-1 win over Panama’s Tauro FC in the round of 16.

The 24-year-old Belgian defender rattled a free kick off the Arcahaie crossbar in the 49th minute as Forge tormented the Haitians with set pieces.

The four CONCACAF League quarterfinal winners qualify directly for the Champions League while the losing quarterfinalists compete in single-leg play-in games, with the two winners also qualifying.

Arcahaie advances to play either Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa or Honduras’ Club Deportivo Marathon, who played in a later game Tuesday, in the January COBCACAF League semifinal. Saprissa won the CONCACAF League last year.

Forge will play the Saprissa-Marathon loser next week in the play-in match.

Regulation time ended with Forge driving at the Arcahaie goal but unable to get the go-ahead goal. It was the same for the seven minutes of stoppage time with Arcahaie players going down like bowling-pins, delaying play.

Tuesday’s game went ahead despite one Forge staff member and two Arcahaie players testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of kickoff.

CONCACAF said all three had been isolated. All other players and staff tested negative.

Smyrniotis made two changes to his starting 11 with Johnny Grant returning from suspension to take over from Kadell Thomas and fellow midfielder Paolo Sabak replacing Elimane Cisse.

Forge pressed from the opening kickoff while the Haitians looked to counter-attack. Choiniere almost scored for Forge in the opening minute but couldn’t get a boot to a low ball sent across the front of goal by Grant.

Forge dominated possession but could not translate it into scoring chance. And the Haitian side began to grow more comfortable on the ball as the deadlock continued.

Romondt was called into action twice late in the first half, punching away Forge free kicks. Mo Babouli thought he had scored on the stroke off halftime, heading in another free kick, but was flagged offside.

While Arcahaie was the home side, the game was played in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo at the more suitable Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez.

The Haitians advanced Nov. 5 with a 3-1 round-of-16 win over Waterhouse FC in Kingston, Jamaica. Forge dispatched Tauro two days earlier in Panama City.

The Canadian side then returned home, serving the mandated 14-day quarantine. Forge arrived in the Dominican on Nov 21, training in Punta Cana before making the 170-kilometre trip to the capital on Monday.

Arcahaie moved into the round of 16 when Belize’s Verdes FC pulled out of their Oct. 20 preliminary-round match due to positive COVID-19 tests. That match was also scheduled for Santo Domingo.

Forge defeated El Salvador’s CD Municipal Limeno 2-1 in San Salvador on Oct. 22 in preliminary-round play.

Forge, thanks to its triumph in the Island Games in Charlottetown during the summer, will also have another chance to qualify for the main CONCACAF club competition when it takes on Toronto FC in final of the Canadian Championship scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.

Forge exited the CONCACAF League in the round of 16 last year, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Honduras’s Olimpia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020

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Game on? Steelers, Ravens set to finally meet … maybe – TSN

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PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin isn’t into hypotheticals. The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers coach prefers to deal with what is happening, not what might happen.

This season, however, has challenged that approach. The unbeaten Steelers (10-0) are scheduled to host some semblance of the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) in a game already pushed back three times, first from Thanksgiving to last Sunday, then from last Sunday to Tuesday night, then from Tuesday to Wednesday. The game is the first NFL contest scheduled for a Wednesday since the 2012 season opener.

Watch the game LIVE at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT on TSN and TSN Direct.

Assuming, of course, that they play. Hardly a given in a year when uncertainty and chaos is just one positive COVID-19 test away.

“It’s day to day,” Tomlin said. “It’s a sensitive situation.”

An ever-changing one too. The Ravens had more than a dozen players on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Tuesday afternoon, a group that includes reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. The Steelers have COVID-19 issues of their own, with defensive end Stephon Tuitt and starting running back James Conner among the four players who will not play.

The NFL is making every attempt to keep the league on track to finish a 16-game season in 17 weeks; look for quarterback-less Denver’s loss to New Orleans on Sunday as proof.

“We understand that every team is going through something like this,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Not to this extent, but we have to be ready for any situation. I think (Tomlin) has laid out the plan. It’s up for us to follow it and it’s up for us to bounce back with it.”

With a win, the Steelers would effectively eliminate Baltimore, the defending AFC North champions, from the division race. It would also keep Pittsburgh a game clear of reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City for the top seed in the conference — and the one bye available this season.

Yet the Steelers remain wary. The previous time they saw Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, scheduled to start in place of Jackson, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year guided Baltimore past Pittsburgh in the 2019 regular-season finale. Baltimore could also have its entire stable of running backs available if Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins both continue to test negative for COVID-19.

“They have a mobile quarterback who has beaten us this last time,” Heyward said. “Their defence is opportunistic, and they can be on long fields and have a kicker that can buy them out of any situation. I know we are dealing with a lot of uncertainly with guys going in and out, but we will deal with that when the time comes. We are ready for what they throw at us.”

If the pandemic offers both clubs a chance.

BACKUP BACKS

Conner’s absence means Pittsburgh will have to rely on second-year back Benny Snell Jr. and rookie Anthony McFarland Jr., to help out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Snell ran for 113 yards in a season-opening win over the New York Giants while filling in for an injured Conner, but has been largely unproductive since outside of short-yardage situations.

Snell has 82 yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns over Pittsburgh’s past nine games. McFarland has been used sparingly since running for 42 yards in Week 3 against Houston.

TACKLING A PROBLEM

The Ravens had trouble bringing down Derrick Henry in an overtime loss on Nov. 22, and they didn’t get any practice time to correct the situation because of the COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

So, they’ll be working on muscle memory.

“Our guys know how to tackle, and we tackled, for most of the game, very, very well,” coach John Harbaugh said in reviewing the Titans game. “I think toward the end, we weren’t able to finish it for whatever reason.

“We can tackle better in those situations, but it’s not from a lack of knowing how to tackle or anything like that. It’s not something that we need to be in pads every day to get ready to do in a game. So, we just need to do better in a game situation. These are professional players. They certainly know how to tackle. They wouldn’t be on our team if they weren’t good tacklers.”

SCHEDULE SHUFFLE

The ripple effect of postponing the game will linger well into the stretch run. The NFL moved both Pittsburgh and Baltimore’s next games as a result of the delay. The Steelers will now host the Washington Football Team on Monday, Dec. 7, with the Ravens hosting Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Assuming the Ravens and Steelers ultimately do make it onto the turf at Heinz Field, it means the NFL could potentially play a game on every day of the week this season. There are Saturday games scheduled for both Dec. 19 and Dec. 26 and Minnesota is slated to visit New Orleans on Christmas Day, which is a Friday.

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Pascal Siakam and Paul Watson Jr.'s L.A. offseason sessions – The Athletic

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A basketball program is in the midst of a rebuild at a mid-sized community college in Alondra Park, Calif. The El Camino College Warriors haven’t played a game since February, their underachieving past half-decade remains on hiatus like many other clubs. Instead, their royal blue-trimmed court has become the site of another rebuild, this one involving Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam and roster-hopeful Paul Watson Jr., who have been putting in work together at the school for the better part of six weeks.

Siakam and Watson may seem an odd pairing at first blush. Although teammates, their 2019-20 campaigns couldn’t have ended more differently, and they are in very different places in their respective careers.

Watson, eight months Siakam’s junior, finds himself in a position Siakam can relate to. Coming off of a terrific breakout season with Raptors 905, Watson saw only a brief window to shine in the relaunch. In Siakam’s rookie season, he spent…

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