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|Panthers rookie cornerback Donte Jackson is showing he can talk the talk. Now coach Ron Rivera is hoping the team’s second-round draft pick can walk the walk.
The Louisiana State standout has already turned heads at training camp Tarik Cohen Jersey , displaying impressive speed – and a cocky swagger to match.
”He is fast, and I love his confidence level,” Rivera said of the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Jackson. ”We haven’t had a guy like that since Josh Norman.”
Norman was an All-Pro cornerback for the Panthers in 2015, the year Carolina went 17-2 and reached the Super Bowl. But he was released the following season because of a contract disagreement and signed with the Washington Redskins.
The Panthers have found one solid replacement at cornerback in James Bradberry, and are in search of another. With veteran Ross Cockrell going down with a leg injury on Monday, Jackson may be called on to fill the other starting spot.
Not surprisingly, Jackson said he’s up to the task.
”Coming into the NFL I have always felt like I belonged here,” Jackson said.
Panthers cornerback Kevon Seymour has seen firsthand Jackson’s swagger. Seymour said when running back Christian McCaffrey was racing down the field, Jackson turned to teammates and said, ”He might outrun y’all, but he ain’t gonna outrun me. I’m way too fast for that. I’m like electricity. Shoooooom!”’
With that, Seymour started to laugh.
”That is how much confidence he has Cheap DJ Moore Jersey ,” Seymour said.
Back in minicamp, Jackson told reporters he’s like the Beyonce song ”I just woke up like this.”
When Rivera heard that he broke into a wide grin.
”He is a personality,” Rivera told the team’s website in May. ”He’s got a lot of confidence. You see it on the field. You see it when you talk to him. You watch it in his gait, the way he carries himself. That’s the type of attitude you have to have if you want to play in this league. You have to have a certain type of swagger. Josh Norman had it. He had it from Day One. You guys saw it. He struggled a little bit, but because of his swagger, he was able to bring himself back. Well, this young man’s got something.”
Jackson, who said he’s been a talker since he played youth football, welcomes the comparisons to Norman.
”I’m not quiet out there, and I play the same position” as Norman, Jackson said. ”We both talk a lot and compete at a high level so that’s going to draw a lot of comparison.”
Said Bradberry: ”He’s definitely confident in himself. I wouldn’t say he’s much of a trash talker. But that is the way people are going to perceive him, because he is very confident in himself. But he does talk a lot. And he’s very fast.”
Jackson’s speed in coverage has been on display on several occasions during training camp. The 5-foot-10, 188-pound cornerback got beat by rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore on one play Matt Kemp Jersey , but then quickly recovered and broke up the pass.
”He’s not the biggest corner but he’s real fast,” Bradberry said.
When a reporter asked who is the fastest player on the team, Jackson responded by saying ”Donte Jackson, No. 26.”
And when asked if there is a player in the league he can’t cover, he said, ”C’mon man, you know the answer to that. I don’t feel like there is anybody I can’t cover.”
His Twitter handle reads Donte ”Action” Jackson because he says ”I’m about that action, simple as that.”
The Panthers sure hope so.
”It’s good to see,” Rivera said of Jackson’s confidence level. ”But remember, you have to back it up.”
James Harden had another huge third quarter to propel the Houston Rockets to their latest win, and coach Mike D’Antoni wants to know what’s behind those scoring bursts.
”When you do talk to him about it, would you let me know, because I’m dying in the first half. My health is an issue Leonard Williams Jersey Youth ,” D’Antoni said with a laugh.
Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Harden added 24 points and the Rockets pulled away in the third quarter to get another lopsided win and eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 122-104 victory in Game 5 of the first-round series Wednesday night.
The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series, which the Jazz lead 3-2 after the Thunder rallied from a big deficit Wednesday night to avoid elimination.
After scoring 22 points in Houston’s 50-point third quarter in a Game 4 blowout Monday night, Harden poured in half of Houston’s 30 points in the third quarter Wednesday night to put the Rockets up for good. His 15 third-quarter points matched Minnesota’s output in the frame, and he finished with 12 assists.
”I knew that Minnesota wasn’t going to just go away,” he said. ”We had to do the right things to put them away.”
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench.
”It’s a major jump from where we were two years ago,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”We have to take all the things we learned this past season and make a commitment to continue to improve.”
Paul and Harden both raved about the work of Capela, who throughout the series has outshined Towns, an All-Star this season and the top overall pick in 2015.
”He opens up everything for us because he’s such a threat when he rolls to the rim,” Paul said.
Towns believes the experience of his first trip to the postseason will help him moving forward.
”We hadn’t been there in like 14 years so it was experience that needed to be garnered and we wanted to take that next step,” he said. ”We came up short tonight but we’re very confident in ourselves leading up to next year.”
Andrew Wiggins scored the last four points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 85-74 entering the fourth quarter. The Rockets used a 7-2 spurt, highlighted by a 3 from Ryan Anderson Authentic Harold Landry Jersey , to start the fourth and make it 92-76 with 9 1/2 minutes left.
A basket by Derrick Rose got Minnesota within 14 later in the fourth when Houston went on a 10-4 run to push the lead to 108-88 with less than five minutes to go.
The Wolves got consecutive 3s by Jamal Crawford and Wiggins to cut the lead after that, but the Rockets scored the next five points to end that run and cruise to the victory.
The Rockets opened the second half with a 10-2 run to erase a halftime deficit and take a 65-61 lead with about nine minutes left in the third. Paul, who finished with 12 points and nine assists, had four points in that stretch and Harden and P.J. Tucker added 3-pointers.
Minnesota scored the next five points to go back on top, but Harden scored five quick points after that to leave the Rockets ahead 70-66. Harden, who had just five points at halftime, hit a 3 before throwing down a one-handed dunk over Taj Gibson that prompted Minnesota Thibodeau to call a timeout.
The timeout didn’t do anything to slow Harden and the Rockets, and he added another 3 on Houston’s first possession after the timeout.
Towns added a basket after that before Houston scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 81-68 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
Things got a little testy after that when Crawford pushed Paul to the court and stood over him jawing. Paul got to his feet and got in his face, but the two were quickly separated and Crawford was given an offensive foul and a technical.
Timberwolves: Tyus Jones returned after sitting out in Game 4 with a sore knee. … Jimmy Butler had eight points before sitting out the fourth because of a sore knee and Wiggins finished with 14. … Jeff Teague scored 17 and had seven assists.
Rockets: D’Antoni said that Luc Mbah a Moute, who missed the entire first round after dislocating his right shoulder, is getting better and will be re-evaluated next week. … Eric Gordon scored 19 points. … Tucker finished with a playoff career-high 15 points.
The Rockets made a series-high 18 3-pointers on Wednesday night. They’ve made at least 15 3-pointers in their last four games, which is tied with Cleveland in 2016 for the longest streak in NBA playoff history. Last season Houston made 15 or more 3-pointers in just three of their 11 playoff games.
The Rockets will host the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals against the winner of the Jazz-Thunder series.
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