LeBron crashes into wife of golf star Day as Cavs top Thunder

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CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James crashed into the crowd and injured the wife of golf star Jason Day during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 104-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

Ellie Day was taken from the arena on a backboard. There was no immediate report on her condition.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound James was scrambling for a loose ball in the fourth quarter when he plowed into her as she sat in a courtside side.

Day is the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world. He won the PGA Championship this year for his first major win on the PGA Tour. On Nov. 11, Ellie gave birth to the couple’s second child, a girl named Lucy.

James scored 33 points and added 11 assists and nine rebounds. Tristan Thompson had 15 rebounds for the Cavs, who improved to 11-1 at home.

Russell Westbrook scored 27 and Kevin Durant 25 for the Thunder, who had won six in a row. Oklahoma City was down 98-89 with three minutes left and closed within 103-100, but both Durant and Westbrook missed 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.

The frantic final three minutes were overshadowed by James’ collision with Day, who was unable get out of the way when he came tumbling into her chair. James came over to check on her condition during a stoppage in play, reaching out his hand to touch hers as medical personnel attended to her near Cleveland’s bench.

Day, who lives in Columbus, accompanied his wife as she was carried from the floor.

The Cavaliers were missing guards Mo Williams (thumb), Iman Shumpert (groin) and Kyrie Irving, who could make his season debut Sunday against Philadelphia.

Thompson added 12 points and his energy kept the Cavs close in the third quarter. Richard Jefferson added 13 points off the bench for Cleveland, now 31-2 in regular season games at home since Jan. 15.

With the Cavs down 78-74 to start the fourth, Kevin Love made two critical plays to swing the momentum for Cleveland.

First, he pump faked Nick Collison in the air to draw contact and dropped a 3-pointer while being fouled. After knocking down his free throw, Love grabbed a rebound on the defensive end and heaved a look outlet pass to a waiting James, who was bumped before dropping in his layup to put the Cavs up 80-78.

As James went to the line, Love walked over following his deep completion and slapped hands with Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was sitting courtside.

Thompson was Cleveland’s best offensive weapon in the third, grabbing boards and scoring inside – once off a behind-the-back pass from James – to help the Cavs chip away at Oklahoma City’s 10-point lead.

Durant scored 14 points in the first quarter, but it was Westbrook’s basket that ended an 8-0 run to put the Thunder up by 12 early in the second quarter.

The Cavs, though, responded by ripping off 14 straight points in a three-minute stretch.

Westbrook seemed to ignore Dellavedova, who knocked down two 3-pointers as Cleveland went on an 18-0 run to take a 46-40 lead. Ibaka’s free throw ended Oklahoma City’s 5-minute dry spell and the Thunder closed the half with a 7-0 spurt to lead at the break.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Oklahoma City is 6-7 against the East and 11-2 versus the West. … G Anthony Morrow was not with the team because of a personal matter. … Former Cavs G Dion Waiters was booed when he entered the game in the first quarter. Waiters was traded by Cleveland last season. He finished with 4 points.

Cavaliers: The Cavs observed a moment of remembrance before the game for center John “Hot Rod” Williams, who died last week at 53. Williams was a member of those talented Cleveland teams, which included Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and always lost to the Michael-Jordan led Bulls in the playoffs in the 1980s-90s.

 

Watch Tom Brady tell Charles Barkley to “take a suck of that” after he holes fairway shot

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It was the highlight of an entertaining — if not always pretty — afternoon of live golf, raising money for charity.

Tampa Bay Bay Buccanneers quarterback Tom Brady (it’s so weird to type that) was on his fourth shot on the par-5 7th hole at the Medalist Golf Club. Brady had a rough front nine to that point, and commentator Charles Barkley decided to up the trash talk (as if Barkley should talk about someone else’s golf game).

“How many shots do you want? Come on, I’m going to give you some shots man, I want some of you,” Barkley said.

“Don’t worry, it ain’t over yet,” Brady countered as he walked up to his fourth shot, 130 yards from the pin. “I think you just made him mad, Chuck,” host Brian Anderson said. “No, he can take a joke,” Barkley replied. Then this happened.

Brady earned that trash talk.

It wasn’t the only great exchange between the two; they had some fun on an earlier on a par 3 when Barkley bet Brady couldn’t get it on the green.

Increasing buzz teams well out of playoffs will not come to Orlando for games

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The Golden State Warriors have been public about it, they expect their season to be over. Golden State is far from alone, multiple teams well out of the playoff picture have questioned the expense and risk-to-reward ratio of coming back to play a handful of regular season games without fans in Orlando.

More and more, the buzz has been the NBA league office sees things the same way. I am not the only reporter hearing this: Steve Popper of Newsday wrote a column saying there was no reason to invite all 30 teams to the bubble city and the USA Today’s well-connected Jeff Zillgett added this:

This is where we throw in the caveat: There are no hard-and-fast plans from the NBA yet and every option is still being considered. One lesson Adam Silver took from David Stern was not to make a decision until you have to, and Silver is going to absorb more information in the coming weeks — such as from the recent GM survey — before making his call.

That said, the league seems to be coalescing around a general plan, which includes camps starting in mid-June and games in mid-July in Orlando.

For the bottom three to five teams in each conference, there is little motivation to head to Orlando for the bubble. It’s an expense to the owner with no gate revenue coming in, teams want to protect their NBA Draft Lottery status, and the Warriors don’t want to risk injury to Stephen Curry — or the Timberwolves to Karl-Anthony Towns, or the Hawks to Trae Young — for a handful of meaningless games.

The league is considering a play-in tournament for the final seed or seeds in each conference (there are a few format options on the table, it was part of the GM survey). That would bring the top 10 or 12 seeds from each conference to the bubble, depending upon the format, and they would play a handful of games to determine which teams are in the playoffs (and face the top seeds).

Either way, that would leave the three or five teams with the worst records in each conference home. Which is the smart thing to do, there’s no reason to add risk to the bubble for a handful of meaningless games.

Eight-year NBA veteran Jon Leuer announces retirement

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Jon Leuer is only age 31, but the big man has battled ankle and other injuries in recent seasons, playing in only 49 games over the past three seasons. Last July, the Pistons traded him to the Bucks in a salary dump, and Milwaukee quickly waived him. Leuer struggled to get healthy and did not catch on with another team.

Sunday he took to Instagram to announce his retirement.

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I love the game of basketball. I still want to play, but I know deep down it’s not the right decision for my health anymore. The past 3 years I’ve dealt with a number of injuries, including 2 that kept me out this whole season. It’s taken me a while to come to grips with this, but I’m truly at peace with my decision to officially retire. As disappointing as these injuries have been, I’m still thankful for every moment I spent playing the game. Basketball has been the most amazing journey of my life. It’s taken me places I only could’ve dreamed about as a kid. The relationships it brought me mean more than anything. I’ve been able to connect with people from all walks of life and forged lifelong bonds with many of them. What this game has brought me stretches way beyond basketball. I’m grateful for this incredible ride and everyone who helped me along the way. 🙏🏼🙌🏼✌🏼

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Leuer — a second-round pick out of Wisconsin for the Bucks in 2011 — averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a game for the Pistons in the 2016-17 season, and for the years at the peak of his career he was a quality rotational big man teams could trust, either off the bench or as a spot starter.

Over the course of his career he played for the Bucks, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Suns, and Pistons. He earned more than $37 million in salary, most of it from a three-year contract the Pistons gave him in 2016. It was not long after his body started to betray him.

Leuer has been riding out the quarantine in Minnesota is wife Keegan (NFL coach Brian Billick’s daughter) and the couple is donating thousands of meals a week to the needy in that community.

 

New York Governor clears path for Knicks, Nets to open facilities for workouts

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As of today, 19 NBA teams have their practice facilities open for players to come in for individual workouts, but 11 have yet to open the doors. Some it’s the decision of the team, some it’s that the municipality or state had not allowed it.

The Knicks and Nets — in the heart of New York, the part of the nation hardest hit by COVID-19 — are two of those teams whose facilities are closed. However, on Sunday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said they could open the door for practice.

“I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena — do it! Do it!” Cuomo said at his press conference. “Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports. To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible. And we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”

While the teams have not formally announced anything yet, it is likely at least the Nets will open soon for the players still in market to workout (the majority of players from the New York teams went home to other parts of the country). The Knicks, well out of the playoff picture, may be much slower to open their facilities back up.

When they happen, the workouts come with considerable restrictions: one player and one coach at each basket, the coach is wearing gloves and masks, the balls and gym equipment are sanitized, and much more.

One part of a potential plan for the NBA to return to play called for a couple of weeks of a training camp at the team facilities, followed by 14 days of a quarantined training camp in Orlando at the bubble site. Multiple teams reached out to the league about doing their entire training camp in Orlando to avoid having players quarantine twice (once when the player reports back to market, once when the team goes to the bubble city).