Kawhi Leonard Has Asked Out Of San Antonio, Finally Giving A Fate To What's Been An Awfully Weird Feud
I have to be honest, other than this serving as a reinforcement of the notion that this NBA offseason stands to be more entertaining than the actual basketball that preceded it, I'm not too sure what to make of this news. That, of course, isn't because I've been blind to the writing that the Spurs' two-way super-cyborg has burnt into the wall with his lifeless stare as he remained at odds with a medical staff that cleared him to play months ago, but rather because I've never known what to make of all this.
Maybe the match was just better in theory than it was in execution, because Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard have always seemed like the perfectly joyless pair. The idea that the more reserved of the two parties actually "spoke up" and asked out of what's been the most consistently solid culture in sports throughout the last two decades due to a lack of trust fails to register with me. Granted, it was probably more of a "blink twice and power down if you want to be traded" type situation, but it's still weird that a relationship between the organization that's set the bar for sustained success and the mild-mannered spawn of man and machine became fractured beyond repair. Especially since the latter is literally built in the updated mold of Tim Duncan by being a humble, hard-working player on both ends of the court whose skill set was tailor made to dominate during the era in which he was discharged. We all should have listened to Will Smith, because apparently even the most reliable of robot is capable of going rogue.
I sort of feel as though this is the sports equivalent of that breakup between the "perfect couple" in your social circle that leaves you wondering if true love actual exists. The main difference being that instead of giving off an aura of genuine happiness, the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard always seemed to share the same deadpan desire to win that was too insatiable for anything more than a sporadic smile. I guess it's true that there's really no such thing as unhappily ever after, and those that do the best job making you believe there is are doomed to eventually let you down.
The seemingly inevitable movement of another star player will increase the dramatics of what's sure to be an eventful NBA offseason exponentially. Still, as much as I'm excited for the spin-off of this soap opera, I'll miss the staunch s(p)urliness of the original series. Opposites must attract, because on the outside looking in there didn't seem to be a better fit for Kawhi Leonard from a personality perspective than San Antonio.
After Vigorously Wiping Clean My Proverbial Reading Glasses, It Seems As Though The NCAA Has Made Transferring Slightly Easier(?) On Some Athletes
So I guess the only question is...what's the catch? It's not that I'm not happy that the NCAA is finally throwing the unpaid student-athletes who've built the organization's net-worth to a figure that ranges in double-digits the most bargain basement of bone, I just can't find an answer for the most obvious of question...
Given both their hard-headed history and a business model that still remains laughably flawed, I have my doubts that this is an effort to either do right by the players or silence the critics...
Therefore, I'm left wondering how making what is only a slightly less hypocritical transferring process circumstantially easier on the kids they typically treat like recyclable trash stands to financially benefit those that run the business of college sports under the transparent ruse that it's amateur athletics. I don't know much about what goes on behind the scenes, but I do know that the NCAA has never gone with the flow unless there was an ulterior motive powering that revenue stream. Money is somehow, someway the motivation here. I'm unclear as to how, which I guess in a weird way is of small credit to the organization whose greed usually comes off as clear and present stupidity, as opposed to baseline common sense.
TheBigLead- Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal said yesterday on ESPNLA Afternoons with Marcellus and Travis that LeBron is not a fan of Houston (37:07):
“I heard this from his own lips when we were in Houston this season, he does not like Houston as a city. So, that would require him moving to a place he is not crazy about.”
One down, twenty-eight to go! Just got to convince everyone, LeBron James included, that LeBron James hates every NBA city other than the one he calls home and he's basically a lock to end up back in Cleveland next season! It's such a brilliant strategy that I can't believe it wasn't employed the first time Akron's own left Ohio burning in an incineration of his own memorabilia!
To be clear, I have absolutely no idea where Houston falls on LeBron's list of his favorite domestic destinations. For all I know, it is entirely possible that he finds the wineries in the Deep South to be positively off-putting, and - as a result - he's soured on the entire region.
That said, I have a very hard time treating a comment he more than likely made in passing as he prepared to play a far superior Rockets team during a regular season that he largely slept through to be unwavering gospel. Unless LeBron James sat down and crafted a lop-sided list of Houston's cons as he sat across Marla Ridenour, I think it's safe to assume that this is being overblown out of fear that she'll be stuck writing columns on Jordan Clarkson next season. I guess I can't blame her for grasping at every straw in hopes that the Cavaliers won't once again end up with the short end of the stick. However, considering the fact that we're talking about someone that willingly went back to Cleveland, I'm going to need more damning evidence than one comment made an irritable player who was tired of being on the road to cross Houston off the short list of places he can immediately win another title.
Kevin Durant Wants You To Believe It's Extremely Hard Being The Best Player On A Great Team, For Obvious Reasons
I don't want to be too critical of Kevin Durant here. Mostly because he's proven that he can't speak the thick skin he desperately desires into existence, but also because it would be stupid to make too much of an offhand quote. Of course, it's an offhand quote that probably doesn't lack as much context as he'd more than likely claim if pressed on the issue, but it is just an offhand quote that makes a lot of sense coming from a guy that isn't getting anywhere near the amount of credit that literally any other back-to-back Finals MVP would.
Now, there's a good reason that everyone sighed and changed the channel as opposed to singing Kevin Durant's praises. Still, as predictable as this deserved diminishment of his inevitable accomplishments was, I do ever-so-slightly pity the fact that he reached the pinnacle of his profession in back-to-back seasons and is somehow left trying to insecurely spin-zone his successes into sounding more impressive.
That being said, for someone that has an increasingly hard time deciding whether or not he's okay with being disliked, he sure makes it impossible to like him when he's hitting his detractors with a "well, actually..." instead of simply thumbing his nose at them. Never mind the fact that this could be interpreted as an on-the-record subtweet at LeBron James with Steph Curry serving as the collateral damage, because the truth of the matter is that it's just a desperate plea for appreciation. As if we're supposed to laud a 7 footer that's deadly accurate from anywhere inside the arena for simply "standing out" amongst athletically inferior All Stars. I've gotten over the fact that Kevin Durant wanted to make his job easier, but the second most talented player on the planet would be so much better served if he stopped trying to convince people how much harder it is to live up to his potential while playing in a system that maximizes it. He sacrificed some of his reverence for rings, and no amount of tale twisting is going to change that.
Sidenote: No wonder the guy has his sights set on retiring at 35. Thinking up roundabout reasons as to how winning with the Warriors is some huge burden on him is probably more exhausting than actually winning with the Warriors...
For A Look Into How Lame The Warriors' Championship Celebration Was Otherwise, Consider That Quinn Cook Played A Starring Role In It
The thing I regret most about that headline is that, at the very least, it sounds like a joke about the expense of a 25 year old rookie who battled his ass off to get through the G League system and over unceremonious releases following week-and-a-half long contracts from multiple NBA organizations. The truth is that I admire the perseverance Quinn Cook showed in sticking on one of the most talented teams in league history, as well as appreciate the level of enthusiasm he displayed in reaching the peak of his profession. That why it's not his unbridled exhilaration that I take umbrage with. Rather, it's the stark contrast that it drew to his teammates whose excitement was that of a group that just stumbled upon their early shipment of free hats and shirts, as opposed to having just won the championship that was embroidered across them.
Not to re-open old wounds here, but the player whose most notable playoff moment was when his urine-soaked compression shorts were damn near noticeable from the nosebleeds as he clunked away Game 5 in crunch time was the one looking like the only kid in a candy store that was full of diabetics prior to his arrival...
Not to be rude, but it legit took being confronted by the player whose most impressive feat of the NBA Finals was his Superman-esque transition from Clark Kent to Quinn Cook for Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Steve Kerr to show anywhere near the amount of emotion you'd expect from back-to-back champs...
That's certainly understandable given all he's been through, but it also highlighted exactly how little his star-studded starting lineup has been through en route to an inevitable title that spent approximately one off-day in doubt.
Ultimately, it's up to the entirety of the Eastern Conference to provide the Warriors more than one individually formidable foe, but let's call a spade a spade here. After we had been put out of the misery we endured while suffering through an NBA finale that had the feel of the ass end of a back-to-back in mid-December, the end of Finals festivities seemed lame even before you had to do the deductive reasoning to identify that it was actually Quinn Cook who just graced your TV screen. Somehow, they were made even more underwhelming when, of all people, the guy that spent a championship-clinching game in street clothes reminded us what winning an NBA title is supposed to look like.
Not One To Make Excuses, LeBron James Got Swept, Tossed On A Cast, And Announced That He Suffered A Self-Inflicted Hand Injury After Game 1
You know, for someone that would have every reason to take it as an insult if I merely called his on-court vision '20/20', LeBron James sure has a weird way of seemingly seeking out bad looks off of it.
To be clear, as undeniably stupid a move as it is, I don't even blame the Cavaliers' only chance at remaining competitive for fracturing his hand out of frustration. Historically speaking, a 51-8-8 performance in the Finals has never, ever been entirely offset by the frontrunner for the dumbest play (and replay) we've ever seen in said Finals, so there's not a person or player on the planet that can definitively say that they wouldn't have mismanaged their anger in that situation. He probably should have gone with a more forgiving target, like his professional punching bag of a head coach, but coughing up Game 1 in such a cringeworthy fashion all-but-ended the series while it was just getting started. LeBron could have had more fully functioning limbs than a mutated frog and he still wouldn't have gotten the Cavs past a return trip to 'The Bay' with how detrimental it was to their chances to watch J.R. Smith flounder uncontrollably in it. Games two through four were basically just a formality, even if 'King James' with unimpaired range could have pushed it to five.
That said, you cannot go the "not to make excuses, but you do see this hand wrap that I've been hiding until right this very second, correct?" route. Only idiots, assholes, and Jordan jerkers were laying blame at the feet of the person that proved reverentially retardant in dragging a fully-engulfed dumpster fire to the Finals. By immediately scapegoating a self-inflicted injury, however, he basically turned himself in as an accomplice to the brooms being busted out. Simply put, when you're already the most polarizing player in professional sports, you need not offer such an open invitation to criticism, and that's what LeBron did by adding a cast to his list of attention grabbing accessories.
Those that remain skeptical of exactly how much damage he did to himself are willfully ignoring the proximity of the dots that are just begging to be connected. I just can't imagine that it's a coincidence that this swelling coincided with this obvious reluctance to apply a jump shot that had otherwise been deadly throughout the entirety of the playoffs...
With as much of a lock as the Warriors were to win their third title in four seasons, none of this really matters. The best LeBron James could have legitimately hoped to have earned was a flattering farewell. Unfortunately, with a combination of recklessness and self-incrimination, he cost himself sympathy when he had done such a good job building up throughout a peerless postseason performance. After doing such a good job making it seem impossible to hate him, he reminded us all of the one reason why some people do when he didn't even have to.
Kevin Durant Followed Up One Of The Best Playoff Performances Of His Career...By Nearly Getting Into It With A Cavs Fan Outside Of His Hotel
"UT's butt!". University of Texas...is...butt. That's the burn that got Kevin Durant to reverse course on a night during which he could otherwise not be stopped from getting to the spots he wanted to go when he wanted to go to them. Not serpent slander, or a blasphemous baked goods reference, or an implication that the fans of the championship team for which he's proved most valuable for the second straight season will never love him like they love their biological son with the Bambi ankles. Rather, an elementary anatomical insult to the current state of the college that I hesitate to even call his alma mater considering he's probably spent less time on it's campus than he's spent anonymously defending himself on twitter. That's what perturbed the new frontrunner for Finals MVP enough for him to interrupt an evening in which he should have been enjoying the fruits of 43-motherf'n-points worth of labor.
If he didn't bring all forms of criticism, both hurtful and harmless, on himself by apparently not thinking through one of the most maniacal moves in sports history before he made it then I just might feel bad for the NBA's most thin-skinned superstar. If I wasn't forced into being so happy to see him face some form of adversity, I'd actually find it unbelievably sad that he cares so much what idiots, much like myself, think about him. After his performance last night, there is absolutely no reason that KD wasn't in full-blown "laaaaa, la, la-la" mode...
Yet, instead he had to restrained from going face-to-face with some hopeless Cavaliers' fan whose optimism as a sports fan was likely just stabbed to death with Kevin Durant's not-so-vaguely familiar dagger...
I don't think I'll ever understand how the man who looked completely unbothered in hitting contested jumper after contested jumper in the face of a desperate team in their own building filled with their own fans can't ignore the opinions of assholes. But damn, he's on the wrong team if even the most gentle of jokes is better at aggravating him than the freakishly athletic specimens that simply look standard in his shadow.
After "Mutually Agreeing" To Part Ways With The Sixers, Bryan Colangelo Threw His Wife Right Under The Bus With His Official Statement On The Matter
Look, if there was one thing that was confirmed by the Philadelphia 76ers' investigation into a fistful of burner accounts that shamelessly scrutinized their own players, leaked insider information, and either directly or indirectly pumped the tires of one man and one man only, it's that Bryan Colangelo married the right woman. He may no longer have a promising professional sports team to run due to her diligence, but he's a got a wife that was armed to take each and every one of those vows to the grave. If that's not evidenced by how much time and effort she wasted creating a clique of internet trolls and scouring the miserable pits of likeminded misery that are sports-related message boards, then it damn sure was by her being committed enough to the cause to scrub her phone clean...
Doing a factory reset is the basically the technological equivalent of waking up naked in the middle of an highly trafficked street without any understanding as to how you arrived there, so despite being guilty as all hell, she put herself all the way out there to maintain her husband's innocence.
It's for that reason I find myself flabbergasted by the amount of times eye-spy the word "I" in a resignation that reads a whole hell of a lot like a recrimination of someone who is legally bound to being Bryan Colangelo's biggest fan. Even in the best case scenario that he knew nothing of the nameless and faceless entities defending his every decision from inside his own home, he's unquestionably responsible for speaking out of school. To claim that his wife, Barbara Bettini, manufactured every piece of intel that she dumped all over the information superhighway is not only preposterously unbelievable, but it bears a stark contrast to the "we" approach that she apparently took to matrimony. Who knows, maybe she offered herself up to keep in tact what little remains of Bryan Colangelo's reputation as a basketball executive. I certainly hope so, because if she got tossed directly under the bus in these internet streets without so much as a heads up then those divorce papers might not be too far behind those termination papers, and a loving life partner is currently one of the only things he has going for him.
Dan Gilbert Posted (And Quickly Deleted) The Halftime Free Throw Disparity On Twitter, But I Don't Blame Him For Grasping At Straws
Leave it to Dan Gilbert. Throughout this series there has been no shortage of glaring opportunities for him to look justified in blasting the officiating, and yet - being the big old basketball brain that he is - he somehow managed to pick the one game in which it appeared the whistles were being blown in his team's favor instead of in their direction. Admittedly, the road team boasting a 13-0 disparity in free throws seems extremely odd, but that's not because it looked as though the refs were playing some dirty pool, but rather because a noticeable amount of nitpicking was actually benefiting the Cavaliers. Having watched the first half, instead of just bickering at its box score, it would be impossible to come to the conclusion that both Draymond Green and Steph Curry were deserving of the three fouls they each carried back into the locker room. As someone who had their fingers crossed that Cleveland would make this a series, not once during the first half did I feel as though the officials were working against that goal.
Therefore, at the risk of exposing my own tin foil cap, I'm going to say the difference in shooting fouls could probably be attributed to LeBron James spending the early portion of the game facilitating open jumpers as opposed to attacking the rim, as well as Cleveland's undeniable ability to remain more steps behind than your gimpy grandfather on their own end of the floor. The Cavaliers make offense look hard when they are on offense, and they make offense look easy when they are on defense, so perhaps the fact that the charity stripe isn't meant to provide actual charity to those in need could have contributed to the contrast in trips to it? I mean, as much sense as it makes for the NBA to conspire to get this star-studded series over quicker, I just thought I would introduce those theories, even if they are a bit craAaAazier than using a small sample size of one particular stat to imply that the fix is in.
In all fairness to a man that doesn't even really deserve to have his actions judged justly, I can't really blame Dan Gilbert for angrily throwing some shit at the wall before realizing what he had done and trying hopelessly to scrub his fecal post off the internet before anyone saw. Despite being up 6 at the time, there's not a person on the planet that thought that lead was safe. The Cavaliers came out firing on all cylinders, took advantage of a half in which the 'Splash Brothers' couldn't hit the pool from the diving board, and - with the snake's rattle already warning everyone that his fangs might make an appearance - entered the dreaded third quarter with but a lousy two possession lead to show for it.
Dan Gilbert searching for something...no...anything to preemptively blame for what was about to come is really just symbolic of how hopeless this Cavaliers team is against this Warriors team. This is why no reaction could be considered an overreaction to Cleveland wasting LeBron James' historic Game 1 effort in unforgivable fashion. Steph Curry was bound to follow it up with a night where the entirety of Oracle Arena offered itself up to him as an orifice after he put on one of his patented shooting displays. Given the workload that he hasn't had to carry, Kevin Durant was bound to have a night where he put that excess energy into looking like the unstoppable alien that he is. Given the workload he has been carrying, LeBron James was bound to have night where he looked...::audible gasp::...human.
I guess the point is that Dan Gilbert really had no choice but to blame the officiating, no matter how fair it was at the time. The only alternative would have been blaming his own cheap ass for letting the architect of Cleveland's first championship team in over half a century walk over the well-deserved raise he refused to give him. Definitely easier to slap some asterisks next to a free throw imbalance than admitting that your frugality may have predictably sabotaged what will likely be LeBron's last season before it even started.
Kendrick Perkins Offered A Discouraging Word To Warriors' Players That Want To Test Him, As If That's To Be Taken Seriously At This Point
Let me offer the following disclaimer. In an uncontrolled setting, there are a minuscule amount of people roaming this very planet that wouldn't immediately wet themselves after having drawn the ire of Kendrick Perkins. If anyone on the Golden State Warriors were to catch him outside, for instance, running in the opposite direction would probably be the smartest strategy to employ. There's just very little doubt that if met in the "right" circumstances, of which there are many, that he's the wrong one to fuck with.
Those circumstances, however, don't include an NBA Finals in which he's serving as nothing more than a sharply dressed scare tactic that couldn't even frighten the neighborhood children into taking only one piece of Halloween candy. I don't know if Big Perk is under the illusion that Cleveland is playing their home games at Rucker Park, but they'd pretty much have to be for Warriors to even consider taking the slightest of heed to his empty threats. We're not talking about a scene out of Mad Men or a mobster movie, for when it comes to a professional basketball court there is nothing all that intimidating about a man of any size, strength, or stature sitting on the sidelines in a suit. If that wasn't made clear when Draymond Green basically implied that a skirt and pom-poms should be part of Kendrick Perkins gameday attire then it was damn sure evidenced by someone with the build of high school distance runner showing absolutely no hesitation in going forehead-to-sternum with the biggest and baddest spectator in the stands around a bench full of his peers...
I giggled when I read that quote from Kendrick Perkins, and it's sadly because he's basically become a parody of what I'm assuming he was meant to be for a Cleveland Cavaliers team that never had any intention of letting him touch a basketball when it mattered. If his role is to summon the insecurities of the opponent then he honestly might be better of giving up his court-side seat to the internet troll that was ultimately responsible for the creation of KD's burner account. If nothing else, this series has proven that his tough talk is about as hollow as J.R. Smith's head, and that's a bad look for a guy who currently offers little else.
The Person Who Trolled Bryan Colangelo From Behind The Plate At The Phillies Game Is An Example Of One Of The Many Reasons He Needs To Go
First and foremost, I want to give credit where credit is due. Just as much as it is a reflection of Philadelphia's current level of trust in their President of Basketball Operations, this was a hilarious and well-placed jab at someone who is apparently the internet's preeminent troll. From 'Fire BC', to 'Where is Eric Jr?', to a brilliantly simple '91', this mediocre t-shirt maker rocked his outfits in a perfect comedic sequence, with each being more clever than the last. I want to make that clear so that this act of good-humored trolling is differentiated from those that it took aim at, and so that it doesn't get lost in the call that I am about to make for Bryan Colangelo to lose his job.
Now that we've gotten all that praise out of the way, it's time to talk about who is deserving of criticism here. That, quite obviously, is the Philadelphia 76ers for letting this embarrassment drag out for as long as it has without the rolling of a fairly obvious head as a result. Unless a team that finally followed through on it's promise and reached the playoffs after years of strategically avoiding them like the plague is prepared to sacrifice every single ounce of good will they've built up, Bryan Colangelo absolutely has to go.
So much so, in fact, that it might not even matter whether him or his wife were directly responsible for an amount of burner accounts that could leave the an entire organization's reputation in ashes. Even if there wasn't an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing in their direction, the Sixers being run by the most insecure and persistent of anonymous online personalities (or their significant other) has already become an internet truth. That might not hold up in the court of law, but professional athletes that have seen their peers potentially trashed by the one person who is supposed to have their back no matter what are much more likely to be swayed by the court of public opinion. There's admittedly a dangerous precedent to be set by letting the angry mob rule over your front office, but it's not an dangerous as heading into an insanely important offseason with a GM that's basically wearing a scarlet letter across his overly collared shirt.
From a business perspective, a basketball perspective, and a business of basketball perspective, the Sixers need someone else in charge ASAP. If I know Philly fans like I think I know Philly fans then novelty tees are just the beginning, and I can guarantee the franchise as a whole will not like the ending. 'The Process' is quite literally based on trust and yet the team that put it into action all those years ago currently demands none of it from its players or customers because of one person, no matter how powerful he may be.
Rodney Hood Has Dealt With His Preposterously Poor Postseason By Watching YouTube Clips Of Himself To Cheer Up
TheScore- Rodney Hood has been DNP'd for five of Cleveland's 19 playoff games, and it would've been six had he not been thrown in for the final three seconds of Game 1 of the Finals. (But hey, at least Hood agreed to check in for mop-up duty that time.) He's averaging 4.6 points and 1.1 assists on .415/.158/.778 shooting in 14.5 minutes a game this postseason, and the Cavs have been 25.7 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the floor.
It's been a steep decline for Hood since coming over in a trade from the Utah Jazz, with whom he was averaging 16.8 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range on the year. Now, to avoid losing faith in himself, he goes back and watches tape of some of those pre-trade games.
"At times when I may lose a little bit of confidence because of playing time or whatever, I look back to my Utah highlights a lot on YouTube just to remind myself that that was this (season) when I did those things," Hood told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears.
"I was playing at such a high clip when I got traded. And then, this is my first time having DNPs in life. The first time shooting two times or five times in a game. Having to adjust is the toughest part. It's a part of my growth. I'm not going to always be in this state."
If we're being totally honest , my gut reaction was commiserate with a professional athlete who is so far in his own head in regards to his struggles that he's running through YouTube videos that are mere months past their upload date to convince himself that he's something better than hopelessly awful. Unfortunately, as sad as that story is, it triggered me to remember that Rodney Hood burned the sympathy card that he's now trying to play the second he let his ego get in the way of him taking the floor in a playoff game weeks before he was set to become a free agent. It's not that he's not deserving of support, but it makes it a lot more difficult to offer it to him when his first instinct was selfish pride.
The idea that an NBA player is spending what little free time the NBA Finals affords him to hole up and watch himself post 16 PPG for the playoff team that decided they didn't even need his offense despite losing their leading scorer for nothing last offseason is incredibly dark and depressing. On the "bright" side, however, at least we have our answer to the question that has undoubtedly crossed the mind of every person that has happened to catch the first two games of this series. Yes, Jordan Clarkson and J.R. Smith are somehow, someway currently more mentally equipped to give the Cavaliers meaningful minutes against the Warriors.
For, as much as their play can be perfectly personified by the above clip, they (presumably) aren't so far removed from being useful that they need an online refresher course on what made them relatively successful NBA players in the first place. Rodney Hood has already cost himself millions of dollars prior to this report. That said, letting the outside world know that he frequents games that happened within the same calendar year that we are currently in as a way of either summoning his skill set or properly self loathing can only be as good for his perception on the open market as being relegated to garbage time for a garbage team.
The good news is that, despite being given multiple opportunities to feel sorry for themselves and completely pack it in, a team that's proven to be more mentally weak when faced with controversy than Tristan Thompson is when faced with extra-marital affairs continued to fight throughout the vast majority of an uphill battle. The bad news is that the result of their version of resilience was not anywhere close to being enough to overcome an absolute avalanche of threes from Steph Curry.
Admittedly, as it pertains to the Cavaliers' resolve, the bar was set pretty damn low during a tumultuous season in which they quit on themselves more times than a smoker trying to kick the habit while working the line at the Marlboro factory. Still, I couldn't help but feel like they flashed some in avoiding the cold, unforgiving touch of certain death that's typically a byproduct of coming out after halftime against Golden State. In case a wasted 50+ point effort didn't highlight how above and beyond the Cavaliers have to go just to keep this thing close then consider the fact that they actually won a third quarter in the building that usually uses that time to form the world's biggest circle jerk....and still remained down by double digits headed into the 4th quarter.
Other than J.R. Smith being particularly terrible in a way that makes you think he left his game in the same spot in which he forgot the score, it somewhat amazingly didn't look as though Cleveland was feeling ill effects, that figured to be inevitable, of blowing Game 1 in such a disheartening fashion. Instead, it honestly just looked like they were overmatched by a far more talented team that was inspired to be better by the realization that they were extremely lucky to be up in the series.
I obviously don't think LeBron James or the Cleveland Cavaliers played to their peak, but if Kevin Durant is going to miss merely 4 shots while Steph Curry is adding another record to his resume then it doesn't really matter what they do anyway. To put it comparatively, what ever lasting impact was made by J.R. Smith choosing the final seconds of a tied game to run around with the ball aimlessly like the basketball equivalent of a chicken with his head cut off was probably matched by watching a desperation heave leave the goddamn stratosphere only to hit nothing but net as it came back down out of orbit. That's bad news as much as it good news, but such is reality for a Cavaliers team that's being reminded why they were given next to no chance to beat this juggernaut. Things could change in Cleveland, but home court advantage alone isn't going to offset the disadvantages that LeBron and company are at in trying to keep up.
The New Footage Of The Cavaliers' Bench Following J.R. Smith's Game 1 Blunder Silently Speaks Volumes
Somewhat impressively, my main take away from a video the featured the prolonged absence of a Tyronn Lue during a depressing break in the action that called more nothing if not all the therapeutic motivation was not a confirmation that he really is just a suited spectator whose organizational role is about as replaceable as that of Kendrick Perkins. I mean, it definitely stood out to me that prior to an overtime period that was predictably crucial to them keeping the series competitive, the Cavaliers' coach was literally out of the picture for a vast majority of the time in which his team stewed in their own stupidity. After all, how could I not be befuddled by the fact that not a second of thought was given to throwing J.R. Smith back out on the floor when he was largely left to only his own devices after making the single biggest, and most fundamentally inexcusable, mishap in NBA Finals history? That said, I just don't think any of that was as noteworthy as how composed LeBron James was throughout the two plus minute stretch in which the reality of the ridiculousness around him set in.
That might sound silly, seeing as how his full range of emotions was written across his face in the clearest of penmanship. However, what we saw LeBron work through (which likely included the immediate acceptance of his departure this summer) as he came to grips with fact that his head coach was sitting on a life preserver as his team was left drowning only appeared as excruciating as what was happening on the couch of every fan that had an interest in the NBA Finals lasting more than five games. For instance, I'm pretty sure I was made just as visibly sick, with the main difference being that I hadn't just contributed an all-time playoff performance that was as much of a guarantee to end with over 50 points as it was to be rendered meaningless.
The haters, of which there are still a shocking amount, will of course point to the lack of leadership shown by LeBron James when his team (and specifically one teammate) needed it the most, but I'm honestly just impressed that he didn't assault anyone given the circumstances. Everyone else remaining almost completely silent as the best player in the world fought through his own fate was a pretty accurate reflection of what's taken place on the court for the Cavaliers this season. Unfortunately, what's taken place on the court for the Cavaliers this season leaves as much reason for optimism heading into Game 3 as the 19-point differential in Game 2 did.
Against All Odds, J.R. Smith's Lie About Knowing The Score Was Tied Was Actually Dumber Than Not Knowing The Score Was Tied
To be honest, I'd be a hypocrite to bemoan the occasional use of a white lie. Nothing J.R. Smith said was going to undo what was undoubtedly one of stupidest plays in the history of sports, so tip-toeing past the obvious truth while trying to explain the inexplicable in a way that makes him look slightly better (more accurately, less worse) was pretty damn harmless.
Unfortunately, the white lie in question was about as doomed an endeavor as taking the ball and sprinting in the complete opposite direction of the goal with the game on the line. A player flat out forgetting the score in such a foolish and fatal fashion is damn near unprecedented. Therefore, crafting your excuse around a hypothetical in which two players, from opposing teams, both forget the score at the exact same time probably isn't the most forgiving of escape route.
I'm going to try to put it as simply as one possibly can while attempting to navigate the complicatedly uncomplicated mind of 'Swish'. If what we saw was his instinctual reaction to grabbing a rebound three feet from the basket while the time ticked down in an NBA Finals game that he knew to be tied then I'd be more concerned about his ability to read a play than I already was about his ability to read a scoreboard.
I think it's fairly obvious that what we saw in that interview was a damned fool fabricating on the fly, but - as evidenced by the entire viewing audience reacting in consensus with someone as hated as Draymond Green - lying about something so stupid only stands to make you look dumber. Therefore, he was probably just better off piping down. Assuming, of course, that putting the pipe down was off the table.
LeBron James Faced Off Against Four NBA All Stars, Three Officials, His Own Teammate, And His Head Coach. He Took Them All To Overtime.
Welp, if nothing else, we got treated to an example of how little LeBron James has had to work with this postseason that's so glaring that it would leave J.R. Smith squinting mindlessly into its replay. I think we all wish that it didn't come at the expense of debatably the best game that the Cleveland Cavaliers have played throughout these playoffs and/or potentially sabotaged the competitiveness of a series that just started. Still, it's all-but-impossible to come away from that sequence - in which a short-armed, go-ahead foul shot in the final seconds was compounded in stupidity by the type of situational awareness that you'd expect from a second grader that suffers from ADD - without treating as fact that what the best player in the league has been able to accomplish in his 15th season is largely in spite of his team. On a night in which LeBron casually posted the most efficient 51 points and 8 assists you'll ever come across, he was left holding an 'L' because his own teammate literally ran away with any possibility of a 'W'.
Unfortunately, as crazy as it seems given how clueless a professional basketball player has to be to not know the score of a Finals game in the waning seconds, the truth is that it would be disingenuous to put the full focus of the blame on J.R. Smith. After all, he was merely the only obstacle that LeBron James was unable overcome, as opposed to the only one put in front of him. What we saw in the 4th quarter of road game against one of the most talented teams in the history of professional sports was basically a game show in which the producers had the one common goal of seeing LeBron James off with the depressing toot of a trombone.
Between the undeniable stank of the home cooking that had referees building up to their grand finale of summoning an idiotic rule that no one knew existed to overturn the result of a hugely consequential coin flip...
...and the sheer senselessness of a presumably comatose head coach that was too busy fulfilling his main role as a suited spectator to put his hands together in a 'T' formation as confused chaos ensued...
LeBron James basically took the floor in overtime covered in the sewage that Jordan Clarkson kept splashing up every time he tried (and failed) to help after having trudged all the way up Shit's Creek almost solely on the strength of his paddle. J.R. Smith definitely contributed largely to the toughness of the travel by using the contaminated waters to finger paint the magnum opus of his limited mental capacity, but he wasn't the only anchor on board as the Cavaliers wasted the greatness they witnessed. He was just the one whose dumbstruck face we should all shame if this series ends in less than six.
Damarious Randall Has Already Backpedaled From The "Obvious Joke" That He'd Buy Everyone Who Retweeted Him A Jersey If The Cavaliers Won The Title
Fast forward three days....
USAToday- By Wednesday afternoon, Randall's tweet had been retweeted 869,000 times.
"Honestly, I didn't think it was going to get over 100," Randall said after practice. "I didn't think people were going to actually view that as a serious tweet from me. But obviously it got the whole world excited about it, and I mean now I'm actually excited about it. It is a great, great opportunity to interact with the fans and we're just going to watch the series and just see how everything folds out."
"I definitely didn't think it would go as viral as it did," the 25-year-old said. "I definitely didn't think the Cleveland fan base would go this crazy about it. Obviously, it was a joke, but just to know how passionate this fan base is, I mean, it's just really encouraging."
Randall wouldn't say he planned to pay off his promise if the Cavs win.
"We'll talk about this after the series is over," he said.
Well folks, we've just witnessed history, and by that I am not referring to the record number of retweets (now at well over seven figures) that Damarious Randall got for his 'all risk, no reward' vote of confidence in the Golden State Warriors. Instead, I'm talking about the record amount of basketball not played between the time someone went from doubting LeBron James, to doubling down on that doubt, to self-doubting their original doubt. Zero seconds. Not even a lost tip-off.
Now granted, I'm sure the hundreds of millions of dollars he would have unofficially owed played a part in a preemptive backpedal that was even unbelievably quick for an NFL defensive back. After all, it suspiciously only turned into a "joke" (that was more unfunny than obvious) when the Browns' safety apparently became the last person on the internet to learn that the people there enjoy both free shit and making successful people look stupid with the click of a button. Even without taking into account that he went against the pride of Cleveland while employed by their red-headed step-child, that number was guaranteed to be astronomically large.
That said, considering the innumerable amount of people that have had to swallow their words and empty their wallets following the thankless quest of questioning the most dominant athlete on the planet, it's still impressive to own an award-winning amount of fickleness in regards to LeBron James. Biggest underdog in the history of the NBA Finals, and a professional athlete already made sure to renounce his off-the-books bet against them for no other reason than how goddamn frightening it would be to, even hypothetically, have your entire net worth banked against the best basketball player ever. Just goes to show that while LeBron more than likely won't win, he's the only person in the league who could show up with a dumpster strapped to his back and it still wouldn't be worth it to gamble against him.
It Appears That Bryan Colangelo Was...Ahem...Burned By The Age Old Mantra That Behind Every Successful Man Is A Strong Woman
Let me make one thing clear, until the 76ers publicly address the elephant in the room with something other than a loose translation of "huh, how did that mastadon sneak in here?", I am treating every mildly substantiated theory regarding the ruthless roasting of their own roster as if it is undeniably factual. Partially because it's more fun that way, but mostly because the organization isn't offering me any other alternatives with their silence.
Therefore, given the above Clue, I have no choice but to conclude that the wife in the washroom with the WiFi is the solution to the mystery of who anonymously murdered Bryan Colangelo's job security. That is my truth for the time being, and I'll be damned if it doesn't make false the notion that even the deepest and darkest insecurities should be shared between life partners.
If absolutely nothing else, this is an irrefutable reason why men in even the most loving of heterosexual relationships suppress their sensitivities. It's not just that we, as a gender, are too hyper-masculine to show vulnerability, although that's definitely part of it. It's also because with every good woman comes her inherent fixation with fixing things (which is evidenced by the formation of every doomed relationship), and the damage that can be done by most hard feelings is sometimes beyond repair.
Honestly, I don't have all that much of a problem with most of the viewpoints that were originally expressed anonymously through those burner accounts. If I were Bryan Colangelo, I too would be upset that Jahlil Okafor went from a lottery pick to the type of dead weight that couldn't bait the most famished of fish on the trade market. I'd be absolutely pissed that Joel Embiid was dancing on stage at a concert on the brittle legs that, to that point, couldn't bounce up to grab three consecutive boards without incessantly aching. Frustration wouldn't even begin to describe what I'd feel if the first overall pick I unnecessarily traded up for flat-out forgot how to play basketball over the summer. Imagine the amount of resentment that was built up inside the common ass carpenter that had to take over for Jesus Christ. That had to be comparable to what was bubbling inside Bryan Colangelo as his fanbase was fawning over a fired General Manager turned martyr.
I see all of those as completely understandable grievances to grip to, as long as they stay buried in a place in which they never see the light of day. By swapping marital roles to use his wife as a sounding board for his self-doubt in the workplace, the Sixers' President compromised the safety of his secrets. Behind every successful man is a strong woman, and strong women will stop at nothing to protect the nest. Apparently, not even secretly-run social media accounts that reflect their loved one's inner-most insecurities in a futile and counterproductive effort to alter a nationally accepted narrative.
The good news is that Bryan Colangelo is in a loving relationship with a wonderful woman that will literally do anything to defend his honor, but the bad news is that he's inevitably out of a job because he either knowingly or unknowingly gave her enough defensive responsibilities to overwhelm an entire army of Jahlil Okafor clones. He trusted his wife with insider info, and she trusted her ability to use it to make everything better. That's at least one reason why the most common male response to "how was your day?" is a flat and uninformative "fine".
What In The Hell Was Paul Pierce Thinking Getting Into LeBron James' Ear Prior To The 4th Quarter Of Game 7?
Look, I'm not here to blame the result of Game 7 on the guy whose retirement night is merely a few months removed from getting rained on by the unrelenting monsoon that was LeBron James' post-trade deadline reminder that he still owns the Eastern Conference regardless of roster...
I am saying that someone that's his rival in resentment alone knew a hell of a lot better than to make matters worse for the young, inexperienced team that already wasn't prepared for the storm that the greatest player on the planet had brewing with his NBA Finals streak on the line. I'm sure he already had plenty of motivation being back in the city in which his first stint as a Cavalier was brought to an unceremonious end, but I'm also pretty confident he made a little more room for fire in his belly when one of the players that helped facilitate that initial departure got in his ear. Chances are that had Paul Pierce just sit down and shut the hell up, as opposed to apparently ignoring all the other times in which trying to chirp LeBron ended miserably for him, then Jayson Tatum would have filled the void of that missing fuel by going with the man-on-machine chest bump to celebrate his late-game posterization...
That said, it's a lot more excusable for a wet-behind-the-ears 20 year old to feel froggish following a leap than it is for the 40 year old first-hand witness of greatness to continue to run his mouth from the same sidelines where he's long been left similarly speechless. With how often he messes with the bull, I'm starting to think he's got a fetish for getting the horns...
By Way Of An "Anonymous Source", Sixers' President Bryan Colangelo Has Been Strongly Linked To Five Twitter Accounts Whose Main Purpose Was To Defend His Honor And Trash His Players
TheRinger- In February, The Ringer received an anonymous tip that Bryan Colangelo, the Philadelphia 76ers’ president of basketball operations, had been secretly operating five Twitter accounts. Since then, we have scrutinized and archived those accounts in an attempt to verify the source’s claims that the longtime NBA executive has been using them as a platform to:
To be honest, I'm not even sure where to begin. I guess I would start by telling you to indulge yourself in the entirety of that extensive article from The Ringer, in which Ben Detrick (aka the media member who experienced a rush unlike that of any other NBA insider) receives an anonymous tip and gets sent down a rabbit hole that draws about a baker's dozen blatant connections between Sixers' President Bryan Colangelo and a fistful of burner accounts that both crapped all over members of the team he is currently in charge of as well as released inside information about said team. It's a long read that not only makes Kevin Durant appear self-assured by comparison, but will also leave you clutching your head so as to make sure your mind hasn't actually been blown from your skull. That said, if only because I can't possibly do it justice, it is totally demanding of your time.
We're talking about an USA Basketball-affiliated executive whose appointment was league-influenced spending his free time anonymously responding to his team's beat writers and bloggers on a public forum, by way of five of the worst twitter handles you'll ever come across, in effort to pump his own tires by taking air directly out from under his franchise. Taking into account that the NBA is the greatest soap opera in sports and that 2018 is the golden era of idiotic internet usage, this story still feels so unbelievably surreal that it would take the most creative of minds to conjure it up while penning their Philly sports' fan-fiction.
Oh, and the "anonymous source" might just be the part of this story that takes it from an instant classic as a '30 For 30' to the type of diabolic tale of vengeance that's fit for a full length feature film. The following speculation might be of the reckless variety, but it seems awfully coincidental that both Sam Hinkie and the unnamed person who lit the fuse on this bombshell have a vested interest in the Sixers' management and an expertise in artificial intelligence...
Conspiracy maybe, but you don't exactly need to be wearing a tin-foil hat to see why someone who was undeservedly disgraced might choose one month prior to his masterpiece potentially reaching completion under the supervision of someone else to sabotage his replacement with evidence of a fireable offense. We're mere weeks away from thee most fruitful of free agency period (LeBron James, ever heard of him?) that could, at long last, take a promising young team to a conference powerhouse. To not consider the person who got axed just prior to reaping the rewards of putting that promising young team in place the lead suspect in the leaking of these undeniable links when he clearly has the wherewithal to make them would just be insanely ignorant.
Dare I allege it, but it's damn near likely that Sam Hinkie is the anti-hero involved in choosing the worst (or best, it's all a matter of perspective) possible time to make the man that was given his job look like an insecure and unemployable jabroni. A vindictive and online-based undercutting of a trusted process by someone who knows it as well as anyone? Whew, that's not only one of the greatest potential sports' plots of all time, but also something that Edward Snowden would probably go see in theaters for educational purposes.
It's a pipe dream at best, but imagine Sam Hinkie playing the long game only to resurrect the basketball career he was dishonorably discharged from and reclaiming the right to the throne when 'King James' could be looking to upgrade his. Those are the type of absurdly dramatic circumstances that daytime television is made of, and who produces better soap operas than 'The Association'?
P.S. If nothing else, this was a decent attempt by the Sixers to preemptively wave a set of car keys to distract us. Not successful, but it's the thought that counts...