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linchao Oct 10 '18
They’ve survived amid turmoil for months Danny Shelton Color Rush Jersey , their season morphing into the NBA’s most compelling reality show – or, as some have called it, spectacle.

The must-watch Cleveland Cavaliers have been hardened by the nonstop drama around them. So it’s not a surprise they’re calm despite trailing the Boston Celtics 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

”We know what it takes,” coach Tyronn Lue said. ”We’re down 0-2. No need to panic.”

”We know what we’ve got to do,” added All-Star forward Kevin Love on the eve of Saturday’s Game 3.

The Cavs have been in dire straits before in the postseason.

Just two years ago, Cleveland trailed 2-0 and then 3-1 in the NBA Finals to Golden State before coming back to win in seven games and end the city’s 52-year championship drought. And back in the 2007 playoffs, LeBron James rallied the Cavs from a 2-0 deficit against Detroit, the hardwood king commencing his legacy by scoring Cleveland’s final 25 points during a Game 5 road win.

But while Cleveland has some comeback history on its side, Boston has momentum and the Celtics intend to keep it.

”We’re just gonna try to use it,” said forward Marcus Morris, ”and ride it.”

As expected, James responded from a sub-par performance in Game 1 by scoring 42 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 2. Still, the Cavs lost and the lack of production from several teammates, most notably guards J.R. Smith and George Hill. They have been totally outplayed by Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier so far, and that could be deflating.

Not to the Celtics, who gained confidence in shrugging off James’ haymaker.

”That’s a game-changer in itself Youth Mason Cole Jersey ,” said Morris, one of the many defenders Celtics coach Brad Stevens is using on James. ”LeBron came out and did everything he could. To his guys, they see that and they still came up short. That’s a feeling going back up, it kind of puts you in a mood you don’t want to be in.”

Speaking of moods. James, who hasn’t spoken to the media since Tuesday’s game, screamed an obscenity in frustration while working on his jump shot following practice. He made 12 straight before a miss, but James, who is seeking his eighth straight Finals, knows he’s going to need to be near perfect from here on out.

James, Love, Smith and Tristan Thompson are the only holdovers from Cleveland’s 2016 title team, which mounted its historic comeback in the Finals and now must rally again.

”I was talking to some of the guys in the training room and I was telling people it was already the Eastern Conference finals,” Smith said. ”Being in this situation repetitively for the past couple years, I don’t want to say you get numb to it because you don’t want to take it for granted because obviously guys don’t have this opportunity too many times, but this season alone has been an extremely weird year and we just got to figure it out.”

To the outside world, Cleveland appears in trouble. They’re facing a younger Authentic Mason Cole Jersey , more physical team that has been written off several times already.

To the Cavs, this is just another bump in the road. They’ve already staved off elimination against Indiana.

”We played a Game 7,” Lue said. ”The danger’s not like we come out and don’t play well tomorrow and lose, it’s over. We still have games to play. It’s not like it’s a Game 7. They did a good job taking care of their home court. They played well. Now we’re back at home.”

ROAD WORK AHEAD: The Celtics haven’t traveled well in these playoffs.

They’re just 1-4 outside Boston and their shooting percentages have dipped on trips to Milwaukee and Philadelphia. But after losing three road games to the Bucks in the first round, the young Celtics showed poise in stealing a Game 3 win in Philadelphia that has convinced them they can win in Cleveland.

”We’re pretty confident,” Brown said. ”Just as confident as we are at home. It’s different between being on the road and at home, just the energy disparity. At home, it’s for you, away it’s against you. But if you do what you’re supposed to do and you are who you are, it’ll show home or away.”

NEED FOR SPEED: The Cavs know they need to play faster. On too many occasions in Games 1 and 2, Cleveland was slow bringing the ball up the floor, which allowed the Celtics to get back and set up their defense.

Lue has been harping on his players to quicken the pace.

”We have to come out with a sense of urgency to attack early, don’t ease into the game or let this team off the hook,” Lue said after practice Friday. ”We know they play well at home and they had two good games, so now it’s our turn.”

Don't expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to change course now.

Just about every move they have made since top executive Tom Coughlin's return last year has been to bolster the defense and running game. Those old-school ideals are so much a part of Jacksonville's identity that Coughlin even helped fashion new uniforms to match the team's on-field style.

The NFL draft probably will adhere to the franchise's throwback philosophy.

Take a quarterback in the first round? Highly unlikely. Select a receiver? Probably not.

Look for Coughlin and the Jaguars to continue building a smash-mouth team early in the draft, beginning with the 29th overall pick Thursday night. Offensive line Youth Michael Gallup Jersey , tight end or maybe another defender would be the safest bets.

"Inevitably people fall. Who's it going to be? Who knows?" Coughlin said. "But according to the work that we've done, we feel that we will get a good football player at that spot."

Here's the best way to look at Jacksonville's upcoming draft: The Jaguars led New England 20-17 with a little more than five minutes to play in the AFC championship game and failed to close it out. So what can they do to avoid that happening again?

Being able to run the ball better with Leonard Fournette would be a good start. That's why Jacksonville acquired the most coveted offensive lineman in free agency last month. Former Carolina All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell signed a five-year, $66.5 million deal that included $30 million guaranteed.

Norwell will play between blossoming left tackle Cam Robinson, a second-round draft pick in 2017, and solid center Brandon Linder.

The right side of Jacksonville's line could use a makeover.

Guard A.J. Cann, a third-round pick in 2015, is entering the final year of his contract, and 31-year-old right tackle Jermey Parnell has two years remaining on his deal after playing most of last season with a knee injury.

Jacksonville likely won't be in position to take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, widely considered the most polished offensive lineman in the draft, but could land Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, UCLA's Kolton Miller or Georgia's Isaiah Wynn.

No one would be surprised to see the Jaguars choose a tight end with their first pick, either.

Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell cut veteran Marcedes Lewis last month, and although they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins in free agency, they're still looking for someone who can be as productive blocking as catching passes. Those guys are rare these days, with South Carolina's Hayden Hurst and South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert seemingly the best available.

"You see so many people today spread them out and go to the smaller guy," Coughlin said. "We want to run the ball. So to run the ball Youth Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , we need a little bit more power in the back pocket to come off the ball, do all the combination work. ... Not easy to find, but they're out there."

Some other things to know about Jacksonville, which is positioned to pick outside the top 10 for the first time since 2007.


Veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny retired, and nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin signed with Houston. But the Jaguars drafted linebacker Blair Brown in the fifth round last year and signed free agent D.J. Hayden to replace Colvin.

"We have needs, don't get me wrong, but there's not a glaring need for this upcoming season for us," Caldwell said.


The Jaguars let Chad Henne walk, leaving them without a backup quarterback until trading for Cleveland's Cody Kessler late last month. Kessler's arrival did little to alter Jacksonville's desire for a developmental backup. But how high will the Jags take one?


Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (first round, 2016) and running back Leonard Fournette (first round, 2017) are two big hits for a team with a history of draft woes. No one from Jacksonville's 2013 draft class remains on the roster. Linebacker Telvin Smith (fifth round, 2014) and defensive Yannick Ngakoue (third round, 2016) are two of the biggest draft bargains the Jags have found in recent years.

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