Sweeping Revelations (NBA 2nd Round)
But ya know what? I'm laughing now that the folks at ESPNis are starting to acknowledge that maybe, just MAYBE LeBron is really LeHype after all. That perhaps, LeBron only looks really menacing, when the team he's facing isn't truly putting up a fight. Last year, against Orlando, they put up a fight and LeBron was sent home. The year before that, Boston sparked by three future HOFers who were deprived of their first ring...went all Super Twins and again, sent LBJ home. In 2007, after Detroit folded up shop way too soon, they ran into the Spurs who didn't forget LBJ posterizing the True F'N Franchise Tim Duncan. They were rolled up in 4 rather uneventful games. This Spring has been enlightening on multiple levels...let us count the ways...
A) Utah really was the lesser of two dysfunctional teams.
- I'm not sure why, how or whatever, but Phil Jackson is Jerry Sloan's daddy. Jerry had no luck when he had Malone and Stockton to Jordan, Pippen and Rodman of Phil. He's had even less luck with Kobe, Pau and Khlodom. It's one thing to have a superior point guard, but when you are tremendously undersized in the frontcourt...it's a wrap any way you slice it.
B) Before we get all excited, let's not forget that the Suns are still the SUNS.
- Meaning? The Lakers will set them down in order, UNLESS J-Rich continues to be that third wheel of death for Phoenix. Los Angeles is tremendously tall in its frontcourt in a way that can and probably should kill Phoenix. But if Phoenix can get production from its bench and J-Rich can keep his torrid pace going, the Suns could set the repeat aspirations down in a hurry.
C) If you don't believe in Magic...continue not doing so. They like it like that.
- I tried telling y'all these guys were good. I tried telling you that with a healthy Jameer and a hungry Vince, these guys weren't nothing to play with. I'm going to go on record as saying right now, an Orlando/Boston rematch intrigues me more than Orlando/Cleveland for this reason...
Last year, Orlando without Jameer beat Boston without KG. This year, all participants are healthy and able bodied. I wholeheartedly think this will be a much better series than LBJ taking on Dwight and company with an older, free throw deficient, late game liability in Shaq and a bunch of ho-hummers.
D) If you honestly think that LeBron staying in Cleveland is his best shot at winning a ring, you clearly haven't been watching the last 5 games.
- Seriously, you haven't. I love the playoffs more than the regular season because every lie you've been pushed into believing gets exposed. This has never been more true than with the Cavs the last two years. In a way, it's almost like watching history repeat itself only this year may have a more painful ending for the city of Cleveland than the last. Only this one if it ends unhappily, could end up setting basketball in the city back...say thirty years or so. (And that's being very, VERY nice.)
Sunday, all the talk was about Double R and his triple double that was simply legendary. A few hours ago, the Boston Three Party reminded us all that they're still around and they want their damn torch back. All the talk since that game Sunday revolved around Rondo and it got the Cavs forgetting...Pierce, Garnett and Allen. All three, ended up crushing Cleveland by sending Boston on a run that gave them a lead which they would not relinquish. I watched bits and pieces of this game and I was stunned. Not at how the game was unfolding, but how LeBron just looked like he legitimately didn't give a shit. So that said, let me say this rather bluntly...
It's over for Cleveland and there's no two ways to say it.
If you remove the Game 1 meltdown from the equation and of course, their collective no-show in Game 3, Boston's OWNED this series. Hell, aside from Game 3, they've practically had their way with Cleveland from start to finish. I said that Game 2 was Boston's literal and figurative, 'we own your ass' statement. Well, I was wrong. Game 5 was the emphatic...
"We took your asses out two years ago and we're going to do it again this year. We let you think all you had to do was put LeBron on Rondo and all would be well, but you were wrong. Pierce is back and we've got control of this series. We will end this on Thursday night and there is NOTHING you can do to stop it."
Boston is one of two teams that do not fear LeBron in any way. The other's sitting in Florida awaiting either a trip to Cleveland for Game 1, or awaiting Boston's arrival in Florida for a rematch of their 2nd round clash a year ago. Still, when Shaquille O'Neal is your leading scorer in a MUST WIN game at home and your fans are all wearing matching 'how in the fuck did we get HERE?!' looks on their faces...something's wrong and there is. Cleveland, for all the manuevering they've done, still have the same problem as before. No reliable second option to take the game off LeBron's shoulders, still too old to run most of the time and not enough reliable shooters for LeBron to dish to when defenses close on him.
LeBron had a deer in headlights look that simply put, unnerved me to some degree. It made me wonder deeply (as I'm sure Skip Bayless will point out later on 1st and 10) if Prince James is really getting done in by all of the pressure to win a ring THIS YEAR. Pressure makes diamonds and busts pipes. Unless LBJ's got two really great games left in him, he's going to have the longest summer of his life trying to decide where to ball for the next three to five years or so.
So in about 24 hours or so, I'm going to do something rather uncharacteristic...
I'm going to write a column way ahead of schedule in the HOPES I'm proven right. :P I'm gone for now...which Cleveland may be 24 hours plus away from being...for a very long while if LBJ goes elsewhere.