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|— Baker Mayfield played on a big stage at Oklahoma Authentic Oliver Bjorkstrand Jersey , so he’s not scared of stepping onto football’s biggest one. The Browns rookie quarterback — and perhaps their QB of the future — will make his NFL exhibition debut Thursday night as Cleveland visits the New York Giants in a game that will feature the top two overall picks in this year’s draft: Mayfield and Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Almost from the time he first picked up a football, the Heisman Trophy winner has been looking forward to his first game action as a pro. But he won’t let that thrill overwhelm him.
“Played this game for a long time, I don’t get nervous,” said Mayfield, currently No. 2 on Cleveland’s depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor. “So I’m going to say I’m not going to have to worry about that part. Anytime I get the chance to play ball, yeah, I get excited, but however much I play I’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity, that’s for sure.”
Coach Hue Jackson want to play Mayfield two quarters, sending him in after Taylor gets in some work leading Cleveland’s first-team offense for a series or two.
The Browns’ plan — at this point — is to have Mayfield spend the season watching and learning behind Taylor, who led Buffalo to the playoffs last season and has quickly established himself as a leader in Cleveland.
Mayfield understands he has to be patient, and while waiting for his turn he’s had an impressive training camp. He releases the ball quickly and accurately, and Mayfield seems to have a solid grasp of coordinator Todd Haley’s offense.
But although Jackson said Mayfield has exceeded expectations, he’s committed to opening the season with Taylor behind center.
“We are going to grow our quarterbacks,” Jackson said last week. “Tyrod Taylor is our quarterback. Baker Mayfield is competing and getting better each and every day, still learning the National Football League. Has done a really nice job of learning our system and improving every day.”
The 23-year-old Mayfield showed poise during an intrasquad scrimmage last week. He led Cleveland’s backups on an opening touchdown drive, but later struggled in the red zone against Cleveland’s starting defense and also threw his first interception of camp.
He knows the tempo and intensity will be even higher against the Giants.
“When you get the energy level up P.K Subban Jersey , you’ve got to be able to execute, so that’s why I’m excited about Thursday as well,” he said. “You get people hyped up, you actually get some contact in and you can focus in and do your job when there are distractions around, so I think we handled the first one pretty well, but it definitely can go a lot better.”
Although he became a major college star, Mayfield had to fight every step of the way. He was a walk-on at Texas Tech and with the Sooners, and Mayfield feels those experiences prepared him to handle not starting now.
He’s a backup, and Mayfield is making the most of being one.
“Whenever I got to Texas Tech I wasn’t given an opportunity to get out there, as well, then when I got to OU, I was on scout team,” he said. “It’s how I’ve always handled it, whatever opportunity I get, to make sure I get better I need to take advantage of that. So right now that’s doing second-team reps, or that’s even translating now doing some card offense, scout-team stuff. Whatever I can do to learn and keep getting reps Joonas Donskoi Jersey , that’s the best thing.”
Playing basketball seemed trivial to the Spurs following the death of Erin Popovich. They competed as best they could Thursday night. It just wasn’t enough against Golden State, again.
Kevin Durant had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and the Warriors beat San Antonio 110-97 for a 3-0 series lead over the Spurs, who were still reeling from the death of Gregg Popovich’s wife.
”It was a perfect setup for a letdown,” Golden State forward Draymond Green said. ”I don’t say that to be insensitive at all to the situation. We all take this basketball stuff serious and we want to win, but when you start talking life and death, a game doesn’t matter. But yet we still wanted to come out and try to win the game.”
The Warriors can close the first-round series with a win Sunday afternoon in San Antonio in Game 4.
”It’s hard to think about that for me, personally, right now because there is other stuff bigger than basketball,” Spurs veteran Tony Parker said.
The Spurs were playing a day after the death of Erin Popovich, who passed away after battling an undisclosed long-term illness. Erin and Gregg Popovich were married four decades and have two children and two grandchildren.
San Antonio did not air a video tribute or hold a moment of silence for Erin in an apparent attempt to make the game as routine as possible for its players, but that was impossible.
Coach Popovich was not in his customary position roaming the sidelines, choosing instead to be with his family. San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina coached the team in Popovich’s place.
”We are all hurting,” Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said after the morning shootaround. ”We want to be next to Pop, we want to support him, but we’ve got to go out there and compete today. But William Nylander Jersey , for sure, we are toiling. It’s not an easy day to be here.”
Ginobili and Parker said it was tough to play basketball following Erin’s passing, but the team’s goal was to compete and play with the grit Popovich has always demanded of them.
Parker, who said Erin and Gregg were a mother and father to him when he entered the league as a 19-year-old, lived up to those wishes. Parker, who averaged 2.0 points in the first two games, finished with 16 points in 17 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spurs had an emotional start, but could not sustain it against the talented Warriors.
”This was about what I expected,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ”First half they were getting after us like they did in Game 2 and we stayed with it, we had some bursts. The whole point is take care of the ball and defend over 48 minutes and things should work out.”
Already on the edge of their seats for the first home game of the playoffs, fans erupted when Rudy Gay threw down a one-handed dunk over Golden State’s JaVale McGee. The cheering was nearly constant as the Spurs scored the game’s first six points before the Warriors began to settle in.
Durant and Klay Thompson shot down San Antonio’s chances.
Thompson added 19 points, including 3-for-6 shooting on 3s.
Golden State closed the first half on a 20-9 run to eliminate a five-point deficit and take a 52-46 lead. Durant had 17 points in the first half to counter 10 points each from Gay and Parker.
Gay finished with 11 points.
The Warriors opened 1 for 14 on 3-pointers. Golden State finished 10 for 32 on 3s.
”Well, when the 3s are not going, we’ve just got to continue moving the ball and getting open looks,” Thompson said. ”But if we’re getting open looks, they’re eventually going to fall, and we rely on our defense when we’re not making shots. Our defense can be a constant for us Youth Dustin Byfuglien Jersey , shouldn’t always dictate how hard you play.”
Green added 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.
Warriors: Durant rolled his ankle at midcourt with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining but rose on his own after remaining on the court for less than a minute. Kerr said Durant and Shaun Livingston, who also rolled his ankle moments later, are both fine and will play in Game 4.. . Warriors G Stephen Curry did not play but sat behind the team’s bench as he continues to rehabilitate a sprained knee. Curry is expected to return for the second round, if the Warriors advance. … McGee started after being listed as questionable with a bruised left quadriceps. He had six points and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
Spurs: Messina was coaching his first NBA playoff game, but he has won more than 10 titles in the Euroleague, Russian SuperLeague and Italian League. … Dejounte Murray had nine points and four assists in 16 minutes.
Kerr has been a friend of the Popovich family since his days playing for the Spurs at the turn of the century. In fact, Kerr grew so close with Erin Popovich that he almost got his longtime friend in trouble.
”Erin was sort of the balance that Pop needed,” Kerr said. ”I still remember when he traded me to Portland in 2001, he called me up to tell me the news (and) he said, `I don’t think I can go home, because Erin is gonna be so mad at me for trading you.’ ”
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