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LeBron James’ legacy on the line against Warriors


Michael Jordan never beat a team as good as last year’s 73-win Warriors.

He darned sure never beat a team as good as these Warriors, who added Kevin Durant and swept through the Western Conference.

That’s LeBron James‘ challenge now, not even a year removed from leading the Cavaliers over a Golden State team with the best regular-season record in NBA history.

Consider it an opportunity. Consider it an unfair amount of NBA Finals competition.

But LeBron, who has made no secret of his desire to surpass Jordan, once again faces a legacy-defining series as underdog.

This could be framed as a no-lose situation. If the Cavs win, LeBron gets immense credit. If the Cavs lose, LeBron is excused on the grounds it took a stacked deck – Durant joining a core that already featured Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – to beat him.

It never works that way for LeBron, though. Too many are disinclined to give him any benefit of the doubt.

If Cleveland loses, the talk will be that LeBron can never catch Jordan now – the same thing we do every time LeBron has fallen short of a title for the last nine years.

But if Cleveland wins, LeBron will receive untold praise. He’d be hailed as a legitimate peer to Jordan, debates about the superiority of those two all-time greats kicked into a higher gear then ever.

There’s little room for a measured middle-ground reaction with LeBron. This stage and this highly anticipated matchup – the first trilogy in NBA Finals history – only invites stronger reactions.

LeBron has thrived under this pressure before. He has wilted under it.

He has just never faced a team quite like this Warriors – so hungry to avenge last year’s loss, so determined and so talented. They can throw Durant, Green and Andre Iguodala at him. Golden State’s offense will remain elite with its defensive stoppers on the floor. It’ll be so hard to keep up.

The Cavs can win, but make no mistake: The Warriors are favored for good reason. It’s important to remember that baseline when assessing the results.

And that’s ultimately what will matter – the results.

LeBron keeps lifting himself into these legacy-defining situations. Sometimes, he succeeds. Sometimes, he fails.

But, with his greatness, he always has a chance.

Larry Nance Jr., Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier exchange shoves after whistle (video)


Marcus Morris fouled Larry Nance Jr. in Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 tonight. Nance didn’t like that, got up and shoved Morris. Morris and Terry Rozier didn’t like that, and both shoved Morris.

All three received a technical foul, which seems fair.

Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala questionable for Game 5

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Andre Iguodala missed the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to the Rockets with a leg injury.

It’s not certain he – or Klay Thompson, who played through a knee injury suffered in Game 4 – will be available for Game 5 tomorrow.

NBC Sports Bay Area:

Klay Thompson, who suffered a left knee strain during the first half of Game 4, is listed as questionable, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

Iguodala missed Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion and is questionable for Game 5.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Iguodala:

He’s feeling a little better today, and he’s out on the floor. Not doing a whole lot, but making progress.

Kerr on Thompson:

Klay is moving around really well. I think Klay is going to be fine.

That sounds better than “questionable” for Thompson.

The Warriors need one, maybe both, of those two on the court. Golden State’s depth, especially on the wing, is looking shaky.

In Game 4, Golden State outscored Houston by 20 in the 31 minutes Stephen Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green played together. In the in the 17 minutes they played without even one of those stars, the Warriors got outscored by 23. Nick Young, who received more playing time when Thompson left the court area due to his injury, looked particularly overwhelmed.

James Harden‘s defense is a huge bellwether in this series. The Warriors spend a lot of focus trying to exploit him, and if that fails, the shot clock gets low before they move into another action. If Thompson is even just slowed, that’d make it easier for Harden to keep up.

Milwaukee releases video of police tasing and arresting Bucks guard Sterling Brown


Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrestedbut not charged – over a parking violation in January.

As promised, Milwaukee released video of the incident.

Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:


Bucks statement:

The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.

We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.

There needs to be more accountability.

The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.

Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist.  As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.

The video isn’t jarring due to its unfortunate familiarity – particularly compared to the many videos we’ve seen of police brutality around the nation. The scene is far too familiar. Police escalate a situation and enact violence upon someone they encounter, disproportionately minorities.

The most shocking element of this incident is the response – how the police chief acknowledges his offers acted inappropriately and how STRONGLY the Bucks stand behind Brown. That is one sharply worded statement from the team.

Hopefully, this sparks change.

Joel Embiid: Aron Baynes (‘Man bun’) ‘in NBA just to get dunked on’

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During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.

The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.


Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.

But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.

Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.