Golden State would have been able to dictate the final minute on their home floor with a championship on the line

The shot fell through the net with 53.3 seconds left, putting the Cavs up by 3. Had he missed it, Golden State would have been able to dictate the final minute on their home floor with a championship on the line. But the “What if?” game doesn’t do much for him. As his Twitter bio states, “Fear is not real.”

“Whether it be people being scared of what other people are going to think or scared of what the outcome will be — the unknown is always scary for people,” Irving explains. “I get it. But for me, I wanted to put it out to not only people that support me but just people who understand life. Not just to the game of basketball. Fear isn’t real. It’s just a product of our imagination. We’re thinking about scenarios and we just end up scaring ourselves from opportunities. For me, it was just about always furthering self-awareness, self-acceptance, being better for myself so I can be better for the world. That was the most important thing. And fear was stopping me.

“It was always thinking about what people were going to say. What people were going to think about me afterwards and me making my decisions. If you live your life based on that, you drive yourself crazy. You’re trying to be better for other people, rather than be better for yourself. So, that was a big, big thing for me to express that message that this is a guy over here — I’m very flawed. I make mistakes all the time. But I’m not afraid to make those mistakes or be flawed. So, that fear is all gone. I’m not afraid of almost any situation or anything that I’m in. I feel like as I continue to prepare as a man for life, then I’ll be prepared for anything.”

In many ways, the brain’s capacity to withstand sorrow benefited Cubs fans.

THERE’S A CUBS fan named Stuart Shea. In 1969, he moved to Chicago and, at age 7, became an everyday fan. Answering the question of whether it has been a happy experience is complicated.

Happiness is an ambiguous word. Some psychologists actually shy away from it, referring to “hedonic well-being” — a jargony synonym that describes attaining pleasure and avoiding pain, eating cotton candy and kissing your prom date and so on.

But research has shown we quickly get complacent after any positive event and return to our baselines: the “hedonic treadmill” theory. An example from the stands: A study that asked football fans to predict how they would feel if their team won the next game found they overestimated, by a lot.

The season finale against Green Bay will be for the division title and, for both teams

It’s not yet clear if the game will be flexed into either an afternoon time slot or the prime-time period, but based on other results this weekend, Lions-Packers might be the most attractive game on the Week 17 schedule.

A Lions win against the Packers would give the franchise its first division title since the 1993 season. A Detroit loss would give Green Bay the NFC North crown and leave the Lions hoping things fall right for a wild-card playoff spot — potentially at Lambeau Field against the Packers depending how things shake out.

If the Lions win Monday against the Cowboys and then tie the Packers in Week 17, the Lions would win the division because they would have a 10-5-1 record while Green Bay would have a 9-6-1 record.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he would not address his team any differently based on Green Bay’s result Saturday. Earlier this week, he also wouldn’t discuss what a potential NFC North title would mean to the Lions, a franchise that went the second half of the Barry Sanders era and Calvin Johnson’s entire career without winning one.

“I’m not concerned about any of that. I’m not concerned about looking, even if it’s another game ahead,” Caldwell said. “I’m looking right straight forward at the team that we have to face; that’s our focus. I think our guys understand that probably as well as anybody now. They have a real good sense of that.”

But the truth is there. The season finale against Green Bay will be for the division title and, for both teams, potentially a chance to continue their seasons.

After all the swings this season for both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, it’s still going to come down to one thing for the NFC North title, a home playoff game and potentially even a playoff berth.

Green Bay’s 38-25 win over Minnesota on Saturday guaranteed that next Sunday’s regular-season finale between the Lions and Packers at Ford Field will be for the division title no matter what happens for Detroit in Monday night’s game against Dallas.

Ben Roethlisberger’s wife is ‘praying for’ Vontaze Burfict

The Pittsburgh Steelers came away with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but it was not without conflict. During the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict that Roethlisberger’s wife is praying for him.

“It’s nothing what you’d expect, it’s actually I talked to him, I don’t remember if he said anything to me,” Roethlisberger said on The #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger show on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 the Fan. “I can share it because it’s my show. I said, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity for me to tell you exactly what my wife wanted me to tell you if I got a chance. She wanted me to tell you that she’s praying for you.’ That’s what I told him, no joke.”

However, regardless of what the future may hold, for this week Irving was the answer on defense for the Cowboys against the Buccaneers. No matter why they decided to play him at left defensive end for the whole fourth quarter, he clearly made the most of his opportunity and was a big part of why they were able to pull off that win.

Irving had one and a half sacks, he helped force a turnover, knocked a pass down, helped force a tackle for loss, and got a dude benched. Not too shabby for a guy who only had 1.5 sacks in the first 24 games of his career before Sunday.

With his second breakout game of the season, David Irving earned my Hoss of the Week for Week 15.

The exchange occurred after Burfict hit Roethlisberger late and then bumped helmets with him afterward while the two exchanged words.

Burfict has a long and storied history of being reckless on the field, and Roethlisberger said that even Burfict’s teammates are fed up with the way he plays.

KD’s big night leads Warriors past Blazers

The Warriors controlled the game from start to finish and picked up a 135-90 victory over the Trail Blazers on Slate Night Saturday at Oracle Arena.

Kevin Durant set the tone early, hitting a 3-pointer on the game’s opening possession. Durant would finish with 34 points on 11-for-13 shooting, and he had plenty of support on a night in which the Dubs shot 58.6 from the field and had 36 assists on 51 made baskets.

Draymond Green tallied a double-double with 13 assists and 12 rebounds, while Ian Clark had a huge game off the bench with 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting. Stephen Curry had 19 points and six assists and Klay Thompson added 16 points as the Dubs improved to 24-4 on the season.

Cleveland never led by more than 12, as the Lakers used an 11-5 run — capped by two Young 3-pointers — to trim the champs’ lead down to 108-105 with four minutes left.

But from there, James became a one-man demolition crew.

The Cavs scored nine consecutive points — including six from LeBron — to put the game out of reach.

Cody Zeller picked up his second double-double of the year, finishing with 16 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in the victory. Zeller has now racked up double-digit rebounds in consecutive outings for the first time since a three-game stretch from Jan. 4-9, 2016.

The Knicks have dropped nine in a row in Denver overall. Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points, but New York concluded its five-game road trip with a third consecutive loss for its first three-game slide of the season.

In the first NBA matchup of brothers Willy Hernangomez of the Knicks and Juancho Hernangomez of the Nuggets, Willy finished with 17 points. Juancho didn’t get into the game until the final minute and went 1 for 2 at the free-throw line.

The Warriors will now a pair of days off before wrapping up their three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Jazz. Tuesday’s game falls on Nate Thurmond Bobblehead Night, and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a collectible of Thurmond, who passed away this past summer. In addition to the giveaway, fans attending the game will be able to take a photo with a life-sized version of the bobblehead on the main concourse outside of Section 112.