LeBron feels Cavs close to ‘turning the switch’

UNTV News   •   April 19, 2017   •   3179

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a dunk in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers have developed a habit of giving away late-game leads but LeBron James is not losing sleep over that trend and feels his team are on the cusp of their top form.

What started late in the regular season and kept Cleveland from securing the Eastern Conference’s top seed has carried over into the first two games of their best-of-seven series against the Indiana Pacers.

Two days after giving up a lead and escaping with a one-point win, the Cavaliers nearly squandered an 18-point cushion during a shaky fourth quarter on Monday before holding on for a 2-0 series lead.

A number of questionable shots and breakdowns on defense by Cleveland allowed Indiana to make a late charge but none of this seems to concern the player carrying the team’s title hopes.

“I’d rather have an 18-point lead than not have a lead at all,” James said after Monday’s game.

“We make plays down the stretch to win a ball game and in the postseason that’s all you can ask for. But we’re right there on turning the switch on what we really can become.”

The Cavaliers boast a number of weapons that, when clicking, make them one of the NBA’s most dangerous teams but their habit of allowing teams back into games could prove costly.

They closed out their regular season with four consecutive losses and some pundits felt they looked vulnerable heading into the postseason.

Cleveland were outscored 13-7 over the final five minutes of the second quarter on Monday, opened up a 19-point lead during the third but Indiana regrouped and got back to within four points with 19 seconds to play.

In the end, the Cavaliers picked up the intensity when it mattered most and James, a three-times NBA champion and four-times league Most Valuable Player, is choosing to stay focused on the positives rather fret about nearly blowing another lead.

“We’re playing some really, really good basketball,” said James. “Even in, you know, the first two quarters, we build a lead, we didn’t close out the second quarter as well as we would like to and, but, we have a chance,” said James.

“We have a chance to do something we all have been wanting to do all season, and that’s to put together a four-quarter game. And I think we’re right there on the cusp of doing that.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto. Editing by Steve Keating.)

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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