The Warriors are sitting back laughing as the rest of the NBA is in scramble mode

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in three years on June 12th. And ever since that day, every team not named the Warriors is scrambling to try and play catch up. The blueprint is out on how to win a championship. Just years ago, a “Big 3” would be enough to get the job done. But as we just recently saw, having three all-stars including LeBron James, was barely enough to keep the Cavaliers from getting swept which would have been the ultimate embarrassment.

A “Big 4” is now required to compete for a championship. And as a result, teams are in full-on scramble mode in trying to orchestrate a team that will give them a fighting chance against the Golden State Warriors over the next few years.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made three-straight finals appearances and won one of them. However, in the owner, Dan Gilbert’s mind, that plus “disagreement on the direction of the future” led to the termination of General Manager, David Griffin.

Let’s think about that. A General Manager who made the finals three straight times and under extreme circumstances (having to consult LeBron James on every decision) still wasn’t enough to warrant an extension.

Now that Cleveland is aware that a “Big 3” of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving isn’t enough to compete with the Warriors, they’ve started reaching out to the Pacers and Bulls to gauge the interest of Paul George and Jimmy Butler respectively.

Even with Cleveland’s success, the Cavaliers are still left scrambling as they were trying to acquire star Jimmy Butler from Chicago. After it felt like Kevin Love had found his niche with the Cavs, he’ll now be the centerpiece in all trade talks that the Cavs are involved with.

And remember the Lakers? The lowly Lakers who finished 26-56 this past season? Well, they’re just as much in the mix as Cleveland is. Just last night, The Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov (salary dump) to the Nets in exchange for Brooke Lopez and their first round draft pick.

This is significant because with the Lakers expected to draft Lonzo Ball on Thursday night’s draft, they’ve now cleared up roughly $60 million in salary cap space which will allow them to sign one and potentially two max deal free agents in the summer of 2018.

Now that Paul George has made it clear that he’s leaving the Pacers after next year to go to the Lakers, teams are in a bind debating whether they should take a shot on the all-star for one year knowing that he’ll leave or just stay away altogether. About a half a dozen teams are interested in George but realistically, he’s going to be in either a Pacers, Cavaliers, or Lakers uniform next year.

And remember that Lebron James guy? He can also opt out of his deal in the summer of 2018 and has been linked to the Lakers on several occasions. Now the Lakers have the cap space necessary to sign both James and George next summer including other aging stars if they are willing to take pay cuts to form yet another super-team.

To recap: A GM who won a title just one year ago has been fired. The best player in the league is unsettled with the firing of his GM and now looks more likely than ever to leave for L.A. after next year. A perennial all-star has demanded out of his current situation. The Lakers have cleared an enormous amount of cap space to make a run at one, maybe two more free agents. And the NBA season ended just nine days ago.

Not to mention, the Celtics could potential land Blake Griffin or Gordon Hayward. The Clippers are now shopping De’Andre Jordan. And the Knicks (yes the Knicks!!!) have started shopping Kristaps Porzingis to gauge the interest level of other teams.

And why all the chaos? Because how the hell else are you going to beat the Golden State Warriors?

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Wizards at Cavs Final: Wiz too much for the Cavs in 127-115 win.

Seven Wizards players scored in double-figures — led by John Wall with 37 points andBradley Beal with 27 — as Washington defeated Cleveland, 127-115. Kelly Oubre also chipped in 16 points on 7-8 shooting as the Wizards picked up one of their best road wins of the season to kick off a brutal five-game road swing.

Washington started the game by turning in one of their best quarters of the season, thanks to the hot shooting of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall came out looking for his jumper early on and he was knocking them down. Once Wall was in a rhythm, his backcourt mate, Bradley Beal decided that it was his turn to get going. Beal connected on two very tough step-back jumpers as the Wizards started 13-17 from the field.

But John Wall wasn’t done there. Wall stayed in attack mode and finished the quarter a perfect 8-8 from the field with 18 points and five assists as the House of Guards combined for more points (27) than the Cavaliers scored in the quarter (26) as the Wizards took a 40-26 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The hot shooting carried over to the second quarter as the Wizards were able to stretch the lead out to 17. But as expected, the reigning champs would counter. The Wizards had a few lapses on the defensive end leading to two open threes for Kyle Korver in the corner. Then, LeBron started doing LeBron things, driving to the hole for poster dunks and finding his teammates for open shots as the Cavs were able to cut the lead down to six midway through the quarter.

Washington responded with a run of their own as the starting unit came back in to finish the half. The Wizards shot 70 percent in the first half and 5-9 from three-point range as they led 71-61 going into the break.

Again, the champs wouldn’t go down easily. With James on the bench, the Cavs’ reserves made a run to cut the Wizards lead down to 5 heading into the fourth quarter.

The teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter but the Wizards would clamp down on the defensive end. Kelly Oubre led the charge, turning Cleveland turnovers into points on the other end. His signature play came midway through the fourth quarter as he gathered a Markieff Morris miss for a putback layup to put the Wizards up 10, 117-107.

The Cavs would waive the white flag at the two-minute mark and empty their bench as the Wizards pulled away for an impressive, 127-115 win.

Incredible first quarter from John Wall

We’ve seen some incredible performances from Wall over the years and the first quarter of tonight’s game was right up there. Wall was a perfect 8-8 from the field including 2-2 from three-point range as he scored 18 points and dished out 5 assists in the first quarter. Wall did most of his damage from deep and in the midrange during the first quarter and then attacked the hole later in the game. Wall either scored or assisted on 28 of the Wizards’ 40 first quarter points.

Kelly Oubre’s offense reappears 

Defense hasn’t been the issue for Oubre, his struggles have been on the offensive end. Oubre scored 16 points off the bench, the most he’s scored in months, with most of them coming either on transition layups or putbacks for second chance points. Oubre was a huge spark off the Wizards bench and they needed it considering Bojan Bogdanovic missed the game with back stiffness.

Defense steps up when it matters most

Washington’s defense through the first three quarters was not very good. However, the Wizards stepped up defensively in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. Wall played with intensity, they locked down LeBron James (as much as you can), and turned the Cavs over to seal the victory.

The Wizards’ best fourth quarter defense came with the small lineup of Wall-Beal-Porter-Oubre-Morris on the floor.

Cavs drop the Wizards, 140-135 in an overtime thriller

Where do you even begin with this one? The Cavaliers top the Wizards 140-135 in an overtime, instant classic and probably the best regular season game so far this season. LeBron James had a near-perfect game with 32 points and 17 assists but it was Kevin Love who was the high-scorer for the Cavs with 39 points. Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards with a game-high 41 points while John Wall notched his 31st double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 assists.

This had the feel of the playoff game and you could hear the Verizon Center crowd buzz right from the tip off. Otto Porter’s hot shooting was on display early as he knocked down his first two three-pointers to get things rolling for the Wizards. Beal chipped in with 10 first quarter points as the Wizards led 32-26.

The Wizards were able to stretch the lead to eight at one point in the second quarter but the Cavs responded. Tristan Thompson fhad some nice finishes around the rim en route to a season-high 22 points as they trimmed the Wizards lead to three at halftime.

Things started to heat up beginning in the third quarter. The Wizards pulled away from the Cavs but the champs responded with a 9-0 run of their own. Bradley Beal got isolated on Shumpert and shook him so bad that he literally broke his ankle.

The teams traded baskets to end the quarter but now the Cavs led 86-82 entering the fourth.

The fourth quarter was a wild one. The teams continued trading baskets to start the period. Satoransky scooped up the loose ball in transition and found Oubre for a dunk as the Wizards regained the lead. But James and Love came to play in the money quarter. James went a perfect 4-4 from three-point range in the period. Kevin Love was also Johnny on the Spot as he knocked down timely three-pointers to give the Cavs a 116-112 lead.

The Wizards would fight back as Wall found Beal for a transition three to tie the game only to have Morris put a Wall miss back in for a Wizards 118-117 lead with just seconds to go. The next time down, LeBron James got a running start only to miss a WIDE OPEN layup. Wall would get fouled and knock down both free throws on the other end.

Then the miracle happened, Kevin Love threw a touchdown pass to LeBron James who caught it and hit a fadeaway bank three with .3 seconds remaining.

We’d be going to overtime tied at 120.

Gortat got an easy layup to get things going for the Wizards in the extra period. The next time down, the Wizards threw the ball to Beal who was fouled by James, his sixth of the contest. With a four-point lead and James on the sideline, you’d think the Wizards would take care of business, right?

And that’s when Kyrie Irving took over. Irving hit tough shot after tough shot as the Cavs’ closer. He put the cherry on top with a three from nearly the same spot he hit the winner in game 7 against the Warriors.

The Wizards would miss the next time down and that would be that. Wizards fall to the Cavs in a thriller, 140-135.

Another Finals Loss Will Hurt LeBron James’ Legacy

There are only few certainties in life. Death, taxes, and now; annual appearances from LeBron James in the NBA finals.

LeBron turned in probably his best performance of the postseason to the tune of 33 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists as the Cavs blew out the Raptors 113-87 Friday night to end one of the most anti-climatic six-game series in recent memory.

James now finds himself in a very familiar spot, the NBA finals. This will be James’ sixth straight appearance in the NBA finals and seventh overall. The last time the NBA championship was on the line which didn’t include James, was in 2010 when Kobe Bryant was putting the finishing touches on a championship repeat over the Boston Celtics.

Add this accolade to the list of James’ accomplishments, as it has been 50 years since a player has made six-straight NBA finals appearances.

There’s only one problem. James’ current 2-4 record when he gets to the finals.

LeBron James is a future first ballot hall of famer and also a once in a lifetime talent that doesn’t come around too often. However, it’s very hard to write of his losing finals record especially since mainstream media loves comparing him to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and the likes. A loss against either Oklahoma City or Golden State would make those comparisons more incomprehensible.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been bi-polar this season. James called out several teammates back in January and it’s thought that James was the one who wanted David Blatt fired as coach. At any point during the season, it looked like the Cavs were on the brink of spiraling out of control. The team was probably better suited auditioning for a reality TV series than playing out the rest of the season.

But after an eventful regular season that still landed them the Number 1 seed out east entering the playoffs, people still had their doubts. Could they put it together? When would the big three finally jell? When would this team implode? After making quick work of both the Pistons and Hawks, the Cavs closed out the Raptors bringing their playoff record to 12-2 with no signs of implosion.

The Cavs are playing their best basketball of the season and at exactly the right time. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are finally in a rhythm. Role players such as JR Smith and Channing Frye are playing stellar defense and are hitting big three-pointers when the team needs them. It took over 80 games but the stars are finally starting to align for this team.

Attractive series’ out west including Oklahoma City and San Antonio and then Oklahoma City and Golden State are taking attention (and rightfully so) off of the Cavs resistant-free run through the eastern conference. That’s not sitting well as James’ feels he’s still the best player in the league and the Cavs are getting overlooked.

Well now he’ll have the chance to prove it. Regardless if the Cavs face the Thunder or Warriors, they’ll likely be underdogs out in Vegas. But James and the Cavs can use that to their advantage. I’d assume he’ll have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon entering this series. He’ll either be facing the NBA’s all-time best regular season team which beat them in the finals last year or a team with two of arguably the best five players in the league who is also putting things together at the right time.

James has a chance to bring a title to Cleveland which has been title starved since 1964. He also has a chance to win the title and bring him within striking distance, just two rings behind Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson and three from Michael Jordan.

But if LeBron and the Cavs lose in the finals. Good luck trying to convince someone that a player with a 2-5 finals record should be mentioned in the same breath as those guys for now.

Wizards vs. Cavaliers final score: Win streak is halted at four as the Cavs blowout the Wizards, 108-83

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 40 points as the Cavs blew out the Wizards 108-83. LeBron scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds without playing in the fourth quarter.

John Wall also had an impressive stat line with 17 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Wall fell awkwardly on his left leg going up for a layup in the third quarter and laid on the ground for a minute but walked it off and continued playing.

The Cavs opened the game on a quick 16-7 run. Bradley Beal committed two turnovers in a 15 second span resulting in two dunks for LeBron James. Beal would hit three of his next four shots to keep the Wizards within striking distance as they trailed 27-23 after one period.

Everything fell apart in the second quarter. Crisp ball movement from the Cavs led to wide open threes for James, J.R. Smith, and Matthew Dellavedova. In addition, the Wizards couldn’t do anything to stop LeBron in transition as he was able to get into the paint at ease resulting in easy baskets for the Cavs.

The Cavs outscored the Wizards 32-19 in the second quarter to take a commanding 59-42 lead at halftime.

The Wizards would show a little bit of fight as they were able to cut the lead to 13, 63-50 at the 6:39 mark of the third quarter. But Kyrie Irving would hit back-to-back threes to stretch the lead to 19 as the Cavs never looked back.

The win streak stops at four as the Cavs blowout the Wizards 108-83.

Turnovers: You can beat teams like the 76ers and Wolves turning the ball over 15+ times but you won’t be the Cavs. The Wizards turned the ball over 16 times tonight (10 in the first half), many of which were live ball turnovers.

Bradley Beal came off the bench in the first quarter and turned the ball over twice in 15 seconds resulting in two straight dunks for LeBron. The Cavs put up 10 more shots than the Wizards in the first half (48-38) as a result and turned those 10 turnovers into nine points. The Wizards cleaned things up a bit committing just 6 turnovers in the second half but at that point, the game was already out of hand.

Wizards go cold from three-point range: Bradley Beal hit his first two three-pointers of the night and it looked like Beal might be in for another big game. Unfortunately, the rest of the team went 0-7 from range in the half. The Wizards finished the night 3-20 from three-point range (15 percent). The Cavs, on the other hand, were 12-27 (44 percent) from three-point range.

Cavs dominate in the paint: The Cavs scored 30 points in the paint in the first half and 46 for the game. A lot of this was due to poor transition defense. Morris was tasked with guarding James and could not stop him. LeBron was able to finish at the rim or lob it to Timofey Mozgov for a dunk. In addition, the Wizards had trouble staying in front of Irving and even Matthew Dellavedova.

The Wizards surrendered just eight offensive rebounds but many of which resulted in easy put backs for Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov.

Wizards vs. Cavaliers final score: LeBron James sits as Washington cruises to a 113-99 win

John Wall logged his 34th double-double of the season as the Wizards blew out the Cavaliers on Sunday, 113-99. Wall and Otter Porter led the way with 21 points apiece while Bradley Beal chipped in with 17 off the bench.

The pregame buzz quickly fizzled out once the fans learned LeBron James would not be playing in this one. The Wizards didn’t care. After a slow start, the Wizards used a 12-0 run highlighted by two layups in transition from Wall as the Wizards took a 24-18 lead and never looked back.

The Wizards lead held steady between 6-8 points for the entire second quarter. Wall ended the quarter with this spin move and layup to close out the half as the Wizards led, 64-53.

Otto Porter caught fire in the third quarter connecting on four straight three-pointers in the quarter and scoring the Wizards’ first nine points. Porter scored 15 points in the quarter as the Wizards dominated the third quarter outscoring the Cavs, 33-16.

John Wall and the starters would get some much-needed rest as the bench played the entire fourth quarter. Wizards beat the LeBron-less Cavs, 113-99.

John Wall came to play today: With the team off to yet another sluggish start, Wall took things into his own hands. The Cavs did not stop the ball when Wall would catch it in the backcourt so he pushed the ball in transition. More importantly, Wall got to the hole instead of settling for mid-range jump shots. Wall scored 21 points on 8-11 shooting and got to the line as well connecting on 4-5 free throws. Wall took this game seriously as he should have, and the team followed suit.

Otto Porter re-emerges: Prior to today’s game, Otto has been invisible in games since the All-Star break. Porter changed all that with a 21-point afternoon including a 15-point explosion in the third quarter where he connected on 4-5 three-pointers.

Games like this remind you of Porter’s potential and his improvement year after year. Now the Wizards probably won’t get four three-pointers from Porter on a nightly basis, but he needs to show more consistency down the stretch of the season. Oh, let’s not forget about this nasty block on Kevin Love:

The Garrett Temple honeymoon is over, yet the Wizards are still forcing it: Long gone are the days where Temple would score between 10-15 points per night with the occasional 20-point game. Temple missed all four field goal attempts in the first half and ended the game with just two points (1-5 shooting). It didn’t matter today as this game was a blowout.

Regardless, Temple has become a non-factor on offense and Beal needs to be reinserted into the starting lineup.

BONUS: Floyd Mayweather sat courtside: The recently retired and undefeated professional boxer was in the house for Sunday’s game. Normally, Verizon Center doesn’t have too many big-name celebrities. But his presence today may have lit a spark of sorts for the home team.

John Wall scores a season high 35 points as the Wizards hand the Cavs their first home loss of the season, 97-85.

John Wall said earlier in the week that he needed to play better for the Wizards to start winning again. Wall backed up his words with his best game of the season to the tune of 35 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals as the Wizards hand the Cavs their first home loss of the season, 97-85.

Marcin Gortat also had a double-double scoring 15 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Bradley Beal chipped in with 18.

The Wizards started this game on a 10-0 run on 5-6 shooting and would hold the lead for the entire 48 minutes. Wall was a man on a mission and you could tell from the get go. He was driving to the hole, knocking down jumpers, and was engaged on the defensive end as he recorded four steals in the first quarter to go along with four first quarter blocks from Gortat as the Wizards led 27-24.

The Cavs started Matthew Dellavedova on Wall to start the second quarter which was not a good idea. Wall went straight to the post and spun off of Delly for the easy layup as Wall tends to with that mismatch.

LeBron James tried to put an end to this surprising start as he streaked down the lane and threw down a dunk that shook the earth and cut the Wizards lead to four, 34-30.

Garrett Temple provided some nice energy off the bench and hit some timely buckets as the Wizards led, 54-43 at halftime.

The Wizards clamped down on defense to start the third quarter turning the Cavs over on their first three possessions and storming out to an 8-0 run to start the period. The Wizards stretched the lead to 60-43 just two minutes into the quarter and you could hear the boo birds coming from the Cleveland faithful (probably still mad about that Browns game).

Wall and Gortat were on the same page tonight and connected on their pick-and-roll plays in the third, very reminiscent of last season. Also reminiscent of last year, Wall led a transition break to find Bradley Beal in the corner for a spot up three pointer as the lead ballooned to 20.

As expected, the Cavs answered with a 10-2 run of their own on some key three pointers from Matthew Dellavedova. Even so, the Wizards still led 80-67 through three.

The Wizards were able to stretch the lead back to 19 when Beal found Wall for three early in the fourth quarter. Once again, the Cavs had one final push in them as they used a 10-3 run late in the quarter to cut the Wizards lead to 10, 95-85. The Cavs wouldn’t get any closer as the Wizards hand the Cavs their first home loss of the season, 97-85.

Notes: The Wizards took care of the rock tonight committing just 12 turnovers, and only four in the first half. The Wizards on the other hand, turned the Cavs over 18 times turning that into 25 points.

The late game execution (or lack thereof) made things a little closer than it had to be. The Wizards went an ice cold 1-8 from the field to end the game but luckily, the Cavs weren’t hitting shots either. The Wizards also committed a few turnovers late, which they were also fortunate the Cavs didn’t turn into points on the other end.

The Wizards welcome the Lakers and Kobe’s farewell tour to town tomorrow night.