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Trent Williams Jersey October 05, 2018 10:19 PM

By : hong

Rajon Rondo and Draymond Green have won NBA titles and never have been known to shy away from conflict on the court.

Now their combustible convergence in the playoffs is providing a spicy subplot to the Western Conference semifinal series between New Orleans and Golden State.

”We’re here to fight Bobby Ryan Jersey ,” Rondo said following New Orleans’ lopsided Game 3 victory that trimmed the Warriors‘ series lead to 2-1. ”With my guys on the court, I’m going to fight as hard as I can … and do whatever it takes.”

Green and Rondo had to be separated after whistles twice in the first three games – never mind some other antics in the flow of the game – and they’ll be back at it again in one of two pivotal Game 4s to be played on Sunday. The other pits Houston against Utah in a series that the Rockets lead 2-1.

The Rondo-Green sideshow is compelling because of what both players mean to their teams. They are not the type of trash-talking, loud-mouths who otherwise play marginal roles. They are accomplished leaders who produce. Rondo had 21 assists in Game 3, while Green nearly had a triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assist. It just so happens they also are renowned for their masterful command of psychological gamesmanship.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry might have the best perspective; he’s coached them both.

Gentry was a Warriors assistant on Golden State’s 2015 championship team and maintains a friendly off-court relationship with Green.

”If he’s on your team you love him and if he’s not on your team you despise him – and to me, those are the kind of players that I like to have,” Gentry said of Green. ”I appreciate who he is and how he plays because he’s all about winning. And if you’re verbally weak, he’s going to take advantage of that.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr calls Green his team’s ”heart and soul,” and its ”engine.” Kerr also added lightheartedly that the fact Green hasn’t been assessed a technical foul in the postseason is ”one of the great stats in this year’s playoffs.”

Green bristled at the notion that he started any of the dust-ups with Rondo, insinuating that Rondo was the instigator. He asserted that his awareness of Rondo’s intentions is why he hasn’t been suckered into escalations that could result in a technical foul or ejection.

”I’m not an idiot,” Green said. ”I can see what they’re trying to accomplish a mile away.”

Green added: ”At some point, somebody’s got to tell the truth. It ain’t Draymond this time.”

But Green has been in the face of other Pelicans, tangling with All-Star Anthony Davis behind the play in one instance and yelling at the Pelicans’ bench in another. Green’s antics even agitated TNT studio host and former player Charles Barkley, who said he wanted to punch Green in the face. Barkley later apologized for his word choice, if not his sentiment.

Pelicans forward Solomon Hill explained that Rondo – accomplished Tim Schaller Jersey , playoff-savvy veteran that he is – seeks to neutralize Green’s psychological effect by taking on a ”big brother” role for the Pelicans.

”If somebody’s yelling in your ear, you’re going to get to a point where it’s about respect,” said Hill, who refers to Rondo by his nickname, Do. ”And that’s kind of where Do is. Do’s like: `We’re going to be respected. You’re not going to come out here and dance around and disrespect us as competitors.”’

A closer look at Sunday’s games:

WARRIORS AT PELICANS

Warriors lead 2-1. Game 4, 3:30 p.m. EDT, ABC.

NEED TO KNOW: Although the Warriors lead the series, the Pelicans have not lost at home yet in the playoffs and have improved considerably in each game of this series since losing by 22 in the opener. New Orleans lost by only five points in Game 2 and then won by 19 when the series moved to New Orleans.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. They combined to miss 36 of 59 shots in Game 3 and will be eager to regain their shooting strokes. ”I still don’t think K.D. or Steph was aggressive enough,” Green said. ”I’ve said to both of them, I need them to be aggressive. They’re our guys. That’s who we’re going to to get buckets. We need them to be aggressive at all times and they’ll be that way” on Sunday.

INJURY UPDATE: Curry will be in his third game back after missing more than a month with a sprained left knee. Kerr said he wasn’t surprised to see Curry’s production dip in his second game back. ”Game 2 is always the hardest one after you come back from an injury,” Kerr said, adding that ”it just takes some time” for NBA players to regain their energy, legs and rhythm.

PRESSURE IS ON: The Pelicans, who don’t want to go back to the West Coast down 3-1 and on the brink of elimination. ”We’ve just got to avoid any kind of letdown Mike Reilly Jersey ,” Gentry said, adding that his players ”understand who we’re playing and they understand the situation.”

ROCKETS AT JAZZ

Rockets lead 2-1. Game 4, 8 p.m. EDT, ESPN.

NEED TO KNOW: Following a surprising home loss in Game 2, the Rockets roared back to life in Game 3, picking apart the Jazz on both ends of the court. A 39-point first quarter put Houston back on track. The Rockets shot 59 percent from the field before halftime and never looked back. ”From the beginning of the game, we made a conscio Dak Prescott's best test yet as the new face of the Cowboys came two days after owner Jerry Jones once again declared that all Dallas players will stand for the national anthem and even said they wouldn't be afforded the alternative of staying in the locker room.

The star quarterback didn't pause or stammer. He didn't stop himself to consider what his peers might think. He made it clear he will stand, and doesn't think it's right to do otherwise.

"Whether I was wearing the star or not, whether I was playing for Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones or any other owner, I believe in what I believe in and that's that," Prescott said Friday in his first session with reporters at training camp.

Jerry Jones held his usual camp-opening news conference Wednesday, and said his usual things about the anthem, and then some. Son Stephen Jones, executive vice president of personnel Womens Kris Russell Jersey , suggested a day later that the Cowboys would cut any player who stayed in the locker room.

The option of staying off the field was part of a policy owners approved in May, but was put on hold not long after The Associated Press revealed that the Miami Dolphins would consider suspending players up to four games for kneeling or otherwise protesting during the anthem.

Just as he did when he showed up two years ago as the overshadowed third quarterback on Tony Romo's team, Prescott offered his opinion plainly and simply, and in so many words. There are countless more people listening now.

"He knows how important that is to be one of the faces of the team and he always does exactly what you'd expect, to a script," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "It's not forced. It's just part of him."

Prescott replaced an injured Romo in 2016 and had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history while leading Dallas to an NFC-best 13 wins and ultimately sending Romo into retirement.

Now 15-year tight end Jason Witten and franchise touchdown catch leader Dez Bryant are gone. The former Mississippi State standout is the leading voice, and not hesitating to use it.

"I'd never protest during the anthem, and I don't think that's the time or the venue to do so," Prescott said while adding that he respected the right of others to protest. "We know about social injustice. I'm up for taking a next step, whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling."

Prescott didn't have any immediate specifics for that community action, but it'll be a few months before he can concentrate on it fully. Right now he's trying to get the Cowboys back to the playoffs after his encore fell flat.

Dallas missed the postseason at 9-7 last season, clouded by the fight over the six-game suspension that Prescott's fellow rookie sensation, running back Ezekiel Elliott, finally had to serve halfway through the year.

"It was just a lot of mental mistakes, a lot of things that I feel like I don't normally do Womens Josh Anderson Jersey ," said Prescott, who had 13 interceptions a year after throwing just four while setting an NFL rookie record for passer rating. "I feel like I thought a lot about different things last year within the games and that's something I'm going to try to eliminate."

The Cowboys are unproven at tight end and receiver after Witten retired and the Cowboys decided to release Bryant in a cost-cutting move. Cole Beasley has the longest Dallas tenure among the receivers, and Terrance Williams is the only other pass-catcher who was on the roster for Prescott's rookie season.

"Really last year was a struggle. He had some breakdowns at other spots that made it tough on him," Beasley said. "Good or bad or ugly, he's the same person through and through. That's what you want from your quarterback. Because that's how it is in games."

Elliott doesn't have a possible suspension looming this season, and at the moment an offensive line that was an issue a year ago is healthy with a new piece in second-round pick Connor Williams. The former Texas player is working as the starting left guard in camp.

Not long before coming to California, Prescott spent time with some of his untested receiving corps in Florida. Now he goes about figuring out life without Witten and Bryant.

"We're past that," he said. "We had the whole (offseason practices) and minicamps to kind of get over that stage. Those are guys I've said before you can't replace. But when you get out here, you just see the youthfulness that we have, how young this team is and the energy."

With a new leading voice.

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