Fountains of Youth… Drains of Necessity

The heart is the real fountain of youth.— Mark Twain

It’s been less than a week since a dramatic series of rapid fire deals at the trade deadline altered the fortunes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the events of the intervening days have been hard to put into proper context… or even words. It’s rare that a team has undergone so much change in such a short amount of time (okay rare for teams that aren’t the Cavs… since they did a similarly massive deal exactly a decade ago), and the ramifications will continue to be unpacked for days, weeks, months and possibly years to come.

Much has been already made of Koby Altman’s now semi-infamous quote that he took from his old boss coach Kyle Smith…

“We want fountains, not drains.”

It’s been repeated by an assortment of media pundits, and has reverberated throughout the locker room, organization and fan base. On it’s face… it’s a simple statement. Yet, one that strikes at the core of what was ailing the Cavaliers. Being a drain not just on the court physically, but also in the locker room mentally and emotionally, was the default mode of several of the jettisoned parties in these deals. In fact, about the only real collateral damage out of the lot was poor Channing Frye… his expiring deal being too attractive to offset his value to the team as one of the few net positives during the recent death march. Yet, even without the infusion of youth and athleticism the Cavs received in return, these trades were still an ultimate case study in the theory of addition by subtraction.

Cleaning Out The Drains


I’ll try not to spend too much time rehashing what we all bore witness to over the last couple of months. But, it’s safe to say that the drains have been washed away…

Losing Isaiah:

As dubious as many of us here were when the “forced” trade of Kyrie Irving went through last summer, and netted us a still injured (and still tiny) point guard, there remained an undercurrent of optimism that the giant sized chip on the fun sized man’s shoulder might help to restore his old powers by the new year. Early on, he said the right kinds of things about fitting in, working hard to return to the court, and wanting to contribute to the Cavs’ championship aspirations. He was maybe the team’s biggest cheerleader outside of the Cavalier Girls, routinely getting off the bench to give high fives, chest bumps and even a technical foul to celebrate with his new running mates. When the time came for him to return to the floor, it seemed like the perfect time for an infusion of offense… especially given how the Cavs had come up short against the Warriors, Kings and Jazz. I was actually in attendance at IT’s Cavs debut against the Blazers in Cleveland. Sure, he was as rusty as expected… but he was still able to score 17 points in 19 minutes, and had flashes of his former All Star self to help the Cavs to a much needed win.

Turns out, that performance, and the one that followed against the Magic, were so much fools gold. It quickly became obvious that Thomas still had a long way to go to be effective against the better teams in the league… especially the ones determined to exploit the drain of his defensive deficiency. When his shots weren’t falling (which was often), the Cavs were genuinely playing 4 on 5 basketball. He was also clearly a drain on LeBron’s mood, as James made no attempt to hide his disdain for his sieve of a point guard. Then came the finger pointing, bad mouthing, and myopic attitude in interviews. Something had to give… but most couldn’t imagine the Cavs’ front office cutting their losses on Isaiah. And, then they did just that. In shipping Thomas to the Lakers, the Cavs not only avoided the impending issue of having to overpay a sub six foot defensive black hole to be the face of the franchise once LeBron left (and I strongly believe he would have if IT stayed), but they also effectively took a spray bottle of Febreze to the locker room. As a person, I do hope Thomas succeeds with a fresh start in Los Angeles. As a player, I can’t wait to forget him.

Three’s Not A Crowd(er):

Jae Crowder was heralded briefly as the most tangible and underrated piece the Cavs were securing in the Irving trade initially. He was supposed to be exaaaaaactly the kind of three and D guy who could not only help guard Kevin Durant in the Finals, but also knock down presumably wide open spot up corner threes (given his proclivity for that with the Celtics last season). Crowder was a guy known for his hard-nosed defensive prowess, and seemed like he’d be a good fit on a defensively challenged squad like the Cavs, either sharing the court with LeBron or as his relief off the bench at the small forward spot. In fairness to Jae, he went through an emotionally brutal start to his Cavs career with the passing of his mother just after the trade was announced. Once in Cleveland, he never quite seemed to fit into the team’s mainly systemless approach. Adding to that, was possibly the residual animosity Crowder had towards certain guys on the team from past playoff battles. I always wondered if he ever got that apology he publicly demanded from JR Smith after the first round sucker punch in 2015.

Not to mention, the wounds were probably still fresh from the ECF shellacking he, IT and the Celtics took in 2017. It’s never easy to switch sides to join your bitter enemy… unless you’ve got a familiar face with whom you can bunker down. So, it was no surprise to hear snippets of stories come out about Jae and Isaiah sectioning themselves off from the rest of the team. Crowder was just starting to come around offensively in the games prior to the trade that sent him to Utah… yet, his defense still left a lot to be desired. The Cavs could have conceivably hung onto him, especially given his friendly contract, but it was clear he needed a different crowd to run with to be effective.

A Rose By Any Other Name:

Would still probably not smell as sweet. Derrick Rose did his best Rick Deckerd impression from the beginning of the original Bladerunner this season… “I was quit when I came in here. I’m twice as quit now.” Has any other NBA player ever walked away from his team in the middle of the season without giving a discernible reason… twice? Rose reportedly had to take some time away to evaluate whether or not he should continue playing the game. He obviously got the wrong answer, because he eventually returned to the team to continue to miss shots, drive into traffic and impersonate a turnstile on defense. Rose never panned out as either a token starter or as a change of pace scorer off the bench, and between injuries and his extended hiatus, could never really get in sync with this team. It’s kind of a small miracle that the Cavs were able to unload him for anything at all, let alone as part of the package that brought back Rodney Hood. Yet, it’s no surprise the former MVP of the League was immediately bought out and is hoping to catch on with a contender after the All Star Break. Doubtful we see Rose in the NBA next season, but at least he won’t be draining minutes as a Cav.

No Clogs In The Shower:

Well, the good news is that we can finally retire our unofficial website www.pleasestopdribblingShump.com now. The other good news is that we no longer have to wonder why Iman Shumpert’s defensive skills evaporated, why he had delusions of being a playmaker, or if Ty Lue might randomly toss him into a game to drain us of patience and optimism. If it seems like I’m being too hard on Shump, it’s only because I had such high hopes for him when he joined this team three years ago. He was supposed to be Tony-Allen-in-waiting level good on defense… and, for a while (especially early on) he looked like he might be on that track. Yet, somewhere along the way, whether from a series of nagging injuries or a slew of outside interests beyond basketball, Shump lost a step in his effectiveness. He signed a $40M deal that probably would have been money better spent on Matthew Dellavedova, then decided he should try his hand at playmaking and three point shooting. That went about as well as any rational person might expect. I would say that maybe, like Sampson, his powers deserted him once he cut his trademark high top fade… but that would be a hollow excuse. On a positive and wistful note, Shump will always be remembered (as Nate constantly reminds me) as NBA Champion Iman Shumpert for the role he played in securing the 2016 title. At least getting shipped out to the Kings should give him plenty of time to work on his music.

Stop Wading Around:

Sometimes, it’s those closest to us who can be the biggest emotional drains on how we perceive the world around us. You can’t get much closer than the peanut butter & jelly combo of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. They’ve been best friends forever. They’ve been team mates twice. They’re core members of the Banana Boat Crew for crying out loud. But, when close friends aren’t happy, they tend to project things on one another. They also tend to want to isolate each other and invite the other to wallow and commiserate on shared issues and experiences. Who knows if this is what happened with DWade and LeBron in Cleveland, but by all reports it’s not too far off. Wade probably never should have left South Beach two years ago (and probably wouldn’t have if the sockless curmudgeon hadn’t run him off). He didn’t seem happy in Chicago last season, and appeared to be equally out of sorts with the Cavs. In the same way that IT and Jae kept to their Boston clique, it’s likely that Wade did the same with LeBron, separating himself from the rest of the team… and doing his best to sequester LBJ along with him. He initially bristled at Ty Lue wanting to bring him off the bench, but once he admitted to his limitations, he started to thrive in his new role. Yet, it wasn’t the same. He couldn’t be the player he once was, except in small bursts. He couldn’t play back to backs. He probably hated the losing, especially because he knew he was fairly powerless to prevent it. But mostly, as it turned out… he was homesick for Miami. Bron even said he’d catch Wade checking the Heat box scores. It wasn’t essential to move Dwayne for any of the deals to work (the Cavs got virtually nothing in return for him), but it was the right move for him and for the Cavs. Koby Altman handled it properly, giving LeBron the heads up… and then giving Wade the option to choose his fate. There were likely sighs of relief all around as they mutually agreed to pull the drain plug on the tepid experiment, and let Wade splash his way back to Miami.

Sometimes You Gotta Break Some Eggs To Have The Wonderful French Toast:


As mentioned above, not all of the guys who got shipped out were drains. There is nothing really draining about Channing Frye. The man is the definition of an overflowing fountain. He gave everything he had, on the court and off of it, to help make the team better and try to shake them out of their funk. But, at age 34, and with the inevitable struggles with playoff defense, Channing’s expiring contract was required to bring back two promising young pieces to the new puzzle. He deserved better, but will undoubtedly find ways to contribute to rebuilding the culture out in L.A. for the Lakers. He also deserves a better send off than this piece can provide… so for the time being, I’ll just leave this here if you’d like to revisit. Stay awesome, Channing…

Gushing About The Fountains


I’m not even going to talk about numbers here. I’ll leave that to those who worship at the altar of analytics, advanced stats and RPM. Why, you might ask? Because, even though the small sample size of quantifiable information has been overwhelmingly positive in the first couple of games, this is less about statistics and more about who these guys are as people and players… and why they’ll fit so well.

Not Over The Hill:

It might seem like George Hill has been around forever… but he’s still just 31 years old. As the most experienced of the new additions, he’s actually never missed the playoffs in his eight years in the league… which is why it would have been a shame for him to have sat them out this year with the Sacramento Kings. It was clear that would have been a waste of his talents after deep runs with the Spurs, Pacers and Jazz, so the Cavs brought his blend of steady ball-handling, tenacious defense and timely three point shooting into the fold. Instantly, he’s established order in running the offense in a way that only the venerable Jose Calderon has even come close to this season. Hill doesn’t need to dominate the ball or look for his own shots. He sees the floor beautifully, gets everyone involved, and has a knack for delivering the ball where it’s needed… all while keeping mistakes and turnovers to the minimum. He’s a far cry from Kyrie Irving on offense… but the converse is also true defensively. In many ways, he’s the perfect combo/point guard to play with LeBron… mainly because he’s not competing for control of the offensive flow… something that was never the case with either Irving or Isaiah Thomas. And, with his 6’9 wingspan, foot speed and gritty demeanor, he’ll never be confused for either of those two on the defensive end either. He also says the kinds of things that should make LeBron (and the rest of us) smile…

“We have one of the best players in the history of the game, I’m sure he’s going to dictate the tempo and things like that,” Hill said. “We just got to do our job, be the best role players we can possibly be. He’s the Batman, and we got to be all Robins. We got to figure it out.”

All Good In The Hood:


Rodney Hood has such a sweet left-handed stroke on his jumper that Nate has threatened to shack up with it (along with Larry Nance’s p’n’r game). No disrespect to Utah, but what exactly did they not like about this 25 year old, 6’8 rangy Duke product with the silky smooth touch from deep? Obviously, they liked him enough to make him the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft, and to at one point believe he could be the guy who could step up and plug the hole that Gordon Hayward left in his wake. Yet, maybe the rapid growth of rookie Donovan Mitchell made Hood expendable to them. There was also speculation that Rodney was also too inconsistent at times to blossom into the frontline star Utah initially hoped he could be. That same level of pressure to be a shot creator will be less imperative in Cleveland, where he’ll receive a plethora of wide open looks from downtown (as we’ve already seen through two games). Hood is not known for his defense, though his height and reach alone as a swingman make him inherently playable. He also provides one half of a dangerous playmaking/shot-making duo off the bench with Jordan Clarkson. Whether or not that adds up to be an acceptable substitute for a secondary or tertiary scoring option for the Cavs remains to be seen, yet the early results are promising. Hood also seems ready to exceed expectations for his new team after being traded…

“It just makes you want to prove yourself even more,” Hood said. “I do feel like I have a lot of prove here as part of this team.”

Now that’s a fountain like attitude…

Same Name… Similar Game:

There’s something just so karmically and historically right with having a Larry Nance playing in Cleveland again. Just having Junior back in the place where his father’s number 22 jersey hangs from the rafters is in itself a chills-worthy event. But, it’s so much better than that given the young man’s skill set. His pick and roll dive game already flows like spring water, his long arms and legs fluidly moving towards the basket. And yet, he’s only scratching the surface of his offensive game. As he gets more and more comfortable with his new team, we’ll almost assuredly start to see him open up his mid-range arsenal when teams pay more and more attention to the shooters around him. Nance is also a game changer on the defensive end of things. It’s no secret that the young big man was the key to the Lakers’ defensive schemes on their second unit, and his length, basketball IQ and relentless hustle will allow him to affect shots for the Cavs more than any big man has in a while. Not to mention his screening and high post passing ability. There’s just endless things to like about this kid who showed an affinity for dunking on hoops in Cleveland from a very young age…

Letting It Flow:

If there was a JR Smith type of throw in equivalent to these deals that Koby Altman constructed, Clarkson would be the logical candidate. He was a contract the Lakers were desperate to unload to create cap space for two max players… a streaky and sometimes reckless, though prolific, bench scorer… and a guy who seemed more interested in creating a name for himself than trying on defense. Many of those things might be true, but what’s also true is that the context has changed dramatically. In Cleveland, Clarkson will get the opportunity to be that engine that drives the second unit once again, but will be doing so with superior pieces surrounding him rather than a litany of raw rookies and below replacement level vets in L.A. In fact, the one useful piece he had there for the second unit (Larry Nance Jr.) has come with him to Cleveland. Not to mention, he’ll get to share the court quite frequently with the guy who’s made a career out of making combo guards like Clarkson shine (can you say Mo Williams and Mario Chalmers?). Yet, Clarkson’s raw abilities are more plentiful than those other examples. Despite his streaky outside shot, he’s got a lot more in common with sixth men like Lou Williams and Jordan Crawford, who can really handle the rock as well. And, at just 25, there’s still an opportunity for him to grow into a better system defender. Plus, he’s already seemingly been taken under JR’s wing… as one of the Splash (of Henne) Brothers…

Some Turkish Delight:

Almost lost a bit in all the comings and goings of the last week is the fact that the Cavs have discovered a fifth addition to this youth movement in rookie Cedi Osman. While he barely got off the pine for much of the season, he has suddenly become a starter on this new look Cavs team. David did a masterful job yesterday in his Wood Shop piece of displaying what the Jedi does to affect the game, so I won’t belabor that here. Cedi may ultimately be a victim of available minutes once Kevin Love returns in March, but here’s hoping he doesn’t fall completely out of Tyronn Lue’s rotation, because he brings an insane amount of energy, hustle and just pure unadulterated basketball joy to this team.

Drinking It All In

A Rejuvenated King:

“I think we’re going to get a rejuvenated LeBron James, and that’s the key. This guy is so good, he dictates outcomes. That was the hardest part for me was seeing him … and I don’t want to say he didn’t believe in this group and want to be careful in saying that because he’s going to compete every night and try to get whatever teams he’s on to the Finals. But I wanted to see a renewed sense of joy in him, and being around him the last 24 hours has been great.” — Koby Altman

Ponce De Leon once famously went in search of the Fountain of Youth in what is now South Florida. LeBron James has already been there and back in search of younger and better talent to ball with. He’s now succeeded where Ponce failed to find the waters of youth. The difference between LeBron pre-trades and post-trades is the difference between night and day. Actually, night and day doesn’t do the change in his demeanor justice. Regardless of what he was actually thinking or feeling with the way this squad was previously constructed, his body language had been atrocious for weeks. It wasn’t a surprise to find out that James learned about the traction Altman was getting on the potential moves just prior to the game against the Timberwolves last Wednesday… since he went out and played one of his more inspired games of the season. Then, capped it with a conspicuous absence of chest-bumping with Isaiah.

In the games since, LeBron has truly seemed reinvigorated by the infusion of youth and athleticism. Instead of losing leads and games… he’s losing his voice while communicating on the court as vociferously as the leader of this team has all year. He had just enough left to audibly praise his young GM though…

“Well, I think Koby did a heck of a job of understanding what our team needed,” James said. “It just wasn’t working out for us, and he felt like — obviously, you guys saw his quotes — he made the changes that he felt best fits our team. Then it’s on me to make sure the new guys that come in. I make sure they fit in and make it as seamless as possible. That’s my job. This is the third game in a row my voice is gone. And so, I’m just trying to have the communication at an all-time high for us, for the new guys and for the rest of the guys as well.”

Splashing Again:

Don’t call it a comeback, JR has been here for years. Needless to say, LeBron hasn’t been the only mainstay to get inspired by the youth movement. In the last few games… the Smith has become Swish once more, as JR’s jumper has been liquid gold. The shirtless one, who came close to benching himself recently, has looked like a brand new man, especially in kicking the Cavs into gear in opening frames. He may have found a spiritual protege in Jordan Clarkson as well, as the pair of sharpshooters are inventing new three point celebrations by the minute. It’s no secret that an irrationally confident JR is the best and most dangerous kind of JR. It’s amazing to see him splashing threes with abandon again.

Purifying The Culture:

In making these deals, Koby Altman cemented his reputation as the true GM of this team, and likely altered the direction of the franchise. Though he bore the brunt of the ill-fated Kyrie Irving trade, he was not afraid to drain the swamp that was festering in his locker room… hose it down and pump in new waters of life to this team.

“I’m really excited about the new guys we have, and I’m really excited about what they are going to bring to the table,” Altman said. “I think we’re going to be energetic, and we’re just going to be fun again, and fun to watch, and fun to be around.”

Hard to say it much better than that.

To his credit, Dan Gilbert apparently went back to trusting his GM, writing even more huge checks and staying out of the way. The way this all went down makes the Duels piece from last week fairly moot (sorry Nate). CavsDan will have to write more checks this summer, but at least it will be for younger, more athletic guys. Oh yeah, his GM also held onto the coveted Nets pick, while simultaneously transforming the current squad into one that should be both more difficult for LeBron to leave behind, and more capable of continuing on if he does. Well played, sir. Prayers to Nick and your family.

The other big winner in all of this is Tyronn Lue, who now has a well of talent from which he can drink deeply…

“I thought that we’ve got guys that can shoot, dribble and pass, and they can make plays,” Lue said of the revamped roster. “It’s changed our team, and we’re a lot faster. Now I think we’ve got a chance to switch a lot of things with our size and our length. We can switch stuff defensively. I thought it would be a process; it’s still going to be a process. But the first two games I didn’t think they would not be decent. But they exceeded my expectations.”

Lue’s biggest challenge ahead will be how to juggle a rotation that goes to 11…

Water Under The Bridge

I realize I haven’t addressed or answered the ultimate question in this piece… “Will these moves get the Cavs out of the East?” and “Will these moves close the gap on the Warriors?” The answers are realistically for another day. Two games is too small a sample size to prognosticate about such things. But, I can say without reservation that the Cavaliers are indeed fun to watch again. This infusion of youth, athleticism, toughness, basketball intelligence and defensive ability is something this team needed even before the Kyrie trade last summer. Most importantly, however, is the fact that they shipped out a myriad of egos that put a drain on the team and it’s leadership, and replaced them with hungry, willing and able participants.

The fountains of youth are undeniably important… but if they continue to inspire LeBron James to put his whole heart and effort back into the game, the real impact will be realized.

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Cjef
Guest
Cjef
8 months 7 days ago

Speaking of fountains of youth tankathon has the Cavs getting Mo Bamba with the Brooklyn pick. I hope it happens!

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 7 days ago

Awesome news on Nick!!!!

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

I know it’s a super small sample size, but:

Lakers D Rating before trade- 104.6 (9th) After- 124.1 (30th)

Cavs D Rating before trade- 109.9 (29th) After- 107.2 (12th)

Incidentally, the Cavs O Rating before trade 109.3 (5th) After- 124.6 (1st)

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

I. Thomas PG 25 3-15 0-5 1-1 0 1 1 5 0 1 5 2 -8 7

Ummm Isaiah, about them superpowers you got back…

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

MVP candidate…Cavs ceiling would be unbelievable if they had kept him…

Jason
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Jason
8 months 7 days ago

The Lakers lost. That is his real superpower.

Boogieeels
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Boogieeels
8 months 7 days ago

And I think I watches him get stuffed at the rim like 5 times. Soooooooo glad he is not playing for the Cavs any longer.

Jason
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Jason
8 months 7 days ago

IT 3-15, 7 pts, 5 dimes, 5 TOs.

Jokic with a triple double, in the first half. Best player not at the ASG. 30-15-17 on 11/14 FGs.

Simmo
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Simmo
8 months 7 days ago

Jokic is awesome to watch. His passing game is sensational.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

You’re not joking, errr, ok that was bad. The Nuggets are playing great though at 9-3 last 12, and the losses were @Houston, @SanAn by 2 and vs Boston by a point.

Unfortunately the Cavs play them twice in their next 8 games, but very fortunately, Denver will be on the 2nd game of a b2b both times while the Cavs will have a off day before both times.

Jason
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Jason
8 months 7 days ago

Wait until they get Millsap back.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

West is stacked. Paul George somehow didn’t make the team, though he was put on as an injury replacement.

Nate Smith
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Along Gee! Marcus Thornton! Two cavs coach’s kids!

Nate Smith
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

nice!

daspec90
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daspec90
8 months 7 days ago

Let’s go Nick!

Boogieeels
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Boogieeels
8 months 7 days ago

Awesome news.

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

Miracles do happen!After 8 long hrs of brain surgery & 48 hrs rest,Nick is recovering nicely. Endless gratitude to the many souls whose thoughts & prayers surely impacted positive outcome. Nick still has hurdles ahead but true hope is now alive.1st question:”Did @cavs beat OKC?” pic.twitter.com/9ojbreTZmJ

— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) February 16, 2018

JOHN B
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JOHN B
8 months 7 days ago

Good deal.

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

IT is amazing tonight…all the hatorz like Nate, EG, and Tom better rethink their positions…

Right Down Euclid
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Right Down Euclid
8 months 7 days ago

I’m confused

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

EG may or may not be giving up mocking IT for Lent, but I’m certainly not…

Taximike
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Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

Me either.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

Dunno why we had to include him in the trade. He had 5 assists in the first half alone…

Taximike
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Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

Shout out to the Lakers for their improved D in the first half tonight. After giving up 65, and 79 first half points in their first 2 games post Nance/Clarkson trade, they only gave up 62 in the first half tonight. Nice job fellas!!

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

That’s some serious improvement…

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
8 months 7 days ago

JOHN B
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JOHN B
8 months 7 days ago

Greasy Calipari’s day has probably come, along with who knows how many others.

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

Probably. Also Roy Williams and maybe coach K…

GrumpyOldMan
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GrumpyOldMan
8 months 7 days ago

Roy would be surprising considering they haven’t gotten any one and done players for some time…

John B
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John B
8 months 7 days ago

Yeah, I would like to think Coach K probably got guys based off his coaching abilities, but I wouldn’t be surprised if nearly every traditional powerhouse will be tagged.

\"newnomad\"
Guest
\"newnomad\"
8 months 7 days ago

like Bosch alot but man he hasn’t played competitive ball in what 2yrs and those health issues aren’t to be taken lightly(also 33 yrs old ) —–can’t see him being of any help this year to any team—next year maybe but he also has ‘father time ” chasing him —trae young’s recent struggles may drop him in the draft

Arch Stanton
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Arch Stanton
8 months 7 days ago

You spelled it like the Prime Original Cop Drama.

MikeO
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MikeO
8 months 7 days ago

Another way-too-early mock draft, for those interested. It’s cool to read thoughts on these players from different angles, anyway. Cavs draft Mikal Bridges at 7 in this one.

https://94feetreport.com/the-94-feet-report-mock-draft-2-0-d8e69a393d6b

Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

The most interesting David Griffin quote I’ve come across is when he said in no uncertain terms that LeBron makes life very hard for the Cavs by not committing beyond 1 year deals when Dan Gilbert is spending (and I quote) an “unprecedented” amount.

Excl
Member
8 months 7 days ago

On another forum, I posted similar things to what you’ve said here Evil. However, since there’s a 1500 character limit, I can’t copy the whole thing over. To summarize:

The Top ten things I like about this trade, in order of importance:
1) It got rid of the locker-room cancers, like IT.
2) George Hill is exactly the type of Point Guard we’ve needed for a long time.
3) Larry Nance Jr could be the hidden gem of these trades.
4) The loss of half the roster sort of forced Lue’s hand in that he’s had to play Cedi Osman.
5) Jordan Clarkson is in a much better situation now, where he’s not the focus of the offense.
6) JR Smith seems to have come back from the dead.
7) Rodney Hood is a heck of a player and he’s still only the 7th best part of these deals!
8) We got rid of dead-weight in paycheck collecting Shumpert, Crowder, and Rose.
9) The new roster has dummy-proofed things for Lue, where he can pick any 5 guys out of 10/11 and it can still work.
10) Our team could have a future past this season, with or without Lebron, and that might just convince him to stay.

Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Yeah this is a great list.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 8 days ago

Just a little side note… David Griffin has been all over the place lately on radio shows, ect. I always feel like I’m listening to a psychologist with his soothing tones and counseling antidotes for today’s NBA players. LoL Anyways, on Saturday on NBA Sirius Radio, he went off script on NBA players doing Rap music during the season. They asked him what he thought about players like Lonzo making Rap songs. (I was intrigued of course because of Shumpert) He woke from his counselor mode and made it known in uncertain terms he was dead set against it. He scolded that it doesn’t help the team and pulls from the focus of the player and team. I found this interesting.

Nate Smith
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Never express individuality. Always value to the collective before all else. Yeah, Griff can eat it when it comes to this opinion.

Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

We’ll pay you enough to make you one of the richest 0.00001% of the population, but we will frown upon (albeit not actually do anything about) you focusing extensively on another career at the same time.

On a dystopian precipice indeed.

Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Oh here comes Captain Anti-Authoritarian.

Make way.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
8 months 7 days ago

That’s surprising from him. Lebron, of course, has all kinds of interests off the court. And Griff being all about chemistry and such, I’d think he’d want players to be full humans off the court doing what makes them happy. Pop, for example, encourages that. As long as it doesn’t take away from their performance/commitment to their job. No one tells a GM he can’t play golf on his day off.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 7 days ago

I was kinda surprised that “this” bothered him so much.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 7 days ago

He probably feels if Shump spent more time honing his game & less time rapping, the Cavs would have been better.

In season stuff is different than out of season.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
8 months 7 days ago

Agree. LeBron has outside interests, and continues to be the best in the world. Shump has taken up outside interests, and can’t play for squat anymore.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Not only do the Nets have the fewest home games remaining, they also have the games left (tied), games left after ASG:

23 = Suns, Hawks, Nets, Knicks
24 = Mavs
25 = Magic, Kings, Bulls, Lakers
26 = Memphis

I can see a non-congestion argument for less games being a good thing for a team. But these reams are young & I would rather have more shots at wins.

\"newnomad\"
Guest
\"newnomad\"
8 months 8 days ago

Young has a HUGE target on him both from opposing coaches and media—–put him with LeBron (and other’s) where an opposing team can’t “gang ” up on him and then he becomes what we saw earlier in the season—does need to beef up / hit the weight room

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

I’ve mostly been hearing about how the Cavs still don’t have a second star. I can’t remember who said it, I think it was on the last pod, that ‘Bron had a team of 66 wins that ran into a bunch of juicers and would have won it all and that team didn’t have a single other star. The miscalculation of this all is that LeBron doesn’t NEED another star. He needs all competent role players who are athletic and can shoot. He hardly had that in the LeBron 1.0 era. This team has it in spades.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

Even if this opinion is true, that you need more than one superstar to win, it would only apply in the Finals. OKC, Golden St and Houston all have more than one superstar. The East is a different story. No team has multiple superstars, and they damn sure don’t have a force like LBJ.

Here are the All Nba 1st, 2nd and 3rd teamers from the last 3 years that are now playing in the East:

14/15- Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving both 3rd team
15/16- Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond, both 3rd team
16/17- John Wall, DeMar DeRozan both 3rd team, Antetokounmpo 2nd team

And of course LBJ 1st team all 3 years.

Besides Lebron, no one made it more than one year, and only Antetokounmpo made it to the 2nd team.

Philadelphia is pretty close though, as I think that Embid and Simmons will be there soon.

Side note- Lebron will set the record with his 12th 1st team all nba when he makes it this year, which he most certainly will. Tied at 11 with Kobe and Karl Malone.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
8 months 8 days ago

K love is far far far far better than Mo Williams ever was.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 7 days ago

Lord, yes. Plus, Love makes LBJ better by spacing the floor & pulling a C out of the lane.

We have so many more 2 way guys now: LBJ, engaged JR, Hill, & Nance are all there easily. Green & Hood to a lesser degree.

Love, Korver, & Clarkson are huge plusses on O and can be useful at times on D (boards, length/positioning, length/quickness).

Cedi is a huge plus on D and in transition. If he is passable in half court, he is golden.

TT shouldn’t play much once Love returns or just in limited matchups (Horford).

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
8 months 8 days ago

Totally agree, and was thinking the same thing.

JRL
Guest
JRL
8 months 8 days ago

I think Clarkson will cherish next to LeBron.

Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
Guest
Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
8 months 7 days ago

flourish? or cherish being next to lebron? I’m trying not being a tool.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 7 days ago

He will cherish the ability to flourish next to LBJ…

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

Curious, EG. You didn’t talk about numbers in the article so how do you feel about the Laker’s defensive numbers with Nance on the floor?

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

If I had to guess on the Nets pick, I would say between 2nd and 4th.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
8 months 8 days ago
It seems like at least one of the top three picks is usually drawn by a team outside the teams with the top three chances. Since 1994, the first year of the current system, there have only been two years (1996 and 2016) where the top three seeds actually got the top three picks. Every other year, a non-top three seed has drawn a lottery pick. There have been seven years (2011, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1995) where two teams outside the top three seeds got lottery picks and one year (2007) where all three lottery picks were drawn by teams outside the top 3 seeds. If the nets finish around 6-7, I expect, unless the cavs get lucky with the lotto picks them to be drafting in the 7-10 range. Obviously any 1-3 will require luck in the lottery. Without luck in the lottery, the worst case scenario for us would be if any teams behind the cavs in seed draw lottery picks, at which point the cavs and everyone in front of them are pushed back at least one spot depending on how teams behind them draw a top 3. Would be nice if the Nets finished… Read more »
Raoul
Guest
Raoul
8 months 7 days ago

That is why they call it a lottery. It is a “zero sum game”, and there is no inherent advantage for any team.

In other words, you guys are doing a lot of worrying about nothing.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
8 months 7 days ago

Well, technically there are definite advantages to teams with worse records in the nba’s current lottery. The more ping pong balls you have, the greater your odds at landing a top three pick and therefore the greater your advantage. Are they absolute advantages? No. But having greater odds is always favorable in any random draw.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

FWIW, ALL THE PICKS ARE LOTTERY PICKS IN THE TOP 14, not just the top 3.

That was starting to bug me.

Also, if teams tie, they essentially draw lots for draft position. There are no tie-breakers. Or at least there weren’t last year.

John B
Guest
John B
8 months 8 days ago

Semantics. The top 3 are the only ones that are drawn for. Everything after that is based on position.

John B
Guest
John B
8 months 8 days ago

Also because the lottery is only for the top 3, not sure how picks 4-14 can be considered “lottery” picks.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
8 months 8 days ago

A team has won a lottery pick being outside the top 7 around 7 times. There have never been two teams outside the top 7 to get lottery picks in the same lottery. But if the cavs finished 7th the chances of getting bumped down a spot are very real. However, with that I would guess if the cavs finish with the 6-7 worst record, without lottery luck, they likely draft between 6-8.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
8 months 8 days ago

I’d take the over on that. It’s going to be 7-9.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

You have a bet.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
8 months 8 days ago

I’ll give you 5 and below, I’m 6 and up. I’m assuming this is odds order, not actual lottery results, yes? How’s this for the wager: for the rest of 2018, screen name is changed to “Jason/JoeyB is the smartest poster on CTB” You in?

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
8 months 8 days ago

I hope you are right. EG is taking the sane route.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Dreg comments

Least likely to catch Nets.

#2: Dallas. Because they actively tank during games. Mavs point diff is under -3 for the season, the best of these teams by far. Yet Carlisle sits Dirk, Barea, Harris, and often Barnes to close games. 9 dreg games left, only 2 at home.

#1 Suns. 1-9 in last 10. Lost 7 in a row. Only 5 dreg games left, only 1 at home. Booker has just returned and they traded for Payton to stabilize the PG spot, so maybe they get better. Schedule is tough.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Dreg comments:

I hope these two can catch Brooklyn, but I am not nearly as optimistic as with Orl/Sac.

Memphis. Grizz are 1-9 in L10 and have dropped 7 straight. All but the last two, both to OKC, without Evans. With Evans back, 11 homies, and 8 dregs, I hope they have enough to pass Brooklyn.

Atlanta: 4-6 on last 10, with Dedmon & Ilyasova not bought out yet. The Hawks actually have a positive net rating with recently bought out Belinelli OFF the floor. Despite only 5 dreg games left (4 H), I think coach Bud, Schroeder, Bazemore, Dedmon, & Ilyasova push them ahead of the Nets.

Nate Smith
Admin
8 months 7 days ago

Dedmon isn’t getting bought out.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Dreg comments:

Based on recent form & schedule, the Magic & Kings are poised to make moves.

Kings: are fairly healthy, with Mason out. Have the mist homes games left (16) & 8 dreg games left, six at home. Also a respectable 4-6 in L10.

Magic. 14 homies left is 2nd most. 4-6 in last 10. Most dreg games lefy with 10, 6 at home. Vucevic will be back soon. Gordon being out an issue. Could they shut him down in a tank? Augustine at the point for Payton could help.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Dreg comments:

NY: despite the 23 wins, without Zinger, they could get pulled in. L8 in a row. 13 home games but only 5 total games vs dregs.

Lakers: with 23 wins & having won 7/10 prior to the IT deal, I do not think they get caught. Lost both since the trade. When Ball returns, they should stabilize if they go Ball/Hart at the point. As they should. IT is not re-signing there as they chase LeBron.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 8 days ago

EG, you are an artist! I love how you put this together! Thanks for the Channing Frye link. I did not know all of that on his health. I regret not getting a Frye Cavs shirt. He was so special and good medicine for the team!

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Comments:

Nets have really struggled recently with RHJ out with a groin issue & Lavert eith a concussion. Added Dante Cunningham & lost Zeller at deadline. Fewest home games left of any dreg. Of the 7 dreg games left, 3 are vs Chicago, who are .500 since a 3-20 start. Also have 3 left with almost dreg Charlotte.

Bulls: 17-17 since that 3-20 start. Rough oatch since the Mirotic trade that included Dunn with a concussion and Markannen on paternity leave. With those 2 back & Lavine, + 9 dreg games left (T2nd), expect the Bulls to distance themselves from the bottom 7. Could catch NY.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

2nd chance at the dregs. I included the post-Zinger injury Knicks & post IT/Jr & Clarkson swap Lakers not cause I think they will get caught in the standings, but because those are winnable games. Did not include Hornets or Heat. Quibble on that if you must.

Team; Wins; H games; Dregs H/A; L10, Strk
PHX; 18; 11; 5 (1/4); 1-9; L7
ATL; 18; 11; 5 (4/1); 4-6; L2
DAL; 18; 11; 9 (2/7); 2-8; L2
ORL; 18; 14; 10 (6/4); 4-6; L3
SAC; 18; 16; 8 (6/2); 4-6; L1
MEM; 18; 11; 8 (4/4); 1-9; L7
BRK; 19; 9; 7 (4/3); 1-9; L7
CHI; 20; 12; 9 (3/6); 2-8; L1
———–
NY; 23; 5 (3/2); 2-8; L8
LAL; 23; 7 (4/3); 6-4; L2

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
8 months 8 days ago

I dont understand when people keep saying LeBron didnt chest bump IT

AC70654B-B886-481C-ACDB-972269E966BD.jpeg
Tom Pestak
Admin
8 months 8 days ago

haha

JRL
Guest
JRL
8 months 8 days ago

Nice ;)

grover13
Guest
grover13
8 months 8 days ago

Watching Jordan Clarkson play, he just looks…..bouncy. All the time. I’m going to call him Tigger.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 8 days ago

There was a time TT was called Tigger…

Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
Guest
Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
8 months 8 days ago

careful now

Leo
Guest
Leo
8 months 8 days ago

with way Nets are falling apart, would be hilarious if they end up with worst record haha and we land the prime guys and Lebron stays….ahh wishful thinking….need to take day at a time

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

It’s a roll of the dice, really. I have utter confidence in Nick Gilbert both recovering and lucking us into that number 1 pick. The 8th spot has a 2.8% chance of getting the first pick. That’s enough for Nick.

JRL
Guest
JRL
8 months 8 days ago

It’s definitely a possibility.

Leo
Guest
Leo
8 months 8 days ago

great article EG – that quote by Altman is pretty unique and kinda cool, but definitely makes sense and can be applied in any business environment. I think by mid March we should have a good gauge on how this team will look going into the playoffs. the key will be what happens when they lose a game or two….how will this team react, especially if its contending team in the East? If they bounce back then we know they’re in good shape, if there are still struggles we need to be mindful this could take longer than usual.

Nate Smith
Admin
8 months 8 days ago

Great for Jae, man.

JB225
Guest
JB225
8 months 8 days ago

If the Cavs can find a way defensively of allowing close to 100 ppg I think they would have a chance against anyone in the finals. Just wanted to get that out of my system lol.

JRL
Guest
JRL
8 months 8 days ago

Celtics, Dubs and Nets all lose yesterday.
Very nice.

JB225
Guest
JB225
8 months 8 days ago

The Dubs are not defending the way they used to, maybe they get back to it after the all star break. Opposing teams have adjusted to the Celtics and now they don’t look as good as they did back in November and December.

JRL
Guest
JRL
8 months 8 days ago

I’m thinking the Dubs are in a winter funk but they are also suffering due to Iggy and Livingston are not play like they did previously, specially Iggy.

Their bench is streaky and unless Durant, Curry and Klay go for 25+ each(which they can do every night) they have a hard time against good opponents.

They are still the faves in my mind, but Houston is closing the gap and a pissed off Russel with a “zoned in” PG can give them a good run for their money in the playoffs. It’s going to be good.

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

If Iggy and Livingston have finally started to fall off, I’m a lot more confident in our chances. Remember, last year even with that monster of a starting lineup, we played them to even. If there isn’t an infusion of Iggy to pressure Bron when KD needs a break and no Livingston to shoot jumpers over every guard on our team, they are going to have a tougher time putting us away.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

To that end, here are the dregs, with # wins, # of home games left, & # of games vs the other dregs. I will include the new look IT Lakers without Nance & Clarkson & the Zinger-less Knicks, but not the Hornets. Also record in last 10.

Oops, phone out of charge. Post data tomorrow.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

All the dregs lost tonight, though there were some close ones. No dregs games tomorrow.

As we head into the break, there are 11 teams significantly below .500. 3 are in the 23/24 win zone: Charlotte (24 wins, 4-6 in last 10); Lakers (23 wins, 6-4 in last 10); and NY (23 wins, 2-8 L10, L 8 in a row). I think LA and Charlotte are too good to get pulled into the top pick zone.

Not so NY. The bottom 8 are all really bad, and in full tank mode. The only games they are likely to win are games vs the other tankers & the odd home game.

Bobby Nachos
Guest
Bobby Nachos
8 months 8 days ago

Hawks had 35 points through 2+ quarters… I don’t think the Nets can possibly beat t he tankers. Hope for bottom 5 and a roll of the dice

GrumpyOldMan
Guest
GrumpyOldMan
8 months 8 days ago

The Pelicans might have gone for 170 if IT hadn’t gotten tossed…

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

What the hell is Bill Walton talking about?

John B
Guest
John B
8 months 8 days ago

I would love to just sit down and talk to the guy. He, unlike a lot of people form that generation really has kept the kind of hippie ethos into his senior years. Probably has some pretty out there takes on all kinds of things.

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

He does seem like a great person to just sit down and listen to.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 8 days ago

I’m convinced he smokes weed before speaking .

JMay
Editor
8 months 8 days ago

Pretty sure that Bill Walton is just 100% high all the time. What a character.

TV63
Guest
TV63
8 months 8 days ago

LMAO His son is more focused on what he says than his Dad.

Joshua Martin
Member
8 months 8 days ago

He is really off the rails tonight.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

Bill Walton oh boy….

Raoul
Guest
Excl
Member
8 months 8 days ago

Lakers gave up 46 in the first QUARTER with IT in there.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 8 days ago

He only played 5 minutes, but they did give up 21 while he was on the court.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
8 months 8 days ago

That’s more than 200 points per 48!

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 8 days ago

Boston only 3 up in loss column. Cavs schedule looks pretty easy as well.

Road games vs playoff teams:

Philly- 8 seed
Denver-6 seed (lost 2 of 3 at Denver since LBJ came back)
Potland- 8 seed (lost all 3 at Portland since LBJ came back by 16, 29, and 19)
Miami- 7 seed (ready for this?? Lost 6 of 6 at Miami since LBJ came back by avg of 15!)

As far as home games there are a few more vs playoff teams, but the only tough ones are the 2 vs Toronto, and the Cav’s will be favored in both.

Toronto (2)- 1 seed
San Ant.- 3 seed
Washington (2)- 4 seed
Milwuakee- 5 seed
Denver- 6 seed
N. Orleans- 7 seed

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
8 months 8 days ago

Gold. pic.twitter.com/Psou2RvJ4P

— Joe Gabriele (@CavsJoeG) February 14, 2018

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
8 months 8 days ago

It's true ? @cavs pic.twitter.com/IGdCPZJJEq

— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 14, 2018

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
8 months 8 days ago

Jeese, all 29 teams, blazers are fickle.

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
8 months 8 days ago

I’m concerned about the Celtics. Repeat: I AM CONCERNED.

— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 15, 2018

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

And also, why should he be concerned? He tweeted after the trade deadline how pointless all the Cavs moves were…who is he worried about??

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
8 months 8 days ago

Hmmm, bad timing Bill. Trade deadline just passed….

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

No need. Just have Rozier take more shots.

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 8 days ago

Ramona Shelburne‏Verified account
@ramonashelburne

Update: During their 12-4 stretch, the Lakers ranked third in defensive efficiency according to our stats guru @MicahAdams13. Since they traded Nance and Clarkson the Lakers have given up 130 and now 139 points

10:21 PM – 14 Feb 2018

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 8 days ago

disregard my repost

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

Waiting for the Bill Simmons column on potential trade destinations for Kyrie…

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

This will be a nice sendoff to the ASG For President Stevens and his crew…

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

DJ 8 for 9 from the line

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

30 for DJ, career hight…

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

DJ really bothering Irving on drives…

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

5 fouls on DJ…

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

One thing I do appreciate about Kyrie, is that he’s not a Flopper.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Grizz had it within 1 late. Melo 3 & a Russ rejection seal it.

If the Celtics lose this, we are within 3 in the loss column.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

Nice pas, Kyrie…

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

28 and 13 for DJ…

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

DJ talking smack to President Stevens then drains a FT

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

Clarkson’s pass was much cooler!

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

Here is Vitale’s commentary on Lavar, what we have all been waiting for…

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton
8 months 8 days ago

Man I hate the Celtics.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

With 6 minutes left, IT has only played 5 minutes. Channing has played 11. Walton appears to be a fast learner.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

IT was ejected, which is huge for the Lakers…

Taximike
Guest
Taximike
8 months 8 days ago

IT was salty that Rondo said tribute videos are for players who hang banners…

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 months 8 days ago

Oops. I missed that, just looked at the Box score. Well, they miss Nance.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
8 months 8 days ago

Rondo and IT need to play on the same team in Hell…

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
8 months 8 days ago

Hard to play when you’ve been ejected…

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