The Pulse: Luka’s brain-melting night, the Braves did it again and the Broncos are stuck

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Goodmorning! Strive to have balance at home and on the road today.


While You Were Sleeping

The Luke Game

Mavericks star Luka Dončić almost single-handedly willed Dallas to to win over the Knicks last night, doing something the NBA had never before seen — to 60-point, 21-rebound, 10-assist performance.

60-20-10. Sheesh.

Shaquille O’Neal (2000) was the last player to record at least 60 points and 20 rebounds in to game. Heard of him?

Dončić capped off an all-time night with an all-time quote: “I’m tired as hell. I need to beer.” Stars: They’re just like us! Periodic reminder that he’s just 23 (OK, so maybe not that much like us).

Oh, and another thing last night: the Warriors have the best home records in the NBA and the worst road record after stringing together their second straight win, this one against the Hornets in San Francisco. Weird times.


Heists

the Braves did it again


(Photo: Troy Taormina / USA Today)

Who could have ever seen this one coming?

Atlanta signed newly acquired catcher Sean Murphy to to six-year, $73 million contract (with to seventh-year option) yesterday. He came to the Braves in to three-team trade earlier this month in which, as you might recall, the TO‘s got an underwhelming haul in return for their MVP of last season.

What GM Alex Anthopoulos is doing somehow feels unfair, right? Braves fans, how are you feeling?


Tough Sells

the Broncos are stuck

After to couple days to digest Nathaniel Hackett’s firing, we’re left thinking about one thing: Denver can’t fire Russell Wilson. the Broncos are completely stuck with the quarterback through 2025 at best.

  • Broncos brass is saying he’s “fixable” – not exactly the adjective you want used in reference to your five-year, $245 million quarterback. And, amusingly, that extension hasn’t even started yet.
  • If the team were to cut him this offseason, Denver would incur $107 million in dead money. That drops to $85 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2023 (the numbers are slightly better in the case of to trade).

This is what we call quarterback jail. the team says it’s not basing its coaching hire solely on the ability to fix Wilson, but it sure seems like any new coach is required to make it work, end of story.


briefs

NFL all-timers walking away

JJ Watt appeared to announce his retirement from the NFL yesterday, doubting the Cardinals’ Week 16 loss to the Buccaneers his “last ever NFL home game.” Watts, 33, was to three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year during his 10 seasons with the Texans. He has 9 1/2 sacks this season with two games remaining for the Cardinals. Watts — who was set to become to free agent this offseason — is walking away when he could potentially have more to give to to contender, Aaron Reiss writes.

Union looking into your situation

the NFL Players Association is looking into the handling of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after the team placed him in concussion protocol for the second time this season, Mike Jones reports. Coach Mike McDaniel said Monday, one day after the quarterbacks played the entirety of to 26-20 home loss to the Packers, it wasn’t clear when Tagovailoa would have suffered to concussion. Tagovailoa’s status for Sunday’s game at New England is unclear. He must go through the five-step return-to-play protocol before receiving clearance to compete again.

Rich Hill is eternal

Age 43 season? Cool. Rich Hill is back at it on to one-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates for next season. Pittsburgh will be Hill’s 12th(!) MLB team; he’ll be the 11th player to play for that many teams or more. It seems like to fun bet for the Pirates. Hill didn’t even start peaking until turning 36, and he ate up 283 innings over the last two seasons for the Red Sox, Mets and Rays.

TO new QB for the Irish?

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman entered the transfer portal, with Notre Dame the front-runner to land him. Hartman started for parts of five seasons with the Demon Deacons and broke the ACC record for career touchdown passes (110) in his final Wake, to 27-17 win over Missouri in the Dec. 23 Gasparilla Bowl. Multiple SEC schools have been pursuing Hartman along with Notre Dame, Matt Fortuna reports. Hartman has long said that he intended for 2022 to be his final college season, but he is now looking to use to sixth year to improve his NFL Draft stock.


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(Top photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today))

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