Sports Today: Role of Bengals rookies, Reds own Pittsburgh, good ol’ fashioned NBA playoffs hate

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 12: Wide receiver John Ross #1 of the Washington Huskies rushes for a touchdown against the USC Trojans on November 12, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Trojans defeated the Huskies 24-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 12: Wide receiver John Ross #1 of the Washington Huskies rushes for a touchdown against the USC Trojans on November 12, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Trojans defeated the Huskies 24-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

How will the Cincinnati Bengals use all those rookies they drafted last month?

We will get our first look at them this afternoon when the team begins a rookie minicamp, but SI.com's Andy Benoit has already provided a preview that is intriguing.

Operating under the (correct) premise that Andy Dalton is a great facilitator as a quarterback but not a guy who is going to carry a team, Benoit writes about the advantages adding John Ross and Joe Mixon can present offensive coordinator Ken Zampese in drawing up a game plan.

With safeties compelled to be reactionary deep defenders, Dalton and offensive coordinator Ken Zampese can dictate the terms of engagement. Impact the safeties and you limit everything a defense does. Coverage disguises are harder to employ. Blitzing is constricted, since you have fewer bodies in the box. Naturally, your run defense becomes more susceptible.

Benoit seems to see Mixon as presenting the complement to Giovani Bernard I thought Christian McCaffrey could be (the Stanford running back wasn't available when the Bengals were picking, but I threw that out there more as a thought exercise anyway because I still thought they needed help on defense more).

With runnings backs who can also do a variety of things in the passing game, it’s harder for defenses to match up as far as personnel.

Both are great open-field runners, too, if the Bengals choose to try to get them the ball in space — space that could be more plentiful with teams backing off to keep Ross and A.J. Green from getting behind them…

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Bengals excired to land speedster John Ross

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

If the Reds could play the Pirates every game (and never had to play the Brewers), we could star printing up new versions of the Hunt For (a) Reds October shirts.

Cincinnati took three of four from Pittsburgh, closing out the series with a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon.

Adam Duvall continued swinging a hot bad, driving in two runs, while doubled twice and drove in the other two.

READ MORE at the Cus Words Blog

Tim Adleman had another solid start, going six innings and allowing two runs while striking out five. He walked only one. The runs and innings totals look like a minor miracle compared to what has gone on most of the season so far with the starters.

Gives a whole new feeling to that line about momentum being nothing more than tomorrow’s starting pitcher.

While this was just a run-of-the-mill May win, Billy Hamilton added some juice in the postgame when he revealed he and Ross may just hold a race for charity.

This is pretty cool, and I can’t think of the last time there was a crossover between these teams.

RELATED: Reds' Hamilton wants to race Bengals' Ross 

Rookie minicamp begins at Paul Brown Stadium today, so we'll see what Ross has to say in response…

Baseball: Cincinnati Reds Billy Hamilton (6) in action, running bases vs Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati, OH 4/23/2017 CREDIT: Fred Vuich (Photo by Fred Vuich /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: SI819 TK2 )
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Baseball: Cincinnati Reds Billy Hamilton (6) in action, running bases vs Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati, OH 4/23/2017 CREDIT: Fred Vuich (Photo by Fred Vuich /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: SI819 TK2 )

Here are five things to know about said minicamp...

In the NBA playoffs, Wizards-Celtics Game 3 wasn't competitive, but there was a near-fight and some impromptu dental work. 

When Boston star Isaiah Thomas was late getting back to the court after halftime, ESPN reported he had to have a crown firmed up.

That stemmed from a hit he took in Game 1 that knocked out a tooth and did some other damage.

Early in the second quarter, Kelly Oubre took offense to a hard screen from Kelly Olynyk.

Seems a bit extreme, but apparently a real, live rivalry is budding.

The Warriors beat the overmatched Jazz in the nightcap to go up 2-0 in that series…

In an update to a pending tragedy involving a basketball family on the West Coast, Lavar Ball is doing an excellent job of making people dislike his son.

Lonzo Ball, to my knowledge, hasn't done anything out of the ordinary since coming on the scene last year, but his father's insistence on making outlandish statements and monetizing his son's athletic gifts has even alienated generally uber-positive Dick Vitale.

Vitale was responding to the unveiling of Lonzo Ball’s first shoe, kicks that look OK but will set you back almost $500.

Makes those original Reebok Pumps look like a steal at $170, eh?

That’s all for today — need to head south to PBS to see what these Bengals rookies are all about.