It’s the fairy tale they teach us about the American dream in our youth — work extra hard, be good and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s a load of crap — you telling me the office janitor isn’t working harder than a lot of guys in suits? — but we continue to teach it.
For the Cavaliers, it’s actually come true. They worked hard this season, they got all their goals accomplished — best record and home court throughout the playoffs — so now they can rest.
That starts with LeBron James, coach Mike Brown told the man Brian Windhorst.
“I’m not sure there is a right way to do it,” Brown said. “It’s a luxury to be able to rest players so we’re going to want to do that.”
LeBron James has made it clear he favors taking some time off. He’s a little banged up and has been dealing with a sore left elbow, among other minor maladies, the past few games.
LeBron is going to miss a couple of the Cavs final five games. And sorry ticket holders, the chances you find out in advance are slim and none.
The real question is who else gets rest, besides Shaquille O’Neal? Does Mo Williams get a night off? What about JJ Hickson? If they play, are their minutes way down?
Anyone with a fantasy league still running… beware.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.