What can Cleveland prove today?

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Well, we assume LeBron James won’t be playing today when the Cavs meet the Magic. (But we’ll keep you updated.)

And we know that the Magic will be at full strength.

So when the Cavs and Magic meet up for a little pre-playoff staredown, what are we going to see?

Okay, so you know how 90% of all barfights are just two guys who shove one another once, and then stare at each other for four minutes, occasionally spouting curse words and then walking away?  Same type of deal here. Neither one wants to get bloody, and neither one feels like they have anything they really need to say to each other.

The Cavs lead the season series 2-1. The Magic won the last game. The Cavs have the best record. The Magic beat the Cavs in the playoffs last year. The Cavs will have home court advantage. They had it last year, too.

So basically what we have here is one of those bad sitcoms where two people that have been broken up for a while get set up on a blind date by their friends. Only instead of realizing how much they like each other to music from Kelly Clarkson, we get to see stretch fours do battle.

And that’s actually relevant.

The Cavaliers could show that the stretch four issues they had last year with Rashard Lewis are solved with the addition of Antawn Jamison and the perimeter rotations can be held in check by Anthony Parker and better depth.

But if the Magic can keep knocking down deep threes and win a comfortable game, it puts a crack in Cleveland’s confidence, which hasn’t responded well to insecurity. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for the Magic to showcase a fully healthy Jameer Nelson, which puts them in a different level.

Or, you know, it could turn into a garbage fest. Good news is both teams are deep enough that’s still better than 70% of other rosters.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott
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Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.