James’ page in history is with the Cavaliers

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

It is time for LeBron James to put a team and a league on his back. No more excuses. No more NBA Finals losses. The time has come for LeBron James to earn the right to be put into the same category as Michael Jordan. And he has to win championships for that to happen. James is a great player. But there are a lot of great players. James’ career is about becoming the greatest. He is now 31 years old. His window is slowly closing. This Cavaliers team has a ton of talent. It has a deep bench. There is no reason why the Cavs cannot beat the Golden State Warriors. But there is likely no chance the Cavaliers will win this series because James isn’t Michael Jordan when it comes to determination and a will to win. Replace James with a 31-year-old Jordan on this Cavs team and it would beat the Warriors.

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It is also time for Kevin Durant to get the heck out of Oklahoma City. Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder turned in one of the greatest chokes in NBA history, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Warriors. But it really should not be a surprise that the Thunder coughed up an amazing opportunity to close the deal on one of the greatest upsets in NBA history. Closing the deal is not what the Thunder does. Durant and Russell Westbrook were a combined 60-of-157 (38 percent) from the field over those final three games. They were 12-of-45 on threes (27 percent). In Game 6, on their own floor, the two were 20-of-58 overall and 1-of-13 on threes. Durant, who still is just 27-years-old, needs to go someplace else. The choke in the Western Conference Finals needs to be the end of the Durant-Westbrook era in OKC.

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Hunter Pence is hurt again. Matt Cain is hurt again. Angel Pagan is hurt again. Surprise, surprise. The San Francisco Giants now have an outfield that consists of an injury prone Denard Span to go along with Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson. It sounds like the Giants are trying to win the National League West with an outfield made up of four guys who failed to qualify for the Daytona 500. Is it time for the Giants to panic? Is it time for them to make a deal? Not the Giants. Bruce Bochy’s Giants will get by with Parker and Williamson as replacements for Pence and Pagan and somehow find a way to keep winning. It’s what the Giants do. They stay the course. They are in control of a weak division. So relax Giants fans. Just like your team.

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The team that might be on the verge of panicking, though, is the Arizona Diamondbacks. And the shock waves will likely be felt in Reno at Greater Nevada Field. The Reno Aces’ Peter O’Brien is one of the top hitters in Triple-A with 13 homers, 39 RBI and a .317 average heading into Thursday game. The Diamondbacks are a dismal 23-32 and have had to play at least two infielders in the outfield most games this year to make up for the injury losses of A.J. Pollock and David Peralta. The team is a mess. Rickie Weeks is their designated hitter this week, for goodness sake. Michael Bourn is starting in the outfield. The time for O’Brien to leave Reno might be soon. He is going to be 26 years old on July 15. So he’s not all that wet behind the ears. His time has come. He has nothing to prove at Triple-A. There is no point to have him merely piling up stats in Reno.

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The greatest three days in Bay area sports history could be this Saturday, Sunday and Monday when the NBA Finals and NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals come to town. And none of the games, oddly enough, will be in San Francisco. The San Jose Sharks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and Monday in Games 3 and 4 while the Warriors will be crushing the Cavaliers on Sunday in Game 2 in Oakland. It’s happened before, when one area hosted the NBA and NHL’s showcase events at the same time. In recent years, for example, the New Jersey Devils and Nets did it in 2003 while the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks did it in 1992. And in four months the area might be hosting the World Series again.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team came within an eyelash of winning the Mountain West tournament last week and going to the NCAA Regionals. Coach T.J. Bruce also came with another eyelash of turning in the best season for a first-year Wolf Pack coach in the team’s nearly five decades of Division I history with a 37-24 record. Del Youngblood’s 1980 Pack was 38-22. Bruce’s boys went 20-4 over its final 24 games. Turnover going into next year should be minimal unlike the almost complete overhaul from last year to this year. And, so far, Bruce is still the Pack’s coach which is an improvement over last year.

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The 2016-17 Wolf Pack football, men’s basketball and baseball seasons could be special. They are all going to be good and successful. But they could turn out to be the best one-season performance by all three of those teams combined in the school‘s history. The football team will win at least eight games and go to a bowl game. It might win 10 or 11 games and play in a real bowl, you know,m that people actually watch and care about. The basketball team could win a Mountain West title and go to the NCAA tournament and flirt with 30 wins. The baseball team might head back to the regionals for the first time since 2000. The last time the Pack football, men’s hoops and baseball team combined to go to a bowl game, a NCAA tournament and a NCAA Regional in same calendar school year was, well, never. If you are a Pack fan, or even just a college sports fan in general, you might want to live up on north Virginia Street for about nine months starting in September.

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