Portland Timbers vs Sporting KC Penalty Shootout

In case you missed the Portland Timbers defeat Sporting KC in the Western Conference MLS Playoffs, do yourself a favor and watch the penalty shootout then thank me later. This was one of the most intense PK shootouts I’ve ever watched.

If you’re any sort of soccer fan, you won’t regret watching this.

 

 

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Houston Rockets primed for pursuit of the 2015-2016 NBA Championship

Going into the off-season after having a magical postseason run, yet falling short in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Houston Rockets front office had one goal in mind: to bring every member of that squad back for another run at the championship.

Re-signing unrestricted free agents Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, K.J. McDaniels and Jason Terry was the Rockets’ top priority, and while they locked each up to multi-year contracts, they also filled a void they were desperately searching for: a point guard.

Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ GM known as the mastermind behind the NBA analytics movement as well as the co-founder of MIT’s annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in Boston, pulled off another improbable trade in the off-season.

Ty Lawson

The Rockets traded away Kostas Papanikolaou, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver for PG Ty Lawson.

Putting Lawson’s off-court issues in the rear view mirror, he is not only a top 10 point guard who fits perfectly in Kevin McHale’s offense, but he is the point guard James Harden needs.

Last season, Lawson was the seventh best point producer in the league, which combines points and points generated by assist. He is a top 10 shot-creator, he ranked second in team points per game off of drives with 13.9. Who lead that category? James Harden. Lawson also has a incredible basketball IQ, which gives the Rockets arguably the most brilliant backcourt in the NBA this season.

Lawson also fits McHale’s philosophy of going “downhill” and ball movement on the perimeter as he shot 61 percent from the rim last season and most of his assists were dished to three-point shooters.

Lawson comes to a winning Rockets environment that has welcomed him with open arms and has taken care of him after spending the past six seasons with the Denver Nuggets, which the last couple being catastrophic because of coaching changes, missing the postseason and off-court alcohol abuse.

With the Rockets tipping off their 49th season on Oct. 28th at Toyota Center vs. Lawson’s former team the Denver Nuggets, neither talent, athleticism, psychological mindset, free throw shooting, or offense and defense will be the biggest key to the Rockets’ success this season.

Health

Just as any team in the association, health will be the most pivotal deciding factor on how far the Rockets go in the playoffs this season. Last season, the Rockets missed 182 games to injury, which was the highest total for any playoff team in the Western Conference. They still managed to pull off 56 wins and earned the second seed in the conference all while losing starting Center Dwight Howard for 41 games, Forward Terrance Jones for 49 games, starting Guard Patrick Beverley for 26 games and Forward Donatas Motiejunas for 11 games.

If the Rockets can figure out how to defeat their biggest kryptonite for 82 games, and that’s a MASSIVE IF, which is the injury bug, the sky is the limit for this group, because everyone on this team has the correct mentality and one goal in mind.

Pursuit

The term “Pursuit” has a much larger definition for this team than your simple synonyms of quest or chase. The Rockets adapted “Pursuit” as their official marketing campaign and slogan last season, but it’s more than a slogan, it’s a mindset that each player on this roster has stuck to: Pursuit of the championship. Everywhere you look inside Toyota Center, the arena is decked out in “#Pursuit”, fans are wearing shirts that say “#Pursuit”, it has even become its own hashtag on social media for the Rockets and its fans. Every guy in the locker room has strong belief and a great feeling knowing they can accomplish something special.

Each player on this roster knows they will have to give their 110 percent every night and do what they do best individually so everyone can come together as a team and have a shot at winning every game in a brutal Western Conference to accomplish that Pursuit when they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

JJ Watt surprises kids at Texas Children’s Hospital dressed up as Batman

Everyone knows Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt for his athletic abilities and the impact he makes on the football field, but what a lot of people don’t know is that his biggest muscle is his heart.

From making a six-year-old girl’s wish come true by marrying her for a day to recording a a video on Instagram proving to non-believers he’s friends with a young fan to paying a surprise visit to a 12-year-old Leukemia patient who named his VGo telepresence learning system “Watt”,  you’ve read and heard about the countless emotionally chilling stories about how Watt goes out of his way to impact either an individual or a group of people.

Well, Watt has done it again.

This time, Watt dressed up as Batman and visited Texas Children’s Hospital.

Visiting children in hospitals is a normal routine for Watt, but this visit was rather special because it was for Texas Children’s Hospital’s annual Spirit of Children Halloween party sponsored by Spirit Halloween. Not only was Watt dressed up in costume as Batman, but he also spoke in a deep scratchy Batman voice as he mingled with the children and adults.

Rikki Ragland, owner of Rikki Ragland Media Group and spokesperson for Spirit Halloween, stated on Twitter that her and Watt’s manager worked for a year to make this event happen.

NBC’s “The Today Show” will air a feature on Watt’s visit on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 7 am C.T., so don’t forget to set your DVRs! Check out www.houstontexans.com for a sneak peak of the episode.

Once again another unforgettable gesture by the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and personally my favorite out of the endless acts he’s done.

Most of you know Watt is one of my biggest role models along with Michael Jordan because of his motivational mindset and work ethic, but also because he uses his fame and fortune to his advantage by collaborating it with his fun loving personality and giving it all back to the community, whether it be visiting sick kids or surprising young fans or taking care of firefighters, JJ is the one person you can look up to even though he’s an athlete/celebrity.

So when you mix Watt and Texans Children’s Hospital, a place I called home for the first half of my life, there’s no better feeling in the world. Seeing smiles on those kids is priceless, especially having been in their shoes and understanding the joy and happiness of meeting an athlete.

Check out the full feature on www.today.com

Also check out the full interview off Watt with NBC Today Show’s Janet Shamlian on www.today.com