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The observation that cricket is a mad game will be one that many, both inside and outside the ranks of its followers, will instantly agree with. DeMarcus Cousins USA Jersey . It demands a strange love. For a few hours during the final afternoon of the County Championship, however, the game that Middlesex and Yorkshire were engaged in threatened to be not merely mad but MAD.That is to say, had collaboration between the warring parties not been undertaken, they were heading for the cricketing version of Mutually Assured Destruction. As Middlesex batted on, unable to manoeuvre into a winning position, Yorkshire found themselves in a no more enviable situation. Had either team struck what threatened to be a decisive blow, their counterparts would likely still have been able to prevent them winning - a draw equating, in the circumstances, to complete failure, since this would have ensured the Championship title headed to the third party of Somerset.The analogy only works partially: MAD as a strategy was designed to leave both parties in perpetual stalemate - in the circumstances, a draw being as good as a win.By contrast, in the Lords scenario, a draw was the same as a loss, hence the need to step off the MAD treadmill.Which is why the two captains, James Franklin and Andrew Gale, famously negotiated in the War Room - the Pavilion toilets in their case - a specified target of 240 in 40 overs for Yorkshire.The equilibrium of the situation, with both teams locked in a deadly embrace, meant that such cooperation - and the binge of artificial run-gorging it entailed - was needed to yield a possibility of either succeeding. It was unfortunate that it had the side-effect of drastically reducing Somersets chances of the title, but that was one that neither Middlesex nor Yorkshire could reasonably have been expected to factor in, without compromising the integrity of the competition. As an arrangement, it was less contrivance, more concert. The unease of many viewers - and it should be acknowledged that it was to be found both among neutrals and partisans, cricket lovers and neophytes - can likely be ascribed to the fundamental expectation that one has when viewing sport, the unwritten contract between spectator and sportsmen: the latter are expected to exert themselves fully, to give no quarter, to expend the maximum effort in the attempt to win. Seeing joke bowling and fielding barely worthy of the term understandably stirred such discontent. It felt un-sporting, if not unsporting.When viewed in context, though, it was clear that what may have appeared preverted behaviour was a reflection of full exertion in the cause of winning, rather than the lack of interest that first glance might have suggested.Yorkshire had, of course, far from given up. Indeed, Gale could have justifiably employed General Oliver P Smiths famous pronouncement: We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction. By Yorkshires conceding territory - runs - to Middlesex, both teams advanced in the game, reducing the probability of what could, for once, be properly termed a losing draw.The fuse was lit and the stage set for drama. Quite appropriately, too, for how could a great cricket finale be such without a dash of controversy?Earlier in the season, on the same ground, a situation had briefly threatened to arise where both teams would have stood to gain by not continuing to play. In the final round of the Royal London One-Day Cup, Middlesex played Surrey, with neither team assured of a place in the knockouts. On a day greatly affected by weather, a win would have given either team a strong chance of qualifying; however, if Kent and Hampshire lost their games, both Middlesex and Surrey would have qualified in the event of curtailment; the former on points, the latter on net run rate. Playing to a result, however, would mean one of them would likely be eliminated. Collaboration in such a situation would have benefited both teams, but at the cost of entertaining the spectators.It is mildly diverting to wonder whether, if it were beneficial for both teams competition prospects, those in the stands would ever call for players to halt the match. It would be another temporary inversion of the normal roles of sports viewing: the supporters would be ceding ground - their right to expect their team to attempt to win - to increase the chances of advancement at a later date. Partisans on both sides might be content with such an arrangement; neutral spectators likely less so.As it turned out, Kent won, ensuring that the Middlesex and Surrey captains, Franklin and Gareth Batty, did not need to grapple with such questions, and also that their teams obligations to the public - to provide a contest for them to observe - were fulfilled. One could argue that, logically, had that situation arisen, they should have downed tools.Yet courses of action based on logical analysis of narrow premises have a nasty habit of coming back to bite the subject. The most famous occurrence was the 1979 one-over declaration by Somerset that should, in theory, have sent them through to the quarter-finals, but actually secured their expulsion from the competition. Bizarrely, they even voted for their own disqualification. Again, the main ones to suffer were those least culpable: the spectators who saw 17 deliveries in the entire match.The exact opposite proved true in the Yorkshire game. Indeed, continuing to play without taking steps to guarantee a result would have reduced the spectacle for the crowd. Cricketers are blasted when they fail to provide sufficient entertainment to the paying viewers, so it hardly seems fair to then criticise them for taking actions that guarantee greater thrills. Collaboration may be a dirty word in battle, but when it promotes competition, theres no reason to get mad. Charles Barkley Team USA Jersey . In the lead up - which seemed to begin the moment Mike Geiger blew the whistle in Houston last Thursday night - the Impact rumour mill went into overdrive. The speculation went into meltdown mode, of the golden nugget variety. Russell Westbrook USA Jersey . How great will be revealed in the next couple of days at the board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. . On Saturday night, the normally free throw-challenged centre did just that. Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2 1/2-minute stretch, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 122-111. EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the New Orleans Saints are limited to 13 points, its easy to point a finger at No. 9 and say its Drew Brees fault.Well guess what? The 37-year-old quarterback wasnt all that bad Sunday in a 16-13 loss to the New York Giants.Brees didnt throw any interceptions and the Saints didnt turn the ball over. The offense just could not get it going against a revamped Giants defense.Big bucks went a long way in fixing a unit that allowed 52 points and surrendered seven touchdown passes to Brees and the Saints last year in a 52-49 win by New Orleans.And just maybe, the Giants defense is that good this year after spending $100 million in the offseason to sign sack threat Olivier Vernon, run stopper Damon Harrison and shutdown cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Add in cornerback Eli Apple and safety Darian Thompson in the draft, and this unit held its own against Brees.Both teams went out and made improvements on the defensive side of the ball, said Brees, who completed 29 of 44 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. Both sides came in with a great game plan and so we knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We thought our output would be better offensively than it was today.The Saints had chances, but they did not capitalize. They were 3 of 13 on third down and that was a major factor in the game. The Saints only had the ball for 59 plays and just under 26 minutes in time of possession, gaining 288 yards.In last years game, New Orleans had a combined 79 runs and passes and 35 minutes of possession. They gained 614 net yards.Thats 20 extra plays and Brees can do a lot with that.It wasnt pretty, but we got the job done as a defense. Im happy, and its going to get better, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. Were still trying to get chemistry with each other. As a unit, we still have a lot of work to do. The vibe is totally different. We know what it takes and its not an individual goal but to correct the mistakes that we made.Brees was frustrated, especially wasting a great effort by his own defense, which forced three turnoovers and did not allow a touchdown. James Harden Team USA Jersey. New Yorks TD came on Jenkins return of a blocked field goal.If you told me prior to the game that we would get three takeaways defensively and not allow an offensive touchdown, Id say our chances today are pretty good, Brees said. The unfortunate thing is that the blocked field goal that gets returned for a touchdown is a 10-point swing. So thats pretty devastating when you look at the way the game unfolded and then the way it finished.The Giants did an outstanding job of keeping the Saints receivers in front of them. In last years game, Brees three longest touchdowns were 53, 34 and 26 yards. His longest completion on Sunday was 23 yards.New York also made the Saints one-dimensional, limiting their running game to 41 yards on 13 carries. The Saints had 103 on 26 carries last season.We stopped the run and we were definitely getting Brees off of his spot, so that he doesnt see those open receivers if he has any and just make a play when he throws the ball, said safety Landon Collins, who had one of the Giants two sacks.Giants coach Ben McAdoo said the key for the Giants was keeping the ball away from Brees.They played fantastic, whistle-to-snap, McAdoo said of his defense. We got lined up quickly. We made sure we had our eyes where they needed to be. They played the call and they played with confidence.Brees had a couple of chances against the defense, but he did not come through.I think that I didnt do a great job of handling some of their third-down pressure stuff to sustain drives, Brees said. We got into some third-and-long situations, or third-and-longer than probably we should have. So first- and second-down efficiency can be better and then, obviously, just the ability to sustain drives and keep them on the field and keep our defense off the field and get points at the end of it.---AP NFL website: and AP NFL Twitter feed: Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '