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David Johnson is back and [url=http://www.falconscheapstore.com/robert-alford-jersey-cheap]Robert Alford Jersey[/url] , he says, better than ever.
The Arizona Cardinals running back, an All-Pro in 2016, missed last season after dislocating his left wrist in the season opener. The wrist is healed and he is a full participant in the team’s weight and conditioning program that began this week.
”I’m very motivated,” he said Thursday. ”It’s not really about (showing) the people out there, it’s really about myself and coming back for the team, for my teammates, for the coaches. Everything being so new, it’s really about coming back and bouncing back and being able to play the sport.”
By new, Johnson means the coaching staff. Bruce Arians, who utilized Johnson almost as much as a receiver as a ball carrier, has retired. New coach Steve Wilks brought in Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator. McCoy has talked about designing an offense around the ability of the players.
And that would mean a lot of David Johnson.
Drafted in the third round out of Northern Iowa in 2015, Johnson’s multiple abilities as a runner and a receiver were on full display his second season under Arians’ wide-open system.
Johnson led the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns in 2016, setting an NFL record by topping 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first 15 games. He probably would have made it 16 had he not injured a knee in the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound back rushed for 1 [url=http://www.buccaneerscheapstore.com/brent-grimes-jersey-cheap]Brent Grimes Jersey[/url] ,239 yards that season and caught 80 passes for 879 yards. The performance earned him All-Pro honors at the flex position.
Because it was his wrist that was hurt in the opener at Detroit, Johnson could still run and do other workouts designed for him by strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris, who was retained by the new staff. Johnson said he probably is in the best shape of his life.
”We seen David all of last year, seeing him work out, running the field. We thought he could play every Sunday,” teammate Patrick Peterson said. ”He’s always looking good. That guy’s a freak of nature. I know he can’t wait to get back on the field.”
Getting Johnson in the weight room is no problem. Getting him not to overdo it is a challenge.
”He’s a freak,” Morris said. ”I will never, ever take credit for anything David Johnson (does). I have to protect David from David to be honest with you, because he always wants to load the bar with more and more and more weight.”
Johnson said he does that sometimes just to see Morris’ reaction.
”I’ve always been a hard lifter in the weight room, ever since high school,” Johnson said. ”Buddy yesterday was telling me not to put so much on the squat rack, but sometimes I’m hard at listening to what he is saying. I know he has my best interest, but sometimes I feel like I need to put more weight on, and I like to get under his skin a little bit because it rattles him and he starts using these huge words that no one understands.”
Being hurt, Johnson said [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/germain-ifedi-jersey-cheap]Germain Ifedi Jersey[/url] , was ”a blessing in disguise” because he’s been able to spend so much time with his young son. There was no father in the picture when Johnson was growing up.
”That I didn’t have a father figure in my life, it really pushed me to do everything I can for him,” he said, ”be at every milestone, be there for anything that’s going on in his life. I’ve seen the little things, like his teeth growing, him walking, crawling, his laughing, just being there for every little thing that happens in his life. `’
MINNEAPOLIS — A series that was solely in the Rockets’ favor in Houston took a turn in Game 3 in Minnesota.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni was his usual calm self after the 121-105 loss on Saturday, but he knows his team will have to match the Timberwolves‘ intensity in Game 4 on Monday night in Minnesota.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing,” D’Antoni said after Houston lost its first game of the series and just the third in 23 meetings against Minnesota. “But, hey guys, you have a playoff series and they’re a good team. They played better than we did today. We’ll make some adjustments. We’ll figure this out.
“On Monday [url=http://www.giantscheapstore.com/saquon-barkley-jersey-cheap]Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , we’ll have to match their intensity. If we don’t, we’ll get beat again. It’s pretty simple.”
Driven by the Target Center crowd that hadn’t witnessed a home playoff game since 2004, the Timberwolves pulled to 2-1 in the seven-game series with the top-seeded Rockets. Jimmy Butler scored 28 points, Jeff Teague added 23 and Minnesota hit 15 3-pointers in Saturday’s win.
The Timberwolves, who hit the fewest 3s per game in the NBA during the regular season, matched Houston’s total. The Rockets led the league in 3s per game in the regular season.
“They’re a great team,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We know we’re going to have to play better on Monday. I think we’re capable of playing better. We’re learning more each day.
“We learn. We improve. Same thing, we know we can’t feel too good about ourselves. We have to get in tomorrow, study the film, get ready. We know Monday will be an intense game.”
The Timberwolves hope they’ve found a combination to be able to keep up with the Rockets. Minnesota’s defense, which was among the worst in the league during the regular season, has slowly come around and helped trigger a big second half on Saturday.
From Karl-Anthony Towns engaging defenders down low to power forward Taj Gibson defending James Harden one-on-one resulting in a poor shot attempt, the Timberwolves’ defense effort became contagious team-wide.
The Rockets shot 47.5 percent from the field in the second half but had seven turnovers and were just 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) from 3.
“We’re a young team in playoff experience, so we’re growing, getting better every game [url=http://www.patriotscheapstore.com/derek-rivers-jersey-cheap]Derek Rivers Jersey[/url] ,” Teague said. “Tonight we took a big step. I think we picked up our intensity and played a lot harder, but it’s still a long way to go.”
Minnesota also got Towns more involved on the offensive end. His lack of shots has been a topic all series. The All-Star center had nine shots in each of the first two games of the series and scored a total of 13 points.
On Saturday, he had 18 points, including 12 in the second half.
“I think it is a sense of patience,” Towns said. “First quarter, I don’t think I shot a shot. So it’s letting the game come to me naturally, not trying to rush and trying to find shots. Letting the shots find me and my teammates were amazing.”
Harden scored 29 points and Chris Paul had 17 points and six assists, but the Rockets now need to make an adjustment.
Houston wants to get back to its defensive approach and limit Minnesota as it did in the first two games of the series. The Timberwolves averaged 91.5 points per game in the first two games and shot just 38.8 percent from the field in Game 2.
“We knew that was going to be a lot more comfortable coming home,” Paul said. “They make a lot more 3s tonight, 15 for 27, and we got to be better defensively. We were just opening up the lane and letting Teague drive and all the other guys, so we know we got to be better.”
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