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May 22, 2015 Updates

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving skipped the morning shootaround Friday before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final to get further evaluation on his ailing left knee. Irving was listed as questionable against after scoring only 10 points and sitting out the final 8 minutes of the Cavaliers win over the Atlanta Hawks in the series opener. USA Today Sports

"Probably this has been my last Euroleague game with CSKA," Sasha Kaun told Championat.com. (...) Kaun a was chosen by the Sonics in the 2008 draft (56th pick) and the Cavaliers acquired his rights in 2010. Gigantes del Basket

J.R. Smith drew comparisons to Dennis Rodman this offseason — both from Knicks president Phil Jackson and Rodman himself. Now Smith may have met his version of Michael Jordan. “There are players like LeBron [James] who had great influence on players who have had, let’s say, murky pasts,” said TNT play-by-play man Marv Albert, who is calling the Eastern Conference finals. “Michael Jordan is the same way. When Rodman was brought to Chicago that worked out pretty well, despite some things going on off the court that were a little bit different. On the court he played as hard as anyone in the league. That’s the influence of Michael. New York Post

Of course, James found the ball in his hands more than usual down the stretch after Kyrie Irving tweaked his left knee in the third quarter and was limited to just 27 minutes on the night. “It’s tough sometimes with our main ball handler not being on the floor, and that’s Kyrie,” James said. “That’s something that I’m not happy with, something I’m not really comfortable with doing. I can do it, but I don’t like to play that much isolation basketball late in the game. I’d much rather get the ball moving from side to side and get a good look after that.” ESPN.com

James recently sat down with Rachel Nichols of CNN and Turner to discuss a variety of topics. The 30-year-old Cavaliers star spent a lot of time talking about the adjustments he's made since coming back to Cleveland and how parenting has made him a better leader. Toward the end of the interview, Nichols got James to talk about some random topics. Of course, James is currently focused on bringing a championship to Cleveland. However, he also revealed that at some point down the road, he would love to star in an action movie—as either a cop or Batman. Dream big, LeBron! Bleacher Report

May 21, 2015 Updates

But the revelation was Smith, whose reputation as a long-distance shooter with a quick trigger finger was true. Smith brought something else to the Cavs -- more defense. "He pays attention to scouting reports and works hard on that end of the court," Blatt told me a few weeks ago. "J.R. has been great." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Blatt praised J.R. Smith for his career playoff-high 29 points in the victory at Atlanta, but the coach also said, "Probably overlooked in his great shooting performance was that he defended well ... and got eight rebounds. I'd love to know the last time a guy made eight 3-pointers and got eight rebounds." Shumpert had a miserable shooting day, but at seven rebounds from his guard spot. He also defended (along with Dellavedova) Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague for most of the second half. Teague shot 4-of-12 for 10 points after scoring 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the second half. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Before the playoffs, Blatt told me about how he sat down with Lue and they changed how they were defending the pick-and-roll and some other basics of NBA offenses. They did these a few times during the regular season. Then they took the changes to James, and asked for his input. Why? "Because LeBron has seen every about everything you can see in the NBA," said Blatt, adding that James was a "basketball savant." Cleveland Plain Dealer

What happened: J.R. Smith happened. Smith scored a playoff career-high 28 points as the Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 97-89 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs built an 85-67 lead with a 22-4 run from the 3:27 mark of the third quarter to the 9:59 mark of the fourth quarter, and Smith had 17 of those points – 15 on three three-pointers. Smith was 10-for-16 from the field and 8-for-12 on three-pointers. He also had eight rebounds, becoming just the fourth player since 1985 to have eight rebounds and make eight threes in a playoff game. "Probably overlooked in his great shooting performance was the fact that he defended as well as he did and he got eight rebounds," Cavs coach David Blatt said. USA Today Sports

Irving played 27 minutes, scoring 10 points and dishing out six assists before becoming a late-game spectator, with Matthew Dellavedova closing out the game. "The most frustrating part is seeing holes in the defense that I'm used attacking," he said. "I try to make one move, accelerate and then I stop to pass it." Of those 27 minutes, only nine came in the second half as the Cavs started to stifle Atlanta's potent offense. While Irving gutted through another game for the betterment of his team, it's hard not to see a correlation with the Cavs' turnaround defensively and Irving's light minutes-load in the final 24 minutes. Cleveland Plain Dealer

May 20, 2015 Updates

Mozgov recalled finding out about the trade during a moment of calm. “The business is different and nobody trade you like that [in Russia],” he said, comparing NBA trades to those overseas. “They talk to you. It goes on for months. They ask the player, ‘Do you want to be traded?’ They ask the agent. Here, it was so quick. I was sitting, watching the All-Star Game with my wife, eating some chicken wings. I just remember I was happy and they called me and said, ‘You got traded.’ I see my wife. She looks at me and feels like something’s wrong. I say, ‘We got traded to Denver.’ I gotta, like, fly tomorrow. She said, ‘For real?’” Grantland


It will be very hard to surpass the No. 1 player on the list – especially now that he's back..


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