Et tu, Cleveland Fans? How Does LeBron James Kill Six Birds With One Throne?

It happens.

Boston blasts Cleveland 120-88 in a contest some predict will be the King’s last home game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. LBJ puts in a pedestrian 15 points and doesn’t score a field goal until the middle of the third quarter. The point total is his 4th fewest playoff output ever. This was not the greatest of the LeBron’s nights, but we must keep the conversation sane and understand credit goes to where credit belongs, and that’s to the heart of a Boston champion. A 2008 champion stewing and scratching and clawing for respect in a Cleveland/Orlando driven Eastern Conference. After all, did they really fall off that far? Black Pharaoh (KG) wasn’t having the young next and his close knit fam take it to his prideful squad without a street fight. You know they are still sick LeBron kicked them with 46. Last night was simply their measure for the get back respect so earned by those who have found comfort and also hunger in the pinnacle.

The Throne. It’s been given to him prematurely because his nickname is the King. He must ascend to its redeemable profit by settling this once and for all.

Is there  too much pressure with reasonable expectation to win in a year Cleveland is the hunter?

Now the Cavaliers are the hunted.

If LeBron wants a ring, he has to step up do his job and make sure his teammates follow the example he’s set the second he stepped into the league.

This is up to him. Take the loss in stride and pick your weight up because you LeBron James know what you want…

6 Mike’s we all like. 4 Kobes he wants to see. Larrys and Magics and Pippens and such to go along with statistical Oscars but in his teammates he shall forever trust.

It’s worked up to now. His team loyalty is admirable but his mates need to step up. In this day and age, a loss to the Celtics might get Mike Brown fired despite a great job dividing team minutes this season.

This ain’t Mike Brown’s fault. This could be about the loss of John Kuester. He was their offensive coordinator. He helped them score seamlessly and now there is inconsistency. He was a key cog and now he’s coaching their rival.

Trades by Danny Ferry? How can you blame Dan Gilbert for wanting his team to get to the next level?

It’s human nature to access blame but no one is perfect and if Cleveland wants to win it all, it has to get past a difficult period.

LeBron must be who he is.

But…

LeBron and the Cavs have lost to superior teams throughout his short playoff career. Scrutiny shall abound, but until he reaches the diamond hatted love joy in the name of a Cleveland parade his career will be criticized as incomplete.

1964 was the last…

He knows he cannot avoid Oscar’s one ringed, gray bearded shadow. Oscar had to go Milwaukee past his prime to get his chip in one of the most polarizing transactions in the history of sports.

LeBron’s birthright is the Craig Ehlo get back. Mike stole his future glory before he was a thought…real or imagined…and he wants it back:

What does one game mean in a legacy nowhere near its prime?

If Cleveland wins Game 6 don’t they regain control of the series?

Why did the Quicken Loans Arena suddenly transform into the Wachovia Center Philly crowd where embarrassing decibels of boos rained down on their beloved Cavs like obnoxious car next to you in traffic bass?

Are you giving up?

Really?

Why?

Cleveland what are entitled to?

The last time you won something your Father was your age.

You have a 2 time MVP and the only other in your town was Jim Brown.

LBJ is your only hope of winning and that’s your sendoff if he actually decides to leave your city?

I personally don’t think he’s going anywhere.

Aren’t you better than this Cleveland? When I was out there, the relaxation I experienced was directly attributed to the way your town treated your Cavs.

Who else is gonna come to Cleveland and give your Cavs a chance to win a championship?

I know you are disappointed…but…you ain’t Philly so don’t act like it.

LeBron himself will say he sucked. His game was as if he played in a dense fog with no light house in sight for miles even as the fog horn was deafening.

Up close… noise was personal.

Was there a lesson to be learned as the boos broke every inch of  glass in his Snow White knighted mirror?

Does he do too much off the court? Is he totally focused on winning a championship? Does he know what it takes to get that June shine?

Out there for three weeks in February/March I sure thought so. The locker room was loose. Antawn Jamison was introduced.

Lots of Lovin’. Everything was flowing.

Cleveland strolls into the playoffs as the prohibitive favorite and despite a match up with Boston in the Eastern Conference Semis, most thought the series wouldn’t go past six.

The Celtics have outplayed the Cavs in every aspect and lead 3-2. Every player it seems is contributing to what is a shock for most.

In probably the biggest game of his career LeBron shoots 3-14 and settled for jumpers attempted without inspiration. 2 chances at the line in the second half…nothing to the basket?

Obituaries are being written and spoken all over the place.

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce punched LeBron in the face.

Boston is healthy and is the strongest team mentally left competing. This is where seasoned veterans shine and Boston has done it before. This is how true NBA basketball is played. Nothing is given to you. Everything should be earned.

Is the series over? From what I see, there are two games left but a 32 point loss…the worst ever at home for Cleveland…is unacceptable…but again, it happens.

LeBron James has as much pressure as Tiger Woods to win every second he’s on the floor. New York questions in his sleep to Jay-Z beats.

Those who seem to think he’s publicly flirting with New York have to understand he shut all that down earlier in the season when he stated he would no longer comment on his pending free agent status.

Like Kobe, if LeBron James doesn’t win six rings and especially one in the same NBA year Mike won his, LeBron’s career then becomes less than…what?

He’s still a beast if Cleveland loses to the Celtics.

Does LeBron James have a true Scottie Pippen? Does he have Kobe’s Shaq or Tim Duncan’s team defensive attack?

Isn’t he basically doing this alone? The Celtics have a better supporting cast. Period. Take Boston, throw LeBron James in the mix and the C’s win the championship going away.

Mo Williams has to step up. Antawn Jamison has to deal with the pressure to perform outside of Chocolate City. Shaq has to do what he does while he’s on the floor. Parker, Hickson, Gibson and the rest of the bench has to get out there when their names are called and put in work with no excuses provided because of their lack of playing time.

Mike Brown and his staff has to pull it all together for Game 6. Everything is great there down to the PR staff but it’s time for the iron fist to fly in all directions.

Dude can’t do it alone and even if the Cavs get past the Celtics, Orlando looms.

People have given up on Cleveland this early. What? How?

LeBron knows his place in history and mos def has serious pride. He knows the story of Oscar Robertson and the many others who had to chase a chance just to be down with Larry O’Brien.

He is not Michael Jordan yet and even Kobe had to get to a place where he was totally comfortable in his skin to win his after Shaq left.

Members of the Cavaliers: get in the film room. Live and die basketball until it’s all over. Do whatever you have to do to make this happen. This is the greatest season your franchise has ever had. Prove something with the shoulder chips that now line ever inch of your fiber.

Fans, do not give up. Seriously that’s for the lesser folk. Support to the end. This is an important time in your young star’s career. It’s possible he pulls this out with your support.

In sports, teams win, not individuals. For those who stupidly disagree, name one professional team where a singular factor was totally the reason his team was the last one smiling.

As far as that individual?

Yes, he’s confident. Yes, he’s complex. Yes, he’s guarded. Yes, he is great.

There’s more to it Cleveland. You’re son had a bad game. I don’t have any answers why. Your only hope is for your Cavs to come out and throw the hamma down.

It’s all about the game and damn right LeBron’s Game 5 performance was lame.

That’s for him to explain or go back through the historical window from which he came.

Cleveland in 7.

15 Responses to “Et tu, Cleveland Fans? How Does LeBron James Kill Six Birds With One Throne?”

  1. Origin says:

    Great write up.

    The folks in the media want their pound of flesh with this here.

    Below is what I wrote up on SOMM.

    What folks…..especially the talking heads in the MSM fail to realize is that it didn’t matter if Lebron scored 30 points his teams still would have lost last night.

    The Celtics have probably played the best defense in these playoffs. The lanes were closed off for Lebron to penetrate and the rotations by the celtics were great.

    Also lets not forget that Jamison was abused by Garnett on the block in the first half. That the Cavs coaches had Parker with his 6-6 size guarding Rondo in the first half. This helped slow down Rondo……………but Mo was guarding Ray Allen. And Ray Ray was on fire the first half. Doc Rivers had ray run Mo through multiple screens and he was killing the cavs from behind the 3 line.

    Once Ray was connecting on the jumper the Cavs began jumping out on the screens and Rondo began passing to open screeners Garnett and Perkins for easy buckets.

    Now in the second half the Cavs coaches take Mo Williams off of Ray Ray and put him on Rondo. What happens is Rondo then begins taking Mo to the hole at will scoring…………getting 3 point plays and all. The celtics begin to run, give and goes with Rondo and Garnett on the right block. Garnett easily passing over the small Mo Willaims to Rondo for easy layups.

    When the Celtics ran pick and rolls……..with Pierce and Rondo, if the Cavs switched then Pierce was on Mo and then took him to the post. If the Cavs didn’t switch then Rondo abused Mo. So much so that boobie was put in to guarded Rondo.

    It was just pick you poison. And did I mention that the celtics even ran Pick and Pop when big baby got in the game??? When the Cavs blitzed the pick and roll Big baby just stepped out and nailed the 15 foot jumper.

    The Celtics just put on an offensive and defensive clinic. Too bad many folks can’t see that.

    Also with Lebron picking up 2 fouls and not being able to hit a jumper it really affected his game.

    I don’t care for comparing these great players to other great players cause often times it not accurate.

    If there was a player like Rondo or Ray eating up the Great bulls teams. Then Pippen would guard one and MJ would guard the other.

    IF AI was going off then Kobe would guard him and not have to worry about the scoring load because Shaq would handle that.

    if Carmelo and JR. Smith were going off then Artest or Ariza and Kobe would guard Carmelo and JR. Smith.

    If Dominic and Doc were going off against the Celtics…………Bird didn’t have to worry about that because Mchale and Johnson would take care of that.

    This situation is very similair to the Magic conf. Finals last year. They had no one that could guard Lewis. If Lebron guarded him then Hedo would go off……….if Lebron guards Hedo then Lewis goes off.

    The thing with this Mike Brown is just getting straight out coached. There is no reason the Cavs shouldn’t run more then they currently are. And there is no reason Moon and JJ Hickson (JJ Hickson is their best pick and roll player) aren’t playing. Then on top of that Shaq only gets the ball like twice on the block the whole game. If your wing players aren’t scoring there is no reason that your center isn’t getting the ball on the block.

    Look at games 1 and in this series and game 5 versus the Bulls. When the Cavs went cold and needed points they went to shaq on the block.

    In saying all of this I still expect the Cavs to win in Boston and close out in Cleveland………..this series has more to do with the cleveland coaching adjustments then Lebron.

  2. Temple3 says:

    Mizzo:

    Talk about writing from the heart. I feel that.

    I will say that Cleveland fans have a history of being die-hard fans who will suffer through losses to the bitter end. They’ve done it with the Browns, but less so with the Indians and the Cavaliers. The Indians didn’t get any love until the new stadium was built and they brought in some faces to keep the turnstiles moving: Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome…remember them?

    To be fair, I believe that Cleveland is characterized by an ethnic fan base similar to Philadelphia. The economic histories of the cities are similar, as is the social stratification of Black folk in and around the city. To hear guys like Desmond Howard or Troy Smith talk about Cleveland, a clear picture emerges about “in” and “out.” They love the city and were champions, but they know the deeper stories as well.

    In other words, I don’t see much difference between the two. Albert Belle had Mickey Mantle-type demons, but he’s treated like Nigrata Non Grata and has had his legacy dumped in a manner much like Donovan J. McNabb.

    Mizzo — I really appreciate this piece because you’ve laid down a gauntlet for the Cavaliers to pick up. The challenge is really right there for them. While there is no shame in losing to THESE Boston Celtics, the expectations were much higher. Cleveland can win if they can find the will and resolve to compete.

    It is illuminating to me that the player with the BEST stat line last night was none other than Shaquille O’Neal. He’s been down this road before and remains undaunted by referees, David Stern or the Celtics.

    I take with Mike Brown’s coaching (as an admittedly amateur observer) for several reasons. I welcome correction on each of these and encourage differing opinions.

    1) Cleveland does not push the pace. Barkley has been saying this for years. Teams with experienced low-post defenders like Garnett, Wallace and Dwight Howard are tougher to score against in the half court offense. Cleveland makes it harder for themselves by failing to push the rock up the court and force tempo. That’s on Mike Brown.

    2) Cleveland should be exploiting its depth advantage. In a few minutes last night, Big Z came on the floor and had four quick points, three quick rebounds, and three quick blocks. Varejao had 8 rebounds in 16 minutes. Mike Brown has to either focus or delegate responsibility for exploiting these matchup advantages. Things change from game to game and from quarter to quarter. Cleveland gets out of the flow too often because they have the wrong personnel on the floor.

    3) The half court offensive sets are not predicated on quickly passing the ball. A lot of what Cleveland does seems to be mismatched to their personnel. Williams, Jamison and West can all make spot up jump shots with consistency. When they’re asked to do too much, they tend to miss. Cleveland spends a great deal of time running offense through LeBron at the top of the set, rather than moving the ball. Defenses collapse on LeBron, but experienced teams like the Celtics have great rotations and they close out well on jump shooters. It’s easier to track LeBron than to track the ball. Cleveland needs to move the ball more than they need to watch LeBron.

    4) Defensively, Cleveland has to decide what they’re going to take away. Last night, they were all over the place. If you want to take away Rondo, don’t bother trying to take away his scoring. He showed last night that he can dominate the game without scoring a single point. I thought he was EXCELLENT in the first half and he had no points and missed two shots.

    If the Cavs are going to take away Rondo, they need to take away his playmaking by rotating in a large number of guys (probably starting with Moon) who can play him chest to chest and chase him all night long. The Cavs have the depth. Moon and Gibson and Williams and West can do that — if they are given that charge….don’t worry about his scoring…deny him the ball.

    5) Stop letting Doc Rivers dictate who plays. Cleveland used to be an elite rebounding team because their big players were on the court grabbing boards. Anthony Parker is not a rebounder. He’s not a great defender or scorer…so what is he exactly — and why is he playing 40 minutes when you’re losing by 30?

    Mike Brown has to reclaim his rotation and use his advantages to impose his will on Boston. Cleveland has a size and youth advantage that has been forced to the bench by Boston’s superior game planning and execution.

    — That’s in my humble opinion. I could be wrong as heck, but it’s what my gut says. Holla back.

  3. Origin says:

    Agree on everything you said Temple.

    This series reminds me so much of the Magic series last year.

    If you look at game 1 moon came in and was instant offense and defense. Length bothers Rondo………I wouldn’t put Lebron on his but I would put moon on him for stretches this would atleast eliminate give and goes with Garnett on the block. I swear Rondo scored 6 points last night on that alone when Mo Willaims guarded him in the 2nd half.

  4. Temple3 says:

    Origin:

    You wrote:

    The Celtics just put on an offensive and defensive clinic. Too bad many folks can’t see that.

    That was the title of my post on this game. I started multi-tasking in the 3rd QTR, but had to come back and rewind the DVR on some of those plays…it was just beautiful stuff.

    There was a series of plays that you discussed where Garnett, Allen and Rondo scored in three different ways that just sliced right through Cleveland’s defense. Garnett’s baseline jumper, Allen’s high triple screen to the top of the key for 3 and Rondo’s 3 from the left side were smooth as butter. It was very impressive.

  5. Origin says:

    Yes it was Temple. The Celtics didn’t struggle one bit to score, yet the Cavs did.

    The Celtics carved up the Cavs defense often times trading a 3 for a Cav 2 pointer. A Cav missed free throw for a Big Baby jumper in the corner.

    I told my wife when Ray Ray hit that 3 with parker all on his right arm that the game was over.

    People have to understand that in games like this some times a team gets hot and their is nothing you can do. But this pointing the finger at Lebron is such garbage. You can’t point the finger at one man when a team loses by 32……..and the winning team scores 120 points. Lebron scoring wasn’t the problem………..team defense was.

    But see actually watching the game and breaking down Celtics defensive and offensive sets is too much for these hit piece sound bite fools in the MSM.

    Funny how folks in the MSM never even want to talk about the NBA. But let Lebron not shake a hand or have a bad game or some player gets into a fight. Boy they want to talk about the NBA all day long.

    Now ain’t that some mess. Heck ESPN radio talked about this all day……….yet before the Cavs got blown out they didn’t have time to talk about the NBA only the NFL offseason and boring baseball.

    Seems just like last year and the Lebron hand shake gate.

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  7. Temple3 says:

    ESPN doesn’t have much time to discuss anything in detail. You would think that with 24 hours to fill on so many different outlets that they would have time to give someone something with some depth.

    The E:60 format isn’t in-depth. It is widely known in journalism circles that all of the spoken words in a 60 minute segment can be conveniently placed on the first page of the New York Times. The rest is consumed with commercials, visuals and transitional spaces to frame the piece.

    Hence, volume off.

  8. I think the Cavs fans had every right to boo that team and LeBron in particular. LeBron looked, at times, very uninterested in the game, just standing outside of the three-point line, while his teammates looked like deer caught in headlights as he wasn’t asserting himself.

    I don’t want to take anything away from the Celtics D, but this is LeBron James we’re talking about. He can create contact and get to the line if his shot isn’t fallen, he can go to the post and the Celtics aren’t doing anything different on him than they have all series. He even said that himself.

    I do think some of the things that have been written about him have been unfair because it is only one game, however, a very important one, but maybe he needed this and if I’m Boston, you have to be worried about whats coming on Thursday.

  9. Origin says:

    Yo temple take a look at this game Lebron played against the celtics in the 2008 playoffs.

    Hmmmmmm………looks like his stat line from last night.

    http://www.nba.com/games/20080506/CLEBOS/boxscore.html

    My My My how the MSM forgets………or is it how they create news.

  10. This whole mess boils down to a single letter. Q.

    John Kuester runs away to boss the Pistons around. We called him “Q.”

    We lost at home. The Q.

    And now there are only two Qs left. Can we pull it together and win the series and will LeBron stay?

    Mizzo – this is a gracious, beautiful, spiritually uplifting post. You make me proud every day. –C

  11. Mizzo says:

    Thanks Carolyn. Miss you my lady.

    Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. — African Proverb

  12. Mizzo says:

    I personally think booing is the most neanderthal fixture in sports. What are you booing and why? I don’t understand booing total strangers just because you pay money for something so unpredictable. It doesn’t make any sense and smacks of objectifying entitlement.

  13. Jerold Wells Jr says:

    This observation is not as sophisticated as those of my esteemed colleagues Mizz/Origin/Temple but my first thought post game was this:

    Where are the role players? Isnt home court advantage really for the 3-7 guys on the roster? Mo Williams should be good for 20-25 at home. Varejao and West should give you more at the Q.

    To me, like Origin said, Mo Williams HAS to step up. He must. My Dad text me during the game and basically said, Mo is getting abused. He has to take the challenge of defending Rondo. And if hes gonna get lit up, score to balance it out.

  14. Temple3 says:

    Everyone is putting a lot of pressure on Mo to defend Rondo. Jamal Mashburn, Charles Barkley, me!! LOL…but in all seriousness, I think Jerold hit the nail on the head. Williams has to score.

    He simply is not going to be able to defend Rondo. He doesn’t have the lateral quickness, straight line speed, strength or defensive chops to deal with Rondo. That’s not his game.

    Game 1: 14 shots, 20 points.

    Since then, Mo Williams hasn’t taken more than 9 shots in a game and he hasn’t scored more than 13 points. I think he just needs to clear his head and worry about his offense. If he’s making his spot up three’s and mid-range jumpers off dribble drives, he’ll get his points…and create opportunities for others.

    Mo Williams is not a point guard. He’s a scorer. Scorers need more than 9 shots. Shoot the ball, Mo…and the rest will take care of itself.

    It’s not like he’s going to miss. 🙂

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