Alex Williams woke up at about 6:30 a.m. Memorial Day to try to get a jump on cutting his grass before the weather got too hot.
When he looked out past his corner lot to his backyard neighbor’s house, he saw police cars.
It wasn’t anything unusual, Williams said. Over the years, the police had been called to the house of Joe Clark and Audrey Roberson for their 28-year-old son, Michael Clark.
Michael Clark had some mental health issues, neighbors said, and had only come back around to visit the Macedonia house in the last few months.
But once Williams saw multiple police cars from various communities, he knew something was wrong.
Williams soon found out that Joe Clark, 62, was dead from an apparent stabbing and Audrey Roberson, 58, was taken to a local hospital, also with stab wounds.
Authorities quickly named Michael Clark as the suspect in the stabbings and said he fled his parents’ house in his father’s white pickup truck. By 3:18 p.m., police said they had him in custody after he was located in Columbiana County.
After Williams heard that his neighbor was dead and another wounded, he quickly ran to wake up his other neighbors to tell them the news of the couple they had lived next to for nearly two decades.
Karen Harden, who lives two houses to the right, said she and other neighbors are devastated by Joe Clark’s death and Audrey’s stabbing.
“They were just good people, Joe and Audrey,” said Harden, whose son grew up and played in the cul-de-sac with Michael Clark, the son of Joe and Audrey, and an older son of Audrey’s since the boys were about 7.
The victims had not been officially identified by police as of late Monday afternoon, but neighbors confirmed the identity of the couple.
According to Summit County Fiscal Office property records, the house belongs to Joseph Clark, who purchased it in 2001.
According to police, a 911 call was placed sometime Monday morning about a stabbing. When they arrived at the house in the 8900 block of Griswold Circle in Macedonia, police found two victims in the bedroom, a 58-year-old female and a 62-year-old male. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Macedonia fire provided medical aid to the female and transported her to Summa Akron City Hospital.
Harden said authorities told her Roberson was initially in critical condition, but was stable later in the morning.
Neighbors said they were unsure of Michael Clark’s exact mental illness, but that his parents tried for many years to get him help.
“The system failed,” she said. “They tried everything to help him. Joe would say ‘No one will help us.’ ”
Fears for safety
Over the years, neighbors had worried about the parents’ safety, Harden said. The couple had been concerned, too, “but there was nothing they could do because you know, you always want your son to come and see you, even though he didn’t live here.
“You never think your child is going to hurt you,” Harden said.
Williams said over the years, he would try to talk to Michael Clark as a mentor whenever he would see him.
“I’d ask him how he was doing. I said, ‘I’m here for you,’ then he’d disappear,” Williams said.
Michael Clark had told Williams that he didn’t like how he felt when he was on his medications.
Williams, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, said he’s now wondering what more he and other neighbors could have done.
Neighbors were unsure if the couple was married, but said they had lived in the house for many years. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office had no information to release on the case, but a representative said an autopsy would be performed Tuesday on the body.
Staff writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at http://www.ohio.com/betty
Note: All fish fries are Fridays during Lent unless otherwise noted.
CHURCHES, CLUBS AND LODGES
Acker-Moore Memorial Post/Stow American Legion and VFW — 5-8 p.m., 3733 Fishcreek Road, Stow, 330-673-1608. All-you-can-eat beer-battered or baked cod with choice of two sides, $10. One-piece dinners, shrimp, fish sandwiches and other items, $7 or less.
American Legion Post 281 — 4:30-7 p.m., 1601 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-920-9379. Beer-battered fried haddock or perch, shrimp, scallops, chicken fingers, seafood platter or baked cod, $7.50-$9.75. Dinners include french fries, hot rice, three-bean salad, coleslaw, roll, coffee or tea. Desserts available.
American Legion Post 407 — 5-8 p.m. through March 23, 49 Black Drive, Doylestown, 330-658-2845. Pollock with coleslaw, french fries and roll, $8.
Ancient Order of Hibernians — 5-7 p.m. through March 23, 2000 Brown St., Akron, 330-724-2080. Baked or fried cod dinners with two sides (french fries, macaroni and cheese, baked potato, coleslaw, applesauce or cottage cheese), $11 or $13. Hot dog meals for kids with two sides, $3.
Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Brendan — 5:30-8 p.m. through March 23, 753 N. Main St., Akron, 330-434-1916. Beer-battered perch, fried or baked cod dinners with french fries, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and bread, $9-$12. Fried cod or perch sandwich, $5. Pierogi, $5. Chef’s special every week. Carryout available.
Annunciation Church/Visitation of Mary Parish — 4:30-7 p.m. through March 23, 55 Broad St., Akron, 330-535-4141. Baked or fried cod with choice of sides (scalloped potatoes, french fries, macaroni and cheese, vegetable, coleslaw, Spanish rice) and Massoli’s bread, coffee, tea or lemonade, $9 adults, $8.50 seniors, $4 children 12 and younger. Desserts and soft drinks available.
Barberton Liedertafel Club — 5-7 p.m., Feb. 23-March 30, 191 Second St., Barberton, 330-753-2115. Three pieces pollock, french fries, choice of sides (coleslaw, applesauce or homemade hot sauce), $7. Carryout available.
Benedictine High School — 5-7:30 p.m., Feb. 23, March 2, 9 and 23, 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland, 216-421-2080, Ext. 517. Fried or baked fish, shrimp or pierogi dinners, with baked potato or french fries, coleslaw or applesauce, bread, and coffee, tea or milk, $8 (seniors 50 cents less). Desserts available. Sides (grilled cheese sandwich, fried clams, macaroni and cheese, fries, onion rings, pierogies, clam chowder, coleslaw or applesauce), $2-$3.50. Pop or bottled water, 50 cents.
Boy Scout Troop 382 — 4:30-7 p.m. Feb. 16 only, 3917 Ridgewood Road, Copley Township, 330-836-7385. Breaded Lake Erie perch or baked salmon, fries, coleslaw, applesauce, dessert and beverage, $12 adults, $6 ages 10 and under ($1 discount for scouts in uniform).
British American Club — 6:30-8:30 p.m., 8564 Ravenna Road, Twinsburg, http://www.baclubohio.com/menu. 330-963-6370. Fish fry dinners include 2 pieces of “British style” beer battered cod, fish and shrimp combo, or shrimp only, $9.50. All include fries, cole slaw, mushy peas, bread and coffee or tea. Children’s dinners available. Carryout available.
Brunswick VFW Post 9520 & Auxiliary — 5-7 p.m., 1439 S. Carpenter Road, Brunswick, 330-273-4892. Beer-battered, crunchy-fried or baked fish, breaded shrimp or chicken tenders with coleslaw, salad bar and side (macaroni and cheese, fries or pierogis), $8-10. Pierogi dinner with onions, sour cream, coleslaw and salad bar, $8. Additional sides and extra fish, $2. Desserts available.
Church of the Holy Angels — 5-7:30 p.m., 18205 Chillicothe Road, Chagrin Falls, 440-708-0000. Fried lake perch, beer-battered cod, shrimp, baked lemon pepper cod, baked salmon and pierogies. All include french fries, baked potato or macaroni and cheese with vegetables, coleslaw, rolls, dessert and drink, $7-$12. Pizza and clam chowder available. Carryout available.
First United Methodist Church of Akron — 5-7 p.m. Feb. 23, March 9 and 23, 263 E. Mill St., Akron, 330-376-8143. Baked cod, fried pollock, baked chicken breast or fried shrimp ($1 extra) with choice of baked potato, macaroni and cheese or steak fries, coleslaw or applesauce, hush puppy, roll, desserts and beverages; $9 adults, $5 children 3-12. University of Akron students free with current ID. Carryout available.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 — 5-8 p.m., Feb. 23-March 30, 2610 Ley Drive, Akron, 330-773-3032. All-you-can-eat beer-battered, baked or pan-fried fish dinners, $12. Single-serving shrimp or chicken tender dinners, $10. Feb. 16 and March 16 will replace beer-battered fish with steak, $12 (baked and pan-fried fish and shrimp available). Dinners come with salad, rolls and choice of potato.
German Family Society — 5:30-8 p.m., March 2-23, 3871 Ranfield Road, Brimfield Township, 330-813-0486. Fish dinners with three sides, $10 adults, $6 children (two sides). Macaroni and cheese with two sides, $8 adults, $5 children. Potato soup, German pastries and drinks available. Cash only.
John Knox Presbyterian Church — 4:45-6:45 p.m. through March 16, 25200 Lorain Road, North Olmsted, 440-777-3744. Battered or baked fish, battered chicken, breaded shrimp and shrimp scampi. Sides include French fries, baked potato, rice pilaf, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, green beans and applesauce, $8 and up. Desserts include Weber’s ice cream. Carryout available.
Johnson United Methodist Church — 4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 16, March 3 and 16, 3409 Johnson Road, Norton, 330-825-7886. All-you-can-eat fried fish, baked fish or chicken fingers with choice of baked potato, macaroni and cheese or french fries, green beans and choice of coleslaw or applesauce; $8 adults, $4 children 4-10, under 4 free. Pie $1.
Joy Park Neighborhood Federation — Starts at 10 a.m. March 24, 825 Fuller St., Akron, 330-814-4073 or 330-618-6306. Fried whiting and perch with two sides (baked beans, coleslaw, fries, macaroni and cheese) and pound cake, bread and beverage, $12. Carryout and delivery available.
Knights of Columbus 3410, South Akron — 5-7 p.m., 2055 Glenmount Ave., Akron, 330-773-3410. Baked or fried whitefish, shrimp, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers or seafood platters with choice of sides (french fries, baked potato, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, hot rice, applesauce), $5-$10. Desserts and soft drinks available. Carryout available.
Knights of Columbus Stow-Hudson-Peninsula, Holy Family Parish — 4:30-7:30 p.m. through March 23, 3179 Kent Road, Stow, 330-677-9829. Baked tilapia, fried cod, shrimp, macaroni and cheese or cheese pizza dinners with two sides (french fries, hush puppies, seasoned rice, macaroni and cheese, pierogi, salad, coleslaw, veggie pie), roll and beverage; adults $8.50, children $5.50. Desserts available.
Knights of Columbus Council 3213 — 4-7:30 p.m., 148 N. Lyman St., Wadsworth, 330-334-0030. All-you-can-eat Alaskan pollock, french fries, applesauce, coleslaw, coffee, and lemonade. $8, $5 ages 5-12, under 5 free. Carryout available.
Polish American Citizens Club — 4:30-8 p.m., 472 E. Glenwood Ave., Akron, 330-253-0496. Fried lake perch, baked cod, shrimp or chicken wings or tender dinners with bread and choice of two sides (salad, french fries, hot rice, cabbage and noodles, coleslaw, applesauce, macaroni and cheese and cottage cheese), $7.75-$13.25. Homemade pierogies, kielbasa, tater tots and beverages available. Carryout available.
Prince of Peace Church — 4-6:30 p.m., 1263 Shannon Ave., Barberton, 330-706-9392. Fried or baked fish, shrimp or combo dinners with two sides (cabbage and noodles, fries, buttered noodles, applesauce, coleslaw, green beans or macaroni and cheese), bread, coffee or hot tea, $9 adults, $5 children. Other beverages and pie, $1 each. Carryout available. Wheelchair accessible.
Queen of Heaven Church Parish Life Center — 4:30-7 p.m. through March 23, 1800 Steese Road, Green, 330-896-2345. Fried or baked cod, fried shrimp and combo dinners, $9-$11. Macaroni and cheese, pierogi or pizza dinners, $6. Children’s dinners, $5. Dinners include sides and coffee or tea. Side of one piece baked or two pieces fried fish, $4. One slice cheese pizza and other sides, $2. Other beverages and desserts available. Carryout available (not by phone).
Ralph Huff VFW Post No. 1062 — 5-7 p.m., 1581 Main St., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-929-9494. Two-piece battered perch dinner, $9; chicken tenders or breaded shrimp dinner, $8; combination platter, $10. All served with steak fries, bread and choice of two sides (salad, coleslaw, applesauce). Fish sandwich, $5. One piece extra fish, $1.
St. Andrew the Apostle Church — 4-7 p.m. through March 23, 4022 Johnson Road, Norton, 330-825-2617. Baked or fried fish, fried shrimp or combo dinners, choice of two sides (french fries, cabbage noodles, hot rice, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, applesauce), bread, coffee/tea and dessert; $8.50 adults, $5 children. Carryout available.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church (Fellowship Center) — 5-7 p.m. through March 30 (except March 16), 3204 Ridgewood Road, Copley Township, 330-666-7116. Baked or fried fish or shrimp dinners with french fries, coleslaw or salad, macaroni and cheese, and coffee or tea, $11; children 5-10, $5. Fish sandwich with french fries, $6. Dessert, $2. Other beverages extra. Carryout available.
St. George Serbian Church — 5-7 p.m. Feb. 16, March 9 and March 30 only, 4667 Applegrove St. NW, North Canton, 330-494-2712. Baked or beer-battered fish, shrimp or fish/shrimp combo, with choice of sides (rice, au gratin or baked potatoes or macaroni and cheese), green beans, coleslaw or applesauce and roll, $12 adults, $6 children. Extra fish and sides, $2-8. Soft drinks and desserts available.
St. Hilary Knights of Columbus — 5-7 p.m. Feb. 16 and March 23 only, 2750 W. Market St., Fairlawn, 330-867-1055. Baked fish, pierogies, corn, green beans, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, rolls, dessert and beverage; $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children under 12. Carryout available.
St. Mary Parish — 5-7:30 p.m. through March 23, 340 N. Main St., Hudson, 330-650-0722 ext. 244. Beer-battered fish, baked cod with mango salsa or grilled shrimp skewers, kids’ meals, $5-$16. Carryout and menu at http://seafood.stmaryhudson.cc.
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church — 5-7 p.m. Feb. 16 and March 16 only, 1130 Mercer Ave., Akron, 330-535-7295. Catfish or tilapia, baked beans, coleslaw, bread and dessert, $10.
St. Thomas Eastern Orthodox — 5-7 p.m. through March 23, 555 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Fairlawn, 330-328-5393. Cornmeal-crusted lake perch, garlic butter baked cod or chicken nuggets with herb-roasted potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rice pilaf, coleslaw, green beans, applesauce and condiments; $13 adults, $6 children ages 3-12, 2 and under free. Bottomless coffee or soda $1. Pie $2. Carryout available.
St. Vincent de Paul Parish — 5:30-7:30 p.m. through March 23, 17 S. Maple St., Akron, 330-535-3135. Baked or fried cod or pierogi dinners with two sides (coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, green beans, french fries, pierogies), salad, beverage and dessert; $12 adults, $10 seniors. For children under 12, fish, pizza or two pierogies, side, beverage and dessert, $7.
Slovak “J” Club — 4:30-7 p.m., 485 Morgan Ave., Akron, 330-786-9972. All-you-can-eat fried fish, $10 adults, $6 age 10 and younger. Buffet includes french fries, hot rice, noodles and cabbage, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, rolls. Baked cod dinners, $14, must be preordered by Thursday of each week.
Tadmor Shrine Center — 5-7:30 p.m., 3000 Krebs Drive, Coventry Township, 330-644-8494. All-you-can-eat Alaskan pollock dinners with fries, applesauce, coleslaw, rolls, coffee, tea, lemonade and raspberry drink, $9. Chicken or shrimp single-serving dinners, $9. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages extra.
Beau’s Grille — Daily until 10 p.m., 3180 W. Market St., Fairlawn, 865-5577. Flounder, catfish, cod, perch, fish sandwich, $11.95-$19.95. Other fish options available.
Beef O’Brady’s — 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 3732 Darrow Road, Stow, 330-688-6800; and 1090 Williams Reserve Blvd., Wadsworth, 330-336-3600. All-you-can-eat beer-battered Alaskan pollock with two sides, $10.99.
Beef O’Brady’s — 11 a.m. to close, 3975 Cascade Blvd. Brimfield, 330-678-4800. All-you-can-eat beer-battered cod with fries and coleslaw, $11.49; seafood combo of fish and fried or grilled shrimp with fries and coleslaw, $9.99.
Bob’s Hamburg — 4-8 p.m., 1351 East Ave., Akron, 330-253-2627. Lake Erie yellow perch, oysters, crab cakes with fries, coleslaw and hush puppies, $11.99. All-you-can-eat cod, $10.95. Full menu and carryout available.
The Boulevard — 2-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, 435 Chestnut Blvd., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-928-8596. Three-piece lake perch dinners with two sides (french fries, salad, coleslaw or applesauce) $10.99; five-piece $12.99.
The Cafe in Stow — 11 a.m. to close, 4591 Darrow Road, Stow, 330-688-0200. All-you-can-eat beer-battered fish, crab cakes, clam strips, shrimp, meatless pasta gardino, tuna melt, fish sandwich, $6.99-$11.99.
Coventry Diner — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, 3333 Manchester Road, Suite 17, Akron. All-you-can-eat fish, $9.09. Other Lent specials during the week.
Crave Cantina — Daily Feb. 15 through March 30, 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday, 2097 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-940-2000. Panko-crusted white fish, yucca fries and Bahamian citrus mango slaw, $12; blackened fish tacos, $5, ceviche of scallops, $13.
Eddy’s — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 2655 Oakwood Dr., Cuyahoga Falls, and 4581 Kent Road, Kent. All-you-can-eat fish, $9.95, with clam chowder; soup, salad or coleslaw; and choice of fries, mashed potatoes, baked potato, sweet potato, pierogies or macaroni and cheese.
Figaro Farms Fresh Market — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., 3912 Cottage Grove Road Suite 100, Green, 330-896-2220. Lake perch, walleye, salmon, Blue Point oysters, homemade crab cakes and scallops. Dinners come with two sides (hot rice, macaroni and cheese, roasted rosemary redskins, coleslaw, salad), $9.99-$14.99. Carryout available.
Fish and Chips — 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, 926 E. Waterloo Road, Akron, 330-724-9990. Battered fish, chicken, shrimp, clam strips and crab cakes with chips, hush puppies, coleslaw and beverage, $7.99 and up.
Fisher’s Cafe & Pub — 4-10 p.m. every Friday, 1607 Main St., Peninsula, 330-657-2651. Beer-battered Atlantic cod with fries and coleslaw, $11.99.
Flury’s Cafe — 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day except Sundays, 2202 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-929-1315. Beer-battered cod dinner with crinkle fries and coleslaw, $7.95.
Fritters Southern Cuisine — 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday through March 31, 750 Darrow Road, Akron, 330-633-4549. All-you-can-eat fish with two sides, $11.99. Other Lenten entrees available.
Green Diamond Grille — 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 125 Second St. NW, Barberton, 330-745-1900. Fish fry with two sides. Lobster fest, March 2-4. Homemade clam chowder, steamed mussels, crab and shrimp cakes, fried or pan-seared frog legs, Lake Erie yellow perch, fried or pan-seared walleye, bourbon grilled salmon, broiled scrod, scallops, coconut shrimp, grilled shrimp, scampi, seafood piccata, $10.99 and up.
Ido Bar & Grill — 4-9:30 p.m., Ash Wednesday and Fridays, 1537 S. Main St., Akron, 330-773-1724. Fried Alaska pollock dinner with fries, hot rice, coleslaw and bread, all you can eat, $9.99; lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $8.99. Other seafood items include halibut, salmon, mahi-mahi, drunken seafood pasta, shrimp capellini, fish po’boy sliders, fish tacos.
Julian’s Restaurant — 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 314 Pioneer St., Akron, 330-798-0043. Beer-battered cod with coleslaw and french fries, $8.95 and up. Grilled salmon, orange roughy and other fish choices may be offered. Clam chowder available.
Little City Grill — 5-10 p.m., 802 N. Mantua St., Kent, 330-677-3444. All-you-can-eat fried Alaskan pollock with fries and coleslaw, $10. Regular menu available.
Louie’s Bar & Grille — 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 739 E. Glenwood Ave., Akron, 330-535-5030. Three-piece fried flounder dinner with fries and coleslaw, $8.49. Two-piece beer-battered pollock dinner with fries and coleslaw, $6.25. Cod sandwich with fries, $6.99.
Menches Bros. Family Restaurant — 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 3700 Manchester Road, Green. 330-896-2288. Fish fry dinner with french fries and coleslaw, $8.99.
Mustard Seed Market & Cafe — 5-9 p.m., Montrose location, 3885 W. Market St., 339-666-7333, or Highland Square location, 867 W. Market St., Akron, 330-434-7333. Gluten-free fried cod, baked sweet potato and baby spinach salad with coconut bacon dressing and coleslaw, $16.
Peppe & Luigi’s Restaurant — 11 a.m.-11 p.m., 240 Fifth St. SE, Barberton, 330-745-1121. Fried shrimp with french fries and coleslaw, $8.99. Flounder dinner with jojos and tossed salad, $7.99. Fish sandwich with french fries, $7.99. Beer-battered haddock with jojos and coleslaw, $8.99. Tuna noodle casserole with garlic bread, $8.99. Fries can be substituted with jojos or onion rings.
Ray’s Place — 11 a.m. to close Friday-Sunday, 25 Ghent Road, Fairlawn, 330-835-2233. Three pieces beer-battered cod with fries and coleslaw, $12.95.
Retz’s Laconi’s II — 4-10 p.m., 547 Sackett Ave., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-945-4600. All-you-can-eat beer-battered fish, $9.99. Lake Erie perch dinner, $10.99. Dinners come with french fries and coleslaw.
Rico’s Restaurant — 4 p.m. to close, 1332 Tallmadge Road, Brimfield Township, 330-676-1004. Lenten specials every day starting at $8.25. Carryout available.
River City Bar & Grill — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., 2621 Bailey Road, Cuyahoga Falls, 330-920-9241. Breaded Alaskan pollock dinners with fries and coleslaw, four-piece $6.95, two-piece $5.75. Fish sandwich with chips and coleslaw, $4.95.
Rockne’s Pub — 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 Merriman Road, Akron, 330-762-7555. Beer-battered fish with french fries or macaroni and cheese, $9.95. Shrimp and french fries, $9.75. Baked cod dinner with rice and steamed vegetables, $10.75. Fish sliders and fries, $9.50. Lobster bisque or clam chowder, $4.50-$7.50.
Roses Run Country Club — 5-9 p.m., 2636 N. River Road, Stow, 330-688-4653. Beer cheddar soup, $4.50; crispy calamari, $9.99; fish fry platter with fries, coleslaw and roll, $10.99; baked cod with baked potato, salad and roll, $10.99; cajun shrimp pasta with salad and roll, $13.99; fried cod sandwich with fries, $6.99.
Silver Swan Tavern — Noon to 8 p.m. Ash Wednesday and every Friday, 2704 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, 330-928-5364. Baked pollock, $7; two-piece beer-battered cod, $8.25 (three pieces $10); fried catfish, $9; all with choice of french fries, home fries or macaroni and cheese, choice of cream of potato soup or salad.
Tiki Underground — 11 a.m.-midnight, 5893 Akron-Cleveland Road, Hudson, 234-380-5398. Two pieces of Kona beer-battered fish dinner, $9.99; fried shrimp dinner, $7.99. Served with fries, hush puppies and coleslaw.
The greatest power hitter to ever don an Indians uniform, as well as one of the best the game of baseball has ever seen, will have his spot in Cooperstown this July.
It was announced Wednesday night on MLB Network that Jim Thome, known for his high socks, a down-to-earth attitude and a lethal left-handed swing he used to launch prolific shots into the seats, had garnered enough votes to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place on July 29 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.
This was Thome’s first year on the ballot, as voted upon by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Seventy-five percent of the vote is needed for induction. Thome easily topped that with 89.8 percent of the vote.
Thome will be one of four members in the 2018 class inducted via the BBWAA vote, along with Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman. Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were also inducted this year by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
“[I am] so thankful for this great honor,” Thome said. “This is a day I don’t think any player can ever imagine happening, and it’s just a great honor. … It’s a special day in all of our lives.”
Thome is the 13th player to be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame who had the Indians as a primary team. He is also the first to be inducted as an Indians player since Larry Doby in 1998, which came via the Veterans Committee. Prior to Thome, the Indians hadn’t had a primary player inducted via the BBWAA vote since Bob Lemon in 1976. Thome also joins Bob Feller (1962 inductee) as the only Indians players to be inducted on the first ballot.
Thome ranks eighth all-time with 612 home runs and is one of only nine hitters to reach the 600-home run plateau. Across a 22-year major-league career in which he appeared in five All-Star Games, Thome finished with a .276 average, .402 on-base percentage, .554 slugging percentage and a .956 OPS. He led the league in home runs once, with 47 in 2003, and finished in the top-5 eight times. He reached the 20-home run mark in 16 different seasons and hit at least 40 homers six times. Thome also holds the major-league record with 13 walk-off home runs.
And as one of the premiere sluggers during a time in which baseball was full of them, Thome is one of the few prodigious hitters to never be connected to allegations of performance-enhancing drugs.
Across parts of 13 seasons with the Indians, Thome was one of the central pieces to the juggernaut offenses in the mid-to-late 1990s that made two trips to the World Series. He belted 337 home runs as a member of the Indians, a franchise record. He also holds the franchise record for home runs in a single season, when he launched 52 in 2002, his last year in Cleveland before returning in 2011. And no Indians fan will forget his 511-foot shot off Kansas City’s Don Wengert on July 3, 1999, which left the stadium altogether and still stands as the longest home run in park history.
Thome credited his dad, as well as former Indians manager and coach Charlie Manuel, with his success. Manuel helped Thome to relax at the plate and open up his stance, and a Hall-of-Fame career followed.
“It freed me up like no other,” Thome said of the career-changing alterations. “I remember the day it happened. From that point on, I thought, ‘I’m free.’”
And now, more than 600 home runs later, he’s a Hall-of-Famer.
Omar Vizquel was also on the ballot for the first time and received 37 percent of the vote.
Former Beacon Journal writer Sheldon Ocker will also be inducted into the Hall of fame after being elected as the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, the highest honor given to a baseball writer. Winners are recognized in the “Scribes and Mikemen” exhibit in the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s library.
It’s a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan’s go-to phrase: Just wait until next year.
Now, that well-worn mantra is a beer.
The Heinen’s grocery store chain has teamed up with Market Garden Brewery to produce Wait til Next Saison, a beer created to console Cleveland Browns fans who most likely are suffering through the second 0-16 season in NFL history. (Yes, yes, they still have one game left but does anyone really believe they will take down the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend?)
The draft-only beer — it’s 6.4 percent alcohol by volume and features French saison yeast, and Saaz and Lemondrop hops — will be released Jan. 5 at all Heinen’s locations, except for the Middleburg Heights store. Maybe Browns coach Hue Jackson will down one after jumping in Lake Erie. (Yes, he promised to do that if the Browns repeated their 1-15 record from last year.)
“We created this beer as a way to commemorate another lost season for the team that loves to frustrate us, and celebrate the resiliency and loyalty of Cleveland football fans,” Heinen’s beer and wine buyer Ed Thompkins said in a news release.
Heinen’s described the Belgian-style beer as having “spicy and pleasingly bitter flavors, resembling feelings all too familiar to Cleveland football fans.”
Market Garden co-founder Mike Foran said: “Like the Browns, this beer gives you exactly what you expect: Hazy yellow, peppery yeast notes, and a dry finish.”
As for why Heinen’s and Market Garden chose the saison style? “It sounds a lot like season,” Foran deadpanned.
Five Heinen’s locations will host special “The Bitter End” beer celebrations at 6 p.m. Jan. 5 and 2 p.m. Jan. 6. Tickets are $15. Click on the links below for more details:
DALLAS: While shooting 8-for-22 from the field with eight turnovers in his last two games, Derrick Rose began to realize he might have come back too soon.
The Cavaliers point guard missed four games with a sprained left ankle before returning Oct. 29 at home against the New York Knicks. But with uncharacteristic errors against the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 5 and on Tuesday, Rose realized he wasn’t physically right.
“Oh my God, yeah, no pop in my step, no my pop in my jumper, anything,” Rose said. “Get into the lane, dumb turnovers in the air, being a couple feet from the rim instead of trying to attack the rim I’d throw the ball back out. Just little things like that you notice.
“It’s a learning experience. I was just trying to give whatever I had to the team. But now I have to be smart.”
Rose missed his second consecutive game and sixth this season Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center and said before shootaround there is no timetable for his return. Iman Shumpert again started in his place.
“I haven’t heard anything right now, just day by day, try and get the swelling down, try and get mobility back in my ankle,” Rose said.
“Took some steps back with I think just playing on it,” Rose said. “Just trying to play through it, not trying to lose my conditioning and the swelling came back into it. Just gotta wait for the ligament to calm down.”
Shyatt with Mavs
Former Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt, a Cleveland native who was a University of Akron assistant from 1973-75, was hired to coach the Mavericks big men on July 1, 2016.
“He’s brought a real positive energy to our staff, to our situation,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Shyatt, 66. “For many, many, many years he was probably the best defensive coach in college basketball. Statistically his teams were always at the top. They played a style that contributed to that.
“A couple years ago when we were looking to add to our staff, we wanted to explore everything possible, not just people with NBA experience. I’ve always felt that people that come from the college game have a different perspective and there’s probably many things in college that could be helpful in the NBA. The last several years I’ve spent a lot of time with college coaches in the off-season [doing clinics]. Larry’s a very positive person, which is very important.”
At Wyoming, Shyatt coached former Revere High School standout Larry Nance Jr., now with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the two remain close.
Shump at point
The morning of Thursday’s game against the Rockets, the Cavs put in some things so Shumpert could bring the ball upcourt in the early going. Coach Tyronn Lue was pleased how it turned out.
“I thought he was really under control. I thought he did a good job of executing it,” Lue said of Shumpert. “His energy defensively and then offensively, sprinting into screens, sprinting into splits, sharp cuts. He’s really, really good for us the last few games.”
A point guard at Georgia Tech, Shumpert played the position for the New York Knicks until he tore his left ACL and meniscus in Game 1 of the first round of the 2012 playoffs against the Miami Heat.
Lue said he doesn’t want LeBron James at the point all game because of the load it puts on him.
“It’s too much. To have to bring the basketball up and try to make all the plays, have him score,” Lue said. “When we can come down and get it to him with a live dribble when we bring the ball up the floor, it makes it a lot easier on him.”
Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki, 39, is playing his 20th season, which could be the last for the 2007 league MVP and 2011 NBA champion.
Asked what he appreciates about the 13-time All-Star and 2011 Finals MVP (when he beat James and the Miami Heat), James said, “His commitment to excellence. Being a professional both on and off the floor. He set the standard along with KG [Kevin Garnett] and Timmy D [Tim Duncan] and Kobe [Bryant] and that generation of what it means to be known as a professional on the floor, but also off the floor as well.
“Being here his whole career, he’s definitely been a model citizen for this franchise and for this city and probably for this state, too. And that’s not even talking about what he means to his country of Germany itself. So, I’ve been a fan of Dirk since day one.”
James didn’t want to discuss the possible end of Nowitzki’s career.
“I ain’t throwing that out there. Let’s think positive. I’m not talking about retirement yet,” James said. “When it comes, we’ll talk about it. Right now he’s still hooping so that’s all that matters.”
Dwyane Wade, 35, wouldn’t answer that question, either. Wade faced the Mavs in the Finals with the Heat in 2006 and ’11.
“You never really give someone their due until they’re done playing because of the competitive nature. But he’s definitely one of the greatest players in our game,” Wade said. “We’ve had battles against each other in the Finals. He’s been in the Finals twice, my face has been there both times. Definitely have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a competitor, what he’s been able to accomplish in his career and the longevity of it.”
The Mavericks had won only two games entering Saturday, but rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. had averaged 20.5 points and 6.5 assists in those victories. The ninth overall pick out of N.C. State, Smith scored 22 points with eight rebounds and eight assists Tuesday at Washington.
James said he had been following Smith since his days at Trinity Christian High School in Fayetteville, N.C. Smith, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, has a 48-inch vertical jump. His first dunk, at age 13, was a windmill.
“He’s very athletic. He’s a gym rat. He loves to play the game. And he just loves being a hooper,” James said of Smith, who looks up to the Cavs’ star. “That’s first, second and third on his agenda, so I’m happy that his dream became reality this summer when he got drafted.”
Wade also knows what Smith, 19, can do.
“He’s young, so he’s going to be able to run all night,” Wade said. “You’ve just got to be aware of him at times. It’s never just the guy that’s covering him, it’s everyone else as well. Have to be aware, load it to him and just try to limit his opportunities. And if you can’t, get the ball out of bounds and go the other way. He’s going to attack, that’s what he does.
“We all see the highlights. He’s a very explosive kid and he’s exciting. I think a lot of players favor [him as] a guy to turn on the TV and check out because you don’t know what he’s going to do from one night to the next.”
CLEVELAND: J.R. Smith realizes that lots of his Cavaliers teammates have been jerked in and out of the lineup as coach Tyronn Lue tries to cope with injuries and adjust his rotations to accommodate eight new players.
But Smith admitted at shootaround before Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena that he hasn’t dealt well with a recent shooting slump and other on-court issues. He took it hard when the Sept. 27 signing of LeBron James’ close friend Dwyane Wade sent him to the second unit, even though Smith later regained his starting spot.
Smith said he had to be better “personally and professionally.”
Asked to elaborate, Smith said, “Me as a person goes hand in hand with me being a professional. Eating habits, sleeping habits, I can’t take the court home with me. I can’t just stay up all night thinking about the game, watching the game, watching highlights, listening to what people say, things like that.
“I gotta, when I’m here give my time to my teammates and my coaching staff and organization. When I’m home, give my time to my family and be able to defuse the whole situation. Obviously, my kids and my wife, this is a hard occupation and when I lose I take it hard. And I take it home with me and they don’t deserve that. I don’t want to neglect their situation because of what I’m going through as a professional.”
Smith and wife Jewel are raising two daughters, Demi and Dakota, who was born five months premature in January.
Other than the season-ending Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, Smith said the losing hasn’t gotten to him during his time as a Cavalier until this season.
“Lately it’s just hard. Not playing the way you want to play and the team is losing,” Smith said. “It’s different when you’re on a team and you’re not expected to win. But when you’re on a team expected to win every night, it’s frustrating. It’s just frustrating.”
The usually fearless Smith has been passing up shots, including one in the waning moments of Sunday’s home loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Going into Tuesday he was averaging 5.3 points per game and shooting 23.4 percent from 3-point range. Lue said after taking to Smith Sunday and Monday that Smith had to “get back to being who he is — a gunslinger.”
“There’s been a few shots that I leave out there on the court the last couple nights just from not shooting the ball well and trying to do something else, get the guys involved or whatever, keep moving the ball,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a lack of confidence thing. You know, everybody goes through their slumps and I mean sometimes I think somebody has a better shot, but just keep shooting if anything.”
Smith would not blame his slump on being asked to do too much.
“I can’t say that because so many guys in their situations have been asked to do so many different things for this team. I mean from Channing (Frye) going from being one of our premiere bigs to not playing at all to I mean obviously Bron always a lot to (Derrick Rose) trying to switch his situation up. From Jae (Crowder) playing the three to the four. (Kevin Love) going from four to five back to the four. Tristan (Thompson) in and out. I mean everybody has been doing … and being asked a lot.”
Before the game, the Phoenix Suns traded Eric Bledsoe to the Bucks for Greg Monroe and protected 2018 first- and second-round picks. The deal should strengthen the Bucks’ chances to contend for the Eastern Conference title.
Bledsoe is one of just nine players to average at least 20 points and six assists dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That list includes the Cavs’ James and Isaiah Thomas.
Bledsoe, 27, carries career averages of 13.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. Lue said the addition of Bledsoe “definitely” makes the Bucks better.
“He adds a veteran point guard, a guy who plays with pace and can get into the paint, can make the right play,” Lue said. “He’s been on the cusp of being an All-Star the last three years. He brings a different dimension to their team. He can shoot the basketball, get in the paint, run pick-and-roll and he’s a good defender also. It’s a good pickup for them.”
Bucks coach Jason Kidd wanted to reserve deep discussion of the trade for the next couple days.
“It’s great,” Kidd said. “Hopefully it helps us. I think we’re excited. Eric’s excited. On the other side of that coin, Moose (Monroe) did everything we asked him to help us win, from being a starter to being asked to go to the bench and help us have a stronger bench. I wish him the best.”
Joking about LeBron
It would seem that defending the Cavs is different these days without a big secondary scorer alongside LeBron James. But Kidd, a friend of James, caused a stir when answering the question when he joked that James is playing too many minutes. James was averaging 37.9 entering Tuesday.
“I think Kyrie is one of the best players in the world,” Kidd said of Irving, traded to the Celtics on Aug. 22. “But when you have THE best player, it just makes the game easier for them in the sense of his teammates to find the open space and the attention that he causes. Any time LeBron’s on the floor, he causes a big problem. He’s playing I think too many minutes. But he’s the best.”
Asked about the minutes comment, Kidd said, “It was just a joke. I try to throw in a joke once in a while. I can joke with LeBron because I know him. But I was joking.”
James caused a stir on social media Monday night after posting a cartoon meme of a closed fist with the caption “mood” on Instagram.
Teammate Isaiah Thomas responded, “Need me to handle somebody cuz?” and Dwyane Wade followed that with 14 laughing emojis.
James missed shootaround to deal with a personal matter, so he did not have a chance to address the meaning.
Smith said he didn’t see the meme, even though it was liked by his verified Instagram, teamswish.
“He’s supposed to be angry, or something?” Smith said.
Told it was not long after the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics defeated the Hawks 110-107 as ex-Cav Kyrie Irving posted a season-high 35 points for the Celtics, Smith said, “Oh. I could see that. The thing with that is, I mean, we can go around and say we should have beat this team, we should have beat that team — everybody is beating everybody, really.
“I mean, other than the Celtics (9-2). Who is it the other night, what, we lost to Orlando? Beat Chicago. Chicago goes in there and beats Orlando or something like that. Everybody is losing to everybody right now. The way the league is playing right now is kind of haywire. So he knows as well as anybody, you can’t get too high on highs, you can’t get too low on the lows.”
James added another on Tuesday that included the same meme and four photographs of him from games with St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, the Heat and his two incarnations with the Cavs with the tagline “Mood Forever” and #StriveForGreatness.
Cavaliers center Kevin Love practiced Monday after requiring a hospital checkup Sunday night when he experienced stomach issues and shortness of breath in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
During a timeout with 8:43 left in the third quarter of a 117-115 loss at Quicken Loans Arena, Love said he had to run to the locker room when he continued to feel ill.
He said he needed intravenous fluids at the hospital, but was sent home after about an hour.
“I was just kind of feeling all out of sorts. I can’t truly explain how I felt because I never really felt like that,” Love said after practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “Pretty sudden — kind of at halftime, but really when I came to that timeout. Ty Lue had drawn up a play and I kind of wheeled my way out of the huddle and he came to talk to me and I just booked it right to the back.”
Love said he didn’t think he would require a follow-up examination.
“We’ll see if something else occurs like that, but that was a first for me,” Love said.
Usually fearless J.R. Smith has been passing up shots, including one in the waning seconds of Sunday’s loss, and is hitting 23.4 percent from beyond the arc. Coach Tyronn Lue said he discussed the problem with him Sunday and Monday.
“J.R. has to take his shots, get back to being who he is — a gunslinger,” Lue said. “We expect him to take those shots and make those shots and not be so worried about putting the ball on the floor as much. If you’re shooting too many or you’re shooting bad shots, I’ll let you know. We need him to get back to being who he is.”
As a team the Cavs are hitting only 33.4 percent from 3-point range (25th in the league), down from 38.4 (second in the league) last season. But with penetrators like Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, Lue sounded willing to live with some slip in that category.
“If we’re driving the basketball and getting to the paint or getting to the free-throw line, it doesn’t matter,” Lue said. “If we’re going to take them … got to take them with confidence. We get a lot of good shots. Guys got to step up and make them.”
Lue said there are other factors at work, including the fact that Channing Frye hasn’t been in the rotation as much as last season and Love is adjusting to playing center while Tristan Thompson is out for three to four weeks with a strained left calf.
Not rushing for IT
Although the Cavs have lost six of their last eight games, Lue said the Cavs aren’t tempted to rush point guard Isaiah Thomas back. Projected to play by the end of the year as he rehabs a torn labrum his right hip, Thomas has looked good in pregame shooting sessions.
“We have to make sure he’s 100 percent. We have to worry about him as a player and a person,” Lue said. “If he’s not right, not healthy, we don’t want to rush him back to set him back even more.”
Lue said he doesn’t know if Thomas is progressing faster than expected.
“[I] see he’s doing more everything — more running, more shooting,” Lue said. “I’m not sure of the timetable, though.”
Guard Iman Shumpert returned to practice after missing the past four games with a sore right knee. Lue said his availability for Tuesday’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks will depend on how he bounces back.
Rookie Cedi Osman played 10 minutes with the second unit against the Hawks and even though he missed his only shot and pulled down two rebounds, Lue liked what he saw from the 2015 second-round pick.
“I thought his energy off the ball, defensively, running the floor, making sharp cuts, meaningful and purposeful cuts, I thought was good,” Lue said. “I thought when he came in with that second unit, he really added some energy to the offense and defense.”
Here is a list of road and lane closings in the Akron area:
Major highways abruptly closed: None.
• Interstate 77 northbound ramp, to I-76 westbound: Closed through late August 2018 for road construction. Detour will be I-277 westbound to I-277 westbound to I-76/Kenmore leg eastbound.
* State Route 8 southbound ramp, to I-76 westbound: Closed until further notice for road construction. Detour will be I-77 southbound to I-277 westbound to I-76/Kenmore leg eastbound.
• I-76 lane restrictions and ramp closings: Starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday until further notice, the following will occur: the ramp from Lakeshore Boulevard to I-76 eastbound will be closed. Detour will be Lakeshore to West Thornton Street to Grant Street to East Exchange Street to Spicer Street to Carroll Street to state Route 8; I-76 in both directions from just east of state Route 59/innerbelt to just east of I-77/Route 8/Central Interchange will be reduced to two lanes in each direction, with all traffic crossed over onto the westbound lanes of I-76; and the ramp from I-76 eastbound to I-77 southbound will be closed. Detour will be I-76/Kenmore leg westbound to I-277 eastbound to I-77 southbound.
• I-76 westbound, from just east of state Route 59/innerbelt to just east of I-77/state Route 8/Central Interchange: Reduced to two lanes nightly for installation of a concrete barrier wall until further notice.
• Akron General Avenue, between West Cedar Street and Livingston Street: Starting Monday until Nov. 18, work will begin on a new pedestrian bridge over Akron General Avenue, south of West Cedar Street. Traffic will be maintained for most of the work except for a few days when full closure will be required. It will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, and again from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Nov. 18. Detours will be posted.
• Tallmadge Avenue, between Home Avenue and Brittain Road: Lane restrictions for installation of new signal poles starting Monday until Nov. 22. Work includes the intersections of Home Avenue, Industrial Parkway, Creighton Avenue and Brittain Road. There will be some lane closings and shifting of traffic, but traffic will be maintained in all directions.
• East Mill Street, at the intersection of South High Street: Lane restrictions for sewer work through Nov. 10. Two southbound lanes will be maintained on South High Street and one eastbound lane will be maintained on East Mill Street. A detour will be posted. Access maintained to all businesses and for emergency vehicles.
• North Summit Street, between Furnace Street and Perkins Street: Sewer work has been completed between the railroad tracks and Perkins, but will continue north of the tracks to Furnace until Nov. 10. A detour is posted.
• West Center Street bridge, between Rand Avenue and Dart Avenue: Closed until June 2018 for bridge replacement. Traffic detoured via Rand Avenue, West State Street bridge and Dart Avenue.
• Royal Avenue and surrounding neighborhood: Gas main replacement until Dec. 1. Work will be on Palisades Drive between Merriman Road and Bell Ridge Road, and Royal Avenue between Palisades Drive and Mentor Road. Traffic will be maintained around the work zones with some temporary lane closings and shifting of traffic.
• Evans Avenue, between Damar Road and Shreve Road: Gas main extension project until Nov. 10. There will be some temporary lane closings on the westbound side and shifting of traffic.
• West Market Street, between North Hawkins Avenue and North Portage Path: Signalization project through Dec. 1, starting at intersections of West Market/Hawkins and West Exchange/Hawkins. There will be short-term construction zones. Traffic will be maintained but shifted as needed. All lanes will be reopened to traffic by the end of each day. Emergency vehicles have access at all times.
• West Market Street, between North Portage Path and North Maple Street: Lane restrictions until Dec. 1 for installation of signal pole foundations and new conduit crossings. There will be some shifting of traffic but traffic will be maintained in all directions.
• MLK Jr. Boulevard/North Howard Street/North Main Street intersection: Lane restrictions for relocation of utilities and lowering of the intersection. The north, south and east side of the intersection have been reopened to traffic. The westbound lane to Rand Avenue has been reopened to traffic. The eastbound lane into this intersection should be reopened by Nov. 14. Detours are using West Market and North Main streets.
• Beauparc Drive and surrounding neighborhood: Lane restrictions for a gas main replacement project until Nov. 17. Also included are portions of Tavondale Avenue, Dartmount Avenue and Wichita Place. Traffic will be maintained at all times through the work zone with some temporary lane closings and shifting of traffic. Flaggers will be on site as needed.
• West Cedar Street and West Exchange Street, between South Portage Path and South Broadway: Signalization work continues. The south two lanes of West Exchange are closed between Dart Avenue and South Maple Street with traffic shifted to the right side of the road until Nov. 17. A steam condensate project is under way on the north side of West Cedar between Akron General Avenue and West Bowery Street. Traffic will be funneled into the two left lanes before Dart Avenue. Traffic will be shifted as needed while proceeding through the different work zones. Work should be completed by Nov. 17.
• Copley Road, between St. Michaels Avenue and Packard Drive: Lane restrictions for restoration work until Nov. 22. There will be some lane closings and shifting of traffic, but traffic will be maintained in all directions.
• West Thornton Street/Laurel Avenue and surrounding neighborhood: Lane restrictions for gas main replacement in several location through Nov. 17. There will be occasional lane closings but flaggers will be on site to help maintain traffic.
• Thornton Street westbound, between South Broadway and South Main Street: Closed through late fall for road construction. Detour is South Broadway to Selle Street to South High Street to South Main Street.
• Thornton Street eastbound, between Coburn Street and Wolf Ledges Parkway: Reduced to one lane through late fall for road construction.
• Grant Street over I-76: Closed until late November for bridge replacement. Detour will be Crosier Street to Wolf Ledges Parkway to Thornton Street to Grant Street. The entrance and exit ramps at Grant Street will remain closed permanently. Detours will be posted.
• I-76 and South Main Street: The ramps from South Street to I-76 eastbound are permanently closed. A detour is posted. South Main and Broadway between Miller Road and Bartges Street have lane restrictions for road construction until further notice.
• I-76, between South Main Street and the Central Interchange: Occasional nightly lane restrictions in both directions from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. for road construction until further notice.
• Aqueduct Street, between Morningside Drive and Memorial Parkway: Closed until further notice for street improvement work. A detour is posted. Access maintained for local traffic only. Gas main replacement will also continue along Aqueduct and there will be occasional lane closings until the end of December.
• Triplett Boulevard and Quayle Drive, between Hilbish Avenue and Abington Road: Gas main replacement project on various streets in the neighborhood. Traffic will be maintained at all times but there will be some temporary lane closings and shifting of traffic until Nov. 17.
• Furnace Street, between High Street and North Summit Street: Closed for sewer work until Nov. 10. Detour via North Howard Street and East North Street.
A detour will be posted.
• Road closings at South Main Street for road construction: West South Street, Buchtel Avenue and West Crosier Street will be closed at South Main through late fall. Detour will be Princeton Street to West Miller Avenue to South Main Street.
• Bartges Street eastbound, between South Main and South High streets: Closed through December for road construction. Detour for eastbound Bartges Street is South Main Street to Cedar Street to South High Street, and for southbound South Main it will be Bartges to Rhodes Avenue to Thornton Street to South Main.
• East Bartges Street, between South High Street and Broadway: Closed through January for road construction. Detour for eastbound West Bartges Street is Main Street to East Exchange Street, and from South Broadway it will be East Exchange Street to South Main to Bartges.
• Cuyahoga Street, from Peck Road to 100 feet north: One lane will be closed until Nov. 10 for a sewer separation project. Emergency vehicles and local residents will have access at all times. A detour will be posted.
• West Bowery Street, between West Exchange Street and West State Street: One lane will be closed in each direction for about 18 months for construction of a building addition. Traffic will be maintained but shifted to provide a patient drop-off area at Akron Children’s Hospital. Starting Monday, one lane will be entirely closed as work continues on the pedestrian bridge crossing over West Bowery. Work will start on the east side of the street and progressively shift one lane to the west as needed throughout the week until work is completed.
• West Exchange Street, between Water Street and West Bowery Street: One through lane and metered parking on the north side of West Exchange will be closed in each direction for about 18 months for construction of a building addition. A minimum of two lanes will be maintained.
• Rand Avenue and Dart Avenue, between Euclid Avenue and West Market Street: Both lanes on each of the streets have been reopened to traffic. Occasional shifting of traffic will occur as work continues. This is in preparation for the removal of state Route 59 between West Exchange and West Market. Traffic will be maintained.
• Glendale Avenue, from Rand Avenue to the intersection of Locust Street: Closed until late 2018 for work on the combined sewer overflows project at the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel. Detours will be posted. The right lane of West Mill Street, west of Dart Avenue and the south 150 feet of Bates Street will also be closed. Detours will be posted.
• Hickory Street, between North Street and Memorial Parkway: Closed until late 2018 to prepare for work on the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel. It includes the temporary relocation of the Towpath Trail to Hickory Street from Maple Street to near Memorial Parkway.
Other road construction:
Elsewhere in Summit County:
• Olde Eight Road, between state Route 303 and Boston Mills Road in Boston Heights: Daily lane restrictions for resurfacing until further notice.
• I-77, between state Route 21 and Cleveland-Massillon Road in Copley Township: Nightly lane restrictions from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for resurfacing until further notice.
• State Route 21, between I-77 and the northern Norton limits: Daily lane restrictions for resurfacing until further notice.
• Cleveland-Massillon Road ramp, to I-76 westbound: Closed through mid-November for road reconstruction. Detour will be state Route 261 westbound to I-76 westbound.
• State Route 8, between Howe Avenue and Graham Road in Cuyahoga Falls: Daily and nightly lane restrictions for resurfacing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.
• State Route 21 northbound ramp to I-76 westbound: Closed through mid-November for road reconstruction. Detour will be Route 21 northbound to state Route 261 westbound to I-76 eastbound to Route 21 southbound to I-76 westbound.
• I-76 westbound ramp to state Route 21 southbound: Closed through mid-November for road reconstruction. Detour will be I-76 westbound to state Route 261 westbound to I-76 eastbound to Route 21 southbound.
• I-76 westbound at Barber Road, and Barber Road under I-76 in Barberton: The ramp from Barber Road to I-76 westbound will be closed through mid-November. Detour will be state Route 261 westbound to Cleveland-Massillon Road southbound or Norton Road westbound to Massillon Road northbound.
• I-76 ramp closings in Norton and Barberton: The State Street entrance ramp to I-76 westbound is closed through mid-November for pavement reconstruction. Detour will be State Street southbound to state Route 619/Wooster Road northbound. Also closed is the I-76 westbound exit ramp to Cleveland-Massillon Road. Detour is I-76 westbound to state Route 21 northbound to Route 261 eastbound.
• I-76 traffic changes and ramp closing in Norton and Barberton: I-76 westbound from just west of state Route 619/Wooster Road to state Route 94 has a bidirectional traffic pattern. Two lanes will be maintained in each direction on I-76 but westbound traffic will be split with one lane crossed over onto I-76 eastbound while the second lane will remain on I-76 westbound. Motorists wishing to exit at Barber Road, Cleveland-Massillon Road, state Route 21 and state Route 261 should remain in the right lane.
• I-76 in Norton and Barberton: The following restrictions are in place through early December for reconstruction of the Cleveland-Massillon Road bridge over I-76: Cleveland-Massillon Road over I-76 is reduced to one lane in each direction; Oser Road at Cleveland-Massillon Road is closed. Detour is Cleveland-Massillon Road to Greenfall Road to Easton Road; the I-76 eastbound exit ramp to Cleveland-Massillon Road is restricted to right turn only; and I-76 westbound to Cleveland-Massillon Road is restricted to a right turn only for trucks. Detours are posted.
• I-76, between the Medina County line and Central Avenue in Norton and Barberton: Nightly lane restrictions until further notice for pavement widening.
• I-76, at its interchange with state Route 94 (High Street) in Wadsworth: The inside and outside shoulders are closed for bridge painting. Nightly lane closings on I-76 are possible. High Street, from just north of Valley View Drive to Smokerise Drive, has two lanes of through traffic northbound and two lanes of through traffic southbound with additional turn lanes at intersections. Additional lane closings are possible throughout the length of the project for widening.
• I-71, from the Ridgewood Road overpass to the Cuyahoga County line: Lane closings for resurfacing. The southbound rest area of I-71 is closed for pavement repairs to the truck parking area for about 30 days. The speed limit will be reduced to 55 MPH, and to 50 MPH just north of the northbound rest area when work is being performed. The speed limit will remain as posted in areas where no workers are present.
• U.S. 42 (Pearl Road), from just south of Harding Street to Reagan Parkway in Medina: Restricted lane widths continue along the project corridor for waterline and storm sewer line placement. Placing concrete sidewalks and driveways will continue from Reagan Parkway to the north end, along the east side of U.S. 42. Sewer work, from Reagan Parkway to the south end, will have daily lane closings. The project is expected to be completed in November 2018.
• County Road 4 (West Smith Road), between Huntington Street and South Prospect Street in Medina: Closed for a bridge replacement for about 90 days. Local detour and truck detours are posted.
• Harmony Street, between East Union Street and East North Street in Medina: Closed until mid-December for bridge replacement. A detour is posted.
• State Route 162, from the Spencer village limits to Lafayette Road: Single-lane closings for resurfacing until further notice. Traffic will be maintained with flaggers and temporary traffic signals at all times.
• Repp Road, between Franchester Road and Congress Road in Harrisville Township: Closed until late November for a bridge replacement.
• State Route 44, at the intersection of Enterprise Parkway in Ravenna: Daily lane restrictions for construction of a northbound left turn lane until further notice.
• Frost Road, between Ellsworth Road and Phillips Parkway and at the intersection of state Route 43 in Streetsboro: Occasional lane restrictions for road widening until further notice.
• I-480, under Frost Road between the Summit County line and the Ohio Turnpike in Streetsboro: Daily lane restrictions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for bridge work until further notice.
• Dressler Road and Glenwood Street, between Strip Avenue and Linwood Avenue in North Canton: Until further notice, there will be daily lane restrictions for installation of a pedestrian trail.
• Market Street, just south of state Route 619 in Hartville and Lake Township: Closed Wednesday through Nov. 22 for drainage repairs and installation. Detour will be Sunnyside Street to Milan Avenue.
• State Route 619, between Kaufman Avenue and Milan Avenue in Hartville and Lake Township: Daily lane restrictions for road widening until further notice. The project also includes placements of roundabouts at the intersections of Kaufman Avenue and Route 619 and Kings Church Avenue.
• State Route 43, between 55th Street and Easton Street in North Canton and Plain Township: Daily lane restrictions for road widening until further notice.
• U.S. 30, between Harrison Avenue and Waynesburg Drive/state Route 43 in Canton and Canton Township: Occasional lane restrictions and shoulder closings in both directions for road construction until further notice. There will also be ramp closings from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for asphalt paving and bridge painting.
• Kline Road, over I-71: Closed for a bridge replacement until further notice. There will be nightly lane closings on I-71. A detour is posted. It is expected to be completed in November.
Traffic planners: Please fax traffic updates to 330-996-3033.
WASHINGTON: Washington Wizards guard John Wall said Channing Frye’s overly aggressive shot left him with a sprained left shoulder in the Cavaliers’ 130-122 victory Friday night at Capital One Arena.
“I tried to split a screen and shoulder-to-shoulder contact, but I feel like he threw a shoulder into mine because I’ve split screens before and hit somebody’s shoulder and their body and never had that type of injury,” Wall said of Frye. “I think his impact and the way he was coming kinda gave me a stinger.”
Wall described his shoulder as sore and “on fire” after the game and told Washington reporters he should not have kept playing after he was hurt in the second half. He said X-rays were negative. He left with his arm in a sling.
Wall scored 13 points in 38 minutes, shooting 4-of-13 from the field, 0-for-3 from 3-point range and 5-of-12 from the free-throw line and finished with 15 assists and six rebounds.
“He is as tough of a competitor I’ve ever been around,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Wall. “I thought he gave everything he had. He had a tough night at the free-throw line. He’ll bounce back from that.”
Good start for Rose
Cavs point guard Derrick Rose scored 18 points in the first half, 13 in the first quarter, as he and LeBron James totaled 42 of the team’s 74 first-half points. Rose made seven of his first eight shots and was 2-for-2 from behind the 3-point arc.
Rose finished with 20 points and two assists in 28 minutes and coach Tyronn Lue thought his effort was key to the Cavs’ victory.
“Attacking, getting into the paint. Playing with a pace, playing with a speed, getting to the basket,” Lue said of Rose. “And he made some jump shots tonight. I thought his pace really changed the game. When they had a chance to kind of break it open, they were getting easy layups early to start the game. I thought his pace really helped us keep our spunk up.”
Lue initially didn’t want to comment about Wall’s and Bradley Beal’s remarks on ESPN’s The Jump Friday that the Wizards are the best team in the East and the Cavs tanked last season to avoid them early in the playoffs.
But when pressed by Rachel Nichols, who conducted the interview with Wall and Beal, Lue said,
“I love you Rachel, no comment. I don’t want to get in trouble. They’re right, they are the best team in the East.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at [email protected].
WASHINGTON: His choice of footwear seemed beyond coincidental, considering the message LeBron James soon delivered to the league.
James arrived at Capital One Arena on Friday wearing a warning. His pair of a lifestyle edition of LeBron 15s featured wide navy wraparound bands with large gold lettering that read “Long Live The King.”
One fan who saw a photo on Instagram was struck by the narcissism. The marketing ploy was unmistakable.
Yet in the past week or two, some had wondered if James’ body was finally betraying him, whether his greatness was in decline. Some superior athletes don’t see their skills slowly erode, but watch them fall off a cliff instead. He seemed to be taking longer than usual to bounce back from one of the worst ankle injuries of his career suffered Sept. 27.
Then, against the Washington Wizards, James brought the words on his feet to life.
His franchise record-tying 57-point performance in a 130-122 victory emphatically refuted such suggestions. Nine games into his 15th season, 57 days from his 33rd birthday, King James served notice that his reign isn’t over.
In matching Kyrie Irving’s total at the San Antonio Spurs in an overtime victory on March 12, 2015, James made 23-of-34 field goals, 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and all nine of his free-throw attempts. He added 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocked shots in nearly 43 minutes with only three turnovers. He played the entire second half, telling coach Tyronn Lue that he wasn’t coming out, that rest during timeouts would be enough.
“Very rarely do you see a guy hit like 10 straight heat-check shots. It seems like every shot he hit was contested and a lot of them were mid-range,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We tried everything. We tried everything. You got to pat him on the behind. Great game, amazing player.”
Cavs guard Dwyane Wade witnessed such feats during their four years together with the Miami Heat. But even Wade sounded amazed by James’ rhythm and focus.
“That right there shows what everyone talks about, being the best player in the game and the best player in the world,” Wade said. “When he’s in that kind of rhythm, that kind of mindset, there’s no one on this earth that can stop him. And he knew how important this game was for us after losing four in a row. He put us on his back and everyone chipped in.
“All the shots that he’s worked on, he was hitting them all tonight. A lot of that is him getting back into better shape because he missed training camp. Now he can get down there and bang and bang and do all the things he can do. Obviously unguardable shots. It was great defense, just better offense.”
His fadeaway jumper might have been as pure as it’s ever been, but James also made a career-high 14 shots in the restricted area. He made seven field goals out of the post with his back to the basket.
But Wade cautioned that James cannot thrive in the low post every game because there will be too much wear and tear on his body. It would be the quickest way to make the gaudy sneakers obsolete.
But James clearly enjoyed the chance to bang with those who couldn’t handle him.
“They played me a lot of one-on-one in the low post and I’ve been working quite a bit on my turnarounds and my fadeaways and my footwork, and I was able to get to it.” James said. “Once I fade, I really don’t see the defender as much, and I’m just focusing on the target. By me getting down and getting some layups and some and-ones and getting to the free-throw line, it definitely kept me in a good rhythm.”
Also on Friday, James went above 29,000 career points, becoming the youngest of the seven to accomplish that feat. He extended his string of double-digit regular-season games to 800, now part of a club of two with Michael Jordan (866).
Until Friday, James stood second on the Cavs’ single-game scoring list, but his 56-point performance came in 2005 at the Toronto Raptors. His career-high is 61, that for the Heat in 2014. His most points since he returned to Cleveland in 2014-15 was 44 last December at home against the Charlotte Bobcats.
When he packed the shoes, James didn’t know that the Wizards’ John Wall would accuse the Cavs of tanking at the end of last season to avoid them early in the playoffs during an interview on ESPN’s The Jump. James didn’t know Bradley Beal would tell Rachel Nichols in the same session that the Wizards are the best team in the East.
Cavs players, including James, had to be aware of those comments. Beal had been even stronger on the subject in May.
That only made James’ “Long Live The King” statement stronger. He’s not ceding anything to age, to the Cavs’ slow-developing chemistry, to the Wizards or anyone else in the East. Despite injuries and eight new players. They’ve beaten three of the conference’s top contenders — the Wizards, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.
“We obviously witnessed one of the best players to ever play the game,” Brooks said of James. “He still has it, if you guys didn’t know that. We knew that.”
WASHINGTON: LeBron James said earlier this season he likes it when the season turns difficult.
So Friday night’s circumstances created the perfect storm.
The Cavaliers entered the game against the Washington Wizards in the midst of a four-game losing streak and a 1-5 skid.
Earlier in the day, the Wizards’ Bradley Beal and John Wall had provided a little extra fire.
Wall told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on The Jump that he believes the Cavs tanked at the end of the 2016-17 regular season to avoid meeting them early in the playoffs. In the same interview, Bradley Beal said he “firmly” believed the Wizards are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
Two tough weeks created doubt around the league about the Cavs’ chances of reaching their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.
James almost single-handedly put that conversation to rest, scoring 57 points in a 130-122 victory at Capital One Arena.
James looked like he took Beal’s and Wall’s words personally. He looked like he was sick of the whispers, the doubts, the media’s questions about the Cavs’ 3-5 start.
With his fallaway jumper working to perfection, James turned in his highest point total since he returned to Cleveland in the 2014-15 season. He hit 23-of-34 field goals, 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 9-of-9 free throws. He pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists.
He even waved to the crowd before sinking a free throw with 52 seconds left.
Since he poured in a career-high 61 points on March 3, 2014, for the Miami Heat, James’ most points in his second incarnation with the Cavs had been 44 last December at home against Charlotte.
James also reached two more milestones. He became the seventh player in league history to reach 29,000 points, along with the youngest to reach that total (32 years, 308 days), passing Kobe Bryant (33 years, 199 days). He needed just eight points and reached that with a driving dunk off a J.R. Smith pass with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
Twenty-eight seconds later, James hit two free throws, extending his regular-season streak of double-figure scoring to 800 games. James became only the second player in league history to achieve the feat, joining Michael Jordan (866).
But as awed as the crowd was by James, he found an able wingman in Derrick Rose, who contributed 20 points. Jae Crowder added a season-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Moved back to center, Kevin Love had 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Cavs looked much more at ease offensively that they had during their losing streak. They hit 56 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range, as compared to their 47 and 33 percent, respectively, coming in.
They still took their foot off the gas after opening a 92-75 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter. But Channing Frye halted a 9-0 Wizards’ run with a 3-pointer. The Wizards cut it to six at 97-91, but Kyle Korver answered with a 3 for the Cavs.
Picking up their pace as James zipped the ball downcourt in the opening minutes, the Cavs took a 42-36 first-quarter lead, their most points in a quarter this season and their first time with 40 or more.
On Thursday, coach Tyronn Lue said he hoped the offense would ignite the struggling Cavs’ defense. Dwyane Wade observed that when he faced the Cavs in the past, their offense would bail them out when their defense faltered.
The defense wasn’t exactly fixed, as the game at times was a scoring free-for-all. But the Cavs claimed a 74-66 lead at halftime, their first since Oct. 20 and only the third in their nine games.
At morning shootaround, James sounded like he couldn’t care less about what the Cavs’ critics were saying.
“We’re not worried about the end of the season right now,” James said. “We’re definitely struggling right now which is OK. I felt that we would struggle at some point throughout the season. I think it’s surprising to all of us that it’s happening right now, but hey, it is what it is and it’s exciting to see how we can turn this thing around.
“The injury to Tristan (Thompson), that’s a big blow for us, but we have guys that are going to step up in his absence.”
The Cavs were without guard Iman Shumpert (sore right knee) and center Thompson (left calf strain), the latter expected to miss three to four weeks. Those injuries contributed to 7-foot rookie Ante Zizic making his NBA debut. Zizic played seven minutes and scored two points with a blocked shot.
Meanwhile, the Wizards saw 6-foot-10 forward Markieff Morris return after undergoing sports hernia surgery on Sept. 22. He also had to serve a one-game suspension for leaving the bench Friday during an on-court altercation against the Warriors.
Morris was called for a flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter for wrapping up Crowder.
Even with the Wizards also in an early season funk, losing four of their last five, it was easy to see what generated Wall’s comment about the Cavs last season. After an April 5 victory at Boston, the Cavs lost their last four regular-season games, resting players and seemingly conceding the No. 1 seed to the Celtics.
“And I think if you look at last year, people might say they did or didn’t,” Wall told Nichols. “But I think they didn’t want to see us, period, because we would have seen them in the second round. I think they wanted to see us in the Eastern Conference finals, and we fell one game short of it.”
As for this season, Wall said, “We feel like we’re their biggest threat. We just got to find a way to get over that hump and beat them and go to the Finals.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks isn’t one of those whispering that the Cavs won’t be playing for the championship again this season.
“LeBron has been in the Finals, it’s like it’s his Finals, it seems like every year he’s there,” Brooks said of James, who has been to seven consecutive Finals. “I can imagine there’s no panic in their locker room because they’ve been there. Depending on where they seed, I’m sure they’re confident enough all they have to do is win one road game in the playoffs and they get home court back.”
WASHINGTON: Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue’s red play sheet was one of the tip-offs that something unusual was going on.
At shootaround Friday morning at Capital One Arena, Lue stood at midcourt flanked by associate head coach Larry Drew while assistant Mike Longabardi ran through plays with rookie Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman.
The Cavs’ veterans, save for Dwyane Wade, had yet to arrive, and Wade was shooting at the other end.
Iman Shumpert is sidelined until at least next week with right knee soreness and center Tristan Thompson is out three to four weeks with a left calf strain. So for Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena, Lue was preparing for a jolt of youthful enthusiasm.
Zizic, a 7-foot center who was acquired in the Aug. 22 Kyrie Irving trade with the Celtics, replaced Jae Crowder at 5:30 in the first quarter.
Lue had moved Thompson back into the starting lineup because playing Kevin Love 35 minutes a game at center was hurting his offensive performance.
Osman, a 6-7 forward, was a second-round pick in 2015 who spent two seasons in the Turkish and Euroleague with Anadolu Efes. Signed on July 18, Osman has been compared to Matthew Dellavedova for his gritty style.
“They’re young guys, energetic, came out here early today, ran through a lot of the plays — they knew them the best — so that was a good sign,” Lue said of Zizic and Osman.
“We work with them after practice all the time. They have their playbooks and they know it. They know it.”
Lue seemed surprised that the two had mastered the plays.
“They don’t really get in that much in practice. You do it dummy-wise just 5 on 0, then it’s tough to try to translate it to the game,” Lue said. “Just watching them go through it, go through it with pace, all the options, it’s good to see.”
LeBron James said he didn’t know much about the two.
“I know they both work extremely hard,” James said. “I know Cedi knows how to play the game. He can pass, he can move without the ball, defensively he’s pretty good. Both of them still need to learn the systems and learn the NBA game. Zizic is a big body, very physical.”
The Cavs’ four consecutive losses by a total of 63 points marks the worst such stretch in James’ career, but he said it doesn’t feel like it.
He said his rookie year in 2003-04, when the Cavs went 35-47 under coach Paul Silas, was worse. That team lost its first five and also suffered through seven- and eight-game losing streaks.
“No, no way. I knew that was the case as far as in my career with the point differential, but it definitely doesn’t feel like that,” he said. “My rookie year, I don’t know how many games we won or lost in a row, but there were really no bright spots or saying we’re going to make the playoffs or we’re going to compete for a championship.
“Or, my first year in Miami where we had a six-game homestand, I believe, and we went 1-5. And feel like the whole world was caving in on us from the outside, so, nah. This definitely doesn’t feel like that.”
Maybe it felt like the world was caving in, but the Heat’s worst long homestand in 2010-11 was a 3-3 stretch from March 6-16.
With Crowder moving back into a starting role and Love returning to center, the Cavs sent out their sixth different lineup in nine games.
“It’s been tough, but we’re just trying to figure it out together, as players and a coaching staff,” Lue said. “Having six different lineups … to try to get offensive rhythm is tough. But we’ve got to play through it. It is what it is. Injuries happen.”
Lue admitted it’s been a stressful start to the season for him as he tries to think of ways to fix the Cavs’ poor defense, rash of turnovers and poor 3-point shooting attack.
“Look at me — I ain’t slept in days,” he said. “That’s part of my job. We’ve got to figure it out. I thought last game we got beat towards the end of the game, our conditioning, but I thought we did some good things offensively, moving the basketball, playing with more pace. Now we’ve just got to be able to sustain it. It’s coming around, we’ve got to continue to keep building.”
The Pacers’ Victor Oladipo mentioned what it meant to him to play against James on Wednesday after the Cavs’ loss at Quicken Loans Arena. Oladipo’s comments were similar to those of Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen on Oct. 24.
“I’ve been watching LeBron since I was a kid,” said Oladipo, 25. “When I saw him work out a couple times in the summer, people think he’s just blessed with all that talent he has. They don’t really see how he really works. That’s one thing I really respect about him. In order to be great, you have to watch greatness and follow the steps that they take.”
James called it an honor to see young players like Markkanen and Oladipo wear his shoes or talk about him being an inspiration.
“It’s also a tribute to myself being in this league and still being able to do it at a high level 15 years later,” he said. “Anytime I get the opportunity to see some of the younger guys in the league that looked at me an inspiration. That means a lot. That’s always been a part of my job. Without even knowing it, that was always a part of me being a part of this league to give the next kid an opportunity to give him hope he can make it to this point as well.
“I used a few guys in this league when I was coming up when I was in grade school and high school for inspiration. Without them even knowing they helped me out.”
CLEVELAND: Going into Wednesday night’s action, the Cavaliers were the only 2017 playoff qualifier that had started the season under .500.
So those questioning the necessity of a Cavs team meeting Tuesday might not have realized the issues that needed to be addressed, both on the court and off, as a team with eight new players tries to jell.
The result wasn’t immediately evident against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
LeBron James scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and dished out 11 assists, but the Cavs lost for the fifth time in their last six games, 124-107.
Derrick Rose added 19 points, Jeff Green 15 and Kevin Love 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavs (3-5).
“We did some good things,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “We just have to sustain it for 48 minutes.”
The Cavs had won nine consecutive games against the Pacers in Cleveland in the regular season and playoffs dating back to March 30, 2014, and those came before the Pacers traded four-time All-Star Paul George last summer.
But past history hasn’t meant much for the Cavs of late. They saw a 10-game winning streak against the New York Knicks snapped Sunday at home. The Orlando Magic broke a string of 17 consecutive losses to the Cavs on Oct. 21 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Even after their clearing-the-air meeting, the list of problems the Cavs need to clean up remains long.
The Cavs extended their string of not leading at halftime to six consecutive games.
Averaging 16.1 turnovers per game coming in, they lost 12 in the first 24 minutes. The Pacers also took advantage of Cavs on the fast break, outscoring them 11-2 in the first half and 16-6 for the game.
The Cavs finished with 16 turnovers, eight of those by James, which tied his season high at Brooklyn on Oct. 25.
Injuries have limited the time the Cavs starters have spent together in training camp and the regular season and that bad luck continued.
Cavs center Tristan Thompson limped to the bench with 1:41 remaining in the second quarter with strained left calf and did not return. Thompson, who left the arena on crutches, had started the last four games (including Wednesday) after opening the season with the second unit.
Perimeter defense has also been an issue for the Cavs and the Pacers torched them for 16-of-26 beyond the arc. Victor Oladipo hit 5-of-7, Bojan Bogdanovic 3-of-4, Darren Collison 3-of-3, Cory Joseph 2-of-3 and Thaddeus Young 2-of-4. Entering the night, the Cavs had given up a league-high 13.7 3-pointers per game.
The Cavs, meanwhile, hit only 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from long range, with Jae Crowder going 0-for-5 and James and Kyle Korver 1-for-5.
Most notable was Korver because of his past success against the Pacers. Last season in two games as a Cav, Korver went 14-for-17 on 3s against the Pacers. In Game 3 of the Cavs’ first-round playoff sweep, Korver hit 4-of-5 from long range.
Old James nemesis Lance Stephenson — who blew in James’ ear during a Pacers-Heat game in 2014 — sparked some fire in the Cavs with 6:06 left in the second quarter. He hit James in the groin as James streaked downcourt on a breakaway, sending James to the floor in pain. After a review, Stephenson was given a flagrant-1 foul.
James recovered to hit two free throws that started an 11-0 run. Green scored four points in the surge, J.R. Smith three, Rose two and James two points and two assists as the Cavs claimed a 51-49 lead.
But Collison, Young and Bogdanovic helped the Pacers regain the advantage at the break.
CLEVELAND: LeBron James seemed upbeat about the clear-the-air team meeting the Cavaliers held Tuesday, but wanted to see the effect it has on the court.
“It was needed and we’re receptive, and the best thing about it is guys got out everything that they wanted to, even with it being early in the season,” James said after shootaround. “It was good, so see how it translates on the floor, too.”
James dodged the question when asked who surprised him the most among those who spoke up. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Tuesday that everyone talked.
“Everything happens for a reason, so, excited what the future holds for our team,” he said.
Lue said one of the subjects was the team’s conditioning, but more as it related to their slow pace of play. The Cavs had lost four of their last five going into Wednesday night’s home game against the Indiana Pacers.
It’s possible one of the contributing factors is James missed virtually all of training camp with one of the worst sprained ankles of his career.
Asked if his injury played a part in the Cavs’ 3-4 start, James said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. Training camp has always been like my favorite point in the season, so it sounds weird, but to be able to get back into it, get the team going, having that camaraderie, getting back on the floor, getting that system back in place.
“For me to be in and out and much more out than in and to be able to implement what I do, especially with [eight] new guys, that kind of hurt.”
Dwyane Wade said after Sunday’s home loss to the Knicks that the league’s teams are finally better able to copy the defending champion Warriors model of playing a fast-paced, 3-point dominant style. James wasn’t sure about that.
“I don’t know the statistics right now from every individual team,” James said. “I haven’t looked at it. I haven’t looked at the standings as well. Every team is just trying to just put themselves in a position to compete with Golden State, especially in the West and compete with us in the East.”
Filing for trademark
James has filed to trademark his “Nothing is given, everything is earned” from his 2014 Sports Illustrated essay to use with his I Promise school.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that the paperwork was filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office last month.
The LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools are designing a new institution that combines STEM curriculum, the foundation’s “We Are Family” philosophy and a personal approach for students and their families. Its purpose is to educate students in danger of falling behind their peers.
The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018 with third- and fourth-grade classes, with first through eighth grades offered by 2022.
According to Rovell, the filing by LBJ Trademarks also included ownership of the phrase for T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps. It already owns the phrase, “Just A Kid From Akron.”
“It’s just a mantra for myself and my friends and my family,” James said. “Nothing has ever been given to us and we’ve kind of like earned everything. It’s something that we live by, that’s all.”
James said he’s been a “horror movie freak” since he was a kid and a fan of the It franchise based on the book by Stephen King. So when a remake came out this summer, he said his Pennywise the clown costume for his annual Halloween party Monday night became a no-brainer.
Asked if his outfit was custom, James joked, “No, I bought that out at Walmart. Size and everything right off the rack.”
Kevin Love was miffed that Kyle Korver and his wife didn’t win the couples competition for their Willy Wonka and Golden Ticket costume, as they were accompanied by two Oompa Loompas.
“Korver did win, him and Channing [Frye] split one, I forgot exactly what the award was,” James said. Frye dressed as Damon Wayans’ character Blankman.
Love was costumed as WWE wrestler Sting, with his girlfriend, Kate Bock, dressed as Hulk Hogan.
To the suggestion that Love was miffed they didn’t win the prize that went to Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian as Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, James said, “Kevin has enough trophies in his house from my parties, OK? I didn’t win, either.”
Love suggested the party provided some much-needed bonding time since the Cavs have eight new players.
“It didn’t matter if it was the best time or the worst time, when I have a shindig it’s always going to be a good time,” James said. “That’s what that was. We had a helluva time.”
In the off-season, the NBA cut the maximum number of timeouts per game from 18 to 14 and reduced the number of allowed in the final two minutes of a game from three to two.
Lue said Wade has already pointed out to him that he’s having to play more minutes consecutively.
“I didn’t really notice that, but the players are complaining about it,” Lue said Tuesday in reference to Wade. “You have to play more minutes in a row now because of the timeout situation.”
Lue said he now finds himself forced to save timeouts.
“The timeout situation is kind of tricky, but we can get used to that,” Lue said. “If we’re in better shape, we’ll be able to play through that.”
James said this is just another example of the yearly league rule changes that require adjustments.
“With the timeout situation being a lot different than it was previous years … it’s been a little weird to start the season, but you’ll get used to it.”
NEW ORLEANS: On Friday, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said his patience had not been tested by a rocky start to the season.
While he’d seen no need to get upset after five games, especially considering injuries to his top two point guards, the Cavs pushed him a step closer to the precipice Saturday night.
They showed some life with a 21-7 run to start the third quarter. But the New Orleans Pelicans had too many weapons and claimed a 123-101 victory at Smoothie King Center.
“I’m not concerned,” Lue said.
Losers of three of their last four games and 0-2 on the road trip to Brooklyn and New Orleans, the Cavs return home to host the New York Knicks on Sunday.
The Pelicans extended their home winning streak against the Cavs to seven. The Cavs’ last victory in New Orleans came March 24, 2010. LeBron James played for the Cavs in only three of those Pelicans’ victories in the string.
Plagued by early season injuries, the Cavs got another scare when Kevin Love went down with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter after Anthony Davis backed into Love’s leg.
Love did return and hit two free throws before the game got out of hand and Lue sat his starters for most of the fourth quarter on the first night of a back-to-back.
Love finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 7-of-12 field goals, 5-of-6 3-pointers and all seven of his free-throw attempts. He keyed the Cavs’ early third-quarter run with three 3-pointers.
Love was one of the Cavs’ few bright spots, along with the performance of Dwyane Wade. Returning after missing one game with a bruised left knee, Wade led the second unit and finished with 15 points on 7-of-12 field goals and four assists.
But Lue may have gotten on the plane a bit more frustrated after the Cavs were outscored by 13 points in the first quarter. That brought their total in the past four games to minus-44 in that period against the Magic, Bulls, Nets and Pelicans.
“At some point, we’ll get tired of being down early,” Wade said. “At some point, we’ll get tired of being a .500 ball club.”
The Cavs’ perimeter defense, a bone of contention for Lue over the same stretch, regressed even further.
The Cavs had allowed 17 3-pointers in each of the previous three games. At halftime, the Pelicans had connected on 8-of-14 from long range and one of those was a nearly full-court heave to end the second quarter. In the first two quarters, the Pelicans shot 58 percent from the field, and 57 percent from beyond the arc. They finished with 13 treys and hit 53 percent from the field, including 42 percent from deep.
With Derrick Rose unable to return as expected from a sprained left ankle that sidelined him for the fourth consecutive game, Lue inserted Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup and let James run the point for the third game in a row. Lue moved Tristan Thompson up from the second unit to start at center so the pounding Love was taking there wouldn’t disrupt his offensive game. Jae Crowder went to the second unit after starting all season.
None of the adjustments made a difference.
After the first 24 minutes, James had a plus/minus of -17. He’d scored eight points, hit 2-of-7 field goals and 0-for-1 from 3-point range. He had five assists and one rebound in nearly 19 minutes.
James totaled 18 points, five rebounds and eight assists with four turnovers in over 30 minutes. He improved his plus/minus to -10.
Shumpert scored five of the Cavs’ first 12 points, then was no factor. J.R. Smith, mired in a shooting slump, had only three attempts.
And the Cavs who were open missed badly, most notably Jeff Green and Crowder.
Except for the start of the third quarter, the Pelicans were spectacular. Anthony Davis started after missing one game with left knee quad tendinitis and turned in a 30-point, 14-rebound night with three blocked shots.
DeMarcus Cousins entered the day second in the league in scoring (33), fourth in rebounding (14.2) and third in blocks per game (2.8). He turned in his seventh career triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
“They’re probably the best 4-5 combo we have in our league,” James said of Davis and Cousins at shootaround. “They’re going to be very challenging on our bigs and on our guards to help our bigs out, not only with defending them, but rebounding and containing them. They’re beasts.”
But those weren’t the only opponents who caused the Cavs problems. All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday hit 12-of-17 from the field for 29 points with seven assists. E’Twaun Moore connected on 10-of-13 shots for 24 points.
NEW ORLEANS: Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is anxious to lessen the load on LeBron James, but that won’t happen for at least one more day.
Derrick Rose was unable to return as expected from a left ankle sprain suffered on Oct. 20, so Lue started Iman Shumpert at guard and kept James at the point Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
Dwyane Wade played after missing Wednesday night’s loss at Brooklyn with a bruised left knee, but Wade wanted to remain with the second unit to build chemistry.
“He wants to get comfortable in that role, so just trying to keep guys in that same position,” Lue said.
Rose still had soreness Saturday morning when he tried to warm up before shootaround and trainer Steve Spiro said Rose had to sit.
On Sunday, the Cavs host the New York Knicks, where Rose spent last season, averaging 18 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 64 games.
As for the possibility of having Rose against the Knicks, Lue said, “I hope to have him every night.”
Lue said he considered starting Jose Calderon, but didn’t want Calderon, 36, guarding Pelicans’ All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, 27. Instead, that duty will go to Shumpert, even though he missed part of practice Friday in New York with right knee soreness.
Asked why he picked Shumpert, Lue said, “We know Holiday is aggressive and scores the basketball and just having a defensive presence on the floor to start the game and see what happens from there.”
It appears Calderon is falling out of favor with Lue and his staff after starting in an ugly home loss to the Orlando Magic on Oct. 20. Calderon had played in three of the Cavs’ five games before Saturday and averaged 9.7 minutes.
“I have comfort with him in the rotation,” Lue said of Calderon. “To start [against the Pelicans], there’s a lot of tough matchups, for him having to guard Jrue Holiday, it’s a lot to ask. He still has to be ready to play.”
Jae Crowder moved into the second unit Saturday night, with Tristan Thompson starting at center and Kevin Love moving from center to power forward. Lue announced those changes Friday.
With a spot open in the lineup, Lue could have postponed the Crowder switch, but decided against it.
“He’s getting comfortable in that second lineup and then coming back and saying he’s got to start again, it’s just too much,” Lue said. “We want to get our full team back and try to keep that second unit together as much as possible.”
Even with the point guard issues, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said the Cavs have the perfect replacement in James.
“If you’re struggling at quarterback, you can put him there, too. Or as a midfielder, or as a goalie in hockey,” Gentry said. “If you’re struggling, he’s probably a good guy to have to fill in. He’s been great.
“They’re playing without Isaiah Thomas, who is a pretty good player last time I checked. Derrick Rose has been out a few games and Derrick had a great year last year. I think they’re going to be fine. It’s just that if you need a quick fix, [James] is the guy that you’re going to stick there because he can do everything that needs to be done.”
Gentry listened to Lue’s pregame news conference and Lue, 40, acknowledged the presence of Gentry, 62. Gentry was associate head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013-14 when Lue was an assistant.
“That’s my guy. I love Alvin, I respect him a lot,” Lue said. “I knew him throughout the NBA but just getting the chance to coach with him on a staff, be with him every day, just an unbelievable guy. Love being around him. His attitude is the same every day, he never changes.
“He’s become a great friend of mine even though he’s 90 years old. Him and Larry Drew is the same type of guy.”
About that plane
James doesn’t have a crazy travel story from his 15 years in the NBA, and he’s thankful he doesn’t.
“Nah, and I’m hoping to keep it that way,” he said at the Cavaliers’ shootaround before facing the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night in Smoothie King Center.
The plane carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder arrived at Chicago’s Midway Airport at 1 a.m. Saturday with a huge dent in the nose of the plane, apparently after being struck by a bird. James’ close friend Carmelo Anthony posted a picture of the front of the plane on Instagram with the caption, “What could we have possibly hit in the SKY at this time of night? Everyone is safe, though.”
James said he planned to call some Thunder players, presumably Anthony, to find out exactly what happened.
“First of all, I’m just happy they’re all safe, that’s most important,” James said.
Lue recalled a similar moment while playing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The plane got hit by lightning one time. The loudest bang and the whole sky lit up,” Lue said. “I’m scared to fly, anyway, so I was scared to death and Brian Shaw and those guys were laughing at me. That was pretty intense for me.”
NEW YORK: Derrick Rose didn’t want to hear it.
He didn’t want any part of the much-too-early statistic that the Cavaliers are undefeated in two games with him in the lineup.
“Oh man, don’t start that, man. Don’t do that,” Rose said. “It’s all about just playing good basketball. Like I said, if I wasn’t playing, or whenever [Isaiah Thomas] gets back and I get moved to the bench, I don’t care. I could be the equipment guy. As long as I’m part of this team, it really don’t matter.”
Rose is expected to return as starting point guard Saturday night when the Cavs visit the New Orleans Pelicans. He missed the previous three games, two of them losses, after spraining his left ankle Oct. 20 in Milwaukee, when he was horse-collared in the fourth quarter by the Bucks’ Greg Monroe.
The Cavs might also get guard Dwyane Wade back to direct the second unit after he was sidelined with a bruised left knee in Wednesday night’s loss in Brooklyn.
“I hope so. That’s the plan,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “[Trainer] Steve [Spiro] said he had to see how [Rose] felt today going through everything. I hope so, we need him.”
Rose appeared to be moving without pain during practice Friday on a less-than-regulation-sized court at the NBA Players Association headquarters.
“He looked pretty good. Didn’t do a lot because the court’s so small,” Lue said. “But just having those two ball-handlers back in the lineup will be big for us.”
Rose said after receiving more treatment Friday night, “I think I should be ready to go tomorrow.”
Attempting to resurrect a career derailed by injuries, Rose feared he would lose some of his peak conditioning while he sat out, so he did everything he could as soon as he could.
“Made sure I was moving right when my ankle healed. Right when it was feeling better I was able to move around,” he said. “I think tomorrow you can better tell that I didn’t lose it. I felt good moving around, not huffing and puffing. Just proud of myself I kept up with my conditioning. I think it started with how I trained this summer. I busted my [butt] the entire summer.”
Rose is also anxious to return because he feels more like the player he was before the spate of knee injuries began. He’s suffered a torn left ACL (2012), two tears of his right meniscus (2013, 2015) and a torn left meniscus (2017). The issues prompted the Chicago Bulls to trade him to the New York Knicks in June, 2016. The Cavs signed him to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract in July.
“That’s one of the reasons why I came here. It’s all about having fun and being happy while I’m playing the game.” Rose said. “It’s a great group of guys that have a hell of a supporting cast and I’m back on that stage again. This is what I’ve been waiting on for a long time.”
Rose’s return will mean the end of LeBron James’ time at point guard.
“He’s a point guard every night,” Rose said of James. “He averages probably more assists than I do on an every-night basis. I’m used to playing against him in the playoffs where he has the ball in his hands a lot and he’s the one creating. So I wasn’t that surprised.”
That will be a relief for Lue, who didn’t like the physical toll with the heavy minutes James was logging at the point.
“To have him bring it up, initiate the offense and run things, it just puts a lot on pressure on him,” Lue said of James. “I like having him in the half-court offense where we can get it to him and run plays through him rather than him bringing it up all the time. It’s draining.”
Iman Shumpert didn’t practice with what Lue called “a little pain on his knee or whatever.” Lue wasn’t sure if Shumpert will play at New Orleans, the first night of a back-to-back.
“They say he’s OK, but we’ve got to see tomorrow and going forward,” Lue said.
Jae Crowder is experiencing a slight back issue, but he said it was “nothing crazy.”
‘Carpool’ out Tuesday
James will team up with James Corden for a web series episode of Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke, set to drop Tuesday.
James tweeted Thursday, “They ain’t ready for us @jkcorden … They think they ready, but there’s no way. 10/31.”
A teaser was also posted, which shows Corden and James in a cop-drama skit “James and James,” in which Corden calls James an “old man,” and James retorts, “Old man, you’re six years older than me.” In a photograph from the skit, James and Corden are walking away from an exploding car.
They also sing Usher’s Yeah! and Michael Sembello’s Flashdance movie theme Maniac, both snapping their fingers on the latter, as Corden drives.
NEW YORK: The Cavaliers will start their fourth lineup in six games Saturday night in New Orleans, provided point guard Derrick Rose is able to return from the sprained left ankle that kept him out the past three games.
Rose said he should be ready to go and, if that’s the case, coach Tyronn Lue decided it was time for the Cavs to get back to who they were over the past three seasons.
That means Lue is moving Tristan Thompson back into the lineup at center and shifting Kevin Love from center to power forward. The odd man out will be Jae Crowder, whom Lue said willingly accepting the move to the second unit.
The lineup against the Pelicans will also have LeBron James at small forward and J.R. Smith at shooting guard.
James was ambivalent about the switch, saying he needed to see the new lineup in action. But he seemed to relish what the Cavs (3-2) are going through. He can also draw from a rocky beginning his first year in Miami in 2010-11 as the Cavs try to acclimate eight new players and find the best rotations.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. I remember that for sure,” James said of his first year with the Heat. “It’s just a learning curve that you have to go through when you’re adding a new group. I don’t want it easy, anyways. I don’t like for it to be easy. I like the challenge.”
Speaking after practice at the NBA Players Association headquarters, Lue explained that having Love play 35 minutes at center was taking its toll offensively.
“When D-Wade asked to come off the bench and then we get a better shooter with J.R. in the starting unit, that makes it easier for us to put Tristan back in the starting lineup,” Lue said of Dwyane Wade. “I think it’s better, too, because having Kevin bang with those big guys, it’s wearing him out for his shot and having all the pick-and-rolls. It’s a lot of energy to ask of Kevin, especially when he has to be one of our primary scorers.
“So getting Tristan back in that lineup, the bigs, he’s used to setting screens, rolling, creating space for other guys. It’s what we’re going to go with right now. Just another class act by Jae, he was great, said, ‘Nah, do whatever you want. You don’t have to explain anything to me. I just want to win. That’s the most important thing.’ ”
Acquired in the Aug. 22 trade with the Celtics for Kyrie Irving, Crowder was upbeat about the switch to the second unit, where he will play with Wade, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Channing Frye.
“To be honest with you, I came in not putting myself as a starter, prepping myself to do whatever the team asked me to do, whether it be coming off the bench or whether it be starting,” Crowder said. “So, I’ve been open to change because we haven’t found our groove yet. We’re still searching for answers to see how we can get games rolling in our favor. So I’m open to whatever the team wants me to do because at the end of the day we’re trying to reach a goal.”
When the Cavs lost Rose to the injury, it forced Crowder to move from the power forward spot he’d held since training camp began to small forward. James knew how difficult that was for Crowder.
“Learning the 4 and then we make the switch and we have an injury — I go to the 1, he slides to the 3. It’s a different position for him that he hasn’t really had many repetitions at,” James said. “So it’s been challenging for a lot of the guys, the new guys, thinking and trying to be a little bit too unselfish and not being themselves. And that’s pretty common when you go to a new team, a new system. Every game we’ll be better and better, getting everyone more comfortable with what we want to try to do.”
Crowder said through the first five games he’s caught himself thinking too much, and he doesn’t think he’s the only one affected.
“I’ve caught myself thinking more than adapting and playing,” he said. “As I watch film I see. I see a different version of myself and as a team, because we’re not playing, not reacting. We’re just overthinking the situation and it has cost us a lot in games. I feel like we didn’t start reacting until the fourth quarter. We gotta start playing sooner, we’re trying to figure it out.”
James said Crowder is already fitting in with the team. Now he wants him to get back to being himself.
“Just play. Don’t think. You got an open shot, take it. Be aggressive,” James said of Crowder. “Do what we brought you here to do. And that’s we want you to defend, which we all do, and then we want you to just be aggressive offensively. And I think he’s going to do that.”
Crowder praised James for helping him and the other newcomers.
“First and foremost, he told me not to change anything, but at the same time, you try to fit in because you want to fit in with the system,” Crowder said. “It’s just natural for a player to do that in a new situation. But he’s done a great job being a leader on a day-in, day-out basis. He’s a leader on and off the floor. In the film room he’s a leader. He’s done a great job of communication, [and] that’s been the real key in the transition of a new system.”
Lue didn’t rule out Crowder’s possible return to the starting lineup.
“You never know, but right now it’s what we’re doing. Kevin’s still going to play some 5 when Jae comes in early for Tristan,” Lue said. “We just can’t have him playing 35 minutes at the 5. It’s wearing him down. You can kind of see that, it’s affecting his shot. We tried it, we said we’ve got a lot of versatile lineups we can try and change, but just getting back to who we were, how we’ve started over the past three years.”
Crowder doesn’t know how long it will take him to get out of the think-first mode, but he knows what will happen when that time comes.
“I can’t put a timetable on it, but you’ll know, you’ll know when it starts clicking,” he said. “You’ll see games start going in our favor in a big, impactful way. I definitely feel like it will come sooner than later.”
CLEVELAND: Browns left tackle Joe Thomas has frequently attended Cavaliers games, but LeBron James said they’ve never gotten the chance to sit down and talk.
But James expressed his respect for the 10-time Pro Bowler after Thomas had his consecutive snap streak end at 10,363 when he suffered a torn triceps tendon Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
“Already appreciation for what he’s done for the Browns. Even before the snaps,” James said after Tuesday’s shootaround at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “Obviously being a Browns fan myself I wish for a winning season for Joe Thomas more than anybody in the whole organization. Given up his body every year, being as available as he’s been throughout the course of his career and I root for him every Sunday morning more than anybody on the team.
“Unfortunately he had the [triceps] injury that broke his streak, but he’s a Pro Bowler every year in and out for a reason. He will probably be a Pro Bowler again. I didn’t need for him to hurt his [triceps] for me to appreciate him.”
James said he respected Thomas being “a staple of that team,” and for what it took for Thomas to play every Sunday. Both James and Thomas are 32.
But James wouldn’t get into how he feels about the organization.
“I got a lot of things about the Browns, but not going to get into that now. Got quite a few,” James said.
When it was surmised that James had never gone 1-22 in his life, as the Browns have over the past two seasons, James practically scoffed.
“Who me? In my life? Me? At what?” James said. “I ain’t never went 1-22 at nothing. Nothing.”
Smith on starting
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue announced he was moving J.R. Smith back into the starting lineup Monday and sent Dwyane Wade to the second unit after Wade requested the switch. On Oct. 9, Lue named Wade the starting shooting guard over Smith.
Smith said he expected the demotion after 12-time All-Star Wade was signed on Sept. 27, but struggled with the change.
Asked how he felt to be back with the first unit, Smith referred to a blowout loss at home against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. His feelings might also have been tempered by a sore back that kept him out of shootaround.
“It pretty much feels good, I guess. Whatever is best for the team at this point,” Smith said. “We got blown out. I’m just trying to stay positive throughout the situation.”
Smith defined his role now as “catching and shooting. Guarding probably the best perimeter offensive player.”
But Smith could see something was wrong with the starting unit, with Wade and Derrick Rose together for over seven quarters in the first two games. Rose sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter Friday at Milwaukee.
“They looked good on paper, but I just thought our spacing wasn’t where it needed to be, especially for guys like Bron and D-Rose,” Smith said. “I can go either way, but for us we pretty much pride ourselves on spacing the court and letting those guys get downhill. So, it looked good but it just didn’t fit.”
Smith wasn’t sure if his initial benching was permanent.
“Yes and no. I mean, obviously you would hope for the best for your team and hope it works out, but at the same time again, it just didn’t [work],” he said. “The spacing wasn’t right for us. Guys were playing against elbows on boxes. Like I said, we pride ourselves on spacing the court so ‘Bron, and it used to be [Kyrie Irving], but D-Rose can do what they do.”
Smith said his mindset in his role as sixth man was also an adjustment.
“When I was starting I’d go into my role looking to get stops, then shooting. Trying to figure out how to get guys involved more, that’s the first thing that comes to mind coming off the bench,” Smith said.