LeBron James And The Heat Vs. Bulls In Game 2: No Excuses, Hopefully

LeBron James says he's fighting a cold, and the Chicago Bulls are trying to put the Miami Heat on ice in Game 2. For everyone's sake, let's hope LeBron's healthy enough to make things interesting in Chicago tonight. Plus: Gus Johnson's next move, fun with Google Images, good burgers, a bad omen for Kevin Durant, and KAHHHHHN. Talking Points is a daily series that looks at the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.

LeBron James and the Miami Heat are preparing for Game 2 vs. the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, but aside from the Derrick Rose and the swarming Chicago defense, LeBron's busy fighting another battle. He's been fighting off a head cold since he got to Chicago.

After the Heat's shootaround, LeBron told reporters, "I'm taking everything you can get from 7-Eleven. I've been sick since we got here." ...You see where this is going, right?

I'm not saying LeBron doesn't have a cold today (as one writer noted breathlessly, "he spoke with noticeable congestion"). But if he loses again Wednesday night, it'll have a lot more to do with his team's terrible rebounding, Chicago's outstanding defense, and Miami's inability to score in a halfcourt set. If we all have to listen to people talking about his head cold afterward, I might just go down to Miami and go all Dexter Morgan on all the Heat apologists.

So I'm actually pulling for LeBron to get it together tonight, because Miami winning Game 2 makes this series a thousand times for interesting going down to South Beach this weekend, and it'd make the best playoffs in years that much better.

Then again, if he loses and pulls the "head cold" excuse, we'll always remember this series for another reason. As the exact moment when we could all stop taking LeBron seriously. He's either an evolved version of Oscar Robertson, or, as one Cavs fan called him last spring, "a more talented Vince Carter." We still can't answer for sure, but for the sake of the playoffs and our collective sanity, let's hope he's closer to the first one in Chicago tonight.

With that, let's get into Talking Points...


Gus Johnson's Next Move. From the New York TImes:

Since last November, Johnson has walked from the two jobs he loved most. First, he left the Knicks, where he was the play-by-play announcer. Then, he departed CBS. For Fox, Johnson will work college football and basketball games, and become part of the network’s N.F.L. rotation.

"I believe in myself," Johnson said. "I believe in my ability to do my job, whether it be the N.C.A.A. tournament or the world tiddlywinks championship."

Johnson said negotiations with Fox started in early March, right before the tournament. When he told CBS about the other offer, he expected a quiet round of talks. Instead, when he arrived in Las Vegas to work Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight title defense against Shane Mosley on May 7, Sports Illustrated reported he was leaving CBS.

So, if I'm reading that correctly, Gus Johnson found out he was leaving CBS through a report from Sports Illustrated? Because if that's happened, then it's even more reason to hate CBS for lowballing Gus while they write another billion dollar check to Jim Nantz this year.

Still, Gus seems to be taking things in stride:

One week after the move to Fox became official, Johnson had already begun to move forward. He expressed no bitterness, as he tried to understand all the interest his future had generated in the past two weeks.

"I feel no pressure," Johnson said. "This is what I do. And I’m good at what I do. I’m going to be better at what I do. I’m going to have fun with this."

It's pretty rare with TV personalities. The bigger Gus Johnson has gotten over the past few years, the more awesome he becomes. Maybe because his trademark has always been "I’m going to have fun with this" and or maybe because he's just not nearly as arrogant as some of his peers, and doesn't let all the YouTube hype go to his head.

Either way, no matter where he goes or what he does, we should all be rooting for Gus.


A Farewell To Zach Randolph. The best part of the Zach Randolph story is that it's still being written. He's finally found a team (and a city) that wants him in Memphis, and the Grizzlies core looks poised to terrorize the league for a solid five years if they can somehow manage to re-sign Marc Gasol. Or even without him. Rudy Gay's coming back next year, so in theory, that could soften the blow if Gasol heads elsewhere.

All of which is to say... We can never have enough Z-Bo in our lives.

This career retrospective over at GQ was a great read, but I'm holding out for when it includes 500 words about the Grizzlies Finals run that threw the blogosphere into hysterics, turned Tony Allen and Z-Bo into superstars, and nearly gave David Stern a heart attack. Someday soon...


Those Guys Do All The Drugs And Have All The Sex. That's how the excerpts make it sound.


A Terrifying Omen For Kevin Durant. Let's pretend these statistics don't exist. (via @talkhoops)


This Has Nothing To Do With Anything. But sometimes with ADD, it leads to thinking about Mike Bibby and next thing you know, you're googling things like "Team Dime" and you find this:


Additional ADD-Google Image searches turned up this photo of Sue Bird, where someone decided it would be a good idea to have her in a homely outfit posing in front of what appears to be either a forest fire or some sort of nuclear explosion. And either way... SO HOT!


Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Wants A Statue, Goddamnit! Sorry, just thought that'd be fun to type. But seriously, now that the Lakers have built one for Magic, Kareem wants a statue of his own:

"I don't understand (it). It's either an oversight or they're taking me for granted. I'm not going to try to read people's minds, but it doesn't make me happy. It's definitely a slight. I feel slighted."

I don't understand it, either. How could the Lakers expect him to feel appreciated with his jersey in the rafters, his place in the basketball Hall-of-Fame, his nineteen All-Star teams, his six championship rings, and his basketball immortality? He's nothing without that goddamn statue!


It Hurts To Move Right Now. Shake Shack recently opened its first location in D.C., and it just happens that it's right across from the SB Nation offices in Dupont Circle. Seems like a good thing, no?


Not right now, anyway. Don't get me wrong; Shake Shack was a great thing circa 12 o'clock, but here's some advice if you're ever planning on celebrating a grand opening by binging on $20 worth of burgers, fries, and milkshakes: Don't. I haven't been able to move since 1 p.m., it sorta hurts to breathe, and around 3 p.m., I think I felt myself dying a little bit.

Anyway, keep that in mind when you read this exhaustive (and awesome) breakdown of Five Guys, In-and-Out, and Shake Shack. These places are all awesome, but too much of a good thing can be goddamn deadly. Especially if you have to pretend work for six more hours after lunch.


Some Fun E-Mails Between Judd Apatow And A Writer Calling Him A Thief. Here.


And Finally, KAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHN. A bunch of people have been hating on David Kahn today and calling for his head, but I hope he hangs on in Minnesota for as long as possible. Just watch this interview he did with Chris Webber last summer. The fun begins around the 1:30-mark, and the awkwardness really picks at 3:30 when he compares Darko to Chris Webber:

"With us, it was like mana from heaven," Kahn said of about getting Darko, who averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds as a starter this year. And if nothing else, all of this should make the rest of the basketball world feel better about themselves.

David Kahn's not evil or mean like Isiah Thomas. He's more like the naive idiot in your office that keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, and always finds new and creative ways to embarrass himself. He's the Ashy Larry of the NBA. You can resent him for somehow remaining employed, but the longer we go with Kahn around, I'm sorta starting to love him for it.

For people that love making jokes about the NBA, Kahn's manna from heaven, and I'm not ready to give that up just because he awkwardly implied that the NBA is fixed to help disabled children. He's always been his own worst enemy. If anything, Tuesday night just enhances the legend.


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