Tacko Fall, wearing a tuxedo, conducts the Boston Pops to raucous ovation




By: |


Celtics rookie center Tacko Fall has quickly become a cult hero in New England, mostly because of his size — he stands at 7-foot-5. While some of the appreciation for Fall feels a little icky and “look at the tall freak”-y, he seems to be enjoying it, and as long as he’s happy, I’m happy.

The latest stop on the Tacko Takeover of New England was at the Boston Pops on Monday night, when he led the famed orchestra in a rousing edition of the holiday classic “Sleigh Ride.”

He was wearing a size-48 double-extra-long tuxedo, via ESPN, which Fall said was the first tuxedo he’d ever worn.

That is one tall man leading an orchestra.

I do enjoy the initial reaction of the crowd, many of whom clearly had no idea who he was. Then he stood up, and they understood what was happening there.

As long as we’re appreciating Tacko Fall and not gawking at Tacko Fall, I’m . OK with this whole thing continuing. But watch yourselves, Boston. I’ve got my eye on you.

, , , , , NBA

Read More

Stefon Diggs overthrew Kirk Cousins on a trick play, and everyone had jokes




By: |


Oh Stefon Diggs, what could have been.

The Vikings had a 10-6 lead in the second quarter of their NFC North matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, and were facing third and four, when they dialed up a fantastic trick play.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins handed off to a running back on what looked like a sweep, only for him to toss the ball to Stefon Diggs on an end around. Diggs then basically appeared to have an option read to either run the ball or throw it to Kirk Cousins.

The defenders committed, leaving Cousins wide open streaking up the sideline and … Diggs overthrew him. It was heartbreaking for fans of trick plays.

This wasn’t a Tom Brady catch fail. Cousins had no shot at this ball. He even dove for it! But yeah, just not the right pass.

Anyway, a lot of people had jokes.

To his credit, Diggs said he won’t complain about overthrows anymore.

Did that play destroy the Vikings? Unclear, but they didn’t score again for the rest of the game. It ended 23-10 in favor of the Packers, which makes the NFC playoff race that much more wild.

, , , , , , NFL

Read More

ShowBiz Minute: Prince Philip, Duff, Christmas

Prince Philip, 98, leaves hospital after treatment

7: 45 AM EST Dec 24, 2019

A record number of people expected to travel for the holidays

7: 02 PM EST Dec 23, 2019

Read More

UCLA’s Mick Cronin reprimanded by Pac-12 for saying officials ‘took the first half off’ vs. UNC


Chris Bumbaca


USA TODAY

Published 7: 36 AM EST Dec 24, 2019

Not even two months into Mick Cronin’s coaching career in the Pac-12, the league had to step in and remind him of its policy regarding public comments on officials. 

After Cronin’s UCLA Bruins fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels 74-64 in Las Vegas on Saturday, the former Cincinnati coach told reporters he thought the difference in officiating between the first and second half was noticeable.

“In defense of my players, I thought that the officials took the first half off,” Cronin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. ” … North Carolina won, so don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. The game was officiated two separate halves. All you got to do is look at the fouls per half.” 

On Monday, the league announced it had “reprimanded” Cronin for those comments. 

“The Pac-12 membership has established rules that prohibit our coaches from publicly commenting about officiating,” commissioner Larry Scott said. “We have an obligation to our members to enforce approved conference rules. As a part of our officiating program, there is a protocol in place for our coaches to provide feedback directly to the coordinator of officials.”

The Bruins are off to a 7-5 start in the Cronin era. 

Read More

Upon Further Review: Why Jerry Jones shouldn’t be surprised by Cowboys’ nosedive, how Pats and Eagles have rebounded


Mike Jones


USA TODAY

Published 6: 36 AM EST Dec 24, 2019

Another week, another big game, another colossal disappointment for the Dallas Cowboys. And once again, Jerry Jones finds himself evaluating the job security of his coach, Jason Garrett.

“This was a little bit of a surprise,” he told USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell Sunday night before going on to say, “I thought we were prepared to play. I thought we could play better out here. I’m disappointed.”

The Cowboys’ 17-9 loss to the Eagles should not have come as a surprise, however — not to Jones, Garrett, players or fans.

Wilting in big moments is exactly what the Cowboys have repeatedly done this season and for much of Garrett’s tenure. Garrett hasn’t consistently called the right shots under pressure. With the division title at stake, a squad featuring a lot of nice pieces failed to play up to its potential — again.

Jones can voice frustration about his team. He can call out the coaches for failing to adequately prepare players. But truthfully, the owner has no one but himself to blame at this point.

Let’s not pretend that this is the first time Garrett seemed like he’s in over his head. Let’s not act as though this is the first time he has failed to take the Cowboys to the next level. In his 10 full seasons, his teams have posted winning records just four times, and he has only two playoff victories in five games.

But Jones opted to stick with Garrett as his head coach entering this season when he could have made a switch last offseason. 

Jones made two grave miscalculations. 

First, he overestimated the quality of this Cowboys roster. He thought he had a Super Bowl contender on hands. But in truth, this group is good, but not elite.

Then, Jones acted out of complacency by sticking with Garrett. Jones seemed to believe that a strong collection of players would compensate for whatever deficiencies Garrett has as a coach. But while a strong leader can put a talented team over the top, players can’t carry coaches. 

Now, as the Cowboys find themselves in danger of missing the postseason altogether, Jones is paying the price. It became clear weeks ago that Garrett had to go. But the Cowboys didn’t have anyone capable of stepping in as an interim who could have done any better. 

And now, here Jones finds himself: on the verge of hoping for better fortunes next year, once again. He told Bell his radar is on regarding potential coaching candidates. But he should have switched it on a year ago.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Eagles in driver’s seat for NFC East but two spots still open

NFL DRAFT ORDER: Bengals clinch top pick; Redskins and Lions in top three

NFL NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to get football news delivered to your inbox

Patriots getting their groove back?

After weeks of frustrations, Tom Brady and his supporting cast looked like the well-rounded unit one would expect from a Patriots offense.

And if that showing against Buffalo’s top-five defense serves as any indication, maybe, just maybe, New England will be OK this postseason. 

Brady and Co. didn’t light up the scoreboard at an epic rate. They produced two touchdowns and three field goals. But they did rack up yards both in the air (271) and on the ground (143) in that division-clinching 24-17 victory. 

Saturday marked only the fourth 400-yard game of the season for the Patriots but the second time in as many weeks that New England has topped the 100-yard mark in rushing yards.

Sony Michel’s 96 rushing yards were a season high. Julian Edelman and Rex Burkhead both caused problems as pass catchers for the league’s second-best defense. And young receivers N’Keal Harry and Jacoby Meyers displayed greater comfort in the offense. (Give Josh McDaniels credit for finding additional ways to get Harry involved – twice using him on running plays). Brady spread the ball around to nine different targets, which served as a testament to improved chemistry as well as the versatility that this passing attack traditionally boasts. 

We should know by now not to base the Patriots’ postseason prospects entirely on their regular-season product. Last season, the defense caused concerns at times. By Week 16, that unit had morphed into a game-changing force. Is a similar eruption now around the corner for New England’s offense?

Eagles building momentum

It started in late in the Week 14 win over the Giants and continued in Week 15 against Washington. And then on Sunday, in the biggest game of his young career, Carson Wentz continued his surge and again delivered the kind of difference-making performance for which the Eagles have been waiting.

Wentz completed a season-high 77.5% of his passes and led Philly to a victory that put the Eagles in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. 

“He is playing tough, he is running, he is using his legs and all the things we know he is capable of doing,” coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Monday. “What is exciting for us is how he is doing it. When the opportunity arises, he takes the shot down the field, and when it is not, he is getting the ball out of his hand and protecting himself. It has allowed us to stay on the field and extend drives. There are some plays yesterday even that we left on the field that we would like to have back and do again, but what he has done with this team, kind of putting the team on his shoulders and putting us in a position to win the NFC East, is awesome for your quarterback to do.”

But Wentz isn’t the only Eagles player who has rounded into form at the perfect time. The offense has also received a spark from several young players, including running back Miles Sanders (79 rushing yards and a touchdown along with 77 receiving yards on Sunday), tight end Dallas Goedert (career-high nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys to compensate for the injury to Zach Ertz) and wide receiver Greg Ward Jr.

Meanwhile, a defense that had struggled with consistency also played up to expectations while holding one of the league’s most potent offenses to just nine points.

It appears that as pressure has reached its most intense point, the Eagles are finding ways to respond, which is something the rival Cowboys certainly wish they could say for themselves.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones and listen to the Football Jones podcast on iTunes.

If you love talking football, we have the perfect spot for you. Join our Facebook Group, The Ruling Off the Field, to engage in friendly debate and conversation with fellow football fans and our NFL insiders.

Read More

NBA memories from Christmas: Never forget these amazing games and individual performances


Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina


USA TODAY

Published 7: 52 AM EST Dec 24, 2019

The NBA, as usual, loaded its Christmas Day schedule with stars and top teams.

MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden and Anthony Davis are expected to showcase their skills.

In addition, All-Stars and potential All-Stars abound: Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Khris Middleton, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Nikola Jokic.

The games: Boston at Toronto (noon ET, ESPN); Milwaukee at Philadelphia (2: 30 p.m. ET, ABC), Houston at Golden State (5 p.m. ET, ABC), Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN) and New Orleans at Denver (10: 30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE: Full NBA slate highlights top stars

TRASH TALK: Lakers coach needles Clippers star

Given the teams and players, the possibility for memorable games and performances is high. We take a look at five memorable Christmas Day games and five memorable individual Christmas Day performances:

Five memorable NBA Christmas games

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat, 2004 – Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal did not exactly spread holiday cheer when they squared off for the first time since their nasty divorce the previous summer. O’Neal stuffed Bryant on the first play of the game. Bryant had 42 points, but the Heat got the win.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors, 2016 – Once again, the Warriors failed to learn how to protect a lead against Cleveland. Six months after squandering a 3-1 series cushion in the Finals, the Warriors allowed Cleveland to overcome a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. That ended with Kyrie Irving hitting a game-winning jumper with 3.4 seconds left.

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics, 1985 – Knicks fans received two Christmas Day presents. New York rallied from a 25-point deficit to beat Boston in double overtime. Rookie Patrick Ewing showed that he fit in among the NBA’s best. The Celtics won an NBA title that season, while Ewing eventually secured the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

Orlando Magic vs Houston Rockets, 1995 – The NBA discovered an effective marketing strategy. It pitted the previous season’s Finals teams against each other on Christmas. So after the Rockets swept them in the Finals, the Magic appeared motivated to rectify that. Anfernee Hardaway made sure of that with a game-winning shot with three seconds left.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics, 2008 – The Lakers did not forget the 39-point blowout in a decisive Game 6 loss in the Finals. So the Lakers ruined the Celtics’ holiday by snapping a 19-game winning streak. With the win, Lakers coach Phil Jackson became the fastest to collect his 1,000th win.

Five memorable individual NBA Christmas performances

New York’s Bernard King:  60 points in 120-114 loss to New Jersey in 1984: This a reminder of how great a scorer was. He dropped 60 points on 19-for-30 shooting and didn’t attempt a 3-pointer. 

Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain:  59 points, 36 rebounds, in a 136-135 loss to New York in 1961: Say it out loud. 59 points and 36 rebounds. And probably a bunch of blocks that weren’t counted because the NBA didn’t record blocks as an official statistic then.

Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson:  37 points, 16 assists and 15 rebounds in a 113-107 victory against St. Louis in 1963: Robertson has four of the nine Christmas Day triple-doubles and none are better than this one against Bob Pettit’s Hawks.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant:  44 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a 114-106 victory against Denver in 2010: In his fourth season, Durant shot 70 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Miami’s LeBron James:  27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists in a 96-80 victory over the Lakers in 2010: It was James’ first season with the Heat, and it came in the middle of an impressive stretch in which Miami won 21 of 22 games. This will be James’ 13th consecutive Christmas game.

Read More

Grading the Dante Exum-Jordan Clarkson trade for both Jazz and Cavaliers




By: |


On Monday night the Jazz and Cavaliers reportedly agreed to a trade that will see former No. 5 overall pick Dante Exum traded to Cleveland, along with two second-round draft picks, for Jordan Clarkson. The news was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The second-round picks heading to Cleveland from the Jazz are in 2022 (via San Antonio) and 2023 (via Golden State).

Clarkson, a five-year veteran of the league, spent the majority of his career with the Lakers before joining the Cavaliers in 2018. This season he is averaging 16.8 points per game, and will provide the Jazz with some much needed bench scoring for a team that has struggled offensively for much of the season.

So, that’s the deal. How do we grade it?

Cavaliers: A-

This is pretty clearly an asset grab, and the chance to take a flyer on a player in Dante Exum who has a good pedigree — he was the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Exum has never really put it together for the Jazz. There was a torn ACL, and recurring injuries, and rumblings that head coach Quin Snyder didn’t like Exum. SLC Dunk has a really nice breakdown of everything that went wrong with the relationship.

But now Exum gets a fresh start. He’s just 24 years old, and has shown ability in flashes. In Cleveland, he should get his chances.

Will it work? Who knows.

But it’s not like the Cavaliers were going anywhere with Jordan Clarkson, and they basically got gifted two draft picks (second rounders, but still) to see if they can revive Exum’s career. If they don’t, he’s only got one year left on his current contract. That’s a fantastic gamble, if you ask me.

Jazz: B-

Jordan Clarkson is a nice player, and will provide the Jazz’s laboring offense (currently 21st in the league) with a bit of pop. Mike Conley has struggled to find his game since arriving in Utah, and if the team is done with Exum, they might as well give up a couple draft picks and bring someone in they think can score the basketball.

Still, for a win-now trade, this feels pretty … tepid. The Jazz are currently in sixth in the Western Conference, and this trade should help them get going. But are they winning a title with Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Conley in his current iteration, and Clarkson? I mean, maybe they win a playoff series?

If they felt they needed to get Exum off the team, fine. But to give up two draft picks, even second rounders, to bring in Clarkson — who, again, I like! — feels a bit shortsighted. Assets are assets, and I’m not sure this is a trade that moves the needle.

, , , , , , , NBA

Read More

AP Top Stories December 24 A

Prince Philip, 98, leaves hospital after treatment

7: 45 AM EST Dec 24, 2019

A record number of people expected to travel for the holidays

7: 02 PM EST Dec 23, 2019

Read More

Robots ‘Are Roku remotes interchangeable?’: It depends on which type of remote and device you have — here’s what you need to know

Robots

  • Roku remotes are mostly interchangeable, as long as you have the right Roku player.
  • Roku remotes are split into two types, IR and enhanced, and each one only works with certain Roku players.
  • IR remotes can control any compatible Roku player, without the need for pairing.
  • Enhanced remotes need to be paired by holding down the pairing button in the remote’s battery compartment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There are a lot of Roku players, and if you purchase a new one, you might wonder if you can continue to use the remote you already have. 

Odds are pretty good that you can. Roku players typically use one of two kinds of remote controls, and each remote is interchangeable with all players that use that kind of remote control. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Roku remotes, and which Roku players they work with.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Roku Ultra (From $99.99 at Best Buy)

Robots How to tell the difference between Roku remote controls 

There are two kinds of Roku remotes:

  • Standard IR (infrared) remotes. These remotes transmit a beam of infrared light to your Roku player. These remotes require direct line of sight with the player, and won’t work if the signal is blocked by an obstacle like the TV or a cabinet. 

Robots Roku remote

You can’t necessarily tell an IR and an enhanced remote apart with just a glance.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider


  • Enhanced remotes. Roku refers to these as “point anywhere” remotes, and they rely on RF (radio frequency) energy to send commands to the player. Enhanced remotes don’t need direct line of sight, and the player can be positioned behind obstacles and still work just fine. You can tell if you have an enhanced remote because it’ll have a pairing button (usually in the battery compartment) to connect it to the player. 

There are two kinds of Enhanced remote — the Enhanced Voice Remote, and Gaming Remote — both of which are compatible with most modern Roku player models. These models include:

  • Roku 2 (model 4210)
  • Roku 3
  • Roku 4
  • Roku Premiere (model 4620)
  • Roku Premiere+ (model 4630)
  • Roku Ultra

There are also two types of Roku IR remote: the Roku Voice Remote and Standard IR remote. Models that work with the IR remotes include:

  • Roku LT
  • Roku XD and XDS
  • Roku HD
  • Roku 1, 2, and 3
  • Roku Express and Roku Express+
  • Roku Premiere (model 3920)
  • Roku Premiere+ (model 3921)
  • Roku Streaming Stick (models 3600 and 3800)
  • Roku Streaming Stick +

Robots How to test a remote with your Roku player

To find out if your Roku remote works with a particular Roku player, you can perform a few simple tests:

1. Connect the Roku player to your TV and make sure it’s plugged in. Wait several minutes so it has time to boot.

2. Make sure you have fresh batteries in the remote.

3. If you have an IR remote, point it at the player with no obstructions and try to control it. There’s no pairing needed for an IR remote — it should work on any compatible player immediately. 

If you have an enhanced remote, press and hold the pairing button for about five seconds. If it’s compatible with the player, you should see a message on the screen that it is pairing. After that, it should work with the player. 

Robots Are Roku remotes interchangeable 2

Try to pair your enhanced remote with the Roku by pressing the pairing button.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider


Robots Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

Read More

Robots How to delete rows in Google Sheets on a computer or mobile device

Robots

Occasionally, it’s easier to remove an entire row from a spreadsheet than to delete or move the information stored in the cells of that row.  Like any spreadsheet program, you can delete a row in Google Sheets with a couple of clicks or taps. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

Macbook Pro (From $1,299 at Best Buy)

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (From $999 at Best Buy)

Robots How to delete rows in Google Sheets on a computer

1. Open a Google Sheet on your Mac or PC

2. Click on the row you want to delete. You can also select multiple rows at once. 

3. Click “Edit” in the menu at the top of the screen and then, in the drop-down menu, click “Delete row n” in which n is the row number you’ve currently selected. If you selected one or more rows, the process is the same. 

Robots How to delete rows in Google Sheets 1

Select the rows you want to delete and then choose to delete them from the Edit menu.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider


3. Alternatively, you can also delete a row or column using the right-click function. Right-click on the row you want to delete and choose “Delete row” from the drop-down menu. To delete more than one row at a time, you can use the same method by first selecting the rows you want to delete, right clicking on them, and tapping “Delete rows n-n”.

Robots How to delete rows in Google Sheets 2

You can right click to delete rows as well.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider


Robots How to delete rows in the Google Sheets app on a mobile device

You can also delete rows in a spreadsheet on your Google Sheets mobile app for iPhone or Android, though the process is a bit different.

1. Select the row or rows you want to delete. To select more than one row, drag the selection up or down using the border of the blue selection box. 

2. Tap on the rows selected. You should see a pop-up menu appear.

3. Tap “Delete row” or, if you have more than one row selected, “Delete n rows,” where n is the number of rows currently selected. 

Robots How to delete rows in Google Sheets 3

Delete rows on the phone using the pop-up menu when you tap the row label.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider


Robots Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

Read More