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New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson flourishes in debut without limitations

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At the point when Zion Williamson told reporters concerning not having such a limitations on him this season, he was upbeat. The grin all over was brilliant and his bliss radiated through on the video call a week ago.

After the New Orleans Pelicans’ 114-92 success over the Miami Heat in their preseason opener Monday night, obviously any limitations were a relic of past times.

“It felt great to be out there for extended stretches,” Williamson, who dealt with what the team dubbed “burst restrictions” last season, said. “It was great to experience that again.”

Williamson played 33 minutes, 13 seconds against the Heat, the third-most minutes he’d played in a NBA game – preseason or something else.

“It was a different feeling. I can’t even lie,” Williamson said after the game. “It was a different feeling for sure. I think I was only able to finish a game maybe three, maybe four times last year. But it was a great feeling. When the clock struck zero, I was almost like, ‘Wow, it’s been a while.'”

Williamson really completed 11 of 24 games last prepare however pardon him if his memory is a little murky as the Pelicans just won three of the 11 games he wrapped up. In any case, he once in a while played for extended lengths last season. That changed Monday, as he played 10:19 in the principal quarter, more than he played in any first quarter last season, as per ESPN Stats and Information research. Truth be told, he just played in any event 10:19 in just 75% last season absolute.

Williamson additionally seemed as though his old self on the court as he got done with 26 focuses and 11 bounce back. He just had two twofold copies in 24 standard season games last season (he had one in the preseason a year ago) and his 11 bounce back would’ve tied his vocation high.

Pelicans mentor Stan Van Gundy said he was intrigued with Williamson’s work on edge glass where he pulled down eight bounce back – which likewise would’ve been a vocation high.

“He hasn’t really been doing much of that in practice to be honest and it wasn’t a strength last year,” Van Gundy said. “For him to be able to rebound the ball the way he did on the defensive end was good.”

Van Gundy was additionally dazzled with Williamson’s free-toss shooting as he went 10-of-11 from the line. The lone occasions last season where Williamson, a 64.0 percent free-toss shooter in 2019-20, shot over 90% from the line were the point at which he hit his possibly endeavor against Utah in the air pocket and when he thumped down the two endeavors against Cleveland on Feb. 28.

“The free throws, I feel like I’m going to get fouled a lot,” Williamson said. “That’s free money. I gotta make that.”

Williamson has been placing in work this offseason with Pelicans collaborator mentor Fred Vinson, who was credited with aiding Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram with their shot upgrades last season.

“Me and Coach Vinson have been putting in a lot of work every day in practice, free throws, working on the jumper, working on everything involving my shot,” Williamson said. “That’s been really helpful up to this point.”

Williamson was sitting at 26 minutes when he looked at after the second from last quarter however returned to play the last 6:38 for Van Gundy, who said he needed to get his starters around 30 minutes since they just have two preseason games.

Williamson has conceded how intense it was on occasion to play under burst limitations last season. He said it was hard on occasion to get a cadence moving last season. So to hit the 33-minute imprint on Monday, it was something that felt right.

“That’s why I play basketball,” Williamson said, “to play a lot of minutes and help my team win.”

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Brooklyn Nets sign Alize Johnson to a multiyear, $4.1M contract

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Forward Alize Johnson has consented to a multiyear deal the Brooklyn Nets worth up to $4.1 million, his agent, George Langberg, revealed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Johnson’s productivity permitted him to parlay two consecutive 10-day contracts into his new deal with the Nets.

Johnson had his choice of a bit more guaranteed money elsewhere, however needed to stay the course with the Nets, where he has averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds on 65.7% shooting in six appearances.

Prior to joining the Nets, Johnson played 31 games with the Indiana Pacers over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Dexter Fowler with torn ACL injury, out for season

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Los Angeles Angels starting right fielder Dexter Fowler has a torn left ACL that will require season-ending surgery, the group declared Sunday.

Fowler, 35, injured himself while sprinting into a second base on an attempted forceout in Friday’s down against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida. Fowler beat the throw from Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and didn’t slide, inciting him to show up gracelessly and crumple to the ground in pain.

The Angels at first diagnosed Fowler to have a sprained left knee, however a follow-up MRI revealed that it was far more serious. The team said Fowler is expected to need six to nine months to recover after surgery.

“Comeback season has commenced,” Fowler said Sunday. “The cards I’ve been dealt, so you’ve got to deal with them and go at it like that.”

Fowler, who is set to be a free specialist after the season, doesn’t think the injury is career-ending.

“I want to continue to play,” he said. “I think I’ve still got a lot left in the tank. Right now I just want to get the knee back right and get going again.”

Heavenly messengers director Joe Maddon said he replace Fowler with Juan Lagares and Jose Rojas, the last of whom is right now serving in as a utility infielder. Before Sunday’s down against the Blue Jays was delayed because of downpour, Rojas had been scheduled to begin at third base instead of Anthony Rendon, who was managing irritation in his left crotch that came about because of a throw Saturday.

Fowler, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in early February, was 5-for-20 with six strikeouts to start the 2021 season and has batted .218/.320/.370 in the course of recent years. Be that as it may, Maddon, who recently oversaw Fowler with the Chicago Cubs, said he accepted the outfielder was simply beginning to get moving obnoxiously and will miss his essence in the team.

“He’s one of those glue guys, man,” Maddon said. “He really makes a difference. He does. You talk about it all the time with clubhouse guys, but this guy really is one.”

Fowler’s injury creates an immediate opening for the Angels’ two most encouraging youthful players, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, both of whom are working out at the group’s substitute site in Tempe, Arizona, before the small time season starts. Adell battled as a new kid on the block a year ago, and Marsh presently can’t seem to play above Double-An in the wake of expenditure the Covid abbreviated 2020 season playing mostly intrasquad games.

Maddon said he would concede to the Angels’ minor league development staff on when Adell and Marsh are major league ready.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that they’ve tightened up their game [from spring training] to the point where you want to bring them up yet,” Maddon said.

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Bengals release RB Giovani Bernard after eight seasons

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The Cincinnati Bengals have released veteran running back Giovani Bernard, the team declared on Wednesday.

Bernard, 29, has played all of his eight NFL seasons with the franchise that drafted him in the second round in 2013. He has showed up in 115 games and rushed for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns. He likewise had 342 receptions for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The former North Carolina player was entering the last year of a two-year extension he endorsed in September 2019. The Bengals will acquire $4.1 million in salary-cap savings with Bernard’s release and incur just $666,667 in dead money against the cap, as indicated by Roster Management System.

Bernard began a career-high 10 games in 2020 in light of the fact that Joe Mixon was out with a foot injury. His best rushing performance was a 83-yard exertion in a win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, the Bengals’ first victory over the Steelers since 2015. It was Bernard’s most elevated hurrying absolute since Week 16 of the 2017 season.

Mixon, who marked a four-year, $48 million extension a year ago, tweeted Wednesday that he “can’t thank him enough for all he has meant to my career.”

The Bengals have parted ways with several notable veterans who were essential for the group’s season playoff runs from 2011 to 2015. The team released former All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins prior this offseason and didn’t re-sign former Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green.

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