Registreringsdatum: 08 juli 2018
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|LeBron James was relaxed Jeff Locke Color Rush Jersey , reflective and even resigned to his fate.
The end of the series, season and maybe his second stint in Cleveland, are near.
The Golden State Warriors have made his eighth straight NBA Finals – and their seasonal rivalry with the Cavaliers – very one-sided.
Still weary and wrestling with emotions after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night, when Kevin Durant scored 43 points and shot the Warriors within one win of their third title in four years, James pointed out Thursday what has become terrifyingly obvious.
The Warriors are at another level. And may be for a while.
”Obviously, from a talent perspective, if you’re looking at Golden State from their top five best players to our top five players, you would say they’re stacked better than us. Let’s just speak truth,” James said before rattling off Golden State’s embarrassment of riches.
”Kevin Durant,” he said. ”You’ve got two guys with MVPs on their team. And then you’ve got a guy in Klay (Thompson) who could easily be on a team and carry a team, scored 40 in a quarter before. And then you have Draymond (Green), who is arguably one of the best defenders and minds we have in our game. So you have that crew.
”Then you add on a Finals MVP coming off the bench (Andre Iguodala) http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-troy-niklas-jersey , a No. 1 pick in (Shawn) Livingston and an All-Star in David West and whatever the case may be. So they have a lot of talent.”
Too much, it seems, for these Cavs.
James wasn’t making excuses for Cleveland’s postseason pickle because if not for a reversed official’s call or J.R. Smith’s brain-lock in the closing seconds of regulation in Game 1 or Durant’s brilliance in Game 3, the Cavs could be leading the series.
The three-time champion, though, was being open and honest about the Cavs’ chances to become the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.
To this point, 131 have tried, and 131 have failed.
”We’ve been in a position where we could win two out of these three games,” said James, who had 33 points and his 10th Finals triple-double in Game 3. ”So what do we have to do? Do we have to make more shots? Is it we have to have our minds into it a little bit more? Is it if there is a ball on the ground we can’t reach for it but you’ve got to dive for it?”
Those were today’s relevant questions. Tomorrow, they’ll be different ones if the Warriors, who have dealt with adversity all season Ryan Jensen Color Rush Jersey , sweep the Cavs.
James is headed toward free agency and then where: Los Angeles? Philadelphia? Houston?
Or will he decide it’s too painful to part again with Cleveland, his basketball home for 11 seasons and just up the highway from his actual home in Akron?
The 33-year-old plans to consider everything once the season ends, but he offered some clues about what he’ll consider before making his next move, a decision that will dwarf any other NBA news in July. James also laid out a potential blueprint for the Cavs to follow if they want to keep him.
Bottom line: James needs better, smarter teammates.
No player in the league understands the current climate better than James, who formed a super-team in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and won two NBA titles before returning to Cleveland and joining forces with All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. The Cavs’ reign lasted only one year, destroyed by Durant’s shocking departure from Oklahoma City for the 73-win Warriors, a team he couldn’t beat but was glad to join.
James said his decision to bolt from the Cavs the first time was simple.
”I knew that my talent level here in Cleveland couldn’t succeed getting past a Boston, getting past the San Antonios of the league or whatever the case may be,” he said.
But beyond the talent disparity, James said the key to winning a championship is ”you’ve got to be very cerebral too.”
James then explained what it takes to be the last team standing, and in the process seemed to take a swipe at unnamed current and former teammates.
”So now everyone is trying to figure that out Troy Apke Color Rush Jersey ,” he said. ”How do you put together a group of talent but also a group of minds to be able to compete with Golden State, to be able to compete for a championship? That’s what GMs and presidents and certain players, it’s not every player. Every player does not want to – sad to say – but every player doesn’t want to compete for a championship and be in a position where every possession is pressure.”
Months of weight will lifted off him once the Warriors, who haven’t lost four straight games since 2013, are crowned again.
This series has been a painful reminder to James that the great teams have more than one king.
”When you make mistakes they make you pay,” he said, ”because they’re already more talented than you are but they also have the minds behind it, too, and they also have the championship DNA.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins battled back to force overtime and picked up a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who still got the point they needed to clinch a playoff spot for the second straight season.
The Penguins answered every Columbus goal in regulation before Phil Kessel scored 1:06 into overtime to get the 5-4 victory in a tight game before an amped-up sellout crowd.
”We were resilient tonight,” Kessel said. ”We’ve been here before.”
Columbus entered the game needing one point in the standings and earned that when it forced the overtime. They’ll go to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in franchise history.
”It’s a little bittersweet because it’s Pittsburgh, and you don’t want to lose to them http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-trent-brown-jersey ,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. ”But in the big picture for our team, for our guys, I am really happy for them.”
The Penguins and Blue Jackets are second and third place, respectively, in the Metropolitan Division with playoff positioning not likely to be settled until this weekend.
Columbus is tied with New Jersey – which beat Toronto on Thursday – with 97 points, but the Blue Jackets hold the tiebreaker.
Conor Sheary tied the game at 12:16 in the third period to set up the overtime winner by Kessel, whose shot from the left circle was his second goal of the game and 33rd of the season.
Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang also scored, and Matt Murray had 26 saves for Pittsburgh, which completed a 4-0 season sweep of Columbus.
”We have such great leadership,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. ”These guys, they play their best when the stakes are high. They’ve proven it time and time again.”
Zach Werenski, Matt Calvert Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey , Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 38 saves.
Werenski put the Blue Jackets up 1-0 five minutes into the game when he gathered a centering pass from Pierre Luc-Dubois and backhanded the puck between Murray and the near post. Kessel went top shelf over Bobrovsky on a power play to tie it at the halfway point of the first period.
A few minutes later, Calvert danced around Penguins defenseman Olli Maata and lifted a shot over Murray’s shoulder . Hornqvist knotted it again at 15:35 when he batted a bouncing puck past Bobrovsky’s glove.
The Blue Jackets scored on a power play in the second period when Jenner connected from the slot off a sweet centering pass from Thomas Vanek.
Early in the third period, Pittsburgh tied the score yet again when Letang clanged one in off the top bar from the right circle. Atkinson made it 4-3 when he poked a shot in from the doorstep 8:25 into the third.
Sheary tied the score again with a shot that Bobrovsky deflected with his glove.
”We showed a lot of character there, finding ways to hold on and get back into it,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.
”They’re a team that really builds on leads, especially at home, so we did a good job of finding ways to get ourselves back in it and even it up pretty quick.”
NOTES: Pierre-Luc Dubois tied Zach Werenski’s rookie single-season point record with 47 and pushed his point streak to a career-high eight games. … Artemi Panarin, with assists on two of the goals, also has a five-game point streak. He has a franchise-record 82 points this season. … Hornqvist has four goals in the past four games. … Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara missed his second game with an upper-body injury. … Columbus F Josh Anderson returned after missing 17 games with a knee injury. … Pittsburgh F Derick Brassard missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury.
Pittsburgh: Hosts Ottawa on Friday night to finish regular season.
Columbus: Ends regular season on Saturday night at Nashville.