5-at-10: LeBron's awesomeness, Celtics dilemma, Brady bunch of concussions, Rushmore of post-1980 country music artists

5-at-10: LeBron's awesomeness, Celtics dilemma, Brady bunch of concussions, Rushmore of post-1980 country music artists

May 18th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson, celebrates with forward LeBron James after a basket during the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Cetlics, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

FILE - In this March 5, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Boston Celtics' Jae Crowder (99) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. Crowder is expected to be the primary defender on James in the Eastern Conference Finals. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)


Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Who's next?

Does anyone in Boston have any questions?

Heck, does anyone in the Eastern Conference have any questions?

LeBron James simply looked like a Division I college player against a middle school team last night. OK, the Celtics looked like a good middle school team, but a middle school bunch nonetheless.

Every Celtics player who tried to cover James was overwhelmed.

He finished with 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting. He was only 1-of-6 from distance, so he was 13-of-18 on 2s and was simply unstoppable when he put the ball on the floor and went to the basket.

Cleveland led by 22 at the break — matching the largest home playoff halftime deficit in Boston's length postseason history — and was not overly threatened in the final two quarters.

And here's the really bad news for Boston: Cleveland didn't play its best. Yes, LeBron was terrific, but Kyrie Irving was less than average, J.R. attempted but two shots and Kyle Korver made just one of his six 3s after going 11-for-20 from deep in the Cavs' sweep of the Raptors.

Which brings us back to the simple fact that no one in the East can handle LeBron.

Yes, he's 32. Yes, he's played 1,061 career regular-season games and another 208 playoff games. Yes, those tires have more 50,000 total minutes — 41,272 regular season and 8,764 playoff. He's an advanced 32.

But he still is the game's most unstoppable force.

In fact, in his last 12 postseason games — all Cleveland wins, mind you — here is James' stat line for points, rebounds and assists: 41-16-7, 41-8-11, 27-11-11, 36-6-13, 25-10-7, 41-13-12, 33-10-4, 35-10-4, 39-6-4, 35-8-7, 35-9-6 and 38-9-7 last night.

Again, anyone got any questions?

(Well other than can we go ahead and add the extra couple of games to the Finals between the Warriors and the Cavs and make it a bets of nine and quit wasting everyone's time?)


Little more hoops

Not to get too NBA over the top here, but this seems like as good a time as any for this conversation.

Boston must seriously look to deal the No. 1 overall pick.

With the nucleus the Celtics have — Thomas, Horford, Smart, and a slew of athletic parts and role players — does a rookie with supreme potential make as much sense as Jimmy Butler or Paul George?

The Celtics have to have some one that can at least challenge LeBron, and the ultimate way to do that is two-fold. First, the work defensively — and both of those guys can at least provide a more formidable match-up for James than most — has to be close to a one-on-one operation because of the way LeBron passes the ball. Secondly, you have to make LeBron spend a ton of energy on the defensive end, and Butler and George have the skill set to force James to guard them rather than playing rover and crippling the entire offense.

Boston has the pieces to exploit James' age in the next year or three — and maybe the thought of that time frame was why the Celtics did not make a move before the trading deadline.

Still, the pieces are there. The No. 1 overall pick will be coveted. This is a point guard-rich draft, so if the Celtics are looking in that direction, they will have a rookie point guard and a 5-foot-9 Thomas as its two-guard.

That's awesome in a fantasy league. That's doom against LeBron James.         


FILE - In this May 1, 2017, file photo, Gisele Bundchen, left, and Tom Brady attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between exhibition in New York. Bundchen told "CBS This Morning" in an interview that aired May 17, 2017, that Brady suffered a concussion last year. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)


Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Concussion protocol

OK, on one of the morning shows Gisele Bundchen told one of the talking heads that Tom Brady had a concussion last year.
Here's the money quote from the AP story:

"He had a concussion last year. He has concussions pretty much every ..." she said, before cutting herself off. "I mean, we don't talk about it. But he does have concussions. I don't really think it's a healthy thing for anybody to go through."

Tom Brady did not miss any time last year to injury and no concussion was reported by the Patriots. That would be in violation of the NFL's protocol and league rules, but if we've learned anything, the Patriots view them more as 'suggestions' any way.

Did it happen with Brady? Hard to know.

Do we think a lot of concussions happen that do not get reported? Absolutely.

Sure, it's easy to diagnose a wide receiver getting his clock cleaned and wobbling back to the huddle. That said, Wes Welker played a long time for the

Patriots and he has been concussed right out of the league. There was the image of Julian Edelman in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, wobbling around so much he looked like Otis on a big Saturday night in Mayberry on his way to Andy's jail.

Heck, there was even the brutal scene of Rams quarterback Case Keenum staying in the game after being drilled and falling again trying to get to his feet, while Jeff Fisher froze like Rocky did in Rocky IV right before Drago killed Apollo. (Throw the DANG towel.)

So what does this mean about Brady? Not sure, but we do know this: Yes, teams do drop the ball and the concussion protocol seems like a collection of guides rather than actual rules more times than not. 

But it's all just lip service anyway as long as the players keep quiet about head injuries and refuse to come out of games or tell anyone.

So it goes.       


FILE - In this March 4, 2017, file photo, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, right, shakes hands with his father LaVar following an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State in Los Angeles. The outspoken father of former UCLA star Lonzo Ball said Wednesday, May 17, on Fox Sport 1's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" that it will now cost a shoe company $3 billion to make a deal with his Big Baller Brand. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)


Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

This and that

* LaVar Ball stopped by the Colin Cowherd show and a) said they've sold 400 to 500 shoes; b) got snippy with Cowherd's sidekick Kristine Leahy; and c) said the only thing that Jason Whitlock should be allowed to comment on is snacks.

* Details for the McGregor-Mayweather fight look to be taking shape. Conor McGregor signed the contract to box Floyd Mayweather.

* Braves-Jays got testy with each other last night. Benches cleared a couple of times. Jose Bautista flipped a bat. Freddie Freeman will get some tests after leaving the game Wednesday after being hit on the wrist with a pitch. Speaking of that, it feels like the Braves have been hit more than Doo Ku Kim in their three games with Toronto. Curious indeed.

* Hey, it's a Thursday. Let's check in on Timmy Tebow. Tebow is hitting .227 with a .309 on-base percentage and two home runs. He's struck out 34 times in 110 at-bats. Still, that's better than what we first expected.

Here is video of Mark Richt offering a very negative view of the rule changes that adjusted the college football recruiting calendar. Let's just say, Richt is not a fan of the changes which he called "catastrophic." 


FILE - In this March 5, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Boston Celtics' Jae Crowder (99) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. Crowder is expected to be the primary defender on James in the Eastern Conference Finals. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)


Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Today's questions

Let's offer some True or Falses on a Thursday. We promise Tuesday will not mind.

True or false, LeBron James on any team in the East — even the woeful Brooklyn Nets — is the favorite to reach the Finals.

True or false, the public should not care about concussions until NFL players actually care about their concussions.

True or false, in five years, Big Baller Brand will still be around.

As for the day, well, Happy Birthday to Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, who turns 71 today. Quick side story: Early in our sports writing career, we covered a Braves game to do a story on a kid from the local town in which we worked. We were still occasionally star struck seeing big-timers from our childhood. So we head to the restroom in the Press Box at Turner Field and who is standing there at one of the urinals but Mr. October himself. I say, "Hey, you're Reggie Jackson." He says, "I sure am and I still will be when I'm done peeing. Can I finish please?" Reggie Jackson, ladies and gentlemen. After washing, he was very cordial. We of course were pretty embarrassed and that was the last conversation we've started with a famous person in the potty.

Also celebrating birthdays today are Tina Fey, who is 47. Brooks Robinson was born on this day in 1937.

Most importantly, our all-time favorite country artist George Strait is 65 today. Wow. 

King George is so money. Rushmore of country music men of the last 35 years. Go.

(And remember the mailbag.)

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