The 5: LeBron, Cleveland, Durant and tempting fate

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports   Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports   Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images   Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year curse/streak/slow, torturous run of Waiting for Next Year by winning the World Series. That high is universal. It’s what sports are all about. I don’t particularly like baseball, but when I do, I freaking LOVE baseball. It’s like a perfect Metallica song. It’s dull and quiet for just long enough until its punches your heart in the face.

That punch in the heart-face goes both ways. The Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games and, at one point, Cleveland led the series 3-1.

A 3-1 lead.


Do I need to explain the ironic poetry here?! It’s like straight out of that Alanis Morissette song!

(It’s like rainnnnnnnn before the 10th inning!)

I know it’s not completely the same as when the Cavaliers came back from down 3-1 to the Warriors. The Cubs were the favorites. The Indians are not a super team. But it’s is close enough!

And it’s extra relevant because just days before, LeBron James, King of Cleveland, hosted a soiree making fun of the Warriors masqueraded as a Halloween party.

Cleveland is still cursed despite the Cavaliers winning last season. Don’t believe me? The following bullet points are based on true events.

  • The Cavs won a championship, erasing a 3-1 lead.
  • LeBron got off the jet in Cleveland wearing an Ultimate Warrior t-shirt.
  • Cleveland fans spent the entirety of the summer making 3-1 jokes.
  • LeBron had custom-made decorations making fun of the 3-1 lead.
  • The Cleveland Indians had a 3-1 lead in the World Series.
  • Cleveland blew a 3-1 lead.

Plus, Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors and reportedly wouldn’t have if Golden State had won the title. The Warriors now have the superist super team of all time.

So, to put a bow on it: By winning Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years, and then by accumulating as much bad karma as possible, LeBron may have set off a chain of events that could lead to Cleveland going another bajillion years before another championship.

Think I’m crazy?

The CLEVELAND Indians blew a 3-1 lead! Miraculous rain FROM THE SKY helped the Cubs gather themselves after blowing a three-run lead. THAT is how the Sports Gods speak. The lesson? Don’t tempt fate. Not even if you’re LeBron.

That Big O flow

Can Russell Westbrook or James Harden become the first players since Oscar Robertson to average a triple double in a season?

Quickly, the stats:

Westbrook so far: 34.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 10 assists

Harden so far: 31.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 12.4 assists

In the 1961-62 season, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists.

Basketball-Reference doesn’t have usage rates for players back then, but I’ll guestimate that it’s one of the highest ever.

Here is that list:

  1. 2005-06 Kobe Bryant, 38.7
  2. 2014-15 Russell Westbrook, 38.4
  3. 1986-87 Michael Jordan, 38.3
  4. 2001-02 Allen Iverson, 37.8
  5. 2008-09 Dwyane Wade, 36.2

Here’s how those teams finished: Lost in the first round; didn’t make the playoffs; lost in the first round; lost in the first round; lost in the first round.

It took Oscar Roberton a decade after posting that triple-double season to win his first championship, and only after teaming up with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. History hasn’t been kind to players who tried to do it on their own.

Harden and Westbrook didn’t choose this, but maybe they brought this onto themselves. Maybe this is what they always wanted. Maybe the Dwight Howard thing didn’t work out because Harden didn’t want to share. Maybe Westbrook always wanted to go full Rambo.

If you believe the reports, that’s exactly how they felt, at least at some level. They got their wish, and now they are chasing history, in one way or another.

Let Marc Gasol shoot threes

Hey, remember when Marc Gasol and Joakim Noah were both considered top NBA centers? Both were tremendous on defense and probably the two best passing big men in the game.

Well, their careers have gone different ways.

Let Gasol shoot threes.

Don’t let Noah shoot anything.

He Got Game

When I hear the name “Ray Allen” this is what I remember:


A lot of people say if Allen didn’t hit that shot, the Big Three-era Heat is a failure. They lose to the Spurs, fall to 1-2 in Finals series. Maybe they break it up.

They weren’t supposed to lose. I really, truly do believe that.

In his letter for The Players’ Tribune, Allen said:

"When you start getting some national attention in high school, you’ll hear things like, “Ray’s jumpshot is God-given.”Listen: God doesn’t care whether or not you make your next jump shot.God will give you a lot of things in life, but he’s not going to give you your jump shot. Only hard work will do that."

Look, Ray, I get that. I agree with that so much.

But the Sports Gods had something to do with that win. Maybe it wasn’t your shot. But maybe it was Bosh’s rebound. Maybe it was Kawhi Leonard missing free throws. Maybe it was the fact that the arena crew started bringing out the ropes so you could yell “Get those mother******* ropes outa here!”

I don’t know, but I do know they had something to do with it. Luck favors those who are prepared.

Warriors vs. Thunder, Part 1

It was the game we were all waiting for. Kevin Durant versus Russell Westbrook. While we were preoccupied with the soap opera we forgot the central purpose of the game.

To play basketball.

And that’s something the Warriors do a lot better than the Thunder.

So we were thoroughly disappointed when the Dubs clobbered the Thunder 122-96 and Westbrook only played 29 minutes in the blowout.

Durant’s dismantling of the Thunder was less triumphant than it was bullying backed by a deep crew of jump shooting goons. There was nothing the tiny kids from Oklahoma could do. They passed through Oakland because they had to, and the Warriors jumped them.

Whether you wanted to see Russ give Durant the cold shoulder, or a fourth-quarter battle of wills, that game was a disappointment.

This game was supposed to be great and it was billed as such. Just goes to show you’ll never know what’s going to happen. When you put your emotions out there, when you’re most vulnerable, that’s when it gets you.

The Spurs felt it when they lost the 2013 Finals. The Warriors felt it when they blew a 3-1 lead. The fans of Cleveland felt the high of winning a Game 7 and a world title in June, and the crushing defeat of losing a Game 7 just five months later.

Highs and lows. That’s what’s so great about sports. There are no spoilers. As much as we try to predict, guess and prognosticate, we’ll never know what will happen next. Just one of the reasons you want the Sports Gods on your side, because maybe they can give that extra push when you need it most.