Lebron James Has Apparently Fixed His George Jefferson Hairline (Photo)

Lebron’s been oft maligned for his rather atrocious hairline for years now–consider it his Achilles heel, if you will.
But now, with the King back in his home castle, he had to get a new crown to get with the return.
Lebron was at a NIKE launch on Tuesday and with him was his new and improved hairline.
LeBron fixed his hairline pic.twitter.com/gqntfeHyLb
— Josh Dhani (@JoshDhani) September 17, 2014

What in the world…
The post Lebron James Has Apparently Fixed His George Jefferson Hairline (Photo) appeared first on Geeks & Cleats.

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Jefferson, Bobcats power past Nets in OT, 116-111 (Yahoo Sports)

Brooklyn Nets' Jorge Gutierrez (13) and Andray Blatche (0) compete with Charlotte Bobcats' Cody Zeller (40) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (55) for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats can’t help but sneak a peek at the Eastern Conference standings every now and again. ”I would be great to get in that sixth spot,” Jefferson said. The reasoning if obvious: It would help the Bobcats avoid a potential first-round playoff series with Indiana or Miami. For now, the Bobcats are the seventh seed in the East, but they’re gaining ground.


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Jefferson, Walker lead Bobcats past Nuggets 105-98 (Yahoo Sports)

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 10: Al Jefferson #25 of the Charlotte Bobcats shoots against the Denver Nuggets during the game at the Time Warner Cable Arena on March 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Charlotte Bobcats are getting used to big nights from Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. Now, they have Gary Neal to throw into the offensive mix. The newly acquired Neal came off the bench and scored 19 points as the surging Bobcats won their seventh home game in a row, defeating the Denver Nuggets 105-98 on Monday night. Jefferson led all scorers with 26 points and Walker scored 24, but it was Neal’s work off the bench that may have made the biggest difference with Gerald Henderson out with a strained right calf muscle.


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Jefferson leads Bobcats past Pacers 109-87 (Yahoo Sports)

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 5: Al Jefferson #25 of the Charlotte Bobcats shoots against Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers during the game at the Time Warner Cable Arena on March 5, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

Al Jefferson had a pretty good inkling it was Charlotte’s night when he banked in a 31-footer from well beyond the top of the key to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter. ”I didn’t call the bank, but I trusted my right hand,” Jefferson said with a laugh. Jefferson scored 34 points and the Bobcats stunned NBA-leading Indiana 109-87 Wednesday night, handing the Pacers just their second two-game skid of the season. Jefferson was 16 of 25 from the field and had eight rebounds for the Bobcats (28-33), who won their fifth straight at home to equal their combined win total from the previous two seasons.


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Jefferson, Bobcats get rare win over Mavs 114-89

Al Jefferson scored 30 points, Anthony Tolliver added 22, and the Charlotte Bobcats earned a rare win over the Dallas Mavericks, 114-89 on Tuesday night.

The Bobcats had lost 17 of 18 against the Mavericks, but they scored 60 points in the paint and tied a season-high with 12 3-pointers to snap Dallas’ five-game winning streak.

Tolliver was 5 of 6 from 3-point range, and the Bobcats went 12 of 24 from beyond the arc.

Jefferson was 14 of 23 from the field and reached the 20-point plateau for the 14th time in 15 games. He has averaged 27 points per game during that span.

Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for observation. He returned in the second half and finished with 16 points in 25 minutes.

Charlotte’s rare – and relatively easy – victory came on the night it was announced that Bobcats owner Michael Jordan’s wife gave birth to the couple’s identical twin daughters.

Jordan’s spokeswoman Estee Portnoy told The Asso

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Can Al Jefferson Alone Reverse Charlotte Bobcats Losing Culture for Good?

The Charlotte Bobcats have been associated with losing and just about nothing else over the last few years, but that’s starting to change. 

Al Jefferson is behind the push, as he continues to dominate on offense while steering the ‘Cats into one of the eight coveted playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. There’s still plenty of work to be done and no guarantee of a successful venture into the postseason, but the very fact that we’re talking about something beyond the regular season is a step in the right direction. 

A losing stench has pervaded the Charlotte air for season after season. Losing is the status quo, and it’s created an unfortunate culture that leads to, well, more losing. 

But Jefferson has had enough of that. 

He’s starting to reverse that culture, and it’s a change that should last for a long time. 

 

Absolute Individual Dominance

Jefferson is just playing out of his mind right now. 

Over his last five games, Big Al is averaging an insane 29.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. But it gets even more impressive, because he’s shooting 52.1 percent from the field while serving as the clear-cut No. 1 offensive option. 

Oh, and those averages include an aberration of a performance. 

On Feb. 1, Jefferson took on the Phoenix Suns and struggled his way to just 10 points and six rebounds on 4-of-15 shooting. And he’s still posting those per-game averages mentioned above. 

That’s what a 40-point masterpiece against the Los Angeles Lakers, a 35-point outing against the Denver Nuggets and a 30-point showing against the Golden State Warriors will do. 

Jefferson has become the centerpiece of the Charlotte offense in every way possible. He’s setting himself up on that left block and going to work, but he’s also made Steve Clifford come up with quite a few plays that give him the ability to move to that same sweet spot. 

I attended the Bobcats-Nuggets game and had trouble taking my eyes off Jefferson whenever Charlotte had the ball. Every play seemed designed to get him possession on the blocks, and there was nothing Kenneth Faried, Timofey Mozgov, J.J. Hickson or anyone else could do to prevent him from converting once he got it there.

Just take a look at that highlight reel and try to avoid having your jaw leave a dent in the floor. 

If anything, Jefferson is playing like an All-Star. Lance Stephenson and Arron Afflalo were bigger snubs in the Eastern Conference, but the big man’s name certainly belongs in the same category. Here’s what B/R’s Josh Martin had to say after Big Al’s domination of the Lakers on Jan. 31:

If there was any All-Star to be found in the building on this night, it was Al Jefferson. The Bobcats big man, who was “snubbed” out of a spot on the Eastern Conference squad, tied his career high with 40 points and, with his game-high 18 rebounds, sealed his third straight 30-10 performance.

But he’s not an All-Star, even if his numbers point toward him deserving such an honor. It’s a shame really, if only because this beleaguered franchise has had so few selections throughout its short history. In fact, Gerald Wallace, who made the All-Star squad in 2009-10, is the only player to receive that nomination. 

And let’s compare those seasons, per Basketball-Reference

  PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% PER
Jefferson in 2013-14 19.9 10.6 2.1 1.0 1.2 48.6 21.9
Wallace in 2009-10 18.2 10.0 2.1 1.5 1.1 48.4 18.3

Jefferson is quite clearly superior, though Crash’s defense deserves some credit. That said, the big man has been playing better than ever before on the less-glamorous end and actually has a lower defensive rating than Wallace posted in ’09-10.  

There’s a serious case to be made for Jefferson having the single greatest season in the 10-year history. 

Stephen Jackson is the only player to average more points per game as a Bobcat. Only Emeka Okafor beats him in the rebounds-per-contest category, according to Basketball-Reference

But it’s not just about what he’s done as an individual.

 

Playoff Culture

It’s been a long time since the Bobcats have been able to advance to the postseason.

In fact, the team has managed to do so only once in its decade of existence. The 2009-10 squad, led by Wallace, went 44-38, earning a playoff spot before being swept out of contention by the Orlando Magic. Yes, that means that the Bobcats have literally never won a game after the regular season.

That season also stands out in one more way, as it’s the only time the ‘Cats have ever earned a winning record. 

Ouch.

But both those ignominious bits of history have potential to be erased during the 2013-14 campaign.

The Bobcats are currently 22-28, which leaves them within striking distance of an above-.500 record. More importantly, they sit at No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings, 1.5 games ahead of the Detroit Pistons in the race for the final spot in the postseason festivities. 

So long as Jefferson keeps playing this way, Charlotte should be considered the favorites to maintain its spot. Especially because the Chicago Bulls should eventually fall off the pace they’re currently on, as Tom Thibodeau has done a fantastic—and probably unsustainable—job maximizing talent. 

Jefferson has even admitted this is his goal, not making an All-Star squad. 

I’ve been disappointed by All-Star Games for years. I’ve stopped listening to the hype,” the center told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “I know what I can do and my goal is to get Charlotte to one of those elite teams in the East. Into the playoffs.”

But what if the Bobcats make a trade? What if one of the many young players breaks out after the All-Star break? 

Then there’s an even better chance of Jefferson meeting his goal.

There are so many reasons to expect more improvement from this rising squad, and it’s already looking good from a statistical standpoint. Basketball-Reference shows that while Jefferson and Co. only score 100.6 points per 100 possessions (which is actually an improvement from the past), the team is allowing just 103.3 over the same stretch. 

That gives the team the No. 6 defensive rating in basketball, which is enough to keep them afloat. And believe it or not, that negative discrepancy isn’t too bad in the Eastern Conference. This is the same conference in which only four squads have outscored their opponents over the course of the 2013-14 season. 

“Playoffs” and “Bobcats” are words that haven’t typically belonged in the same sentence. That’s changing, and thanks to Jefferson that will only get more obvious in the future. 

 

Restoring Legitimacy 

The Bobcats have had a promising future for a little while now. Except that they’re, you know, the Bobcats. 

With plenty of young and promising pieces (Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Taylor and Cody Zeller), the ‘Cats could make absolutely no moves in the near future and still get better. They only become more promising when you remember that while they give up their own pick to the Bulls if they make the playoffs, they gain picks from the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons if things go according to plan. 

The former is protected through No. 12, and the latter will be retained by Motor City if it falls in the first eight selections. Therefore, Portland’s seems guaranteed to change hands, and the Detroit pick would go to Charlotte right now, as the Pistons have the 10th-worst record in the NBA

Picking up an extra pick would certainly be nice, but it’s free agency that could suddenly be most promising. 

In the past, no one wanted to come to Charlotte. It was a place where NBA careers went to die, as a losing culture trumped everything else. But that changed when Jefferson signed with the ‘Cats. 

Here’s what I wrote on July 4, right after Jefferson officially left the Utah Jazz in the dust: 

The signing of Jefferson is a great way to tell the rest of the Association that this franchise is no longer content with being a laughingstock. Even if it costs them Wiggins, the Bobcats will no longer finish with the worst record in the NBA, nor will they come too close. 

But more importantly, it makes them relevant. The Bobcats can’t immediately be dismissed if we hear their name linked to an elite free agent. 

Relevant. 

It’s a strange word to use with the Bobcats, but that’s the situation that Jefferson created. Not just by signing with the team, but by joining forces with the rest of Charlotte’s youthful squad, dominating as an individual and leading it into playoff contention. 

Let’s revisit the first two sentences of this section: “The Bobcats have had a promising future for a little while now. Except that they’re, you know, the Bobcats.”

The second one no longer applies, and the credit goes largely to Big Al. Perhaps in the future, another player can help shake the reputation to an even greater extent. 

ShamSports.com shows that the ‘Cats have $41,593,280 committed for the 2014-15 season, thanks to the contracts of Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and a few others coming off the books. They’ll have enough money to be in play for a marquee guy. 

In the past that would’ve been irrelevant information. 

But not anymore. 

I would say these aren’t your parents’ Bobcats, but that’s not exactly accurate. If you’re old enough to be reading this article, chances are your parents were around long before the ‘Cats entered the NBA. 

So instead, let’s just say these aren’t the Bobcats that went 7-59 during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. 

Far from it. 

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Jefferson, defense supply Bobcats with win over Warriors

Kemba Walker returns from injury, Golden State struggles from deep

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Even Al Jefferson Exposes Suddenly Starless Los Angeles Lakers

If the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t hit rock bottom yet, they sure are getting close.

Six losses in a row and 18 in their past 21 outings would be sorry-enough indicators on their own. Throw in a 110-100 home loss to the Charlotte Bobcats that wasn’t even as close as the final score would suggest, and the depths of L.A.’s season of despair only seem to deepen.

Those “brave” fans who showed up at Staples Center on Friday night were witness to one of the NBA‘s oldest and most successful franchises getting manhandled on its own floor by the league’s youngest and least decorated outfit. So, too, was Kobe Bryant, who was chosen by the fans to start for the Western Conference at the 2014 All-Star Game in New Orleans. Bryant wasn’t able to come to the Lakers’ aide on this night, nor will he be fit to play during the midseason showcase, due to a left knee injury.

If there was any All-Star to be found in the building on this night, it was Al Jefferson. The Bobcats big man, who was “snubbed” out of a spot on the Eastern Conference squad, tied his career high with 40 points and, with his game-high 18 rebounds, sealed his third straight 30-10 performance.

All of which made Pau Gasol‘s solid night (24 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks) look feeble by comparison.

It’s not often that a player of Big Al’s caliber (i.e., a player with borderline All-Star talent, but never quite elite) storms onto the Lakers’ turf looking like a world-beater—or, rather, it wasn’t often that such had happened in L.A.

Up until 2013-14, the Lakers always seemed to sport enough star power on their roster to outshine lesser lights. Even last season, when they underwhelmed to the tune of 45 wins and a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, L.A. still managed to “own the room” with no fewer than four familiar faces.

Of course, one of them (Dwight Howard) is gone, having up and left to join the Houston Rockets via free agency this past summer. Two others (Kobe and Steve Nash) have played six games apiece this season amidst slow recoveries from debilitating injuries. The fourth (Gasol) was just abused by Big Al and could soon be forced to join Bryant and Nash on the sidelines with a groin injury and a sore foot, via Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding:

Even before the latest failures, the Lakers could almost always count on a superstar or two to save the day. Bryant and Gasol had their run of three straight trips to the NBA Finals, followed promptly by Andrew Bynum’s All-Star breakout. Kobe carried the Lakers through the post-Shaquille O’Neal doldrums, with Lamar Odom by his side. And before the Kobe-Shaq partnership imploded, L.A. boasted one of the most dominant one-two punches the NBA had ever seen.

You’d have to dig all the way back to 1996, the year before Jerry West brought Bryant and O’Neal together, to find an All-Star Game without a Laker in it. Two weeks from now, you’ll need to look no further than 2014 to stumble upon the answer to that bit of trivia.

At this point, the Lakers are all but guaranteed their first trip to the draft lottery since 2005. The team wound up with the 10th pick, which it used on a raw 17-year-old out of New Jersey who’s now due to join the Indiana Pacers.

But that team wasn’t nearly as sorry as the one L.A. has fielded this time around. Those Lakers were three games above .500 in mid-March, when injuries, inconsistency and the strain of a midseason coaching change precipitated a 2-19 finish.

Today’s Lakers are already slip-sliding away and have been since December. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this month was the franchise’s worst in nearly 40 years:

And the misery seems unlikely to abate any time soon. Bryant won’t be re-evaluated by the Lakers’ medical staff until around the All-Star break, which would peg his second comeback for no sooner than early March. Gasol’s problems with seemingly his entire lower torso threaten to leave the Lakers without any star power whatsoever.

In the meantime, February figures to begin just as January ended, “thanks” to a three-game road trip that will once again test the Lakers’ 8-17 record outside of L.A.

Unless, of course, the Lakers land back in Lady Luck’s good graces—which they might. Nash and Steve Blake could be back in time for the team’s trip to the Great White North to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, with Jordan Farmar not far behind, per ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne.

Gasol, for one, is hopeful that the replenishing of L.A.’s backcourt will breathe some life into this most depressing of campaigns, via Lakers Nation:

But having a healthy complement of point guards isn’t going to do much to keep the Lakers from getting rolled by the next Al Jefferson. Nor can Nash, Blake and Farmar be expected to spark the Purple and Gold all the way back to respectability.

That’s a job best left to a star who can still play like one. Gasol could be that guy, provided he doesn’t wind up in street clothes again. Bryant might be, too, if his body doesn’t continue to betray him. The Lakers are going to need a lot more than a few hobbled floor generals to begin the long climb from rock bottom.

A concern that was once foreign to this franchise, but is now all too real.

 

Escape from the Lakers’ misery with me on Twitter!

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Does Al Jefferson Deserve to Make the NBA All-Star Team?

Al Jefferson is arguably the best low-post scorer in the NBA. He is one of the game’s most consistent big men and has a history of carrying unimpressive rosters to respectable records.

Yet, the 29-year-old center has never made an All-Star team.

There are reasons for this. Big Al does have an Achilles’ heel, and it has stopped him from becoming a world-beater. The big man does not have enough of a mid-range game to be an elite power forward and does not defend well enough to be an all-NBA center. Because of this, he has always been viewed as a second-tier player.

Also, Jefferson has not played in a big market since his early days with the Boston Celtics. His other teams—the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz—have never been dominant enough to make up for their relative obscurity.

After reaching unrestricted free agency last summer, many believed that Jefferson would seize the opportunity to join a big-market club and finally receive the recognition he deserved. Instead, he signed with the Charlotte Bobcats.

The move could be chalked up to nothing more than a smart financial decision. The Bobcats offered him $41 million over three seasons, which is likely more money than big-market teams would have offered given the hype surrounding the 2014 free-agent class.

His decision to go to Charlotte may also be viewed as a conscious decision to avoid big-city pressures. Jefferson knew that his consistent game would translate to Charlotte and that it would be tough for a fanbase to criticize a player who’s better than any player the team has ever had.

It could also be that he wanted to be the No. 1 option somewhere. Or that he wanted to return to the South (he is from Mississippi). Or to avoid the bruising bigs of the Western Conference as much as possible.

Whatever the reason, Jefferson came to Charlotte, where he has put up the same gaudy numbers and consistently superb performances as he has throughout his career.

And once again, it will probably not be enough to get him into the All-Star Game.

Since the center position has been abolished by the NBA All-Star ballot, the Eastern Conference’s best center (Roy Hibbert) will have to occupy a reserve spot. It’s extremely unlikely that Frank Vogel will choose three centers, but if he does the remaining two will almost certainly be Joakim Noah and Chris Bosh, two excellent bigs who play in excellently big markets.

This, combined with the Bobcats’ losing record, suggests that Jefferson will turn 30 before making his first All-Star appearance. With his prime years likely to fade away before he leaves Charlotte, Big Al may never make the cut.

This is wrong.

Since becoming a starter in 2006, Jefferson has averaged 18.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.5 blocks on 49.7 percent shooting.

The numbers are impressive enough, but the consistency is what’s shocking. Take his worst output in each category over the past full seven seasons, and you still get 16.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 1.1 blocks and 49.2 percent shooting.

Jefferson’s shooting percentage is actually down to 48.3 percent this season, a career worst. Then again, his rebounding is higher than it’s been in five years (10.5), and he’s enjoying one of his finer assisting campaigns (2.1).

He is also playing the best defense of his career, or at least anchoring the best defensive unit he’s been a part of. His defensive rating of 100 is best on his team, and his team has the league’s seventh-best defensive rating at 103.8. His blocks are slightly down (1.2), but that’s a result of limited penetration.

Perhaps the most impressive element of Jefferson’s 2013-14 campaign is that he has been just as dominant without Paul Millsap. His frontcourt mate in Utah made teams pay for double-teaming him, something that Josh McRoberts, Cody Zeller and Jeff Adrien cannot do.

Despite consistently facing multiple defenders this season, Jefferson has managed to maintain his stellar inside scoring. He’s making 58.6 percent of his shots inside the lane, an extremely high percentage considering he averages over nine attempts from the key each night.

The only post player in the league who rivals Jefferson’s consistency over the past seven seasons is Tim Duncan, who has averaged 17.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 2.0 blocks on 50.8 percent shooting since 2006.

Duncan’s uncanny footwork, endless array of moves and deadly touch off the glass have earned him six All-Star appearances in that time. Jefferson has had no such luck.

Bosh is a deserving player this season, and that makes it tough to include Jefferson. But when you look at Bosh’s seven-year averages—20.4 points, 8.9 boards, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks, 50.4 percent shooting—and the fact that he’s been an All-Star every single season, something doesn’t add up.

If Jefferson is passed over for the 2014 All-Star Game, there will again be valid reasons. His team is not quite as good as this guy’s, his defense is not as superb as that guy’s. But considering his career-long body of work and the fact that he has the traditionally lowly Bobcats sitting in a playoff spot, giving Big Al the nod in a weak Eastern Conference would be completely correct at best and a forgivable lifetime-achievement nod at worst.

Jefferson may never be recognized as an elite player, but it would be a shame to see such a monstrous talent and model of consistency never be recognized.

 

All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and Vorped.com

Follow me on Twitter @Simoncgo

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Al Jefferson Pays Respect to ‘Champs’ in Person After Miami Heat Prevail

Al Jefferson isn’t a sore loser.

When his Charlotte Bobcats lose to the Miami Heat, he’s actually a kind, respectful, pleasantly jealous loser. At least that’s how it appears after ESPN’s Michael Wallace tells us Jefferson paid homage to the Heatles after their 104-96 overtime victory over his ‘Cats:

The context of Jefferson’s admiration is admittedly incomplete.

Are the Heat “champs” because they nabbed a road overtime victory without Dwyane Wade? Are they “champs” because they went from seemingly disinterested in the first half to defensively spectacular in the second half? Or did Jefferson find it amusing to state facts, because the Heat are, in fact, “champs?”

Maybe it was some combination of the three, or a hidden infatuation with the LeBron James-Chris Bosh duo that combined for 59 points.

Whatever the case, Jefferson was impressed with Miami’s second half to the point where he felt it was appropriate to make a locker-room cameo that would’ve enraged Kendrick Perkins. So aside from impressed, he should be thankful no one on the Heat kicked him out of their visiting quarters.

More surprising than Jefferson’s postgame excursion, though, was his kind-spirited attitude. 

Overtime losses to the reigning “champs” are hardly anything to lament, especially for the Bobcats, who are currently outside the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture, caught in the conference-wide web of mediocrity. Almost beating the Heat is actually an accomplishment.

But it came at a price—Kemba Walker.

Walker injured his ankle after landing on Bosh’s ankle as he attempted to attack the rim in transition. X-rays were negative according to the Associated Press’ Steve Reed, but he still didn’t return.

Any injury to Walker makes for a particularly grim outlook in Charlotte, where the Bobcats’ playoff hopes are tied to his health and offensive acumen.

“We lose the heart and soul of this team. Kemba‘s our fight,” Jefferson said, per Fox Sports’ Nick Parker. “He’s the one that kept us motivated.”

Most players might not be in a pay-your-respects-to-the-opponent kind of mood after a potential blow like this, but not Jefferson. 

Count on him to praise the Heat for being the “champs” after playing like “champs”—no matter what.

 

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