Kobe settles case where fan said he was “assaulted” during game

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In 2005, insurance agent Bill Geeslin had the seats we all dream of for a game — courtside. It was Nov. 14 and his Memphis Grizzlies were playing (and would beat) Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

During the game Kobe chased and dove for a ball going out of bounds and he landed on Geeslin, something we’ve seen a hundred times before and since. The kind of hustle we applaud in athletes.

But Geeslin sued Kobe, saying he was assaulted and was left with a bruised lung cavity due to Kobe giving him an intentional forearm. He wanted in excess of $75,000 in the suit and said at deposition he “felt like a human punching bag.” I would say he felt like a greedy punching bag, but that’s just me. And when he passed away two months later (for causes not related to the incident) his estate continued the lawsuit.

Which a judge threw out at summary judgment saying no reasonable juror could say this was on Kobe. We thought that was the end of it. Reasonable minds prevail. Yea for American legal justice.

Ahh, but there is an appeal process. An reasonable minds do not always win in court. The Memphis Commercial Appeal and  Ball Don’t Lie picked up the story there and said that while the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said that claims of Geeslin’s emotional distress should be tossed, the claims of assault should get a second look. And so that part of the trial was going forward.

And so, it was set to go to jury selection this week. Seriously.

So Kobe settled to make the thing go away. We don’t know if it was the full $75,000, but the smart bet is it was close.

So to be clear, seven years of time for judges and lawyers because Kobe went after a ball out of bounds and didn’t kiss the guy’s a** afterwards. God bless America and our legal system.

Not to be insensitive to the dead, but as Straight outta Vancouver said so well, you sit in the front row of a game you take on the risk. We want our players to hustle after balls and entertain us by working hard, you sit in the front row you paid a premium to be close to the sweat and the effort and the stars. That comes with the risk that a large athlete moving fast may run into you, spill your beer and knock you over. Deal with it.

By the way, McDonald’s coffee is hot and if you hide out and jump in a tank of killer whales at SeaWorld after hours you might die. And that is your fault, too.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Cavaliers cruise past Celtics in Game 3, change complexion of Eastern Conference finals

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The Cavaliers were heavy favorites over the Celtics entering the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James has dominated the East for years, and Cleveland appeared to hit its stride in a sweep of the Raptors last round. Boston was shorthanded and inexperienced.

Were the Celtics’ two wins to open the series, as impressive as they were, really enough to override everything else we knew about these teams?

The Cavs walloped Boston in Game 3, 116-86, Saturday. Cleveland now has four of the NBA’s last five 30-point playoff wins – two against the Celtics last year, one over Toronto last round and tonight. (The Cavaliers lost the league’s only other 30-point game between, to the Pacers in the first round.)

Boston still leads the series 2-1, and teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have won it 80% of the time.

But the team up 2-1 is usually the one seen as better entering the series. That isn’t the case here, not with LeBron on the other side. And the leading team usually isn’t so woeful on the road, which will remain a major storyline entering Game 4 Monday in Cleveland.

The Celtics bought themselves margin for error, but they blew a lot of it tonight.

It’d be an oversimplification to say the Cavs just played harder, but they did, and it went along way. They chased loose balls, tightened their defense and moved more off the ball offensively. Cleveland jumped to a 20-4 lead, led by double digits the rest of the way and spent most of the game up by at least 20.

LeBron (27 points, 12 assists, two blocks and two steals) dazzled as a passer and locked in as a defender. He received help from several players:

In a low-resistance effort, Boston didn’t goon up the game at all.

The Cavaliers still have plenty of work ahead to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals, but tonight, they showed a path to advancing. Climbing out of their early series deficit now looks far less intimidating.