LeBron’s Game-Winner Reportedly Led to ex-Raptors’ Coach Dwane Casey’s Firing

The 15-foot game-winning runner LeBron James kissed off the backboard to drop the Toronto Raptors to 0-3 in the series and ultimately sent Raptors home allegedly had more significant repercussions than just landing the team on TNT’s infamous “Gone Fishin’” segment.

“After the game, [Raptors General Manager Masai] Ujiri stormed into the Raptors dressing room at Quicken Loans—just out of sight of most of the players but not out of earshot—and rebuked Casey in the coach’s office for failing to double-team James,” Michael Grange of SportsNet reported. “Ujiri didn’t reserve his frustration for just Casey—he also tore into the officials in the hallway as well. But observers noted that the intensity was more than typical for Ujiri, who can run hot at the best of times.”

The Raptors got throttled in the following game, and on May 11, Casey was fired after seven seasons with the Raptors. Casey still won Coach of the Year after leading the Raptors to 59 wins during the regular season, but being swept in consecutive years by James’ Cavaliers was ultimately his undoing.

Casey declined to double-team James on what became yet another highlight for LeBron’s postseason highlight reel. That decision and a call to use O.G. Anunoby and C.J. Miles as primary defenders against James were both called into question before and after the Raptors were swept.

“Casey has little feel for how to manipulate matchups and anticipate problems,” wrote Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer in an article entitled “Tyronn Lue Is Running Circles Around Dwane Casey.” “He’s a reactive coach who comes into the series trying to stick with lineups he’s used all season, and then starts scrambling wildly when he’s forced to adjust.”

Those adjustments apparently didn’t come quickly enough, and Casey was shown the door and reportedly given an earful on the way out with one more year and $6.5 million remaining on his contract.

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Drake and LeBron James Jr. Are Exchanging Playful Trash Talk Over Cavs-Raptors Series

Between Drake in Toronto and Kevin Hart in Philadelphia, two of the NBA's biggest celebrity fans have found themselves utterly silenced in the second round of the playoffs. In Drake's case, his Raptors have played the Cleveland Cavaliers tough, but they've fallen into a daunting, 3-0 hole after narrow losses in Games 1 and 3.

At this point, everyone is throwing dirt on the Boy—even LeBron James Jr., a.k.a. Bronny. Drake put up a photo on the 'gram Monday morning…

 

Keep it that way.

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on May 7, 2018 at 1:42am PDT

…and Bronny slid into the comments with a little trash talk on behalf of his father. “Your season ends tonight,” he commented. Drake responded with a joke of his own.

The internet is an incredible place. As Bronny noted, the Cavs could close out the Raptors Monday night. They'll square off in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on TNT.

What a depressing ending a sweep would be for Toronto fans, who watched the Raptors piece together their best regular season in franchise history en route to claiming the No. 1 seed. Is it time for the Raptors to blow it up? Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer published a good breakdown answering that question over the weekend.

Boston holds a commanding, 3-0 lead in the other East series. The Celtics will look to close out Philly Monday at 6 p.m. ET. That game will also air on TNT.

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Dwyane Wade Sees Similarities Between Ben Simmons and LeBron James

Heading into this postseason, general consensus favored the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in the East. Now, the East looks wide open, and the upstart Philadelphia 76ers may well have a shot at making an NBA Finals run.

There was never any question about the Sixers' talent. Doubters were more so concerned about their lack of postseason experience.

That didn't seem to come into play at all in the first round. Philly crushed the legitimately good Miami Heat, 4-1. The Sixers got great performances from Joel Embiid, Marco Belinelli, and J.J. Redick, but no player was more impressive than Ben Simmons.

The 2016 No. 1 overall pick looked completely poised. He averaged 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game. It's early, but it looks like Simmons could blossom into an all-time great.

Dwyane Wade, whose Heat fell to Philly, knows greatness when he sees it. The veteran two guard praised Simmons Tuesday.

“You knew from the first time that you seen him in Summer League that he was special,” Wade said. “If you know basketball, you know talent, you know someone's special.”

Wade went on to praise Simmons' ascendance throughout the season and his consistency, comparing him to LeBron James, Wade's former teammate in Miami and Cleveland. “It's like that guy in Cleveland; doesn't have bad games. The imprint they put on the game, it's more than scoring. He does so much. The sky is the limit obviously for him and this organization.”

The comparison will certainly flatter the Aussie, who has repeatedly mentioned how much he admires James. The respect is mutual. After they dropped dueling triple-doubles during an amazing game late in the regular season, the two shared an Instagram love fest.

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New York Knicks Fire Coach Jeff Hornacek and Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis

Jeff Hornacek won't be coaching the New York Knicks anymore.

ESPN reports the former coach was fired after a flight back from Cleveland, where the Knicks won against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-98. However, his overall record was under par. During his time as their coach, the Knicks gained their sixth-worst record in the NBA by going 60-104. Although Hornacek still had one year left on his contract, it seems this was enough to push him out. 

“Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons,” said Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry in a joint statement. “We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The Knicks' associate head coach, Kurt Rambis, was also fired.

“Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both an associate head coach and interim head coach,” said Mills and Perry. “We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”

Former team president Phil Jackson hired Hornacek ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Now Perry, who started as a GM in July, will be able to hire his own coach.

The Knicks will also be entering an enticing free-agent market in the summer of 2019. As for a new coach, they're reportedly looking to replace Hornacek with David Fizdale, David Blatt, or Mark Jackson.

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LeBron James and Ben Simmons Share Instagram Props After Dueling Triple-Doubles

After a 132-130 win that went down to the wire and saw his Philadelphia 76ers surpass the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings Friday, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons used his Instagram account to show respect to the man widely regarded as the NBA’s best player.

 

FRESH PRINCE X KING JAMES 👑

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on Apr 6, 2018 at 9:04pm PDT

“Fresh Prince X King James,” Simmons wrote as a caption to a picture of he and LeBron James embracing after the 76ers pulled off the win. Both Simmons and James put up triple-doubles, as Simmons dropped 27 points, 13 assists, and 15 rebounds. While James took some heat for missing a potentially game-tying free throw, he led the Cavaliers with 44 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Off the court, James gave the all-important IG nod of approval to Simmons’ nickname for the matchup.

“Fresh Prince X King James,” LeBron commented, while dropping no less than eight flame emojis.

“Ah, he was awful,” James joked, when asked about Simmons’ performance during postgame comments obtained by ESPN. “Come on, man. You’re asking these questions. He was great, of course.”

Friday’s win moved the 76ers a half-game ahead of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, as the Sixers and Cavs look to wrap up the regular season in the coming days.

The matching triple-doubles will likely add to the comparisons between James and Simmons, as both combine point guard ball handling and passing abilities with the size of a traditional power forwards. Both James and Simmons are also represented by Klutch Sports Group, which is owned by James’ friend and business partner Rich Paul.

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Inside Sneaker Shopping With Shannon Sharpe | Talking Shop

Complex debuts our new series, Talking Shop, which offers up a never-before-seen look at last week's Sneaker Shopping episode with host Joe La Puma. Expect every Talking Shop to dive deeper into the inner workings of Sneaker Shopping, as well as highlight more about the life and career of the guest.

In the debut episode, viewers find out more about Shannon Sharpe and his love for sneakers. The co-host of FS1's Undisputed (alongside Skip Bayless) and NFL Hall of Famer talks about his appreciation for what John Geiger is doing (“anything he comes out with, I try and cop”), getting to spend time with LeBron James during the Cleveland Cavaliers​' 2016 championship parade, and why he was a Nike guy during his playing days.

Check out the full episode above and keep it locked to Complex for more Talking Shop and Sneaker Shopping.

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LeBron James Joins Justin Timberlake on Stage to Drink Shots

Justin Timberlake fans in Cleveland received a wonderful surprise on Saturday night during the pop star's sold-out concert at Quicken Loans Arena. Concertgoers understandably went nuts when Timberlake brought Lebron James on stage. James did not come empty-handed: He brought a tray full of shots for Timberlake and his dancers.

This may not have been a huge surprise to the superfans: Timberlake was seen at Friday's Cleveland Cavaliers game against the New Orleans Pelicans (the same game where James surpassed Michael Jordan’s consecutive double-digit scoring record). The two exchange some friendly words while covering their lips with their collars to fend off intrigued lip-readers. 

In February, Timberlake earned his fourth No. 1 album with Man of the Woods. The accompanying tour was just as successful, reaching the $100-million mark during its early stages. Arthur Fogel, president of global touring for Live Nation, said, “We've got 50 shows on sale in North America and 16 in Europe, and we're over 700,000 tickets [sold] and $100 million gross… It’s huge.”

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LeBron James Reaffirms His Greatness With Historic Performance Against Raptors

Make sure you take a moment to fully appreciate the fact that you are able to watch LeBron James play in the NBA. Make sure you take a moment to fully appreciate the fact that LeBron is playing his best ball in his 15th season in the league. On Wednesday, James reminded us that players like him don’t come around that often.

After the Toronto Raptors jumped ahead at halftime, tying a franchise record with 79 points in the first half, the Cleveland Cavaliers could have just thrown in the towel. The Cavaliers were missing five rotational players and their head coach Tyronn Lue was out because of health reasons. The excuses were there for the taking, but James put the team on his back like he has all season.

The Cavaliers came back to defeat the Raptors, 132-129, thanks to LeBron, who scored 35 points, dished out 17 assists, and committed zero turnovers. To better understand how rare of a stat line that is, let’s see how many players have accomplished a similar feat.

As the Cavaliers tried completing the comeback in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, James was serenaded with “MVP” chants at the free throw line. 

James is currently averaging 27.3 points, 9.0 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game this season. His numbers are good enough to warrant considerable discussion in this year's MVP race. But what more does LeBron need to do to get his name brought up as the greatest to ever play the game? 

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J.R. Smith Reportedly Suspended for Throwing Bowl of Soup at Cavs’ Assistant Coach Damon Jones

ESPN reports that Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith received his one-game suspension earlier this week because of an altercation with assistant coach Damon Jones, but the most important piece of information regarding the incident comes from what Jones was allegedly attacked with. Multiple sources with insider information claim Smith threw a bowl of soup at Jones.

Before the Cavaliers' 108-97 loss to the 76ers on Thursday night, the team announced that Smith would be sitting the game out. Assistant coach Damon Jones and Smith have both declined to comment on the situation, but head coach Tyronn Lue explained he had “a little discussion” with Smith over the incident. Smith is already playing again today, but understandably, people on Twitter have had a field day with the news.

Hopefully the soup wasn't hot, but considering that Smith is already playing again, it probably wasn't all that dangerous. Don't throw soup, kids.








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People Are Clowning Rajon Rondo for Wearing Velcro Shoes to Cavs/Celtics Game

With Paul Pierce set to have his no. 34 Boston Celtics jersey retired after the team's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, a few people from The Truth's Celtics days were there to show their support. Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, and Rajon Rondo sat next to one another courtside, and wait, wait, wait, what in the world are these shoes on Rondo's feet?! 

Someone was quick to zoom in on Rondo's, um, unique kicks and essentially open the roasting floodgates. 

And Twitter knew what to do from there. 

People can't be out here taking fashion risks anymore. 

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