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.
OTTAWA – An Aboriginal group is calling on organizers of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to be more transparent about how the process will move forward with the resignation of its executive director.The inquiry issued a statement Friday afternoon saying its executive director Michele Moreau would be officially leaving July 21 for personal reasons. They have not said when a new executive will be hired.The Native Women’s Association of Canada says a several other executives and staff have quit in recent months, and families need reassurance that the national inquiry is not in jeopardy.The inquiry already held a session with families in Whitehorse in the spring, but has yet to schedule dates in other communities.The association’s president, Francyne Joe, says this could be a pivotal moment to bring in new leadership as the inquiry reviews its process.Officials with the national inquiry did not respond to requests for comment.Joe suggested that the new executive director should either be two-spirited, transgender or a woman with Indigenous ties, adding that the position should be filled before September.“I don’t think we need to see another lawyer filling this type of position,” she said. “We need to see somebody who is well organized, who is able to communicate on a normal, one-to-one basis with families.”Joe said there are leaders within Indigenous communities who would be strong candidates for the job.She said the meetings with families in Yukon went well but those people need to know they’ll continue to receive support.“I think the commissioners need to come out immediately and have a proper press release so they can reassure families that they are still going to be moving forward,” she said.____By Linda Givetash in Vancouver
Jessica Biel, Jason Bateman and Josh Gad publicly declared their support for Matt Damon’s Toilet Strike in a PSA, released today.Video: Jason Bateman, Jessica Biel, and Josh Gad Support the Strike!In doing so, they announced their protest of the global water crisis and pledged “…not to go to the bathroom until everyone in the whole world has access to clean water and sanitation.”This latest declaration follows the dramatic press conference held by Matt Damon on February 12 in which he announced his “toilet strike.” Since that time, prominent YouTube and online celebrities have supported Damon including Smosh, ShayCarl, EpicLloyd, WheezyWaiter, LivePrudeGirls, Lisa Schwartz, and John Elerick. Biel, Bateman, and Gad are the latest to take action in an attempt to accelerate action towards providing safe water and sanitation to the 2.5 billion people who do without.In the PSA, Biel, Bateman and Gad reveal their unique take on the strike and how they’ve managed to follow through on their commitment. Biel reveals, “I’ve never gone to the bathroom in my entire life.” Bateman divulges his ingenious alternative to the toilet, while Gad demonstrates his persistence – and how he feels about it.Co-founder of Water.org, Damon makes an appearance in the PSA, inviting all to “Join the millions of famous people who’ve already joined” his strike. Water.org invites viewers to visit StrikeWithMe.org where they can “Support the Strike,” subscribe to upcoming videos, take action, and learn more.