On Brandon Roy and the loss of control

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“I don’t think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.” -Arthur Golden.

My wife’s biggest problem with being pregnant has nothing to do with the nausea. She’s not bothered by her increasing lack of balance, nor the fact that she now craves fried food as if she was the one raised in rural Arkansas and not me. She doesn’t even mind being unable to drink. Okay, that’s a lie. The booze is a bummer. But the biggest issue with being knocked up is the lack of control. Her body is reacting to something which she has no control over, and while they can be considered consequences in many ways of various decisions she’s made, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s hungry but not because she hasn’t eaten, tired but not because she hasn’t slept, and irritated but not (just) because I’ve done something stupid. The body is the one that’s in control, and that can be pretty frustrating.

In this discussion, Brandon Roy’s tired of feeling pregnant.

Roy has broken a bit out of his recent slump, and he’s attributing it to reaching his limit with his limits. Let’s let the Oregonian explain:

“I’m not that kind of player,” said Roy, 26. “Maybe when Im older, but right now, Im fine, so I just want to play.”

The deterioration of Roys game — he has openly limped and grimaced through games lately — has been widely chronicled and debated, both internally by Blazers management and by fans on message boards and radio waves. But Roy said he has neither listened, nor worried, what others have to say or think. This was his body, his game, and only he would decide how the next chapter was written.

“There was no one moment. It just built up, and I finally said there are two ways to go: You can keep it up or do something about it. So I just decided to do something about it.”

via Portland 101, Phoenix 94: Brandon Roy scores 26 as Blazers win streak grows to four games | OregonLive.com.

Roy’s taken the gloves off. The minute limitations, the self-concerns, the awareness that he’s working with no brake pads on his knees, with no meniscus and that he’s not who he once was. He’s just trying to be who he once was. Or some other version of himself that doesn’t need that explosiveness, who can just shoot jumpers. It’s fearless. It’s bold. It’s heroic.

It’s sad.

Sad because at the end of this, Roy doesn’t get to go back to rollerskating and wine spritzers like my wife does (rollerskating and wine spritzers meaning explosive dunks and long minutes to Roy, and she neither rollerskates nor drinks wine spritzers, but that’s neither here nor there). At the end of this, Roy still won’t have meniscus tissue in his knees, will still hurt when he plays basketball, and will still have to wonder why it is that his body revolted in such a cruel and disappointing way.

But true to form, Brandon Roy is going down swinging.

There’s no alternative, really. To admit defeat is to go down a road of failure and self-restraint which, to be honest, is all too common in our society and is sometimes called for, but is also not heroic. And athletes, though they are almost never heroic anymore, still need that heroic mindset. They need to be able to push themselves beyond limits in order to succeed at their jobs, to really succeed.

And we’ll keep hoping that Roy is able to get to that next level, even if his comments bring concern that perhaps the cost is too great on him personally. To push himself as he’s proposing to is to invite severe injury. Things tearing, breaking, keeping him out for long stretches and worst of all, bringing even more pain. But that’s something that may happen anyway, something he can’t control. And this way at least it happens on his terms. He’s in control of his body, even if he’s destroying it in small doses.

You have to wonder if the cost isn’t too great sometimes.

Then you remember the millions of dollars and the fact that everyone loves him and it’s cool.

Kind of.

Fast start, LeBron James enough for Cavaliers to hold on to win, even series

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For the first time in 11 days, we had an NBA playoff game that finished with a single-digit margin. Barely.

It didn’t look like it would be early — Boston missed lay-ups and dunks all through the first quarter, LeBron James was being LeBron James, and the Cavaliers had a 16 point first quarter lead. It was 15 at the half.

But these Celtics would not go quietly.

Boston started to find it’s offensive groove — hunting Kevin Love incessantly — but in the end couldn’t get enough stops because, well, LeBron James. He finished with 44 points on 17-of-28 shooting, his sixth 40-point game of these playoffs. He got wherever he wanted on the floor all night, carving up the top-ranked regular season defense of the Celtics like a surgeon. No other Cavalier had more than 14 points (Kyle Korver), but the supporting cast played enough defensive and made hustle plays to hang on.

@realtristan13 with the swat and @kingjames with the finish!

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Cleveland got the win, 111-102, and evened the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday night back in Boston.

What Celtics fans can feel good about is their team’s resilience and grit. Down big for the second-straight game on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics fought back from as much as 19 down earlier in the game to get it to single digits and make the fans in Quicken Loan Arena nervous in the fourth quarter. That is something the team can carry over to Game 5, as they can some defensive tweaks that shut down opportunities for Korver and the rest of the supporing cast.

What should bother Celtics fans was another night where they struggled to generate offense in the face of more intense defensive pressure.

That came from the opening tip, with the Celtics missing a few layups and a couple of Jaylen Brown dunk attempts — all of which allowed the Cavs to get early offenses and mismatches going the other way. Those missed shots fueled a 10-0 Cavaliers run that had Cleveland up 19-10 early. The Celtics shot 3-of-10 at the rim in the first quarter, shot 26 percent overall, and trailed 34-18 after one.

The second quarter saw the Celtics start to find their offense — they scored 35 points on 50 percent shooting — but they only gained one point on the Cavaliers lead because Boston couldn’t get stops. LeBron had 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the first half to pace a Cleveland team that shot 61.5 percent overall and hit 6-of-11 threes. That’s why the Cavs were up 68-53 at the half.

The Celtics energy was better than Game 2, but in the first half they looked like a young team, one that made a lot of mistakes.

In the second half, the Celtics started to figure things out — they started making the extra pass, they got stops for stretches, they looked more like a young team figuring things out. They finished the night with 25 from Jaylen Brown, 17 from Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier had 16 points and 11 assists.

They just couldn’t completely close the gap because they couldn’t get consistent stops — the Cavaliers shot 60 percent as a team for the game, and a ridiculous true shooting percentage of 59.6. Cleveland mercilessly hunted Rozier on switches — forcing him on to LeBron or Kevin Love then attacking — and the Cavs got enough from their role players. Tristan Thompson did what he needed to bringing energy in the paint and some defense, plus he had 13 points. Korver was diving on the floor for loose balls. Larry Nance Jr. had his second good game in a row. George Hill had 13 points.

And whenever the Cavaliers needed a play, they had LeBron to turn to. He set another NBA record on Monday night, most playoff field goals made for a career.

LeBron is what needs to worry Boston most of all. The Celtics will be better at home in Game 5 — they have not lost in TD Garden all postseason — but if this thing goes seven, it’s a dangerous thing when the other team has the best player on the planet.

LeBron James passes Kareem to become all-time leader in playoff made field goals

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LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, having passed Michael Jordan last postseason.

However, LeBron racked up his buckets in the era of the three-point shot (as did Jordan, to a lesser extent), so Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in field goals made in the postseason. A lot of them beautiful skyhooks that still give Celtics fans nightmares.

Monday night, LeBron made history passing Abdul-Jabar for the top spot in NBA playoff made field goals.

Just add that to the already insane resume.

Kevin Love with insane touchdown outlet to LeBron James for bucket

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Not sure what part of this was better.

Was it Kevin Love‘s length-of-the-court outlet touchdown pass that was right on the money, where only the receiver could get it?

Or was it LeBron James, with a catch in a crowd that would make Julio Jones’ draw drop?

Either way, this first quarter bucket from the Cavaliers may well be the play of the game.

Spurs disbanding all-female dance team in favor of co-ed hype team

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Is this the wave of the future?

Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.

The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”

The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.

Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.

The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?

Just something to keep and eye on going forward.