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in Deutsch in Medien und Literatur 10.08.2018 08:14
von officialsbaseball • 303 Beiträge

There haven’t been any championship banners hoisted into Boston’s hallowed rafters since 2008.

LeBron James won’t let go of the rope.

Cleveland’s star has bounced the Celtics from the playoffs four times in the past seven years Bradley Zimmer Cleveland Indians Jersey , and James carries a six-game postseason winning streak at Boston into this year’s Eastern Conference finals, which open Sunday at TD Garden.

As a member of both the Miami Heat and Cavaliers, James – whose success against Boston did a 180-degree turn with a mesmerizing Game 6 performance in 2012 – has made the Celtics green(er) with envy.

But while the 33-year-old has the utmost respect for the NBA’s most decorated franchise, James’ admiration hasn’t stopped him from standing in the way of Boston stuffing more Larry O’Brien trophies into its crowded case.

And if he beats the Celtics again and advances to his eighth straight NBA Finals, James would join a club currently exclusive to Boston players with legendary status.

Only Bill Russell (10), Sam Jones (9), Tommy Heinsohn (9) and Frank Ramsey (8) have played in more consecutive Finals than James, who said he hasn’t reflected on the possibility of admission to their group.

”I do know that this is my eighth straight conference finals and I have an opportunity to play for a championship if I’m able to be successful in this conference finals, so I don’t take that for granted,” James said Friday. ”You dream about being able to play in big games in the NBA. Even when I got to the NBA that was one of my only goals – to be as great as I can be, to play in big games in the NBA and be remembered – and I think I’ve done that in my career.

”Just trying to add onto it while I can.”

Early in his career, James saw the Celtics as a postseason exit ramp.

The ”Big 3” Boston team featuring Kevin Garnett http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-hayden-hurst-jersey , Paul Pierce and Ray Allen ousted him and the Cavs in 2008 and 2010, the latter series ending with James famously storming off the floor and pulling off his jersey to foreshadow his free-agent departure later that summer for South Beach.

He avenged that loss the following year in the conference semifinals, and then in 2012, James had one of his most magnificent postseason exhibitions of his career in Boston. With the Heat down 3-2 in the series, James scored 45 points on 19 of 26 shooting and added 15 rebounds as Miami forced a Game 7 and went on to win consecutive titles.

Since then, he’s 8-1 against the Celtics with a four-game sweep in 2015 and a five-game dusting last year in the conference finals.

James has scored 979 points in 34 playoff games against the Celtics, the most by one player against a single team. And in his past six games on Boston’s parquet, he’s averaging 34.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

James has eight playoff wins in Boston, more than all but four current Celtics.

One of them, Jaylen Brown, knows what’s coming.

”Physically Rashaad Penny Color Rush Jersey , he is more superior than any guy that is on the floor,” Brown said. ”He’s 260-plus pounds. Can run like a gazelle. Athletic. He’s physical. He’s just unstoppable. We gotta be mentally locked in and have a mindset to try and do the best we can. LeBron is top 3, top 5 of all-time. He’s going to do what he does. We just gotta take away the other guys and have a great mindset of mentally being locked in every possession.”

Boston’s notorious crowd is known for rattling opposing players. In the first round, Celtics fans taunted Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe with chants of ”Who Is Bledsoe?” after he unwisely made a comment about Celtics playoff phenom Terry Rozier.

James and his teammates know they’ll have their ears rung as well.

”One of the rowdy environments,” Cavaliers forward Kyle Korver said. ”Boston is fun. They have a great crowd. They’re ready to get behind their team. There’s been moments where I’ve been on a team where there’s a decent lead and then they make one shot and the place just erupts. You’re like, `Man, they’re going to come back.’ You just feel it. It’s a great place to play, especially in the playoffs.”

Boston’s roar only seems to strengthen James, who appreciates the passion and pride in the Celtics.

”Just the history, you look up in the rafters and you see all the greats that has either played there or the previous arena they played in,” he said. ”It’s a sports town. You look at the Patriots. You look at the Bruins. You look at the Red Sox. You add them, look at all that history. It’s just a sports town. If you’re not green http://www.chargersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-justin-jones-jersey , they don’t mess with you.”



AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston contributed to this report.



Evander Kane knew San Jose was a good fit when Joe Thornton showed up for a late-night airport pickup following a trade deadline deal.

That comfort was only reinforced over the next 10 weeks on the ice and in the dressing room. It left Kane with an easy choice as he headed toward free agency.

Kane bypassed a chance at the open market by signing a seven-year deal Thursday worth $49 million to stay with the Sharks for the long term.

”It’s good to be wanted and I wanted them just as much as they wanted me,” Kane said. ”The fact that we were able to work out a deal so quickly reflects that. Obviously, when you’re a free agent you have the option to do what you want and I made it clear to them that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

Kane will be paid $9 million the first year of the deal, followed by salaries of $8 million, $6 million, $7 million, $7 million and two years at $6 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms were not released. He also has a limited no-trade clause.

Kane, who turns 27 in August, was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline in February and became a key part of San Jose’s team down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Under the terms of that trade, the Sabres will get a first-round pick in 2019 instead of a second-rounder because Kane signed with San Jose. The selection is lottery-protected, so it could be moved to 2020.

The Sharks aren’t concerned about that price.

”You don’t find guys like this unless you’re picking in the top three Tarvarius Moore Color Rush Jersey , four guys in the draft, and no one wants to be there,” coach Peter DeBoer said.

”When you’re signing free agents, especially elite players and guys that are going to play huge roles for you, you really want to know about them as much as possible. And you really don’t know a player until you stand behind the bench and are around them every day. So that was a nice luxury to have. I think we all felt comfortable that this was a guy that could help us win.”

Kane’s status was one of the biggest questions heading into this offseason for the Sharks, who were knocked out of the playoffs in six games in the second round against eventual Western Conference champion Vegas.

Thornton is the other prominent potential free agent on the team. But he’s said he’s willing to come back on a reduced one-year deal.

The Sharks still have salary cap flexibility to make more moves, which will be easier now that Kane’s deal is done and he can be slotted in on a top line.

”He plays with great speed and fits with not only our game but where the league is trending,” general manager Doug Wilson said.

”To get him in place and secured was very important to us. Top-six forwards like that, there aren’t many out there and when you get one you want to make sure that he’s secured. It fills in our roster.”

Kane stepped right onto the top line with captain Joe Pavelski after arriving in San Jose and helped ease the loss of Thornton, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in January. Kane used speed and physical play to deliver nine goals and five assists in 17 games and helped San Jose make the playoffs, giving him a first taste of the postseason.

Kane shined in the first round with three goals and an assist during a sweep against Anaheim. But he struggled a bit against the Golden Knights, slowed by injuries to his knee and shoulder that lingered from the end of the regular season.

He had one goal and a minus-5 rating in five games against Vegas. He missed Game 2 of that series when he was suspended for cross-checking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Kane finished last season with 29 goals and 25 assists DaeSean Hamilton Color Rush Jersey , his second-most productive season to his 30-goal, 27-assist run for the Jets in 2011-12. Kane has 186 goals and 168 assists in 574 games since entering the NHL as the fourth overall pick by Atlanta in 2009.

Despite his credentials, there was not a robust trade market for Kane back in February in part because he had issues off the ice with some teammates during his stints with Winnipeg and Buffalo.

Kane also had legal run-ins.

In March 2016, prosecutors announced after a three-month investigation that Kane would not face a sexual assault charge. In June 2016, he was arrested for allegedly grabbing three women by the hair and neck during an altercation at a Buffalo bar. The charges were eventually dismissed on condition Kane stayed out of trouble as part of a plea agreement.

Also that year, the Sabres suspended Kane for one game for missing practice a day after pictures surfaced on social media of the player celebrating in Toronto after attending the NBA All-Star Game.

There haven’t been issues in his brief time with the Sharks.

”We really started things off on the right note and it just carried on from there,” Kane said. ”The one thing about this team and this group and this organization is that they allow you to be yourself. They embrace you for that. It’s a very unselfish group that makes it super easy to come into and mesh well with.”



AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report



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