It’s easy to say both Love and Melo can hang one-on-one with Green and (when the Warriors bust out the Death Lineup) Andre Iguodala. But the Warriors don’t play one-on-one. They use all five players as screen-setters and cutters. It is never as simple as helping off Iguodala and Green in the corners.
Against even normal 60-win teams, a bad defender could navigate all that whirring complexity. Melo is cool switching on to Danny Green after a pindown screen, or chasing Trevor Ariza around one. Losing a little ground isn’t fatal.
Roberts was so personable, and such a folk hero in Boston, that when he finally called it quits after the ’08 season, he was hired by NESN to do their Red Sox pregame and postgame shows. He liked it, and he was good at it, but … I missed the uniform. I missed being a member of the team.
It wasn’t pretty, but the offense grinded in Tampa Bay without Gronk, and the defense decided to come together and make key stops. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, you know Bill Belichick made the most of his mini bye to fix more things.
Russell Wilson cooled down with his banged-up targets and sputtering running game, but the Legion of Boom is back to lowering the boom as an intimidating presence. Don’t sleep on Seattle becoming a completely scary team again soon.
The defense is doing its best to hold up, but it’s hard when Ben Roethlisberger is lost like never before with little help beyond Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. The defense is the backbone, and coach Mike Tomlin and his staff need to do a better job of properly complementing that.
The stakes: The Cubs held the Nationals to one run through the first 16 innings of the series before the Nationals erupted for five runs in the eighth inning of Game 2 to rally from a 3-1 deficit and even the series. Now they have to face the likely Cy Young winner in Scherzer, who will be pitching on eight days of rest after tweaking his hamstring in his final regular-season start and getting pushed back to this game.
Delhomme started Super Bowl 38 for the Carolina Panthers.
What happened? Delhomme was a shell of his former self by the time he joined the Browns. Although he beat out Seneca Wallace to open as Cleveland’s starter in 2010, ankle injuries quickly drove Delhomme to the bench and fast-tracked rookie Colt McCoy into a first-string role.
Fortunately, baseball is a small world sewn together by interpersonal relationships — like the 108 double red stitches that keep the two pieces of cowhide on a baseball together. When Dave Roberts reported to the Buffalo Bisons back in ’98, their pitching coach was Buddy Black.
Twelve years later, Black was starting his fourth season as manager of the Padres. He asked Roberts to join the Padres as a special assistant to coach baserunning, outfield defense and bunting.
And that job led to Roberts getting a physical at the Padres’ spring training camp in Peoria, a routine that proved fateful. Tests showed that Roberts had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Stage 2, he says. But the good thing about it is that it’s treatable if you go after it.
Chicago’s dream backcourt finally becomes reality — in Cleveland
It was a frigid January day in the Windy City back in 2011 — the high temperature that afternoon was a bone-chilling 24 degrees — when the United Center heated up with a showdown between two of the greatest basketball players ever to come out of Chicago.
The hometown Chicago Bulls were led by their homegrown star, Derrick Rose, then just 22 and en route to becoming the youngest league MVP in NBA history that season. The visiting Miami Heat — in the first season of its big three era — were led by Dwyane Wade, then 28 and already a Finals MVP winner, with LeBron James sitting out with a bum ankle.
ESPN: On that note, this looks like a team that can be a legitimate contender for several years, but the price will rise significantly next summer if the core is kept together. What’s your tolerance level for paying the luxury tax?
Fertitta: This is what was told to me by my experts that work here: If it’s going to take you to the Finals, then you should pay the luxury tax. And I totally agree. If you have to lose money to get to the Finals or win a championship, I think you do what you have to do because it’s going to come back to you.
Fertitta: Because I wanted them! [Laughs] It wasn’t like I was going to probably be the only person out there [interested in buying the franchise]. Maybe I was going to be able to do it quicker than anybody else, but the team would have sold for over $2.2 billion. It’s what the team was going to sell for — and I know that — or Les would have kept the team.
I think everyone uses certain guys as measuring sticks, whether you tell him or not, Wade added. Everyone has those, and you have those certain matchups and you’re like, ‘OK, let me see what I’m made of tonight.’
Cavaliers rest LeBron James, nearly half roster in Sunday’s preseason game vs. Wizards
The Cleveland Cavaliers rested LeBron James and nearly half the roster in Sunday’s preseason game against the Washington Wizards.
In the wake of changes to the All-Star Game earlier in the week, in which players will be selected by captains and will be selected in a pool of the 12 best East All-Stars and the 12 best West All-Stars, regardless of conference loyalties, Silver says the league will consider the playoff idea.
The most important thing of the day: Will Edwin Encarnacion start for the Indians? He spoke with ESPN’s Marly Rivera after Tuesday’s workout and said he expects to be in the lineup. I feel very good. I ran, I hit and did everything we deemed necessary to evaluate if I can play [Wednesday], he said. Me being in the lineup [Wednesday] is what we all want; it’s what I want. … Us Latinos, Dominicans — we leave our body and soul on the field during the game … so let’s go! The Indians have hit .173 in the first four games, so getting Encarnacion back as a threat in the middle of the lineup will certainly be a big lift.
If you’re only going to watch one game, tune in for: Yankees at Indians. Back in 2009, CC Sabathia had just signed a huge contract as a free agent with the Yankees. He was 28 years old, won 19 games and was at the peak of his powers. He started five games that postseason, including two on three days of rest, and posted a 1.98 ERA. The Yankees won the World Series. Did you think that eight years later Sabathia would be starting a do-or-die game for the Yankees? Especially after winning just 18 games over the previous three seasons? Yet here he is, making his 15th postseason start in pinstripes.
Yes, Brown might like that Tatum doesn’t get caught up in his own hype, but he doesn’t mind fueling it, either.
You can expect a great year from JT, Brown said. I think scoring the ball is something that he does easy and I think we’re going to need that. I think that’s going to be obvious.
I think Jayson’s athleticism and his versatility, being able to guard multiple positions and things like that, are going to be impressive as well. And his length — when we start getting deep into the playoffs, we’re going to need that. JT’s going to be a great asset to this team going forward and going into the future for however long he’s here or I’m here.
Yet, there is a plus side. They averaged 17.4 combined points in the paint per game last season, which would have ranked first among starting backcourts (the Wizards were tops at 16.6). Also, their combined free throws made per game (7.2) and drives per game (16.2) both would have ranked a respectable eighth among all starting backcourts last season (all numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information research).
James has a penchant for making the pieces around him better. It will be on him, along with Lue, to find a way to make everything fit.
It’s still surreal, James said of the Cavs’ collection of talent. And it’s still a work in progress with all of us. We’re all still adjusting.
I’m fascinated to see how Kuzma continues to develop as a shooter. I can’t recall a case of a player showing this kind of improvement from the NBA 3-point line so early. The change to his projection incorporating summer league stats dwarfs the next-highest improvement, for Anthony Morrow when he went 11-of-20 from 3 in summer league play in 2008. (Morrow went on to exceed even his revised projection by shooting 46.7 percent on 3s as a rookie.)