Here are my thoughts on the game...

1. Lebron James: Wow. This is what we've all been waiting for. It's not just the superstar stat line -- 25 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists -- it's the way he dominated the game down the stretch. Not only did he toss in 13 ginormous points during a come-from-behind fourth quarter, he also created a bunch of opportunities for his teammates...opportunities they repeatedly took advantage of. (Take heed, Kobe.) He even defended (and successfully contained) Billups down the stretch. Not a bad night's work.

2. Chauncy Billups: Can we revoke his "Mr. Bigshot" nickname? Billups got blanked in the first half (0-for-6 from the field, 0-for-4 from three-point range, 3 points, 1 assist, four turnovers), and although he did manage to score 23 points, his shooting was terrible (6-for-16, 2-for-9 from beyond the arc). He also forced up an off-balance three-pointer with his team down 88-85 and 21 seconds left on the clock. It was a bad miss at the worst time. Sure, it's a shot Chauncy usually makes, but not in this series so far.

3. Drew Gooden: His 19 points and 8 rebounds made the city of Cleveland forget about how well Carlos Boozer is playing for the Jazz. For tonight at least. More importantly, Drew hit a cluster of big-time jumpers to stave off the Pistons' fourth quarter rally. He also played some seriously aggressive defense on 'Sheed.

4. Rasheed Wallace: He's so fiery, so talented...and such an unbelievable douchebag.

5. Daniel Gibson: When Larry Hughes got injured (again) in Game 3, most people were predicting a little doom and a lot of gloom for the Cavs. Enter the rookie: 21 points on 4-for-7 shooting and 12-for-12 from the line. Uh, Larry, why don't you just take your time and get healthy, mmm'kay? Yahoo headlines for this game include "Unknown rookie leads Cavaliers to victory" and "Who is Daniel Gibson." Enjoy the limelight, rook. You earned it.

6. Rip Hamilton: Not only did The Phantom have a regrettable shooting night (9-for-21), he also had the audacity to talk trash at Lebron before the King's game-clinching freethrows. His smackity earned him a little forearm shiver, and James looked really fired up afterward. Bad move there, Rip. It's never a good idea to start whacking the bee's nest with a stick.

7. That Cavalier defense: The Cavs gave up only 93.8 PPG this season (fifth in the league), and teams shot only 44.8 percent against them (eighth in the league). What's more, they've upped their defensive intensity in the playoffs: their victims are scoring only 85.5 PPG (ranked first) and shooting 42.5 percent (also ranked first). How is it nobody was talking about that before they started manhandling the Pistons?

8. Ooooops: Did everybody see Lebron accidentally tip in two points for the Pistons with four tics left on the clock, reducing the Cavalier lead to two? That had to be a crappy feeling.

9. That sinking feeling: If you're the Pistons, you're probably feeling a little nervous. And if you're not, you really should be.

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Blogger Josh Budd said...
Lebron tapped that in just to show the Pistons that he could score ANYTIME, anywhere.

And yes, if Gibson could somehow take over for Larry 'but my mom says I'm a star' Hughes, Cleveland actually has a chance to get swept in the Finals.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Oh, c'mon josh...Cleveland would win at least one "pride" game in the Finals. You know, a win where they cut the deficit to 2-1 and everybody starts saying "Now it's a series!" But then they lose the next two and those same people then say, "Cleveland never really had a chance."