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Plenty of action between 4 нед. назад Репутация: 0
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Quenton Nelson heard all the adjectives before this spring’s NFL draft.

The “experts” called him nasty http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/michael-gallup-jersey , a generational guard, the best player available and even suggested he could change the long-term image of all future interior offensive line prospects.

Nelson didn’t pay much attention to what was being said then or now. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound rookie remains focused on the only thing he believes matters — keeping Andrew Luck upright and healthy.

“I’m just trying to improve every single day and get better,” he said Monday as his pro debut against Cincinnati nears. “That’s all I’m worried about is getting better each and every Sunday — and not letting down my teammates.”

The Colts couldn’t expect much more out of the soft-spoken Nelson, who they took No. 6 overall.

He was the highest-chosen guard since Leonard Davis went No. 2 in 2001, and he’s not just another big body on the offensive line.

His mobility and athleticism make him an effective pulling guard, and he possesses rare flexibility that helps him stay in front of defensive linemen — as he demonstrated routinely at training camp and throughout the preseason.

Now the real tests begin.

In Sunday’s season opener, Nelson will no longer be working against vanilla defenses and backups trying to win roster spots. He’ll be trying to slow down sack artists such as Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson in a more complex scheme.

With each game comes a new challenge. Against Washington in Week 2, he could face Ryan Kerrigan. Against Super Bowl champion Philadelphia in Week 3, Nelson might line up against Fletcher Cox or Tim Jernigan. When the Colts start playing AFC South rivals Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee, he could be blocking J.J. Watt, Marcell Dareus or Jurrell Casey, among others.

And if Nelson unleashes the full arsenal each week, those who have monitored his steady progression believe the highly-touted rookie will meet the hype.

“I think it (cohesion) just naturally comes along,” center Ryan Kelly said. “But when you’re playing next to a guy every single day — OTAs, training camp and now — it’s just great. He has really come a long way.”

Kelly understands Nelson’s situation better than most.

Three years ago Marshall Newhouse Jersey , Kelly arrived in Indy as a first-round pick out of Alabama and immediately was plugged into a spot that had been a revolving door for Luck’s first three seasons. Kelly played admirably as a rookie before missing nine games last season with injuries.

This year, a healthy Kelly reclaimed the starting job playing next to Nelson and free-agent signee Matt Slauson. All three have worked hard to get in sync, and all three have been leaning on one another for help.

“Ryan has shown me how to be a pro and handle yourself off the field and on the field, too,” Nelson said. “I feel like it’s not only been Ryan, though, it’s been a bunch of the veteran guys, especially Matt Slauson. He’s been great and (Anthony) Castonzo, too.”

With Nelson at left guard, Slauson is expected to start at right guard, and the Colts remain hopeful Castonzo can return from a hamstring injury for Sunday’s game. Castonzo has been the starting left tackle since being a first-round pick in 2011 but missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

That leaves one opening on the line, at right tackle, with no clear-cut starter.

“We have made decisions on all those areas and feel good about those decisions,” first-year coach Frank Reich said when asked who the starters would be at right tackle, defensive end and cornerback. “But just to protect our team and our fans and our players, we are going to hold off on announcing those decisions.”

Still, there’s little doubt about Nelson’s skills — or even his own goal of breaking the will of an opponent each week as he first explained during the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indy.

“Yeah Doug Williams Jersey ,” Nelson said when asked if he still embraces such a notion. “I feel like we’ve grown as an offensive line, as a unit, playing together and trusting in one another that each of us will do our job on each and every snap.”

Note: Luck returned to practice Monday and is expected to start against the Bengals. He missed practice Monday and Tuesday last week with a minor foot injury. … The Colts signed tight end Ryan Hewitt to the active roster and put defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis on injured reserve. Lewis was one of the Colts’ four second-round picks last spring. … The Colts also added offensive lineman Jamil Douglas, defensive end Carroll Phillips, linebacker Ahmad Thomas, defensive tackle Jihad Ward and running back Jeremy McNichols to the practice squad.

Kevin Durant made his approach to taking over a pivotal NBA playoff game sound so simple – and look that way, too.

”I just try to tell myself that I’m at my best when I don’t care what happens after the game, the outcome or anything,” Durant said. ”That’s when I’m free and having fun out there, and forceful. That was thing – just try to play with force no matter if I missed shots or not, just keep shooting, keep being aggressive.”

Durant scored Golden State’s first two baskets on pull-up jumpers of 21 and 15 feet before a minute-and-a-half had elapsed in Game 4 of the Warriors‘ Western Conference semifinal series against New Orleans on Sunday. He finished with 38 points on 15-of-27 shooting to go with nine rebounds, and Golden State soundly defeated the Pelicans 118-92 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back to the West Coast.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was apparent early that getting the ball to Durant would be wise.

”Just find ways to get him in scoring positions,” Curry said. ”Sometimes, that’s not really hard to do – just throw it to him.

”Just keep the game simple at that point because he’s such a great scorer, you don’t have to really overthink things.”

The Warriors lost by 19 in Game 3 Friday and the Pelicans were looking to even the series. Instead, the Warriors responded with a resounding effort that produced a wire-to-wire win with leads as large as 26 points. Curry scored 23 Mason Foster Jersey , Klay Thompson added 13 and Quinn Cook, who was a Pelicans reserve earlier this season, contributed 12 points.

Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, but the Pelicans hit only 36 percent (32 of 88) of their shots, missing 22 of 26 3-point attempts.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Golden State’s defense ”had a lot to do with” the Pelicans’ poor shooting.

”We didn’t have the looks we normally have,” he said. ”We pressed a little bit when we got behind.”

E’Twaun Moore scored 20 and Jrue Holiday 19, but New Orleans reserves combined for just 14 points after scoring 32 two nights earlier. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds but had only six assists after racking up 21 in Game 3. The Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led 21 Warriors points.

”We missed a lot of easy shots, a couple game-plan discipline mistakes early on and they came out on fire,” Davis said. ”We just can’t afford to shoot that poorly.

”But we’ve got another one,” Davis added. ”Any time we’ve been punched in the mouth, we’ve always responded very well.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Draymond Green had eight points, nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two blocks. With his fourth rebound, Green became the third player in Warriors history to reach 800 playoff rebounds. Wilt Chamberlain (922) and Nate Thurmond (896) are the only others. … Green was assessed his first technical foul of the playoffs after he fell to the floor on a Davis layup and no foul was called.

Pelicans: Davis committed six turnovers and Rondo four. … Davis shot 10 of 10 from the foul line. … The Pelicans made 18 of 19 free throws in the first half but finished 24 of 30. … Nikola Mirotic grabbed 11 rebounds but missed six of seven shots to finish with seven points.

BREAKING AWAY

After shooting poorly Friday night, the Warriors were eager to regain their rhythm and did so immediately. They hit six of their first eight shots Tony Dorsett Jersey , with Durant making his first three.

”He was attacking tonight right from the beginning and he was brilliant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”He found better spots on the floor with his aggression and created easier shots for himself.”

Thompson and Curry each added early 3s. That, and solid defense that included Green’s block of Rondo’s layup, helped Golden State open a 10-point lead in the first four minutes.

The Pelicans missed eight of their first 10 shots and trailed 20-6 after Green made Golden State’s fourth 3.

The Pelicans slowly ground their deficit down to seven by halftime – only to botch the opening of the third quarter.

Rondo’s bounce pass handcuffed Davis as he cut to the hoop for what looked like a thunderous dunk in the making. Moments later, Green fired a cross-court pass to Durant for a one-handed jam.

Andre Iguodala and Curry followed with 3s, and in two minutes, the Warriors’ lead ballooned to 15.

GOING SMALL

Kerr went with a different starting lineup for a third consecutive game. Green moved to center after starting at forward in Game 3, 7-foot center JaVale McGee returned to a reserve role and Iguodala, who’d started games 1 and 2, returned to the first unit at forward. Curry, Thompson and Durant rounded out the starting five.

”Obviously, the lineup worked, but it’s not about the lineup,” Kerr asserted. ”The effort at both ends tonight was night-and-day from Game 3.

”There’s a good chance I’ll start these same five guys on Tuesday.”

UP NEXT

The series returns to Oakland, California, for Game 5 on Tuesday night.



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