By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)
NBA Conference Finals
The showcase LeBron James is putting on during the Eastern Conference Finals is unprecedented. The two-time Finals MVP is averaging 32.7 PPG, 11.7 RPG and 10 APG against the No. 1 seeded Atlanta Hawks. If the 30-year-old compiles these gaudy numbers in a much needed close out Game 4, James would be the first player to average such numbers in a playoff series.
Williams Shakespeare and Walt Whitman didn’t invent enough superlatives and adjectives to describe the NBA’s best player, but their wondrous words aren’t warranted. James’ historical on-court performance speaks for itself.
A recent quote by Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt illustrated his growth as a rookie coach and delivered a message to one of his star players.
“We need Kyrie on the court, and we’re not really thinking about resting him as much as we’re thinking about him being healthy to play basketball,” Blatt told reporters. “We need him on the court, whether we’re up 1-0 or 2-1 or 3-0.”
Blatt is 100 percent correct. While I think the Cavs can afford to rest Irving tonight with a 3-0 strangle hold on the Hawks, Cleveland cannot be without the team’s second best player when they face the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Golden State—barring a major collapse—in the NBA Finals.
Cavs win tonight in another close one to complete the surprising sweep of the Hawks.
Speaking of Curry, Warriors fans, friends and family were able to breathe easily when Curry returned after a nasty spill over Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza. He was diagnosed with a head contusion after banging his head on the floor. He dropped 12 points after his return, finishing the game with 23 points.
James Harden dazzled with a 45 point valiant effort, but only to prolong the series. I understand that the Rockets became the ninth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after falling in a treacherous 3-1 deficit to the Los Angeles Clippers.
But the Rockets are not the Clippers. The Warriors will wrap the series up in Game 5.
Oh, Ray McDonald
Ray McDonald has played his last down of his career in the National Football League after his release from the Chicago Bears.
McDonald was released by the Bears Monday after signing a one-year deal in March. He was arrested the same day of his relealse by San Jose police on suspicions of misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment. The Santa Clara Police Department issued in a statement that McDonald allegedly “physically assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby.”
He was previously arrested for domestic violence in August 2014 against his ex-fiancée, who was pregnant at the time, but no charges were filed.
On Dec. 17, 2014, San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke released McDonald “because of a pattern of bad behavior” after a sexual assault investigation was centered around McDonald.
More often than not, where there is smoke, there is fire. And like firefighters douse raging infernos, the NFL put McDonald out.
Arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment, and sexual assault allegations, those are patterns of bad behaviors. McDonald needs to hold himself accountable and rectify himself behind closed doors before he steps back out into the eye of the public.
A PAT on the back
The NFL announced last week that the extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line.
The new rule shouldn’t affect quality kickers distance-wise, but it does add more urgency to a play that was a forgone conclusion.
However, the most intriguing change to the rule was that if the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown, they will be awarded two points. Under the old rule, the ball was dead on a failed try regardless if there was a fumble or interception return.
The rule change adds more competition in all phases of the games, but it especially increases the awareness of the forgotten special teams. Like a punt or kickoff return for a touchdown, the point after attempt will be transformed into a pivotal moment in a tight game instead of an afterthought.
Kudos to the NFL for making a change positively affects coaches, players and fans.