They scored 76 — the most given up in any half by the Cavs this season — and took the air out of the Quicken Loans Arena crowd. Before the second half began, the arena’s in-game emcee told the fans, “The first half is over. Forget about it.”
That was impossible as the Thunder extended their lead to 24 when Anthony drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, sapping whatever energy Clevelanders had left.
The Cavs made one last push with James making a layup to cut the lead to 12. But Oklahoma City didn’t let up and eventually pushed the lead to 31.
“Based off what he’s saying — and you want that leadership — I’m gonna say it right now: That probably cost him between $10 and $20 million off that contract,” former receiver Steve Smith chimed in. “Because he showed that he is not a true leader that demands that kind of money.”
“And that’s interesting because we talked about it, and he talked about it,” Hall of Famer Michael Irvin said, referencing a Cousins radio interview last week. “He said ‘Haven’t you guys seen enough over the last few years in that building in D.C.?’ “
“No, he was right. He was right,” Faulk said. “We have seen enough. You are right. We’ve seen enough.”
Eisen tried again, suggesting such criticism was unfair, and that Cousins “put a ball right on Crowder’s hands” on that interception.
And yet that play — and the quarterback’s reaction after it — was singled out for criticism during NFL Network’s discussion.
“Kirk Cousins, do you pay him, do you not?” Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk said. “There was blood in the water. The Cowboys were a wounded team coming in. I’m talking about not just physically but emotionally and mentally. As a quarterback, you come into games like this and you shred that defense, based on what I saw last week against the Los Angeles Chargers.”
As I compare my greatest finish as an NFL exec, the “Music City Miracle,” with the “Minneapolis Miracle,” I see a lot of similarities. At halftime, both the Vikings and Titans were pitching shutouts, and both the Saints and Bills came roaring back in the second half.
In Tennessee vs. Buffalo, Al Del Greco made a 36-yarder to put the Titans in front 15-13 with 1:48 to play before the Bills’ last drive that set up Steve Christie’s 41-yard field goal with 16 seconds to play.