Kurt Helin

Tristan Thompson, Stephen Curry

PBT Extra: Warriors want to pick up pace for Game 4

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The Golden State Warriors need a few things to change if they are going to even this series in Game 4. For one, they need the Stephen Curry from the last half, not the one from the first two-and-a-half halves of this series. They need something from the front line of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut.

But what they need most is some transition buckets and a faster tempo, something I discuss with Jenna Corrado in this PBT Extra.

PBT Extra: Has LeBron ever played better in the NBA Finals?

BASKET-NBA-FINALS-CAVALIERS-PRESSER
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LeBron James is averaging 41 points, 12 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, he’s controlling the tempo of the series, and he’s dragged an unimpressive Cavaliers roster to a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

But there are critics. Because he’s LeBron. They note LeBron has not been efficient, shooting 40.2 percent for the series. The critics are right, he’s not been efficient — but that’s a byproduct of a  usage rate up above 42. He has had to carry the offense for the Cavaliers, and when you use more possessions your efficiency goes down. The fact he’s this efficent considering the load he is carrying is amazing.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss if this is the best LeBron has ever played in the Finals, and what that could mean for his legacy.

Nike to replace Adidas as official maker of NBA uniforms, apparel

Nike Athletes Wear Their New Uniforms and Footwear For The London 2012 Olympic Games
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For a decade now, Adidas has been the maker of the NBA’s official uniforms and apparel — those Chicago Bulls practice long-sleeve T-shirts, the Stephen Curry Warriors T-shirts, the LeBron James jerseys all were Adidas products. But the company decided to bow out of when other competitors came into the bidding process.

Nike won that bidding war.

Nike and the NBA announced a deal Wednesday where the iconic brand tied to NBA stars from Michael Jordan through LeBron will be the NBA’s official uniform and apparel supplier for at least eight years.

“This partnership with Nike represents a new paradigm in the structure of our global merchandising business,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a released statement.  “As our exclusive on court apparel provider, Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and on court products.”

Nike has made the Team USA jerseys for the Olympics for years; this will build off of that experience. Nike also will manufacture the jerseys for the WNBA and D-League.

“We’re excited to bring the full power of our global reach, innovation and creativity to partner with the NBA and grow the game in a way only Nike can,” Nike President & CEO Mark Parker said in his statement.  “In Nike, Jordan and Converse we have three of the most connected brands in the world, and look forward to making the global growth of the game a successful strategy for both the NBA and Nike.”

This was the expected outcome after Adidas decided to get out of the business. While it was possible Under Armour could have tried to pay big for a foothold, the NBA and Nike have deep ties and business relationships in place.

But mostly this is about Nike coughing up the cash. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Nike will pay the NBA $125 million annually to supply the uniforms, which is more than double what Adidas was paying (and why they dropped out).

This should be good for the look of the league — Nike does things well and does them with a flair. They get marketing, but they also get design. This is a marriage that should lead to some fun looks for the NBA at future All-Star Games and beyond, starting in the 2017-18 season.

Back in 2012, Nike signed to be the official uniform supplier of the NFL.

PBT Podcast: What the Cavaliers are doing right, the Warriors doing wrong, and Game 4

LeBron James
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Matthew Dellavedova could be the next mayor or Cleveland, right now he’d win in a landslide. LeBron James is having the kind of series that you can only compare with Magic, Michael and the other greats. Stephen Curry has largely struggled, and the front line of the Warriors has gone MIA.

The NBA Finals has a different feel to them after the Cavaliers once again stymied the Warriors offense, LeBron did his thing and the Cleveland went up 2-1 in the NBA Finals.

In today’s edition of the PBT Podcast, we’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff, plus NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down what the Cavaliers are doing right — defense, mostly — and what the Warriors are doing wrong (almost everything it seems). We also start to look ahead to Game 4, and if things are about to change.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

LeBron James bows to Cleveland Browns’ legend Jim Brown pregame (VIDEO)

Jim Brown
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The last time the city of Cleveland celebrated a professional sports title of any kind, it was because of Jim Brown. The legendary running back was at the heart of the 1964 Browns that won a title beating the Baltimore Colts.

Brown was sitting courtside for Game 3 in Cleveland, and LeBron James acknowledged him with a little bow pregame.

Classy move. And apparently good karma as the Cavaliers got off to a good start and held on in the end to beat the Warriors and take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.

Note to Mike Breen: If you say James Brown we all think of the Godfather of Soul. If he’s alive and sitting courtside, we’ve got a much bigger story on our hands.