During the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers did not run very much. Head coach Tyronn Lue has been preaching the virtues of a faster-paced offense since he took over for David Blatt in January. It was slow to catch on. The Cavaliers were the third-slowest team during the season, using fewer possessions per game than the glacial Memphis Grizzlies or the ancient San Antonio Spurs, and in the playoffs, they’ve become even slower. It was easy to laugh about Lue suggesting after a Game 1 drubbing at the hands of the Golden State Warriors last week that the Cavaliers simply needed to pick up the pace. And when Cleveland was flattened again in Game 2, that book appeared to be closed.But in Game 3, on Wednesday night, the Cavs came out hot — and fast. They went up 33-13 in the first quarter and blew out the Warriors 120-90. For the game, they were 8-for-16 with between 22 and 18 seconds left on the shot clock (the sweet spot for the seven-seconds-or-less school of pace) after going just 8-for-19 in the first two games of the Finals combined.The Warriors, meanwhile, are getting just 8.3 shots per game in that range. This might seem like a positive to those who listened to pundits talk about the “quick shots” that were sinking Golden State against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But during the regular season, the Warriors were absolutely unstoppable early in the shot clock: They averaged 14.9 of those field goals per game, including 6.2 3-point attempts; their shooting averages were 65.7 percent from two and 47.9 percent on those threes, for an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 68.3, which led the league, though not by much.The team in second place? Those plodding Cavaliers. The Cavs had an eFG% of 66.1 on seven-seconds-or-less plays, and the gap between them and the third-place Atlanta Hawks (62.7) is about the same as the gap between the Hawks and the 13th-place Thunder (59.2). LeBron James was more efficient in possessions of this sort than Klay Thompson or Steph Curry was — even in a year in which his 3-point stroke inexplicably cratered. The difference is, the Cavs had only 9.6 attempts per game early in the clock, more than five fewer than the Warriors.But go ahead and read that back to yourself: The Warriors ran over the league using pace and shooting, but the Cavs, when they deigned to break from trot to gallop, played their game nearly as well as the defending champs. For the Cavs to pull off an upset in this series, more stars will have to align than merely their finding some pep in their step and playing a 35-year-old benchwarmer major minutes. But a few have begun to slide into place: Irving, a hugely talented offensive player, found his stroke after going quiet for the first two games, and Curry has looked genuinely out of sorts for most of the series. While it’s still a very long shot that the Cavaliers can come back and win the Finals, it’s a far better one than if they’d gone down 3-0 playing old and slow.Check out our latest NBA predictions.Our sports podcast Hot Takedown discusses the NBA Finals. Of course, “early shot clock” possessions are often just another name for transition or semi-transition (that little window after a fast break ends but before the defense can get set). By the Game 3 box score, Cleveland outscored Golden State 15-8 on fast-break points, and according to the player-tracking data, the Cavs had 18 transition chances to the Warriors’ nine and did a little better per play. Transition begins with defense, and after reportedly getting a wake-up call from assistant coach Phil Handy, the Cavs were noticeably more lively on that end in Game 3. Kyrie Irving’s numbers weren’t great (player-tracking has him on the hook for allowing 63.3 eFG% on 15 shots), but he was making a visible effort; J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were both much better than they had been, though, and Richard Jefferson, who started for Kevin Love (ruled out because of a blow to the head), was all over the court, closing out and contesting shots. He ended up allowing opponents to shoot just 45.5 eFG% on 11 attempts.
Photo by SI.comJameis Winston, the freshman quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate for No. 1 ranked Florida State, was cleared of prosecution for rape by the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit Thursday afternoon.Winston had faced felony charges after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.“We’ve carefully examined all the evidence in this case and have concluded that no charges will be brought against anyone in this case,” Florida state attorney Willie Meggs, said.The state’s attorney office interviewed the woman the first week into their investigation over the last three weeks. DNA found in the woman’s underwear matched Winston’s, ESPN.com reported last month. Winston admitted through an attorney that he had consensual sex with the accuser. But the woman, who is 19, said through her lawyer that Winston raped her.“We have a duty as prosecutors to determine if each case has a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” Meggs said. “After reviewing the facts in this case, we do not feel that we can reach those burdens.”The case could be reopened if new evidence emerged, but Meggs indicated it was unlikely, saying, he “had no earthly idea what (new evidence) would be.”With Winston emerging as a college football star, the natural question was raised about the potential for preferential treatment afforded Winston.“We try to treat everyone fairly and I think we have a track record of doing that,” Meggs said.At the heart of the investigation was the fact that another man’s DNA was also found in the sexual assault kit. In search warrants released, the woman said she and friends had alcohol shots at Potbellys and that her “memory is very broken from that point forward.”She also said she recalled being with a man in a cab and making her way into an apartment, where she said the rape occurred. Additionally, she said a man dressed her afterward, put her on a scooter and dropped her off at an intersection. Conflicting an earlier statement, she said she did not know where the alleged rape occurred.Winston has not spoken about the case.
In a gesture designed to help ease tensions in boiling-over Ferguson, Missouri, the NFL’s St. Louis Rams provided three local high school football teams with free tickets to Saturday night’s preseason game against the Green Bay PackersKyle Eversgerd, the Rams’ manager of fan development and alumni relations, reached out to McCluer High, McCluer North and McCluer South to offer 75 free tickets per team to attend the game, according to MMQB.com.“In light of everything going on, it just kind of hit me,” Eversgerd said. “I can’t imagine, with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all.”McCluer senior running back Henry Jones said the opportunity to attend an NFL game meant a lot.“It was overwhelming to see the NFL live, for real,” Jones said, according to the website. “You saw how fast they played and how they played together. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I could actually see myself out there playing.”Michael Brown, 18, was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a police officer Aug. 9, touching off a week of protests and turmoil in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.McCluer coach Mario MacDonald said the Rams’ gesture gave his players a mental break from the tragedy.“Our kids are focused on this season, but I worry about them out here, to be honest,” he said.
Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Donovan McNabb are among the NFL players named in the sexual harassment lawsuit. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for #Culinary Kickoff/Justin K. Aller/Getty Images/Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)Another sexual harassment scandal has been unleashed and this time it affects personnel at the NFL Network. Jami Cantor, a former wardrobe stylist for the NFL Network, has filed an amended complaint against NFL Enterprises, according to Bloomberg. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Monday, Dec. 11, implicates current and former employees. They include on-air talent Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor of the NFL Network and ESPN’s Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis. Well women have now gone after NFL people on sexual harassment charges, when will it end, only after all men R accused, money dries up!— larry rea (@larrea07) December 12, 2017Others found the claims disturbing.Reading through the story on the sexual harassment lawsuit naming NFL Network executives and ex-players by former wardrobe stylist. Actually wanting to throw up reading this quote. THIS IS WHY WOMEN STAY SILENT. pic.twitter.com/Dvzu3iijA4— Amy Campbell (@MsAmyCampbell) December 12, 2017 So how isn’t Marc watts suspended? Her story has to many holes in it. Can’t say I believe her as of now— Lord Brunson (@LordBrunson) December 12, 2017 As a female i agree..anyone can point and say your guilty and then their world torn apart. When you have proof its a different ball game. Gonna make men scared to socialize with a woman or be polite even..sad— Proud American (@Hebron4824) December 12, 2017 Just disgusting— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN) December 12, 2017And more wondered if such allegations are making men guilty by default.The NFL Network suspensions show we have reached a tipping point in society. A tipping point where accusations by women outweigh due process. I’m not saying the accusations are false. They could either be true or false. Dangerous times when a persons sex automatically means guilt— Jake Highwell (@JakeHighwell) December 12, 2017 Each of the ex-NFLers has been suspended during investigations that have been launched as a result of the filing.Among Cantor’s allegations, she said Taylor sent her “sexually inappropriate” photos of him masturbating. USA Today reported that Hall of Famer Faulk is accused of “fondling [Cantor’s] breasts and groping her behind” and exposing his genitals. Evans, the suit claims, “constantly propositioned [Cantor] to have sex with him.” Warren Sapp, who was fired from NFL Network in 2015, allegedly “gave sex toys as a Christmas gifts three years in a row [and] showed [Cantor] nude pictures of numerous women he claimed to have slept with.”Cantor also alleges former NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger sent “several nude pictures of himself and sexually explicit texts” and put his groin against her before asking her to touch it.The filing also said ESPN analyst Davis “asked [Cantor] to have rough sex with him, and said that he wanted to choke [her] from behind until [she] begged him to stop.” McNabb allegedly explicitly texted the accuser multiple times to ask about a specific sex act.Sexual Harassment In Entertainment and MediaTracee Ellis Ross Schools Men on ‘Rules of Touch’ in Faux BookMatt Lauer Says He’s ‘Truly Sorry’ After Bombshell Sexual Harassment Reports Come to LightAmanda Seales Calls for Women to ‘Expose’ Sexual PredatorsAs the filing made headlines, some bashed the accuser.MONEY GRAB ALERT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/WU3yWTo6uf— GK_ALLDAY (@kene_gim) December 12, 2017 Yeah, I smell fear. You don’t have to be convicted in court to lose your job, dude. All you have to do is put your employer at risk or make them look bad and you’re out. I guess you’re next.— evilzenmuppet (@evilzenmuppet) December 12, 2017
LeBron James has been openly political in recent years. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)LeBron James won’t simply “shut up and dribble” like a Fox News anchor told him to.After Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long came to his defense Friday, Feb. 16, James himself hit back at Laura Ingraham over his criticism of President Donald Trump.James said on “Rolling with the Champion” Thursday, Feb. 15 that Trump “really don’t give a f— about the people,” which led Ingraham to proclaim that he should “keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” she also said on “The Ingraham Angle.”Wade had remained silent until he posted a photo with lights reading “I am more than an athlete.”And if there was any doubt that he was referring to Ingraham, his caption ended speculation.“#WeWillNotShutUpAndDribble,” it said. King James also may have indirectly responded to Ingraham on Snapchat, posting a carefree selfie poolside.“Smiling through it all!” his caption read. “Can’t believe this is my life.”LeBron’s like, ‘Laura who?’ pic.twitter.com/N9G8w5dlT2— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) February 16, 2018
Monday marks the end of the beginning of the World Cup: the simultaneous matches phase. At 4 p.m. EDT, all teams from Group A will kick off: Brazil will play Cameroon in Brasilia, Brazil, while Mexico will play Croatia in Recife. FIFA schedules these matches simultaneously so that no team might benefit from knowing the score of the other match ahead of time, which could potentially impact strategy.These are the final matches of the group phase and therefore will determine who advances. Sometimes, working through the permutations is easy — as it is in Group B, where the Netherlands and Chile have already guaranteed advancement and are playing only to determine who finishes first in the group. But other cases, like the United States’ Group G, are more complicated.FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup forecasts project the results in a probabilistic fashion, showing each team’s odds of winning and advancing from its group. But we’ll also be working through the possibilities in a more detailed way with matrices, such as the one you see below:That was the simple case I mentioned before: Group B, which will play its matches at noon Monday. The Netherlands will advance first in the group if it beats Chile or draws with it; Chile will do so if it beats the Netherlands by any margin. Australia and Spain are already mathematically eliminated from the tournament, and their game won’t make any difference.But the Chile-Netherlands game matters more than you might think: Up for grabs is the right not to have to face Brazil in the Round of 16, which the second-place team from Group B will probably have to do.Brazil’s Group A is more complicated, even though most scenarios result in Brazil finishing in first place. Cameroon has been eliminated. Brazil is almost certain to advance, but there are wild-card scenarios where it might not. Mexico can guarantee advancement with a win or draw against Croatia. A Croatia win means that it advances while Mexico almost certainly does not. This is what that group looks like:I’m assuming, as a default, that all wins come by a 2-1 scoreline while all draws are 1-1. Cases where the exact score matters are highlighted in yellow.Brazil and Mexico, for instance, are tied atop Group A with four points, but Brazil is ahead on the goal-differential tiebreaker. If both teams win their matches Monday, both will advance with seven points. Will Brazil advance as the first-place team? Yes, if both wins come by our default 2-1 scoreline or under most other realistic scenarios. But it’s theoretically possible that Mexico could surpass Brazil — for example, if it beats Croatia 3-0 while Brazil beats Cameroon 1-0.The more treacherous case for Brazil — albeit extremely unlikely because it’s so heavily favored to beat Cameroon — is if Brazil and Mexico lose. In that case, Croatia will qualify first in the group. Brazil and Mexico will be stuck on four points and tied for second. If Brazil lost by a wider margin than Mexico, it could fail to advance.There’s also one case where Brazil would be denied advancement outright. That comes if it loses to Cameroon, and Mexico and Croatia draw. Then the group standings would be: Mexico 5 points, Croatia 4, Brazil 4, Cameroon 3. Mexico qualifies first and Croatia and Brazil are tied for second. But Brazil would be guaranteed to lose the goal-differential tiebreaker because it and Croatia currently have the same goal differential (+2) and Brazil’s would worsen with its loss while Croatia’s would stay the same with its draw. Fortunately for Brazil, the probability of this happening is only about 0.5 percent.
OSU redshirt sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard and OSU junior defensive end Jayln Holmes (11) celebrate after Hubbard’s sack during the first quarter against Tulsa on Sept.10. The Buckeyes won 48-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State football team enjoyed a bye week after defeating Oklahoma 45-24 last Saturday, and remained second in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 Poll. OSU trails only Alabama, who topped Kent State 48-0 on Saturday.Louisville remained at No. 3 following another impressive day from quarterback Lamar Jackson, while Michigan easily handled Penn State 49-10. Clemson rounds out the top five.Michigan State dropped to No. 17 after a 30-6 loss at home at the hands of now-No. 8 Wisconsin. Quarterback Tyler O’Connor struggled for the Spartans, throwing three interceptions and failing to find the endzone.Five Big Ten teams are ranked within the top 25 this week, an identical mark from the last AP poll. Nebraska moved up to No. 15 after dispatching Northwestern 24-13.The Buckeyes received four first-place votes. Alabama had 50 first-place votes, Louisville had six and Michigan had one.
The No. 6-ranked Ohio State field hockey team (11-3, 3-1) is riding a five-game winning streak and is poised to make a run at the Big Ten championship. One of the reasons for the Buckeyes’ recent success is the key performances of sophomore forward Berta Queralt and freshman forward Paula Pastor-Pitarque. Queralt has scored six goals and Pastor-Pitarque has added three goals during the current winning streak. The two are from Barcelona, Spain, and have been playing together long before they teamed up at OSU. “We’ve played together for the last seven years, since I was 13 and she was 12,” Pastor-Pitarque said. The two first played on the same national team before Pastor-Pitarque decided to join Queralt on the same club team. The highlight of the pair’s Spanish careers was when they beat Germany for the bronze medal in the Under-21 European Field Hockey Championship. “We beat Germany in overtime and I’ve never beat Germany before,” Queralt said. After knowing each other for so long, the duo developed a solid chemistry both on and off the field. As a freshman in 2009, Queralt led OSU’s team in scoring with 46 points and started in every game. This year, Pastor-Pitarque came to OSU because she wanted to study abroad and continue her field hockey career. Knowing the transition from Spain would be hard, Pastor-Pitarque felt more comfortable with her decision because Queralt was already on the team. “We are really used to each other and it helps us on the field,” Queralt said. Pastor-Pitarque added, “We have played for the same coaches for so long, so we’ve been taught the same things.” OSU coach Anne Wilkinson has noticed the special bond between the two forwards. “They have a sixth sense for each other as far as where they are on the field,” Wilkinson said. OSU looks to continue its winning streak playing Michigan (10-5, 4-0) as 3 p.m. Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore will participate in an exhibition game with the Columbus Clippers against Ohio State on Tuesday, according to a press release. Sizemore is rehabbing a left-knee injury he suffered during the 2010 season. He had microfracture surgery on June 6, 2010, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday (retroactive to March 29), before the start of the 2011 regular season. During spring training, Sizemore played in four games, going 1-10 with two walks. He played in just 33 games during the 2010 season, hitting .211 with no home runs, 13 RBIs and 35 strikeouts. Sizemore also missed 56 games during the 2009 season because of injuries to his left elbow and lower left abdomen. Before injuries derailed both seasons, he played in at least 157 games in each of his previous four seasons. In 2006 and 2007, he played in all 162 regular-season games and all 11 of the Indians’ games in the 2007 playoffs. From 2005 to 2008, Sizemore played in 382 straight games. Indians reliever Joe Smith also will suit up for the Clippers, rehabbing an abdominal strain. Smith went 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 40 innings pitched in 2010 for the Indians. The Clippers play the Buckeyes at 6:35 p.m. at Huntington Park.
Being an athlete at Ohio State comes with a certain expectation, an expectation that you carry yourself with pride on and off the field. That would imply maintaining good academic standing, staying out of trouble and wearing the pride of Buckeye nation on your shoulders. Enter former OSU wide receiver Ray Small, who just can’t seem to keep himself out of the media spotlight. His most recent transgression involves a felony charge for allegedly possessing 243 suspected Oxycontin pills, hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes, undisclosed suspected amounts of heroin and a loaded 25-calber pistol after the car in which he was a passenger was pulled over and searched. Granted, while Small had his issues at OSU, he was never involved in anything of such a serious nature. In fact, it wasn’t the law he toed the line with, but former OSU coach Jim Tressel. Tressel suspended Small in 2008 for two games and also for the 2010 Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl game was the last chance Small had to suit up in a Buckeye uniform. He also found himself in the news after he spoke to The Lantern last spring and admitted that Buckeye players received benefits including discounts on automobiles. Small’s former teammates chastised him for his comments. With this latest transgression, Small has elevated himself into the company of former OSU running back Maurice Clarett, not somewhere anyone should want to find themselves. The problem is not necessarily that Small had a run in with the law. Rather, the problem is that Small is just another name that can be added to the list of former Buckeye’s finding themselves in the news for all the wrong reasons. Small and Clarett can be found alongside the names of former Buckeye’s like Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Dominic Clarke, Jaamal Berry and Michael Current. Pryor and Posey were involved in the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal of last season that ultimately led to the resignation of Tressel and saw Pryor forgo his senior season for the NFL. Posey ended up serving five games for his role in the tattoos scandal and an additional five games after being overcompensated for work done in the summer months for former OSU booster Robert DeGeronimo. Berry was charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct after a Nov. 2 incident and has since left the team for good. After being charged with drunk driving on Jan. 7, Clarke was released from his scholarship. It was the second time in less than four months that Clarke had been arrested, after he was arrested for an incident involving a compressed-air gun Oct. 9. Current, a former lineman who played under coach Woody Hayes in the 1960’s, was found dead in a wildlife refuge just outside of Salem, Ore., on Jan. 16. He is believed to have taken his own life and was facing five counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of luring a minor at the time of his death. Perhaps this past year has been an aberration, something we won’t see again for a very long time. Or, it’s part of a growing trend that is beginning to reflect poorly on OSU. OSU was always the knight in shining armor, there to set the example for the rest of the college world to follow, something that clearly hasn’t been the case recently. Coach Urban Meyer was criticized while at Florida for the amount of off-field incidents his players were involved in. Hopefully the same problems don’t follow Meyer to OSU. A few years ago, Small would have been the exception, but today, he’s part of a trend. And that is a problem for OSU fans everywhere.