NBA Playoffs Celtics Magic Game 1: Stan Van Gundy believes giving valor to the victor

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svg.jpgOurs is not a very positive society, in terms of the media, in case you haven’t noticed.

So when the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics, the turn from all over, including from this blog, revolved around the failure of LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and James’ legacy. As a side note, oh, yeah, the Boston Celtics managed to dismantle the team with the best record in the league, get all of their weapons going and win in convincing fashion.

But Stan Van Gundy thinks that to gloss over what the Celtics did to crucify James and the Cavs is a flawed design.

From the New York Times:

“It does a disservice to all of them,” Van Gundy said. “I feel bad for
him only in the sense that you’ve taken a team that basically, because
of one guy, made it inevitable that nobody can possibly beat them,
they’re going to win a championship. Then, instead of just going, ‘Wow,
the Celtics are good and they played great.’ Now, it’s, ‘What’s wrong
with LeBron? Why did he play the way he did in Game 5? The talent around
him is not good enough. Mike Brown can’t coach.’ You go through all the
negatives. You can’t say — I can — but I guess you guys just can’t
say, ‘They lost to a damn good team.”

Well, then, Stan, tell us how you really feel. You’re usually so reserved, after all.

Van Gundy’s point is a strong one. Why do we seek to simplify the Cavaliers’ failures into some sort of spiritual vaccum (“They have no heart.”) or a catastrophic X’s and O’s disaster? We gloss over some pretty important facts, like the Celtics working hard for high percentage shots, out-executing consistently, coming up with every loose ball, and playing a brand of defense easily identifiable as the type that puts rings on fingers.

Van Gundy often has difficulty with how things are portrayed, but this is a particularly sound piece of perspective. The Cavs won more games than any other team in the league. They made the second round. The Celtics were simply better.

However, none of this will stop questions about how the Cavs accepted that fact. There were particular points in the final two games of the series where the Cavs and James simply seemed to accept that they were bested. It didn’t come easy, so they took their ball and come home. But pointing that out shouldn’t overshadow the job the Celtics did just because it’s sexier.

And having equated the word “sexier” with something involving Glen Davis, I will not spend the rest of the day vomiting.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.