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Added former offensive lineman Damien Woody
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LeBron James and the depleted Cleveland Cavaliers won’t get any sympathy from the Celtics when they return to Boston for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Already laboring to reach his eighth straight NBA Finals with a supporting crew made mostly of cast-offs and throw-ins [url=http://www.authenticsbaltimoreravens.com/cheap-robert-griffin-iii-jersey]Robert Griffin III Color Rush Jersey[/url] , James lost the only other All-Star on the roster on Saturday when Kevin Love was declared out for the series finale with a concussion.
Now, in what could be his final game in a Cleveland uniform – again – James will have to do it largely on his own.
In Boston, where the Celtics are perfect so far this postseason.
And in a series where the road team hasn’t really even come close.
”There’s something different about LeBron, period,” Cleveland forward Larry Nance Jr. said after James scored 46 with 11 rebounds and nine assists on Friday night to send the series to a decisive seventh game. ”I think (coach Tyronn Lue) said it best: `We’re going into a Game 7 with the baddest dude on the planet on our team.’ I like our chances.”
James is having what could be the best postseason of his career, averaging 33.9 points and just under nine assists and rebounds, with seven 40-point games, two buzzer beaters, and a sweep of top-seeded Toronto. But he’s played in every game this season – Sunday will be his 100th – and it showed in the Game 5 loss to the Celtics.
He admitted to fatigue afterward, and then played all but two minutes in Game 6 despite a sore knee from a collision with Nance.
Still, the four-time MVP carried his team even after Love banged heads with Boston’s Jayson Tatum in the first half and left the game.
”I can’t say enough good things about him [url=http://www.minnesotatwinsteamshop.com/authentic-addison-reed-jersey]Authentic Addison Reed Jersey[/url] ,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ”Every time we watch. Every time you’re standing out there. Every time you watch him on film. Best player in the game.”
James will probably have to do it again in Game 7 to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth straight year, something accomplished only by Bill Russell and some of his Celtics teammates in the 1960s.
Lue said he wasn’t concerned about James’ leg. Or about the team’s history in the TD Garden, where the Cavaliers lost the first three games by an average of 17 points.
”We throw it all out,” Lue said on Saturday. ”It’s one game left to go to the NBA Finals.”
The Celtics have had their own injury problems, starting in the first quarter of the season opener – at Cleveland – when top free agent Gordon Hayward went out for the year with a broken leg. Five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving, acquired from the Cavaliers in an offseason roster overhaul, needed knee surgery and was lost in March.
But they caught a break when Tatum was cleared to play on Saturday. Stevens said the team doctors checked on him ”and he’s great.”
”So nothing there as far as to be concerned about,” Stevens said.
Well, there’s one thing to be concerned about.
”We know LeBron is different than a lot of other guys, but we’ve got to get the job done,” Celtics guard Terry Rozier said. ”That’s no excuse [url=http://www.authenticsjacksonvillejaguars.com/cheap-logan-cooke-jersey]Logan Cooke Color Rush Jersey[/url] , so we’re looking forward to it.”
For James, it’s an opportunity to extend the season for his hometown team and put off another summer of questions about his future. Eight years ago, he came to Boston for the conference semifinals and had a triple-double – 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists – but shot 8 for 21 with nine turnovers and the Celtics eliminated the Cavs from the playoffs.
As he left the court, James stripped off his Cleveland jersey; then came ”The Decision” and the move to Miami.
James is again able to become a free agent this season, with the Lakers, 76ers and Rockets among the most-mentioned destinations. Having led Cleveland to the city’s first major sports title in half a century in 2016, there is less pulling at him to stay home this time.
But another title would ease the pain even more. And with the injury bug hitting the Western Conference finalists – Chris Paul was the latest ruled out for a game – the East champion might not be as big an underdog as expected.
James will be ready.
”You’ve got to be poised. You’ve got to be able to handle a punch or two,” he said. ”We know it’s challenging. They’re 10-0 on their home floor, and they’ve been very successful against us, obviously [url=http://www.authenticsindianapoliscolts.com/cheap-kemoko-turay-jersey]Kemoko Turay Color Rush Jersey[/url] , at home. But if you love challenges, then this is a great opportunity.”
More NBA basketball:
The Hitman has made his final tackle.
Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris, second on the team’s career tackles list, retired Friday night after 11 NFL seasons. Harris made the announcement in a statement released on Twitter by his agents .
”After 11 years of having played the greatest team sport at its highest level,” Harris wrote, ”it’s now time for me to announce my retirement from the NFL.”
Always understated and humble off the field, Harris was an intense presence on it – earning the nickname ”The Hitman” for his penchant for punishing ball carriers.
He spent his first 10 seasons with the Jets, who drafted him in the second round out of Michigan in 2007. Harris was surprisingly released by New York last June and signed to a two-year contract by AFC East rival New England a few weeks later.
The 34-year-old Harris was mostly a role player with the Patriots, appearing in just 10 regular-season games, and he did not play in any postseason games, including the Super Bowl against Philadelphia.
Harris’ retirement saves the Patriots $2.1 million on their salary cap next season.
He made his mark with the Jets [url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/mark-andrews-jersey]Wholesale Mark Andrews Jersey[/url] , though, leading the team in tackles in nine of his 10 seasons with them. Harris was also a locker-room leader who was adamant about leading by example with an unquestioned work ethic rather than with his words.
”Players like David Harris don’t come around very often,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said in a statement posted on the team’s website . ”He’s one of the best players and people I’ve ever coached. I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a person and a leader. He is an example of everything you want from a player. I am proud to have coached him and wish him and his family the best.”
Harris’ preference to stay out of the spotlight in New York was a rarity for a player of his skill level and accomplishments. He never sought endorsements or acclaim, but Harris was recognized for his play on the field around the league. He was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl after both the 2009 – when he was also a second-team All-Pro pick – and 2011 seasons.
Harris was also a playmaking force as the middle linebacker in Rex Ryan’s top defenses during the Jets’ runs to the AFC championship game in the 2009 and ’10 seasons. He was twice selected by his teammates as the Jets’ Dennis Byrd ”Most Inspirational Player” and was the team MVP in 2010.
”David Harris operated at the highest standard for both performance and professionalism and is as fine a person as you will ever meet,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. ”His endurance, intelligence and reliability were his trademarks and he was always there for his teammates. With all of those qualities, what stands out most to me is the humility and selflessness with which he approached each day. I wish him and his family the absolute best that life has to offer and they will always have a home with the New York Jets.”
Former teammates also took to social media to congratulate Harris on his retirement.
”A BOSS!” former running back Thomas Jones wrote on Twitter . ”Congratulations to `The Hitman’ David Harris on a great NFL career. Was an honor to share the field with him. Quiet assassin!”
Added former offensive lineman Damien Woody , currently an ESPN analyst: ”Congrats to David `Hitman’ Harris on a stellar 11-yr career. Not much for talking but was definitely bout that action boss!”
Despite Harris’ short stint in New England, he still made a lasting impression on his teammates there. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy even lobbied for the Jets to someday induct him into their Ring of Honor.
”S/O to my last OG David Harris!” Van Noy wrote. ”Congrats! It was only a year but the impact he had on me will be forever. True professional and the best part about him is he’s truly selfless! Always looking to help and never complained. True leader! Green team better give him a green coat!!!”
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