Cleveland fans celebrate Cavaliers championship with parade

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cheered by a sea of wine-and-gold dressed fans spilling off sidewalks and choking the streets, LeBron James and the Cavaliers are parading as NBA champions.

The title drought in Cleveland is over. The party – and a procession slowed to a crawl by a mass of humanity – is just getting started.

And James gave his hometown fans even more reason to celebrate Wednesday by telling reporters he intends to stay in Cleveland, skipping the drama of previous splashy announcements when he decided to go to Miami in 2010 then come back to the Cavaliers four years later.

Hundreds of thousands of fans, some arriving Tuesday night to camp out so they could get as close as possible, overwhelmed downtown Cleveland to celebrate with James, Kyrie Irving and their teammates. The Cavs made history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, ending the city’s 52-year championship drought.

This was the parade Cleveland has waited to throw since 1964, when the beloved Browns owned the NFL. There were lean years – and so many close calls – in between before James, born in nearby Akron, made good on his promise to bring home a championship.

He delivered it and Cleveland, where sports suffering has been a way of life for generations, and passionate northeast Ohioans are savoring every moment.

Fans stood on rooftops, portable toilets and hung out of office building windows hoping to get a glimpse of James, who rode in a Rolls Royce convertible with his wife, Savannah, and their three children. Near the start of the route and just feet from where his iconic, 10-stories-tall banner hangs, James stood and posed with his arms outstretched just as he does on the giant mural – life imitating art, the photo op of a lifetime.

The parade’s start was delayed more than 30 minutes because of the swarming crowd, which blocked the streets near Quicken Loans Arena and prevented the open-air vehicles that carried the Cavaliers from getting to the staging area. Police used patrol cars and a mounted horseback unit to slowly clear the congestion so the celebration could continue.

The crowd was packed so tightly that fans could reach out and high-five their heroes.

While he waited for the convoy to move, Irving jumped onto the top of a pickup truck and tossed his baseball cap into the crowd. A shirtless J.R. Smith dropped down from his vehicle and slapped hands with fans along barricades near “The Q.” Kevin Love wore a golden-studded WWE championship belt, one that was out of Cleveland’s reach for so long.

Later, James planned to address the crowd at a rally on Mall B, a wide-open area flooded with fans.

This was a parade Cleveland has wanted since the Browns won it all when Lyndon Johnson was president.

No major city had endured more pain with its sports franchises. The Browns, Indians, Cavs and Barons – yes, there was an NHL team here for a brief time in the 1970s – went a combined 146 seasons between sips of championship champagne.

When the Browns won their last title, beating the Baltimore Colts 27-0 before 80,000 at old Municipal Stadium, there was no major celebration. Cleveland fans simply went home, probably shoveled their driveways and went on with their lives. After all, championships were routine as the Browns, led by coaching great Paul Brown and a roster of future Hall of Famers, won seven titles from 1946 to 1955.

Cleveland’s mantel has been barren of trophies since, and the close calls have gained infamous nicknames: Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Move and The Decision are a part of the city’s troubled sports lexicon. The Browns lost three AFC titles to Denver from 1986-1989; the Indians were beaten in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series in extra innings; and the Cavs got swept in the 2007 Finals before losing to the Warriors in six games a year ago. Art Modell packed up the beloved Browns in 1995 and moved them to Baltimore.

Cleveland was so desperate for a parade that the previous one held for a sports team came in 1995 after the Indians made it to the World Series for the first time since 1954. They lost to Atlanta.

A parade for second place.

However, James, star guard Kyrie Irving and their teammates, who survived a coaching change midway through the season and finally fulfilled expectations in the postseason, have taken Cleveland back to the top.

There’s a new nickname – The End.

Associated Press writer Mark Gillispie contributed to this report.

Report: Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown bickered in Celtics’ locker room

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After their Game 2 loss to the Heat last night, the Celtics – especially Marcus Smart – made a commotion in their locker room.

What actually happened?

Apparently, Smart and Jaylen Brown got into it.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown had a heated confrontation inside that locker room after the Game 2 loss and needed to be separated by teammates, multiple sources told The Athletic.

Sources told The Athletic that Smart stormed into the Celtics postgame locker room saying that other players needed to be held accountable and not simply point the finger toward him when things are going wrong. As Smart continued and his voice grew louder, sources said Brown snapped back and shouted that Celtics players must stay together and that their actions must come as a team, not individually, and that Smart needed to cool off. Those sources added Smart had verbal exchanges with a couple of the assistant coaches during the game.

None of this is new for Smart. Not jawing with a Boston assistant coach during a game. Not getting hot after a loss. Not even clashing with Brown.

This is who he is – sometimes for good, sometimes not. But the same reasons Smart thrives as a feisty player are the same reasons he was going off last night.

Brown, via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston:

“He plays with passion, he’s full of fire, and that’s what I love about him most, to be honest. He has that desire and that will and we need him to continue to have that. There’s ups and downs with families all the time. But we embrace each other for who we are. And who Marcus is, I love him for it.”

Brown doesn’t mind a little chaos if it serves a greater purpose. He’s emotionally mature enough to handle this.

But will last night’s incident actually help the Celtics? Maybe it’ll light a fire under them to keep their foot on the gas when leading.

Offensive sets that can beat a zone defense would probably go further, though.

Gordon Hayward reportedly feels good, hopes to return for Game 3

Gordon Hayward return
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images
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After a frustrating come-from-ahead loss to Miami to go down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics need a boost.

Like the return of Gordon Hayward.

That is on track to happen in Game 3, although nothing is official, reports Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Hayward has been sidelined since he suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. He left the bubble for a time to get treatment, but has been back with the team, working out and going through a practice.

Gordon Hayward could be Boston’s X-factor in the conference finals — and his return may be the lift it needs. He gives the Celtics another versatile wing player — along with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — who can create his own shot and knock down open looks. Throw in Kemba Walker, and Hayward would be the fourth scoring option for Boston, making the Celtics deep and difficult to defend. Hayward also spent time guarding Butler during the regular-season matchups.

 

Celtics try to play down postgame yelling, things thrown in locker room

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“You’re not supposed to be happy when you’re down 0-2. Nothing out of the ordinary, just talking about the game.”

Jayson Tatum is right in his postgame comments, to a point. The Boston Celtics should be frustrated after blowing a 17-point lead and losing to the Miami Heat Thursday night, putting the Celtics in an 0-2 hole.

However, that part about “nothing out of the ordinary” and “just talking” in the locker room postgame? That’s not what went down, according to multiple reporters on the scene in the bubble.

After the game, the Celtics tried to play it all down. That started with coach Brad Stevens.

“Guys were emotional after a hard game, hard loss.”

Kemba Walker wouldn’t even discuss it.

“It was nothing. It was nothing. I’m not speaking about it.”

Enes Kanter took to Twitter to echo the comments of several Celtics, that they are still a family.

Boston may have just been venting postgame, but if they don’t bring the fire from the locker room out onto the court Saturday for Game 3, or this may be a very short series.

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Dates, times, matchups for all games

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And there were four.

The NBA is down to the conference finals — and the bubble has provided us with upsets galore. There are some unexpected teams in the NBA’s Final Four, but of course LeBron James is still there. The Lakers are the heavy favorites now.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except in the East, when ESPN wants a break not to clash with the NFL. The fast pace of games will return with the NBA Finals.
Families for the players, and with the final four now the coaches, are in the bubble.
• The NBA has released an NBA Finals schedule to teams and their target is still a Sept. 30 Game 1. If either conference finals goes seven games that date will need to be pushed back.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 117, Celtics 114, OT
Game 2: Heat 106, Celtics 101 (Miami leads series 2-0)
Game 3: Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Sept. 23, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 5: Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 6: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 7: TBD (ESPN)*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Sept. 18, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Sept. 22, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Sept. 24, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5: Sept. 26, 9 p.m. (TNT)*
Game 6: Sept. 28, TBD (TNT)*
Game 7: Sept. 30, TBD (TNT)*
*If necessary

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0