Kenny Smith on Cavs’ chances: They still have ‘the best player in the world’

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is Le Central bar at Paris Las Vegas, where earlier a gentleman waddled by carrying a giant Eiffel Tower drink container. This vessel carries 60 ounces of strawberry daiquiri (in this case) and costs $18.89. Refills (!) are $11.

This volume of adult beverage is a real statement on a Thursday afternoon. All I can say is, pace yourself, Sir.


Smith opines

Kenny Smith won consecutive NBA titles as a star guard with the Houston Rockets and was a college All-American at the University of North Carolina.

Since his retirement, Smith has been a regular analyst on TNT, usually trying to talk some sense into Charles Barkley.

So Smith, appearing at Topgolf at 6 p.m. Friday to provide halftime commentary of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, knows his hoops. I asked him what he would say to the Cleveland Cavaliers as they face a 3-0 deficit entering what might be their elimination game against the Golden State Warriors.

“I’d say, ‘We know we’re going to win Game 4, because we aren’t going to be swept. We know that. Not on our home court,” Smith said. “I would put that confidence in their heads. Then you get to Game 5, and say, ‘We’re not losing this one, either, because …we have the best player in the world.’ But you’ve got to get past Game 4 and say, ‘We are right where we were last year.’”

The Cavs were down 3-1 to the Warriors in the 2016 Finals but roared back to take the title.

A Los Angeles resident, Smith says Las Vegas could sustain an NBA team one day. One of his former teams, the Sacramento Kings, is playing an exhibition game against the L.A. Lakers at T-Mobile Arena on Oct. 8.

“I’m going back to how the city city responded to UNLV when Jerry Tarkanian was there,” Smith said, yet another indication of the widespread appeal of Tark’s Runnin’ Rebel teams. “It was the city’s major league sports team then. The excitement that team brought was not just from the students.”

That characteristic can be carried to Las Vegas today.

“If LeBron James is playing in Las Vegas, the arena would be sold out and it would be rocking,” he said. “If LeBron James is playing for Las Vegas, it would be beyond sold out. But in Las Vegas, you have a large number of people who live there now, a large number of people visiting, who would want to see that team play.

Smith is going to be on-site during the full broadcast of Game 4, analyzing the first-half action before introducing his daughter, Kayla Brianna, for a music set. “It’s sports, it’s music, and it’s a party,” Smith said. “It’s what you do when you visit Vegas.”

Caveman happy!

“Defending the Caveman” notched its 10th anniversary June 1 at D Las Vegas. The one-man play starring Kevin Burke is performed at 8:40 p.m. (precisely) at the D Showroom. Burke’s stage show opened at Golden Nugget, spent some time at Harrah’s on the Strip before returning downtown to the D. A couple of fun facts about the show: Burke has performed “Caveman” more than 3,000 times in Las Vegas and elsewhere, and only twice have audience members been tossed from the showroom. Both times, these individuals dropped their pants, and yes, they were guys.

Remember this title …

Know the name iMagician, or the name Jamie Allan, who is all but signed (but not totally signed) to perform at Sands Showroom at the Venetian. Dubbed, “The Houdini for the 21st Century,” Allen is set to seize the time slot after Human Nature shows in the theater.

Similar to how the iPhone has advanced communication, iMagician has technologically boosted live magic. Or, so they say. We will see.

Jewel in the desert

The final tally for the “Inspire” event hosted by Sands Cares, the philanthropic arm of Las Vegas Sands, is in: More than $500,000 was raised in the event, which featured Jewel and was chaired by Sands President and COO Robert Goldstein at Palazzo Theater. Proceeds from the ticket sales and live and silent auctions benefited the Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, which supports at-risk kids and places them in mentoring and entrepreneurial leadership programs.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at Follow @johnnykats on Twitter,@JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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