They are defending champions in name only. Injuries, too, have played a role in Cleveland’s fragmented, and some would say disappointing season, as 22 players have shuffled in and out of coach Tyronn Lue’s rotations and the club was forced to go long stretches without key players like Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver. If it’s true that adversity builds character, the Cavs may be a lot are stronger than they appear. They are healthier than they’ve been in months, and James said that’s all that matters now. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to harp on what happened in the regular season through injuries, through bad losses, through good wins, through whatever the case may be,” he said. “We have a good club going into the postseason. That’s all you can ask for.” DISAPPOINTING SEASON INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP): LeBron James quickly moved past Cleveland’s disjointed regular season, an uphill, 82-game slog of injuries, roster upheaval and drama. Reflection can wait. James understands that the Cavaliers appear vulnerable, perhaps beatable, as they enter the NBA play-offs following a recent tailspin. However, he feels the grind may help the Cavs and maybe even give them an edge. “Through everything that went on with our team, we’re in a position where we can do something special still,” he said Thursday as Cleveland prepared to face Indiana in the opening round today. “We have a chance to win it all.” Why so optimistic, LeBron? Leaning against a padded wall in Cleveland’s practise facility, James smiled sheepishly. “I’ve got the answer,” he said. “I’m not giving it to you. But I’ve got the answer why I feel like we’ve got a great chance.” It’s no secret. The Cavs have a chance to win a championship because they have James, and with James, all is possible. With six straight visits to the Finals on his rÈsumÈ, James knows his way around the playoffs better than any player in the league, and maybe better than anyone in history. After all, he’s won titles with two teams, snatched a road win in 25 consecutive series and takes a 40-17 record in first-round games into this series with the Pacers, a team he’s battled in postseasons before. James doesn’t know how to be anything but confident. It’s in his DNA. But there’s genuine concern about these Cavaliers, who staggered down the stretch. They lost their final four regular-season games – one to an Atlanta team resting all its starters – and surrendered the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to Boston. Cleveland went just 23-23 after January 10 and the Cavs have been ranked in the bottom third statistically on defence all season.
GLENDALE – The blood-stained carriage and the smoldering city still seemed fresh to the Rev. Vartan Dulgarian as he recalled personal memories of what many believe was the first genocide of the 20th century. “The garbage wagon – all the bodies just piled up – the blood was flowing for three days,” Dulgarian, 96, said Monday as he recounted memories of a massacre of Armenians in Izmir in 1922. The city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, then held by Greeks, was set ablaze by invading Turks. He had lived there with his mother and sister, and was being marched away with dozens of others to the slaughter when he recognized a Turkish grocer whom he had worked for during the past three summers. “He was the head of the soldiers,” he said. “I went up to him and embraced him. He said, ‘Oh, you are here?’ He said, ‘Put this child in my cart and put a fez on him.’ He took me back to my mother.” Dulgarian eventually got on a ship to Greece, then ended up in Egypt before coming to America decades later and settling in Glendale. As old age claims more survivors of the mass slaughter known as the Armenian Genocide – which Armenians say began on this date in 1915 – Dulgarian is among the handful of eyewitnesses still able to tell his story. In a way, he’s planting seeds in the minds of the next generation that he knows one day will bear fruit. “I am 96 years old,” he said. “All the bloody things happened in my life … it’s important for the new generation to know that these people have been brutalized, and massacred, so they know their history.” Dulgarian’s story is a slice of forbidden history still disputed in the halls of power in Europe, a story the U.S. government does not recognize as genocide. Armenians and many historians have asserted that Ottoman Turks began the displacement and slaughter of some 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey on April 24, 1915, a campaign that lasted until 1923. Its 92nd anniversary today will be marked by remembrances in Glendale, home of the largest Armenian community outside Armenia. In L.A., a march from the Little Armenia neighborhood to the Turkish consulate is planned. Meanwhile, Turkey has acknowledged that large numbers of Armenians died between 1915 to 1923 but has denied that it was genocide. Instead, its leaders say the death toll is inflated and that the massacres were the result of civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey took out a full-page newspaper ad Monday, paid for by its embassy in Washington, which invited Armenia to “study the historical facts jointly.” The idea of a joint historical commission has been touted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan since April 2005 – and has been rebuffed by Armenian leaders. “We think that there are two narratives here that are diametrically opposed to each other,” Turkish Consul Timur Soylemez said Monday. “It is a matter that belongs to history. … In order to reconcile this history, we need to look at it in a sober, sincere and genuine way.” For Levon Marashlian, a historian at Glendale College, the proposal is actually a step back. “It’s an effort to divert attention from the main issue,” he said. “There is so much evidence already that it’s a genocide that a study – the kind Turkey wants – would not be productive. It’s like proving again the Civil War happened.” The ad also supports efforts to “examine history, not legislate it.” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, is making his annual push to pass an Armenian Genocide recognition bill in Congress. But the White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have sidestepped the issue, as Turkey is a key regional ally. “The crime of genocide is the highest crime according to international law,” Soylemez said. “You don’t throw these allegations around lightly. The solution is not in the U.S. The solution is between Turkey and Armenia.” But for many who have lost relatives in the massacres or during the subsequent exile in the Syrian desert, healing can only begin with recognition. “We’re still trying to get away from the desert,” said Raffi Momjian, executive director of the Genocide Education Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on Armenian Genocide education. “We can’t do that until we get the proper recognition.” And those nightmarish memories will always be etched in Dulgarian’s mind. “In my life, always I pray for the people,” he said. “I (forgive) them. But I can never forget the genocide.” email@example.com (818) 546-3304 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!