sad Crabs bench
LeBron really made his teammates better last night. Better benchwarmers, that is.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: I'll admit, I fully expected the final score of Game 5 of the Celts-Crabs series to be something like the actual 120-88 result...I just figured Cleveland would be the team to come out on top. I'd be willing to bet my collection of vintage Larry Bird body hair clippings that everybody not wearing green and white expected that. Cue the following pic from stephanie g:

notwitnesses[1]

This makes no sense. It was like the Cleveland players were the celebrity guest asses at an ass-kicking convention. I think Basketbawful reader Heretic said it best: "Dear god what a beat down. It was like the Cavs were Ned Beatty in Deliverance and the Celtics were the hillbilly screaming 'Squeal like a pig!'"

Over the past two regular seasons, the Crabs were -- in terms of wins and losses -- the best team in the NBA. During those same two seasons, King Crab was voted the best basketball player on the planet by people who are paid to be experts in these matters. In fact, LeBron's statistical dominance over his two MVP campaigns has been so great that number crunchers like John Hollinger have proclaimed him as Michael Jordan's equal...while still others have stated firmly that James will be considered better than MJ when everything is said and done.

To which I say: Really?

And can we stop blaming a lack of non-LeBron talent? After all, James is flanked by three All-Stars or former All-Stars (Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams and Shaq) as well as a handful of reasonably well-regarded players. And The Big Creaky (21 points, 7-for-11 from the field, 7-for-10 from the line, 4 blocked shots) was Cleveland's best player last night.

Oh, and did I mention that Cleveland coach Mike Brown has as many Coach of the Year awards as Phil Jackson? Heh, sorry. I needed the laugh.

So...what in the name of Spiderman's balls happened last night? I mean, some serious history was made: the Craboliers' 32-point loss wasn't just the franchises worst-ever playoff defeat...it was the largest margin of defeat ever in a Game 5 with the series tied in a seven-game series. And it could have been worse...the Celtics missed 10 free throws!

But wait, there's more from the Elias Sports Bureau:

The Cavaliers, who were 61-21 (.744) during the regular season, became the first NBA team with a regular-season winning percentage of .700 or better to lose a home playoff game by at least 30 points.

The Celtics massacred the Cavaliers by 32 points in Cleveland in Game 5 just two games after the Cavs beat the Celtics by 29 in Boston.

It's the first time in NBA history that each team won a road game by at least 29 points in the same playoff series.
Cleveland failed on almost every front. The Celtics shot 55 percent from the field and 53 percent from downtown while the Crabs were converting on only 41 percent of their field goal attempts. The home team gave up 24 points off 17 turnovers -- some of which were totally unforced -- and got outscored 44-30 in the paint. The Crabs were also outrebounded by 41-31 and couldn't even accumulate more fast break points than their aging opponents.

And even though they don't keep stats on hustle and desire, I'm here to tell you that Boston outperformed Cleveland in those areas too. By a lot. About the only thing that went right for the Crabs is that they didn't suffer a mass outbreak of crotch fungus. As far as I know.

Admittedly, it was a throwback night for Boston's Menage A Trois. Ray Allen was an all-you-can-eat deal at the Sizzler (25 points, 8-for-13, 6-for-9 from downtown), Paul Pierce returned from the playoff grave and almost finished with a triple double (21 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) and Kevin Garnett added 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting. When all three of those guys have it going, the Celtics are still pretty tough to beat.

Of course, the Alpha and Omega of Cleveland's woes centered around...

LeBron James: The line: 15 points, 3-for-14 from the field, 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 turnovers, and a complete inability to take control of the game. This from the best basketball player in our plane of reality?

I believe Charles Barkley has something to say on the matter:


Reality check: When a straight shooter like Sir Charles compared you unfavorably to noted playoff chokers like Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing, you, sir, have just suffered an in-the-bed bowel release of glorious and epic proportions.

Can we just admit that this was the biggest game of LeBron's life to date? According to experts, fans and statistics, the gap between King Crab and everybody else has never been wider. His team has never been as talented as it is right now. There is absolutely no excuse for what's happening. The Crabs have been given the pimp hand and then some in their last two home games...despite being the best team in the league with the best player in the known universe.

Just for the hell of it, here's a detailed breakdown of LeBron's fail fest:


Not too long ago, I went on a mild but heartfelt rant abusing everybody who was rushing (yet again) to compare LeBron to MJ. My argument -- and, if you know me at all, this isn't a new one -- is that the numbers don't and cannot tell the whole story. There are aspects of the game that simply cannot be quantified. Determination, killer instinct, the near sociopathic desire to obliterate anyone standing in your way. In those areas, Michael Jordan had no peers. LeBron, for all his amazing talent and sheer physical ability, isn't there. Isn't even close, really.

He has his moments. Game 3 of this series was one of them. LeBron had a true "Kneel before Zod!" moment and destroyed the Celtics almost by himself. But that was one game. Win or lose, Jordan used to do that almost every game. MJ was terrifying. LeBron can be terrifying. There's a difference.

This made me wonder: When was the last time an MVP made a mess in his pants quite like this? Back in 2007, Dirk Nowtizki scored 14 points on 4-for-16 shooting in Game 1 of the infamous Warriors-Mavericks series. Dallas lost that one 97-85. When the Mavs were eliminated in Game 6, Dirk managed only 8 points on 2-for-13 shooting as the Warriors won 111-86.

But you know, Nowitzki was never regarded the way LeBron is. Nobody has ever seriously said out loud: "Dirk just might be the best basketball player of all time." So it's a little different. I mean...King Crab's didn't even hit his first shot until the 6:15 mark of the third quarter! How is that even possible? Was it Boston's defense?

Said James: "Of course their defense had a lot to do with it, they were aggressive, but I missed a lot of shots I usually make. You don't see this out of me a lot, so when it happens it's a surprise. But they didn't guard me any differently."

So...the Celts' defense had a lot to do with it, but it didn't.

More LeBron: "I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have a bad game here or there, you've had three bad games in a seven-year career, then it's easy to point that out."

Wow. On a Douche Scale of 1 to 10, that quote ranks "Captain Douche 'Bags' McDouchebag of the Star Ship Douchebag." Approximately.

Still more crabby patties: "I put a lot of pressure on myself to be out there and be the best player on the court, and when I'm not I feel bad for myself because I'm not going out there and doing the things I can do. But I don't hang my head low or make any excuses about anything that may be going on, because that's not the type of player or person I am."

What can you say? Here's what Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post said (via TrueHoop):

Puppets aside, let’s have a discussion about legacy. LeBron James's legacy.

It's taking a hit.

So we’re only seven years into his career, a relatively small sample size. But Tuesday’s flameout in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals – the franchise's worst home playoff loss in history -- should raise some red flags and force some tough questions. And this is the biggest one: Is he cut out for this yet?

Is James cut out to win when the stakes are at their highest? When will he be ready to truly assume his place among the game’s best, the kind of recognition that only championships can provide? I'm beginning to wonder. Winning in the playoffs is hard. But the great ones do it, and do it repeatedly against top-notch competition.

If James's Cleveland Cavaliers can't get past the aging Celtics, and they are hanging by a thread down 3-2 going into Thursday's Game 6 in Boston, this is what his last two seasons will look like: Two league MVP awards. Two years leading his team to the best record in the NBA. Zero trips to the NBA Finals. That doesn't compute.
No. It really doesn't. And the crowed booed. It actually booed. Whether the fans were booing the team in general or LeBron in particular isn't 100 percent clear, but it was still a surprising display by a nervous bunch that has been terrified about LeBron's impending free agency since last season.

crabs fans
This is what Cavs games will look like next
season if LeBron bolts this summer.

Do the people of Cleveland deserve this? Why does God hate Cleveland so much? Why?!

The Knicks' LeBron Guy: I got this from Ball Don't Lie:

Two summers ago, [the Knicks] hired a guy whose whole job is basically to [get LeBron to New York]. His name is John Gabriel, and he invented the pull-out-all-the-stops, research-intensive approach to free-agent schmoozing when he was general manager in Orlando. Technically, his title is director of pro scouting and free agency, but it really should be "guy in charge of showering love on LeBron James."

Gabriel keeps detailed files on your likes, dislikes and habits. He's even been rehearsing for you. Remember last summer, when the Knicks were pursuing free agents Jason Kidd and Grant Hill? Those overtures, a Knicks insider told us, were just a recital for the performance you will get. The team never realistically considered signing either of them. When the Knicks dimmed the lights and announced Hill's name on the PA as he came out of the tunnel onto the court during his visit, they were really thinking of you. Gabriel is so good, the plan almost worked too well. Hill's agent told us that Hill gave the offer "very, very serious consideration."
Ah, the sweet smell of utter, helpless desperation. You know, I have a friend who once literally removed his underwear in the bathroom of a strip club and put them in the back seat of his friend's car so he could increase the potential for a "happy ending" during a lap dance...and even he's shaking his head at the Knicks right now.

Chicken feet: Mmm...just like mom used to make! God, I had a horrifying childhood.


Lacktion report: Today, chris provided an itty, bitty lacktivity update: Michael Finley made 1.1 trillion (1:05) for Doc Rivers, while JJ Hickson pinched out a pair of fouls in exactly 4 minutes for a +2 suck differential.

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84 Comments:
Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I'm tempted to say that is what happens when you have no jumper, no post game and face a good team defense designed to keep you from driving, but Lebron has been putting up monster games against teams like this pretty much his whole career. He looked like he was barely going through the motions out there. You could argue his jumper wasn't falling (maybe he shouldn't be taking so many of them) or that his Coach didn't make the proper adjustments to get him the ball on the move and help negate the double teams he was seeing all night (what else is new?) but none of that, not even his elbow injury, explains his pathetic turn on defense. He was letting guys get by him all night and missing rotations left and right. He just wasn't trying very hard.

Was he pouting? Hung over? Mentally checked out? Who knows.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
I second your "Lebron is not MJ" argument. If anything, he's a different MJ: Magic. Great teammate, tremendous athlete, great ball handler, great passer, decent around the rim, average (streaky) shooter, amazing to watch, occassionally loses interest in big moments (see: 1991 Finals). Even his personality is like Magic's: somewhat conceited, but can be likeable (when he's not "spoiling" us).

But unlike Lebron, Magic had aggressive teammates (Worthy, Scott, Kareem) to push him. And Magic always had the spectre of Bird to compete with. Lebron has Wade/Carmelo/Dwight, but those aren't rivalries in the classic NBA sense. You know, the ones where real respect-hatred was involved.

P.S. Anyone else notice that Big Baby owns Jamison? Doc actually coached and figured out this mismatch. I never thought I'd see a rec league staple (the wide, post-up guy) translate to the pro game so well.

Anonymous Patrick said...
"During those same two seasons, King Crab was voted the best basketball player on the planet by people who are paid to be experts in these matters."

Yeah, those "experts" are often interested in selling the league, which is why the best, most accurate commentary turns out to be a site making fun of everything. These are the same professionals that took the Hawks seriously (which I suspect they do not out of stupidity, but out of the need to gin up some interest in an uncompetitive conference - in other words, they don't believe it, either).

Yeah, comparing James to Jordan is absolutely ludicrous to anyone who remembers watching Jordan play. Again, though, "selling the league" - I very much doubt anyone seriously think that fellow is as good as Jordan.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
Lebron only had 3 bad games in his whole career? really? can anyone verify this????

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Ever since the 2003 draft, I've always said if you combine LeBron, Carmelo, and Wade together, you'd get a Jordan, maybe a tad more. LeBron's lack has always been that killer instinct, that drive to get it done.

Also, I think this could all be perfectly wrapped if LeBron's postgame/post May 18th/going away speech included "who the fuck still uses a payphone?"

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

Blogger Zachary said...
I think a bigger issue for the Cavs than how LeBron compares to MJ is the fact that they, essentially, the Hawks with a better Joe Johnson.

Anonymous Karc said...
I fully blame James' supporting cast. Mo Williams, and All-Star? Seriously? All I remember last year was him bitching and moaning about how he didn't get voted in by the fans, then was "mercy-picked" by the coaches after Chris Bosh went down to injury. Hardly validates him as a good player.

What exactly has Antawn Jamison done since he's gone to Cleveland? All I remember was his epic fail the first night out when he went 0-12. And he's been thoroughly outplayed by Big Baby. I mean, he came from the Wizards, which should automatically disqualify him as a good player.

Shaq, yeah, he was an All-star. But they are paying him 20 million dollars to beat Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. 20 million dollars for two 7-game series, which they may not get to now. I haven't seen money that badly wasted since the Raiders paid JaMarcus Russell over 40 million dollars for 18 touchdown over 3 years.

But really, I just like to see Nike scrambling again, because it looks like the puppets are going down, again.

Anonymous UpA said...
How many seasons are left on King Crab, I mean everyone is considering that seven seasons in his career are not good enough to talk about his legacy. If he plays 7 more years in top shape, we are about halfway in his career, I know about MJ wasting 7 before his 1st ring but you could see the Bulls coming really close to very very tough guys as the Pistons were in the 80's/90's. Are these Celtics or last years Orlando as good as those Pistons were?

On those 7y MJ had a bunch of one-armed-teammates and a half-brained-bawful coach. Not as close as todays LeHoax supporting cast.

LeHoax now reminds me of those infomercials of things that can do it all but when put to the test they are just a good idea poorly crafted.

Blogger Future Guy said...
Playoff pressure can really expose what kind of man a player is. LeBron, we're finding out, is the kind of man with a vagina. You know, like Nick Anderson.

Since Mike Brown is probably fired anyway if the Cavs lose the series, he should give LeBron some Summer's Eve and tell him to either play like a man or sign with the Knicks already.

Blogger tonious35 said...
Mr. Bawful,

Check out this craigs-list ad parody, this would blow away any real dumb-player twitter entry if this was actually real:

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/wan/1734814253.html

Blogger stephanie g said...
Maybe if Cleveland spent less time practicing cute dancing routines and other frat boy antics and instead sat down and made more than 5 plays they wouldn't be getting exposed as a bunch of front runners led by LeFraud / LeBronze / LeRoid / LeRef / LeBronald McDonald, etc.

I wouldn't be surprised if the C's get blown out in game 6 and then lose a close one in game 7 because their core is old as hell. But ignoring LeBron's epic fail, the C's are superior at PG, SG, PF, and C is a push. Before the series I'd say Cleveland has a deeper bench, but Tony Allen and Big Baby (lol) are stepping up big time. JJ Hickson has disappeared down the rabbit hole and Delonte West is literally bipolar.

Even if they get past Boston they have similar problems with Orlando, which has an advantage at PG, SG, C, PF is a push (they can twin tower it up with Gortat), and their bench is probably better.

And LeBron, forget that psychological stuff -- not that it doesn't matter. But the dude still doesn't have a post or mid-range game to speak of. His only hope is to bomb away with 20 footers and get lucky or charge into the paint and get favorable ref treatment. I'm not sure if it's even possible for someone as large as he is to do some of these more perimeter oriented things (which might raise the question of WTF he's doing out there instead of operating out of the block or high post all day and destroying the league), but I've been trolling about his lack of any sort of pull up jumper since he got totally exposed in the '07 finals (and then again in '08 against Boston). Even against Orlando last year it just felt like he was getting really lucky. Dribbling for 15 seconds and then hurling a 20 footer up and having that garbage go in is not evidence of having any sort of expanded game. He's learned fuck all. Not helped by Mike Brown either, I'm sure.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
I hate Hollinger but he may have the quote of the night, as reposted from Espn and Holl's Twitter account:

"One of biggest playoff wins in KNICKS history."

Hollinger, don't capitalize. We get the joke.

Blogger Adam said...
Man was last night's game fun to watch. It really did look more like LeBron just didn't care rather than that he was off his game, and watching how useless the rest of the team is when he's off is just a reminder of how fragile they are and how amusing it'll be if they ultimately fail again. To quote my brother during LeBron's post-game interview: "Hm. Something must be wrong with my TV. All I hear is 'WAAAAH. WAAAH.'"

Also, is it possible for Mike Brown to close his mouth at any point during the game? Nearly every time they cut to him he has his mouth open and teeth showing like he's a dog holding on to a large bone (insert LeBron-related joke here).

The ideal way this plays out for me is: Lakers beat Suns; Celtics beat Crabs; Magic beat Celtics; finals rematch! As fun as it would be to see the Suns fail yet again, if they somehow manage to get past the Lakers, I'm rooting for them the rest of the way for Grant Hill's and Nash's sake. Anybody but the Crabs.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
And LeBron, forget that psychological stuff -- not that it doesn't matter. But the dude still doesn't have a post or mid-range game to speak of. His only hope is to bomb away with 20 footers and get lucky or charge into the paint and get favorable ref treatment. I'm not sure if it's even possible for someone as large as he is to do some of these more perimeter oriented things (which might raise the question of WTF he's doing out there instead of operating out of the block or high post all day and destroying the league), but I've been trolling about his lack of any sort of pull up jumper since he got totally exposed in the '07 finals (and then again in '08 against Boston). Even against Orlando last year it just felt like he was getting really lucky. Dribbling for 15 seconds and then hurling a 20 footer up and having that garbage go in is not evidence of having any sort of expanded game. He's learned fuck all. Not helped by Mike Brown either, I'm sure.

I totally agree with you...but to me, those flaws in 'Bron's game are related to his lack of a superior will. The great ones isolated flaws in their game and fixed them, added moves, whatever. Has LeBron added a move? His jump shooting has improved only slightly. He hasn't developed his back-to-the-basket game despite the fact that he should be unstoppable in the post against other PFs. Larry Bird, for instance, varied his arsenal so that he could shoot over slower forwards (who would back off him) or post up against smaller/weaker ones. He developed a killer stepback, the ability to shoot hook shots with either hand, and he became a deadeye foul shooter. These were all manufactured skills...the kind of skills James hasn't bothered to develop, and I think it's because his desire to crush, kill and maim isn't powerful enough.

But maybe that's just me.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...
Funny you should mention a strip club while talking about trying to get Lebron in NY

http://bossip.com/246412/stripclub-tries-to-lure-lebron-to-new-york-with-free-lapdances-for-life/

Blogger tonious35 said...
Mr. Bawful

I am not going to say this as a final and I am casting the anti-stat-curse on this statement:

SHAQ himself and Mike Brown's non-improvement in coaching are KILLING this Craboilers team, PERIOD! Why didn't Shaq lose weight and become 290-300 lbs to compensate his lower metabolism and slowness? Why isn't Mike Brown in the last 4 yrs of coaching Lebron ever on media or on our own fan instinct ever accuse Lebron of accountability?

Shaq at his mental state does not give the Cavaliers the professional and mental focus this team and Lebron needs. I never see Shaq really trying to be a co-captain to the young players or yelling at the younger players about defensive assignments. Since he won 4 Championships, I thought he knows better, but I guess the refs gave him those championships anyways.

For Mike Brown, as smart as he is on trying to plan and prepare the players, do you really think if he yells at you that you will really pay attention to him? Hell no! Van Gundy, Phil Jackson, maybe Doc Rivers (that's saying a lot), Riley, Sloan, and Larry Brown have the ability to burn a hole in your head if you ain't playing the game right!

Again Cleveland players have taken their playoff games for granted and put themselves in a hole.

Blogger Dooj said...
@anaconda

3 of his 20 worst games have come this year. I wonder what he's thinking...

People have asked me why I don't like watching Lebron. This game pretty much sums it up. When the whistle isn't going his way, he can't buy a bucket. As much as I hate Kobe, I still find him fun to watch. Lebron is an athlete playing basketball.

WV: Pream - what Lebron does after hitting a big shot.

Blogger beep said...
I think Crabs team chemistry sucks and James has just quitted on the team last night. It was quarter-assed effort from him. He looked like he didn't care at all about the game, but... still I wouldn't be surprised if Craboliers took next 2 games. LeBron has just proved they are useless without him, and he may as well want to get the ring anyway.
Conspiracy theories ftw! ;-)

Blogger stephanie g said...
It's OK. If LeBron bolts Cleveland will have plenty of cap room to give a max contract to Joe Johnson.

Yeah 'Bawful, that's true. During the off season Kobe gets tutored by the Dream; LeBron choreographs new pre-game introduction ceremonies. But even chronically lazy, under achieving players like Vince and Sheed have more diverse skill sets than LeBron.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
@ Future Guy:

LeBron, we're finding out, is the kind of man with a vagina. You know, like Nick Anderson.

You just made crack the fuck up on my birthday. Thank you, sir.

Anonymous Troy Miles said...
Let's do a PTAG analysis of MJ and Lebron. PTAG rates a player 1 to 5 according to :Physicality, Technique, (intellectual) Application of the two, and Grit.

Both LeBron and Michael are both physical freaks, although LeBron is definitely more beastly compared to his peers. MJ is a 4 +, LeBron is closer to 5--if not a 5. Technically, Mj is again a 4+(Maybe his jumper could have been more consistent, at times he seemed like a saturation shooter). However, his lane play (Catch-spot, middle spot and finish or take- off spot ) play is far superior to LeBron. If LeBron had a middle game..... Lord have mercy... he wouldn't be allowed to play!

Application? Both players have high Bball IQ's and are both at least 4s. LeBron is the best teammate on the planet right now, with his Magic Johnson accents on display most nights. MJ is similar to Kobe in that they'll pass, but have so many offensive options themselves ... you see where I'm going.

The G-factor or grit goes to MJ in a landslide. MJ is a 5+ as if he grew up reading Jack Dempsey comic books. LeBron (sweet LeBron) is pushing a 3+ G-factor. I believe it will increase with maturity. In my opinion Focus=Grit=toughness.

LeBron's still a baby. Just wait til he hits puberty.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hey guys, I'm a long-time Cavs fan (I was rooting for them before they got LeBron), and I just wanted to offer my two-cents.

First of all, I would have to disagree with stephanie g on the idea that LeBron's offensive game isn't diverse enough. His jumpshot actually has improved considerably (in the 16-25 foot range)... the only problem is that he's taking more of those inefficient shots now because he has more confidence in himself. That's a problem. Also, a large part of his offensive game is passing, which cannot be discounted. He has perfected a lot of different passing methods (cross-court throws, lobs, bounce passes, behind-the-backs, etc.)

I do agree with stephanie on one count, which is that LeBron hasn't developed a post-game. That is 100% true.

Anyways, when it comes to the game, the loss is 100% on LeBron. He simply did not try at all. Apparently he is completely pissed at Mike Brown for being a horrible coach... which is understandable and inexcusable at the same time. Bottom line, no one is to blame except for LeBron (even though Mike Brown is a complete idiot).

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
Lebron deserves every bit of scorn everyone is heaping on him for his lack of effort, but you all are letting your hatred blind you to the reality of his game.

Saying that he is a product of luck, brute strength/speed, and preferential ref treatment is insane. If you know anything about how hard it is to excel at basketball, how can you say something so ridicuous?


Bawful and stephanie, you are both spot on about him neglecting to work on his flaws, but these specific flaws aren't why the Cavs are stinking it up in the playoffs. The Cavs should be able to crush a wobbly team like Boston even with Lebron's (relatively) limited arsenal.

Mike Brown's coaching is also not the biggest culprit, even though good offensive sets and decent rotations would help.

It's effort and desire, pure and simple. This is a broken team. Not sure if it's the Lebron Free Agent speculation or if they've tuned out the coach. The same thing happened to the '04 Lakers (Shaq takes a lot of shit, but he was the only one bringing it on that Lakers team too).

Unlike most of you guys, I like Lebron, but I'm primarily a fan of good basketball. There's no excuse for how he's played this series. Something is defintely amiss.

Anonymous Ahmed said...
Dear Bawful crew, please check out this video.

A scrub named Mike James said that he'll be "a terror in this league" for the next 5 years, 5 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIXwkkZyi9k

Anonymous Heretic said...
Man did Wojnarowski go off on James:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Av9xK6j0Bgg7Bog1mssncEe8vLYF?slug=aw-lebroncavs051210

Some of it was justified some of it was not. James was right in saying he had a bad game, by all accounts he did. But the fact that there was absolutely no effort is just bizarre.Unless a crazy Celtic fan had a family member of his hostage and demanding he play only up to the capability of an over used douche (thats almost like the plot of Celtic Pride), there is no excuse.

I think the Cavs fans would have forgiven a loss (even by that wide of a margin) if they saw effort. I mean its the fucking NBA, these guys are PAID to play. We expect effort from the lowliest high school team, it should be not even be in the discussion when talking about an NBA player/Team.

Not just any NBA player. An NBA player (that some have theorized) that has been created in a collaboration between God, Allah, and the Great Gazoo to be the supreme basketball being.

You can say hes hurt. Though that's complete bullshit. Lets assume that's why he was a walking corpse. If Steve Nash can give it all while half blind without the assistance of a seeing eye dog then surely the supreme being can at least mimic half that.

One thing I found out while watching the game is that I thought I would enjoy watching Lebron choke like Tina Turner getting choked by Ike, and for a while I did but then the more the game progressed the more pissed off I got. I found that I wanted to see Lebron beaten while he was actually competing, instead the spectacle that we got should piss off any true basketball fan. Yes fans of other players and teams will gleefully point and laugh but what Lebron did was much worse then simply losing. He took a collective dump on the game.

Sure it wouldn't be a huge deal if it wasn't an elite player. But from from the supposed supreme being in a must win playoff game? Thats close to basketball sacrilege.

Blogger Dylan Murphy said...
The real problem is that LeBron goes into the game thinking, if I don't put up 35, 10 and 8, we'll lose. Boston has the next 4 best players in the series.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
LeBron, right now, is just like Kobe a few years ago. During his earlier years, Kobe would take the ball and try to win each game all by himself. Right now, LeBron's just like that, only difference is that LeBron would put up more balanced stats. But still they're the same, glory hogging players who thinks basketball is a solo game (though Kobe sometimes returns to that state of mind).

Well it's not. LeBron can put up crazy 40/10/10 stats all day, but he can never win a championship, not with the level of teamwork Orlando (and Phoenix) is showing, the level of maturity Boston is putting in front of Cleveland, the youthful aggression and passion of the Thunders has shown against the Lakers, and the swagger the Lakers (even though they sucked for the last few games of the regular season/first few games of the playoffs) has that put them in their position. Let's face it, LeBron (and to some extent, Dirk) would never win an NBA championship even if he surrounds himself with the most talented All-Star caliber players, because LeBron is selfish.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Lemme pose a question here: if the Crabs do lose this series, next year if LeBron has a similarly spectactular regular season and leads his team (whatever team it is) to the league's best record, will the sportswriters once again automatically give him another MVP award? I have to think he's bordering on making everyone feel like he's got to show them something else before they give him any more accolades. In other words, his legacy is in serious jeopardy right now.

Anonymous teaguejd said...
@Heretic
I know EXACTLY how you feel. I despise LeBron, but he made me so mad last night. I wanted to enjoy watching him lose, but that friggin pathetic. It was like Vag Carter in Toronto. And then he tried to say he played fine in the postgame! Just admit you sucked ass!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nights like last night are why Basketbawful is a necessary part of the online sports experience.

I say this as someone who is 100000000% convinced that the Crabs will pull out a skin-of-their-teeth victory in Game 6 leading to a monster blowout win in Game 7, but last night was some of the most bawful NBA action I've seen this year and that includes the Hawks week long meltdown.

I just wonder why it took a night like last night before the national media finally realized that Lebron is an egomaniac and career loser. Has the media ever shifted so hard against one player after a single game? Kobe's had some historic meltdowns and quit on his team even harder (Suns, Game 7) but he didn't take the hit Lebron did.

Blogger Vasco said...
This is funny:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2jQclVVA_g

Anonymous Heretic said...
Anonymous-

As far as I know (correct me if i'm wrong) Kobe never stopped trying to win. I don't recall a game where Kobe just stood around half halfheartedly lobbing shots. Kobe was upset about his supporting cast. He tried to compensate by trying to win the game by himself and failed. He blew up after they lost (Same thing Wade is going through right now). His starting line included Smush parker, Kwame "Butter fingers" brown and Luke Walton. Lebrons surrounding cast right now is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than that.

Hell Gilbert said he spent millions to get whatever they needed. I agree. They had a blank check they went nuts with it and still they're struggling in the playoffs against the supposed geriatric squad known as the Celtics.

Blogger Trev said...
You should probably mention this poor guy.

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/post_286.html

Freed from prison after 29 years for being wrongly accused of rape and the Cavs give him front row seats to see his favorite player go 3-14. Ouch.

Anonymous mozambique-africa again said...
sorry guys but how many championchips did jordan win without pippen?0 isnt it?did he ever take his team to a playoff final?ok lebron didnt win it but he is HUMAN guys he is going to have bad days and good days as you and i do,and when jordan played badly you know what happened pippen,kerr,rodman,idk would back him up,and mo´,jamison and shaq have not being able to do that with the same freqency as the jordan bulls were able to,so lebron is a great player yes he uses his athleticism he is 6´8-9´ 260 pounds what do you expeect him to do,to shoot everytime he gets the ball,sorry but if i had his speed i would definitely do the same,im not a big lebron fan but give him a break for god´s sake...sorry for the bad nglish

Anonymous K. Stanley said...
Bad coaching shows up when pressre is on. Mike Brown needs to make an adjustment or encourage somebody or bech somebody or SOMETHING. But look how Alvin Gentry gets monster games from J-Rich, Dragic, Geriatric Hill, and Jared Dudley for a reason- he leans on them all season long. ike Brown just waits for LeBron to do it all himself. Jordan had Pippen- who does LeBron have? Actually- Delonte, but they don't want o use him.

Blogger Trev said...
"As far as I know (correct me if i'm wrong) Kobe never stopped trying to win. I don't recall a game where Kobe just stood around half halfheartedly lobbing shots."

Your right. Kobe just refused to shoot all together. It's ok though Jordan did the same thing in an playoff game early in his career as well.

Blogger Dooj said...
@heretic

Didn't Kobe refuse to take a shot in one game, effectively forcing his team to lose?

Blogger Spencer said...
Yeah, Lebron was awful and this loss goes 100 percent on him because he should have at least done something, but let's not forget that Mo Williams and Mike Brown were also the worst people at their jobs on that given night.
Mo Williams-
missing contested threes, matador defense, inability to run the point professionally

Mike Brown-
Starting the fourth quarter with gibson and williams when you're getting killed at the defensive end and on the boards...
Not putting AV in to play defense on KG at all and just refusing to put a defensive lineup out on the floor in general when that's clearly the problem.
I'm sure there were plenty of other awful coaching decisions that i can't think of because i'm still livid.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
We can visualize LeBron's jump shooting with a few methods.

First, visit LeBron's page at Hoopdata and see his crappy 34% at 16-23 feet in 2007 improve to... a near-league average for Forwards 40% in 2010. Note the absurdly low 15.7 Assisted%, meaning (as you all could tell) lots of standing around, then chucking it. For reference, check out what the other Forwards are shooting, sort by any of the 16-23ft columns. NOW does the 15.7% strike you?

Finally, we can play with NBA.com's hotspots brought to you by NBA LIVE 08 (lol). While LeBron's is kinda boring, you should compare and contrast Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, and Stephen Curry's hotspot charts.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Dooj and Trev

You guys are right (sorry I was in Japan during that season). Did some quick research. Man that was a bitch move.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Everybody needs to calm down. That was ONE GAME. The Cavs are likely to to win in Boston, and likely to win again in Cleveland. First, we know that LeBron won't play two games like that. In fact, we'll likely see two beast games. Second, no way the NBA lets its cash cow leave the playoffs early a second straight year. Guaranteed the Celtics positions 3-5 are in foul trouble Thursday, many of the calls ticky-tacky touch fouls, which they got away with last night. Remember, it only takes a couple of foul calls to swing a game.

But let's be fair to LeBron. He's not Jordan, and I've always thought that hype was annoying. But we knew that before this game. Fans tend to have very short-range vision. He is still the best player in the league because of his physical abilities. He will need to prove whether he is an all time great, like Jordan. But he is still LeBron, and one of a kind.

The trash talking should be directed at the non-Shaq Cavaliers. Me, I was astonished that Shaq, at the fattest I've ever seen him, could play that well. He really did eat the Celtics' lunch. But Mo Williams? Delonte West? These guys shrink in big games. Jamison was OK, but not the 2nd option. Worst of all was the coaching. It's been said for years, but that is the Cavs' Achilles heel. You can't win in the playoffs without adjustments.

And don't sell Big Baby ('scuse me, Uno uno") short. For a bench player he can make some clutch plays. Not fair to hold him up to an unreasonable standard. Oh, and for a "wide body" he is one of the most powerful guys I've ever seen. He still amazes me at times. They should actually try him on Shaq. He might not have the post game and rebounding of Perkins, but he may well have the strength to keep Shaq out of his low post position. And Shaq no longer has the hops for a lob over the top.

Finally, the Cs defense deserves a big nod. That was really sweet. Sadly, I don't see them doing it two nights in a row, especially with Rasheed and his man boobs as a bench liability.

Blogger Viscant said...
The difference between Kobe's "quit" and Lebron's is that Kobe put up 20 or 25 points in the 1st half of that game while the rest of his team essentially wasn't trying. Well, that's not fair. To this day I believe that Smush Parker was trying, but I also believe that Smush may have crapped himself after the 10th time Nash sized him up and ate him alive. The rest of the Lakers just weren't even there.

At least with Kobe you can argue that he quit scoring to send a message and he was still nominally playing defense. While that's not a defense (and as a Laker fan, that game still ticks me off to this day), at least on some small tiny level you can understand. If the other starters on my team were the Candyman, Smush, Kwame and Luke Walton, I might make some pretty bawful life decisions as well. And at least people could understand on some level because it's Kobe. We feel like we know Kobe and him petulantly "proving a point" to his team in the biggest game of the season and the biggest game of their lives for 9 out of 12 players...that's something that we expect out of the Black Mamba. Like other commenters said, Jordan did the same thing early in his career when he was more diva than legend. Selfish is as selfish does.

We feel differently about Lebron. We feel like Lebron is the good guy who loves his teammates, comes through in the clutch and is ready to be the man. That's why this game is such a shocker. It makes us all step back and re-evaluate what's going on with Lebron.

I'm perversely enjoying today as an anti-stat guy just because the "stat guy community" is having a meltdown today. Henry Abbott has a post up on TrueHoop where he blames Kobe Bryant fans for the whole thing. Gotta love the internet basketball community.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Yeah I read the Abbot piece. So we should say shame on Cleveland fans' for booing a guy putting 0 effort in a playoff game?

Its not like they were playing the clippers in the middle of the season and Lebron decided "fuck it let my team handle this one". They're playing a rival in a playoff game. Ugh my head hurts after reading a couple of "justification" articles.

Hopefully Celtics will get sloppy on game 6 and the awful saga will continue to game 7. Meanwhile in the koopas castle Stan Van Gundy and the Magic continue their mini vacation.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
From TrueHoop:

"His career playoff PER is better than Michael Jordan's. Remember that Jordan's playoff PER wasn't marred by the Washington years. This is all Bulls. Leave the 'is James better than Jordan' discussion for another decade. The message is that five seasons into his playoff life, James stacks up well against the very best ever, in terms of production, defense, playoff wins and anything else you can measure or see with your eyes. He almost never has bad games."

Really? Because with my own eyes I saw his team get whupped by the Magic in the playoffs last season despite being heavily favored. And, again, as the heavily favored team, his squad has gotten punked TWICE at home in the last two games. I mean, those two losses fell into "Worst Ever" categories. Did that EVER happen to a Jordan-led playoff team when they were favored and had homecourt advantage? Or a Bird team? Etc.?

No. It didn't.

Blogger Dooj said...
@wormboy

They did try Davis on Shaq for a little while, he ate him alive. I think Shaq scored 8 straight for Cleveland. That's not to say that Big Baby doesn't have the body to guard him, he just doesn't work hard early enough like Perkins does. Perkins is amazing.


So, do you think that if James has another bad game this series and the Cavs lose, he will blame the elbow? I'm just waiting for him to say something like, "I'm only one man, I can't do everything on my own." Similar to last year against the Magic

Blogger Dooj said...
@anaconda

I just checked out Curry's hotspot. That dude doesn't have a shooting weakness. I've never seen so much red in my life.

Anonymous Frazier said...
I've always wondered about his skill development. I found an article on SI of Jordan talking to LeBron.

It said: "They schmooze for a few minutes, bantering about LeBron's upcoming game, until Jordan leaves, offering this piece of advice: "One dribble, stop and pull up. That's what I want to see."

LeBron never incorporated it in to his game. Most likely because he felt he was too dominant to need it. Say what you want about Kobe but he is always open to try to further the ways he can score. He made that one-dribble pullup a staple of his game along with countless other things from Jordan's skill set. I don't get that with LeBron. He doesn't have to be like Jordan or Kobe but a midrange and post game would go a long way for him in my opinion.

Anonymous laddder said...
"Both players have high Bball IQ's"

It wasn't that long ago this season (I forget whom he faced) on a fast break down by two he chucks up a far running three to basically lose the game.

I've never though of LBJ as a high basketball IQ man. I mean that guy would punish most SF, SG, and compete with most PF down the block yet he can't post!

Melo got the memo...

Heretic said...

@Dooj and Trev

You guys are right (sorry I was in Japan during that season). Did some quick research. Man that was a bitch move.

I was extremely upset at the time also. But in the grand scheme of things do you think we would have gotten Gasol or that Bynum would become a force down low? I guess we will never know, but I'm glad Kobe went ape shit.



It's sad, but Lebrick's horrible game last night made me happy lol

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
@Dooj - While Curry is impressive with 0 blue zones, you could also see a similar hotspots chart looking up Jared Dudley, haha. Another funny one is Channing Frye's 2009-2010 season (vs his other seasons).

Ontop the show: ahahaha, I just found an awesome correlation.

Using LeBron's 70 postseason games again, I found a fun correlation between number of 3ptrs missed and win-loss record.

When LeBron misses 0 to 3 3ptrs, the Cavs are 32-7. When LeBron misses 4 to 8 3ptrs, the Cavs are 10-21. This is especially true this season, as the Cavs are 6-0 and 0-4, respectively.

Blogger Dooj said...
@Frazier

Actually, I don't think that Lebron is physically able to do the one dribble pop effectively. He doesn't have the balance. I remember seeing an article on him that quoted James as saying, "I might not get you on my first step, but I will get you on my second step." This would also explain why he has trouble with his outside shots, since he can't get the same balance on every single shot.

http://www.cavstheblog.com/?p=1698

The quote is closer to the end of the article. Unless he puts in a TON of work, he'll never get that mid-range jumpshot going because he doesn't have the balance to.

Anonymous Stockton said...
Let's say the naked truth: It's all COY's fault.
Lebron is young, and as any young guy in any freaking sport, he has holes in his game. Coach's job is to teach him, not only the plays (Offensive and defensive), but also to evolve his game. If the coach himself endorses that "I'm the best alive" speech, there is absolutely no hope for Lebron improving his skills (both technical and leadership).

Blogger Dalton Imperial said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Terrible game? Yes. Incomparable to some Jordan clunkers (at least relative to what he could do)? Absolutely not. Now, I don't remember those Jordan games, so maybe his performances in those games didn't feel/seem as bad as LeBron's was last night. But strictly based on numbers...

But that's the whole point. I never go solely by the numbers (much to AnacondaHL's occasional chagrin). I'm talking about both LeBron's performance (statistically and psychologically) and its effect on the end result.

From today's post: "I mean, some serious history was made: the Craboliers' 32-point loss wasn't just the franchises worst-ever playoff defeat...it was the largest margin of defeat ever in a Game 5 with the series tied in a seven-game series. And it could have been worse...the Celtics missed 10 free throws!"

From Elias Sports Bureau: "The Cavaliers, who were 61-21 (.744) during the regular season, became the first NBA team with a regular-season winning percentage of .700 or better to lose a home playoff game by at least 30 points. The Celtics massacred the Cavaliers by 32 points in Cleveland in Game 5 just two games after the Cavs beat the Celtics by 29 in Boston. It's the first time in NBA history that each team won a road game by at least 29 points in the same playoff series."

That's what I'm talking about...not simply that LeBron had a bad game statistically...but that his team was so woefully and historically embarrassed while being favored and featuring the best player on the planet. Even when his numbers were bad, Jordan's will helped swing games. Just look at your five comparable games...MJ won four of them! And the sole loss was on the road as opposed to a history-making home blowout.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@stockton

I agree that coaching has a lot to do with the lack of evolution in Lebron's game (I doubt Mike Brown has it in him to actually do it) but it also begs the question can Lebron be coached without offending him by telling him he sucks at certain things.

Let's take kobe (Yes goddammit I love his almost disturbing obsession with winning and his psychotic love of the game). He will actually seek out ex greats and add more ammunition to his game. He's also pretty obsessive about sealing chinks and would be chinks in his armor.

Somehow I don't see Lebron doing any of those things. I'm pretty sure he kills himself to remain at the peak of physical perfection but as far as basketball is concerned, I think he's more geared towards maintaining instead of adding.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Basketbawful - uhh, I thought this could go without me saying, but that was a pretty fucking horrible comparison of numbers done by Dalton imperial.

Blogger Clifton said...
In the not-too-distant future...

After LeBron went off for 42 and 45 points in Games 6 and 7, respectively, the Cavs came roaring back to win the series. After the thrilling conclusion, an idle mind paused to think... "Huh. Y'know, if LeBron hadn't come out and made a doody in his pants in Game 5, there wouldn't've been much to talk about heading into midweek. Cavs would've been up 3-2 on a clearly-past-its-prime Boston squad. But when he came out and inexplicably couldn't throw it in the ocean that night, it kept the focus squarely on the NBA even though there was only the one series going on. That's all anyone could talk about, was LeBron and his disappearing act."

The idle mind paused again, then dismissed this as coincidence.

Meanwhile, deep in his dark lair, Lord Stein steepled his fingers together and said, "Good. Gooooood. Ehhhh heh heh heh heh," in his best Darth Sidious impersonation.

--

Just thought I'd toss that out there for all the crazy conspiracy theorists. :-)

Blogger Clifton said...
Stern. Lord STERN. Yeah.

(facepalm)

Blogger starang said...
I am 100% agreeable with the statment above that is similar to something I've been saying for 7 years...it takes more than being an amazing athlete.

That distinction is what makes this game so great on every level, not just NBA. MJ was the perfect balance of athlete, bball IQ, bball skills...and...most importantly...the absolute take-no-prisoners killer instinct.

That lack of instinct is also what will lead us to saying "D Howard could have been the best Center to ever play the game."

Some people just don't have it.

In highschool, my coach liked to call it heart. LeBron doesn't have the heart that MJ did. Never will. And therefore, should never be mentioned in the same sentence with MJ again, unless the words "could have been" are also used.

Blogger starang said...
...oh yeah, and I agree with Clifton too...Its probably all just PR...

The odds (in my mind) of the NBA being compeltely rigged go up sharply every year.

Blogger Shiv said...
Ok, are you guys serious? You're saying Lebron doesn't have a high basketball IQ? This Lebron hate has gotten out of hand. I don't particularly like the guy (although I dislike him less than I like the guy) but some of y'all are just being silly.

And didn't Anacondahl already settle this pull-up mid-range jumper business with the hoopdata post? Dude shoots 39% on 6.6 attempts per game between 10-23 feet. This is comparable to Luol Deng (39% on 7.6 attempts), Carmelo (41% on 9.1 attempts) and Caron Butler (42% on 7.8 attempts). Plus his assisted% numbers are waaaay lower than any of them. Y'all need a reality check...and I'm rooting for the Celtics!

Anonymous Stockton said...
Lebron's ego (inflated by the press, and probably his coaches and family) is an issue, but see, that's why I'm not a basketball coach. If coaching was just drawing plays in a board, anyone could do it.
News flash for Lebron: if you put all your chips in physical play, when your body fails (AND IT WILL), you'll become as usefull as Derrick Coleman.
Someone should tell lebron the quote of Tommy Lee Jones in MIB: your skills mean dick! IMPROVE YOUR GAME!!!!!
I remember in the 98 conf finals Shandon Anderson kicking Kobe's butt. Kobe was more talented for sure, but he had no "nba" skills. He learned them. And that's why Kobe is, today, better than Lebron.

Blogger Leland said...
Part 1 of long ass comment…..
I’m not trying to defend LBJ here but hear me out…

I completely agree that the legacy of MJ and LBJ comparison arguments cannot rationally be made at this point for a few reasons. First, LBJ isn’t even halfway through his career. Second, and most importantly, I don’t think the comparison can ever be made. Let me explain.

Assuming the readers of this site follow basketball closely, then they all know about Jordan’s maniacal will to win. He was ruthless. And if you didn’t know about Jordan’s ruthlessness and happened to watch or catch highlights of his HOF speech, then you surely can deduct that he was and still is truly driven to dominate and kill his opposition. Read opposition as anyone or anything that stands in his way. After all, we are talking about a guy who used to berate and embarrass his own teammates; in practice the very place where a team builds and bonds. We are talking about the guy who invited his varsity high school coach who cut him in 10th grade to his HOF speech just to say, “Look at me now. Don’t you look foolish.”

Jordan’s high school career wasn’t one of SI covers, nor the proclaimed “savior or king” of basketball. In fact, he wasn’t even highly recruited. Jordan worked tirelessly between the summer of his sophomore and junior years of high school just to make the varsity team. Jordan grew up with something to prove at every level. In high school he had to prove that he could make the team. In college he had to prove that he could contribute as a freshman. And even in the beginning of his career he had to prove that he wasn’t only a one dimensional scoring machine. It took him 7 seasons to prove he was a champion!! Add that up, more than 10+ years of adversity faced. 10 years of “You can’t make the team. You can’t contribute yet. You’re only one dimensional. You can’t get to the top.” If anyone could eat adversity, digest it, and shit out fuel for motivation and then eat defecated motivation, then Jordan was probably one of the best. He was wired that way. He had that rare ability to accept the adversity, and then somehow magnify it 100 times on himself, and then use that as fuel to drive and strive to be the best. And well, the rest is history. He was truly untouchable, truly un-guardable, and truly un-fazeable for most of his career. Some players have ice in their veins on the game’s biggest stage, Jordan had liquid nitrogen.

Blogger Leland said...
Part 2
Now back to The Chosen 1. His upbringing was much different. In fact different probably isn’t a strong enough word. The King’s upbringing was diametric to the nth degree when compared to Jordan’s. The King started being mentioned in the national media in the 10th grade. And someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe he made an SI cover at that age. (if he didn’t make the cover, then he definitely had a feature article about him). The King was spoon-fed “you are going to be the greatest ever” since he was in school. The King would continue to be praised with accolades. Several of his high school games were nationally televised which only fed more fuel to the fire of the praise of his greatness. (Note: the King was and is a great player. In high school he was truly a man among boys, and I think that comparison doesn’t do justice to the advantage he held. How many 17-18yr old 6’8 240lb dudes do you know who can run, jump, and drive like that???) To recap, grade school through high school never once did LBJ seriously hear or face adversity from anyone, then only thing he heard was anointments and praise of how great he was at that age and how great he will be.

Next stop, the NBA. No one, even the King’s loyalist members of his court expected him to win big in his rookie season. He played well though, extremely well, so well that statistically he played as well as the Big O in his rookie season. Fast forward a few years and finally the King makes the post season. Again he plays well and the media is goo-ga-ing over him, and he falters. Everyone, the king himself, the fans, the media, the “experts” claim he didn’t have enough help. After all most NBA championship teams have at least one star and one almost star and solid role players to boot. The King didn’t really have a team like that in the beginning. All the failures and adversity of losing were deflected from the King. What more could he do? You can’t win it by yourself, I’m sure he thought that, and I’m sure he was told that. Finally, this season, the King has a team that could conceivable win it all. His owner broke the bank for this team, for that city, and ultimately for his King. And it doesn’t look like the King is going to deliver. To me, the reason is quite simple. The King never truly faced, owned, and then used adversity to make himself better. Sure he lost (07 finals), but he was never blamed for it. The King was never told you aren’t good enough!

This game 6 at Boston is going to be huge for the King. I think it may even shed a light on his ultimate legacy. His comments after game 5 were a reflection of his past and who he is, not shocking. He deflected the loss, and never took responsibility. I don’t know that I can blame him for it, and I can’t say that anyone should have expected a different reaction. (In the same light, how could we have expected a different Mike in his HOF speech. Dude is who he is!!) The King’s been told for 10+years just how damn good he is, that the big losses aren’t his fault. It’s not in his personality to be like Mike. He never used adversity and loss as fuel to get better. Can he change? I’m skeptical. The most formative years of our personality development happen from 12-20. The King is 25. Maybe, he is who he is. I’m not getting into the whole nature vs nurture, but nature surely played a part in Jordan’s personality development to dominate at any cost. We just can’t say the same for the King.

This whole saga feels Shakespearian, a King blessed with all the physical tools to dominate and become the greatness, and yet he never can because he was never held accountable for short-comings early in his reign, was never told “YOU NEED TO DEVELOP A MID-RANGE AND POST GAME”, and ultimately never learned early enough how to internalize and magnify loss in order to use as fuel to get better.

Tonight’s game will show us whether the King is destined to be one of the brightest super stars among the stars, or just another faint glimmer of greatness in the backdrop of stars that have come and gone.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@Shiv:

Guys like Heretic and a couple of others here will always be masturbating to life-sized posters of Kobe Bryant, while hating LeBron. It's amazing how they cling onto every opportunity to criticize LeBron, aaaand...manage to squeeze Kobe into the story, by mention how he's better at something than James.

There's simply nothing you can say to them to actually make them think realistically for a sec. But, hey, look at it this way: when somebody else stinks it up, like LeBron did, he gets a WotN mention, and that's it. When James fucks up, every closeted (and open) Kobe-fan, and not to mention every short, skinny "I'm a finesse player, god damn it!" white-boy jumps on the opportunity to proclaim that LBJ is just an overrated forward, with no B-ball IQ, or developed technique. They hate him, because he managed to be good from the start, and kept getting better. They hate him 'cause he didn't crumble under the weight of the huge expectations, like many other promising young prospects. They hate the fact that he did the high school-to-NBA transition better than anyone else (because that includes Kobe). They hate the fact that, as somebody here mentioned, he has an incredible frame, is packed with muscles, yet he moves like a guard. They are who we know they are: a bunch of frustrated fanboys, who overestimate their own basketball intelligence, and who cling on to the fact that Jordan and Kobe aren't that taller than them (ergo, they could have been the next MJ's, if only they had a chance to shine...they can't say that about LeBron).

Look, I like a great SG just like anybody else, and I'm a huge fan of Wade. I am also willing to admit that Kobe has tremendous athletic upsides, and that, next to D-Wade, he's the best SG in the game right now...buuut: that doesn't mean that James is automatically a shitty overrated player, just because he doesn't fit into that category. I agree: he needs to work more on his jumper, and his post game. However, as I've said before, YouTube has more proof than necessary to disprove all of the "LeBron is just a brute with no skills" claims. Period.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I'm not sure about everyone else, but the specific reason I bitched about Lebron after his stinker wasn't because he missed a ton of shots (that will happen to everyone) or even because Cleveland lost the game but because he really wasn't trying very hard out there. You can go 3-15 and still have a very positive influence in a game (ie: Ginobili). If your jumper isn't falling, take it to the rim. If your offense is completely out of whack and you can't then grab some offensive rebounds, focus on defense, try to make sure the guy or guys you are guarding have a worse night than you. There is always something you can do to help your team. Lebron didn't do any of these things. He was being scored on at will, he was letting guys get by him for layups, he wasn't boxing out, kept turning it over and throughout the Celtics' furious runs he just kept calmly chucking long range bricks. He was obviously playing much of the game at half speed.

Is his limited offense a problem? Yes. Is bad coaching a problem? Definitely. James has had monster games against great defensive teams in the playoffs before despite poor coaching and a limited offesive repertoir, however, and will continue to in the future. It pretty much just came down to effort on Tuesday. Lebron didn't do everything he could to win that game, not even close.

That said, I expect him to have a monster game tonight after all the criticism he has endured.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Holy 65 posts, Batman! With Lebron hate, comes a shitload of Lebron-hate comments.

Look, we don't know if he tried, didn't try, sent a message to Mike Brown, or if LeElbow was killing his game (many of his shots were short). What we do know, is that he played timid and was indecisive. LeBron's "I'm spoiling you" routine wears on me, but the guy can just ball. The Cavs don't have answers for Rondo and Boston's bench (the latter sounds weird to write), while the Celtics have been able to contain LBJ. He did exactly what the Celtics D wants him to do: shot jumpers. That's how you beat him. Have him shot jumpers and hope he doesn't catch fire (like he did Game 3 and the end of Game 1).

Armchair coaching advice: Brown should just go small, put Varajao at Center and run the Celtics off the court. Works for Atlanta.

Blogger BadDave said...
Leland - you pretty much said my piece as well. I agree with Bawful - killer instinct is a huge piece of this, and we have to accept we can't quantify that. But Jordan was continually faced with adversity, and Lelbow was always faced with entitlement.

It's a good case study for parents - tell your kid no and make them earn it.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Mladen and Shiv

I don't hate Lebron. To hate him would mean I respect him enough to actually feel an emotion. I just don't think all the hype is warranted. You can throw all the stats you want but he's no Jordan, Magic, Bird. Hell he's no Olajuwon. His body was designed for basketball but to say that he is the best ever or that hes even the best now without having won jack shit is just so laughable that it borders on gullibility.

Yes, I like Kobe Bryant's game (though I rarely jerk off to him anymore). As many have pointed out he has done some shitty things. I agree he's not perfect or even close to perfect. But I love how he approaches the game. He does it with dedication and passion. The fact that he expects his team mates to give it all on the court every night despite being labeled as an asshole is a testament to it. He doesn't have Jordan's charisma or Lebrons marketing team but I would rather watch a guy that gives it his all on the court then a guy with superior athletic prowess do the shimmy shimmy shake on the sidelines. Kobe maybe an asshole but its pretty rare that hes a douche.

I dislike the choreographed can can dance that the cavs do at the start, the baby powder that lebron throws up, the "hilarious" shenanigans he does on the bench, dislike the moronic salute after a made 3, the rampaging bull and the 8 steps it takes him to get to the rim without a call. But these aren't reasons to hate.

I hated Larry Bird for the longest time. The reason? He was as good and depending on the game sometimes better than Magic (my fav player as a kid). I loathed him to my core but I never denied he was a brilliant ball player in almost every aspect of his game. When Celtics won I cursed his name to the high heavens (raising a fist to the sky in the pouring rain while ominous music played in the background). When I see Lebron my thought is "Meh". And that's at my feistiest.

I hope Lebron does become a superstar player, that he adds a lost more weapons to his offensive arsenal, that he develops coldblooded need to become a champion instead of expecting it to be handed to him and all that jizz that reporters and rabid fans have been squirting is actually justified. When that day comes I may even cheer for him despite the fact that hes a douche. Till that day comes all I can say is "Meh" and watch number 24 in the purple and gold play.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Sorbo

I agree that they should try small ball. Unlike the hawks the Cavs don't have to face a Dwight Howard like center.

It should also open up Lebron in transition where he plays his best. Without a set defense he should be able to shred the Celtics defense.

Of course on the defensive end for the Cavs they have a couple of match up problems. But if they can keep it close they should be able to coast off of Lebron in the final minutes.

Blogger DumbGenius said...
I can't help but think that if you take out the context of size and position, LeBron is clearly the Wilt Chamberlain of his era.

Talented beyond imagination, he wants to win but doesn't mind losing too much as long as his side projects are doing a-okay.

Works hard but seems a bit.. bored with the competition so he goes off and does other things that interest him. (Wilt-women, LeBron-Money)

As talented as Wilt was on the floor, you could sense that he was more concerned to be an 'entertainer' first, basketball player second. He joined the Globetrotters for goodness sakes.

And come playoff time, just a little below par compared to his regular season accomplishments

It's not precise, but you get the idea. I think.

and he will probably bolt to a bigger city just so that he wont be do damn bored.

Word Verification: OVESSEL, as in LeBron is OVESSELing his brand as global superstar and forgetting about winning championships in the process

Anonymous teaguejd said...
Heretic, your jib? I like the cut of it. Everything you have said so far lays out clearly my feelings on the matter. I cringe when I see Kobe have one of his 5/25 brickfests where he won't stop shooting. BUT, at least he is trying. Completely casual fans could tell that LeBron wasn't making an effort. LeBron basically delivered a giant "Fuck You!" to his city, his fans, and his team. Now, the fans at that game were atrocious (booing before even being down 20? REALLY?), but that is no excuse for not trying.

Blogger David said...
I think people are being way too hard on him.

Even great players have games like this occasionally. Kobe's was back in 2006 in game 7 against Phoenix when he basically played off the ball for the whole second half, giving up on his teammates.

Nobody knows how badly Bron's elbow is hurt. There have been plenty of rumors saying that it's worse than anyone is letting on. We'll know for sure once the offseason gets here, but no one should be shocked if we find out that he's playing through something that should keep him out for weeks.

Almost every championship team the league has ever seen has had multiple hall of famers, or, at the very least, multiple perennial all stars. Larry Bird played with three other hall of famers. Magic played with two. Jordan always had Pippen, a top 50 greatest player. Kobe has always had either Shaq or the Gasol/Bynum/Odom three headed monster.

LeBron has never had that. Shaq is well past his prime, Mo Williams isn't an all star (the coaches only pitied him last year due to injuries), and Antawn Jamison really hasn't been anything special either during the regular season or this series.

We can't properly judge how good LeBron really is until he gets to play alongside players who are legit perennial all stars.

I'm in the camp that thinks he could, someday, be in the same conversation as MJ. He hasn't yet had the team success that MJ has, but due to what I've already stated, I don't think that's necessarily his fault. His individual play is already at Jordan's level.

The fact is that LeBron has been an animal in nearly every game of his playoff career. His playoff resume' includes far more positives than negatives..... and it's really not close.

Blogger Drake said...
Cont'd

Gradually, you'll soon realize that he basically made a lot of "mounds out of molehills", as Bill Simmons stated after his speech. Some of his adversity was real - his HS coach cutting him, the Pistons, etc. But most others were just petty feuds or even off-cut comments that he just harbored a grudge against - this was mostly true after he won his first championship. In other words, most of his adversity was pure bullshit that got blown out of proportion.

Think of it this way: if Jordan was lost in the middle of nowhere living, living in a cabin heated by a single stove, his need for warmth would represent his actual need to win, and the continued heating of his stove would represent his drive to win. The trees around the cabin provide the logs to fuel the stove, and represent the feuds, forms of adversity, or whatever else is needed to fuel the stove. After his first championship, all of the trees around the cabin suddenly disappear. So basically to keep fueling his need to stay warm/win, he looks for other sources of fuel. If a bunch of termites show up to eat his cabin, he becomes pissed off, traps them all, and throws them into the stove. If a bird takes a crap on him as he's walking outside, he shoots it down and throws it into the stove.

That's basically what MJ did post-1991: whenever the slightest thing bothered him, he used that as motivation to keep winning. Perhaps my favorite story happened during the 1992 Olympics. After a reporter told Jordan that he picked him for his Olympics rotisserie team, Jordan told the reporter that was a mistake, and that he was going to take it easy. The next day, the reporter tells Jordan that based on the previous day's advice, he traded Jordan for Karl Malone. Jordan looks at the reporter coldly, tells him that he made a huge mistake, and went on to dump 42 points on some poor South American team.

See...it's stories like that that separate Jordan, Kobe, and Bird from normal human beings. They may say "oh, everything's cool" on the outside, but on the inside, they're looking to kick your ass in the worst way possible.

As for Lebron - despite the adulation, he has faced a ton of adversity. The sweep by the Spurs in 2007. Being badly beaten by Orlando last year. Questions about his seriousness in improving his game. And more. And he says "oh, everything's cool" like MJ and Kobe do. But what we don't know is whether there's fire and brimstone brewing within, waiting to unleash pure hell onto any opponent or form of adversity that gets in his way.

As of now, the signs point to "no". Which concerns me, as a Knick fan and a basketball fan.

Blogger Drake said...
I agree with the comments about Lebron and his lack of a killer instinct. And I agree that he has gotten way too many accolades at this young age, considering he hasn't won a single championship yet.

But let's not pretend that Lebron's path now is nothing but flowers and birds singing, while Jordan's road to greatness was like the path to Mordor to destroy the one ring. That's just pure bullshit.

Jordan's path may have started with his brothers beating him at basketball or getting cut from his high school's varsity team tryouts. But after that, his path wasn't too different from Lebron's. His UNC team won a championship in his freshman season - we all know that. While Jordan may be seen as "just one of the guys" from that UNC team nowadays, Dean Smith knew how good Jordan was and intentionally looked for ways to keep Jordan's profile low. For example, Jordan was not included on the cover of Sports Illustrated while the rest of the UNC starters were featured. But both Smith and Jordan himself knew how good he was.

A few years into Jordan's NBA career, after he dumped 63 on the Celtics in a Bulls loss, Larry Bird publicly stated "that was God disguised as Michael Jordan". Being the chose one is great and all, but when has Lebron ever been called God, by one of the greatest players of all time, no less?

After the Bulls finally win a championship in 1991, the Bulls could have settled into "the disease of more", as Pat Riley calls it. MJ was already anointed as the greatest player on the planet, has huge endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, McDonalds, and others. He could have settled in and said, "I've got what I needed, so let's relax". We all know what happened after that, right?

My point is that Jordan's road to greatness was filled with a shitload of lavish praise, media adulation, and labels of "greatest of all time" when he hadn't won a championship yet. Fuck...Larry Bird called him God three years into his career! So yeah...let's not get carried away by claiming Jordan faced nothing but adversity.

So how did Jordan win 6 championships despite this continuous adulation. Just listen to his HOF speech again, and don't try to read it as a high school English student would ("his calling out of everyone represents his unshakable need to avenge his father" or bullshit like that). Just listen to what he literally says. The man wasn't just trying to show up everyone; he was literally telling everyone about himself -what drove him and what presented adversity to his goals.

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
Criticism is great. The best players should be strongly criticized.

Hate even has its place. I'm a hater myself--that's why I love this site.

It's the irrational, ahistorical, truthy stuff that people need to stop. Folks are just throwing stuff out there that's blatantly false simply because they want it to be true:

Lebron shrinks during the playoffs, he can't shoot, he is "just" athletic, he doesn't pass. (People do the same for all historically successful players they hate: Shaq, Kobe, etc.)

This sentiment, along with a lack of history, and the short-sighted desire to define people's careers and legacies based strictly on either the next or the last game, is what makes sports fandom and media unbearable.

Last year, in the midst of LA's struggles with a depleted Rockets team, one of the major "stories" before game 7 was "Does Kobe need to win this game to solidify his legacy?" The Kobe that had already won an MVP and 3 rings. Yeah, that Kobe.

In 2005, it was "Does Tim Duncan need to not only win Game 7 vs. the Pistons, but dominate in order to solidify his legacy?" The Tim Duncan that had already won 2 MVPs, 2 rings (and would add a 4th ring a couple years later). I'm not joking. Look up the articles.

Yet, not a single one of the Steve Nash fanboys here criticize Nash for never having taken a team to the Finals. If the Lakers crush the Suns in the Conference Finals, none of you will say that nash's legacy is tainted.

In our modern internet/24hrs sports news everything that happens is the best/worst and everything that happens right now is how things will always be defined. Calm the f- down, let things play out, and realize that everything can't be encapsulated in a neatly packaged narrative about players' wills. Sometimes, sure. But sometimes it's matchups, and sometimes it's plain luck.

Blogger H. said...
Hey Bawful, I think you're forgetting that big Z has been a multiple time all star as well. That's how you know the east Sucks.

Anonymous Mladen said...
Wow, lots of nice, well-argumented posts! Bawful, you've got a great bunch of followers here. And even though I'm particularly glad somebody other than me is "defending" LeBron (I use that term loosely, because it's not so much about defending him - it's more just about asking for some fairness in criticism...), I've got to hand it to Heretic for not starting a flame war (and the jerk-off sentence made me snicker). You, sir, may be a biased Kobe-follower, but you're all right by me (as long as you don't overdo it with the LeBron bashing).

Also "gordon gartrelle" is spot on with his Nash comment. I'm sort of coming back to what I said - Nash is someone most basketball fans (and I'm guessing readers of this site) can relate to. He's a scrawny, tiny white guy, who's got more balance and technique than most of the "athletic" players in the league (although he isn't lacking in the athletic department as well - just remember that pic of him from the All-Star weekend, jumping over Deron Williams), and he's someone you can imagine playing pick-up ball with. Also, his personality seems great - he's a modest, down-to-Earth, goofy guy, with a team mentality. That's why he's a good example - people don't hate on him that much (or at all), because to them, he's like their champion. A guy standing up for all of us little guys.

I truly like and respect Nash. But I also respect a guy like LeBron. As a friend of mine said recently: "Who cares what he does off-court? Is that why you follow the NBA? Is that why you love basketball?" The truth of the matter is that LBJ is still the best individual player. No contest right now. (And I'm not talking about titles.) 99% of the time he tears it up. Everybody seems to have forgotten his performance in the 2007 Conference Finals, against the best defense in the entire League, at the time. His last move, where he pretty much scored against the Pistons whole starting five, was the stuff of legends. And that was his fourth season in the NBA.

A lot of people here have a problem with him, because of his "douchebaggery", by which they mean:

- cocky statements (although, sometimes, they're really taken out of context, or, even worse, people are literally trying to interpret his words, so that they offend them)
- celebrations on the bench, his routine, the dancing... (hmm, what does that remind me of?...Gino, anyone?)
- the marketing campaign (which I doubt he is the mastermind of)

Actually, what most people seem to have a problem with, is the fact that stupid sportswriters have been trying to turn him into a basketball god for years, and have elevated him to that status (...just to tear him apart after one lousy game). I hardly see how this is his fault. Has Jordan ever said to the media: "Stop glorifying me! I'm not that good yet! I have many weaknesses which can be exploited!" (If he has, he's awesome.) Not to forget that LeBron used to be more about shutting up and playing in his first couple of years. I remember that Ira Newble (or whatever his name was) asked him to sign a political petition, and he politely refused, stating that he didn't know enough about the situation to get involved. Over the next weeks, the media went on a tirade about how he must support the petition, how he's clearly just trying not to offend the Chinese, because of his merchandise being sold there... They didn't let him just be a basketball player, let alone a normal young man. They kept pushing him into talking to the media, into giving his opinion on everything. And, yeah, they spoon-fed him accolades. I wonder how would have any of us turned out?

Anyway, I'm done (hopefully). I won't kill myself if the Cavs lose, and I'll certainly root for the Suns in the Western Finals. I'll keep regarding LeBron as a great player, if he keeps bringing it (almost) every night, no matter what people say.

Anonymous Heretic said...
The crux of the problem is that we're arguing about something that can't be measured or put up on a stat board. We're talking about heart, will to win, the ability to dig deep etc.

In Jordan, Kobe etc you can see it as they improve each year. Never relying on just their athleticism or one killer move. They kept adding to their skill set. Not so they can shut people up but because they are dissatisfied with their level. They may be called "Gods" or the "best ever" but to them it wasn't enough and I doubt it will ever be enough. Much like a an addict jonesing for a fix, their addiction was winning.

Kobe hasn't given a shit what anyone else says about him in a long time (since he just stopped responding to Shaq's taunts). Yet he keeps working hard to up his level. Did he really need a post move? No. No one in the NBA has a pull up jumper like him. Yet he did it anyway.

Lebron James in his 7th year in the NBA has improved skills he already had but has never added anything more. To me that's one of the markers of a player that is just content with his skill set.

This whole killer instinct thing. Right now Lebron doesn't have it. You can pull all the percentages and stat lines all you want. He flat out just does not have it. Even die hard fans will pause on that. The question though is whether or not he has it. The question is can it be taught or is it simply the result of circumstance?

Cause if it can be taught and Dwight Howard some how attained it. That Big mother fucker will be hard to stop. Same thing with James. Can anyone think of a player that in the first couple of years of the NBA was not soft but content then later became an absolute machine?

Blogger Fowill said...
Behold! Lebron James superdickery!

http://thechive.com/2010/05/13/gifs-full-of-glory/lebron_degrades_ballboy/

Blogger Shiv said...
3 things:

1). Yes, different skills are nice. It's nice to have a post game. It's nice to have a 1-step pull-up jumper. It's nice to have a three-point shot. But when it comes down to it (at least on offense), I think basketball is a simple sport. You score points. How those points come don't really matter, as long as you get the points. You could do it in as efficient a manner as possible (where efficiency means expending the least amount of effort) but efficiency does not necessarily mean more effective.

Jordan could have continued driving into the teeth of the defense every time he wanted 2 points and he would have kept getting them well into his thirties. But it takes a lot of effort and apart from the risks of injury (especially in the late-80s and the 90s) it becomes harder to maintain that level of effectiveness as the game goes on. No one would have been able to "take away" his dunking, but he did, because it was inefficient. Developing a post game made him more efficient NOT more effective. His scoring didn't suddenly jump when he developed a post game and neither did his FG%.

You say the "all-time greats" found "different ways to beat their opposition" and that they continued to build and develop their games and yada yada yada. That's not necessarily true. I'll admit that Kobe did, but because he had to. He's never been guaranteed to beat any and every defender big enough to not be brushed off by his strength off the dribble and get to the hole for two points, and he played during the illegal defense era which didn't allow teams to pack the paint with pseudo-zones. His FG% has always been lower, which means that despite all his "offensive skill" if you want 2 points, no questions asked, Lebron is the better choice. Simple. Is Lebron's the more efficient way to get those points. No. Is it the more effective. Heck yes! You might not like it. It might not appeal to your sense of aestheticism as a basketball fan. I don't blame you. I hated Shaq in the early 2000s and hate him even more now, but you can't deny that during those Championships he was the (as he so humbly stated) MDE. He didn't have the "skill" of Olajuwan or McHale or Duncan. He dominated anyway.

2). About the Championships, let me point out that except for Duncan-led teams (which were the best coached) and the Rockets (who wouldn't have won if Jordan was around) every Championship team that I can think of had at least 2 top-10 (at the time) players or 3 all-stars, to say nothing of good coaching. Basketball is, after all, a team sport. When you don't get a Championship ring, it doesn't mean you weren't a great player. It means that your team (including you) failed, as a whole. Jordan didn't win 6 rings. The Bulls did. Kobe didn't win the Championship last year. The Lakers did.

3). Yes, Lebron doesn't have the sociopathic desire to win that Jordan did or Kobe does. Maybe he will develop it, maybe he won't. Does this make him a less effective player? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Jordan's desire to win made him play better. I believe it makes Kobe worse. He takes bad shots, stops passing the ball and generally goes into hero-mode which despite the romantic notions it seems to inspire in many, doesn't win very many more ball games.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Where does Lebron's near quadruple bumble rank on elimination game performances

Anonymous nightdreamer said...
Ok, so the final 1:30 was a major debacle for Cavs. First, Lebron turned the ball over. Then Mo Williams overdribbled. Then Anderson Varejao attempted a 3pt shot.

All this and Mike Brown didn't think of calling a timeout. Like, WHAT THE HELL ASSBRAINERY KIND OF COACHING IS THAT!

Anonymous Heretic said...
@shiv

We can go back and forth, you think Lebron is awesome, I don't and so we're at an impasse . Buuuuuuut no championship for Lebron in 2010 either. So for now this whole "You just don't understand Lebron" argument is on ice.

King Crab played better but an ass load of turnovers and that jumpshot is still weak. I'm kinda surprised that the refs didn't bail him out. At the end though WTF was that wrong with the Cavs. They flat out gave up. No one was fouling to stretch the game. They just watched ball with an expression that looked like a sad clown.

Gotta give credit to the Celtics they shut them down. Even when the Cavs made a run it still felt like the Celtics were in control. I don't see them beating the Magic though. Although I'm pretty sure that Vag carter will vanish.

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