After the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Atlanta Hawks -- capped with an emphatic 118-88 home win -- you could say the Eastern Conference champions were happy.

Case in point: This video, posted by J.R. Smith, of himself, LeBron James and much of the team chilling in a cold tub:

What more can I say!! ##JustSaying @k1irving @imanshumpertthe1st @perk_409

A video posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

That wasn't all. During the postgame news conference, Smith -- understandably giddy about making his first Finals appearance -- stopped everything to take a selfie with LeBron James and Tristan Thompson.


A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

James, meanwhile, lifted his self-imposed playoff cell phone ban (again) to take a photo with his family shortly after qualifying for his fifth straight trip to the Finals.

Iman Shumpert, like Smith a New York Knicks castoff this season, didn't need imagery to show his happiness after the game.

And, well, we're just going to leave this photo featuring Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov here ...

Comment »

After Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith said some flattering things about their Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. Namely, that he could be better than Michael Jordan eventually ... or even right now.

The SportsNation crew? It has some hashtags for that:


Comment »

LeBron/JordanGetty Images

Ah, the Michael Jordan versus [insert modern star here] debate. As much as many (most?) people might like to see it retired, or at least diminished, it's not going away anytime soon.

Case-in-point: Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers players fresh off watching LeBron James' gutsy performance in a Game 3 overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks, brought up MJ in the context of their four-time-MVP, two-time-champion teammate.

Perkins, as told to Northeast Ohio Media Group: "The only thing that he's missing is a couple more championships, and then it's a wrap. Right now, we have arguably the best player to ever play the game. I'm just saying, man. I'm not taking anything away from Jordan, but all [James is] missing is titles. A couple of more titles, and that's it."

And Smith, as told to the same publication: "That's one hell of a debate. Honestly, in my opinion, if it's not Jordan, then it's him. It used to be no question. It was a landslide. It was Jordan. Now, you have to consider my boy."

Smith's comments are more measured; if you don't consider James one of the greatest players of all time, you're just a hater.

But Perkins? He's kind of, sort of saying LeBron is better ... if only he had Jordan's six rings.

Some might channel Jason Segel and respond that six rings is THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED, KENDRICK!

We prefer a more nuanced view, though nearly every unit of measurement favors MJ as No. 1.

Still, there's time left in LeBron's career, so you never know ...

H/T Northeast Ohio Media Group

Comment »

Ah, the hidden-ball trick. That perfectly legal move that's used -- often to great effect -- to catch a baserunner off-guard and record an out.

On Saturday, it worked in one of the biggest moments possible.

With a 9-8 lead and one out to go to clinch a spot in the Colorado Class 2A state final, Rye High School pitcher Luis "Junior" Ortiz caught a Hotchkiss baserunner with the following:


For Hotchkiss: Ouch. What a way to go out of a hard-fought game that included a rain delay and even a venue change (according to, the new stadium was better equipped to handle precipitation).

For Rye, though, it kept the Thunderbolts unbeaten and gave them a shot at their second state championship in five seasons; they had gone out in this round in the past three season. As for the final, they won a wild 12-10 game over defending champion Resurrection Christian later that day. Rye finished 25-0.

Quotes, via CHSAA Now:

"We weren't real sure if [the hidden-ball trick] was going to work. We practice it quite a bit and we ran it one time successfully, and it worked again. It's a tough play to do, and the guys executed it real well." --Rye coach Stacey Graham

"It was executed on their end. I couldn't yell loud enough [to our runner to go back]. I couldn't quite get my message relayed to the baserunner. You never want a game to end like that, but sometimes that's the way it goes." --Hotchkiss coach Blake Carlquist

Comment »

Mad Men: The Soccer Team

May 24, 2015

Mad Men Group

Like soccer, "Mad Men" has often been criticized for being too slow and too often pushed on non-converts by overeager hipsters. Both may be overly dramatic at times with unfathomable storylines.

But a good soccer team is a fine-tuned machine consisting of different skill sets and personalities, melded together to form the "beautiful game." And well, that's exactly what Matthew Weiner's multiple-Emmy-winning show did well, too.

So some of us are having a hard time saying goodbye to not only one of the best shows ever, but also to end of the club soccer season (at least for a few months). To help us get through it, we lined up our favorite characters from the world of Sterling Cooper into a soccer lineup. Seemed only right.

Striker: Roger Sterling. Petulant. Overpaid. You can't take your eyes off of him. He's the perfect target man at the top of the squad sheet. Think Mario Balotelli. As Sterling said, "Nobody knows what I'm doing. It's good for mystique."

Roger Sterling@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Striker: Pete Campbell. The wunderkind who's been groomed for this position his whole life and has unmistaken talent, but no one really likes to work with him. "Why can't I get anything good all at once?"

Pete Campbell@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Attacking MF: Don Draper. The man in the middle of it all who stirs the drink -- oftentimes literally if it was an old fashioned. He may demand too much of the credit too often, but with the price tag a player like this commands, "that's what the money is for."

Don Draper@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Winger: Peggy Olson. With the Samsonite and Burger Chef accounts, she's proved that her chemistry with Draper in tight spots is unmatched. She may parlay that connection into a big payday for her next contract.

Peggy Olson@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Winger: Sally Draper. A youngster who's had a lot of responsibility hoisted on her before she was ready. But she's the golden child that has superstar written all over her. Doesn't choke easily. Her career will be an adventure.

Sally Draper@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Defensive MF: Lane Pryce. A good defensive midfielder knows his/her role, doing the dirty work to let the more high-profile teammates shine. And Pryce, an unassuming "hard man" who isn't afraid to take down a snot-nosed youngster, fits the bill.

Lane Pryce@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Fullback: Ken Cosgrove. Hard-working, versatile professional who doesn't need this job, but thirsts for that next paycheck. Atlantic Monthly loved publishing his greatest hits. Struggles in road games at Detroit.

Ken Cosgrove@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Defender: Bert Cooper. If the old adage that you win championships with defense is true, it's because Bert payrolled it. Rock-solid and dependable, he's been known to play full games without cleats.

Bert Cooper@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Defender: Betty Francis. Like some of the best defenders of all time, Birdie can speak Italian.

Betty Francis@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Fullback: Joan Harris. Did thankless work on both ends of the field/office.

Joan Harris@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Goalie: Stan Rizzo. Tim Howard. Gianluigi Buffon. David de Gea. Beards look tough in goal.

Stan Rizzo@MadMen_AMC/Twitter

Comment »