- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie5 hrs ago
I have a hard time interpreting J.R. Smith's Instagram account, but I'm pretty sure the Knicks guard just declared himself one of the greatest shooters in basketball history, which is ... interesting?
"They said I wouldn't make it! I did! They said I wouldn't stay! This is my 11th yr! They said you can't shoot like that in the league! I'm on pace to be one of the best shooters the game had ever seen! Bottom line what yall say don't me sh@$ What I do says everything! #Gone"
After everyone enjoyed another good laugh at the expense of a man Adrian Wojnarowski once dubbed "the clown prince of basketball," Smith offered up his own defense in a follow-up Instagram post with a caption that read, "Men lie women lie but ..."
Mike Krzyzewski named Kyrie Irving his starter over Derrick Rose for Tuesday's final Team USA tuneup entering the FIBA World Cup, setting up a battle between the reigning All-Star Game MVP and Slovenian Third Team All-NBA point guard Goran Dragic, and the two took turns embarrassing each other.
Irving went behind-the-back to cross up Dragic before leading with his right hand and switching to his left on a layup that made quick work of aptly named former Raptors center Uros Slokar.
In equally impressive fashion, the lefty Slovenian double-crossed both Irving and All-Star Anthony Davis for a layup of his own. Even normally game defender Kenneth Faried was confused by Dragic's Magic.
The Cavaliers introduced Kevin Love as the newest member of a revamped squadron, culminating 30 days of nonstop coverage ranging from legitimate analysis to Minnesota also dealing an octopus named K-Love to Cleveland, so little was expected from Tuesday's press conference.
For the most part, that held true — since Love's stated "longterm" commitment to the Cavs was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski three weeks ago — except for one revelation that is sure to raise some eyebrows in the NBA commissioner's office: LeBron James called Kevin Love the day he signed in Cleveland.
Members of each NBA fanbase have surely cited Dick Bavetta's bias against their team, and the recently retired referee's take on the league's top crowds adds fuel to the fire for all but three cities.
In a parting interview with NBA.com after his 39 years of service, Bavetta named Boston, Los Angeles and New York as the association's best crowds, describing them as "avid, knowledgeable basketball fans."
Bavetta's ties to those three cities is woven throughout the interview, starting with his Brooklyn roots, continuing through his first NBA game (Celtics at Knicks) and his most memorable game (Dr. J choking Larry Bird), and featuring his favorite spectator (Jack Nicholson), the most challenging coach (Bill Fitch) and the players whose games he wished he'd refereed (Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West).
On Instagram over the weekend, LeBron James suggested his chalk toss routine would accompany him back to Cleveland, posting NBA 2K video of the pregame ritual he borrowed from Michael Jordan as a member of the Cavaliers last decade, and Northeast Ohioans are apparently pretty amped about it.
Two brides — one in Cleveland and another in Akron — not only allowed the chalk toss to be incorporated into their wedding introductions, but actively participated, which is a big deal if you've ever talked to a bride about her wedding. The area's LeBron excitement has officially reached defcon levels.
We'll start in Cleveland, where Brian Perk flashed the Money Manziel as the newly anointed Mrs. Perk tosses chalk. Never has there been more to celebrate in the Metropolis of the Western Reserve.
- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
If you needed further proof the Kevin Love trade is real beyond a newspaper ad announcing the deal, the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium of all places has provided it in alternative ink form: an octopus.
The Mall of America's aquatic museum and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium swapped naming rights for their giant Pacific octopi — with K-Love going to Cavaliers country and Ocho heading to Timberwolves town — according to a rather original press release sent to multiple media outlets Monday.
Keep in mind only the names will be moving, not the actual eight-armed creatures. And none of the three players the T-Wolves acquired in the Love trade — Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett or Thaddeus Young — are expected to wear No. 8, a jersey once held by both Latrell Sprewell and Michael Beasley, so Ocho may not stick in Minnesota. (Although, Wiggins has worn No. 8 for Team Canada.)
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner2 days ago
Coaches informed Vikings players that veteran Matt Cassel will start Week 1 at quarterback over rookie Teddy Bridgewater, according to FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer, and for the first time in seven years it appears no first-year players will line up under center when the NFL kicks off another season next month.
- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
Shaquille O'Neal believes Julius Erving is the greatest basketball player ever, and that seems significant since Shaq's a paid NBA analyst on TNT and most folks wouldn't put Dr. J in their all-time top five. Some will even leave Erving out of the top 10, and others would argue O'Neal himself made a bigger impact.
But Shaqoffered this take to Antenna magazine in response to the question: "Kobe or LeBron?"
"They’re different. LeBron is more of an all-around player — Hey this guy’s open, let me kick it to him. Kobe is more of, Oh, we’re down six? I’m going to shoot it three times and get us six points. But they’re both great players. It’s a matter of opinion. To me, Dr. J was the greatest player ever. But I ask other people, they say Jordan, some say Kobe, some people say LeBron. It’s always going to be a matter of opinion."
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
A bad week just got a bit worse for Johnny Manziel.
The Browns rookie quarterback received a $12,000 fine from the NFL for an obscene hand gesture during Monday's 24-23 preseason loss to the Redskins, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Manziel extended his middle finger at the Washington bench following a third-quarter incompletion.
Manziel expressed remorse for what he described as "a lapse of judgment" in his postgame interview, particularly since ESPN cameras caught it, but Browns coach Mike Pettine wasn't in a forgiving mood.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
The NFL's preseason extra-point experiment is over, and Tom Coughlin is not impressed.
While the NFL competition committee's attempt to make the post-touchdown play more exciting somewhat succeeded — resulting in eight missed extra points on 141 attempts in the first two weeks of preseason compared to just five on 1,321 tries all of last season — the difference in success rate from the 2-yard line in 2013 (99.6 percent) compared to the 15 this summer (94.3) hasn't quelled concerns the extra point is the most meaningless play in a sport otherwise stacked with excitement.
After just two weeks of watching kickers try 33-yard extra points, Coughlin is among the coaches already outlining alternatives. Here's what the Giants coach had to say at Thursday's press conference.