FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH:
– Game Seven.
With all the trappings.
This is what this NBA Finals has come down to, this series that has come gift-wrapped, with LeBron, the old face, against Steph Curry, the new face, like some NBA version of a shootout, two guys slapping leather in the Old West. This series that is about Cleveland, an old Rust Belt city that hasn’t won a championship since 1964, and Golden State, which plays in the shadow of Silicon Valley, America’s new corporate face, and plays the game’s new style, spread the court and shoot a lot of 3s.
All this, and the glamour and history of the NBA Finals, too.
The place where both reputations and legacies get made and get tarnished, the game in which they hand out the biggest trophy there is in the sport.
Maybe the most pressure is on LeBron, who made the decision to leave Miami and go back home to Cleveland, and also had a huge say in the Cavaliers’ decision to replace the coach in midseason and replace him with his buddy, Tyronn Lue.
– Curry is more fun to watch, but LeBron is still the best player in the NBA.
– Red Sox manager John Farrell said this week that today’s baseball is all about power. Power arms and power bats.
– Trump and Hillary both have very high “unfavorables,” in this very strange election.
– The pressure is on the Warriors.
– Very few people on the planet dribble a basketball any better than Kyrie Irving.
– QUIZ OF THE WEEK: If Curry wins a second consecutive NBA title on Sunday night, he will become the fourth player in NBA history to win an NBA title and an MVP award in the same season two years in a row. Who are the other three? (Answer near the bottom of the column.)
– LINE OF THE WEEK comes from former boxer George Foreman on his loss to Muhammad Ali in the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974, in Sports Illustrated: “They call it the rope-a-dope. Well, I’m the dope. Ali just laid on the rope and I, like a dope, kept punching until I got tired.”
– LINE OF THE WEEK II comes from LeBron last summer, via the Associated Press: “I’m almost starting to be like I’d rather not even make the playoffs than to lose in the finals. It would hurt a lot easier if I just didn’t make the playoffs and I didn’t have a shot at it.”
– LINE OF THE WEEK III comes from U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, via the New York Daily News: “I’m a Marine. I carried guns every day in Iraq, guns very similar to the ones used to perpetrate the Orlando murders and many other mass shootings in America. I’ve used guns in combat. On more than one occasion, guns have saved my life. But there’s a big difference between a U.S. Marine with a rifle and a civilian with a gun.”
Page 2 of 3 – – LINE OF THE WEEK IV: The entire front page of the Boston Globe was a huge picture of a semi-automatic rifle with a giant headline, “MAKE IT STOP.”
– Craig Sager, the longtime iconic sideline reporter in NBA games for TNT known for his distinctive sports jackets, who is battling leukemia, got to work his first NBA Finals as part of ABC’s coverage.
– If the Warriors lose on Sunday night, one of the keys to their demise might just be Draymond Green’s suspension for Game Five, back when the Warriors were at home and had it rolling.
– Speaking of the NBA Finals, no one needs a bigger game in Game Seven than Kevin Love, who has seen his reputation sink like the stock market on a bad week, fair or not.
– Then again, the General Assembly has seen its reputation sink, and they don’t have a Game Seven to change the perception, right?
– The Jets, and their continued bungling of the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation? Why is anyone surprised? That’s why they’re the Jets.
– The word is the Friars’ Kris Dunn is going to the the Timberwolves with the fifth pick, but the 76ers really want him too. They have the first pick, but with a lot of young players as bargaining chips, Nerlins Noel supposedly being one, they could make a move.
– The Celtics have more picks than some degenerate gambler on an NFL Sunday.
– There’s no truth to the rumor that the new state license is going to be “Potholes ‘R’ Us,” as Jane McGarrahan of Pawtucket emails.
– Or that the next big call LeBron doesn’t get might be his first.
– Cole Swider, the St. Andrew’s basketball player from Portsmouth, has become a big-time recruit.
– The Mets have better TV ratings than the Yankees.
– Just when things get a little slow around here, Bunky, bears show up in Providence, Cranston and North Smithfield.
– But there’s no truth to the rumor that he was looking for the jackals in the General Assembly and simply lost his way.
– QUIZ ANSWER: Bill Russell in ’61, ’62, ’63; Michael Jordan in ’91 and ’92; and LeBron in 2012 and 2013.
– The military and the police should have automatic weapons. Joey from the corner should not.
– This from the New York Post: For the first time in six years the top money earner in sports this year was neither Tiger nor boxer Floyd Mayweather, but Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo at $88 million for the year.
– You’ve got to love the Warriors’ Klay Thompson who said that the only reason Draymond Green got suspended for a game was that LeBron’s feelings got hurt.
Page 3 of 3 – – The rules in the NBA always have been situational, as there are two-step players and there are three-step players.
– There’s an old line that says “This ain’t my circus, and these aren’t my monkeys.” But the real problem with the General Assembly? This is our circus.
On Twitter: @breynolds401