LeBron James

Report: LeBron James, Cavaliers to face Heat on Christmas Day


The NBA will release its schedule for the 2014-15 season sometime next month, and there are few select dates that always grab some well-deserved additional attention.

Opening night is important, certainly, and we already have rumblings of one of the potential matchups — even though the defending champion Spurs going on the road to start the season in Cleveland would seem to go against the league’s recent trend of having the winners of the title receive their rings before anything else.

Christmas Day, however, is perhaps the most important day of the NBA schedule, because it’s the time when more casual fans of the sport truly begin to turn their attention to basketball. For that reason, the league always tries to put together a full slate of its most compelling matchups.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

Barring an unexpected change of heart by the NBA, Christmas in Miami will feature LeBron James’ much-anticipated return to Miami in an opposing uniform.

Though the NBA’s schedule will not be finalized and released until mid-August, an unofficial internal schedule of select games has Cleveland playing the Heat in Miami on Christmas on ABC, according to a person familiar with the situation.

This was a completely obvious choice.

LeBron James facing his former teammates on the road, in the city he played in for the last four seasons — all of which resulted in trips to the NBA Finals — is something everyone wants to see. But technically, it won’t be the first time we’re treated to this particular matchup.

The NBA will play five preseason games in four countries as part of its Global Games schedule, and in a stroke of genius (or just unbelievable luck), Cleveland and Miami will play against one another on October 11 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It’s a preseason game that doesn’t mean anything in the standings, and of course, there’s no guarantee that either team will be at full strength for an exhibition contest. But it’s going to be intriguing nonetheless.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins
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Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.