Day off, but plenty to do still

Written May 10th, 2009 by Jeff

The front page of your local sports page probably has a nice picture of LeBron James today, doing something that you’ll never do ever.  It probably has a headline about a blowout win and most of the story is about LBJ and how he took over another game and it was unbelieveable.

Yeah, The BBC did it last night too.  So did every other onlite site that I frequent.

On further review, the Cavaliers didn’t quite look so good last night.

Yes, it’s nice to know that LeBron can take over a game when he has to, but this is NOT the team of two years ago where LeBron needs to do that.  We’ve got five All-Stars on the team and, despite being very young, enough playoff experience to make James Worthy go “DAAAAAAAAMN”.  This is a team that should still extend leads with their star resting on the bench, but last night they couldn’t do much without him.

And that’s not good.

  • Ben Wallace was out of sync and never got his defense going.
  • Wally Szczerbiak missed four wide-open shots and gave the Hawks the ball under their own basket on a turnover
  • Mo Williams couldn’t find the net with any regularity (5-13 shooting, 1-6 from long range)
  • Daniel Gibson still can’t find his shot, and has put out an APB for it.  Police have been led to a secure location in the year 2007

Fortunately, this team is led by two factors….LeBron, and defense.  Both were outstanding as usual.  Holding the Hawks (who played their best game of the round) to 82 points is no small feat.  Their interior defense was unstoppable and they did exactly what they wanted to do, which was to force Josh Smith into shooting anything from more than 10 feet away from the rim.  When Smith begins to do that, he doesn’t know how to stop, short of several fans emerging from the stands to tackle him.

I don’t like to look for the bad in games like that…..I prefer to appreciate the winning while we have it, because any Cleveland fan can tell you about how it’ll end in a heartbeat.  But I think that it’s crucial to get better as the playoffs linger, because the opposition will most certainly get better as we advance.  While Atlanta is no pushover (ask Boston from their title season), winning by 15 should be thrilling….but it isn’t.

Call it Playstation Syndrome.  You play on rookie level for so long, and you get used to winning games by huge margins, then you get really upset with yourself when you “only” win by a mere double-digit margin.

The good news is that we played our worst game of the NBA Playoffs, and Atlanta played their best.  And we won by 15.  On the road.

Thanks to LeBron James.

Let’s look at this in the “big picture”…..having a guy that can and will do that when needed is not exactly a bad thing to have on your team.  There’s a reason that fans of the rest of the NBA troll our cavaliers, and it’s not because they DON’T want LeBron James on their team too.

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I actually didn’t see the end of the Dallas-Denver game until it was on Sportscenter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on it.

If you have a foul to give, don’t pat the guy on the butt just before he shoots it and hope for the call.  TELL the ref you’re going to do it, then WRAP the guy up until the whistle STOPS blowing.

Yes, the ref failed to make the call.  Yes, he admitted it through the NBA.  But Mark Cuban and Josh Howard running around throwing temper tantrums and crying midcourt isn’t the answer.  Playing the game like you’re supposed to IS the answer.    It’s Carmelo freaking Anthony.  He wilts at the first sign of physical defense.  HIT the guy and then you don’t HAVE to rely on a whistle.

If you need the refs to make a call, MAKE them make the call.  That way, no cameramen will get hurt by your owner on his way to a fine and a lawsuit.

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Some really crappy news out of Houston with Yao Ming’s broken foot.  I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like the guy and he was the Rockets’ last hope for beating the Lakers.  At least now Ron Artest can have something new to finish off his usual sentence of “we’d have won if not for (blank).”

I didn’t think the Rockets could knock off L.A. four times in a series, but now there’s no chance of it at all.

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Game 4 of the Magic-Celtics series is at 8pm tonight in Orlando.  The Magic could go up 3-1 if Boston plays like they have since early March.  The Celtics have no fire and no solid gameplan, and Doc Rivers is being exposed as a hack.  And when Stan Van Gundy is looking like the superior coach in a series, you’re got a REALLY shitty coach on the other team.

I’d like to see Boston win tonight and tie the series up at 2-2.  I’d also like to see Boston pull the whole thing out.  I want this for one reason – I want revenge on Boston for last season.

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