next year

Editor's note: Many thanks to Rudy W. for the top picture and to stephanie g for most of the other pics.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: What can I say? I was stunned last night when the Celtics eliminated the Craboliers, and I'm still stunned today. Not only was Cleveland the league's best regular season team led by the best player in the Nine Realms, but Boston was supposed to fail. I mean, the Celts had been failing all season...they were a bunch of broken down (or breaking) old geezers who didn't give a shit anymore. I've seen bugs explode on my windshield that weren't as left for dead as the C's were at various points over the past six months.

And yet they're moving on while the Crabs have gone fishin'. The mighty Crabs couldn't make it out of the second round...couldn't even force a seventh game. What happened?

ESPN's John Hollinger believes it was a case of offense gone horribly, horribly wrong:

Offensively, however, the Cavs were disastrous, especially in the second half. Cleveland got to the break in decent shape thanks to a 20-point first half from Mo Williams, but scored only 36 points after halftime. While there's a laser focus on LeBron James' performance, he and Williams were the only two scorers who did anything.

The other Cavaliers were 12-of-44 from the field, including 2-of-10 from Antawn Jamison -- acquired at midseason to be the final piece of Cleveland's keep-LeBron-at-all-costs puzzle as he enters his free agent year.

And of course, there were the turnovers -- 24 of them, nearly a quarter of the Cavs' possessions. An average figure is barely half that. The Cavs struggled even when they kept the ball, as they misfired on 3s (5-of-17), missed 10 foul shots of their own and shot only 41.1% inside the arc. LeBron, of course, was a major contributor with nine turnovers, and he once again struggled from outside; over the final two games he was three-of-19 from the field.
Dr. Jack Ramsay thinks that, in addition to Mo Williams running out of gas, Antawn Jamison forgetting to show up, a collective no-show by the Cleveland bench and woeful coaching from Mike Brown, the Craboliers got jipped by the officials:

In the fourth quarter after LeBron hit those two 3-pointers to cut the deficit to four, I thought Cleveland caught a couple of bad breaks. Anderson Varejao was fouled twice and the officials didn't call either one, allowing the Celtics to get fast-break opportunities instead of sending Varejao to the foul line. The Cavs never got back into it.
Uh huh. I'm here to tell you there were some iffy calls going both ways. In other words, it was a typical NBA playoff game.

Let's face it, this was a complete team meltdown, one through 12 and the entire coaching staff. It was a choke job of near Biblical proportions. I actually thought that Mo Williams' offensive explosion -- 20 points in the first half -- would save them. After all, the theory was that LeBron only needed one of his teammates to step up, that Cleveland only had to keep things close, for King Crab to prevail.

But it didn't happen. Even when the Crabs took a brief third quarter lead, they looked flat. Even when LeBron hit back-to-back threes to cut Boston's lead to 78-74 early in the fourth quarter, you could kind of tell his teammates had stopped believing, if not in their leader then in themselves. On one possession, Williams bricked a wide open 15-footer -- and I mean bricked badly -- but Cleveland nabbed the offensive board. The ball rotated to an open Jamison, who's shot was both rushed and wide right (laces out!).

None of the Craboliers wanted the ball in crunch time.

The body language was as surprising as anything else: Dipped heads, slumped shoulders, guys just walking around, seemingly disinterested in whatever "play" Mike Brown was calling from the sideline. Even King Crab's triple-double -- 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists -- was marred by 9 turnovers, 8-for-21 shooting, and a notable lack of aggression. The effort was there. Nobody grabs 19 rebounds in an elimination game without trying. But it seemed like his will was broken.

And how 'bout those final minutes, when the Crabs were still (technically) within striking distance but refused to foul to stop the clock. Here's how Basketbawful reader Clifton put it:

Gawd, watching the last 1:30 of that game was awkward. I mean, AWKWARD. You were literally watching the complete dissolution of a team's psyche. Just content to let the Celtics get it over with...Varejao standing 6 feet from Pierce with his hands on his hips for 10 seconds on the C's next-to-last possession might be the image I'll remember the longest.

That was horrible, though. It was like having two friends who used to be married, but have been divorced for a few years, and watching them argue over who "has to be saddled with" their 7-year-old this weekend...in front of their 7-year-old.

It would have been less painful to watch if they'd gone up to the scorer's table with 1:30 left and forfeited. Seriously, down 9 with 90 seconds to go? Steep climb, sure, but it's POSSIBLE. This wasn't like watching a team down 20 with 1:30 left playing full-court press. Cleveland still had a chance, albeit a small one, at the point when they gave up.

I'm still shaking my head. I can't fathom what I just saw. Hey, free-agency-world, it's LeBron! Guaranteed to actually quit on your team when the going gets tough. Whatever, someone's still going to give him sick cash, but I think the respective 4th quarters of the last two games have done more to cement LeBron's legacy in my mind than any of his "dominating" performances. You don't get the measure of a man by his actions when times are good. It's when the sh*t hits the fan when you find out what a man's made of.
Of course, Clifton's outlook contrasts starkly with a reader e-mail Henry Abbott published on TrueHoop:

You rarely see any athlete take the kind of criticism LeBron has over the past few days. I'm having trouble thinking of another instance where someone has had such a brilliant start to his career and had every part of his game and psychological makeup questioned.

There's nothing wrong with questioning someone's play after a bad game, but people have attacked his heart, desire, and even basketball IQ in the blogosphere. Supposedly he doesn't have a "killer instinct" despite the fact that he has single-handedly destroyed many teams in the playoffs previously.

All this, and we still don't have any real information on the seriousness of his injury.

I don't know if people are just jealous of his success, like to act like know-it-alls, or just get some weird enjoyment at being able to tear someone down behind the anonymity of the internet. But it's kind of gross.
I'm sure there are people who are, as that TrueHoop reader pointed out, attacking LeBron. It's sports, it happens, get over it. But I also believe there are a lot of people who are trying to make sense of what they've "Witnessed." For the last several years, we've all been subjected to a non-stop LeBron-a-thon...all LeBron, all the time. And most recently, the dude has received back-to-back MVPs, received praise by leading stat geeks as perhaps the greatest by-the-numbers player ever, and been proclaimed as The Guy Who's Going To Supplant Michael Jordan As The Greatest Of All Time.

Then this happens.

You know, people used to believe that leaving a pile of wet rags in the corner of their house would make frogs. I'm not kidding. Same as people used to think -- and some still do -- that walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror will cause bad luck. Human beings need answers for things that don't make sense. When the near-consensus BEST PLAYER ON THE PLANET and his BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE fail in back-to-back years as the undisputed favorite, our collective gasts become a little flabbered. So please forgive us.

And here are some more random comments from Bawful readers and contributors:

Future Guy:

And the Curse of Ehlo lives on. Or maybe it's the Curse of Mike Brown Can't Coach His Way Out of A Paper Bag.
chris:

I love how ESPN has to have A Very Special Edition of SportsCenter in the wake of King Crab suffering from a New England seafood bake tonight!

I also love Paul "Wheelchair" Pierce telling the media straight up "We're not really proud of this...our goal this year was to win a championship, not just one series" when being asked "how do you feel about this accomplishment of actually winning a series as an underdog?"

I love how this dramatic ESPN segment is comparing King Crab losing in the second round...to things like The Fumble and other forms of Cleveland sports fail.

A few minutes ago, as the press conference camera panned on an empty chair with a Gatorade bottle...

"It's like Waiting for Godot. No wait, it's like a Gatorade commercial."

Um, I think Godot not showing up still didn't do as much philosophical damage as LeBron not showing up in Game 5...

And yes, an actual Gatorade commercial played right after that. Sigh.
Adam:

My only issue is that the game was on ESPN instead of TNT. I'd have LOVED to see the Crabs go fishin'. It would have been strangely appropriate.
Never fear, Adam. Basketbawful is here!

LeBron fishing photo

plonden:

WoTN nomination for the refs for the non-call on the Big Geritol's travel. He switched his pivot foot at least two separate times. Pure bawful at its finest.
Sorbo:

Read Simmons book where he talks about Kobe. He's right, there are two sides of Kobe, the Fox and the Wolf. He knows the best way to win a game, he just always wants to be the one to make the big shot. That's his career: stuck between the best way to win and him being the hero. You can't always be both. Watch Game 5 against Oklahoma, when Kobe accepting the win and not the hero status.

We have to bring it up now, because the biggest free agent story just shit his pants in the second round. Let me call it for you: LeBron in New York. He'll go there and Stoudemire won't be far behind. Wade will stay in Miami and Bosh will go to Chicago. Isn't it funny that the supposed "three best players" and Joe Johnson will be watching the playoffs from here on out? Meanwhile Pumaman is heading towards his second Eastern Finals and possibly second Finals. MVP recount?

I can't remember a year where both Magic and Bird both missed the conference finals.

BTW. LeBron in Chicago is crazy talk. He would only go there if they traded Rose (too many ball handlers, if Rose stays), and Chicago would get nothing in return (Rose still in his rookie contract). Plus, he hates Noah. Hates him. Not hate-respects him, but hates him.

That would be like someone saying that in 1990 Jordan would go to Detroit because they had Laimbeer and Thomas. Just stupid. The Clippers have a better shot at LeBron than Chicago.
Wild Yams:

Last year when LeBron didn't shake the hands of the Magic players and was criticized for it he defended his actions, saying something like he wouldn't want to shake the hand of someone who beat him. If he really believes that, why did he shake the Celtics players' hands? I just hate that he never actually admitted that he was wrong, but he clearly knows he did the wrong thing (or he still doesn't understand what he did wrong, but his advisers told him not to make the same mistake again).

I wonder how much the whole LeBron's free agency thing was a distraction to the Crabs. Do you think the whole thing cost Cleveland a championship? How funny would that be if LeBron's ego trip with this free agency nonsense cost him a title and brought all this scrutiny on himself.
Heretic:

Yeah the Cavs just decided "Fuck it man, we are who you thought we were" at the end of the fourth. Didn't they watch the Reggie Miller documentary? Miracles can happen!! Well maybe its because from the sport cursed land of Cleveland.
LotharBot:

New nickname:

LeGone.

Gone from the playoffs. Gone from Cleveland.
Now, let's focus in...

LeBron James: Like I said above: 9 turnovers for the near quadruple-bumble. And some of them weren't forced. They were just bad, bad decisions. And it wasn't just 'Bron's ball handling and shooting that was off. He was off. He was not the same player we saw during the regular season, or even the same player that single-handedly decimated the Pistons in the playoffs a few years back. Something was wrong. I don't know if it was the elbow, or the pressure of expectations, or the doubt about his own future. But this was not the King Crab we're used to seeing.

Heck, he didn't even try to contest this dunk by KG:


I will always remember the way LeBron glared around after he hit a half-court shot in Game 4 of Cleveland's first round series against the Bulls. Experts and fans were all like, "Oooo! You can see how determined LeBron is this year!" Watch it:


Mind you, his team was already up 20 points at the time. No offense, but it's easy to act like a badass when you're blowing away an inferior team. I didn't see many of those glares, or any dancing, or any of the other antics associated with the Crabs going on against Boston. Funny thing that.

LeGone
Mmm...Crab vomit.

Shaq: 11 points, 4 rebounds, zero blocked shots and 5 personal fouls in 24 minutes. At this point, The Big Geritol would make a slightly above-average backup center on a good team. Seriously, that's his ceiling right now. Remember back when Shaq said he'd retire when he was "only as good as David Robinson"? The Admiral closed out his career as an integral part of a championship team. Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed Most Dominant Ever couldn't even championship piggyback alongside the best player in the multiverse. Yeah, I think Shaq is done.

Shaq ring king

Antawn Jamison: Cleveland traded for him so that he could be, in Reggie Miller's words, "the Robinson to LeBron's Batman." His elimination game contribution: 5 points, 2-for-10 shooting, 5 rebounds, zero assists, and countless terrified, please-don't-pass-me-the-ball looks on his face. Speaking of which...


As Basketbawful reader Heretic put it:

Rasheed made a couple of threes...un-fucking-believable. That Tony Allen dunk was vicious as hell, he cocked it way back and wham right in the face of Jamison.

I live in the DC area and even though Jamison was half decent on the Wizards, I had the feeling that on a better team he would wilt. Good to know my Shitty Player In Disguise Detector (patent pending) is still working.
Can you believe that, as recently as the first round of the playoffs, people were still comparing the Jamison-to-Cleveland trade to the Gasol-to-L.A. deal? Ha!

Mo Williams in the second half: Mo giveth...and Mo taketh away. Williams kept the Crabs in the game in the first half by scoring 20 points, but he managed only 2 points in the second half and finished with a second-worst-in-the-game 5 turnovers versus only 4 assists. I think Bill Simmons put it best when he said Williams was the pimple on the ass of the All-Star game.

Speaking of which, bravo to Simmons for inspiring the "New York Knicks!" chant during last night's game:


Cleveland's bench: Anderson Varejao's 6-point, 7-rebound performance was the best this group could muster. Did I mention Andy shot 2-for-7? Freaking J.J. Hickson -- who was so important during the regular season -- earned a freaking Mario. On that subject...

Mike Brown: Let's see: He still hasn't learned how to coach an offense and he randomly decided to scrap his rotation for the final few playoff games. Is Mike Brown the worst coach to ever win Coach of the Year? Quite possibly, yes. But you know what? I've been going after Brown for years now and I don't have the energy to do it anymore. Once you've beaten a dead horse into a rine, red paste, what's left? So if you want to pick up your torch and pitchfork to help drive Mike out of Cleveland, head over to the Bleacher Report to read all about why the Cavaliers should fire Brown.

LeBron James, quote machine: "The fact that it's over right now is definitely a surprise to me. A friend of mine told me, 'I guess you've got to go through a lot of nightmares before you realize your dream.' That's what's going on for me individually right now."

Dennis Manoloff, quote machine: Basketbawful reader Alex B. sent in this Manoloff quote:

If the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 Cavaliers can't win a title, which team from the big three is going to break through and finally connect with the '64 Browns?

The answer is none.

It's not going to happen.

Cleveland will never win a championship in the NBA or another one in the NFL or MLB. Never. Not in my lifetime, not in anybody's lifetime from here on out.
As Alex put it: "Wow...I'd recommend a sad trombone, but this is cold enough."

Takin' pictures: Fun.

LeBron Boston photo

LeBron LA photo

LeBron Orlando photo

ESPN experts: Fail.

ESPN Cleveland fail

Kevin Garnett, scold machine: KG just loves spanking the Baby.


Lacktion report: And now for chris's Crustacean cookoff Thursday playoff lacktion report:

Crabs-Celtics: Zydrunas Ilgauskas finishes his second stint for Cuyahoga County's crab crew with a 3:2 Voskuhl (fouls against a field goal) in 14:53, while J.J. Hickson had to decide between Princess Peach and Pauline in 10 seconds for a Mario.

For Coach Kevin Garnett, er, Doc Rivers, Marquis Daniels collected a basket of creminis in just 6 seconds for a SUPER MARIO!

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77 Comments:
Anonymous teaguejd said...
I think part of the absolute vitriol aimed at James by the media now is because his absolute and utter choke job made them all look like idiots. They ARE idiots, but don't like it being shoved in their faces.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Since I'm too busy doubling over with laughter from those photoshops, I'm going to just copy the series of text messages I sent to Bawful last night after the game was over and he texted me saying: "Stunning..."

"Seriously. Was just talking to Dad about it. Crabs will be lucky to win 30-35 games next year without LeBron unless they clean house, but LeBron won't take them to a title anyway. No point guard, horrible coaching, and ZERO sense of urgency from the entire team. Cannot believe how little they cared. It looked like the Penguins in Game 7 (of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals against Montreal) when they got down 4-0 early because NOBODY tried hard or gave a shit for some reason. A couple guys like Sergei Gonchar seemed to not care because they had one foot out the free agency door anyway. Hmm, why does that sound familiar?"

(Oh, and sorry about the lack of BAD posts the past couple days. Work is kicking my ass right now. As I texted Bawful this morning, "I should have just gone to bed right after the Crabs/Celtics game. I'm more lethargic than the Crabs were with 1 minute left in the game. Ugh...")

Anonymous somedood said...
Pretty epic and hilarious post. I've enjoyed rooting against LeChoke in the past couple seasons, but as a Bulls fan, I'm now conflicted. Of course I'd love for the best basketball player in the world to be on my favorite team...but this level of scrutiny come playoff time will be nigh unbearable.

Anonymous Patrick said...
@ Bawful : "For the last several years, we've all been subjected to a non-stop LeBron-a-thon...all LeBron, all the time. And most recently, the dude has received back-to-back MVPs, received praise by leading stat geeks as perhaps the greatest by-the-numbers player ever, and been proclaimed as The Guy Who's Going To Supplant Michael Jordan As The Greatest Of All Time.

Then this happens."

Yes, I agree completely. The sports media, shills for the League, have shoved this fellow down everyone's throat, and now wonder why there is a tremendous backlash when he falls short of being a god. They gave the 24-7 sales job, and it takes an awful lot of nerve to accuse disappointed fans who bought their garbage of being ungracious.

I couldn't care less what Henry Abbot or any media types think about anything, though, which is why I'm not shocked to find out LeBron is capable of losing a series.

Blogger Iceberg said...
This is so f-ing Cleveland. I didn't even watch the fourth quarter, because this script has been played so many times. The only thing that will make this a 100% repeat of the usual story is if LeBron and/or any other decent player leaves/is traded to an east coast team. F.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Awesome pics. Can you put the 2007 Spurs in there, too?

Can we get a WotN for officiating. I know bad calls on both sides cancelled each other out, but sweet big baby jesus were the refs terrible.

On TrueHoop's Henry Abbot:
Can we think of any other series after Detroit where Lebron totally dominated a very good team? He's had some other good playoff performances in the first round, but I've never seen him take over a series the way he did against the Pistons three years ago (which at the time was pretty spectacular).

And yes, Henry, he doesn't have a killer instinct (see Games 1/2/4/5/6 against Boston and four of five games in in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals). Also, look at the 2008 Gold Medal game, Kobe took that final over, not Lebron.

Blogger Adam said...
Love the photoshops!

Last night shortly after the loss, I went to the Wikipedia page for the Cavs and noticed that it had been updated with startling news. I took a screenshot because no fewer than five minutes later, it was corrected. Have fun: http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/8401/crabsi.png

WV: dismsj
The Crabs were dismsj from the playoffs by the Celtics

Blogger Cortez said...
What I find hilarious is all of the people diving head first from the "King James" bandwagon.

Similar to our gracious host, I love saying I told you so.

When the Cavs made their "upgrade" trades I posted a couple of comments based around two points.

1) O'Neal would be a detriment, not an asset, based solely on current basketball ability.

2) The rest the Cavs, outside of James, consisted of the same bums of limited ability that I've watched accomplish nothing of note the past 5+ seasons on various other teams.

Personally, I've always had actual basketball issues with James but this year, starting with the "competitors don't shake hands", the infamous "Crab Dribble" plus the subsequent bitching about the call and extending to the all the preening and sideline antics it was satisfying to see such a douche lose again.

Plus, as a lifelong Celtics (Bird) fan it is twice as sweet!

By the way, those James as photographer pictures are on point!

"I love it when a plan comes together."
~Hannibal Smith

Blogger Wormboy said...
Rarely so pleased to be dead wrong. The officiating was straight up, with a couple of bad calls each way but nothing you'd call "James Rules" or home cooking. Consequently, the better team won.

I'm going to call it coaching. Doc Rivers figured out how to play the Cavs, and Brown never adjusted back. These games were very similar to the Suns games, in that they were won by defense (it's only that it's shocking in the case of the Suns). Hence the hackneyed phrase about defense and championships. Occasionally there are teams with so much offensive talent that they don't have to win with D. But often enough even those teams will find out too late that a good D team can still beat them (why else would Detroit have won a championship the way they did?) And the Cavs never were that over-talented offensive team. The Celts made James work his ass off, the rest of the Cavs couldn't do it. Plus, I think James is too tired to carry the team by himself against that pressure. Dude looked wiped and tense, and Brown's offensive strategy, as usual, was "LeBron will take care of things." Their 5 option offense looked terrible against a good offensive team.

And everybody is saying how James failed, but how about some credit for the Celtics? This team knows how to win championships, and with Garnett apparently having found the fountain of youth, they were just unbeatable. Rasheed even broke into a run once or twice!

Just like in 2008, who can beat the Celtiucs when they have all of their offensive weapons playing well, and have that nasty D desire? If they can sustain it for two more rounds, they could win a championship. I think they're too old to do so, and Pierce in particular looked tired throughout the series. But IF they can play O with that balance, they could go all the way. This really did look like the team that sneered at the Lakers 2 years ago.

So lets give the Celtics their due, just like the Suns deserve credit.


PS And some love for Jeff Van Gundy about Varejao? "So what if you're bleeding? Blood cleanses the soul. Play on!" Sweet quote! It's like some bad action movie! I love it!

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Lebroncenter is getting annoying already. Well great writeup

Anonymous Heretic said...
Those "Lebron snapping photos" pics are killing me, I seriously had to bite on my fist to keep from laughing out loud at the office.

Wojnarowski has taken out his knife and fork and has already started to feast on the cooked ass of the king.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AqrolAdF9cXaSLojYSGOkGK8vLYF?slug=aw-lebroncalipari051410

He used to sing Lebron praises, and now seems to despise everything about him. This is what happens when you fall in love too young, how very fucking Shakespearean.

I'm putting on my tin foil hat and saying that he tanked that game on purpose. I may not be his biggest fan but even when he has off nights you can tell when he's actually trying to win. Yes he is known to choke in high pressure situations but he's been there before (Spurs at the finals, Magic at the eastern conference finals) but even against the Magic where it was 1 on 5 he never stopped trying. Game 6 at Boston he didn't choke, he simnply half assed it. Its not the elbow because of the monster game he had in Boston (unless a ghost has possessed his elbow and the ghost put down 10 large on the Celtics in 4 to 2).

BTW the quote by Lebron, are the "Lot of nightmares" the seasons he played in Cleveland and the "Dream" is free agency?

Anonymous Bill Foster said...
This is one of the most legendary "Worst of the Nights" in my three years of reading "Basketbawful". Thanks for all the hard work guys, it really is appreciated!

Blogger Dan B. said...
Cortez -- Respek knuckles. I've said that I enjoy watching LeBron play basketball. I've also said that I am disappointed in him far too often because it's a shame he doesn't take advantage of his natural abilities and therefore is depriving us the chance to see some of the best basketball of our lives. I'm not a LeBron lover or a LeBron hater. I'm somewhere in-between. But I do know this much -- you were absolutely right about the Shaq acquisition (and that's how I felt when I heard the news as well), and the rest of the Crabs are garbage. And, yes, woo Celtics!

Wormboy -- That line about bleeding cracked me up. I love that attitude. I almost expected him to channel his inner Swayze and say "Pain don't hurt."

Heretic -- Something definately didn't look right in Game 5 when LeBron just seemingly didn't try and didn't give a shit, and it was marginally better in Game 6, but still didn't feel like he had an attiude that said "I have to win this game." And that disgusts me.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Evil Ted just pointed something out to be about LeBron's "nightmares" quote:

"The fact that it's over right now is definitely a surprise to me. A friend of mine told me, 'I guess you've got to go through a lot of nightmares before you realize your dream.' That's what's going on for me individually right now."

Notice how he tacked "individually" onto that statement? Like, when the Pistons were trying to get past the Celtics in Lakers, it was the Pistons as a team, not Isiah Thomas. Ditto with the Bulls versus the Pistons, although Jordan took some heat for a lot of that.

I dunno. Maybe this is a sign that LeBron just isn't married to his team, didn't connect with them this season the way he did last season.

Blogger beep said...
When your entire bench scores as many points as Sheed you are done.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Bawful -- It definately seemed that way compared to last season, didn't it? And that'd be right in line with my "one foot out the free agency door" line from earlier, so it makes perfect sense.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Henry Abbott couldn't possibly have missed the point any more than he did. The ammount of criticism Lebron has endured over the past few days is a function of how poorly he has played and directly proportional to the ammount of hype he has received since before he was even drafted. For 7 years the guy has been billed as a messiah, someone who will change the game as we know it, win multiple MVP awards, a shitload of Finals and be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Comparisons to Jordan, comparisons to Magic, comparisons to Robertson. Is this fair to him? No (though he has done nothing to minimize the adulation and everything to maximize it). For 7 years there have been excuses made for him: he's young, he has a bad coach, he doesn't have the right teammates, the refs, the owner, the elbow, etc. This is the year the excuses finally ran out and people started holding him accountable. If you are responsable for your team's victories then at the very least you should be held responsable for its losses. There is no question the guy is an amazing player, but being an amazing player doesn't make you immune from being criticized. Quite the opposite.

Is what he has endured over the past few days really any worse than what people said about Kobe after Boston shut him down and ultimately won the Finals? Worse than what people say about Dirk after pretty much every postseason? I really don't think so. Yes, there are haters who simply look for any excuse to criticize the guy but there are also fanboys who look for any excuse not to. Abbott seems like the latter.

The only explanation I can come up with for the Cavs not to foul with a minute and a half to go is that it was Mike Brown handing in his resignation letter to management. "You can't fire, me I quit!"

Blogger Sid said...
Guys like AI, Kobe, MJ all had something to prove in their earlier years...they didn't have it easy...there were always critics and doubters to fuel them...they all turned out to be psychotic competitors who will eat you raw...Bron is one of the few one's who's had popular acclaim from the get go...Maybe that's why he doesn't give a lot of shit...Maybe the more we talk of LeChoke, the madder he will get...

I don't know whether to enjoy his defeat or suppress my emotions for fear of somehow adding fuel to his non-existent fire. Maybe this blog fuels him??

Blogger spongefrob said...
Coupla thoughts:

Can we get a "Worst of The Night" shoutout for Jeff Van Grumpy and the jerkoff twins calling the game last night? You'd think they'd have pulled themselves dry the first few games... Every shot LeBrot took was "huge".. whether or not it was a brick or a simple self-addressed stamped fail.... It was seriously icky. At one point one of 'em called a 10-0 Celtic run a 10-0 Cavaliers run... then had to correct hisself. And who gives a flying crab-dribble whether or no Mo Williams was wearing LeGon Janes shoes?

I mean, seriously... it was halfway through the fourth and the Cleveland bench were trying fashion makeshift nooses outta they towels and these guys were still crushin on James saying things like "LeBron can turn around any game any time" and "there's still plenty of time left..." Time left? For what? By that time in the game Lebron had the thousand yard stare available only to those for whom unlimited money, unsurpassed entitlement and total adulation of an entire city remains insufficient...

On a lighter note, for the first time in this post-season somebody elses elbows failed. I'm speaking, of course, of Shaq: The Brick Creaky spent half of the night feeding Kendrick Perkins a steady diet of elbows (and forearms). Perkins chewed on them and spit them back. Shaq seemed more than ordinarily confused by this... Is there anything sadder than a once mighty septuagenarian unwilling to pull the curtain on his career? And, when I say 'sadder..' I really mean 'funny as all hell..'


Also, Bawful, I saw your recent post on Larry Bird, Patron Saint of the Unbelievable Dish. I largely agree with your assessment of Birds passing ability: it was truly something to behold. The flip side, however, was in the catch. McHale, Parish, DJ or whomever, could catch it. More recently, the art of the catch has gone by the board. Several times (in this post-season alone) Rondo dished to someone who just wasn't ready for it... Turnovers are much much more prevalent now than in Birds day... because fewer people catch well.

Blogger Shiv said...
HOLY [EXPLETIVE]!!! Big Baby managed to not break down and cry. It was close, but he did it! No wonder the Celts won. Celts-Suns finals! Let's do this!!!

(Yes I know this shot is as long as it gets, but some pretty unbelievable things have happened already in these playoffs)

Kaptcha: "alizing", as in I've always known that Jordans without peer and will probably, but I'm re-alizing it now.

Blogger Cortez said...
Did anyone notice Glen Davis telling his teammates to shut the fuck up and leave him alone after he tried to take Big Z off the dribble instead of shooting the open jumpshot.

"I know, I fucked up! Shut the fuck up!"

Standing up for himself, good for him.

Blogger 49er16 said...
I was listening to the Jim Rome Show yesterday and Hubie Brown was one of the guests. Hubie absolutely destroyed Mike Brown for his coaching in this series. Hubie called Mike Brown's offense nonsensical and plodding, and that he should have ran a offense that worked off of screens to give LeBron the ball.

No where in that conversation did Hubie blame LeBron for not developing a new part of his game.

Good ole Hubie for you. And of course Hubie used a lot of hyperbole when talking about LeBron.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@Sorbo: Tha Henry Abbot quote kinda pisses me off. Everyone was on LeBron's nuts after the series, but the fact is that the Pistons imploded. They allowed LeBron to walk all over them even though they were perfectly capable of putting up a better defense. It was no accident that the Spurs effortlessly swept the Cavs in the finals later.

anyway, I am a self proclaimed "hater." I make no secret of my enmity. LeBron disgusts me. He is the antithesis of what I consider the Sportsmanship Ideal. What guys like Bird and Jordan represented. Or Lance Armstrong, Or eric Cantona, or Roger Federer, or John Higgins (assuming the recent heartbreaking allegations are untrue.)

He is as gifted an athlete as I've ever seen, and what he chose make of his gift was not to become great, but to become rich. I loathe LeBron, and seeing him fail has brightened up my week considerably.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Hellshocked

Yeah people were as harsh on Kobe as they were on Lebron after the Lakers got their asses handed to them after it had been repeatedly soiled.

The reason I was ok with Kobe losing is because he took it hard. He sat there in the locker game long after the game just completely shell shocked. The following year in the playoffs he played with sheer fury, giving terse responses to reporters and barking at his team mates despite the fact they were outplaying their opponents because he knew how tenuous a grasp anyone (even the favored team) has on a playoff victory. Guys that would let you blow by them in the regular season now will either make you earn it from the line with a hard foul or try to take a charge, guys that you've labeled as average suddenly put out maximum effort. The point is no one can afford to relax and expect to win in the playoffs. Why the fuck don't the sports "experts" get it the regular season is just the hors d' oeuvres, the playoffs is the main course and everyone knows you don't fill up on bread when lobster is coming. Time and time again teams that were awesome in the regular season make early exits in the post because they play like its another regular season game.

I've said it before and I'll say it again I have no problem with my fav player or team losing just as long as they gave it everything they have and they take that lose personally. When players/teams lose and simply say "oh well that's done, see ya on the flip side brah!!" and run out with a surfboard under one arm pisses me off to no end especially in the playoffs.

Blogger Dooj said...
I wonder if Big Z is thinking, "I should've joined a different team."

Brown is a horrible offensive coach, he needs to go back to being a defensive assistant. Makes me wonder how will Thibs will do as a head coach.

I must say that I'm very satisfied with Lebron losing. At the same time though, I'm at a loss for words to describe his play the last two games. Either he's injured or he just cracked under the pressure.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Well Woodson officially got the boot. He always reminded me of a sad walrus.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5188712

Wasn't he up for COTY for making the hawks a playoff team?

Blogger The Weekly Gazelle said...
Between this and the Suns, this has been the happiest week of NBA of my life. Seriously, I had work during the game so I couldn't watch it, but when my flatmate told me, we hugged and spontaneously broke out into a rendition of "oh Happy Day".

And if people are honestly wondering why people like me are happy to see him lose, it's just because he has been acting like a douche for well over 2 years. It's that simple. What's wrong with a bit of humility? I don't know, but feels sort of like the end of the 8 Bush years. Arrogance falls from grace. Brilliant. This has been the best present ever for Basketbawful. Thank you, and all the brilliant comments.

Anonymous Matt said...
Czernobog,
I understand that Cantona was a great, great, great player, but for the casual football follower, he might be best remembered for being sent off while kicking at an opponent (during the run of play, if I'm not mistaken) and then executing a karate-style kick at an opposing fan (who, admittedly, was not blameless in the situation).

I'm not saying he's a horrible person or anything, but when the lasting impression of a player, 15 years later, is how he attacked an opposing fan after getting sent off, it's probably not 100% correct to hold him up as an Ideal Sportsman.


wv: cloging LeBron might have had more success driving to the basket if Shaq wasn't cloging the paint.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
Soooo Lebron wanted chicago because they'd be more of a challenge.
So I guess they didn't want boston because they were too much of a challenge?

Blogger BadDave said...
This is a rare moment when I feel sorry for coaches. Seriously - the Hawks weren't so bad that I would have fired the coach. Coaches are expected to succeed IMMEDIATELY, with the definition of success only equaling a championship. I get the idea, but I think may teams have shortchanged themselves by not striving for continuity at the coaching slot, and then developing and building a team. By the time existing contracts end and trades and such takes place, five seasons would seem to be an appropriate coaching lifespan. Del Fuego is a good example. Some coaches wouldn't have even gotten the Bulls a playoff spot, with their injuries and lack of big men. Give him a little more talent and an assistant that can draw up plays, and see what happens.

Sloan forever.

Anonymous DKH said...
Eh. Probably everyone here would love to have LeBron on their team (18.5 win shares this season). Mike Brown will get fired. Maybe we'll find out LeBron was injured. That's about all I get out of this series. A lot of ya'll seem to be whipped up in the media frenzy.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
@Cortez: Couldn't agree more. I've seen glaciers move faster on defense than the Big Geritol. And any team that is giving Jamario Moon quality minutes is in *trouble*. He was a fan favourite when he broke in here in Toronto, because the team was awful anyways, and his was a somewhat heartwarming story... but the guy is not a high-level NBA player.

Then there's the fact that people keep referring to Mo Williams as an "all-star". Yeah, he's an "all-star" in the same way that Jamaal Magloire is an All-Star. (Bawful, can you please introduce that into the official lingo? Jamaal Magloire All-Star?). Namely, a player who backed his way onto the team not through the sheer force of his talent, but rather because of injuries to other, better players, from a whining campaign from his teammates, and because coaches feel the need to positionally balance the team.

It's like when the Pistons beat the Lakers in the Finals: They're just a better TEAM, period. Yeah, the Cavaliers have a bunch of names, including the requisite creaky veterans at the end of their careers, but their chemisty is off-the-charts bad. There was one possession where all five guys stood around the top of the three-point line for at least 2/3rds of the shot clock. Pathetic. Terrible. No cuts to the basket. No meaningful ball movement. Nobody posting. Nobody moving.

Celtics/Orlando is definitely going to be the best series of the playoffs this year. How is Vag Carter going to react when KG, Perkins, Big Baby, or Rasheed lays the wood to him? Atlanta is too soft to knock him down.. Boston, not so much. Hopefully they can show a shot of his mom crying in the stands. F you, Michelle, for ruining what could have been one of the greatest basketball talents of all time.

Blogger Will said...
Heretic- ESPN used the perfect stock photo of Woodson for that story.

Blogger Dan B. said...
The Other Chris -- Jamaal Magloire All-Stars... that's gold. Who are some other candidates? I believe this needs to become a Word of the Day.

Blogger chris said...
Czernobog: I LOVE that we have our third or fourth snooker reference ever out there in Bawful comments! (And for the record, I think Steve Davis represents sportsmanship a little better than Higgins, but that's only based on what's gone on the last two weeks.)

Blogger chris said...
Dan: Two words - Josh Smith.

Blogger Hilary said...
Love the post and the pics-- great work, all.

@spongefrob, I actually thought Van Gundy and company were much more even-handed than they usually are. There were a few moments where I even wondered whether Van Gundy was auditioning to be the Celtics coach next year if Doc Rivers really does resign to be with his phenom (and, you know, his other kids). Plus, since Van Gundy has clearly suffered lasting trauma from Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in less than 9 seconds, I give him leeway to think things aren't over halfway throgh the fourth. Plus, he gets extra credit for telling Varejao to shut up about the blood, already.

And while I'm handing out praise, or at least lack of hate, I thought KG looked like he was making a conscious effort to tone down the way he criticizes/teaches Big Baby. Yeah, he was talking at him for an extended period of time, but his body language was decidedly un-crazy by his standards. Good for both of them for making better allowances for each other's personalities than they used to.

Blogger Dan said...
Mr. Bawful,

Do you hate the dumbass look that Big Baby always puts on? When he was being scolded/coached by KG, he sat there with the dumbest look for the longest time just taking it from KG(which happens quite often). Like I said to a friend of mine during last night's game, if you cropped out KG, and made a .gif of Baby's face alone during that scolding, you pretty much wouldn't know that it isn't a still image. It's not to say that I hate him, but I hate that damn look. I was actually pumped when he was yelling at people to get off his nuts after trying to take Z off the dribble.

Anyway, these Celtics have been playing really well lately, especially defensively. However, thanks to the media monster still stuck hanging from James' sack, they barely get any credit. The C's knew exactly what they wanted to do to Lebron defensively and they executed it as well as they could. Sure, it looked like he was quitting on them, but anyone that thinks his "injured" elbow is the only reason he was so ineffective in the losses is out of their mind. It was refreshing to see C's close out on shooters, make their rotations, and close the driving lanes like they haven't done all season. Tony Allen was a defensive ace on Lebron(picked him twice off the dribble last night at least)!

The Celtics are coming together when it matters. Doc doesn't enough credit for playing out the regular season the way he did, which I'm sure most fans hated at the time, including myself. The importance of health cannot be overstated during the grueling course of an NBA season, ESPECIALLY through the playoffs. I commend Doc for taking the scrutiny in stride and sticking to his guns, focusing on health for the playoffs as opposed to regular season seeding. It totally justifies the screwy end-of-regular-season rotations madness too. Now, Lebron has once again been ousted at the hands of a better TEAM. All is well with the world.

Blogger chris said...
Heretic: You know, in your description of Kobe's competitive fire...you've managed to almost provide the perfect explanation as to why Jerk Garnett has been so integral to the attitude and heart of the current core in Boston. (And as I texted to Bawful last night, the turning point of Boston's postseason so far has to be the altercation with Q-Rich.)

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
All free agency speculation is useless until May 18th. Hold it in your pants for 4 days.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Who ever sold these shirts made a fortune last night:

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_nba_experts__53/ept_sports_nba_experts-790945581-1273848521.jpg?ymJbvIDDNFn2QDPO

Even though the Hawks were viciously drop kicked by the Magic, they kinda fucked Woodson over by firing him. Under his coaching Hawks have steadily improved. I don't think that it was coaching that was the problem (although the helpless walrus stare was both hilarious and adorable at the same time). The fact is Hawks thought they were better than they thought they were but the bucks showed them that they were still a mediocre playoff team. Once they understood that, it was all over. Honestly Charlotte did a much better job on the magic and they don't have a quarter of the athleticism that the hawks have.

I'm still having a problem that some "experts" had chalked up the Hawks to win it all. The same people that said Joe Johnson was as talented as James. I can't even begin to comprehend the mental jujitsu needed to come up with that conclusion.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@chris

Yep which is why Kevin "Fuck the Beast" Garnett is one of my fav players. Every team needs a highly competitive asshole who'll say anything, do anything to win. They may hate him, he may look like a schizo off his pills raging at invisible pandas that have come to steal his kidneys but there is no denying that guy will do anything to win. Guys like him are difference makers in tightening up team mates come crunch time.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Chris: Josh Smith's all-star status can't be that much of a reach. It's an all-star team (the best players in that conference, that year) not an all-nba team. He's probably the only Hawk that tried in the Orlando series.

As for real Jamal Magloire All-Stars, let's start with 2010: Chris Kaman.

Blogger Ash said...
Hm, lots of people here thinking the Celts have a chance against the Magic.

We'll see. We'll see.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think the most revealing thing I've seen about the NBA pecking order was the summer Team USA games. When things got tight against Spain late, or against a few other teams early, it was not Lebron who stepped up. It was either Kobe or Wade. For all their failings as a player, they have the "kick it into next gear" thing down. They will unload everything they have. Best part about that team was how Lebron put up the best numbers. He works brilliantly with Alpha dog closer types. And thats the kind of player he needs to be with. Lebron has plenty of MJ in him. Its just that its Magic Johnson, not Michael Jordan.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
@Dan: Wikipedia helpfully has this of every All-Star ever:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_All-Stars

Hello, the rest of my afternoon wasted.

I also feel that a separate category would be "Magic Johnson" All-Stars: guys selected not because of current ability, but historical achievement. This years' example is, of course, Basketbawful Hall of Shamer Allen "The CAnswer" Iverson.

(We talkin' bout practice)

(BALL)

Blogger chris said...
Heretic: And as we all know, Jordan did quite a good job imagining everyone else in the Association as the "invisible pandas" out to humiliate him. Even Bryon Russell.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
I know I've been fueling the fire, but can we stop talking about LeFail and start talking about Celts-Magic since that might actually be a really good series?

Magic in 7? I like Orlando's match-ups better, and Lewis and Nelson are better players than Jamison and Williams (at least, more competitive). Plus, Dwight is dope. His speed and length will somewhat contain Rondo's penetration game (hehe, penetration). The big questoin: How much of this series will depend on clutch performances by Vag Carter? After writing that last question, I'm now going to say Celtics in six.

Blogger chris said...
BTW, it's telling how much pwnag3 occurred in this game...that there isn't yet a clip up in WOTN of Ray Allen putting it down on Mo Williams.

So here's one from YT!

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@Matt: You're probably right about Cantona being a poor example due to being a very violent/dirty player, but the point I was trying to make wasn't about sportsmanship as graciousness in competition.

I feel that what marks a great, erm, practitioner of sport is a mental, rather then physical faculty. The ability to triumph through sheer force of will. What you saw from the Saints in the Superbowl, what you saw from Federer against Roddick in Wimbledon. I've been trying to think of better examples for this in football from my own memory then Cantona (maybe Zidane) but can't really think of anyone. Not that big of a football fan though, so maybe you can come up with a better example.

That's also why I picked Higgins over the more Gracious Davis as an example. Despite his performance in the crucible (which may have been purposeful, though I fervently hope not) I can think of no one else as good at willing himself into a better performance.

I do not see that in LeBron, I see the opposite - an overgrown child.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Chris: That youtube video maybe more evidence of terrible officiating than pwnag3. Where was the foul?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
NOTE: For some dumb reason, I accidentally rejected three comments. I was in a post-lunch food coma, so my bad. If your comment doesn't appear, it's because I'm an idiot sometimes. Please re-submit.

Blogger chris said...
The Other Chris: Does Scrappy Doo rank as a Jamal Magloire all-star? :D

Anonymous laddder said...
I would re-sub but I forgot what i wrote word for word lol

It was something like wishing i could see glen big baby davis cry a river again.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Sorbo

I'm pretty sure Magic will win but that's a 60% chance. It used to be 80 but they were lobbed some soft balls (hehe) for their opening rounds. A terrified Hawks and Bobcats aren't really something that will test a Magic team. So I'm not sure how they'll handle a team that will tax their skills.

One thing i'm 100% sure about is that the Vag will be awful. If he actually does show up to play it will be more surprising than the Lakers unleashing Sasha Vujacic as their secret weapon. Speaking of Sasha he has an actual fan club?!?!

http://www.vujachicks.com/

@chris

Jordan almost had a paranoid sense that everyone of the opposing team was out to destroy him and ground his body into powder which would then be snorted by Lawrence Taylor. Then again everyone back then did want to be known as the "Jordan Stopper".

Blogger chris said...
Heretic: That behavior by His Airness...is a massive contrast from King Crab's budding photojournalistic interests. ;)

Another thought for a Jamaal Magloire allstar: Shareef Abdur-Rahim!

(sigh.)

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Heretic said...
"http://www.vujachicks.com/"

what in the hell,... ughh, Internet *facepalm*

Blogger chris said...
And don't forget Joe Barely Cares, er, Barry Carroll, in the 1987 ASG. (Of course, he is much more famous for being the "asset" the Warriors gained in the McHale/Parish trade, kinda like the fame Tractor Traylor now has.)

CHRISTIAN LAETTNER was in the 1997 ASG. WHY. WHY. WHY.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Cavs = Mavs East

Celts = Spurs East

Blogger Michael said...
The way the media has salivated over LeBron has been ridiculous. BUT, he has put up incredible numbers. The Cavs have put up the league's best record, and best or nearly-best defense, two years in a row. It isn't that unreasonable to expect continued performance at some reasonable level.

Last year, they tried and just got beat by a hot Magic team that was a match-up nightmare for them. What's freaking people out now is not just that a player like LeBron, who can put up those stats, lost. It's also how it looked: uncaring, half-assed. The team with the best record just suddenly being awful.

Credit to the Celtics for playing brilliantly. But damn, the Cavs just gave up. Not to be expected.

Mike Brown was truly awful in this series, though. That was amazing. To think this guy has a COTY award and Sloan doesn't...

Just a few notes on that Allen dunk:

Jamison has never played a lick of defense, so he's probably only in the picture because he's too lazy to rotate properly.

If Jamison's a Shitty Player in Disguise, it's not a very good one, because I've seen through it since I played a pick-up game with him at UNC.

Was that Ray Allen weaving his way through the Crabs D ? Ray Allen?!

Mike Brown - Almost as nondescript as his name.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Vujachicks.com? I'd call mine the sasha site, or sashasite.com. It's just catchier. These poor girls and their love of talentless Lakers. How are the two biggest asscutters in the NBA on the same team (Sasha and Walton)?

Bawful: You need to do an awards post on the Bawfulness of the 09/10 season? Here's a few: Least Valueable Player. Twelth Man of the Year. Most Marios. Most Marios by a Player Not Named Mario. The Trillionaire Award (for the richest man in the NBA). Matador of the Year (the Anti-Defense Award). The Gilbert Award for off the court stupidity. And so on...

Or maybe you do have awards, and I haven't been on this site long enough to have seen them.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Michael

A hefty blame can be put on the media for blowing the whole "Basketball Jesus" thing out of proportion but the rest is on James. Not because he didn't perform but because he and his marketing team have saturated the basketball world with a shit load of hype concerning James. So when you have employed a marketing team that churns out propaganda proclaiming you are the chosen one non stop 24/7 then you can't be surprised that when you don't deliver that the unstoppable beast that you've been feeding turns on you.

Its like keeping a lion as a pet and feeding him a steady diet of people then one day you stop and try to feed him a turnip, most likely 2 minutes after that you'll resemble a cross between a victim in the texas chainsaw massacre and kibbles. But during the minutes that you are being mauled to death by your beloved pet lion "Mr Whiskers", your last thoughts aren't "I really don't see what I did wrong", its "Dear god what was I thinking".

Blogger chris said...
Sorbo: THIS is why I am ever thankful for my season-long spreadsheet of lack, because it makes it much easier to calculate those totals!!!! :D

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Bodenlosen

Absolutely right he never played defense. But you see if you put him on a horrible team like the wizards with Gilbert "Gun fingazzz" Arenas and the rest of the shitty wiz then he looks halfway decent.

Its like a shit camouflage. You don't know when wizards shitty performance ends Jamisons shitty performance begins. You see some solid plays far and few in between and you start thinking crazy thoughts like "The wizards are holding him down man! if only he was on a decent team (like the cavs) then he can truly shine, I mean he was a beast in college! What could possibly go wrong?".

These insane thoughts are exacerbated if you are trying to please the king of crabs by desperately writing blank checks to anyone in the NBA with even a glimmer of talent.

Blogger beep said...
Funny that you're making fun of Carter while his performance was on par with that of Pierce. It's a wash at the moment, and either of them is capable of surprisingly efficient night.

I predict Howard fouling out in 3 or 4 games in the serie... and Boston in 6.
Wouldn't Stern button love another Lakers-Celtics finale?

Anonymous Sorbo said...
@beep

Have to go with your Stern conspiracy theory on Celtics-Lakers. 2008 had some good ratings.

My money is on Half-Trust over Vag, and as a Lakers fan, that kills me to say it. Pierce just had a tough defensive draw in Lebron in Round 2, so he was always in foul trouble. Plus, I like Pierce's track record a shitload more than Carter's.

Is there an over/under for how many times both guys will writhe around on the ground in the series?

Blogger Drake said...
Don't forget the immortal Chris Gatling as part of the Jamaal Magoire All-Stars. And personally, I would put Jermaine the Drain in there as well, at least his first All-Star game. He just looked raw as hell and as if he didn't belong there.

As for the Magic-Celtics matchup: I'm not ready to call this a cakewalk for the Magic. Remember - the Celtics have Kendrick Perkins, who has given Dwight Howard lots of trouble in the past. Supposedly, Howard has learned so new post moves (I would say he has refined the few post moves he already had, and learned Shaq's "jumpstop towards the middle of the paint, fake a jumphook with a headfake, and toss up a quick jumphook" move. But whatever). The point is that Perkins has traditionally defended Howard well. I have not seen them play during the regular season. Then again, I haven't been paying attention to much of the regular season (besides my Knicks) because this seasons just hasn't been very pretty or compelling.

The other matchups are compelling as well. Pre-injury KG would eat a guy like Rashard Lewis for breakfast, but I'm not sure about post-injury KG. Then you have the Vag versus the Half-Truth. And finally, you have the two young point guards who are just playing out of their fucking minds. If you want, you can also throw in the battle of the pure shooters (Allen vs. Redick).

Also of note is that all possible Finals matchups are going to be interesting. Celtics vs. Lakers (we all know that). Celtics vs. Suns (revenge of the 1976 Finals, though nobody remembers squat about that series besides the triple-OT game). Magic vs. Lakers (rematch of 2009). Magic vs. Suns (battle for the first championship). Not too bad at all.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Didn't the Celtics take the Magic to 7 last year?

With additions it comes down to this:

KG vs Jameer (who makes a bigger impact in difference to last year)

and

Vag Carter vs Rasheed (who destroys their team in a critical game)

Should be a 6 or 7 game series. Kendrick Perkins, despite being a stone handed mass of offensive fail can guard Howard 1v1. Without the plethora of open shots they got against Atlanta how will the Magic premiter players do? I say this match up works for the Celtics. The Magic are more talented, but the C's are smarter. I think that should be enough to win it.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Mike Brown - Almost as nondescript as his name."

Get this man a prize.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Czernobog:

Not saying I completely disagree with you, but I find it kind of funny that some of your examples of those exuding great sportsmanship include Michael "I punch my own teammates in the face" Jordan, Roger "Cry me a river" Federer, and Lance "I'm so smug, all of France hates me" Armstrong :D

Although, really, I like all of those guys.

I rather like that LeBron tries to enjoy himself with his teammates, but I actually agree with something Marc Jackson said last night: "if you're going to act like you're having fun, act that way all year." God, it's so difficult to watch that team get all tight in crunch time.

BTW, Simmons article on LeBron, out today, is fantastic.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Although nobody will probably believe this, I came up with this BEFORE the shocking end to the cavs season, I just didn't want to stat curse the Celtics, who I thought had a real chance at the upset, and would've posted it either way.....

Celtic of War, the conclusion.

As the golden aura fills the vision of the Big Three, they each have an individual moment for themselves when faced with the Basketball Jesus.

Paul Pierce immediately thinks, "I wonder if I am as good as he is, he is the greatest small forward in Celtics history, do I match up?"

Ray Allen: "I wonder what it would be like to have a 3-point contest with him.....and win?"

Garnett: "f*ckin f*ck has more f*ckin rings than me, I'm going to rip his f*ckin head off."

Their reverie is interrupted when Larry Legend speaks, "I know why the 3 of you are here, you are here to make sure you are not a 1 and done team, you are here for legacy, you are here for-Arrgh what the!"
Larry's speech is short-lived as the Celtic of War, a student of the game, attacks one of the most famous injuries in sports, the bad back of Larry Bird. All visions of glory disappear as Paul Pierce once again clips a Celtic legend behind his knee, and Ray Allen zeroes in with a shot to the skull to finish the lunch-pail hero.

The Big Three wait for the begging, the pleading, surely Larry is finished......and something else happens.

Bird laughs.
"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA"
"IS THAT ALL YOU KIDS GOT?"

Instantly, Garnett is tossed aside like garbage, Ray is knocked nearly cold, and Pierce is on the ground, clutching his re-injured knee.
The "Big 33" still chuckling looks at the Celtic of War and his cronies, who stare on in disbelief, "Can't believe it, huh? Shouldn't surprise you--I broke that back building my mom's driveway, on my own terms, there's nothing a punk like you could really do to it."

"You guys represent tough in the NBA now, but I was tough then, and I'm still tougher than you now. But just because you are not tougher than me, doesn't mean there is not something important you can do for all of basketball."

"Your path and your return to glory hinge on one thing--the destruction of Lebron James. He is one man. You are the Boston Celtics, a team. Where I come from, it is a team that wins, not the best guy on the court, and I learned that the hard way early in my career, back in college. Everyone has lost sight of what truly wins, a team. But you guys have the oppurtunity to make them remember. Win the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and your first steps to redemption begin."

Garnett: "so that means we win another ring?"

Bird: "I didn't say that, for all I know, you guys get swept by the magic. I'm Basketball Jesus, not f*ckin Nostradamus. Speaking of which, Russell, Mchale, hurry up and raise from the dead wouldja, this is not as easy as the water into beer thing that I do!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I know the today's blog focus on King Crab. However, I want to point out the bawfulness of Anderson Varejao (a.k.a Sideshow Bob, Shirley Temple). At one point of game 6, he recovered a loose ball only to travel. He then starts arguing to call as the Celtics gain possession and continues to argue the call after the Cavs inbound the ball, leaving the Cavs on a 4-on-5.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Plus, he hates Noah. Hates him. Not hate-respects him, but hates him."

Probably no more or less than Pippen hated Rodman.

Anonymous camille said...
you all read brandon jennings' tweet yesterday? when he got wind of the fact that a lot of people were blaming lebron's teammates, he said "So Now Lebron don't have help??? Oh my God!!! Smh. They won 60 games."

Yung Buck has a point. I think a real problem with this Cavs team is that they have an overblown sense of entitlement. They think that just playing with LeBron automatically makes them all-stars, automatically makes them the favorites to win it all, etc.

Moreover, a real problem that I have with LeBron is that he was crowned too soon... and now, everybody's expecting him to actually, you know, climb up to the "throne" so to speak - and of course, he fails spectacularly. And the worst part - somehow, he doesn't care about that. He knows that everybody will still bow down to him and pay him an assload of money despite these recent failures.

The most disappointing part for me here is that from now on, LeBron's free agency extravaganza will surely overshadow the rest of the playoffs, including two conference finals that may both turn out to be all time classics.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Camille

Jennings has a point. Gilbert spared no expense in getting Lebron whatever he wanted. Hell Lebron had to approve the players they were getting before they could even sign them. I think the Cavs management did whatever they could. In the end it was a mix between a choke job and poor coaching.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Well its official. It was the elbow:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5189764

Bullshit.

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