I’ve been watching NBA basketball for a long time, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the media pile on a superstar player the way they have LeBron James. Granted, he did not play well in the Cavs 120-88 loss to Boston in Game Five and his decision to try and guard Rajon Rondo didn’t work. But the last time I looked the series isn’t over and King James has a golden opportunity to step up and prove his greatness as a player and leader….
Of course if the Cavs get eliminated in Game Six and LeBron doesn’t play well, I’ll be joining the critics….
In my mind, though, one bad game doesn’t wipe out all he’s accomplished and I’m puzzled by the hate….
In the post-season, you must defeat a team four times, not three; and I wouldn’t be suprised if James plays huge in Boston and Cleveland sends the series to a Game Seven….
Isn’t that what the great ones do?….
In my mind, however, Boston is the better team and will prevail….
I picked the Celtics to win this series, for the following reasons:
-For the first time this season, Boston is healthy. And when they are, they’re as good as any team in the NBA. Sure, they’re getting older and this might be their last opportunity to win a championship, but they’re really good when at full strength.
-When I looked at the player-by-player matchups, Boston is superior. When you have three Hall-of-Famers in your starting line-up, and none of them is your best player, that’s a championship team.
-Here are the matchups:
Power Forward: Kevin Garnett vs. Antawn Jamison. Easy, KG has a big edge here.
Small Forward: Paul Pierce vs. LeBron: Obviously the Cavs have the edge, but Pierce is a great player and future Hall-of-Famer.
Center: Kendrick Perkins vs. Shaq: I call this one even. Sure, the Big Ingrate can still get the ball down low and score, but other than that he’s worthless. He’s as slow as a glacier, a defensive liability and slows the team down. While smaller and not a good offensive player, Perkins is much better defensively and underrated.
Shooting Guard: Ray Allen vs. Anthony Parker. Another big edge for the Celtics.
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo vs. Mo Williams. Again, huge for the Celtics, as Rondo is their best player and blossomed into a star.
Bench: I keep reading the Cavs have the edge, but a look at the subs reveals Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Delonte West, Jamario Moon, Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, etc. I like Hickson, but the rest doesn’t exactly look like a Hall-of-Fame list. The Celtics have Big Baby, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley and Nate Robinson. I’s call this matchup even.
Coaching: Doc Rivers vs. Mike Brown. Easy call, with Doc having a huge edge. Rivers won a championship with this group and taken advantage of Brown’s shortcomings in this series. The Cavs should be playing up termpo basketball and trying to run the Celtics out of the gym, but instead slow the tempo and play into Boston’s hands. The final five minutes of a Cavs game is four guys standing around watching LeBron go one-on-one, and you’re not going to beat good teams that way.
After looking at all this, it was obvious to me that Boston was the call in this series. So why is it that the press almost unanimously picked the Cavs to win?….
I have no idea….
But back to LeBron….
With his teammates not stepping up and his coach evidently unable to make in game adjustments, there is a lot of pressure on him to carry the load. Outside of yesterday’s game, he’s been his usual self in this series, but his miserable performance in Game Six has the wolves howling….
Is he injured? Obviously his elbow is bothering him, but didn’t seem to be a problem in Game Three or Four….
And with Kobe playing through a broken finger on his shooting hand, I don’t want to hear about any King James injuries….
The bottom line is LeBron must perform brilliantly, get his team past Boston and show everyone that not only is he a great player, he’s a winner….
He has all the money in the world, more fame than player in the league and has said his dream is to become a “world icon” and “another Bill Gates.”….
All of that is fine, but does he put winning a championship first? Is he obsessed with winning, a la Magic, Bird, Jordan and Kobe?….
Game Six on Thursday night will go a long way in answering those questions….