CLEVELAND, Ohio – Isaiah Thomas said on the off day between Game 1 and Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals that Boston does not fear the Cavaliers, who dominated the Celtics Wednesday night.
“We’re not scared of Cleveland,” the Celtics guard told reporters. “They’re not the Monstars. They’re not Space Jam. They lace up their sneakers just like us.”
He’s right. This is not at all like Space Jam.
I remember watching Space Jam.
How Space Jam would end wasn’t nearly as obvious.
* The Cavaliers have a 33-4 record in the Eastern Conference playoffs since LeBron James return.
If someone wants to unseat them anytime soon, those are some awfully big sneakers to lace up and fill.
* Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, who represented his organization at the lottery, believes the Cavs dominance is short-lived.
“We’re gearing up at the right time,” he told reporters. “When we start getting good, that’s when Cleveland and LeBron James will start going down.”
That’s not so bold, right?
James could play another five years at a high level, barring injury.
Embiid says that’s not what he meant.
“When I say we are going to be ready to win when the Cavs are going down, that doesn’t mean, like, five years,” said Embiid, who was terrific in limited action this past season.
He means next year.
That would be bold for the Celtics to say.
For the Sixers, that’s Looney Tunes.
* Philly has a Top Three pick in the NBA draft for the fourth straight year.
They were 28-54 a year ago, despite Embiid playing just 31 games and suffering a torn meniscus after missing the two previous seasons with foot problems.
No word yet on which injured player the Sixers are expected to draft this time around.
* Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the Dan Patrick Show Dallas didn’t really want to win late in the season.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban said.
That’s quite a surprise for everyone who didn’t see the Mavericks play.
* So maybe the biggest problem in delivering the best possible product to NBA fans isn’t a superstar like LeBron James taking an occasional night off to rest?
* Kyrie Irving shared a story during his latest podcast appearance with teammates Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson.
Irving says a close friend thinks he could be the Lauryn Hill of the NBA, meaning he’d walk away at the height of his career.
“I love this game with all my heart,” Irving said on Road Trippin. “But there’s just so much knowledge to be acquired and so much that should be happening but isn’t.”
If you don’t understand what he means, that just might support his friend’s take.
After keeping an audience waiting two hours in Atlanta last May, Hill explained her tardiness by saying she was “aligning my energies with the time, taking something that isn’t easily classified or contained, and trying to make it available for others.”
* ESPN produced what it’s calling the QB Confidence Index for all 32 NFL teams following free agency and the draft.
“Completely Confident,” as you might expect, is a category applied to the New England Patriots (Tom Brady) and Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers.)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the “Confident For Now” division while the Cowboys — with Dak Prescott entering his second year — are categorized as “Let’s See Some More.”
The Browns are listed in the “No Earthly Idea” grouping along with the Rams, 49ers and Jets.
ESPN was careful not to use category names that make it sound like a totally made up, subjective index with no real meaning, just not careful enough.
* The index does not apply to the Canadian Football League.
But the Hamilton Tiger Cats owning the signing rights to Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick at the same time is the definition of No Earthly Idea.
* Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor vows to “take it to the next level” according to a report.
That might seem like a tired cliche. But he’s just obviously trying to stay within himself.
* Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who worked together briefly with the Dolphins, shared their thoughts with each other about blowing big leads in fourth quarters, according to Yahoo Sports.
Conclusion: apparently it’s not that much fun.
* Toronto’s Jose Bautista was hit by a pitch one game after he celebrated a eighth-inning home run with a bat flip against Braves pitcher Eric O’Flaherty.
In Bautista’s defense, it’s not as if his home run cut the Braves lead to five runs and he was celebrating that lowly achievement.
It cut the Braves lead to four.
* Imagine if it had tied the game. He might’ve had the Rockettes join him for a dance routine at home plate.
* Unlike the NFL, MLB doesn’t feel the need to clamp down on celebrations.
There’s no need. The 94 mile an hour fastball is the cop on patrol.
* Denver All-Pro linebacker Von Miller showed up at a Broncos team service awards gathering honoring the work of employees ranging from the grounds crews to equipment managers to the team chef.
“We couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for you,” Miller told them.
According to the Denver Post, it’s the first time a player has attended in the 18-year history of the event.
I promise to do the same if You Said It contributors ever are deserving of anything beyond pity.
* Gisele Bundchen told CBS This Morning that her husband, Tom Brady, suffered a concussion last year and has suffered other concussions in the past.
That raised eyebrows since Brady has never been in the league’s concussion protocol.
Via Pro Football Talk, it prompted concussion expert Dr. Bennett Omalu to call Bundchen “an angel of truth and an angel of love” during an interview with TMZ.
No word yet from Brady or the Patriots.
But I’m sure Bill Belichick, in now dealing with another offseason issue, is thinking it’s pretty angelic of Bundchen, too.
* New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told The Dan Patrick Show self-reporting concussions is a “gray area” because players are so competitive in the moment they don’t want to take themselves out of the game.
Brees admitted he might not tell his own wife if he suffered a concussion, saying, “I wouldn’t want her to worry.”
If you’re watching your quarterback husband on a NFL Sunday and you’re not already worried, he’s holding a clipboard.