The Spurs seemed to be in a fragile mental state after losing Game 6 of the NBA Finals, which is pretty understandable. They were moments from winning a championship, and those opportunities are extremely rare, even for a team as accomplished as San Antonio.
Now, 48 hours later the Spurs must push all that aside and play again for a title. It’s not an easy task, but they can take find comfort in historic results
In NBA Finals history, Game 6 losers have gone 10-7 in Game 7.
Of course, 17 games isn’t much precedent, but the only team in the last 29 years to win a Finals Game 7 after dropping Game 6 was the 2005 Spurs, which featured the same Tim Duncan-Tony Parker-Manu Ginobili core these Spurs do. If anyone should know how to bounce back in these circumstances, it’s them.
Unfortunately for San Antonio, these aren’t quite the same circumstances. Unlike 2005, when the Spurs beat the Pistons in San Antonio, Game 7 will be played in Miami. Road teams in Game 7 of the NBA Finals are 3-14 and haven’t won since the Washington Bullets in 1978.
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.