Cleveland Cavaliers beat writers try, survive cryotherapy

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NBA players are increasingly using cryotherapy, but to most of us, the actual process is a mystery.

All I knew, thanks to the pain and suffering of Manny Harris, is not to wear wet socks during treatment. Otherwise, I was at a loss.

But while covering the Cleveland Cavaliers on the West Coast, Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal and Allie Clifton of Fox Sports Ohio underwent cryotherapy in a facility near Sacramento. Boyer:

Just before entering, we had the temperature of our skin taken. Each of us was 88 degrees going into the chamber.

The chamber itself is divided into two parts, each about the size of a small closet. Four people can stand comfortably. The warm-up chamber — and I use that term lightly — is set at minus-76. We spent 30 seconds in there before walking through a glass door with a wooden handle into a little bit bigger chamber where the temperature is minus-166. We spent a LONG two minutes in there.

I’m not gonna lie. It was shocking. I’m also not gonna lie. Lloyd screamed louder than Clifton or I — and swore more.

Because it was the end of the day and because the center had been busy, it was a bit foggy in the second chamber. Whereas the players told us they had walked in a little circle, we stood in a little huddle talking about how crazy we were. There was a window so the staffers could see in and a microphone so they could hear us and give us a countdown every 30 seconds. The last thing they told us was that we could come out at any time. There’s no lock on either of the doors.

The last 30 seconds seemed to last forever, and we were a little disoriented trying to get out because of the fog. But there was a certain bizarre sense of accomplishment having survived a purely voluntary test of endurance. They took our skin temperature again immediately. Clifton and I were at 58, Lloyd was at 59.

Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles said they found cryotherapy helpful, though they didn’t exactly come across head-over-heals in love with the method. For her part, Boyer said she felt no real effects (other than pride in surviving the ordeal).

The consensus seems to be that it might work for some people – perhaps even only due to placebo effect – and not others. So, unless it causes pain, there’s no harm in trying it.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday’s late games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 5pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

But for $30 a pop special, that can get a little pricey for us common folk to do regularly – especially if the health benefits are not clear. For an NBA player, especially one whose team is covering it, that’s nothing.

The lesson here: It’s better to be an NBA player than an NBA reporter.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.