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against their ex-teams.

09 paź 2018 - 08:40:58
It only looks like parity.

Consider it an April tradition: A new postseason Rod Brind'Amour Jersey , a new No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. This time, it?s Toronto doing the honors ? the Raptors? win over Indiana on Friday makes them the seventh different club in the past seven years to get the top line on the East bracket, following Chicago, Miami, Indiana, Atlanta, Cleveland and Boston.

It?s an unprecedented run of top-seed diversity for the NBA, at least since the league started seeding by conference in 1973.

Of course, those top seeds usually find out that finishing ahead of LeBron James in April is much easier than ousting him in May.

?Listen, it doesn?t matter to me if I?m a 6 seed, or a 3 seed, or a 2 seed, or an 8 seed,? James said. ?If I come into your building for a Game 1 Golden Tate Jersey White , it will be very challenging.?

So make no mistake, the East still goes through James.

He is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season. James? teams are 24-2 in East series as the higher seed, 6-2 in East series as the lower seed. And while the Raptors will be the favorites, there will be a certain amount of skepticism until someone knocks James off his perch atop the conference.

?What he does in a playoff series is very unique,? Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.

It?s been almost predetermined for the past few years, regardless of who?s seeded where, that James? team would be the one winning the East.

But this year, it might not be so simple.

?You?ve got to go through whoever it is anyway,? Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

The Raptors are enjoying their best season in history, with a franchise-record 57 wins and counting and now knowing that the road for anyone to win the Eastern Conference title will go through Canada. But while the Raptors haven?t exactly been sprinting across the finish line there have been some teams hitting their best stride, namely Cleveland and Philadelphia.

And when the East bracket is set, the Raptors know plenty of pundits won?t be penciling them in for a trip to the NBA Finals, even with the knowledge that Kyrie Irving ? who has had some incredible playoff moments with James and Cleveland in recent years ? won?t be playing for Boston in these playoffs because of knee surgery.

?We really just have to maintain focus on ourselves and not worry about who says this, that Chris Wormley Jersey , what happens,? Toronto guard Kyle Lowry said. ?All we can do is focus on our team, our organization and the things that we do. We don?t really care to be talked about. We just go out there and have to prove what we need to prove.?

Thing is, in the East this year and with all due respect to the way James has been playing of late ? so well, he has said he would vote for himself as the league MVP ? it?s hard to envision any team being fearful of any other.

With the exception of Milwaukee, which was swept 3-0 by Miami, every team in the East has beaten every other playoff team in their conference at least once during this regular season. The Cavaliers are 15-10 against the other East playoff-bound clubs; the Bucks are 9-16 and the 76ers are 10-16 against the other East qualifiers.

Everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.

?Eastern Conference basketball,? Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said, ?it?s the height of competition.?

The West seems much easier to forecast.

Houston has separated itself from everyone, and Golden State ? which has been decimated by injuries, but is hopeful of having Stephen Curry back by the second round ? is probably still going to be thought of by many as no worse than a co-favorite to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive time.

The East probably has more teams capable of reaching The Finals.

But beating James four times is not going to be easy for any of them, regardless of home-court advantage.

?Toronto?s having a heck of a year, (so is) Boston and everything they?re doing with a lot of injuries themselves, and I think some of the teams in the middle and back of the pack are interesting Willie Young Jersey ,? Budenholzer said. ?But until somebody beats whatever team LeBron?s playing for, it always feels like the team that he?s playing for is the team to beat in the East.?


Five former NFL cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans on Friday, alleging the team failed to fully compensate them as required by law and subjected them to a hostile work environment in which they were harassed, intimidated and forced to live in fear.

The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.

?I and my fellow cheerleaders were treated as the lowest of the low,? Hannah Turnbow said at a news conference. ?The Houston Texans were paid thousands of dollars to have us show up at appearances at locations all over Texas with no security, no transportation and where our safety was not guaranteed.?

Turnbow said that after she was left with abrasions on her shoulder when she was attacked by a fan at one game, the team told her ?to just suck it up.?

?We were harassed, bullied and body shamed for $7.25 an hour,? said ex-cheerleader Ainsley Parish.

Texans spokeswoman Amy Palcic said the team is constantly evaluating its cheerleader program and makes changes ?as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.?

?We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community,? Palcic said in a brief statement.

Prominent women?s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who?s representing the cheerleaders J'Marcus Webb Jersey , alleged the women were paid ?so little or not paid at all? for much of the work they did because of their gender.

?Surely (Texans owner Bob) McNair and the Houston Texans can find it in their budget of hundreds of millions of dollars to pay these women a fair wage, not minimum wage,? Allred said. ?I say, stop penny pinching. Pay these women what they deserve and make sure you pay them for every minute that they work.?

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

This is the second such lawsuit filed against the Texans.

Last month, three ex-cheerleaders also filed suit in Houston federal court, accusing the Texans of not paying them minimum wage, not paying overtime wages and accusing a cheerleading supervisor of body shaming them.

These lawsuits are part of a series of recent complaints that have been made by cheerleaders against NFL teams across the country.

The New York Times reported last month that on a trip to Costa Rica for a photo shoot in 2013, Washington Redskins cheerleaders had their passports collected, were forced to be topless for a calendar photo shoot that included male spectators and were asked to be escorts for sponsors at a nightclub.

Former cheerleaders with the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints also have filed recent discriminatory complaints and lawsuits against their ex-teams.

Last year, a federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that had been filed by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader who had accused the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders.

Allred said she planned next week to present a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to review the complaints being made by her clients and other cheerleaders about their working conditions.


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