Taking the view that rising sea levels caused by climate change could eventually result in the loss of the low-lying island country of the Maldives, architecture student Mayank Thammalla envisions moving the country’s entire population onto existing oil rigs.
CLEVELAND — At approximately 11:33 p.m. Sunday, Eastern Daylight Time, LeBron James‘ legs buckled, and his knees and palms touched the court, while a happy pandemonium erupted around him.
It was not a gesture of relief or celebration, although both were warranted when the final buzzer rang on a 114-111 overtime victory that nudged the Cavaliers within one victory of the NBA Finals.
No, this was an act of pure necessity, a concession to physics and physiology. This was a moment of pure exhaustion.
For three hours, through shooting slumps, controversial calls and wobbly legs, James had carried the Cavaliers, shouldering the load of three men—his own and that of his missing co-stars, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
For 46 minutes and 47 seconds of actual game time, James shot (37 times), rebounded (18) and created (13 assists), rarely taking a moment to exhale. He couldn’t. The Atlanta Hawks, written off but ever relentless, would not give him the space.
It was not until Shelvin Mack’s final three-point attempt bounced off the far side of the rim as time expired, that James could allow himself a moment. He raised his right fist, pivoted toward midcourt, took two steps—and collapsed, completing one of the most strange and riveting nights of his career.
“I play to exhaustion,” James said 90 minutes later, after extensive postgame treatment. “Sometimes the body just kind of shuts down at times, and that’s what happened tonight at one point.”
It happened, initially, early in the overtime period, as James’ leg ached and cramped. He motioned to the bench. He was asking out. And then he wasn’t.
“I had a second thought,” he said. “There was no way I can go—I wouldn’t have felt right about the situation, win, lose or draw, if I’d have went to the bench and not been out there for my teammates. So it was mind over matter at that point.”
James stayed on the court, played the entire overtime period, missed his first three shots and made his last two: the first, a three-pointer that gave the Cavs a 112-111 lead with 36.4 seconds to go; the second, a driving bank shot that extended the lead to three points with 12.8 seconds left.
This was not the most spectacular game of James’ brilliant playoff career, and certainly not the most efficient. This was not Game 6 in Boston in 2012, or Game 6 of the 2013 Finals in Miami, or Game 2 of the 2009 conference finals against Orlando, or Game 5 of the 2007 conference finals in Detroit. But it will rank in the next tier.
The stakes were not particularly high Sunday night, with the Cavaliers holding a 2-0 series advantage in these Eastern Conference finals, with another home game coming Tuesday night, and with a battered Hawks team on the other bench. The Cavaliers could have given Game 3 away and been fine.
James’ own performance was so uneven that at times Sunday night it would have seemed laughable to even suggest including it in the LeBron canon. He missed his first 10 field-goal attempts, the worst start to a playoff game in his career. He missed three point-blank shots in the first half. By halftime, his line was a jumble: 3-for-16 from the field, 0-for-3 from the arc, eight rebounds, five assists, 10 points.
And somehow the Cavs trailed by only a point.
“You just know,” said James Jones, who also played with James in Miami. “He’s relentless. He’s going to continue to go. Even when it starts to look a little shaky, you know that he’s getting ready to push it to another level, and so that kind of calms us.”
Throughout the game, James could be seen grabbing his leg and rubbing it, and receiving treatment during timeouts. Leg cramps, of course, have plagued James at key moments in recent years, most memorably in last year’s finals, when he was forced to leave Game 1 in the middle of the fourth quarter in San Antonio. The same issue forced him out of Game 4 of the 2012 Finals against Oklahoma City.
If fatigue was the issue Sunday night, it should not come as a surprise. James has been carrying this team—and an entire region’s championship hopes — since he returned home last summer. The workload has only increased in recent weeks.
Love was lost in the first round to a separated shoulder. Irving has been dealing with knee, foot and ankle problems throughout the postseason, and has taken the last two games off because of left knee tendinitis.
What remains is a supporting cast that may be only slightly better than the rag-tag Cavaliers team James dragged to the Finals in 2007 (a group that, by some measures, was among the worst in Finals history).
Irving’s status has become its own minor soap opera, his absence inviting speculation about his drive and resilience. Tendinitis is a common issue among NBA veterans, one that does not typically force star players to the bench in a playoff series. In Irving’s case, there are also concerns about a lack of strength around his knee, about favoring the left leg and potentially causing other injuries
Yet on a night when nearly every Cavaliers player talked about playing through ailments, Irving’s decision to sit out looked all the more awkward.
James “wasn’t the only one cramping,” said Iman Shumpert. “We had a couple other guys cramping up. I was definitely included. The cooling tub is our best friend right now.”
Of James, Shumpert said: “He’s just one of those guys that’s going to will his way to win. He preaches that on the court. He preaches that in practice. I think we got a team of resilient guys. Guys won’t break—bend a little bit, but we won’t break. You gotta just look at the next guy. You see one guy pushing through it, it gives you more inspiration to push through what you got. …I think everybody’s got something going on, something nagging them. But that desire to want to win outweighs whatever pain you’re dealing with.”
The game required more of the Cavaliers than they might have anticipated, after two solid victories in Atlanta and given the fragile state of the Hawks. Atlanta entered Game 3 without one starter (Kyle Korver, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Game 2), and with another starter on one leg (DeMarre Carroll, who injured his knee in Game 1). Then the Hawks lost star center Al Horford to an ejection just before halftime, after a dustup with Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova.
Horford was tossed for a flagrant foul-2, for swinging his elbow at the head and neck area of Dellavedova—retaliation for Dellavedova driving himself into Horford’s lower legs. The sequence was similar to the play that injured Korver on Friday, and the Hawks essentially implied that both were dirty plays.
James would have none of it.
“There’s no difference between me boxing out or Al Horford boxing me out and Delly boxing someone out,” James said, with Dellavedova sitting to his right. “That is a fundamental box-out. That’s all it is.”
This game came down to perhaps a half-dozen such plays—the loose balls that squibbed across the floor, the gentle rebounds that pinged off the rim. In the end, it came down to one.
James fired an errant 12-footer, but Tristan Thompson gathered the ball and zipped it back out to James in the corner. James pump-faked, then launched the game-winner.
At the other end, James rose and forced Jeff Teague into a missed layup, setting up the Cavs’ final possession and James’ clinching bank shot.
Mack got two chances from the arc, misfiring both times. The buzzer sounded, the crowd erupted, and Cleveland seized a 3-0 lead that now means everything: the series is effectively over. The Cavaliers will soon be back in the finals.
Then, and only then, could James afford to exhale, to let his legs buckle beneath him, in joyous relief.
Howard Beck covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is a co-host of NBA Sunday Tip, 9-11 a.m. ET on SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio. Follow him on Twitter, @HowardBeck.
By Matt DeLucia, CBS2 Meteorologist/Weather Producer
Happy Memorial Day!
As many of our WeatherWatchers have been mentioning, it truly did shape up to be a fantastic Memorial Day weekend.
We’ll see some clouds this morning, but that will give way to partly cloudy skies. Highs will be in the low to mid 80s across the area, although it will be a little breezy at times. Wherever you’re spending the holiday, the weather is looking pretty good!
We heat things up for the remainder of the week with a summer like feel. The humidity creeps back up and we’ll see highs in the mid to upper 80s starting Tuesday. Can’t rule out a shower or thunderstorm as well, with the best chance of that being Thursday as it looks right now.
Check back in soon for an update!
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Contract Recruitment Index highlights • Overall vacancies down 6% month-on-month • Public sector opportunities up 2% as trusts invest in driving efficiency
• Digital revolution boosts demand for content developers
Efficiency drives spark demand within NHS
The April 2015 London Recruitment Index registered a 6% month-on-month decrease in job availability, with 5,934 vacancies, compared to 6,331 recorded in March 2015. This dip in demand for professional talent can largely be attributed to market uncertainty in the weeks preceding the General Election. This pre-election slowdown is also reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures from the National Office for Statistics (ONS) which reveal that inflation turned negative in April for the first time since 1960.
Despite this overall fall in vacancy numbers, demand within the public sector rose by 2% as NHS trusts began the new financial year by prioritising making long-term cost savings to aid future efficiency. This has created exceptional demand for financial accountants, procurement consultants and contract managers who are being drafted in on a contract basis to analyse current processes and oversee the implementation of more streamlined systems. Jodie Finn Associate Director of Venn Group, commented:
“Taking into account the uncertainty surrounding the run up to the General Election, and the associated impact any change of government would have had on legislation; it’s unsurprising that vacancy numbers dipped in the weeks before the result was announced. However, we are already witnessing a jump in hiring activity following the announcement that Cameron has secured a second term.
“Contract vacancy numbers remained strong within the NHS as London trusts brought on board expert talent in an effort to drive efficiencies in line with the Government’s NHS Five Year Forward View. Consequently, we are currently experiencing a shortage of informatics specialists to implement systems to manage, analyse and integrate the vast amount of data the health service holds. There is particular demand for freshly qualified, ambitious candidates who have an up-to-the-minute understanding of the possibilities associated with big data. In response to this skills gap, NHS England is developing apprenticeship schemes across the country to pipeline future talent.”
Rates hold steady despite slowdown
There was an average rate reduction for those securing new assignments in April 2015 of 1% with professional contractors now commanding an average day rate of £276.
Digital revolution boosts demand for content developers
Across the private sector, the Recruitment Index reveals that, despite pre-election caution, there has been a continual rise in demand for digital talent. After years of austerity, businesses are heavily investing in digital contractors to optimise their online presence. There is currently unprecedented demand for experienced online content editors and digital content developers to manage the implementation and improvement of cross-channel strategies. Professionals with a good working knowledge of open source content management system (CMS) Umbraco are particularly sought after.
This demand is mirrored in the rates that these professionals are currently commanding, with digital designers receiving up to £300 a day, and experienced front end developers making in excess of £630 a day.
“The digital skills gap facing the UK labour market has been well documented. Indeed, the European Commission (EC) has warned that the continent faces an 800,000 shortfall in skilled ICT workers by 2020. According to a recent report from The Business Growth Fund and Barclays, London is home to Europe’s fastest growing tech cluster, with 27% of all job growth in London generated by the tech and digital sector. Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that businesses are competing for the very best talent, and willing to invest heavily in candidates with the right skills and experience.
“Looking forward, the signs are positive that job creation in the capital is beginning to climb. The value of sterling has soared in the weeks following the election, and the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices of major London-listed stocks gained 2.3% and 2.8% respectively the day after the election to add £50bn to the market value of the constituent companies. We are already seeing this confidence translate into an increase in vacancies as organisations capitalise on this greater stability by investing in future growth and productivity.”
Notes to editors Venn Group is the UK’s only specialist contract recruiter for organisations within the public and private sector. www.venngroup.com Methodology The Recruitment Index uses Venn Group’s own weekly records of new contract job vacancies. Statistics for the report are derived using Venn Group’s market share across each geographic region to ensure an accurate barometer of recruitment activity is recorded. For further information please contact Stephanie King at BlueSky PR on 01582 790 7000 or 07760208532
The adidas Stan Smith continues to come in solid executions from the adidas Originals camp. While we have seen the Stan Smith release from virtually every tier of quality and distribution level, few will touch the quality and craftsmanship of these deerskin upper Stans handmade in the adidas’ motherland of Deutschland (Germany). This execution of the […]