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LeBron James walked into his final interview of the NBA Finals with one last surprise: A dark brace on his right hand Byron Jones Jersey Womens , covering an injury he’s hidden for a week.
”Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand,” James said.
The cause: He punched something after Game 1 of the finals, his frustration having obviously boiled way over when the Cleveland Cavaliers let the series opener against the Golden State Warriors get away amid late-game miscues and one overturned call that left him seething.
The injury was never disclosed, and James played basically every minute for the rest of the series and put up great numbers.
James didn’t get the only reward he still seeks from the game of basketball. There will be no parade for him this year, no ring, no banner ceremony. All James has now is a few weeks to think, a few weeks to ponder his next move.
With that, the watch is on. What will LeBron James do next?
”I have no idea at this point,” James said.
This ending – a loss – was inevitable: For as good as James was this season, his Cavaliers were not good enough. No one gave them a chance to beat the Golden State Warriors, for obvious reasons. And the ending was a sweep, the second of James’ career in the NBA Finals and perhaps a most unceremonious end to his time in Cleveland.
The final on Friday night was Golden State 108 Roquan Smith Jersey Youth , Cleveland 85. The Cavaliers probably should have won Game 1 and had a great chance to win Game 3, but there’s no doubting who the better team is.
The Warriors are better. James knows that.
The Warriors are smarter. James knows that, too.
He scored 23 points in Game 4, by far his lowest-output game of the series. The Cavs led briefly in the first half, but it was over shortly after halftime. James was subbed out for Cedi Osman with 4:03 remaining, shook hands with a few of the Warriors players on his way to the bench, and walked off the court shortly after time expired.
”He’s a bad boy, and I love having him on our team,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. ”He fights and competes to the end. Sometimes you can give everything you’ve got and still come up short. I thought that’s what our group of guys did in this series.”
It’s entirely possible that James left the floor Friday night knowing he was wearing a Cavaliers uniform for the last time.
But it’s hard to envision a scenario where James knows where he’s going – if anywhere.
Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers are oft-mentioned as possible James destinations – but since they’re in the Western Conference that would mean potentially dealing with the Warriors earlier in the playoffs. He could go to Philadelphia and join an up-and-coming team, albeit one now dealing with front-office questions after the resignation of Bryan Colangelo in a Twitter-use scandal. He could return to Miami, a place he still loves.
Thing is, there’s no obvious choice.
His decision will be based on what his family wants and where he can win.
”My family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide Jimmy Garoppolo Jersey Limited ,” James said.
Even if the Lakers landed James and another top-flight player like a Paul George this summer, it’s still hard to see them being ready to overtake the Rockets and Warriors out West. Philadelphia might be on the cusp of contending in the East, but doesn’t seem like a championship club yet. Houston may seem like the move, though it’s anyone’s guess how a James-Chris Paul–James Harden trio would work.
All that’s clear is this: Cleveland isn’t winning another NBA title anytime soon with a roster that looks like the one it had in this series.
And James wants more rings. That’s why he spends well over million a year to tweak and hone his body. That’s why, in his 15th NBA season, he was as dominant as ever.
He is showing no signs of fading – yet.
But he’s 33. Father Time is undefeated. James’ window of greatness will close, someday.
”I think maybe the greatest testament to LeBron is that five years ago he was one of the top five players of all time,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”From five years ago until now, it seems like he’s 10 times better, because he’s added so much skill to his game.”
James can leave without owing Northeast Ohio anything. He came back. He brought Cleveland an NBA title. He has given the city so much. Still, James will never forget the infamous letter that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert penned when he left for Miami in 2010.
Whether he stays or goes, it’s now the summer of LeBron again.
Many free-agent moves around the league after July 1 will be held up while teams wait to see what James does. His decision Adidas Evander Kane Jersey , whatever it is, could mean Kevin Love gets traded. His decision, whatever it is, could decide whether Lue returns as coach. His decision, whatever it is, will dictate if Cleveland is a contender next season or a tanker. There really isn’t any in-between.
It’s all up to James.
How the league looks a year from now hinges in so many ways on what he decides a few weeks from now.
”We’ll see what happens,” James said.
With that, he was gone. Cleveland can only hope he comes back.
The crew of castoffs that carried the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to a division title and two rounds of playoffs wins in a reality-defying season are more than just a feel-good story.
They’ve proven themselves to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Marc-Andre Fleury was his usual brilliant self with 28 saves in his fourth shutout of the postseason and Vegas benefited from a couple of fortunate bounces to advance to the Western Conference Final with a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
”It’s a bit crazy thinking about it for sure,” defenseman Brayden McNabb said. ”But we’re here to win. We’re not going to get caught up in we shouldn’t be here or whatever. We’re here to win.”
The Golden Knights have done that all season despite being thrown together at the expansion draft last June among players deemed expendable by their former teams. They won eight of nine games to open the season to take the league by a bit of shock, posted 109 points to win a Pacific Division filled with playoff-tested teams and then gone 8-2 in the playoffs with a first-round sweep against Los Angeles and a six-game series win over the Sharks.
They became just the third team in NHL history to win multiple series in its first season. The Toronto Arenas won the Stanley Cup in the first postseason in league history in 1918 and St. Louis won two rounds to win the all-expansion West Division in 1968.
Next up for Vegas is the Western Conference Final against either Winnipeg or Nashville. The Jets lead that series 3-2 heading into Game 6 at home on Monday night.
While the Golden Knights got help from a couple of shots that hit the iron and went out for San Jose and one that went off the post and into the net for a goal by Nate Schmidt that was only detectable on replay, the recipe for success has been speed, tenacity and depth more than luck.
”We made ourselves a good team Myles Garrett Jersey Youth ,” Fleury said. ”We had great chemistry right from the start. We keep improving throughout the season. I feel like we’re using everybody in the lineup to get wins. That’s what’s made us successful.”
Fleury has been a big part of that, capped by his fourth career series-clinching shutout, one shy of Chris Osgood’s NHL record.
Fleury allowed just three goals in the sweep against the Kings, posted shutouts in the opening and closing games against San Jose and was brilliant in an overtime win in Game 3 over the Sharks.
But he has had plenty of help. William Karlsson scored 43 goals in the regular season and had the overtime winner in Game 3 of this series. Jonathan Marchessault is tied for the team lead with 11 points this postseason, including the first goal in the clincher against the Sharks. Even the fourth line played a big role Sunday by controlling the puck and hemming San Jose in the defensive zone.
”We’re having a lot of fun in this room,” Schmidt said. ””The guys have just been having a blast all year with each other. I think that we’ve done a lot more than we thought we were capable of, but we continue to set the bar to new heights with our group. We continue to just set new expectations for yourself. This group believes in each other and that’s more than anything you can ask for.”
The Golden Knights took control of this game with some good fortune in the second period. It started when usually reliable Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned the puck over in his own zone. Reilly Smith took control near the blue line and found Marchessault alone in front for a goal that trickled between Martin Jones‘ pads.
The Golden Knights then added to the lead after an icing by Brent Burns led to an offensive zone faceoff. David Perron beat Tierney on the draw and Schmidt took a shot that appeared to deflect off the post and out.
Play went on for 25 more seconds before the buzzer rang, with the situation room in Toronto calling for a video review. That quickly showed that the puck bounced off the post, off a piece equipment inside the net and out.
Vegas then had a delayed celebration for the goal that made it 2-0.
That was the type of bounce the Sharks didn’t get early in the game when they hit the post or crossbar three times in the opening period and then again in the third when they tried to cut into Vegas’ lead.
”It’s a fine line,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I think we had a couple of those that didn’t go in. That’s hockey. But Vegas deserves to be moving on. They played great. They finished the chances when they needed to and got saves when they needed to.”
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