It took seven back-and-forth games, but the NBA’s most perplexing team will continue to confuse observers — and statistical models — for at least one more round.The Cleveland Cavaliers ensured that by beating the Indiana Pacers 105-101 in Sunday’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal finale, earning LeBron James a trip to the second round for the 13th time in his storied career. James was incredible in Game 7 on Sunday, with 45 points (on 64 percent shooting), 9 rebounds and 7 assists. The performance capped one of his greatest series ever; he led the Cavs in points, assists and rebounds over these seven games against Indiana.But the Cavs’ big questions are still unanswered. Can Cleveland keep advancing while asking so much of its best player? And is this team really still good enough to contend for a championship? This series provided few insights.When James finally got a little help in Game 7, it came in the unlikely form of center Tristan Thompson. Despite scoring only 3 points (in 24 minutes) during Games 1-6, Thompson produced a crucial double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) in Game 7. But on the whole, James’s teammates were still not efficient Sunday, shooting just 16-for-49 from the field to finish off a series in which they made only 38.8 percent of their shots — even as James himself shot an impressive 55.3 percent from the field.In fact, for all of James’s heroics, the argument could be made that the Cavs were the least-convincing winner of any playoff series in modern history. (Going back to 1984, when the NBA playoffs expanded to 16 teams.) Before Sunday, no team in that period had won a series while being outscored by more than 34 total points — a “record” that belonged to the 1990 Portland Trail Blazers, for their win over the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. Despite winning Game 7 by four, the Cavs were outscored in the series by 40 points, the worst total point differential for a winning club in a series since 1984.1Yes, 34 points of that differential came in Game 6 alone, a massive Pacers blowout. But the Cavs were also outplayed for far longer stretches of the series than they dominated: They won just 11 of the series’ 28 total quarters.Now the Cavs will advance to face the top-seeded Toronto Raptors, and once again the stats have major doubts about their ability to win. Their defense is historically weak by the standards of a champion. Our CARM-Elo model gives Cleveland a 29 percent chance of knocking off the Raptors and an 11 percent chance of making the Finals. The logic there is clear: If the Cavs struggled against the Pacers with home-court advantage, why should they be favored without it against a Toronto team that was 6.1 points per game better than the Pacers during the regular season?Then again, the Cavs are, well, the Cavs. They’ve eliminated Toronto in each of the past two postseasons, by a combined margin of 8 games to 2. They have the LeBron trump card to play in any crucial game. (After Sunday, James is the all-time NBA leader with 34.9 career points per game in Game 7s.) A James-led team has represented the East in the NBA Finals every single season since 2011. All signs point to that streak ending this year — except it hasn’t ended the past few times that all signs pointed to it ending.No matter what happens next, though, let’s appreciate the amazing show LeBron put on in Game 7 against Indiana. It was the kind of performance reserved for history’s greatest players, and the Cavs needed every bit of it to extend their season and keep on confounding the stats deeper into yet another spring.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
OSU redshirt junior tight end Marcus Baugh (85) carries the ball during the first half of the Buckeyes 62-3 win against Maryland on Nov. 12. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorCOLLEGE PARK, Md. — In 2014, Ohio State was blessed with the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff poll. They received scrutiny and were bashed by opposing fans, but ultimately climbed college football’s highest summit to win it all. And now, it could happen again.On Saturday night, No. 2 Clemson lost to Pittsburgh on a last second field goal. After a season of close games and nail-biting finished, it seems coach Dabo Swinney’s luck finally ran out. And for the Buckeyes, that is a blessing.Following Saturday’s 62-3 win over Maryland, redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis overheard a reporter talking about the loss. Unaware of what had transpired at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina during his post-game interviews, he could hardly contain his excitement.“Clemson lost?!” he said.With the Buckeyes perched at No. 5, and Clemson losing to an unranked opponent, OSU will be in prime position once again with the season winding down. The Buckeyes need two more wins to solidify their spot in the playoff.Junior H-back Curtis Samuel said now is the time to go for it, and keep themselves in the top-tier of college football.“It’s just that time of year that you’re getting closer to the playoffs and closer to championship games and we know we got to step it up and come out here every day and get right on them and put up numbers,” he said.The numbers OSU has put up the past two weeks have been eye-popping. 124 total points, 1,171 total yards, and just 380 yards and six points allowed.Prepare yourself for a wild ride.
Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson (13) hits the ball during a match against Grand Canyon Feb. 21 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.Credit: Jonathan McAllister / Lantern photographerA poor start doomed the Ohio State men’s volleyball team against Harvard.OSU lost its fourth consecutive match in a 3-2 decision against the Crimson Tuesday.The loss put the Buckeyes at 8-12 for the season.OSU was lacking in certain areas, which led to the nail-biting defeat, freshman setter Christy Blough said.“We need to start our matches stronger. We were not able to get a good start in this match. We were able to come back in the middle, but still lost it in the end,” he said.The Buckeyes lost the first two sets, but came back with a win in the next two sets. Coach Pete Hanson said the team barely missed its chance to win it in the end set.“We just couldn’t make the last couple of plays and Harvard did,” Hanson said.Redshirt-freshman outside hitter Alex Judkins said OSU played physically at the net and its blocking skills were in action tonight, which contributed to the comeback mid-match.Hanson said the Buckeyes still need to become more consistent.“We are such a young team. We ride a wave, we are up and down,” he said. “We just have to get our play at a steady pace.”The Buckeyes were missing one of their top players, redshirt-junior opposite Andrew Lutz. Hanson said getting the starting line-up back on the court could result in a turnaround for the Buckeyes.Three players contributed double digit kills for the Buckeye offense: redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous had 18, freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson added 16, and junior outside hitter Michael Henchy contributed 14 kills.The Buckeyes still have a lot to work on as a team, but Hanson said time and experience should help.“Setting the tone earlier is something we need to do a better job of. We need certain guys to step up and take charge at the right time,” he said.OSU is next set to play Ball State Sunday in Muncie, Ind., at 4 p.m.
Former Russia international Dmitri Cheryshev doubts that Mohamed Salah can be considered on par among the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as he prepares to make his World Cup debut for Egypt against the hostsThe 25-year-old had a sensational debut campaign at Liverpool that saw him win the Golden Boot award by scoring a new Premier League record of 32 goals in a single 38-game season.In all competitions, Salah scored an impressive 44 goals and has been compared among the other great football stars on the planet right now.However, an unfortunate shoulder injury from last month’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid caused Salah to miss Egypt’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in what was their first World Cup game in 28 years.But the Egyptian Football Association has since confirmed that Salah will be available for selection for their crucial game against Russia for Tuesday’s game in St Petersburg.Regardless though, Cheryshev doubts that Salah will be able to repeat his performances at Liverpool for Egypt.“He is an exceptional player, but [he is] not a world-class football star who can compete for the [World Cup] Golden Boot,” Cheryshev told KingFut.Mo Salah laughs off Sadio Mane incident with a brilliant video Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Mohamed Salah laughed off his little spat with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane by posting a brilliant video showing they’ve made up.“Right now [the contenders for the award] are Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and maybe [Harry] Kane.“Liverpool uses Salah properly, here, in the Egyptian national team, things will be different.”Russia began their World Cup campaign on home soil with a convincing 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia last week.While Cheryshev is confident they can replicate last Thursday’s display, he warned the national team about the threat of Egypt boss Hector Cuper.Cheryshev added: “The team is getting ready for Egypt.“I played against [Egypt head coach Hector] Cuper’s teams before, he is the most tactical coach, you never know how to approach his teams. Any chance we might have we should use [in that match].”