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Warriors have unlocked a monster in Gary Payton II, whose high-flying highlights are becoming must-see TV

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Through brief stints with five teams and parts of five seasons in the G League, Gary Payton II has been trying to find a steady job in the NBA for the last half-decade. He’s got one now. The son of NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton has gone from the 15th rung on the Golden State Warriors‘ roster to a walking highlight factory and an integral part of arguably the best team in the league. 

Payton’s defense doesn’t need any advertisement. If you’ve watched even a little bit of his work, you know. He must be a nightmare to go against. But what’s kept him outside the league all these years has been his lacking offense. He shot just 27 percent from 3 in his G League career, but he’s an almost cartoonish-level athlete that has been unlocked by the Warriors’ movement and spacing to produce nightly highlights like these two alley-oops Wednesday night vs. Minnesota. 

That second one was a designed play for Payton. The Warriors have run it several times since discovering the weapon that Payton can be as a finisher. Basically, Payton comes up to set a ball screen for Steph Curry, but it’s only for appearances. Everyone knows the eyes of both defenders — Steph’s and Payton’s — are going to go with Curry, which leaves Payton the split second he needs to roll straight down an open lane for a backdoor lob. 

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Anthony Slater of The Athletic outlined it well here:

There’s a crucial element to pay attention to on these actions: Nemanja Bjelica is standing in the same place in every one of them, spacing the floor. Something the Warriors have lacked over the years is a shooting big man, and Bjelica, who entered Wednesday night hitting 58 percent of his 3-pointers, gives them that. 

If Kevon Looney was in the game, these plays for Payton would be much harder to run because defenders don’t have to vacate the paint to defend his shot. Bjelica forces bigs out of the lane, clearing the runway for a high-flyer like Payton to take off to the rim. 

Golden State’s collective floor spacing and ball and player movement have been perfect for Payton. His shooting isn’t needed, but with all the attention Curry and Jordan Poole get both with and without the ball, and with Bjelica often taking rim protectors away from the paint, Payton is free to cut to the rim, and he has a great instinct for doing just that. Watch here as Bjelica spaces to the wing and Poole drags Daniel Theis out of the restricted area:

With plays like this, the Warriors are scoring 1.62 points per possession when Payton shoots (or dunks, more accurately) off a cut, per Synergy. Statistically speaking, that is the most efficient play in the Warriors’ arsenal; far ahead of Curry off screens and Curry in isolation. Obviously, those play types aren’t created equal, but you get the point. 

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There is no better team for a willing and good cutter to play for than the Warriors with all the eyes that get sidetracked by Curry, but not everyone is a willing and good cutter, They are, in fact, pretty rare. Payton and the Warriors are a perfect fit in the half-court and certainly in transition, where the Warriors play with great pace with a collective willingness to pass the ball ahead. Get Payton in the open floor, and this is how it ends:

These plays have made Payton an immediate fan favorite at the Chase Center and must-see TV around the league. His teammates come out of their seats, along with everyone in the crowd, the second he takes to flight. But Payton is proving to be far more than just a SportsCenter athlete. His impact is undeniable, on both ends. Look at his three previous games entering Wednesday night:

Entering play on Wednesday, Payton has played more than 10 minutes in five games. The Warriors are 5-0 in those games with an average margin of victory better than 20 points, with Payton averaging just under 11 points and better than two steals on 73-40-100 shooting splits. 

They say luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Over five seasons playing in the NBA’s minor league, Payton stayed ready for his opportunity. Now that he’s gotten it, after five organizations had him and let him go, it’s the Warriors looking like the lucky ones. 





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Miami (FL) vs. Middle Tenn.: How to watch online, live stream info, game time, TV channel

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Who’s Playing

Middle Tenn. @ No. 25 Miami (FL)

Current Records: Middle Tenn. 2-1; Miami (FL) 2-1

What to Know

The Middle Tenn. Blue Raiders are staring down a pretty large 25.5-point disadvantage in the spread for Saturday’s game. They will take on the Miami (FL) Hurricanes at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium. The Blue Raiders should still be riding high after a win, while Miami (FL) will be looking to regain their footing.

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Middle Tenn. simply couldn’t be stopped last week, as they easily beat the Tennessee State Tigers at home 49-6. The team ran away with 42 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, Miami (FL) came up short against the Texas A&M Aggies last week, falling 17-9. Miami (FL) couldn’t find the end zone and got their points from three field goals.

Special teams was responsible for all of the team’s points. K Andres Borregales delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.

Middle Tenn.’s win brought them up to 2-1 while the Hurricanes’ loss pulled them down to an identical 2-1. Two defensive numbers to keep in mind before kickoff: The Blue Raiders haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown yet this season. Miami (FL) is not quite as good, but they are no chumps, either: they enter the contest with only one rushing touchdown allowed, good for 11th best in the nation. Looks like the running backs might have a tough go of it.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, Florida
  • TV: ACC Network
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $4.00

Odds

The Hurricanes are a big 25.5-point favorite against the Blue Raiders, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Hurricanes as a 26.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -111

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.

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Watch Memphis vs. North Texas: How to live stream, TV channel, start time for Saturday’s NCAA Football game

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Who’s Playing

North Texas @ Memphis

Current Records: North Texas 2-2; Memphis 2-1

What to Know

The Memphis Tigers’ homestand continues as they prepare to take on the North Texas Mean Green at 3:30 p.m. ET Sept. 24 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. The defensive coordinators will surely put in extra hours ahead of this game since these teams’ offenses combined for 1,021 yards last week.

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The Tigers were able to grind out a solid win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves last week, winning 44-32. Memphis’ QB Seth Henigan was on fire, passing for three TDs and 360 yards on 28 attempts in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown. Henigan’s 51-yard touchdown toss to WR Joseph Scates in the fourth quarter made for one of the most memorable moments of the night.

Meanwhile, North Texas’ and the UNLV Rebels’ contest last week was up for grabs at halftime, but the Mean Green were thoroughly outmatched 35-7 in the second half. North Texas found themselves the reluctant recipients of an unfortunate 58-27 punch to the gut against UNLV. RB Oscar Adaway III put forth a good effort for the losing side as he snatched one receiving TD.

Memphis is the favorite in this one, with an expected 12.5-point margin of victory. True fans might be the only ones betting on them, currently 0-2 ATS, to cover the spread.

The Tigers are now 2-1 while the Mean Green sit at 2-2. Two offensive numbers to keep in mind before kickoff: Memphis comes into the matchup boasting the 18th most passing yards per game in the nation at 313.3. North Texas has displayed some offensive firepower of their own as they enter the contest with nine passing touchdowns, good for 17th best in the nation.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium — Memphis, Tennessee
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $15.00

Odds

The Tigers are a big 12.5-point favorite against the Mean Green, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers were right in line with the betting community on this one, as the game opened as a 12.5-point spread, and stayed right there.

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Over/Under: -112

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.

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Cincinnati vs. Indiana: How to watch live stream, TV channel, NCAA Football start time

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Who’s Playing

Indiana @ Cincinnati

Current Records: Indiana 3-0; Cincinnati 2-1

What to Know

The Indiana Hoosiers have enjoyed the comforts of home their last three games, but now they must head out on the road. They will square off against the Cincinnati Bearcats at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Nippert Stadium. With a combined 945 yards of offense in their previous games, we can expect a fast-paced matchup.

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It may have taken overtime to finish the job, but the Hoosiers ultimately got the result they were hoping for last week with a 33-30 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. IU’s success was spearheaded by the efforts of QB Connor Bazelak, who passed for two TDs and 364 yards on 55 attempts, and RB Josh Henderson, who punched in one rushing touchdown.

Special teams collected 13 points for IU. K Charles Campbell booted in four field goals, the longest a 50-yarder in overtime, which ultimately accounted for the difference in the game.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati ran circles around the Miami (OH) RedHawks last week, and the extra yardage (473 yards vs. 182 yards) paid off. Cincinnati put the hurt on Miami (OH) with a sharp 38-17 win. The Bearcats can attribute much of their success to RB Charles McClelland, who rushed for two TDs and 101 yards on 19 carries.

The Hoosiers have to know they’ll be fighting an uphill battle given the 16.5-point spread they are up against. Against the spread, they have been house darlings this year with a chancy 0-2 ATS record.

The wins brought IU up to 3-0 and Cincinnati to 2-1. A pair of defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: IU ranks 11th in the nation when it comes to rushing touchdowns allowed, with only one on the season. As for Cincinnati, they enter the contest with only 150 passing yards allowed per game on average, good for 12th best in the nation.

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How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Nippert Stadium — Cincinnati, Ohio
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $35.69

Odds

The Bearcats are a big 16.5-point favorite against the Hoosiers, according to the latest college football odds.

The line has drifted a bit towards the Bearcats, as the game opened with the Bearcats as a 14-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Cincinnati won the only game these two teams have played in the last eight years.

  • Sep 18, 2021 – Cincinnati 38 vs. Indiana 24



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