Michael Cunningham

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Michael Cunningham: Braves treading water, but I still believe they'll 'get going' soon

It became the unofficial Braves motto soon after they lost to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. They were 12 Outs Away from going to the World Series. They’d get another shot in 2021 because nearly every important player was back. That refrain grew louder when the Braves re-signed slugger Marcell Ozuna in February.
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Michael Cunningham: The flash is fun, but Nate McMillan's Hawks winning with tough defense

Don’t be blinded by the flash of Trae Young’s fantastic floaters and pinpoint passes. Hawks 3-pointers splashing through the net shouldn’t sidetrack you from the real story of their playoff series against the Knicks. The truth is that the Hawks, constructed to score against any foe, are playing below the offensive standard they set during the season.
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Michael Cunningham: You can believe in the Hawks again

The building looks a lot spiffier. The name is different. The noise was familiar, though. It was the sound of Hawks supporters believing in their team in the NBA playoffs. I haven’t heard that in 10 years at State Farm Arena, the house formerly known as Philips. The fans are right to feel that way about these Hawks.
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Michael Cunningham: Trading Julio Jones makes little sense for Falcons

ATLANTA — Is it better to have Julio Jones on the roster or gain a bit of salary-cap relief? That should be an easy answer for a team looking to win now. New Falcons coach Arthur Smith declared that’s what his outfit is aiming to do. There is no plausible argument to be made that the Falcons are a better team without Jones.
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Michael Cunningham: Hawks shouldn't fear the deer if they draw Bucks in NBA playoffs

The Hawks led by one point when Russell Westbrook, Washington’s electrifying and confounding star, tried a 3-pointer that could determine the home team’s playoff path. Westbrook missed, so the Hawks avoided a bad home loss Monday to a team missing its best player (Bradley Beal). They still have a decent chance of securing home-court advantage for a first-round NBA playoff series next week, and were on the verge of clinching at least sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
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Michael Cunningham: Hideki Matsuyama becomes Japanese golf legend with Masters win

If Hideki Matsuyama was feeling the weight of his country’s hopes, he didn’t show it. His little jogs to catch up with caddie Shota Hayafuji after tee shots reminded me of duffers hurrying to keep up with the pace of play. The leader in the final round of the Masters looked like a recreational golfer getting in a Sunday round with friends.
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Michael Cunningham: My (probably wrong) pick to win the Masters

I predicted Dustin Johnson would win the 2020 Masters, and he did. That doesn’t make me confident about picking the winner again this year. I’m closer to thinking I will never again get the winner right. Being right sometimes or even most times on my picks only increases my anxiety about being wrong the next time. That would probably make me sad if I did any honest introspection about it.
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Michael Cunningham: John Collins is a keeper for Hawks at NBA trade deadline

I can’t say the Hawks shouldn’t trade John Collins by Thursday’s deadline because I don’t know what offers they’ll receive. If there’s one that they truly can’t refuse, they obviously should take it. Only a few NBA players are indispensable, and Collins, a very good power forward, isn’t one of them.
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Michael Cunningham: Will Bryse Wilson's big moment for Braves carry over to this season?

Bryse Wilson will long be remembered for that night no matter how his major league career turns out. Braves backers know which one I mean. It was supposed to be a pitching mismatch in Game 4 of last year’s National League Championship Series. The Braves had right-hander Wilson, who’d proved little in the majors. The Dodgers had left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who already has a Hall of Fame resume. And it was lopsided ... in Wilson’s favor.
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Michael Cunningham: NBA All-Star game is coming to Atlanta. Will Trae Young be in it?

The NBA is planning to hold its All-Star game at State Farm Arena on March 7. An official announcement is expected soon, presumably once the league stops having games postponed because of COVID-19 protocols. It would be awkward for the NBA if headlines about its difficulty staging real games during a pandemic shared attention with its decision to play an exhibition game during a pandemic.
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Michael Cunningham: World Series odds underestimate Braves

I waited all weekend for the betting markets to react to the Braves re-signing slugger Marcell Ozuna. I was still waiting on Tuesday afternoon. The Braves were 10-1 to win the World Series before signing Ozuna on Friday. They were still 10-1 after signing him. Four teams have shorter World...