This Week in US Sports: Football season is upon us; Lakers give Howard a second chance

By Sports Desk August 29, 2019

It's football time in the US.

The NFL preseason wraps up this week and the college season really gets going on Thursday as the No. 1 team in the country Clemson opens up against Georgia Tech.

With that several storylines that have rumbled on throughout the offseason come into an even greater focus.

Here we look at some of the biggest news from this week in US Sports.

 

1. Contracts still up in the air as holdouts stand their ground

With the NFL season less than two weeks away, teams are starting to finalise their rosters. But what can make a franchise's job even harder is trying to come to decisions at key positions when players are not in camp, and in Texas, two huge players remain in a self-imposed exile.

Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold out in search of a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys and in Houston, Jadeveon Clowney still has not signed his franchise tender with the Texans and appears willing to wait into the season to make any kind of decision if he is not traded.

The argument could be made these two players are the best on the rosters of the Cowboys and Texans and it is very likely neither will be active in Week 1.


2. College football kick-off

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  • Harden's 54 points lead Rockets, Bucks win 17th straight Harden's 54 points lead Rockets, Bucks win 17th straight

    James Harden produced another 50-point performance in the NBA, while Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Milwaukee Bucks extend their streak on Friday.

    Harden made it back-to-back 50-point games in the Houston Rockets' 130-107 victory over the Orlando Magic.

    Coming off a 55-point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harden had 54 in the win over Orlando.

    The Bucks made it 17 straight wins by getting past the Memphis Grizzlies 127-114.

    Antetokounmpo had a double-double of 37 points and 11 rebounds in the Bucks' latest victory.

    Los Angeles' duos shine

    LeBron James (28 points and 12 assists) and Anthony Davis (33 points and 10 rebounds) helped the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 113-110.

    The Los Angeles Clippers' stars also impressed. Paul George had 46 points and Kawhi Leonard 42 in a 124-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    The Philadelphia 76ers are 14-0 at home after Ben Simmons contributed 24 points and 11 assists in a 116-109 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

     

    Bad Bulls

    The Chicago Bulls were woeful in an 83-73 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls went at just 30 per cent from the field, shooting 27-of-90.

     

    Harden hot

    Harden continued his irresistible form for the Rockets.

    Friday's results

    Houston Rockets 130-107 Orlando Magic
    Philadelphia 76ers 116-109 New Orleans Pelicans
    Los Angeles Lakers 113-110 Miami Heat
    Indiana Pacers 110-100 Atlanta Hawks
    Charlotte Hornets 83-73 Chicago Bulls
    Milwaukee Bucks 127-114 Memphis Grizzlies
    Utah Jazz 114-106 Golden State Warriors
    Los Angeles Clippers 124-117 Minnesota Timberwolves
    New York Knicks 103-101 Sacramento Kings

     

    Pistons at Rockets

    Can Detroit (10-15) stop Harden? The Rockets (17-8) host the Pistons on Saturday.

  • Terrell Suggs cut by Cardinals Terrell Suggs cut by Cardinals

    Terrell Suggs has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals just three weeks before the end of the NFL season.

    The outside linebacker, who played college football at Arizona State, signed a one-year deal worth $7million with the Cardinals last offseason after 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

    Suggs, the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner with the Ravens, for whom he had 132.5 sacks.

    He only managed 5.5 in 13 games for the Cardinals in 2019, though, and has now been let go by Arizona, who have the NFL's worst defensive unit in terms of yards given up.

    "It was mutual conversations as this thing went on," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury explained to reporters on Friday.

    "The respect was both ways. We know what he's been to this league, the Hall of Fame player he's been. We just wanted to have those conversations."

    The Cardinals were the NFL's worst team last season and are 3-9-1 at the bottom of an ultra-competitive NFC West this time around.

    "There's disappointment that we didn't win more games," Kingsbury added.

    "As the season's gone on, out of playoff contention, we wanted to see what we had in some younger players and we felt like it was the best move for both parties."

    Suggs, 37, will be available on waivers and could now join a playoff-bound team, such as the Ravens.

  • Jameis Winston to face Lions, says Bucs head coach Bruce Arians Jameis Winston to face Lions, says Bucs head coach Bruce Arians

    Jameis Winston will start at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Detroit Lions, head coach Bruce Arians has confirmed.

    Winston suffered a hand injury in the win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and though he finished the game, he was limited at practice this week.

    The fifth-year starter was reportedly only able to throw tennis balls on Thursday, yet he had progressed to a football at Friday's practice, after which Arians revealed he would face the Lions.

    "Jameis threw the ball well today and he's ready to go," Arians told reporters.

    Asked what he wanted to see from Winston, Arians added: "Just to be able to use strength with the ball and holding onto it - more so getting it knocked out of his hand than throwing it - and he's fine."

    Winston has had a typically up-and-down season with the Bucs, as has been the case for most of his NFL career.

    He leads the league with 23 interceptions - seven more than any other quarterback - but has also thrown 26 touchdowns, a figure only MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, who has played one more game, can better.

    Winston is one of only two quarterbacks to have thrown for over 4,000 passing yards in 2019 and is seven yards behind Dak Prescott, the NFL's leader in that category.

    The 6-7 Buccaneers cannot make the postseason in a stacked NFC, but Winston is playing for a new contract in 2020, either in Tampa Bay or elsewhere.

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