After the game, a relaxed Lakers assistant Brian Shaw was talking to reporters about what it is like to coach in an this but intense game like Game 7.
“You just want to stick with what you know and what you been preaching all year long. We kept on saying that we’re playing into their hands, because the ball wasn’t moving. And their defense is set up to stop a team’s first option. Not just a first option like Kobe (Bryant), but like if you come down and make like one pass and try to attack, they’re not going to let you beat them that way. And we were like just banging our heads against the wall offensively just trying to do that, trying to do that.
“And I think the team was shook, for lack of a better word, because they had never seen Kobe struggle like that in a game of this magnitude. Like I said, Kobe is the MVP of the series but tonight Ron Artest is the MVP of tonight’s game.
“And there was different stretches during the game where different players on the team saved us. Fish’s three, Ron’s defense… Kobe had to trust some other people to do things, and they came through.”
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.