The Cavaliers’ sleeveless black jerseys already had LeBron James‘ stamp of approval, though a change in shoes might have been the difference Friday night.
James had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, J.R. Smith made the tiebreaking free throw with 48 seconds left, and Cleveland extended its winning streak to seven straight with a 100-99 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
James had season highs in rebounds and assists in his 57th career triple-double. He switched from yellow to black shoes after scoring six points in the first half. “I’m a little weird sometimes,” he said. “I wasn’t playing well, to my standards. I wanted to try and make my second half better than my first half and I was able to make a couple of plays.”
For Black Friday, the Cavaliers wore black uniforms. Cleveland also wore black jerseys when it won the first championship in franchise history, but the current edition is minus the sleeves from Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
James is 41-6 in the regular season against Charlotte and the Cavaliers have won 12 of 13, including eight straight against the Hornets.
After Smith split a pair from the line, both teams missed 3-point attempts and Charlotte called time with 11.1 seconds left. Jeremy Lamb missed a 3-pointer after the Hornets inbounded at midcourt and the rebound was tapped out to Kemba Walker, but his 3-point attempt fell well short after James got a hand on the shot.
James forced Walker to pass the ball on the inbounds play, but the Hornets had one last chance when after Marvin Williams batted the rebound toward midcourt. “I looked up at the timer and there was still one second left,” James said. “I just tried to fly to get another contest. We were able to get the stop that we needed.”
Smith had 16 points, while Kevin Love had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.
Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which fell to 1-8 on the road. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams scored 17 points for the Hornets, whose three-game winning streak ended. “That’s the way Cleveland plays. They’re a battle-tested team with those guys,” Williams said. “That’s why they’ve been to the Finals three straight years and LeBron has been there seven straight years.”
Howard’s two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist’s layup following James’ turnover gave Charlotte a 98-93 lead.
James made a foul shot and converted a three-point play, cutting the lead to one. Kidd-Gilchrist hit a free throw but James scored on a drive that tied the game with 1:48 left.
Cavaliers point guard Derrick Rose left the team earlier this week to handle a personal matter. Coach Tyronn Lue expects Rose, who has played in just seven of Cleveland’s 19 games this season because of a left ankle injury, to return to the team.
Hornets: G Nicolas Batum (bruised left elbow) was unavailable after being re-injured Wednesday against Washington and is day to day. He has only played in five games because of elbow injuries. Lamb returned to the starting lineup in Batum’s spot. … Charlotte’s only road win came against Memphis on Oct. 30.
Cavaliers: Rose sustained his injury while driving to the basket on Oct. 20 in Milwaukee. He’s averaging 14.3 points in his first season with Cleveland. … G Iman Shumpert (sore left knee) could return Monday after missing his third straight game.
Howard missed all three of his field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, but was 5 of 6 at the free throw line. He was 6 of 9 for the game. “They double-teamed me when I got the ball and didn’t allow me to get into a good rhythm down the stretch,” he said.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue was pleased with the Cavaliers’ defense down the stretch. “The guys understand what we’re doing and what we want,” he said. “In the second half we held them to 42 points, which was great.”
Reggie Bush: Paying college athletes will ‘destroy some people’
College athletes getting paid for their services has been a worthy argument for a long time, but the NCAA finally supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and receive payment for their work after some of the best basketball recruits in the country have declared for the NBA’s G League instead of attending college.
While being paid for their work certainly is a step in the right direction, former NFL star Reggie Bush doesn’t think it’s such a great idea.
“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy, according to ESPN. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”
A formal proposal for the new rules is set to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, and they will then vote on the proposal sometime before January 2021.
Bush was a two-time All-American running back during his days at USC, and helped the school win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 2005, but forfeited the award in 2010 after the NCAA found that Bush received money and gifts from sports agents when he wasn’t allowed to do so.
The 35-year-old went on to have a successful NFL career after his collegiate days at USC. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before hanging up his cleats in 2017.
It’s weird to think that Bush is against athletes being paid for endorsement deals, especially considering he improperly accepted cash during his collegiate days.
Many college standouts will be able to use the money they earn to take care of their families, and that alone is a terrific reason why paying them is the right thing to do. They perform like professional athletes, earn their colleges and universities massive amounts of money and provide entertainment to fans, so why shouldn’t they be paid?
Victims In Kobe Bryant Crash Have Now All Been Identified
Here’s what is known so far about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other people.
Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S76 when something went wrong just before 10 a.m. Sunday.
The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down.
The helicopter’s flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.
Kobe Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called “Gigi” — was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters.
Bryant had coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.
They were all reportedly headed to an AAU game when the crash happened.
In addition to Bryant and his daughter, three members of one family died in the crash.
John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.
The husband of Christina Mauser posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. Mauser’s husband says he and his kids are devastated.
Sarah Chester and her middle school aged daughter Payton were on also on board the helicopter piloted by Ara Zobayan.
Arrest warrant issued for Odell Beckham over alleged battery on police officer
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is potentially in legal trouble over an incident that took place in LSU’s locker room after Monday night’s national championship game.
Video appears to show Beckham slap the butt of a police officer who was in LSU’s locker room. NOLA.com reports that New Orleans police obtained an arrest warrant accusing Beckham of simple battery in connection with the incident.
The report said authorities originally wanted Beckham charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, but a judge denied that request.
Beckham, who played at LSU, was celebrating with the team on the field and in the locker room after they won the national championship. Beckham has already been under scrutiny over potentially breaking NCAA rules by handing cash to players, but this legal scrutiny is potentially much more problematic for him.
After Beckham appeared to slap the officer, the officer turned around and exchanged words with Beckham, but he was not arrested at the time.
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