CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cavs’ water bottle challenge on the sidelines during a blowout win over the Knicks could be taken one of two ways.
It was either a pre-meditated jab at Knicks president Phil Jackson or a completely spur-of-the-moment show of disrespect for Jackson’s overmatched team.
Sure, there’s a possibility the Cavs were just having fun and didn’t think it was disrespectful to their opponents.
Or at least the first part of that.
* Jackson had a novel way of ending the conversation about his “posse” comment regarding LeBron James.
On the occasion of the Cavs playing in New York this week, he said he couldn’t say much because he’s not supposed to be talking about other teams’ players.
“That’s “out of the box,” according to Jackson.
Which is maybe – you know — what he should’ve said when asked about LeBron first time around.
* Jackson has moved on from making James angry in part by making James’ good friend Carmelo Anthony angry.
Jackson told CBS SportsNetwork Anthony has a tendency to hold the ball a little too long.
Anthony wasn’t happy about hearing that.
Truth, apparently, being no defense.
* James had an answer for why he decided not to stay in the Donald Trump-branded team hotel in New York. He said it was not meant as a political statement.
“It would be the same if I went to a restaurant and decided to eat chicken and not steak,” James said.
Except for being nothing like that.
* The only way that explanation works is if he’s swearing off chicken for the next four years.
* There is an unmarketed alternative to that “No Pressure No Diamonds” slogan Robert Griffin III is trying to popularize.
Its one we’re pretty familiar with after watching the procession of quarterbacks in Berea since 1999.
“Pressure, Still no Diamonds.”
It just doesn’t make for much of a T-shirt.
* Yahoo Sports headline: “(Dak) Prescott‘s ‘America’s Team’ comment might help you hate the Cowboys again.”
I’m from Philadelphia. Again?
* Dallas vs. Tampa Bay has been flexed to Sunday night, meaning the Cowboys are once again a prime-time attraction.
“We’re America’s Team,” Prescott told reporters. “I feel like everybody wants to see us play. It’s exciting. I feel like the Cowboys are always on prime time, but to be in the position we’re in, winning like we are, playing the way we are, it makes for better football.”
Yes, the Cowboys are America’s Team. And we all know how united America is these days.
* Tyreek Hill is doing things in Kansas City that make the Chiefs a dangerous team and likely a tough out in the AFC playoffs.
Hill scored two touchdowns Thursday in the Chiefs 21-13 win over Oakland, one on a punt return.
Leaving fans all over the country to marvel at his speed. And fans in Cleveland to say, “So, that’s a punt return?”
* The Yankees’ idea of rebuilding mode somehow leaves room for bringing back closer Aroldis Chapman (traded to Chicago this past summer) and paying him $82 million.
If the Yankees went Tiny House hunting on HGTV they’d be looking for one with a chandelier and gold-plated toilet.
And only 15,000 square feet.
* Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman watched the Red Sox trade with Chicago for Chris Sale, adding the left hander to an already imposing starting rotation.
“Boston is the Golden State Warriors of baseball now,” Chapman said. “They’ve got their Durant, and Green, and Thompson, and Curry.”
First, that’s a strained comparison.
Secondly, it must be tough for the Yankees to see the rich get richer.
* Orioles GM Dan Duquette says the Orioles have no interest in free agent Jose Bautista for one not very important reason.
“We told (Bautista’s) agent that we are not interested because our fans don’t like him,” Duquette told Sportsnet Radio 590 The Fan. “Our fans don’t like Jose Bautista, with good reason.”
For the record, Bautista’s agent says the conversation never happened.
So, the lack of interest had nothing to do with Bautista’s asking price or age (36 ) or that he hit .234 a year ago. Right.
* Bautista’s penchant for conspiracy theories didn’t enter into it, either, though Indians’ fans remember him for that from the ALCS. He famously cited “circumstances” that apparently stacked the series in the Indians’ favor.
“All you gotta do is look at video and count how many times [Indians pitchers have] thrown pitches over the heart of the plate,” he said. “It hasn’t been many.”
The suggestion, I guess, was the umps and Major League Baseball somehow wanted the Indians to win and face the Cubs in the World Series.
Had Bautista played for the Indians last year in the World Series we can only assume he’d have blamed the 17-minute rain delay on Harry Caray from the great beyond.
* Could a player have been less loved by a rival fan base than when Albert Belle signed with the White Sox following the 1996 season?
Here’s what Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said after signing Belle to the big deal:
“The people of Chicago have shown in the case of the fellow with the pink hair (Dennis Rodman) that if you are playing for us, and you are playing your heart out, we’re going to embrace you.”
The bigger issue for Duquette in Baltimore. His locker room doesn’t like Bautista. And Bautista’s still relatively expensive.
* Gregg Popovich ripped the Spurs after a loss in Chicago Thursday. He said his team went through the motions.
Some brave soul asked if that was a reflection on him.
“I don’t remember playing tonight,” Popovich said. “No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk.
“A doctor botches operations, and he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.”
Imagine if the Spurs had lost to Chicago by a bigger margin than 95-91.
Or they weren’t 18-5.
And 8-2 in their last 10.
Or now 13-1 on the road.
* Something tells me being Pop’s plumber isn’t such a cushy job.
You think you’re just expected to fix a leak. But he’d like you to install a Fountain of Youth.