NBA Notebook: James happy despite Cavs’ loss
The NBA notebook …
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio ó LeBron James finally talked about not making the NBA finals, and insists Cleveland’s loss to Orlando will not impact his future with the Cavaliers.
James stormed out of Amway Arena without speaking to the media Saturday night after the Cavs were eliminated with a 103-90 loss to the Magic in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. The league MVP, who also did not shake hands with Olympic teammate Dwight Howard or congratulate any Orlando players as he left the floor, said Sunday that he’s happy in Cleveland and feels the Cavs made major progress this season.
“I’m great. I feel great about this situation that’s going on,” James said. “You want to continue to get better, that’s all you can ask. We got better and I feel this team will be better next season. You don’t want to take a step backward. I think we went forward from the Boston series (a Game 7 loss in the semis) last year.”
The Cavaliers won 66 regular-season games and their second Central Division title this season.
James, who averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists against Orlando, said he hasn’t given any thought to signing a contract extension with the Cavs this summer.
Cleveland can offer the extension on July 18 ó the three-year anniversary of him signing his previous deal.
“I don’t know,” James said when asked if he’ll sign. “I haven’t thought about it just yet. I’m just going to take time off from basketball and not think about contracts or the game period.”
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Orlando is evaluating All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson for a possible return to the Magic lineup for the NBA finals.
Magic spokesman Joel Glass said on Sunday that Nelson’s rehabilitation from a shoulder injury is ahead of schedule. Nelson has been out since early February with what had been called a season-ending shoulder tear.
RATINGSNEW YORK ó Orlando’s Eastern Conference championship-clinching victory over Cleveland drew more than 8.3 million viewers, capping a strong series for TNT.HOMECOURTLOS ANGELES ó It’s going to be Orlando, not Boston, in the NBA finals. Even though the opponent is different, the Los Angeles Lakers are still consumed with redeeming themselves after last year’s abject failure.
Their humiliating 131-92 dismissal by the Celtics in Game 6 last year still stings.
“We know what it feels like to lose and we just want to come out there and amend that,” coach Phil Jackson said Sunday.
The Lakers have home-court advantage this year. Games 1 and 2 are Thursday and next Sunday at Staples Center before the best-of-7 series moves to Orlando for up to three games.
“It’s nice to have home-court advantage, but it’s still not something to rely on in this kind of a series,” Jackson said. “Orlando is one of the better road teams in the league the last two years.”
WALLACE MAY RETIRE
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio ó Cleveland center Ben Wallace is considering retirement following the Cavaliers’ elimination from the playoffs.
Wallace, a four-time NBA defensive player of the year, said Sunday that a combination of injuries, declining production and a loss of passion for the game has him thinking about quitting. He plans to sit down with his family before deciding his next move.