How to live stream, TV channel, start time for Tuesday’s NBA game

Having just played yesterday, the Orlando Magic will head out on the road to face off against the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ET on October 31st at Arena. The Magic are expected to lose this one by eight points, so we’ll see if that gives them a bit of motivation.

It’s hard to win when your shooting is a whole 13.2% worse than the opposition, a fact the Magic found out the hard way on Monday. They fell just short of Los Angeles by a score of 106-103.

Meanwhile, everything came up roses for Los Angeles at home against San Antonio on Sunday as the squad secured a 123-83 win. The Clippers pushed the score to 93-60 by the end of the third, a deficit the Spurs had no chance of recovering from.

Orlando’s defeat dropped their record down to 2-1. As for Los Angeles, they now have a winning record of 2-1.

While only the Clippers took care of their fans the last time they played, both teams pleased bettors by covering the spread. As for their game on Tuesday, the Clippers are the favorite in this one, as the experts expect to see them win by eight points. Orlando might be worth a quick bet since they’ve covered the spread the last three times they’ve played.

The Magic didn’t have too much breathing room in their matchup against the Clippers when the teams last played back in March, but they still walked away with a 113-108 win. Do the Magic have another victory up their sleeve, or will the Clippers turn the tables on them? We’ll have the answer soon enough.

Los Angeles is a big 7.5-point favorite against Orlando, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers were right in line with the betting community on this one, as the game opened as a 7.5-point spread, and stayed right there.

The over/under is set at 221 points.

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

Series History
Los Angeles has won 7 out of their last 10 games against Orlando.

Mar 18, 2023 – Orlando 113 vs. Los Angeles 108
Dec 07, 2022 – Orlando 116 vs. Los Angeles 111
Jan 26, 2022 – Los Angeles 111 vs. Orlando 102
Dec 11, 2021 – Los Angeles 106 vs. Orlando 104
Mar 30, 2021 – Orlando 103 vs. Los Angeles 96
Jan 29, 2021 – Los Angeles 116 vs. Orlando 90
Jan 26, 2020 – Los Angeles 112 vs. Orlando 97
Jan 16, 2020 – Los Angeles 122 vs. Orlando 95
Jan 06, 2019 – Los Angeles 106 vs. Orlando 96
Nov 02, 2018 – Los Angeles 120 vs. Orlando 95

Clippers give star guard everything he could ever ask for … and one year to make it work

In James Harden’s last full season with the Houston Rockets, they tried something radical, swapping their rim-protecting center (Clint Capela) for a 3-and-D forward (Robert Covington) and betting that the benefits — spacing for Russell Westbrook and Harden, speed, switchability — would outweigh the big, glaring drawback: No one in the rotation was taller than 6-foot-8.

In retrospect, the experiment was more interesting than it was revolutionary. The post-trade Rockets were formidable in the regular season — they outscored opponents by 7.8 points per 100 possessions with both Covington and P.J. Tucker on the court, per Cleaning The Glass — but, in the second round of the playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers pushed them around, ignored Westbrook on the perimeter and disposed of them in five games. Teams have continued to use unconventional lineups since then, but going centerless is generally a change of pace, not a starting point, and the league has trended bigger, not smaller.

What if that Houston team, which went out in the bubble starting Harden and Westbrook next to Eric Gordon, Covington and Tucker, could have swapped two of its supporting characters for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? And what if, instead of punting on traditional bigs, it was able to add all of this skill while maintaining its size?

This is the promise of the Los Angeles Clippers. By acquiring Harden and Tucker from the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, they can throw out a Harden-Westbrook-George-Leonard-Tucker lineup, switch just about everything, and, in theory at least, pile up points playing 5-out. Harden is now 34, Westbrook almost 35 and Tucker 38, but, with two star wings flanking them, the ex-Rockets won’t have to do as much as they did four seasons ago. And with Ivica Zubac sure to remain the Clippers’ starting center, plus Mason Plumlee backing him up, coach Tyronn Lue can use small ball the way recent champions have: as a counterpunch.

If Lue wants to balance the rotation, he might not even start Westbrook. I like the idea of Harden, George, Leonard and Zubac starting next to Terance Mann, Tucker or even Norman Powell, whose shooting and slashing would make him a deadly (and extremely overqualified) No. 4 option. The Clippers aren’t quite as stacked with role players as they appeared to be entering last season, but their top nine is up there with anybody’s, which is more important.

For the Clippers, who are completely committed to chasing the championship this season and face massive question marks after that, this was likely the best trade they could have made. They have never been a particularly good passing team in the Leonard-George era, so they acquired the guy who led the league in assists last season and finished second the season before that. In 2022-23, for all their supposed depth, they only outscored opponents by 1.3 points per 100 possessions when Leonard was on the court without George and were outscored (-1.4) when George was on the court without Leonard, per Cleaning The Glass. Harden should ease the playmaking burden on both of them and, ideally, get them more open looks.

For Harden, who at times when playing with Joel Embiid found it challenging not to be able to run the show the way he was used to and said he had to change his game because the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t have a lob threat, partnering with Zubac should be a blast. Like Westbrook last season, he’ll benefit from the Clippers’ collective shooting, switchability and all the attention that opposing defenses have to pay to Leonard and George. It will be even cleaner if Harden is willing to take spot-up 3s semi-frequently and can get comfortable running dribble handoffs with Plumlee, but, generally speaking, this is an environment where he can be himself.

After a third fulfilled trade request in less than three years, Harden has found himself on a roster that blends the custom fit that he had in Houston with the sheer talent that he had next to him in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. No one knows what might happen if this group doesn’t jell, as Leonard, George, Harden and Westbrook could all be free agents in July, but it appears that the bearded future Hall of Famer has everything he could have asked for.

Well, almost everything: It’s a shame that Los Angeles couldn’t get Danuel House Jr. in the deal and keep Covington out of it.

Kansas and Illinois schedule charity exhibition basketball game to raise money for Maui wildfire relief

Illinois will play host to Kansas in a charity exhibition basketball game on Oct. 29 at State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois, that will raise money for the ongoing relief efforts after the tragic wildfires in Maui, Hawaii. The preseason game was set to be a closed scrimmage between the two programs but it will now be open to the public for fans to attend.

The confirmed death toll from the wildfires has surpassed 100, according to CBS News, with more than 1,000 people unaccounted for as of earlier this week. The disaster has destroyed more than 2,200 structures.

“For decades, the Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have been very important to college basketball and our thoughts and prayers go to that entire community as they recover from such a tragic event,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in a release announcing the event. “Brad (Underwood) and I discussed how our private scrimmage could become an exhibition game to raise money to benefit the so many affected by the recent catastrophic fires in Maui. We both felt this would be a great way for our programs to create awareness to help this cause.”

Self will be returning to the sidelines for the first time since the end of the 2022-23 regular season after missing the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament due to health issues. Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts served as the acting head coach and the Jayhawks fell to Arkansas in the second round to end their season.

Self has been the coach at Kansas since 2003 but previously spent three seasons as the coach at Illinois before he was hired by the Jayhawks.

“It is heartbreaking to see the loss of life and devastation from the fires that have ravaged Lahaina,” Underwood said in another release. “The Maui Invitational is an integral part of college basketball, and we are thinking of everyone on the island of Maui who have felt the impact of this tragedy. Bill and I talked immediately about how we could come together to help, and turning our closed scrimmage into a charity exhibition is a way we can use our sport to make an impact. The spotlight of this game, heightened by Bill’s return to Champaign, should raise meaningful dollars that will go directly to help the community of Lahaina.”

Kansas enters the season as one of the top preseason teams in the country. The Jayhawks added former Michigan star Hunter Dickinson via the transfer portal and return Dajuan Harris, Kevin McCullar and KJ Adams Jr. As for Illinois, they return one of the oldest rosters in the country, including veteran starters Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr. from a team that finished 20-13 and reached the NCAA Tournament.

Next fights for Sean O’Malley, Aljamain Sterling, Zhang Weili and Ian Machado Garry

Sean O’Malley is the new UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling is reconsidering a planned move to featherweight, Zhang Weili dominated and Ian Machado Garry is a rising star. So much happened at UFC 292 in Boston and that makes for exciting opportunities.

O’Malley completed his rise from “Contender Series” prospect to UFC champion with a second-round TKO of Sterling in the main event. O’Malley was one of UFC’s most marketable fighters and can now start to build his legacy as a superstar. O’Malley called out rival Marlon Vera on Saturday night, but there’s another challenger waiting in the wings to avenge Sterling.

Zhang looks like a nightmare to beat after a record-setting performance against Lemos. Garry completely immobilized veteran Neil Magny over three rounds. Vera also emerged victorious on Saturday and earned himself a call-out from the champ.

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With so many moving parts, let’s examine the best fights to make in the aftermath of UFC 292.

Bantamweight division
UFC bantamweight championship — Sean O’Malley vs. Merab Dvalishvili: There are three great fights you can make with O’Malley as champion: Dvalishvili, Vera and Cory Sandhagen. While Vera and Sandhagen are worthy opponents, they have their own issues to sort out first. Sandhagen requires six months of recovery after undergoing surgery for a fully torn tricep. Vera is the only person to beat O’Malley and was gifted a call-out by the new champ, but he is too far down the pecking order after a split decision loss to Sandhagen in March. The fight that needs to be made is between O’Malley and Dvalishvili. Sterling’s training partner will be foaming at the mouth to avenge his dear friend’s loss. His status as the No. 1 contender in UFC’s official rankings makes him the rightful challenger. Add the fact that Dvalishvili is still walking around with the red jacket he stole from O’Malley and there is a ton of ammunition to promote this epic clash.

Petr Yan vs. Marlon Vera: Put two of the UFC’s most violent bantamweights in the cage and let them do their thing. Both men are traditionally slow starters but hopefully, they cancel each other out. Yan is desperate for a bounce back after going from UFC champion to a three-fight losing streak. You could argue that Yan should take a larger step down in competition following his first career losing streak, but “Chito” barely scraped by Pedro Munhoz and still appears to be missing something at the championship level. Yan is fighting down the division as Vera will attempt to climb the rankings. You could alternatively book Vera vs. Henry Cejudo.

There’s no better view of THAT @SugaSeanMMA knockout 😮‍💨 #UFC292

— UFC (@ufc) August 20, 2023
Featherweight division
Brian Ortega vs. Aljamain Sterling: Sterling may be spurred to stick around at bantamweight a little longer, but he’s been talking about a move to featherweight for so long that I’d like to see him forge ahead. At least for a test run. Ortega vs. Sterling would be a sick matchup. Sterling is right to be concerned with how much harder featherweights hit. Ortega can certainly crack but he doesn’t have nearly the accuracy that O’Malley possesses. The grappling exchanged between Ortega and Sterling could be wicked. It’ll also verify if Sterling is truly capable of making a run at 145 pounds.

Women’s strawweight division
Zhang Weili vs. Yan Xioanan: Take this fight to China, pronto. Many were surprised when UFC announced that Zhang would defend her title against Lemos. Yan appeared to be the most obvious top contender. Since then, Tatiana Suarez has emerged as another realistic challenge for Zhang. You could pair either woman against the champ or against each other in a title eliminator. But if Zhang wants to remain active then someone needs to step up to the plate. Zhang vs. Yan would mark the first time that two Chinese fighters would compete against each other for a UFC title. It’s historic, it makes sense competitively and it’s the fight we should see next. UFC president Dana White said during Saturday’s post-fight press conference that the promotion is “probably” heading to China soon with Zhang on the card.

Amanda Lemos vs. Tatiana Suarez: It’s very much a 1A, 1B situation with Yan and Suarez at the moment. Suarez is in a groove right now, but she only recently came back from injuries that shaved years off her career. She looked great against Andrade, but I’d like to see Suarez get one more rep before taking on a fighter the caliber of Zhang. Lemos just fought for a title and is a perfect final test for Suarez before she tries to make good on expectations as a future world champ.

Doesn’t get more dominant than that 👏 #UFC292

— UFC (@ufc) August 20, 2023
Welterweight division
Stephen Thompson vs. Ian Machado Garry: The cocky young Irishman called out “Wonderboy” on Saturday night. Let’s give it to him. Thompson declined to fight Michel Pereira after the latter missed weight so he should be available for a fast turnaround. Garry appeared to take no damage against Magny so this fight could be made rather soon. Thompson proved that he can be a fun fighter when paired with the correct opponent. Welterweight has an influx of exciting new contenders such as Garry, Shavkat Rakhmonov, and Jack Della Maddalena. It’s best to avoid killing off future contenders by pitting them against each other. Thompson vs. Garry is a solid Fight Night headliner or pay-per-view main card addition. It’s got the right combination of styles, name value and star-building potential. Alternatively, you could rebook the Geoff Neal fight originally scheduled for UFC 292 but I’m not sure about his condition.

James Harden calls 76ers’ Daryl Morey ‘a liar’ as star guard publicly escalates standoff with team

All does not appear to be sunny in Philadelphia. Just days after it was reported that the Philadelphia 76ers are ending trade talks with the Los Angeles Clippers for disgruntled All-Star guard James Harden, the former league MVP publicly criticized Sixers president Daryl Morey.

During an event in China, Harden didn’t mince words about where he stood with Morey.

“Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden said to a room full of people in a video obtained by Shams Charania. “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2023
This comes just two days after it was reported that instead of trying to fulfill Harden’s trade request, the team instead intends on bringing him to training camp. It’s a potentially detrimental move for the Sixers, but given Morey’s history of standing firm when he feels there isn’t a worthwhile trade on the table, it’s not surprising.

The same happened when former Sixers guard Ben Simmons requested a trade from the team in 2021. The ordeal was dragged out for months, and Simmons sat out half a season before a trade was agreed to. While the Sixers ultimately got the deal they wanted, which ironically landed them Harden, it came at the expense of unwanted drama around the team for half a season.

With Harden now going public with his feelings toward Morey, a similar situation could play out once again in Philadelphia.

Harden opted in to his $35.6 million player option on June 29, right before free agency started, but then immediately requested a trade from the Sixers. This was after months of reported rumors that the guard could consider a move to his former team, the Houston Rockets. But this surprising decision was done with the intention of landing on his hometown team, the Clippers, which has been viewed as the only team really bidding for the former league MVP’s services.

Now, though, it appears the Sixers are willing to wait this thing out in hopes of landing a better deal. The Clippers have reportedly been against including guard Terance Mann in a deal for Harden, but perhaps they change their minds as the season gets closer. There’s also always the possibility that another team jumps into the Harden sweepstakes, especially around the trade deadline in February if this isn’t resolved.

Zack Martin’s return to Cowboys led offensive coaches to jubilation, ‘lots of high fives and hugs’

Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin is a generational talent. The eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro — tied for the third-most all-time for a guard in league history railing only the seven earned by a couple of Hall of Famers in Randall McDaniel and John Hannah — hadn’t participated in the Cowboys’ training camp because of a contract dispute around his value in relation to his position’s around the NFL.

Martin was holding out of camp with two years left on his six-year, $84 million contract he signed back in 2018. He was slated to earn base salaries of $1.7 million and $13 million in addition to signing bonus payments of $9.34 million in each season, according to

Now, his holdout is over, thanks to a deal that will compensate Martin $18 million in each of the next two seasons, all of which is fully guaranteed. He will take home an extra $8.5 million over the next two seasons, according to ESPN. That increase closes the gap between his average annual salary on his previous deal, $14 million, and the top of the market — Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Chris Lindstrom’s five-year, $105.2 million contract that averages $20.5 million a season. Once the news broke of Martin’s return to training camp after his renegotiated deal was complete, his offensive coaches celebrated like they won the lottery.

“It was great to get him back,” Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “When we got the news in the offensive staff meeting yesterday, the room erupted. There were a lot of high fives and hugs all day and night yesterday once he got in. I think that shows you what he means to us and our football team, especially the offense. It is a business, part of our industry, but we’re about connecting and doing what we need to do to win, and he’s a big part of that.”

Zack is BACK…tell a friend! ⭐️#DallasCowboys

— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 15, 2023
Not only is Martin a superstar on the field — his six First-Team All-Pro selections since entering the league in 2014 are the second most in that span behind future Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s seven — but the team captain is one of McCarthy’s favorite lead-by-example presences in the Cowboys locker room.

“So many ways on and off the field,” McCarthy said when asked how Martin makes his teammates better. “Look at the way he trains and prepares. His training is top notch. He’s super consistent and humble. He pays it forward and helps young guys. Has excellent relationships throughout the building. Other than that, when he puts his hand in the ground, he’s really good. He does everything right. … When you go through the spring and you install the runs and protections, a very high percentage of the time he’s a part of that teaching reel,” McCarthy said. “Obviously his reputation in the locker room and the leadership council, all of those things. It’s very beneficial for his teammates [for Martin to be in camp], especially for the younger guys.”

Since the 32-year-old missed the first few weeks of camp, he won’t be jumping into any 11-on-11 action in practice this week. However, the Silver and Blue plan to have him ready to butt heads with defensive linemen again as early as next week.

“The goal for Zack is to ramp him up through individual work,” McCarthy said. “I think you can understand he’s been training, so he just wants to get in his pads and get moving. That’s where we will start today and see how that goes. Maybe we’ll do more tomorrow. We’re going to be smart with him. … He’s just excited to get everything buttoned up this week, and then get into some live drills next week.”

Saints’ Alvin Kamara meeting with Roger Goodell with potential league discipline looming, per report

Last month, New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara pleaded no contest to a lesser misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2022 Las Vegas altercation. Wednesday, he is scheduled to sit down with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the incident, per

The weekend of the 2022 Pro Bowl, Kamara was arrested in Las Vegas for battery resulting in substantial bodily harm. He pleaded not guilty to the initial battery charges, and the felony was later dropped after he agreed to plead no contest to breach of peace. The running back will reportedly have to complete community service and pay $100,000 to the victim for medical bills.

While the legal side to this issue is behind us, that does not mean Kamara has dodged punishment from the league. The NFL personal conduct policy states that everyone who is part of the league must refrain from, “Conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.”

What does that mean?

“Conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL.”

With Kamara and Goodell sitting down, it appears a resolution to this issue is indeed on the horizon. NBC Sports previously reported that Kamara was expected to receive a suspension of at least six games, but this was while the felony charge was still attached to his name.

“I think Alvin really wants to get out ahead of this and have a chance to visit with Roger and kind of give him his side of the story, and look, at the end of the day, I think part of it is, you know, let’s get some resolution to where we’re at and then let’s move forward,” Saints head coach Dennis Allen told reporters on Monday, per “So, I think Alvin, you know, is looking forward to putting this behind him and focusing in on what he has to do to be the best he can for our team this season.

“Yeah, look, I mean, we’re working, practicing, getting better. Alvin’s going to be a huge part of what we do this year. We’ll take things in stride and how they happen. We’ll deal with, you know, anything we have to deal with. We’ll deal with it when the time’s right.”

Kamara is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. The third-round pick out of Tennessee was named the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after racking up 1,554 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns.

NFL considering XFL kickoffs as a model for future rule changes, per report

Kickoffs will look different in the NFL this season, with the league temporarily implementing fair-catch rules first seen in college football. They could look even more exotic down the road, with league officials privately considering the XFL’s kickoff rules as a future model, according to NBC Sports.

Currently, NFL teams kick off from their own 35-yard line, and kicking-team players can begin running from that line only after the ball has been kicked. In the revived XFL, however, kickoffs occur at the 30-yard line, with players other than the kicker lined up at the receiving team’s 35. Only the kicker and returner, meanwhile, can move before the ball is touched by the returner.

“The NFL is exploring XFL data regarding the play,” Mike Florio reported Wednesday. “The overriding goal is to reduce the potential for concussions … by shrinking the distance between opposing players. The XFL rule leaves only 5 yards of space for players to cover before contact, keeping them from getting to top speed.”

It’s unclear when the NFL might attempt to enact such a change. Such a proposal has never officially surfaced in discussions among NFL owners, though many believe the league would ultimately prefer to reduce, significantly modify or even eliminate the kickoff in the future. Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this offseason that NFL executives anticipated pushback to kickoff rule changes but is confident that data from the NCAA’s own implementation of fair-catch rules enhances player safety.

‘It’s through the sky’

Of all the players on the Steelers roster, there was probably no one happier to put on pads Tuesday than rookie tight end Darnell Washington.

Washington practiced last week, but he didn’t necessarily stand out, which is understandable. Washington without pads is like Superman without his cape. All of that changed on Tuesday, however, when the 6-foot-7, 255-pound Washington took part in his first padded practice.

His first challenge? A one-on-one matchup against T.J. Watt.

Washington more than held his own against the former Defensive Player of Year. He wasn’t as fortunate, however, during his matchups with Alex Highsmith and fellow rookie Nick Herbig. Such is life for rookies who all eventually learn that, in the NFL, things can change on a dime.

Washington’s physicality is his calling card, but he’s also a pretty good pass catcher. He displayed that element of his game later in practice when he caught a jump ball over defensive back James Pierre for a score. Washington’s work in camp has gotten the attention of Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, who is looking forward to getting more reps down the road with his big tight end.

“He’s done a great job,” Pickett said, via Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now. “You know, he’s working hard and I’m sure his mind is going one hundred miles per hour. It will slow down for him but I’m just excited how he’s showing up and working. He’s mentally locked in, and everything else will come.”

CBS Sports caught up with Washington following a recent practice. Washington touched on a number of topics that included similarities between the Steelers and Georgia, his long-term goals in the NFL and what it’s like to practice in front of Steeler Nation.

How has camp gone so far?

DW: “There’s still way more room to adjust. I feel like the deeper and the most time I spend as a pro, the more I’ve got to learn. Really just taking it step by step. Still learning the ropes from the reps and the players on the team.”

What have been the biggest challenges so far?

DW: “I’d say a little bit of everything. The game speed’s different, so adjusting to that. And then it’s a new playbook, at least for me, so just adjusting to that as well. It’s really just a little bit of everything. Every little thing adds up.”

Are there similarities between the Steelers and Georgia?

DW: “One-hundred percent. When it comes to the work ethic, and each teammate here just wants to grind better and work on their craft.”

You played in a lot of championship games at Georgia. Can you take that experience and apply it at all here?

DW: “I’d really just say the tunnel vision part. Playing in the natty twice, each game is loud. Everybody wants to win. There’s lots of fans. You’ve just got to lock in, have that tunnel vision, block out that noise, things like that.”

Any personal goals this season?

DW: “Really just want to contribute to the offense … not even offense, just any aspect of the team, whether that’s special teams or offense in any way. Whether that’s moving the chains or momentum plays on special teams.”

George Pickens recently said that you have the potential to be the greatest tight end of all time. What would success be for you?

DW: “Really, just playing in the league as long as possible. Giving it my all, leaving no regrets on the field, if that’s practice or in the games. Just finding a rhythm and continue on that rhythm and continue to put in that work and make plays or whatever it may be.”

What do you think of the offense so far and its potential?

DW: “I would say through the roof, but I don’t have a roof over me. It’s through the sky.”

What’s it like practicing in front of these fans? The Steelers have a notoriously passionate fan base.

DW: “For me, it’s still crazy. Still soaking it all in. Having the best fan base in the National Football League. They’re treating me right, treating me like family. You’ve got to be one to experience it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a good feeling to be here.”

Steelers’ Kenny Pickett explains main reason for his drop in interceptions during second half of rookie season

Kenny Pickett’s rookie stat line is nothing short of puzzling, and it’s led some to wonder whether or not the Steelers have actually found Ben Roethlisberger’s long-term successor.

Pickett’s supporters point to his 7-6 record as a starting quarterback (that included a 4-0 finish) and his four game-winning drives. His detractors counter with his seven touchdowns against just nine interceptions and his pedestrian 63 percent completion percentage. Just one of those picks, however, occurred during Pickett’s final eight starts, a drop-off Pickett attributes to getting more reps with the first-team offense after replacing Mitch Trubisky in Week 4.

“I think just seeing it and being able to play a little bit,” Pickett recently told NBC Sports’ Peter King from training camp. “Being on the practice team the first couple weeks, I wasn’t able to play in our system. I was just running other people’s stuff. So all of my reps in our system was really mental reps.

“So I think after the bye week — and I was able to play the previous three weeks — I had a chance to get a good practice week in with the guys. Things started to slow down for me and the system felt more comfortable. I had a lot of reps, I got to see things, and I felt like the game slowed down for me a little bit. That’s something that I want to continue to do; take a lot of reps out there and see different looks. It just helps in being able to play fast on Sundays.”