Friday, June 10, 2016

Cavs Fan Guide: Steele’s Sage Advice for Cavs: Stay Aggressive in Game 4

ESPN's Sage Steele interviewing NBA commissioner Adam Silver at halftime of the June 8 NBA Finals game.
Photo courtesy ESPN

As Quicken Loans Arena quaked during the Cavs’ 120-90 blowout victory over the Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, ESPN broadcasters dealt with their own opponent – the crowd noise.

“I love having our set right in the middle of the fans, and they had a reason to be loud in Game 3,” says Sage Steele, host of ESPN’s NBA Countdown show, which broadcasts from The Q with pregame and halftime segments for Game 4 on June 10. “But it is very difficult to broadcast when it’s that loud. We’ve had to experiment with different microphones. Paul Pierce, who is working with us for the Finals, said he thinks Cleveland is the toughest place to play in the NBA.”

The 43-year-old Steele, in her third year as Countdown host, is energized by the fact the Cavs breathed new life into what had been a one-sided series. “I really expected a Cleveland win, because the Cavs are so good at home,” says Steele, who talks with us about the Finals, momentum swings and her friendship with the late Art Modell.

Q: How did the Cavs manage to turn the series around?
The Cavs came out and were so aggressive. They were angry… and they needed to be. We (broadcasters) tend to be somewhat critical when they don’t play that way all the time. It was the 20th playoff game this year that has been decided by 25 or more points. I hope we’re done with all the blowouts in this series.

Q: Why are there so many momentum swings in the playoffs?
I don’t think there’s ever been a swing like that between two games in Finals history. Every single game is an adjustment. I will be shocked if one, if not both, of the Splash Brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) come back with big games tonight. LeBron and Kyrie are going to have to show up for the rest of the series. In my mind, there are zero excuses. You’ve got to bring it every game.

Q: You were friends with Art Modell and his family while covering the Baltimore Ravens. What were your impressions of him?
I knew Art, his wife Pat and his son David pretty well. I knew them as people. I don’t expect Clevelanders to ever fully understand his side of the story. I totally get that. All I know is that the family missed Cleveland dearly.

Q: What’s it like working with Jalen Rose and Doug Collins on NBA Countdown?
Having graduated from Indiana, I’ll never fully love Jalen because he went to Michigan. And I love being around Doug because he’s so smart. This is my favorite year on the show. I’m having a blast.

By Barry Goodrich

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