Remember The Magic.
'Remember the Alamo' or 'Remember the Frenchie' or even 'Remember Eva', Remember The Magic. Allow me to explain...
About 12 years ago, the last time before 2002 a team got swept, there was a fairly young and inexperienced team with a really great young stud that made its Finals debut. Much like the Cavs, they ran into a team from Texas that was hungry, battled its way back to the Grand Stage ready to make its mark on the world. The Magic had Game 1 in the palm of their hands and because Nick Anderson couldn't make a single free throw, they blew the game and never recovered. The Magic were swept away and by the time they could look up, the team they dispatched of so effortlessly to get there, the Bulls...were back. Jordan and company took Orlando out in short order the following year, Shaq and Penny never got back to the Finals. Matter of fact, the year after that Finals fileting, Shaq went Hollywood and the rest was history. Orlando hasn't won another postseason series since then. So why do I mention this? Because the similarities between the two teams are flat out frightening...to a point. The Magic back then were much better than the Cavs. Penny didn't turn into Peso and many believed would be part of the reason Orlando stayed competitive for many years to come. Shaq was Shaq, before he became the Fat Diesel and blah blah blah. Still, a cautionary tale was set in stone for all young teams with that one great star and to this day...it's barely looked back on. Even now, with the Cavs reeling from being dismantled and dissected like a frog in biology, many will feel the need to pencil the Cavs back in to the Finals next season. For what? To get blown out of the water again by whatever heavyweight the West throws at them? Just think about how much worse these games could've been if a team that actually had offense could've been here in San Antonio's place. Either way, the Cavs said all the right things all week. Said they were going for the title, said they were confident that they could beat the Spurs in spite of being down 2-0, then 3-0. But I harkon back to something my Dad always and still tells me to this day.
"You can show me a lot better than you can tell me."
The Cavs told me in no uncertain terms, they won their title and were simply content with having their name appear next to the Spurs. I have no respect for anyone or thing that's merely content with finishing second. I won't do this often, if at all, but I agree with Isiah who said a few years back...
"Winning is the only thing I respect."
For a bonafide loser through and through as a coach and executive dumbass, that's just flat out profound. And let's look at these moves for the Cavs shall we and see exactly why they WON'T be back next season.
A) LeBron's greatest flaws were revealed to the world this series. He's afraid of clutch situations and please, please, please...no 'he dropped 48 on the Pistons in Game 5 in Detroit'. His team desperately needed him to step up and he got knocked back again and again. He followed up one of the single greatest postseason games in recent memory with a despicable flop against the league's best defensive team.
B) Hughes more and more is looking like a flat out bust for the Cavaliers. He's injured way too much, his offense is way to skittish and simply put, he's not what LBJ needs to take that next step.
C) There are a lot of folks on this team who can shoot, but to win a title, you need people who KNOW that when they shoot it, the shot's falling ten times out of eight. The Bulls had it when they won theirs, the Celts, Lakers, Spurs all have it. The Cavs do not. When teams closed in on Jordan, he kicked it and someone drained it. You never heard the press knock Jordan because he actually made a smart basketball play rather than throwing up an ill-advised shot.
D) Mike Brown needs to read "Coaching For Dummies", because this series proved beyond a shadow of a doubt he can't coach. He can't make adjustments, can't make calls that the average couch potato at home would make in his place. Fact is, if you need proof of this...look at the last 45 seconds of Game 4 as your case study.
Fact is going into next season, the Cavs aren't the best team and odds on favorite to represent the JV Conference going up against the West. That honor belongs to the Bulls, who have a young nucleus in place that figures to get younger and better with whomever they take in the draft. Then there are the Wizards, who will have a healthy Agent Zero back and ready to roll after watching LBJ roll over the Wizards in the first round this year. Oh, did I forget the Heat? I'm sorry, but the concept of Shaq teaching fat kids how to be fit is as laughable if not moreso than Mo'Nique teaching the Flava of Love girls how to be primp and proper "ladies". Still, I think the Heat's got a very, VERY slim window to operate from in terms of getting back. They're gonna have to swap some expendable role players out for some younger or slightly less decrepit folks and other than that, D-Wade's the best pure player in the conference not named James (he's got a ring and a Finals MVP to prove it). Here's another fact for folks to consume. Did you know that the last time an Eastern Conference team to not win the title out of Chicago, Detroit, Miami or Boston were the Sixers in the early 80s? Yes, the Fo-Fi-Fo Sixers of Moses, The Doc, Andrew Toney, Mo Cheeks and company were the last Eastern Conference team to win it all not coming from what I guess you could call the "Big Three Cities" plus South Beach. Wanna know what's funny in the oddest way? Thursday night just before the second half started, ABC played "Don't Stop Believin" which was exactly the last song Tony Soprano played in the series finale of The Sopranos. Even if the fans didn't stop believing, I could tell the Cavs as a team did. The body language all but said it in no uncertain terms. Yet again, I find myself quoting BIll Simmons (who said what I've been saying all year, only he got his printed first) in that Cleveland had no business being in the 2007 Finals. None.
As for LeBron, my advice to him would be simply this. Leave. When your contract runs out, just hit the bricks. Don't be like KG, who's basically the marquee attraction to the worst act in Minnesota not wearing purple with a Viking horn. Once management knows you're okay with just being the sideshow attraction to a losing team, they know they don't have to do a thing to put a winner around you. You've given them the go-ahead to lose with you headlining the circus act. Cleveland's a town that's simply put, afflicted with losing no matter how you slice it or dice it. The Cavs that Magic Johnson deemed the "Team of the 90s" was infinitely more talented than the one you're on now and you know the reason why they never won a Conference Championship? Because the Eastern Conference was infinitely deeper and tougher than the one you're sitting atop of now. Back then, you would've eaten a few hard shots on your way to the hole. Jordan did before he eventually adjusted and moved on past it. Jordan, got 6 rings because he was cold blooded. He wanted to win at all costs and simply put, his game did his talking for him. I don't see that in you, LeBron. Not at all. Jordan would've rallied the troops after falling down 0-2 in this series. He wouldn't have tolerated his team getting drubbed by 29 points after three quarters in Game 2, then basically doing nothing in the next two games. Age has nothing to do with my critique of you, because simply put, the media's made it next to impossible for me to feel sorry for you. You're "King James". You're the Next Big Thing to them. In my mind, you're the next in a long line of pretenders to the "throne" that Jordan vacated and ever since, hasn't had a suitable "heir" since. I will say that if Duncan gets a few more rings (two by my count), he just might have it filled by the most unconventional of candidates. Still, your performance in the Finals if it were a wrestling match would be the stuff that Wrestlecrap is made of. Seriously. It was like watching a guy botch move after move after move with the crowd cringing at what blown spot would come next and how horrible it would look. I swear, watching this reminded me of an old tag team match between the Midnight Express and the Road Warriors from back in 1988. The Road Warriors' music hit, they came out, kicked ass and became champions before leaving like nothing ever happened. That's what watching this series felt like and for all of you critics and experts who predicted six games for this series, give me your press passes now because you've officially admitted to knowing jackspit about the sport you're paid to cover on the regular. While nobody outside of Ohio really expected the Cavs to win this series, what's even more laughable is how all of you are trying to no sell the validity of San Antonio's status in the Dynasty Club that the Celtics, Bulls, Lakers and Pistons are a part of in basketball lore, the Patriots just recently joined in football and uh... looks like it'll be a while before we get another addition from the MLB clique. There's more parity than even Bud Selig will care to admit.
Still, this will rank as the single most lopsided Finals in history. Moreso
than the 2002 Finals, because at least the Nets looked like a team that
deserved to be there, the Lake Show was just firing on all cylinders. Same goes for the 1995 Magic, who simply didn't recover after Game 1. Houston wasn't THAT much better than them, but that's where you could see a crystalized case between inexperience and complacency (which is what we saw in the case of the Cavs over the past week). Complacency let the Cavaliers more or less settle for being there, when nobody said or thought they would. They didn't bother trying to compete (not like it'd have mattered, the Spurs were hands down the better team) and it showed in some rather obvious ways. The mistakes that LeBron was making weren't what he was doing when he was acting like Jordan in the last two games of the JV Conference Finals (and FYI, JV for me will stand for Jabroni Varsity, because most of these teams are just that. Jabronis.). He was happy to be there, just like the rest of the Cavs. And now, they're done. But unlike the Magic from 1995, he doesn't have the big, bad Bulls to worry about trampling him and his crew out of town...right? Well, while there's no Jordan in red and white...they do have a really good young nucleus of hungry Baby Bulls ready to charge their way back and wanna know the ironic thing about all of this? The last great dynasty of the Eastern Conference is the only hope the JV League has of restoring the balance of...no, let me stop there. The only hope the JV League has of someone keeping the title away from the West for any extended period of time, are the last hope the JV League has of regaining any credibility on a postseason level. But in this case, Stern and every other junkie of the league learned the time tested saying which was...
There are two tragedies in the world. Not getting what you want...and getting it.
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