Young pulls hammy, Birds cap preseason with win

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Young pulls hammy, Birds cap preseason with win

BOX SCORE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was a nearly perfect evening for Vince Young. Until his final snap.

Young, who struggled in his first three preseason appearances this summer, threw for 193 yards and engineered two long touchdown drives in the first half of the Eagles 24-14 win over the the Jets Thursday night in the preseason finale at MetLife Stadium.

On what should have been his final snap of the game -- with 53 seconds left before halftime -- Young rolled to his right on a 4th-and-1 from the Jets 9-yard-line and had a clear path to the end zone, but he pulled up as he was rolling out, threw the ball away and fell to the ground with a hamstring injury.

There was a lot of green in front of me, said Young, who would have scored easily. But I felt something and didnt want to do too much.

Head coach Andy Reid said he expects Young to be healthy in time for the Eagles regular-season opener against the Rams on Sept. 11.

I think hes going to be OK, Reid said.

Young finished 15 for 23 (65 percent) for 193 yards, a TD and no turnovers, good for a 105.9 passer rating. Four of the five drives he was on the field for went inside the Jets 25-yard-line.

Reid said Young will have a MRI back in Philadelphia on Friday.

I just felt my hamstring pull a little bit, Young said. I dont feel its major. I feel pretty good. Hopefully, its not serious. I really feel OK.

Soon after Young went down, third-stringer Mike Kafka got hurt, leaving Reid forced to have emergency quarterback Jason Avant scramble for his helmet

Midway through the third quarter, Kafka was knocked woozy when he was drilled by Jets linebacker Matthias Berning. With Michael Vick safely on the bench and no other quarterbacks available, Avant was about to head out to to play QB, but after clearing his head during a timeout, Kafka stayed in the game.

I didnt see Jason grab his helmet, Kafka said. I just got up and took the timeout so I was able to get my bearings straight and move forward. I know those guys are battling out there and Im just trying to do my part. If Im healthy, Im going to play.

Young, who may have needed a strong performance to secure the back-up spot behind Vick, looked as sharp as he has this preseason.

He engineered first-half touchdown drives of 91 and 79 yards. He was 4 for 5 for 61 yards on the first, with a 16-yard TD pass to Chad Hall, and 4 for 5 for 79 yards on the second, which was capped by Dion Lewiss short TD run.

I was OK, Young said. As the preseason has gone on and the games have gone on, I really feel like Im getting better and better.

If there were any doubt whether Brian Rolle and Lewis would survive Saturdays final roster cuts, there isnt any more. Both late-round undersized rookies played exceptionally well in the first half.

Lewis, the 5-foot-8 tailback, netted 100 yards of offense before halftime, rushing 15 times for 62 yards and catching three passes for 38 yards to go with a 40-yard kickoff return. Lewis continues to show great quickness, cutback ability and vision.

People see me out there and say, Oh, hes a little guy, he cant do that, Lewis said. But I just play my game. Im the same guy Ive been all my life. If they think Im too short, they think Im too short. Im just going to continue doing what I can do.

Rolle, the 5-9, 225-pound linebacker, recorded 1 12 sacks, repeatedly finding his way quickly into the Jets backfield.

I know in the NFL they expect those guys to be huge and bulky, Rolle said. But I look at myself as 6-1, 240, even though most people dont see it. But I play like it.

Hall, competing with Sinorice Moss for a likely sixth receiver spot, didnt help himself with a second-quarter fumble deep in Jets territory on a punt return that led directly to the Jets first touchdown. Moss, meanwhile, was 3 for 49 receiving before halftime and had a 30-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.

I know I put a lot of time and work in and made the best out of every opportunity, said Moss, who spent the last four years with th Giants. Im a new guy here, and Im new to this team. In that sense, I felt like a rookie. But I worked hard every day, and when I had the opportunity, I went out and made plays.

Veteran tight end Donald Lee certainly helped his chances with three catches for 52 yards before halftime, including a big 15-yarder on a 3rd-and-14 on a TD drive. Lee is the best blocker among Eagles tight ends, and if they keep only two, Lee would be in a roster battle with second-year pro Clay Harbor, who had a nine-yard reception.

The Eagles defensive tackle logjam didnt seem to get any clearer. Derek Landri and Trevor Laws started and both were active and productive. Anthony Hargrove -- who can play defensive tackle or end -- started at left end and played at a high level. He has the team made, and his versatility could allow the Eagles to go light at defensive end.

Second-year DE Daniel Teo-Nesheim, last years third-round pick, didnt seem to help himself. Even working against the Jets backups, Teo-Nesheim did not generate any pressure. It would be a surprise if he survives Saturdays roster cuts.

Phillip Hunt, the former CFL speed rusher, contributed a fourth-quarter sack, his third of the preseason and one of five for the Eagles subs. But its certainly possible neither Teo-Nesheim or Hunt will make the team. Hunt is eligible for the practice squad but would have to clear waivers.

With the third-teamers in the game in the third quarter, the Eagles took a 21-7 lead on Graig Coopers one-yard TD run.

Kafkas fourth-quarter pass intended for Johnnie Lee Higgins was picked off by cornerback Ellis Lankster, who returned it 67 yards for a touchdown. He finished 7 for 11 for 76 yards.

Fan favorite Cornelius Ingram, now in his third Eagles preseason, picked up his first two career preseason receptions for 27 yards.

Whatever its worth, the Eagles held the Jets various backs to 24 rushing yards on 16 carries -- a 1.5 average. The Eagles outgained the Jets by 261 yards (378-117) overall, limiting the Jets to 27 yards on six possessions in the second half.

Also for what its worth, the Eagles 3-1 preseason finish gave them their most preseason wins since the 1995 team went 4-0. This is the first time they went 3-1 since 1985.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

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MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.

NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

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NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray

Position: Guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 210

School: Kentucky

It's tough for a Kentucky star freshman to fly under the radar, but that's exactly what Murray did last season. While Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Denzel Valentine dominated the spotlight, Murray was quietly as good as anyone in the country for the second half of the season.

In Kentucky's final 14 games, Murray averaged just under 24 points and shot better than 46 percent from three-point range. For the season, he averaged an even 20 points and connected on 41 percent of his three-point attempts. He also chipped in an impressive 5.2 rebounds. 

Kentucky lost some games early and fell toward the bottom of the Top 25 rankings. But Murray continued to produce and played his best basketball down the stretch, lifting the Wildcats to 27 wins and SEC regular season and tournament titles. 

As good as he was during his only college season, Murray projects to be an even better pro. He's the best guard prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Strengths
Shooting the ball. He has the best shooting stroke of any prospect in this year's draft. Murray's form on his jump shot is textbook with the results to match. He's able to get his shot off quickly and has range well beyond the NBA three-point line. Murray's outside shot is his greatest asset. Shooters are always in high demand and have never been more valuable in the NBA. The defending champion Warriors offer all the proof you need of that.

However Murray isn't a one-dimensional player. He can get to the basket off the dribble and is a terrific finisher around the basket. He also developed a polished mid-range game during his time at Kentucky. Murray also plays hard — a characteristic that NBA executives monitor closely. He rarely takes a possession off and competes hard on the glass for a perimeter player, as evidenced by his five rebounds per game last season.

Weaknesses
Murray doesn't have a defined position on the NBA level. He's not a true point guard and isn't quite big enough to be considered a prototypical shooting guard. While NBA talent evaluators are concerned by this, I don't necessarily view it as a weakness. Murray projects as a combo guard, capable of playing point guard but also comfortable away from the ball. He's similar to the Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum in that regard.

Murray isn't an elite-level athlete and by no means is he a great defender. He'll struggle to stay in front of the more dynamic perimeter players in the NBA. But he has a very good work ethic and should be able to improve defensively.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
Extremely well. The 76ers need shooters. That need will only become exaggerated if and when they draft Ben Simmons with the No. 1 pick. With Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, the Sixers have a significantly frontcourt-heavy nucleus. They need quality guards to balance out their lineup.

The much-discussed hypothetical trade that would send Okafor to the Celtics for the No. 3 pick makes a ton of sense for the 76ers. They could clear out space in their frontcourt rotation as well as acquire Murray with that third pick. Murray would flourish playing alongside Simmons, knocking down the open jump shots that Simmons creates.    

NBA comparison
I see a mix of Bradley Beal and Eric Gordon in Murray's game. Beal and Gordon have similar builds to Murray and both entered the NBA as exceptional shooters. All three are natural scorers who have no problem getting their own shot on the NBA level.

Draft projection
Murray will be a high-end lottery pick. He could go as high as the No. 3 to the Celtics and shouldn't fall any lower than No. 6 to the Pelicans.  

Western Conference Finals: Warriors-Thunder ready for Game 7

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Western Conference Finals: Warriors-Thunder ready for Game 7

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After a record 73 wins and a memorable Game 6 comeback on the road, the Golden State Warriors' goal of getting back to the NBA Finals and defending their title comes down to Game 7 at home against the powerful Oklahoma City Thunder.

All along, the Warriors have said the numerous team milestones and personal accomplishments they set during this special season won't matter a bit unless they repeat as champions.

They need one more victory to become the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 postseason deficit.

"I've learned that our players are tough, they're mentally tough," Coach of the Year Steve Kerr said Sunday, when his team took a day off from film and practice. "I don't know if I really learned that. I already knew that. But they've firmly confirmed that. It's been a great comeback. Now we still have to play. We still have another game."

Kerr just wanted his Warriors to grab back some momentum from Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Now, they have it, all right, heading into the decisive game of the Western Conference finals Monday night after winning two straight.

When his team won Game 5 on Thursday night, MVP Stephen Curry hollered "We ain't going home!" -- and Golden State wants no part of the Thunder having the last say in the Warriors' summer plans.

"We got a big one last night to stay alive, and now we've got some momentum. But it can work in reverse," Kerr said. "One game changes everything, and we've got to come out and play our game and play well to finish the series out."

Golden State hardly considers this a gimmee just because the team is playing at deafening Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost just three times this season. They have had their problems against Durant, Russell Westbrook and the towering Thunder.

Oklahoma City is fueled by trying to reach its first NBA Finals since losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012. James and Cleveland are waiting on Monday's winner.

"It's going to be a hard game. If we thought tonight was hard, Game 7's going to be even tougher," Curry said. "Everybody on both sides of the ball is going to leave it all out on the floor. It's win or go home. So we can't expect just because we're at home that we can just show up and win."

As has been the case all playoffs with Curry ailing, Golden State got a huge performance from Klay Thompson. He made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points in a 108-101 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday night, and will need an encore Monday.

"Lot of people probably counted us out," Thompson said.

Kerr said last week that his group might be different than the all the other teams that have tried to come back from 3-1 down: because the Warriors won it all last year.

The Thunder certainly would have preferred to close out the series at home over traveling back across the country to the Bay Area for the deciding game.

Yet they never expected it to be easy against the 2015 champs.

"This is what you dream about, getting this opportunity. We've got to take advantage of it," Durant said Sunday. "Go up into their building, and it's going to be great atmosphere. ... No matter where you play, you've still got to play. That's how we look at it."

That's partly because first-year Thunder coach Billy Donovan has talked to his team about the mentality it takes to win in a hostile venue like raucous, sold-out Oracle Arena, and Oklahoma City came in and did it in Game 1.

"We lost Game 6, and it was a tough, hard-fought game," Donovan said. "We're disappointed about not having a different outcome. But we haven't lost the series, and we have an opportunity again. I think just being around these guys, they're a resilient group."

Curry and the Warriors expect another entertaining, great game.

From an ankle injury that sidelined him in the first round against Houston to a sprained right knee and puffy elbow, Curry has dealt with his share of pain this postseason. He has to push that aside for what he hopes is one more game this series and then a second straight trip to the Finals and another championship.

"I actually kind of like it, because you understand the moment of the playoffs and just kind of gets you going," he said. "I'll be ready to go and give it everything I've got for Game 7."