Kurt Helin

LeBron James on Game 4: “It’s a do-or-die game for us still”

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CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers dominating Game 3 made it feel like the NBA Finals finally, really started.

But if Golden State wins Game 4, it goes back to feeling over very fast. The Cavaliers know that.

“We can’t afford to go down 3-1 and go into their building and give them confidence going back. So it’s a do-or-die game for us still,” LeBron James said Thursday.

An emotional LeBron helped lead the big Game 3 win — he told his teammates he would lead, they just needed to follow. They did — Kyrie Irving (32 points) and J.R. Smith (20) found their jump shots again, while Tristan Thompson was a beast on the glass.

The other thing that sparked the Cavaliers in Game 3 was a much more intense, much more focused, much more physical defense that knocked the Warriors back on their heels. That was led by LeBron on Draymond Green.

“I think not only myself, but everyone. Everyone extended their defense a little bit more,” LeBron said. “They’re such a great three-point shooting team that you have to extend your defense to start off with. More than that, they move the ball so, so well. And Draymond being one of those guys, one of their playmakers along with Steph, along with (Shaun) Livingston, along with (Andre) Iguodala that makes so many great passes above that, well beyond the three-point line. So, you’ve got to do a good job of trying to help the back-line defense by putting a little ball pressure on them.”

The Cavaliers put pressure on them, and the Warriors did not respond.

“I think we were extremely soft,” Draymond Green said. “We got bullied, punked, and any other word that you can find for it. That’s pretty much what it was, and that’s why the game went the way it went.”

Green, as he usually does, tried to take the blame for the loss, but much like the Warriors’ wins this series the loss was a complete team effort. What does Green want to do differently in Game 4? Wear LeBron down.

“I think I’ve got to be more active on the offensive end and kind of wear him out more,” Draymond Green said. “I don’t think I was that active or aggressive last night. So I’ll be more aggressive and like my chances.”

Game 4 is going to tell us a lot about both teams. How will the Warriors respond to getting thumped? (They did pretty well with that last series.) Can Cleveland sustain the intensity and focus they had in Game 3?

Game 4 also is going to tell us if we are going deep into this series or not.

Remembering Sean Rooks

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Former NBA big man and current NBA assistant coach Sean Rooks passed away unexpectedly this week at the age of 46.

The NBA put together this video remembering the former Arizona player who spent a dozen year in the NBA.

Our thoughts are with his family.

Hawks’ Jeff Teague posts he played last season with torn patella tendon, quickly deletes

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Did Hawks’ starting point guard Jeff Teague play last season injured?

He posted on picture and comment on Instagram describing his surgery to repair a torn patella tendon, but he quickly deleted the post. Here is the image from Twitter.

If this is true, it could not have been a complete tear, Teague could not have played through that. It is possible it was a partial tear that could be surgically repaired. Whatever it was it doesn’t seem to be that serious.

Teague’s numbers last season were similar to, but slightly less efficient than, the season before. He scored almost the exact same number of points per game (15.9 to 15.7), he shot better from three (40 percent) but his assists were down. He struggled more in the playoffs, shooting 38 percent overall and 34.1 percent in the second round.

Teague has been mentioned in potential trade with the 76ers, and while how likely that one is to come to fruition is up for debate Teague will come up in other rumors. Now you can be sure those other teams will have their doctors take a long look at Teague’s knees, and if there are issues that buzz will get around the league quickly.

Justin Bieber attends Cavaliers game, afterwards gets in fight (VIDEO)

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Justin Bieber was in great seats — and wearing Cavaliers colors — for Cleveland’s Game 3 rout of the Warriors.

When he was shown on the Jumbotron in the arena, he was loudly booed. Well played, Cavaliers’ fans.

Afterwards, he went back to a hotel in the Cleveland area, where he ended up in a fight, reports TMZ. Here is the video:

Since Bieber was wearing Cavs gear we’re going to assume that wasn’t what sparked the fight. Who knows what happened. There are so many reasons to want to punch Bieber.

Report: Kevin Love likely plays, comes off bench for Cavaliers in Game 4

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There were two big questions about Kevin Love after the Cavaliers picked up their first win of the 2016 NBA Finals:

Would Love be cleared from the league’s concussion protocol for Game 4?

Would Tyronn Lue put him back in the starting lineup?

Yes. Then no. That according to Jason Llyod of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Kevin Love is expected to play Friday and it’s likely he will come off the bench in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, league sources told the Beacon Journal.

Love still has another medical examination he must pass on Friday before he is cleared from the league’s concussion protocol, but he took part in some on-court shooting drills Thursday and the team is privately confident he will be available to play. Coach Tyronn Lue would not discuss Love’s role on Thursday, insisting he hadn’t given it much thought. While one source stressed no final decision has been made yet, it’s likely at this point Love will be a reserve for the first time since April 14, 2010 – the final game of his second year in the league.

This would be the right move for the Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has great value against most NBA teams, but bigs who can’t move their feet well on the perimeter get eaten alive by the Warriors’ offense. That’s Love. This is similar to the situation Oklahoma City faced with Enes Kanter, who played a crucial role in the Thunder’s win over the Spurs in the second round but saw his minutes drastically slashed against the Warriors. The playoffs are all about matchups, and this is not a good one for Love.

Love’s return would add some needed depth for the Cavaliers — through three quarters in Game 3 the Cleveland bench had zero points. It was all the starters. It’s fair to question if that is sustainable. Love adds another scoring threat to the rotation.