Last night, the Miami Heat became the second team in NBA history and the first since 1967 to overcome a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit facing elimination in the NBA Finals. In the process, LeBron James registered the first 30+ point triple double in the Finals since Charles Barkley did it 20 years ago.
Yesterday’s was the 12th playoff elimination game in LeBron’s career. Before yesterday’s game, SI’s Ben Golliver posted a chart comparing LeBron’s performance in these games to Michael Jordan’s in the 13 elimination games he played in his career, showing that LeBron has outperformed Jordan in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage in these games, while registering 0.6 fewer assists on average. Last night, LeBron matched Jordan with his sixth win in an elimination game, and did it in one fewer game, with a worse coach, a worse supporting cast, and infinity times the pressure of insane expectations put on him by the public.
Here’s a good read from Will Leitch at Sports on Earth about insane one-size-fits-all conceptions of greatness applied to certain basketball players, where Leitch makes an especially good point about the personal psychosocial costs of Jordan’s on-court success.
Game 7 tomorrow. Will probably have to get to the Haslam update next week. Hope everyone has a decent go of things in the meantime.
And how do we know this? We just do.
Hey, Mary Kay: I have been a Browns fan for well over 30 years. This year I still have that sinking they will be terrible again. Do you have the same feeling, or have I been trained to think that way? — Kevin Sandy, Navarre, Ohio
Hey Kevin: I have to disagree with you. I don’t think they’ll be terrible. I think they’re very strong at some integral spots such as the offensive and defensive lines. They’ll rush the passer, which should keep them in most games. They’ll have a good running game, and the passing game should be much improved. The coaching will be very good on both sides of the ball. I think they’ll play a lot of quality football this year even if they don’t win a ton of games. They’re on the right track with this roster and these aggressive schemes.
Something [click to continue…]
Someone has been doing some good work to keep Chief Wahoo’s Wikipedia page up to date, with significant edits having been made last week. The page does an especially good job of tracking public statements on the Jim Crow/Third Reich relic made by the Cleveland Indians organization as well as critics of the symbol and other notables.
There’s also reference to some polling results and other research that I hadn’t seen before, including a report from Terry Pluto that “the overwhelming majority” of Native Americans he met on a tour of reservations in the late 90′s object to the logo. But my favorite addition is probably this: [click to continue…]
Eric Mangini has joined the San Francisco 49ers as a senior consultant, in part to help the Niners offense prepare for opposing defenses, in a move that makes a lot of sense for both sides. In his last two go-rounds in the NFL, as head coach of the New York Jets and then the Cleveland Browns, Mangini worked for two of the worst owners in modern league history, born billionaires Woody Johnson and Randy Lerner. Given this experience, folks close to Mangini said that he would be more careful about choosing where to cast his lot in his return to the NFL. In San Francisco, Mangini ends up with one of the league’s best organizations working for a head coach who has as much job security as any in the league.
Mangini has spent the last two years working as a part-time analyst at ESPN, collecting a seven-figure salary on his guaranteed contract with the Browns, and breaking from the grind of the NFL to spend more time with his wife and his three young sons. Meanwhile, Mike Holmgren, the man who fired Mangini in Cleveland, became a casualty of the Browns’ recent ownership change, as well as his own choice of Pat Shurmur as Mangini’s successor. And Mike Tannenbaum, Mangini’s GM in New York, has since been thrown to the wolves by Johnson, with head coach Rex Ryan now coaching for his life.
Smart football fans in Cleveland hated [click to continue…]
In the ninth inning of yesterday’s Indians/Reds game, with his team holding a 4-2 lead, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman buzzed a 100-mph heater past Nick Swisher’s head, and Indians radio announcer Tom Hamilton lost it. You can see the pitches and hear Hamilton’s reaction at the video posted here, which includes his statement that, “what you’d love to see Swisher do here is knock it right off the temple of Chapman and see how much fun it is to have a ball coming at your head.”
Actually, Tom, only the worst people would love to see Swisher murder Chapman with a line drive to the temple. That would be awful.
But that’s why everybody loves Hammy. He wants to win as bad as anyone does, rules against cheering (or getting real pissy about losing) in the pressbox be damned. And the bloodthirsty radio man wasn’t done with the Reds reliever yet. After going on a bit about how Terry Francona will surely see to it that Chapman’s teammates rue the day that a fastball buzzed past Nick Swisher’s head, Hamilton then got into politics on a broader level.
“Maybe you get away with that in Cuba,” he said, referring to Chapman’s status as a native of the island country.
As much as this statement probably falls closer to idiotic jingoism than anything else, there’s at least a chance it was intended as a comment on Cuba as a place where things are so backward that pitchers can throw inside at batters with impunity.
So it’s at least worth pointing out that [click to continue…]
“I think twice about the big bow tie. You wearin’ one? I wanna know why.” — Kool Keith
Dan Gilbert’s private jet: Where dignity and diversity go to die.
Here’s the entourage that the Cavs owner shuffled to New York City to represent Cleveland at his third annual NBA draft lottery party on Tuesday. If you’re counting, that’s at least two morning drive-time sports talk radio hosts, one celebrity chef/burger chain owner who sells a lot of sandwiches at Quicken Loans Arena (and advertises heavily with one of those radio hosts), and one locally based rapper who sold the Cavs an intro song and headlines his Instagram page with an ode to masturbating in airplane bathrooms.
And here’s Grantland’s Zach Lowe with an incisive and charitable first-hand account of how, “it has been a little off-putting over the last three seasons to watch Cleveland turn a loser’s event into a ritualized frat party.”
Of the Gilbert contingent’s explosive lottery room celebration that erupted when it was announced that the Cavs had won the first pick, Lowe explains: [click to continue…]