Friday Fire: Yes, LeBron Went Oscar Last Night, But If the Cavs Lose This Series, What’s Your Opinion?

One point before hand. Remember who did this fantasy first outside of Cleveland. We’re deeper than that because we see things from inside the soul rock’s fiber, not outside the fishbowl lookin’ in.

But so what…

Look, when it’s time to put up or shut up, some shrink with fear or deal in buts or say “I can’t” or listen to what everybody else has to opine when they say “Don’t be a hero.” They make excuses and rather fear success instead of becoming the standard.

Last night, LeBron was the standard. LeBron James has absolutely surpassed any thoughts of what we all had of him coming out of high school.

I called the triple double, but it wasn’t something incredible. We all should have expected it after Kobe went facilitator the other night.

37, 14, 12…a sick triple double in a game they had to win. Isolation up top with no help? Murder. Of course it had a lot to do with Cleveland shooting so well, but LBJ scored or assisted on 31 straight points? Temple3 and I were texting during the game and I wondered if Magic, Larry or Oscar accomplished that feat…

You know how difficult it is to impress Temple3 right? Well he was definitely impressed last night.

Uh…now to the questions…

What?

What you thinking?

Say it.

Did you really think he was gonna let the Cavs lose at home in a close out game?

He sure made Dwight almost look small didn’t he?

I think it’s going seven personally but who the hell am I right?

Can’t wait ’til Saturday huh?

The Magic better close this out or there’s gonna be trouble?

Can you let your thoughts wander that far?

Say the Cavs lose.

What will you think of LeBron?

How will such a heartbreaking series loss affect his legacy in a year the Cavs clowned the league in front of the world?

Don’t give me he’s going to New York. That ain’t happening.

He’s rocked out of his mind this postseason.

You know he’s averaging 41, 8 and 8 in this series right?

Is he an all time great yet?

What happens if the Cavs come back and win?

Will you drop your beer shocked because you didn’t hear your spouse screaming on you?

Who does he stack up against?

Is Kobe still the best?

What does he need to win a title?

Who is to blame if the Cavs lose? Ferry? Brown? LeBron? Mo? Who if anybody?

Are they just playing a better team?

Atlanta and Detroit sucked?

Too much rest?

Underestimated the Magic maybe?

Too much pressure?

Is he to Kobe what Kobe is to Mike regarding the shadow?

Overconfident?

Does he need to take his Kobe, Utah, three air ball lumps first before he June smiles?

Any more questions?

ORLANDO MAGIC
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Hedo Turkoglu, SF 43 10-18 2-5 7-9 1 5 6 2 2 0 2 4 -11 29
Rashard Lewis, PF 41 4-13 1-5 6-9 0 8 8 1 4 1 1 3 -1 15
Dwight Howard, C 37 8-10 0-0 8-13 3 7 10 2 1 1 3 6 -7 24
Courtney Lee, SG 35 3-5 1-2 2-3 0 1 1 1 3 0 2 2 -9 9
Rafer Alston, PG 28 1-10 1-7 0-0 1 1 2 4 1 0 3 4 -20 3
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Mickael Pietrus, SG 23 4-6 3-5 2-3 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 -9 13
Anthony Johnson, PG 19 2-6 0-1 2-2 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 1 +15 6
Marcin Gortat, C 11 0-1 0-0 1-2 1 3 4 0 0 2 0 3 -3 1
Tony Battie, C 4 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 -5 2
Adonal Foyle, C DNP COACH’S DECISION
Tyronn Lue, PG DNP COACH’S DECISION
J.J. Redick, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
33-72 8-25 28-41 8 30 38 12 11 4 11 27 102
45.8% 32.0% 68.3% Team TO (pts off): 12 (18)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
LeBron James, SF 46 11-24 0-2 15-19 3 11 14 12 1 1 4 3 +11 37
Anderson Varejao, C 29 3-6 0-0 1-2 3 5 8 2 0 2 2 6 +24 7
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C 27 6-8 0-0 4-5 0 6 6 1 0 1 0 6 +15 16
Delonte West, SG 41 6-13 0-2 1-1 0 2 2 3 1 1 4 2 +9 13
Mo Williams, PG 42 7-14 6-9 4-5 0 1 1 2 2 0 1 3 +17 24
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Daniel Gibson, PG 22 3-5 3-4 2-2 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 2 +4 11
Ben Wallace, PF 16 0-2 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 0 0 0 0 1 -19 0
Wally Szczerbiak, SG 14 1-3 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 -11 2
Sasha Pavlovic, SG 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
Joe Smith, PF 3 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 2
Tarence Kinsey, SG 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 0
Darnell Jackson, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
38-76 9-18 27-34 8 31 39 21 4 6 12 25 112
50.0% 50.0% 79.4% Team TO (pts off): 12 (21)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

Flagrant Fouls: None
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: 1 CLEVELAND ( W Szczerbiak 1 ) – TEAMS (def3sec): None – COACHES: ORLANDO S. Van Gundy (1)
Officials: Bill Spooner , Dan Crawford , Marc Davis
Attendance: 20,562
Time of Game: 02:55

17 Responses to “Friday Fire: Yes, LeBron Went Oscar Last Night, But If the Cavs Lose This Series, What’s Your Opinion?”

  1. Patrick says:

    Lebron came up big last night, especially in front of A-Rod, Jay-Z and after losing the day after Mo Williams’ prediction… The Cavs needed to win Game 5 to stay alive, but Lebron needed Game 5 to keep pump up his persona.

    Dwight Howard had a nice game, but the refs are playing mind games with him in an effort to take away his aggressiveness. And with threat of technical, Howard wasn’t the same player. Dwight didn’t get a technical, but he was disqualified for a third time in the series.

    The refs allow Lebron to be Lebron (when he isn’t turning the ball over), but Dwight has to be on his best behavior and tone it down some…and it does affect the game and possibly who wins the series.

    Just because the game is in Orlando doesn’t mean that Howard will get home-cooking. The Magic was able to overcome questionable ref calls in Game 4, but I expect to see Lebron to get the benefit of the doubt and we will see if the refs call early fouls on Dwight to help even things out, and then we may see Lebron go ‘Oscar’–again..

  2. Temple3 says:

    I was impressed last night. I was impressed by his strength and endurance moreso than the smoothness of how he performed. I don’t think it was a smooth performance, but it was impressive. After the game, he was wiped out in his interview with Craig Sager. He needs to contact former OSU wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez about that hyperbaric chamber — and live in there for 2 days. He needs to do absolutely nothing until Game 6 — except pray that he gets help from teammates.

    At the beginning of the series, I said Cleveland’s success hinged on home court advantage because their big men are simply unable to score on the road. They have to get about 15 from Big Z in order to win; or double digits from Garbage Man AV.

    I don’t like their chances much at all.

    I won’t think less of LBJ. I think CLE is a 10 win D-league team without him.

  3. kos says:

    Did you really think he was gonna let the Cavs lose at home in a close out game?
    I didn’t think the refs and Stern were going to let the Cavs lose that game. Also, I wasn’t sure that Orlando was going to be able to close out on the road.

    He sure made Dwight almost look small didn’t he?
    No, the officials not allowing Howard to play like he’s capable does that.

    I think it’s going seven personally but who the hell am I right?
    I’m thinking six. The Magic are more confident at home.

    Can’t wait ’til Saturday huh?
    No, but it’s not because of the game.

    The Magic better close this out or there’s gonna be trouble?
    Yep. I think they lose if it goes to seven. NBA, Nike, and Disney all want the LeBron-Kobe puppet commercials to continue.

    Can you let your thoughts wander that far?
    Yep.

    Say the Cavs lose.
    What will you think of LeBron?
    He’s the same guy that I thought he was before the series started.

    How will such a heartbreaking series loss affect his legacy in a year the Cavs clowned the league in front of the world?
    It affects them the same way it does any team that finishes with the best record and doesn’t win it all. They were over-rated by the pundits. Some teams are built for the regular season, some for the playoffs. You see it more in hockey than any other sport. Cleveland really isn’t built for the playoffs.

    You know he’s averaging 41, 8 and 8 in this series right?
    I’m reminded by the media every chance they get and every one else.

    Is he an all time great yet?
    No. I reserve judgement for being an all time great for anyone after retirement.

    What happens if the Cavs come back and win?
    Stan Van Gundy will be on a short leash next year.

    Will you drop your beer shocked because you didn’t hear your spouse screaming on you?
    I don’t drink, and am not married.

    Is Kobe still the best?
    For another year or two, yes.

    What does he need to win a title?
    An actual point guard, someone else that can score, and a coach who actually coaches.

    Who is to blame if the Cavs lose? Ferry? Brown? LeBron? Mo? Who if anybody?
    All of the above. Mo and West are missing wide open shots. Ferry put together a highly flawed team that makes it easier to showcase LeBron. (See the Lakers after Shaq was traded. The team then was set up to showcase Kobe.) Brown seems in awe of LeBron way too much to actually try to coach him. LeBron wants to be unselfish at the wrong times, and selfish at others. It’s to Orlando’s benefit if he scores 40+ a game.

    Are they just playing a better team?
    Overall, yes. But, Orlando is a jump shooting team. They just are making their’s in this series.

    Atlanta and Detroit sucked?
    ABSOLUTELY. Detroit just fell apart after Billups was traded. Atlanta had too many injuries.

    Too much rest?
    No.

    Underestimated the Magic maybe?
    Could have. Or they may have been overconfident.

    Too much pressure?
    The playoffs. Better learn to live with pressure.

    Is he to Kobe what Kobe is to Mike regarding the shadow?
    Definitely. Although, their styles are far different from Kobe & Mike’s.

    Overconfident?
    Probably.

    Does he need to take his Kobe, Utah, three air ball lumps first before he June smiles?
    No. I hate it when folks say that you have to lose first, to win. Adversity does make you hunger more, but it isn’t a necessity.

  4. Temple3 says:

    kos:

    Totally agreed.

    Before the door was closed on Garnett’s return, I wrote an article about how in many respects, the Celtics were younger than the Cavaliers; that the Cavaliers big men were older and lacked foot speed and athleticism; and that that would eventually catch up with them.

    I thought they’d able to squeak by Orlando is they did 2 things: 1) kept home court advantage; 2) received offense in the post from Big Z.

    That hasn’t happened. Moreover, the team has only confounded their problems by failing to be creative on offense and by having LBJ cover little guys with little offense.

  5. TheLastPoet says:

    I just posted a rant over at SOMM listing some of the reasons why I will be overjoyed when the Cavs are finally eliminated and I am no longer a “witness” to their “shammockery” of the game of basketball.

    From the league, to the referees, right on down to the Cavaliers players and coaches – and let’s not forget the endorsements, marketers and advertisers – nearly everything this team represents is a travesty to any lover of the game of basketball.

    Good riddance.

    And Temple, I thought you were with me, bro???

  6. Temple3 says:

    LP:

    I won’t think less of LBJ. I think CLE is a 10 win D-league team without him.

    I think Cleveland is just awful, but my thoughts on LeBron are more nuanced. I think he’s still a very raw talent whose game will be unrecognizable in a few years. He’s only 24 and has shown the will to mastery. The legends of this game are not made when they’re 24 — not a single one. It’s the factor of time that solidifies the legend.

    Mike didn’t win until he had help (all of which is infinitely better than that which saddles LBJ) — and even then after 7 years. Magic and Larry were straight blessed. Isiah had to wait a long time — and luckily for him and the Pistons, Magic and Byron Scott were injured.

    LBJ doesn’t have a pretty game and he gets a lot of calls and he gets a lot of media love, but from a pure EFFORT — ENERGY standpoint, you have to look at last night’s game as nearly Winslowian (Yeah, I just made that up.)

    Winslowian. adj., the demonstrable pinnacle of physical exertion and excellence on the grandest stage. Exhibit A: Kellen Winslow, TE San Diego Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins.

    All that was missing was the cramps and those bum ass teammates of his carrying him off the court — but we’ve already seen that in this series. For a guy who DOES NOT have a money jumper OR a single teammate that ANY OF US would want side-by-side in a dark alley to average 41-8-8 is simply INSANE. It’s not always pretty, but it is always, “WOW.”

    I’m betting it’ll get prettier when he is surrounded by real talent. Magic made Rambis a champion, but he never made him pretty.

  7. Temple3 says:

    Just one other thing, I think most of the criticism that flows downhill on LeBron and Kobe is wrong-headed.

    How many championships did Magic win without Kareem? ZERO.

    How many championships did Bird win without McHale? ZERO.

    How many championships did MJ win without Scottie? ZERO.

    How many NBA championships did Dr. J win without Moses? ZERO.

    Frankly, I think the Lakers could have won twice without Kareem, but his absence impacted the Lakers exactly as one would expect. Smaller players were asked to do more and broke down (1989) or the absence of a dominant box scorer proved fatal as the NBA allowed hand-check Scotty to hold his way to Chicago’s first ring (1991).

    Take it on easy on the kids, LP.

  8. origin says:

    Don’t forget also Temple that Worthy sparing his ankle in the portland series in 1991 had more to do with the lakers losing.

    Jordan guarded worthy who played maybe 2 games. But he could barely move. Horce and Cartwright guarded Perkins and Vlad. Where as Paxson guarded Scott.

    So basicall Jordan could rest on defense.

    That series I believe MJ avg. 30, 7, 11.

  9. Temple3 says:

    Yeah. I wasn’t impressed.

  10. Temple3 says:

    Wasn’t Iverson (Philadelphia) the last guy to do what LeBron is doing in a playoff series?

  11. TheLastPoet says:

    T3, I hear you, but I don’t like Kong’s game. The reasons have to do with everything you mentioned, but where you ultimately give it all a positive spin and see an enlightening future, I see nothing but negativity.

    What you say about the evolution of Kong’s game in the coming years is true. He will be doing things in just a few years that he is not doing today (hopefully, he’ll take a page out of Melo’s book and use his heft to post up, hit the offensive boards, etc). But here’s the thing about the cats who are coming straight from high school into the league: it seems like they do not have the longevity that the last-generation cats had. So whereas it was okay for Jordan to wait seven years for his first ring (because he still had 8-9 productive years after that), these high school cats are using their bodies up much more rapidly, no?

    Jermaine O’Neal? Done. Tracy McGrady? Over. Dare I say Kevin Garnett? The list goes on. Kobe is obviously the exception here, but we all know that Kobe is actually a Terminator from the year 2018, not to be trifled with by mere mortals lol So what’s my point, if I have one, right?

    Well, maybe Kong doesn’t have so long to start making moves, know what I mean? Maybe he turns 31 years old and – poof! All that NBA mileage in the league since age 18 suddenly catches up with him. If so, then we won’t see him winning titles and still carrying teams at age 34-35 like Jordan did, like Kareem did, etc.

    What do you think?

  12. Kirk Mitchell says:

    Lebron is a great player that much can’t be denied, but hell the Magic are terrified to go near him because they’ll get a cheap foul.There’s nothing really impressive about what he was doing in games 1-4 with all the calls he gets he should average 40 points a game.

  13. Mizzo says:

    Granted, but he’s still performing in the clutch. He’s been doing it all year. He’s had to step his game up and he has.

  14. TC says:

    I’ve thought about TheLastPoet’s point about Kobe’s mileage catching up to him and making him less potent at 34, 35 than say, Michael was, at that age, and I think there might be something to that. On the other hand, I see the “ganas” in #24 and I think that fire – from whatever origin it comes – which drives Kobe as it drove Michael might propel him to continue to flourish until a more conventional age of decline – say 37, 38. That said, I don’t know but if I was a betting man – and I am sometimes – I’d put a small wager on Kobe continuing to flourish at a Herculean level till that later age and then doing a Chuckster and letting himself go a bit.

    As for LBJ, well, the series is over now, but it always amuses me when they ask why these superhuman stars supposedly “failed” because their teams didn’t advance. If the Cavs failed, it ain’t because of LBJ. 41, 8, 8….are you kidding me? I agree with the suggestion that LBJ should start posting cats up a bit in the future. And I think he should drive to the hoop all the time. One of the things that differentiates him from Kobe is obviously his bulkier frame. To be as quick as he is with that Michelangelovian body of his is to be shooting 25 free throws a game. I’m not saying he should never shoot Js but as big and strong as LeBron is, I wish he’d go to the rack more.

    Also Mike Brown, as I think Mizzo and some others said, should have used LBJ on Turkoglu more. Turkoglu took advantage of the mismatch too much. Yeah you wanna save your star player to some degree, but defense counts too and perhaps (though this is more a speculative argument) if they had shut the Magic down more, they wouldn’t have had to score as much. As Mizzo and some others wondered before the series, would a CLE big man show up? I thought Joe Smith would do a bit more, and admittedly I didn’t see but two of the games, but it didn’t seem LeBron got enough help. Z is what Z is – he’ll give you 8 and 8; but Varejao is a garbage man and Wallace is Rodmanian in his offensive disinterest.

    LeBron needs a big guy to help him. Mo Williams seems to have disappointed some. Delonte West did what he could….but ultimately I think the size of the Magic, their understated determination, and a shortage of in-game and game-to-game adjustments by the Cleveland coaching staff really hurt Cleveland. And is Kobe better than LeBron? Really? I’d take either one at this point. I don’t like picking between the two coz I have hella respect for both of them and this just plays into the media’s endless games. I enjoy watching the game and it doesn’t get much better than the playoffs.

  15. origin says:

    Good points TC and poet.

    I have been beating the drum thats this foreign and highschool players have tons of milage on them as they turn 30.

    Kobe is slowing down, but he only recently has been required to carry his team. All those years shaq was the one carring the team. Where as Lebron and Garnett carried their teams (until Garnett made it to the Celtics).

    Also remember that Kobe only has maybe 1 or 2 years let at this level. He is a 13 year vet with tons of playoff miles. Thats the reason it was so important to get Kobe some help.

    And you are right TC Lebron needs a big man just like Kobe needed Shaq, Gasol and Bynum.

    The thing is even if Lebron guarded Hedo or Lewis. They still had no answer for Howard. Howard in putting on his best Shaq/moses malone impression.

    Danny Ferry put this team together to beat the Celtics and Spurs. He didn’t get any PF and back up center that could score. So that howard had to play defense on one end. THey also never had enough centers on the team. The magic was the worse matchup that th cavs could have faced.

    You will have to play howard for the next 10 years like people played shaq. Get about 3 centers on your roster in case you have to play howard in the playoffs.

    But everyone needs to give it up to howard. He scared the crap out of the celtics when it came to going in the lane. He scared everyone of the cavs except Lebron too. He made both teams into jump shooting teams. He purely dominated the games. If Stan Van Gundy had given Howard the ball in the Celtics series as he did in the Cavs series. The Magic would have beaten the Celtics in 5 games. Same with the 76ers.

    I haven’t seen a big man physically dominate and intemidate like this since shaq was in his prime.

    As I have been saying the whole playoffs and last season that howard is the best center in the league. And that if houston had him instead of Yao over the last 3 years the Rockets would have been past the first round 3 years ago.

  16. [...] he stepped up and took it. Nothing was given to him and the Magic must be congratulated. As far as LeBron, you could see him losing trust in his teammates during the series. His team noticed his change in [...]

  17. TC says:

    Origin – fully agree with you about Dwight right now. Yeah, he absolutely reminds me of Shaq around ’94, ’95. I’ve only been to four NBA games in my life and one of them was in ’94 against the Lakers coz I wanted to see The Big Fella. If he could make Shaq’s “chippies”, or worked a bit on some Dream Shake footwork….well hell, we could just give the Magic the championship next year………about Dwight being on the Rockets, yeah, they probably would have gone a little further there too. I think that whole team, the Magic, have been slept on for a long time. I was saying it early in the playoffs and even early in the season that the combination of D Howard doing what he does and the savvy and skill of Turkoglu, Howard, the poise of Courtney Lee as a rook holding up the #2, and Rafer Alston and Jameer Nelson……not to mention a solid bench, people have been distracted by the shamrocks and the swooshes in their eyes and have missed Tiger’s team.

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