Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’

Making a Top 10 list of the 2017 NBA Finals could be done with just one player: Kevin Durant.

The move from Oklahoma City to the Bay Area has been a knockout success for Durant and he was the star of these NBA Finals as the Golden Warriors dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games.

Durant topped 30 points in each contest and was named MVP of the finals. He averaged 35.2 points and shot 55.6 percent from the field.

The good thing for Durant is he no longer has to listen to any nonsense about not having a ring. Now his only issue is trying to win another one.

The Warriors and Cavaliers have met in each of the past three NBA Finals with Golden State winning two of the crowns. It looks highly possible that the two teams could meet against next June.

The only possible problem might be Cleveland GM LeBron James — we know who runs the franchise — messing things up with his latest teammate demands.

Here are 10 takeaways from the 2017 NBA Finals:


10. Just how mad is Russell Westbrook tonight after seeing Durant celebrating his NBA title?

9. Television announcer Mike Breen yelled “BANG!” after a 3-point basket … which I’m sure families who have had somebody shot to death always appreciate while watching a SPORTING EVENT.

8. Did Golden State’s David West and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson kiss when they had that little love scuffle? Who proposed to whom in that scenario?

7. Kind of funny to me that some people are just discovering how good Kyrie Irving is — do they not watch basketball until the Finals?

6. My back gets sore just looking at Warriors coach Steve Kerr. I can’t imagine how painful it must be to battle spinal fluid issues.

5. LeBron James has been in the NBA Finals seven straight seasons. Was about to think how tough that is to do until I see Cleveland benchwarmer James Jones (eight minutes played in the series) has achieved the same thing.

4. No more Doris Burke questions for five months. Thank God.

3. Draymond Green’s annoyance level is now higher than his talent level, a sad development when you consider what a great story it was for a second-round selection to become a big star.

2. Games feel disappointing when Stephen Curry doesn’t make at least one 60-footer in a game.

1. Some buffoons at an Oklahoma City newspaper once called Durant “Mr. Unreliable” in a headline. Hopefully the entire staff was fired.


Well, I guess we can never dog LeBron James any more.

Was fun while it lasted.

Can’t do nothing but praise the man known as “King James” after the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals.

James and the Cavaliers won the city’s first major professional sports championship in 52 years with Sunday’s 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the rout-infested series.

James’ legacy had been questioned – particularly after Cleveland fell into the 3-1 hole – but a third world title in his career silences that debate.

If the Cavaliers had lost the series, James would’ve been 2-5 in seven NBA Finals appearances. And it would have been more than fair to question his ability to deliver a ring.

Remember, he won his first two titles with the Miami Heat when he had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates. He was supposed to be part of a three-star circus in Cleveland too but Kevin Love has proven to be a terrible fit with James, leaving Kyrie Irving as the lone true other star on the squad.

James helped Cleveland stay alive with back-to-back 41-point performances and climaxed his strong series with the third Game 7 triple-double in NBA Finals’ history, joining Los Angeles Lakers icons’ Jerry West and James Worthy. James had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on Sunday.

He was the unanimous MVP of the series and I’m pretty sure he would have been named MVP even if Golden State had won.

Oh yeah, Golden State. Let’s discuss that team for a minute.

If Cleveland is the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, guess what that makes the Warriors?

Yep, the first team to blow a 3-1 series lead.

That takes a good amount of luster off their remarkable regular season in which they set a record with a 73-9 mark. But they lost the same number of games in the postseason and no longer possessed that look of a hard-to-beat team.

Golden State came close to not reaching the finals as the Oklahoma City Thunder held a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals before failing to close the deal.

Then the Warriors suffered three double-digit defeats to Cleveland before going scoreless over the final 4:38 in Game 7 and watching Irving drain the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.

Draymond Green’s absence in Game 5 due to picking up too many flagrant fouls was a crusher. Then two-time MVP Stephen Curry suffered a Game 6 meltdown, displaying signs that the pressure was getting to him.

Talk about legacy? How the Warriors rebound next season will help determine a lot about how history looks at them.

Instead of being a two-time defending champion, Golden State will enter the next campaign with a ton of wins and just one banner.

As tough as the Western Conference is, it could be hard to get back. What if this band of Warriors win just one title?

“We understand, I think, when you look at the history of the league, how few teams repeated,” Curry said in the postgame press conference. “That was our goal, and we didn’t do it. It’s going to be a long three months over the summer thinking about it.

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t put this as another little unfortunate notch in the belt and move forward and come back stronger next year. That’s the mindset.”

Now that Cleveland has won a pro sports title — the 1964 Browns of the NFL were the most recent champions — guess what city has gone the current most seasons without winning a major pro sports championship?

San Diego!

Guessing a lot of you got that one right. San Diego has a streak of 109 straight seasons without a title – 52 by the Chargers, 47 by the Padres and 10 from two former NBA teams (Clippers six, Rockets four).

Cleveland got rid of that dubious distinction primarily because of James, the guy who returned to the franchise and made it a goal to end the city’s title woes.

And well, I guess he has been motivated by those of us who didn’t mind pointing out the truth in the past. There were tears everywhere as he relished Sunday’s accomplishment.

“Those emotions came out of me, just leading 14 guys and understanding, like I said, what our city’s been through over the last 50-plus years since Jim Brown,” said James, referring to the legendary running back. “Then also people just counting me out.

“Throughout my 13-year career, I’ve done nothing but be true to the game, give everything I’ve got to the game, put my heart, my blood, sweat, tears into the game, and people still want to doubt what I’m capable of doing.”

OK, OK — we get it. You’re now 3-4 in the NBA Finals.

Maybe you might want to win the next one you’re in as well to get the mark to .500.

But ridicule LeBron James for not coming through when the stage is at its biggest?

Pretty sure that is no longer an option.

You see, he won a title in Cleveland.

Stephen Curry has emerged as a bona fide star over the past two seasons but now he has a chance to hit the megastar platform.

Being named regular-season MVP of the NBA boosted him up another level and now he is about to embark on the NBA Finals stage for the first time when the Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Take down the Cavs and a guy named LeBron James and Curry’s stock – on and off the court – goes skyrocketing to a new stratosphere.

It’s a good stage to be on for sure and more and more people have caught on that one of the faces of the NBA is a 6-foot-3 guard who was once passed over by all the major colleges and ended up being a major star at tiny Davidson College.

Of course, the slaps in the face continued on the night of the NBA Draft when the Minnesota Timberwolves picked some guy named Jonny Flynn – don’t Google him, not in the league – over Curry. That act of stupidly explains perfectly while the Timberwolves are indeed the Timberwolves.

So it has been a charming story to see Curry drain 3-pointers from all areas of the court and evolve into one of the top players in the NBA. His wife and daughter receive plenty of TV time as do his parents – father Dell played 16 seasons in the NBA – and the endorsement opportunities are rolling in.

His image is spotless.

Uh oh, did I say spotless?

Here is where the worrying begins: Are we seeing the real Stephen Curry or will he become the next athlete to combust at some point?

Too many times, we have been fooled by an athlete that appears to be an outstanding person and then we learn of some shady acts or despicable behavior.

Who saw the Tiger Woods sex harem scandal coming? A married man totally crafting his family image and Tiger was stripped down – pun intended – and exposed (yeah, also intended) and funny how his golf game also went into decline as his personal life did.

Who can forget Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in 2003? It was stunning a big-time star like him would even be in such a position and it has forever stained his legacy. Bryant didn’t serve jail time but he did apologize for his actions and he also settled a civil suit with the accuser, which is the athletes’ way of buying out of the crime.

And whatever was more stunning than the O.J. Simpson murder case? His ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman were slaughtered by one of the all-time greatest running backs in football history. (Sorry, not using the word allegedly since he didn’t back up his boast that he would look for the real killers). I will never forget the surreal scene of a guy going from being totally beloved to being viewed as a totally despised monster in a matter of days. The White Bronco – not you Peyton Manning — lives on.

We could talk about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for hours. He was always a jerk, always treated people rudely, lied through his teeth all the time about his juicing and really has no redeeming positive qualities. Think of that, he is such a rotten apple that he doesn’t even belong in a good athletes turn into buffoons discussion.

New faces pop on the scene each year. Ray Rice was hailed as a great guy in the community before he smacked his then-fiance in the elevator and dragged her out like a carcass of meat. And how about Adrian Peterson beating his young child with a switch? I shook hands with Peterson once and my hand was sore for two hours so I can’t even imagine somebody of his unbelievable strength brutally whipping their son like that.

So this is what we are asking of Curry – don’t turn into a buffoon someday. Don’t become a moron. Don’t be living a secret life where you are scoring out of wedlock and eventually one gets pregnant. Don’t punch anyone in your family. Don’t be a fraud.

Seems like easy stuff to achieve but too many athletes fail at it. Though I’m from San Diego and two of the biggest stars in the city’s sports history had no troubles being good citizens with impeccable reputations.

Guys named Tony Gwynn and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Curry is on the same path as those two legends and let’s see if he can keep it up. The image is spotless, his popularity is out-of-control high and he’s one of the top outside shooters the league has ever seen.

And now he has an NBA title to chase and we can all sit back and watch the Curry vs. LeBron show. Should be an entertaining NBA Finals.

And let’s hope we are still talking about this Stephen Curry being a real good guy a decade from now.

I still remember covering the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1996 and hearing the name Becky Hammon for the first time.

She played for Colorado State – which had absolutely zero tradition at the time – and we were amazed at what we were seeing. A freshman guard who grew up in South Dakota was so much more advanced than anybody on the floor, delivering pinpoint passes, draining long jumpers, being feisty on defense and always in the right place.

Then in the postgame interview session, Hammon could barely move while she politely answered questions. Turned out she was sicker than a dog while putting on such an amazing performance.

Hammon ended up leading the Rams to the NCAA tournament and enjoyed a great college career in which she is easily the best women’s college basketball player in Colorado State history. She has gone on to have a solid WNBA career and is now going to be known for more than the things she did on the court.

You see, Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach on Tuesday, making her the second female assistant coach in NBA history. Lisa Boyer was the first as an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001-02.

There’s something about that Gregg Popovich guy. Always has a handle on things and not afraid to head in a direction that will make the organization better.

He was aware Hammon was interested in entering coaching and invited her to attend practices last season and even threw her into situations involving players and coaches. He saw what he needed to see to know that she could coach people of any gender – including veterans like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Popovich said in a statement. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”

The 37-year-old Hammon is wrapping up her WNBA career – she’s in her 16th season and is a seven-time All-Star – and then will join the Spurs for the 2014-15 season.

I see no reason why this won’t be a good hire. I can see Hammon being on an NBA bench for a long time. If she later chooses to coach women players, this experience will only bolster her knowledge bank.

You see men coaching women’s basketball players all the time. So anybody who has issues about this is looking at it from a short-sighted view.

Hammon has long ago proved she knows the game and I’m sure she’ll be up to the task of coaching at the NBA level.

And if Popovich is saying she’s an NBA-caliber assistant coach, know this: She’s an outstanding coach.

LeBron James has decided that you can go home again.

The decision by King James to return to Cleveland didn’t stun me all that much as I felt he was playing things way too close to the vest during the recent postseason. If he was intent on solely returning to Miami after the playoffs ended, all he had to do was say so.

He was on a team that was in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season – no easy task regardless of his immense talents. He had running mates in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade that he enjoys as both people and players.

I don’t think how badly the Heat were rolled by the San Antonio Spurs in the finals had anything to do with this decision. I think James had returning back to Ohio on his mind for a while.

It’s hard to beat being home – and even better when you can be super rich as you return.

James appears to be comfortable with the notion that he will unlikely be on a team that reaches the NBA Finals next season. He seems OK with it taking a bit of time for the Cavaliers to finish building toward a title-worthy team.

“I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys,” James told Sports Illustrated, the entity in which he chose to release this latest decision.

NBA All-Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving is on the roster and Cleveland selected Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft. That gives the Cavaliers a pretty solid trio right there.

Rumors abound that a deal to pry Kevin Love away from the Minnesota Timberwolves could occur and that would give Cleveland a real solid group – depending on the price to obtain Love.

What’s interesting this time around is James quietly announced his decision. None of that “The Decision” special-show silliness like when he chose the Cavaliers in 2010.

The way James went about leaving Cleveland brought him a lot of criticism. Nearly all of it deserved.

But he obviously learned a lesson and went about it differently this time. That’s a sign of maturity and, well, a solid decision.

I’m sure people in Miami are unhappy but they did receive four years from James in the prime of his career. Two NBA titles, two other trips to the championship round and the value of the franchise skyrocketed.

But it does seem like Northeastern Ohio – Akron is James’ hometown – is a better fit than South Beach. And to me, it always felt like James would someday play for the Cavaliers again. Kind of better that he returns why he’s still at the top of his game and not say at age 34 or 35 when his skills start declining.

Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert ripped James in a letter in 2010 after the departure and there clearly was some fence-mending needed. Once that discussion was had, I’m guessing it wasn’t all that hard for James to make this decision.

While Cleveland fans are ecstatic, there can’t be many people more excited than David Blatt.

Never heard of Blatt? No problem – neither had most of us until he was hired as coach of the Cavaliers.

Now this dude gets to coach LeBron James … in Cleveland.

Because the King is returning to his once-proud throne.

I kept hearing over recent weeks that Kawhi Leonard’s draft stock has been dropping.

Wasn’t a total surprise to hear such stuff. Despite all the positive attributes to his game, the San Diego State standout doesn’t have the outside shot that most 6-foot-7 NBA players have and he didn’t elevate his game to a higher level during the program’s rare visit to the NCAA tournament.

When Leonard declared for the draft, he was seen as a player who would be selected between the 15th to 20th picks and he was hoping to move into the Top 10 through his workout performances.

The NBA draft is about to commence and I spent the hour before it reading everything I can find about Leonard. I see stuff that he might go as high as the sixth overall pick and there are several mock drafts that have him in the Top 10.

So where is this stuff about his stock dropping coming from?

Going from a mid-first round projection to a Top 10 selection is not a downward spiral.

Regardless, Leonard will be San Diego State’s initial first-round pick since school legend Michael Cage in 1984 and the first Aztecs player to hear his name in the draft since Randy Holcomb went late in the second round in 2002.

His rebounding prowess alone – he had 23 double-doubles last season – will assure Leonard will be a solid NBA contributor. The guess is figuring out how much he can help a team early in his career and then seeing if his scoring abilities improve as he further develops his game.

In a perfect situation, Leonard would have remained in school one more season. He turns 20 early next week and he would have been a preseason All-American if he had returned for the 2011-12 campaign.

He helped the Aztecs to a school-best 34-3 record and the first two NCAA victories in program history so his place in school history is secure. Cage is easily the school’s best-ever player and Leonard is right there in the discussion for second-best despite only playing two seasons at the school.

But this is a weak draft so it made sense that Leonard waved good-bye to text books and hello to large paychecks.

The draft will start soon and it will be interesting to see which team selects Leonard, a player of great promise who works hard and should be a good citizen.

Some other draft thoughts:

–The Cleveland Cavaliers have the first and fourth overall picks in the draft and the scuttlebutt is that the franchise will pick point guard Kyrie Irving of Duke with the top pick. Irving played just 11 college games. If I were running the Cavs, I would take Arizona forward Derrick Williams with the first pick and then take Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight with the fourth pick.

–The biggest area of intrigue is whether the Utah Jazz will take BYU star Jimmer Fredette with the 12th overall selection. The franchise is under a lot of local pressure to do so and can you imagine the uproar if the Jazz pass on Fredette and he becomes a big star elsewhere? The other concern is what if you pick him and his defense isn’t up to par and he becomes a major bust?

–What is Butler star Shelvin Mack doing in this draft? He could have been one of the biggest and brightest stars in college basketball next season and he’s rated nothing better than a second-round pick. With a lockout rating as a possibility, there are several players like Mack that made major mistakes in entering the draft.

LeBron James likes to be called “King” but his fourth-quarter performances are more like something you would see from a rook.

And it is becoming clearer than ever that the Miami Heat still are Dwayne Wade’s team. The “King” is nothing more than a pawn when it comes to which superstar you can rely on in crunch time.

The Dallas Mavericks are one win away from claiming the NBA championship over the Heat and the same player who bombed badly when the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics last season is once again failing miserably.

LeBron James has scored 11 whole points in the fourth quarter through five games of the NBA Finals. That’s about what Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki is averaging in the final quarter.

Dallas is on the verge of winning this series – Game 6 is Sunday in Miami – because its leading player rises to the occasion when the pressure is on. The King With No Rings goes the other direction.

It was highly entertaining to hear career nobody DeShawn Stevenson of the Mavericks accuse James of quitting during Game 4. You might recall James appeared to quit during the Celtics’ series last season too.

When the going gets tough, James starts folding. He certainly isn’t Kobe Bryant when it comes to rising to the occasion.

When James announced last July that he was going to “take my talents to South Beach,” that meant the entire package. The King plays some pretty good basketball during the regular season but the bigger the stage and the higher the pressure, the more his shots clank and the less he helps his team.

The King could have thrown in that his “talents” include a propensity for underachieving when the games are of utmost importance. It wasn’t only Cleveland’s supporting cast that kept LeBron from winning a title with the Cavaliers.

The guy who looks at himself as the best player in the NBA is averaging 2.2 points in the fourth quarter in this series. Eddie House could do that.

Heck, aging Juwan Howard could double that production. So could role player Joel Anthony.

Even overrated Chris Bosh doesn’t evaporate that much.

King James is averaging a pedestrian 14 points over the past three games and 17.2 points over the series. You could get that kind of production from Wesley Matthews, Lou Williams, DeMar DeRozan, Rodney Stuckey and about 100 other NBA players.

Because of how average James has been in the finals, the Heat are one loss away from watching the Mavericks celebrate a title on Miami’s home floor.

Wade has been superb – he’s averaging 28.4 points in the series – but needs some help from the self-appointed King if Miami is going to pull off a resounding comeback.

The Mavericks seem ready to win a title. Nowitzki has been sensational – he’s averaging 27 points – and guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd match Nowitzki’s competitive resolve.

When the series began, I rightfully placed the pressure on the Mavericks as this could be Nowitzki’s last chance to get a ring. He has played like he understands his career could end without a title if Dallas doesn’t win it all this season.

But now the Mavericks are sharing the pressure. All you hear wherever go is that LeBron James hasn’t risen to the occasion. He hasn’t stepped up. People are noticing a trend.

As Sunday’s tipoff nears, it’s becoming clear there is only one way for Miami to rally back and win the series. That is for James to step up and play like the superstar he claims to be.

Otherwise, James will continue to be known as the “King With No Rings.” And that moniker might need an adjustment too after his putrid final-quarter performances.

The “Rook With No Rings” will fit too.

“America’s Team” is about to tip off in the NBA Finals.

Oh no, not LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.

We’re talking the Dallas Mavericks.

Yeah, the team owned by Mark Cuban.

Let that one sink in.

I’m sure there’s another ego-eccentric owner in Dallas – that’s you, Jerry Jones – who isn’t so happy that the NBA team has swiped the title that the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys is fond of applying to themselves.

But the King With No Rings – or Little Baby Bron Bron if you prefer – has annoyed so many people over the past 11-plus months that there is overwhelming sentiment that justice will be served if the Mavericks win the NBA title.

I can certainly see it happening but there’s one thing that bothers me: All the pressure is on Dallas, not Miami.

Repeat – the pressure is on the Mavericks.

Yeah, that’s right. There’s more pressure on Dallas than the team that employs the player who departed the Cleveland Cavaliers in a highly questionable manner.

The James-Wade-Bosh threesome isn’t going to be ruled a success or not based on what happens over the next few weeks. Judgment time is several years away for Miami’s “Big Three.”

The Heat – like it or not – will be back in the NBA Finals again over the next few seasons. Perhaps even again next year.

But this could be it for the Dirk Nowitzki-era Dallas Mavericks. It has taken Dallas five years to get back to the finals since losing to Miami in 2006.

When you have the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder in your conference – all three of those teams are arguably more talented than the Mavs – it is hard to count on being back in the finals next season or in 2013.

A lot people would like to see Dirk win a title sometime before his spectacular career ends. If he doesn’t nab a ring this season, it may not ever happen.

Jason Terry is the only other player remaining from the Dallas squad that lost in the 2006 Finals. It’s clear he’s feeling the urgency, too.

The Mavericks have a couple other hungry veterans in future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd and versatile Shawn Marion and a nice blend of young players that includes Tyson Chandler and reserve J.J. Barea.

I think Dallas matches up well as an overall team with the Heat even if Miami has better star power. Miami will certainly do whatever they can to slow down Nowitzki with players such as Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Bosh and even James taking turns on trying to frustrate the big German.

Nowitzki often carries the Mavericks while James has more help with Wade – who already owns a championship ring – and Bosh. The Heat have played terrific during the playoffs and have the good fortune of hosting the first two games of the series.

The Mavericks won both regular-season contests but that doesn’t matter now. The question is whether Dallas can beat Miami four times over the next two weeks.

A lot of people would like to see that – even people who couldn’t name more than three Mavericks as recently as two months ago.

Not to mention everybody residing close to Cleveland, Ohio.

Of course – there is pressure on the Heat, particularly after all the boasting about winning several titles. But not as much pressure than what’s facing Dallas.

This is the time for the Dallas Mavericks to get it done.

Or should I say “America’s Team?”

We got a reminder on Wednesday night why they insist on playing games that appear to be complete mismatches.

Sometimes, it would just seem easier to tell the Los Angeles Lakers not to bother to show up to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or notify the University of San Diego Toreros that it might be better for the Saint Mary’s Gaels to save travel costs and not travel down for the game.

On second thought, it sure looks like the Lakers didn’t show on Wednesday. And I’m not sure what you call that Saint Mary’s fiasco. Laying an egg is much too kind.

Talk about your Weird Wednesdays – the Lakers lost to the lowly Cavaliers just five weeks after drubbing Cleveland by 55 points. Guess the Lakers started their All-Star break a couple days early.

And a Toreros squad that looks like it would be hard-pressed to beat some of San Diego’s better high school teams upset No. 23 Saint Mary’s. The Gaels were flat-out dominated in the second half.

Who had the apathetic USD student body storming a court on Wednesday night?

The Toreros made No. 6 San Diego State improving to 26-1 by beating New Mexico the No. 2 basketball story in town. The outcome makes you wonder why coach Bill Grier’s squad entered the contest with a 5-21 record, including an embarrassing 1-10 mark in West Coast Conference play.

Saint Mary’s was 22-4 and playing to clinch a share of the WCC regular-season crown. Now the door is open for Gonzaga to perhaps sneak away with another conference title.

The Toreros were down 11 early in the second half and looked destined to suffer loss No. 22. But the 50-point second half was their best 20-minute half of the season and Saint Mary’s ended up being serenaded with the dreaded “overrated” chant in the final minute.

Somewhere, the players on the famous Chaminade team that upset No. 1 Virginia in 1982 were smiling. That tiny program’s epic win still ranks as the biggest upset in college basketball history.

Obviously, the Lakers weren’t clicking like two-time defending champions entering the game against Cleveland. They were spanked by the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday – losing to Charlotte is becoming a trend – but apparently that disturbing defeat didn’t prompt feelings that they needed to bring a better effort against the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has the worst record in the NBA for a reason. It’s because the Cavs aren’t any good since LeBron James departed town. Cleveland State would beat the city’s NBA team in a best-of-5 series.

But somebody forget to tell Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions that this was “Guaranteed Win Night” for the Lakers. The Cavaliers’ reserve had 32 points and eight assists during a 104-99 victory that improves Cleveland’s porous record to 10-46.

It’s not every night that Ramon Sessions is the star of a contest that Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are playing in.

Oh yeah, that score when the two teams played Jan. 11: Lakers 112, Cavaliers 57.

Zen master coach Phil Jackson has some work to do when the Lakers reconvene after the break.

Just to show that the world isn’t coming to an end, NAIA school Montana Western was playing at No. 25 Utah State for some odd reason on Wednesday, and got crushed 100-66.

You can rest easy knowing that Utah State’s 30-game homecourt winning streak is intact.

I’ve noticed that a few people have landed on MrSportsBlog the past few days by Googling “LeBron James.”

I figured it was fans or critics of the self-proclaimed “King James” making those frequent visits. Little did I know that the basketball star himself was one of the people conducting the searches.

You see, the player whose reputation has changed from superstar to super-duper prima donna over the past few months is now taking notes of everyone who has criticized him this summer.

And he means business too. Just read the threat he posted on his Twitter account.

“Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!” 5:45 PM Aug 10th via UberTwitter

Since he means everyone, I suppose I should hire a bodyguard immediately. Nothing shakes down a person more than threats on Twitter (I need a deep sarcasm font).

I figure I better help LeBron out with the mental notes. He’s got a lot of online research to do and I don’t want him to reinjure that elbow – yeah, the elbow that prompted all those lousy shooting performances in the playoffs as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers underperformed again.

So here you go LeBron:

–I pointed out YOU were terrible in Game 5 of the playoff series against the Boston Celtics. You may recall you made three whole baskets as the Cavaliers lost by 32 points in your final-ever home game in Cleveland. Nice way to go out!

–I also have referred to YOU as “King With No Rings” on occasion. I later discovered a lot of other people call you similar names. You might need a few notebooks to jot down all the different versions of you being ringless after seven NBA seasons. You don’t get rings for scoring titles, King.

–And that was me that penned “LeBron James decision not must-see TV.” Pretty sad that a 25-year-old MVP needed a one-hour television special to announce he’ll be cashing million-dollar checks from the Miami Heat. Think of this – I watched 10-year-olds play Little League baseball that night instead of tuning in to YOUR self-serving announcement on ESPN. An extra bonus is that I didn’t have to watch Jim Gray ask you questions.

–I opined that we still won’t know if YOU are capable of leading a team to an NBA title if you win a championship on the suddenly powerful Miami Heat. The fact that you need to surround yourself with superstars to have a shot at winning a title tells me YOU were the biggest reason why the Cavaliers kept falling short. Dwyane Wade already has won a title without you so we’ll know he’s not the issue if the Heat suddenly become the San Diego Chargers-like playoff chokers of the NBA. Seems like YOU don’t possess the immense will to win that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers possesses.

–I also mentioned that YOU have joined former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell (moved the NFL franchise to Baltimore) as the most-hated sports villains in Cleveland history. Since I saw footage of fans burning your Cavs’ jerseys the night you announced your decision and have read accounts of people taunting you in Ohio in recent weeks, I suspect you will soon have the title “Benedict Arnold of Ohio.” I’m guessing you will wear that name better than any silly ring.

I would put links to all the above comments but it appears you already know your way around my Web site pretty well. Thanks for helping increase the number of page views.

So there’s a quick synopsis of what I’ve written to help you with your mental note taking. I realize I haven’t thrown in any coward references like Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert did in his open letter to the fans so I understand if you put Gilbert higher on your hit list.

Gosh LeBron, this is going to be an awfully long list for you to put together. Be careful with that elbow while your Googling your own name every hour.

And if you get mad at me over this, I know where to find your reaction – on Twitter. I might even accept your follow request.