LeBron played a little flag football with strangers in NYC

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LeBron James would have made a good tight end — he has the size, the quickness, the soft hands, the athleticism. Based on financial results he made a wise decision going with the whole basketball thing, but he loves football. I’ll add there are not a lot of guys you see in an NBA locker room and think “he has the build to play in the NFL.” LeBron is one.

Which brings us around to this story… LeBron was walking through New York the other night when he happened upon a flag football game being played as part of the NYC Social Sports Club.

As a general rule of thumb, when someone approaches you and asks for something in a New York park it’s not a good thing, but because he’s LeBron the rules are different. He asked if he could jump in and everyone was good with it, according to Brian “Freekey” E., on the club’s Web site (via SLAM).

“He just randomly walked into the field and went up to one of the teams that was standing on the sidelines and said, “Hey are you guys done?” Everyone was like “No no no! Come play!” He played on the Military team (Untouchables). He quarterbacked, played defense, and wide receiver. He caught two interceptions, which were pretty impressive, and then he took a picture with us! When he scored a touchdown he did the Cat Daddy dance, which I then did too and we had a little dance off. He was there for 10-15 minutes with a guy who was either bodyguard, or a friend, or both! Then he left!”

Here is another interview with one of the guys involved in the game over at Fox Sports.

Those soft-little touch passes you can float over your not-that-athletic 5’8” friend don’t really work around LeBron, hence the interceptions. That will lead to the Cat Daddy dance (which half of you are about to Google, so we saved you the time and got you a tutorial).

All that said, great story for those guys and LeBron played some football without getting injured, so it’s all good.

(Just a quick side note to all you people writing stuff that may get published on the Web out there — the fewer exclamation points, the better. Frankly, same for your college papers — also on those don’t plagiarize Wikipedia then source it as Encarta either, your profs aren’t stupid.)

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.