Cavs show defense in Game 3 win at home | RecordCourier.com

Cavs show defense in Game 3 win at home

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a heart, a pulse and some pride after all. It took them three games but the Cavs finally showed up in the NBA Finals. Their impressive 120-90 win in Game 3 doesn't really change things. The Golden State Warriors still win this series in 5 or 6 games. But it was nice to see the Cavs finally compete. The key to the Cavaliers truly competing for the championship is simple. Limit Kevin Love's minutes. Don't start him. Don't play him more than 20 minutes a game. The Cavs beat the Warriors by 30 without him on Tuesday. That was not a coincidence. The Cavs are quicker, more intense on defense and simply play better together without him. The Warriors move the ball too well for Love to even be able to compete on defense. Love probably shouldn't even play Friday in Game 4. Why change a good thing?

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The NBA Finals, as far as the Cavaliers are concerned, comes down to one thing. Defense. If the Cavs keep the Warriors under 105 points, they can win. There is no way the Cavaliers can win an offensive series against the Warriors. That's like trying to out-punch Mike Tyson our out-trash talk Muhammad Ali in the prime of their careers. The Cavs have to take a page out of the great Eastern Conference teams of the past, like the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, and play defense. That is why Love is almost useless to the Cavs in this series.

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If Muhammad Ali was a young athlete on his way up today the media would criticize and crucify him almost on a daily basis. The same media members that praised him this week upon learning of his death would have made a career out of ripping him up one side and down the other if they were working back in the 1960s and 1970s. Ali was an over-the-top braggart and ego-maniac, that would have made Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinko Johnson look like Buckingham Palace guards. Ali was boastful, cocky and everything he said had a look-at-me theme to it. He tried to embarrass his opponents in and out of the ring, sometimes cruelly. He refused to serve in the military. Ali wouldn't have been painted as the American hero that we all read about this week.

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One of the greatest days in Northern Nevada sports history took place at Greater Nevada Field on Tuesday. San Francisco Giants legend Tim Lincecum pitched five innings for the Salt Lake Bees against the Reno Aces. The third largest crowd in Aces history (10,185) showed up, mainly dressed in various Giants gear, to see their hero pitch on Reno soil. The fans showed their love for Lincecum throughout the afternoon. They stood and cheered as he make his way from the right field bullpen to the dugout before the game. They yelled at the umpire for calling some Lincecum pitches a ball. And they gave Tiny Tim a standing ovation as he walked to the clubhouse when his performance was over. It was a memorable and historic afternoon for Northern Nevada.

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Lincecum is obviously not the same pitcher that won a couple Cy Young awards and helped the Giants win three World Series titles. Oh, the big windmill windup is still there. But the fastball isn't. Most star high school pitchers can throw harder than Lincecum now. Lincecum is now all about location and deception. His numbers looked good on Tuesday — five innings, three hits, two earned runs, six strikeouts, two walks. He was always a great competitor and a smart pitcher. But there is a reason the Giants, a team with serious starting rotation concerns, did not sign him this off-season. Lincecum might be able to help the Los Angeles Angels the rest of this season, in relief and in a few spot starts now and then. He's going to compete and out-smart hitters. But it's doubtful that he can go out there every fifth day and win consistently, not with a 90 mile an hour fastball on its good days.

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We have no doubt that new offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey is going to breathe life into the Nevada Wolf Pack's predictable and stagnant passing offense. But the key to that new passing offense isn't going to be the quarterback. The keys will likely be wide receiver Hasaan Henderson and tight end Jarred Gipson, two potentially great Mountain West players who never seemed to reach that full potential under former offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich. The two can be eye-opening playmakers but Henderson always seemed to eventually get injured in recent years and, well, Rolovich always seemed to forget that Gipson was on the field. Henderson and Gipson are now seniors. They came to Nevada under former coach Chris Ault in 2012 and are now poised to dominate.

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The NFL spends far too much time obsessing over meaningless things, like Deflategate, Bountygate and Spygate. Its latest waste of time is the new rule prohibiting players to wear Hoodies that can been seen outside their shoulder pads. It seems the Hoodie gives the league a bad image, covers up the name on the back of the uniform and can be used as a tackling device by opponents. And it makes the player look cold. Baseball allows its players to wear masks and hoods under their hats in cold weather that cover up everything from the neck up except the eyes. But baseball is supposed to be the conservative sport that doesn't project an image of youth and change. The NFL, though, has stricter uniform guidelines than the Marines.

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If Muhammad Ali was a young athlete on his way up today the media would criticize and crucify him almost on a daily basis. The same media members that praised him this week upon learning of his death would have made a career out of ripping him up one side and down the other if they were working back in the 1960s and 1970s. Ali was an over-the-top braggart and ego-maniac, that would have made Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinko Johnson look like Buckingham Palace guards. Ali was boastful, cocky and everything he said had a look-at-me theme to it. He tried to embarrass his opponents in and out of the ring, sometimes cruelly. He refused to serve in the military. Ali wouldn't have been painted as the American hero that we all read about this week.