NBA Playoffs, Cavaliers Bulls Game 4: All bow down before King James, including you Bulls

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James_Thumbsup.jpgJoakim Noah has given no love to anybody or any place in this series. That includes LeBron James, who ranked as “pretty good” before the series.

What did Noah tell Brian Windhorst about LeBron after he dropped a 37 point, 12 rebound, 11 assist game on the Bulls?

“The best player in the world.”

The Cavaliers made a statement — we are the team to beat, we are the favorites for the title, we have the best player walking the planet, and we have no use for you little Bulls. Cavs 121, Bulls 98. Next.

Well, technically Cleveland still has to win one more before next (Boston). But that seems a mere formality coming in game five. The Cavaliers didn’t just beat the Bulls, they demoralized them. Cavs coach Mike Brown left LeBron in surprisingly deep into the fourth quarter for just that reason — the Bulls had cut the lead to less than 20, and the Cavaliers wanted to let them know, LeBron wanted to let them know, who was in charge. Just a little reminder for the days off until Tuesday.

The Cavaliers were up 10 at the half then blew this thing open in the fourth, and did it with defense. Chicago hit jut 8 of 25 in the quarter. The Bulls as a team shot just 37 percent. Kirk Hinrich was 3 of 13, Luol Deng 7 of 17, Brad Miller 2 of 8.

Noah was one of two Bulls who showed up and put up the first 20/20 in Chicago Bulls playoff history. (How is that true? It is, but how? Pippen, Jordan, Kukoc, none of them? I would have had my money on Will Purdue.) Derrick Rose put up 21 points as well, on a solid 9 of 20 night when the Cavs were intent on shutting him down.

But the Bulls were not the story — the Cavs have made their statement. Antawn Jamison looked like the second scoring option he was brought in to be, 24 on 9 of 16. Mo Williams 3 of 6 from three, 19 points. Heck, JJ Hickson got 10.

LeBron James has made his first big playoff statement. He made it with dunks and half-courters and defense. It was an emphatic one.

Can the Bulls win game 5? Sure, they could rain threes on the Cavs. They shot 33 percent today, and 14 and 22 percent in the other two. They hit 42 percent in the win.

Of course, after today they may have to shooting better than 50 percent. And hope James doesn’t decide to make another statement.

Kevin Love drips snot all over his face, maybe into his mouth (video)

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Cameras zoomed in on Kevin Love at the wrong moment:

Need a sensory cleanser? Enjoy this fantastic outlet pass from Kevin Love to LeBron James:

Derrick Rose out for Knicks-Cavaliers with back injury, getting MRI

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 22, 2016 in New York City.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.

Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.

Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.

Brandon Jennings will start in Rose’s place.

Jaylen Brown dunks on Nikola Vucevic, who literally hides his face afterward (video)

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Nikola Vucevic probably just got poked in the eye, but I prefer to believe he’s ashamed of getting dunked on by Jaylen Brown (which is no great sin, anyway).

Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins sued over New York nightclub fight

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: DeMarcus Cousins #15 and Matt Barnes #22 of the Sacramento Kings talk on the floor against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Matt Barnes – with Kings teammate DeMarcus Cousins seen out with him – was involved in an altercation at a New York nightclub early Monday morning.

Other details remain contentious.

Barnes’ representatives claim he acted in self-defense and paint him as the victim. Other sources – reportedly including a videopaint Barnes as the aggressor.

A court might eventually rule on the situation.

TMZ:

Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins have just been SUED over the nightclub brawl at Avenue in NYC this week … with the alleged victims claiming they were brutalized by the NBA stars.

According to the lawsuit filed in NYC, Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell claim they were innocently hanging out when Barnes approached Jasmine and began to choke her.

In the suit, Powell says he saw the attack and tried to intervene but that’s when Cousins stepped in and punched him in the face.

At that point, Barnes allegedly released Jasmine’s neck and elbowed her in the face — knocking her unconscious. Myrone claims he was taken to the ground and Barnes and Cousins proceeded to kick and punch him in the head and body.

A rep for the alleged victims calls the incident a “vicious and unprovoked attack” And says Cousins’ initial blow was a “blindside punch.”

The rep also says the two were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where they were treated for “serious injuries.”

It’s important to remember there’s no burden of proof for filing a lawsuit. This is not an indication of Barnes’ and Cousins’ liability or guilt. As of last update, police are still investigating, and Barnes’ attorney has said his client was cooperating.