Sorry, LeBron and Cavs, but hero ball is dead


Sorry, LeBron and Cavs, but hero ball is dead

If any of you old bastards complain about today’s NBA while living in the glory years of the Celts-Lakers in the ’80s you need to open your eyes. For sentimental reasons, I would like the city of Cleveland to get a title, and I do like Lebron James, but the Cavs have no chance. 

You know why?


Thank God and praise every assist man from the Cooz to the Big O to Tiny Archibald to Chris Paul. Those old men in San Antonio black with Kawhi Leonard carrying their oxygen tanks taught the superstar-laden Miami South Beach act that passing the ball from point A to point B is always faster than dribbling it. 

In the outstanding hoop series from the late ’70s and early ’80s, The White Shadow, coach Ken Reeves, played by the late Ken Howard, challenges his players to outrun one his full court passes. Of course, they can’t and when the Spurs took it to the Heat four games to one in 2014, I thought of that scene.

The numbers do not lie. In that 2014 series, the Spurs had 127 assists to the Heat’s 76. Last season, Golden State posted 138 assists to the Cavs 95. We should note Cleveland did not have Kevin Love and lost Kyrie Irving after one game in last year’s finals. However, the trend continued last night with the Warriors putting up 29 assists to the Cavs 17. 

Furthermore, the MVPs for the anti-hero ball teams were not the stars of the team. Now, you could say Kawhi Leonard is a star now in San Antonio, but that 2014 series was his true coming out party and, of course, last year Andre Iguodala won the damn thing for the Splash Brothers. 

Somewhere, Red Auerbach is smiling even though his Celtics are not in the hunt. Like Red, any true basketball fan has to feel reborn when watching this game return the style that it was created to play.  

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press