#1 the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on von lebaobei123 07.05.2019 04:38

INDIANAPOLIS -- Adam Vinatieri has warmed up to those chilly New England receptions. Sometimes, he hears cheers. Sometimes, he hears boos. Its all part of life as an ex-Pat in one of footballs fiercest rivalries -- even for a kicker who signed with the Colts eight years ago. "Its the (Red) Sox-Yankees, if you will, that kind of thing where I think both teams respect each other and know what comes to the table," Vinatieri said. The story lines in this annual series have traditionally started and ended with the quarterbacks -- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck. But the ties run so much deeper, especially given Indianapolis ever-expanding list of former Patriots. In addition to Vinatieri, theres cornerback Darius Butler, who may replace injured starter Greg Toler in Saturday nights playoff game, with the winner advancing to the AFC championship game. Butler was New Englands second-round pick in 2009, and since joining the Colts in September 2012, hes intercepted eight passes and returned three for scores. "Youve always got something to prove," said Butler, who was cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp in 2011. "And its always special when youre facing a former team." Safety Sergio Brown spent two seasons with New England (12-4) before landing with Indy last season, too. If LaRon Landry doesnt clear the concussion protocol before kickoff, the special teams standout could be starting, too. And on Monday, the Colts added another New England fan favourite -- receiver Deion Branch, the Super Bowl MVP in the Patriots last title run. Saturday will be his first trip to New Englands visiting locker room, and Branch isnt entirely sure about how hell be treated by the fans who warmly embraced him for so many years. "I think so far its been a little 75-25 (positive)," Branch said, based on what hes heard about the fans reaction to signing with Indy (12-5). "Most everybody understands and they respect that, but then you have those die-hard fans." Massachusetts native Matt Hasselbeck is one of three Colts players -- along with left tackle Anthony Castonzo and right tackle Gosder Cherilus -- who played at Boston College, and he knows enough about the city and its fans to know the boos are nothing personal. "Its probably a sign of respect, deep down," said Hasselbeck, who was a New England ball boy when his father, Don, played for the Patriots. "I think Adam is one of the all-time sports icons in that area, I know he was to me when I was in college there. Those kicks, especially in the snow, were special moments." Vinatieris history didnt matter to some fans when he returned to Foxborough for the first time in November 2006. While former teammates and team owner Robert Kraft traded handshakes with Vinatieri, he heard boos along with the cheers. It probably wont be much different Saturday night. New Englands ties to Indy are limited. Coach Bill Belichick started his NFL coaching career with the Colts back in 1975 when the team was still in Baltimore, and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia worked on the Colts staff in 1989 and 1990. The only former Colt on New Englands roster is receiver Austin Collie. "I look forward to seeing guys that Ive built relationships with there," Collie said. "But to me its just - weve got to win. Its all about advancing. Thats what my mindset is." The Colts concur. "Ive been over on that sideline for a lot of years, too, and I know what they bring to the table. Theyll have their team ready to play. The fans will be loud and crazy. Its playoff football," Vinatieri said. "Thats what its supposed to be like." Notes: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) was the only Colts player who did not practice Thursday. Coach Chuck Pagano said he expected everybody except Heyward-Bey to play Saturday night, though Landry still has to be cleared because of his concussion. Luka Doncic Jersey . The 36-year-old said a few months ago he would hang up his boots at the end of the season, but has since changed his mind. "Its a pity the season is ending now, as I am in good physical shape and enjoying myself," Di Natale said. DeAndre Jordan Jersey . Levante, which had lost five straight including a Copa del Rey game last weekend, fell behind at its Ciutat de Valencia stadium when Ionut Sapanura opened the scoring for Elche in the 26th minute. http://www.officialmavericksfanstore.com...vericks-jersey/. - The Florida Panthers are getting some Army training to finish off their preparations for the season. Dirk Nowitzki Jersey ." Also, defencemen "were found to be at a higher risk of suffering a concussion than other players, perhaps due to turning their back to retrieve pucks along the boards, which leaves them vulnerable. Kostas Antetokounmpo Jersey . The (35-35-10) Jets have 80 points and are also playing .500 hockey on home ice this season with a 17-17-6 record. Michael Hutchinson will start his second straight game in goal.NEW ORLEANS -- Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by shocking the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on Monday night. Evans made 14 of 26 shots while scoring mostly on quick, powerful bursts to the hoop. He also scored 12 points at the foul line and made a 3 that put the Pelicans ahead 90-82 with 4:21 left. Kevin Durant scored 25 for the Thunder, who have lost two straight and wont lock up the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs without at least one more win or a Los Angeles Clippers loss. With Oklahoma City having played in Indiana on Sunday, coach Scott Brooks chose to rest point guard Russell Westbrook, starting Reggie Jackson in his place. Jackson, however, was not a factor on offence for much of the game, finishing with four points and three assists. Oklahoma could hardly complain about being short-handed, though. With all five early season starters and its best scorer off the bench out for the season, New Orleans one regular point guard was among 10 players in uniform. That was Austin Rivers, who was ejected, along with the Thunders Nick Collison, after the pair got into a scuffle with 7:56 left in the second quarter. Evans, normally a shooting guard, took over at point guard after that and went on to score 37 of his points. Luke Babbit scored 12 points, hitting a late 3 to help seal New Orleans first victory over the Thunder in 11 meetings, dating to Jan. 24, 2011. Darius Miller andd Alexis Ajinca each had 10 points Serge Ibaka had 22 points and 16 rebounds for Oklahoma City.dddddddddddd Caron Butler added 19 points on 6 of 9 shooting, but after making six of his first seven shots, he did not score in the fourth quarter and his turnover led to Evans driving layup, which put New Orleans ahead by 10 with 2:16 to go. Durant was somewhat below his usual standard, missing 14 of his 23 shots and not reaching double figures in scoring until his driving floater with 4:35 left in the third quarter. Three nights earlier in Oklahoma City, the Thunder opened up a double-digit lead on reeling New Orleans in the first half and was up 25 after three quarters en route to a 116-94 victory. Back in the Big Easy, where the Pelicans are 21-19, the matchup was far more competitive. New Orleans held a slim lead most of the first quarter and the game got testy in the second, Rivers was angered by a prolonged screen Collison set on him. Rivers pushed his way out of the screen and soon after the two were shouting at each other as they followed the action to the Pelicans offensive end, where Rivers lunged at Collison. Minutes later, Oklahoma City led by as many as six on Butlers 3, but New Orleans closed the half with Morrows short jumper and Evans layup after hed intercepted Thabo Sefoloshas pass, cutting Oklahomas lead to 46-45 at halftime. Notes: The loss prevented Oklahoma City from becoming the only NBA team with 60 wins in each of the past two seasons. ... The Thunder had won both previous meetings this season. 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