ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Can you spell “champ?” Gokul Venkatachalam can.
Gokul is a 14-year-old eighth grader from just outside of St. Louis, and last night he competed in the National Spelling Bee. Perhaps this is a good sign for LeBron and Cavs, but Gokul is a huge LeBron fan, so much so that in his introduction on the Spelling Bee, Gokul channeled King James…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — LeBron James swished an improbable game-winner yesterday to give the Cavs a buzzer-beating Game 4 win over the Chicago Bulls. And while Bulls fans were understandably not that thrilled, other people were, including the New York football Giants rookie sensation Odell Beckham Jr., who took to Instagram to share his excitement.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Chicago Bulls are in the middle of a terrific battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the last few games all coming down to last second shots. So of course, given the option, people would definitely want to attend a game or two. How far would they go to get free tickets? Would Bulls fans ride a bull?
Sure, at least, a mechanical bull. Benny the Bull brought in a mechanical Bull and had a few fans go at right there on the court…
The Cavs passed their first big test of the second LeBron era. They were down 2-1 in the series. They were down 11 points late in the third quarter. Kyrie Irving was dealing with a foot injury and James himself turned his ankle midway through the third.
But they came back with some big shots from J.R. Smith and strong defense in the final period. And James provided the finishing touches on Cleveland’s biggest win of the season.
A little nudge from James knocked Jimmy Butler off-balance, and he wasn’t able to close fast enough. James’ momentum was taking him toward the Bulls’ bench, but the space Butler provided (and the lack of a second defender) allowed him to square his shoulders and keep his balance, with his toes on the 3-point line. Of the three buzzer beaters we’ve seen in the last three days, it was the easiest shot.
After coming back from 11 down, the Cavs blew a five-point lead in less than 30 seconds, thanks in part to James’ eighth turnover of the afternoon, an offensive foul with 14.3 seconds left.
Still, if the shot misses, they have another chance to redeem themselves in overtime.
The playoffs appear to be wide open, especially in the Eastern Conference. If the Cavs lose this game, they’re in a situation – down 3-1 – that few teams have come back from.
But the win gives them back home-court advantage. Since Jan. 19, they’re 23-2 in Cleveland, where they will play Game 5 and 7 (if necessary).
A clumsy mob that spilled onto the scorer’s table.
It’s the playoffs. It’s two teams that have a good shot of reaching The Finals if they get through this series. It was a high-leverage game. Five Horrys.
This was all foreshadowed by a video the Cavs made celebrating the end of the headband, which is apparently named Terry. This mockumentary ends with Terry thinking perhaps it’s time to return to action with LeBron. And you know what? I think Terry was right …
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I only started watching “Game of Thrones” a few years ago, but I managed to plow my way through every episode and catch up quickly. And one thing you notice is each house, or family, has their own sigil, or logo. Well, Reddit user ninetythrees did the logical thing and created a series of NBA-related sigils, as if each NBA team was involved in Westeros or somewhere over there. Cool stuff.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I’m in Cleveland right now covering Games 1 and 2 of the Cavs/Celtics series, so I got to see in-person the Cavs’ pregame introductions on Sunday afternoon, which were awfully impressive — Kevin Love actually mentioned getting fired up by them in his postgame comments. But it’s not just hot in Cleveland — every team in the playoffs brings it big-time, to give their team the best home court advantage possible.
Here are the new postseason intros from the Cavs and the Rockets…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers were the Eastern Conference’s best team in the second half, posting a Conference-best record of 22-9 after February 2. So expectations were high yesterday when the Cavs hosted the Boston Celtics to begin their latest postseason run. The crowd was hyped, and LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were each special in their own ways, as they helped the Cavs to a 113-100 win.
Here are a couple of videos from yesterday in Cleveland. First, here’s a slow-mo look at the game…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve reached the part of the calendar where basketball and baseball overlap, and as we’ve seen in years past, NBA players are always popular choices to throw out the first pitch at baseball games. This happens with more regularity during the NBA offseason, when players have more free time, but we’ve already had a few NBA first pitches this season.
Let’s start in Minnesota, where Kevin Garnett has returned. KG recently visited a Twins game and threw a looping first pitch strike…
And we should also go to Cleveland, where Timofey Mozgov walked across the street from the Cavs arena to the Indians’ stadium and threw out the first pitch at a recent game. Pretty good throw from Mozgov, considering his first practice pitch almost beans some dude hanging out in the batting cage…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the Miami Heat were racking up titles the last few seasons, almost every postgame interview featured some new form of a videobomb. LeBron James may be in Cleveland now, but last night after the Cavs clinched the Central Division, the videobombs returned. Check out J.R. Smith doing several different videobombs last night…