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Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden scored a season-high 44 points on Thursday and posted his third career triple-double on Saturday. He continued the trend of MVP-like performances by dropping 41 points and 10 assists in the Houston Rockets 115-111 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. After erupting for 23 points in the first half, Harden was limited to 10 in nearly 21 second-half minutes. He also missed a free throw late in regulation that could have sealed the victory. But he scored eight straight Houston points during the extra session to help the Rockets win their third straight game. Dwight Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds in his second game back from a knee injury, and Patrick Beverley gave 12 points and 12 boards. The Rockets trailed by three following Kenneth Farieds tip slam with 1:24 left in regulation. Howard, who missed three of his previous four free throws, sank a pair from the line to pull Houston within a point with just over a minute to go. A pair of misses on the other end led to Hardens stepback 3 from the left wing with 10.4 left. Out of a timeout, Harden intercepted Farieds pass under the basket and had a chance to seal it from the stripe, but he split the pair, leaving the door open. Out of timeouts, Ty Lawson raced down the floor and handed to Arron Afflalo, who forced OT with a 3-ball as the buzzer went off. Donatas Motiejunas, who scored 18 for Houston, made consecutive shots from the post to start overtime, but Denver went in front on Danilo Gallinaris 3- pointer with 2:43 remaining. But Harden scored the next four points and gave Houston a 111-108 cushion with 23.9 seconds left with two free throws. Beverley put the game away, making 4-of-4 from the line in the final 18 seconds. Wilson Chandler led Denver with 23 points, Afflalo scored 22 and Lawson handed out 16 assists. Denver led 33-32 early in the second quarter when Lawsons short jumper sparked a 14-1 run. Faried capped the burst with a dunk, and the Nuggets had built a 47-33 advantage. The spread grew to 16 later in the period before Howard and Harden led the Rockets back. The duo combined for 20 of Houstons 30 points in the stanza, and the hosts trailed 60-55 at the half. Houston took its first lead since it led 16-14 in the first quarter on a Harden stepback jumper midway through the third, but Denver regained the lead and went into the fourth with a 78-75 lead. Game Notes The Rockets beat Denver 108-96 on Saturday ... Harden shot 18-for-21 from the foul line. The Nuggets shot 18-for-23 from the line as a team ... Denvers bench outscored Houstons, 42-7 ... Lawson played a game-high 46:45, while all five Rockets starters posted between 41:46 and 46:04 ... Denver has lost seven of eight. Wholesale Nike NBA Jerseys .com) - The game was all punts and field goals before Kodi Whitfields catch. Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys . -- Jonathan Diaz is easy to spot in the Blue Jays clubhouse. http://www.cheapbasketballjerseysauthentic.com/. According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the New York Rangers winger skated with extras and goalies today. Discount Nike NBA Jerseys . -- A year ago, Flavia Pennetta was close to retiring from tennis. Stitched Basketball Jerseys . The third-seeded Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., was coming off a semifinal appearance at the French Open. She took the opening set before the unseeded American came back for the 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips answers three questions each week. This week, topics cover the Blue Jays rotation, the futures John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos, protecting pitchers and a bonus question on his predictions for the MLB playoffs. 1) With J.A. Happ heading to the DL, the Toronto Blue Jays have announced a starting rotation of R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan. Should the Blue Jays feel confident with that group or even this early in the season, should they be looking outside the organization for an upgrade? Or should they have kept a prospect like Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman with the big club?   The Blue Jays are starting the season with exact rotation they should be using.  Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman both need more development but at some point they may be called upon to help. Certainly there are big questions for three-fifths of the starters but there is definitely upside.  RA Dickey is just a year removed from his NL Cy Young Award and is predictable and dependable.  I cant believe I am saying that about a knuckleballer but it is true.    Mark Buerhle is a more than serviceable innings-eater who gives his team a chance to win start after start.    After these two though the questions are significant. Brandon Morrow has suffered injuries in each of the past two seasons after looking like a number one starter at times in 2012. Dustin McGowan is throwing in the mid-nineties and is working on a curve ball to go with his devastating slider, but he has thrown just 46 2/3 innings since 2008 because of recurrent shoulder injuries. Drew Hutchison hasnt pitched in the Major Leagues for the past year and a half due to Tommy John surgery but prior to that he looked like he could be a long-term answer for the rotation.   Before the season begins players, front office personnel and fans close their eyes and dream about what could be.   I can close my eyes and see RA Dickey commanding his dancing knuckler that will baffle hitter.  I can envision Buerhle getting a ton of grounders and working quickly getting the powerhouse offense back in the dugout and scoring a ton of runs.  I can picture Brandon Morrow rifling his fastball by the games biggest sluggers and logging a ton of strikeouts.  I can imagine McGowan and Hutchison fulfilling the potential that they once had as well.  It could happen just that way.    But it probably wont.    My experience is that the more questions you enter with the more things that will likely go wrong.  There is a bunch of unpredictability in this rotation.  Depth will be important.  It is safe to assume that health will be an issue at some point because it has been an issue in the past.  Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond may make starts if necessary.  But Alex Anthopolous is going to have to keep working the phones to look for upgrades.  Early in the season other clubs arent typically trading good pitchers but he will need to be ready for when they do become available.   So when you close your eyes and dream just hope it is not a nightmare.   2) Is manager John Gibbons on the hot seat with the Blue Jays? If the team is slow out of the gate again this year, will he be replaced? Are his and Alex Anthopouloss future tied together (if one goes, the other follows him out the door)?  I dont think John Gibbons is on the hot seat during the season this year.  I know there were big expectations last year but the collapse wasnt Gibbons fault.  The starting rotation just fell apart on him as Morrow and Josh Johnson got hurt and Ricky Romero imploded.  Jose Reyes injury crushed the offense early in the season and more injuries followed.   The expectations are less this year than a year ago.  It certainly behooves the Jays to get off to a good start so they can start to believe in themselves but Gibbons cant pitch for his team and the staff will be the key.    I have never been a believer that managers and general managers are tied at the hip.  The manager needs to look at the GM as his boss.  Clearly Gibbons was brought back to the Jays because of his relationship with Anthopolous but if Anthopolous thinks a change needs to be made he will have to make it.  If ownership gets to a point where they believe the roster is flawed and they decide to make a decision on the general manager it is unlikely Gibbons would survive a change in regime. Anthoplous can possibly survive the firing of Gibbons but I dont believe Gibbons would survive the firing of Anthopolous.    As it stands today both the manager and general manager are on firm ground as they should be.  They just need to be honest with themselves and their bosses about what the expectations are with the roster they have.  The owners can hope to be competitive in the tough AL East but if they expect to win it then both Anthopolous and Gibbons are in trouble.  This is a roster for which you can hope but not expect great things.    3) With Reds starter Aroldis Chapman and Rays starter Matt Moore both being hit in the head by comebackers to the mound in spring training, is it time for Major League Baseball and/or the players union to implement mandatory pitcher protection? It seems that pitchers have become more annd more vulnerable over the past few seasons.ddddddddddddnbsp; Fortunately, we have avoided major catastrophe but we shouldnt be shocked if a pitcher were to be killed by a hit ball.  We have just been lucky so far.   I am a firm believer that we should never wait for someone to be killed to make a change. Baseball already did that once.  Base coaches wear helmets now because a minor league first base coach was hit in the head by a line drive and killed.  If protecting pitchers is being considered then protect them.   Lets not wait for a tragedy.   It is currently optional for pitchers to wear the new protective headgear that was developed by MLB for this year.  The feedback so far is that the hats look funny and are not overly comfortable.  MLB needs to keep refining the protective hats to make them functional. This needs to be a priority for the Players Association as well.  Protective hats for pitchers need to be made mandatory at the minor league level initially.  Let the kids get comfortable with them so by the time they are big leaguers it is commonplace.  Once the hat is advanced enough make it mandatory for major league pitchers to wear.  There is no clock in baseball but we need to put a clock on this.  Every pitch thrown puts a pitcher at risk.  Please hurry. 4) With the second and third opening days approaching for Major League Baseball it is time to make predictions.  Here is how I see the American League:AL East                       AL Central             AL West 1) Boston                    Detroit                  Oakland2) Tampa Bay*           Kansas City**     LA Angels3) Baltimore                Cleveland              Texas4) Blue Jays                 Minnesota             Seattle5) New York Yankees   Chicago               Houston * first Wild Card       ** second Wild Card AL CHAMPION: Oakland As defeat Detroit AL AWARDS AL MVP:  Miguel Cabrera, DetroitAL MVP:  Justin Verlander, DetroitAL Rookie of Year:  Yordano Ventura, Kansas CityAL Manager of Year: Ned Yost, Kansas City Here are my predictions for the NL:NL East                                      NL Central                   NL West1) Washington                         St Louis                        LA Dodgers 2) Atlanta**                               Milwaukee                    SF Giants*3) NY Mets                                 Cincinnati                     Arizona4) Philadelphia                           Pittsburgh                     Colorado5) Miami                                    Chicago                       San Diego* first Wild Card       ** second Wild Card NL CHAMPION:  Washington Nationals defeat Dodgers NL AWARDS NL MVP: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta BravesNL CY Young:  Stephen Strasburg, Washington NationalsNL Rookie of Year:  Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates               Manager of the Year:  Mike Matheny, St Louis Cardinals    WORLD SERIES CHAMPION:  Washington Nationals defeat Oakland As LET THE GAMES BEGIN…..PLAY BALL!!!   Cheap Adidas Hockey Jerseys Wholesale College Jerseys Cheap Nike Basketball Jerseys Cheap Football Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Baseball Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Nike NBA Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap MLB Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Soccer Jerseys China Cheap NCAA Jerseys China Stitched NFL Jerseys Cheap Custom Jerseys China Cheap Basketball Jerseys Authentic NFL Jerseys China Cheap College Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys ' ' '
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