Tuesday, May 4, 2010
LeBron James Needs to Avoid Careless Flaws or Cleveland Doesn't Rock
So the raucous crowd was in attendance, at one of the noisiest venues to witness a prominent super star amaze them with dramatic showcases.
There were genuine moments provoking the crowd to roar wildly at the dignified King James when the Cleveland Cavaliers star stood at mid-court hoisting the MVP trophy.
In a town he calls home and adores dearly, the atmosphere at an energetic locale rocked and swung the white towels in honor of LeBron James’ second consecutive Most Valuable Player award bestowed to him.
But it’s really interesting how quick the rumbling noise suddenly went silent and the crowd went speechless, without the entertaining puppet putting on a dramatic, breathtaking show.
As the season comes to a closure, the melodrama is heard often with James' contract expiring at the end of the season.
He’ll be available to test the market, when he becomes a free-agent.
It’s too early to suggest his next destination or whether he’ll wear a Cleveland uniform for the rest of his career.
But if the Cavs fall short of winning a championship, it seems practical that he’ll depart to contend elsewhere.
For now, he’s worried about a legitimate pursuit in the postseason, getting the Cavs to return to championship form and pull it off for a town with much sporting infirmities, and plights that has left an entire city in misery.
All of their major sporting franchises are helpless, but the closer one aiming towards capturing exultation are the Cavs.
The objective is to erase sporting indignities of The Shot, The Drive, The Fumble and The Choke, an excruciating trend leaving an enthusiastic community in shambles.
After a party/reunion took place at the gym on the University of Akron campus, where he spoke humbly from a podium sending all his thanks and acknowledgment for winning the MVP award, he energized and alarmed a franchise and supporters to believe that this is the year to capture a title.
He’s a valuable forward. He’s a matured model. He’s the face of a franchise with tremendous respectability.
But the Cavs weren’t as believable or soothing to long-awaited supporters when they never played with a fierce drive. Instead, Cleveland played as if they were confounded and motionless in pummeling the Boston Celtics.
This was an indicator that the Cavs need contributions from its role players and bench, as James acts as the facilitator and involves his teammates in a fast-break possession or with sterling ball movement to make it easier to loft a mid-range jumper or drive inside for a smooth layup.
Based on the performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Cavs were unbeatable and unstoppable in the Eastern Conference.
As it stands now, the Cavs are unprotected if they fluctuate against the Celtics, an aging and unhealthy team with legions of downsides.
If Cleveland starts to panic, it’s normal to have a level of concern about the Cavs, who have stumbled before against the Celtics and were sent home after a devastating loss.
And if the Cavs approach a series or game careless and awkwardly, they’ll lose instantly, not necessarily to Boston, but to the upcoming opponent or even a team from the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
Every game at this point must be played like it’s the last contest to ever be played.
It’s obvious that James is a bit unhealthy, feeling the discomfort in his right elbow. He suffered a sprained and bruised elbow in the last series and was forced to attempt a left-handed free throw, in which he was limited and had trouble shooting from the outside.
He had difficulty controlling the ball worried about aggravating his elbow and preferred to protect his health, rather than driving the lanes with his powerfully built body to draw the foul and be awarded free throw attempts.
The Celtics outshined and demoralized the Cavs in Game 2, humiliating them on their home floor.
They never had a response and the loudness of fans quieted down, becoming speechless as Boston controlled the rhythm and stole a pivotal game in a hostile environment.
Even though the Cavs nearly crawled back from a large deficit, the Celtics held on to win 104-86 and tied the series at 1-1.
With the decisive win, Boston took home-court advantage, traveling home with higher pride and certainty, and at a building where the Cavaliers have struggled mightily.
For once, the Celtics were scoring at will and obtained contributions from role players. But it doesn’t happen just offensively.
And a weakness was the defensive sketchiness that unraveled the Celtics in shutting down the middle and restrained opponents from driving to the rim, especially when Kevin Garnett was absent sitting on the sideline or serving a suspension.
It happened ironically, finding their groove at the right time and making proper adjustments to turn it into a competitive bout.
For each team, it may actually become a challenging and compelling series, lasting at least six games with a few dramatic finishes.
Realistically, the Cavs are too athletic, hungry, potent and good. And honestly, the Celtics are too old, worn down and sluggish.
In the wake of his MVP honors, LeBron scored 24 points, almost six points below his season scoring average and more than eight fewer than his average in the Cavs’ first six postseason games.
It’s not the Chicago Bulls, a franchise that was faced with turbulence of eliminating a balanced core.
In other words, this isn’t the Bulls, but it’s the Celtics, a team that has experienced a title and much triumph by smoking victory cigars, watching confetti fall from the ceilings and celebrating with the fans on Causeway Street in downtown Boston.
Matters turned uglier when Cleveland fans booed and left early, frustrated and angry with the flaky performance on a night they merely lost their third game at home in their past 18 playoff games.
This made coach Mike Brown cringe, dropping the worst home playoff home loss since 2006.
“Tonight was real simple—they kicked our behind from the beginning,” he said angrily. “And we did not fight back until late. We’ve got to decide that we’re going to take the fight to them and take these games. Nothing is going to be given to us at all.”
James struggled early and never found his rhythm.
He missed shots and stumbled on abysmal shooting, only finishing on 7 for 15 with five turnovers, while his sidekick and tandem Mo Williams didn’t drain shots through the nets, finishing an awful 1 for 9 and settled for four points.
As for the Cavs, they only shot 40 percent from the field. And once again, everyone vanished. They were absent as it was easy to forget about Delonte West, who had four points in 31 minutes.
The latest in the news is that the Cavs are mortal, unless the bench and LeBron revive in time to take command of the best-of-seven series.
That’s hard to imagine when Cleveland had one of its best seasons, convincing the world that they are the hungriest and toughest out in the postseason.
Why wasn’t LeBron infuriated?
“We know we didn’t play well, that third quarter definitely was one of the worst quarters we had this year, offensively and defensively,” James said.
“But you look at it, at the end of day, the series is tied 1-1. These are two really good teams, and we’re looking forward to Game Three.”
The toughness was seen from the Celtics.
What we do know about the C’s is that they need outside shooting from the scorching Ray Allen, who scored 22 points.
For whatever reason, everyone is focused and turns all attention to KG, since he’s the inspirational leader and aggressor on defense. But Rajon Rondo out shined all players in a much-needed game, with 19 assists as an explosive floor general.
For now, the Cavs are still likable to hoist the glamorous prize in June.
The nightmarish blowout won’t last forever, perhaps with a win in Boston. That shifts the momentum, but more than ever, it erases the dreadful memories and restores vitality making all supporters believe it’s the Cavs year.
If Cleveland wins, it rocks. If not, it would be an absolute failure.