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#1 08-10-2018 10:09:31

liny195
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Date d'inscription: 27-04-2018
Messages: 383

t Tampa Bay can put forth on Monday.

LeBron James gets to the NBA Finals every year http://www.officialbruinsproonline.com/ … and-jersey , masking the East’s mediocrity.

Lately, he’s been the underdog and the finals’ outcome has been predictable.

That doesn’t seem like the best thing for a championship series, though James representing the East is a better finals option for the NBA than a Kyrie Irving-less Celtics squad or the uninspiring Raptors.

James provides the star power to drive TV ratings. So the NBA hasn’t needed the best teams in the finals; it has had the best player.

”The real answer is it’s better to have both,” said Scott Rosner, the academic director of the sports management program at Columbia University. ”The NBA, if you step back from it, has been very much on an upward trend, you can argue more than any of the other big four sports leagues. There’s a lot of different reasons for that, but clearly it’s a star-driven league.”

For eight years running James has provided the glimmer of hope that the JV against the varsity really can be competitive. He can almost single-handedly create compelling basketball. Still, he’s on the verge of losing in the NBA Finals without winning more than a game for the fourth time. Nonetheless, fans are still watching in huge numbers.

It’s been a nice run, but the NBA probably needs to think about getting the best teams in the finals when James isn’t.

He could leave Cleveland as a free agent this summer, maybe even head West. And once he’s done slipping on his Eastern Conference champion hat every spring, the problem that’s been concealed by his immense talent comes into full view.

The Larry O’Brien Trophy won’t be awarded before Friday night in Cleveland Womens Greg Olsen Jersey , or maybe sometime next week back in California. But the NBA championship was essentially decided on Memorial Day in Houston, when the Warriors rallied to take Game 7 from a Rockets team that was the only one with a realistic chance to beat them, and would likely be beating Cleveland now.

”To me, Houston wasn’t just one half away from advancing to the finals. They were one half away from winning a championship,” ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said.

That’s why Van Gundy advocates a playoff format where the top 16 teams were seeded by their records. That would allow any two teams to meet in the final round, rather than the current system that mandates East against West.

”Listen, I’m for the best teams meeting in the finals,” Van Gundy said. ”I’d be fine if they played the conferences for travel purposes through the year to minimize how many times you’d have to go cross-country. But I’ve always been for the top 16 records should be in the playoffs, and I would be absolutely fine if you then seeded 1 through 16, regardless of what conference you played in during the regular season.”

Commissioner Adam Silver continues to say concerns about too much travel make that change impossible for now. James has said he prefers the traditional East-West format, and it’s hard to blame him since it’s helped provide him such a smooth path to the finals. Even in a season like this, when he doesn’t have the strongest of teams around him – and one of the worst in the league defensively – he can carry them through seven-game series in the East.

Silver said he looked it up and found that James has had 59 different teammates during his run, so it’s not as if his teams need continuity and cohesiveness. All it’s taken to play for the title the last eight years is James.

”My point before, if you have LeBron James playing with 59 different players over eight years http://www.officialflyersproshop.com/au … ick-jersey , it means that presumably the team LeBron is on is going to be a dominant team,” Silver said. ”Whether they get to the finals every year is a separate issue.”

They almost certainly wouldn’t have won more than one round this season, where as the sixth-winningest team in the league they would have been slotted to meet the third-seeded Warriors in round two in a 1-16 format.

That could create must-see matchups in every round of the nearly two-month march to the championship, but it comes with risk to the league.

Having James home in mid-May would be disastrous from a business standpoint. His mesmerizing performances against the Celtics, when he played all 48 minutes in a Game 7 victory in Boston, catapulted ESPN to the most-watched Eastern Conference finals since 2012. And questions about his future dominate the sports headlines as long as the Cavs are playing.

If the East loses its most imposing player and most important personality, the league and its marketing partners would be left to sell an NBA Finals matchup lacking its marquee product.

”It is certainly a situation where all things being equal you’d rather have your best teams with your best players in it, your superstar players in it,” Rosner said. ”That said, given your druthers would really prefer to have a competitive series.”

There are only a handful of teams considered legitimate championship contenders. The number could grow even smaller this summer after James makes his future plans.

”Can our system be improved upon?” Silver said. ”I think it can. I think it’s something we’re constantly looking at.”

Better hurry. James won’t be around forever.




TAMPA, Fla. — The Washington Capitals know they have a lot of work to do.

The Tampa Bay Lightning know their work is far from done.

Both teams expect to be at their best on Monday for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Capital One Arena with Tampa Bay holding a 3-2 series advantage and the chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Capitals, a franchise haunted by the failures of postseasons past, are staring down another one heading in to their first elimination of this playoffs.

After finally pushing past the Pittsburgh Penguins and advancing past the second round for the first time in 20 years — and the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era — Washington kept rolling right on in to the conference finals, winning the first two games on the road.

But since grabbing that 2-0 series lead Chase Daniel Jersey , the Capitals have dropped the past three games and are once again facing questions about seeing a big series lead dissipate into disappointment.

In the conference era, which dates back to 1974-75, only two teams in 41 occasions have won the first two games of a conference final or league semifinal and failed to win the series: the Montreal Canadiens in 1984 and Boston Bruins in 1991.

“It’s OK,” Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We’re going to play better in Game 6 and we have (to) bounce back and come here and play a Game 7 and that’s it.”

The Capitals are leaning on some of the adversity they have faced this season, including being down 0-2 themselves in the opening round after dropping consecutive home games to open the series against Columbus.

“We kind of had our backs against the wall a couple times this year in this playoffs. We can draw from those experiences,” defenseman John Carlson said. “Just got to go out there and play hockey. That’s what we do. Just all about upstairs and what you can control. I think if you stay in the moment like we have, we got a pretty good chance of winning.

“I think these guys are a very capable group that is very capable of winning the next game. That’s all we’re worried about.”

History is not on Washington’s side, however.

When a series is tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven format, the team which won Game 5 has an all-time series record of 215-55, a 79.6 winning percentage.

But the Lightning are well aware that a 3-2 series lead means the next victory is going to be the hardest to earn.

Twice in the previous three years Tampa Bay has been in this same position in the conference finals. In 2015, they held a 3-2 lead against the New York Rangers heading back home but lost Game 6 before winning in seven games. In 2016, the Lightning were up 3-2 on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finals and lost Game 6 at home and eventually the series in seven games.

Now, they are back in the same situation in 2018, but instead are heading on the road with the chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in franchise history.

“We have a lot of unfinished business Authentic Harrison Smith Jersey ,” Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. “This isn’t even close to being over. This last game’s definitely the hardest, against a very, very good Washington team and to go in their building and try to close them out it’s going to be tough.”

Tampa Bay has been a strong road team in these playoffs, posting a 5-1 record away from home with four consecutive road victories. The Lightning have also never lost a playoff game in Washington in three all-time postseason meetings, which also includes 2003 and 2011, with a 7-0 record.

Yet, all that matters is what Tampa Bay can put forth on Monday.

“We’re going to have to match their urgency,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “The closeout games, potential closeout games, they just seem to bring out the best in everybody. For us, we’ve had some success when we’ve gotten the lead. When you do that, you put a little pressure on the other team. Something we’ll try and focus on (Monday) night.”

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