LeBron James is doing everything for the Cavaliers these playoffs.
That includes another big night in Game 3 — 38 points, seven assists, six rebounds — he had his second buzzer-beater game-winner of the playoffs, this one as time expired Saturday night, a ridiculous contested running bank shot.
The shot has the Cavaliers up 3-0 on a scrappy Raptors team that did not fold on the road down two games, or when they were down in this game by double digits. It just doesn’t matter when LeBron can hit shots like that. How does he even consider or trust a shot like that?
LeBron James on Cavaliers' final possession: "I had more than enough time to get the ball from one baseline to the other… When do I decide what shot to take? To be honest, sometimes I really don't know but I trust every shot I'm going to take because I work on every shot." pic.twitter.com/vkmBGFiE3E
LeBron James on his game-winner: "I live for those moments. That mental clock, of being a kid, 3-2-1, making the noise of the net. I've been doing that since I was 6, 7, 8. Maybe even before that. There's a picture floating around besides a Little Tykes hoop, saggy pants Bron" pic.twitter.com/tab8vEBZER
Sources have told the Sun-Times that 76ers assistant Ime Udoka is the front-runner to become the Bulls’ new coach, with Raptors assistant — and former Bulls assistant — Adrian Griffin also in the picture.
Udoka had a seven-year NBA playing career, plus he played in Spain, then after his playing days became an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Last offseason he jumped to the bench of the Philadelphia 76ers under Brett Brown (who came out of the Spurs coaching tree). Boylen is also a member of the Popovich coaching tree.
Teams not invited to Orlando are looking at conducting “mini-camp” style workouts and maybe having scrimmages/exhibitions against each other in August, so their players don’t go from March to December without playing in games. While the Bulls are not on a tight timeline to make a coaching decision, if they are bringing in someone new they would want that person in place before that summer training camp.
Kevin Durant confirms “My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all.”
The betting odds on the seven seed Brooklyn Nets to win the NBA title dropped to 60-1, even with the Thunder and better than the Trail Blazers and others, all because some fans thought maybe Kevin Durant would return. That despite report after report that it was not happening.
“It’s just best for me to wait,” Durant said. “I don’t think I’m ready to play that type of intensity right now in the next month. It gives me more time to get ready for next season and the rest of my career.
“My season is over. I don’t plan on playing at all. We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season.”
Durant added in the interview he has fully recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive for the coronavirus back in March not long after the season was shut down.
Next season the Nets will enter as one of the favorites in the East. For the restart this season, however, they will be the seven seed in the East with a tough first-round matchup against Toronto, or maybe Boston.
Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum commends Jody Allen for no vote
Portland's vote — the lone dissenting in the 29-to-1 Board of Governors call today on the NBA's 22-team plan to resume season — reflected the franchise's feedback from its players too, sources said. https://t.co/xwA5cKDxdJ
Sources: Blazers are eager to resume season, but chose to vote “No” because franchise believed there were more competitive and innovative formats on table — including those that addressed 2020 NBA Draft lottery odds based on regular-season game results in Orlando.
We play for an ownership group that actually listens to its players and has a backbone. We voiced what we felt was the best option and they followed our lead. I commend our front office and Jody Allen. https://t.co/mAj5EzeiUh
Wojnarowski mentioned how lottery odds are calculated – relevant only if Portland misses the postseason and something current players tend not to dwell on.
This feels incongruous.
Was safety a concern? The risk of coronavirus is higher with 22 teams than 20. However, it’s higher with 20 teams than 16.
The Trail Blazers are 17th in the league. And nobody publicly mentioned health. Having just 20 teams – especially with a group stage – would’ve given Portland an easier path into the top 16. (It’s unclear how many teams would’ve made the playoffs with a group stage).
NBA commissioner Adam Silver wanted everyone to unite behind this plan. Even other owners who disagreed with the plan voted for it. But with the Trail Blazers’ no vote, Allen engendered greater support from her players. If nothing else, that has value.
Report: NBA eying in mid-July 2021 NBA Finals in advance of Olympics
The NBA Finals normally begin 226 days after the regular-season opener with an 18-day window to play the best-of-seven series. So, based on a typical timeline, a Dec. 1 opener would mean the Finals would be held July 15 – Aug. 1., 2021.
It probably won’t be regular-season games. As much as the NBA would like its players to get exposure in the Olympics, owners will be extremely reluctant to surrender direct revenue. Likewise, the many NBA players not headed to the Olympics should share similar financial concerns.
More likely, the league will reduce the number of rest days during the 2020-21 season. That seems risky given the drastic disruptions already affecting conditioning entering the season.
It’s also possible players whose NBA teams advance deep enough in the playoffs just won’t be able to play in the Olympics (or Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, which are scheduled for June and July 2021).
Like with many things affected by coronavirus, there are no good answers – just hard decisions on what to compromise.