Highlights from Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers:
NBA Highlights – from Shaq – from November 3:
CHICAGO – (Wire Service Report) – The Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year World Series drought on Wednesday night, and social media partied like it was 1908. Athletes and teams from all corners of the sports world took to social media to congratulate the Cubs, who rallied after squandering an early four-run lead to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings in a Game 7 for the ages.
In Chicago, the Bears posted a video Thursday morning on Twitter of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery raising the Cubs’ iconic ‘W’ victory flag outside of the team’s headquarters.
“Feels good to fly the W,” he said. “Congratulations, Cubs.”
A handful of Bears players also reacted on Twitter, including Jeffery and linebacker Sam Acho.
“We won!!! We won!!! We Won!!!” Acho jubilantly wrote on his Twitter account.
In following tweets, Acho added: “I’m getting in my car and driving to Wrigleyville!!! Let’s celebrate!!! We did it!!! I need a hat!!! I need a W!!! This is UNREAL.”
“I can literally hear fireworks right now!! Y’all. This is what Game 7’s are all about. This is sport at its finest. So happy!!”
On his Twitter account, Jeffery wrote: “Congratulations to the @Cubs. What a team! What a season!!! They kept faith, they came back, they won!!!! #WorldSeries #Chicago #FlyTheW”
“Finally. Congrats to the #WorldSeries Champs @Cubs! #FlyTheW,” the Chicago Bulls posted on Twitter.
New Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, a Chicago native, posted: “Yes sir Cubbies!!!! Way to Put on for the city. Chicago needed this positivity. #FlyTheW #WorldSeriesChamps”
Wade made a World Series bet with former Miami Heat teammate LeBron James, now playing for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
After losing the bet, James will now have to wear a Cubs uniform when the Cavaliers travel to face the Bulls at the United Center on Dec. 2.
“Just want to congratulate the Indians on an unbelievable season. You guys did something that nobody would ever think you guys could do, and we’re very proud of you,” James, who attended Game 7, said in a video after the game posted on social-media website Uninterrupted.
CLEVELAND – The Chicago Cubs met their date with destiny Wednesday night. The longest championship drought in a major sport ended after 108 years with the Cubs beating the Cleveland Indians in an epic, 10-inning, 8-7 win in Game 7 of the World Series at Progressive Field.
The Curse of the Billy Goat? The Black Cat? Steve Bartman? Remove them from the baseball lexicon. The Cubs are champions for the first time since 1908, the first team to rebound from a 3-1 deficit and capture the crown on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Fueled by, of all things, a team meeting called by the disappointing big-money free agent signee Jason Heyward during a 17-minute rain delay before the final frame, Chicago scored twice in the 10th and survived a Cleveland rally in the bottom of the frame. Chicago’s Mike Montgomery got Michael Martinez to ground out to third base with the tying run on second to end the game and the drought.
“It was the best rain delay ever,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
The contest rightfully will be remembered as one of the greatest World Series games ever. The Cubs blew a 5-1 lead, and with pitching options running out on both sides, found a way to win. For baseball, it was a showcase of how good the sport can be.
As Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of the Cubs, “They’re a good team — they keep coming at you. That was tough for them when we tied that. A lot of teams might fold after that, but they didn’t. They didn’t. And we didn’t either. We just ran out of time.”
The Cubs’ offense, sparked to life after going down three games to one in the series, kept percolating. The weight-bearing pillars of the Cleveland postseason run — the way ace Corey Kluber’s pitching covered for the injury-depleted rotation, coupled with the spectacular work of the Indians’ relievers — finally gave way.
They will be back.
And no, we don’t mean the Indians.
This is only the beginning for the Cubs.
“I’m really proud of the attitude, the culture we created,” second-year Chicago manager Joe Maddon said in the celebratory clubhouse. “I think it’s something that could carry us for many years to come. … This is the breakthrough where a standard of excellence is set that can be carried through for more years to come.”
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein cemented himself as perhaps the greatest baseball executive ever by following up on his work as general manager of the Red Sox when they snapped an 86-year drought with the 2004 World Series title. And he has built something very sustainable on the North Side of Chicago.
Thursday Night Football
KICKOFF: Thursday Night Football, 8:25 p.m., ET, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. TV: NFL Network, Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox.
SERIES HISTORY: 47th regular-season meeting. Buccaneers lead series, 24-22. The Bucs won each of the past three meetings, including the season opener 31-24 at the Georgia Dome. They won the last meeting in Tampa 23-19 on Dec. 6, 2015.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Last weekend, the Bucs’ defense could not get pressure on Oakland QB Derek Carr, who passed for a club-record 513 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Raiders won in overtime.
Now Falcons QB Matt Ryan is the guest after recording his 34th come-from-back victory last week when he tossed a game-winning touchdown pass with 31 seconds left against the Green Bay Packers. He is having his best season statistically, completing 193 of 279 passes for 2,636 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a passer rating of 115.8, which is second in the NFL behind Tom Brady’s 133.9 mark.
Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston owns three wins over the Falcons. Atlanta wants to get a better pass rush against him. With three sacks against the Packers, the Falcons have 18 sacks through eight games, tied for 11th in the league. They are one sack off their total of 19 from last season, which was last in the league.
Falcons DE Vic Beasley came up with a sack of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. He is third in the league with 7.5 sacks. Falcons DT Adrian Clayborn had two sacks, which upped his total to 3.5 on the season. Winston has been sacked 16 times.
In the first meeting, a 31-24 Bucs win at Atlanta on Sept. 11, the Falcons didn’t register a sack, but they had six quarterback hits. Winston passed for 281 yards and four touchdowns.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
–Bucs LB Kwon Alexander vs. Falcons FB Patrick DiMarco and guards Andy Levitre and Chris Chester. Alexander had 17 tackles in the last meeting and effectively shut down the Falcons’ rushing attack. That helped make the offense one-dimensional. When Levitre and Chester climb to the second level, they must get their blocks on Alexander. While DiMarco is in the game as the lead blocker, he must win at the point of attack.
–Bucs WR Mike Evans vs. Falcons CB Desmond Trufant. Evans has 44 catches for 595 yards and six touchdowns. The Bucs will force the ball deep to Evans, who wins more than his share of jump balls. Trufant is having another solid season and has four pass breakups.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Bucs RB Antone Smith. Added to the roster only a few weeks ago, Smith may be the primary ball carrier against the Falcons. The seventh-year pro from Florida State has never carried more than 23 times in an NFL season. Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 25 carries a game since taking over as the primary running back, but he may be sidelined due to an ankle injury, so the Bucs are down to their seventh running back this season.
FAST FACTS: Falcons WR Julio Jones is averaging 110.6 yards per game receiving and has seven TDs in nine career meetings with the Bucs. … Atlanta LB Vic Beasley has three forced fumbles on the season. … Bucs WR Russell Shephard is looking to be on the end of a receiving TD for a third consecutive game. … Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy has a sack in two of past three games, and he had career high three against the Falcons Nov. 17, 2013. … Bucs LB Kwon Alexander is aiming to register at least 10 tackles for a fourth consecutive meeting with the Falcons. He has two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in three games vs. Atlanta. … Since 2013, Tampa Bay LB Lavonte David is the only NFL player with 450-plus tackles (477), 10-plus sacks (12) and five-plus interceptions (eight).
PREDICTION: The Bucs managed to take the visiting Raiders into overtime with the help of 23 Oakland penalties, though they appeared disjointed on offense against a team with a so-so defense. Falcons QB Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 2,636 passing yards, and he should pad that stat Thursday night.