Tag: Cavaliers Celtics Game 5

Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert says fans deserve better effort


Cavs_Bench.jpgDan Gilbert had good seats for a terrible game. Front row on the baseline, just about 10 feet from the Cavaliers bench.

The NBA Nation has spent a day psychoanalyzing the Cavaliers and LeBron James effort. Is it his elbow? Has he mentally checked out for NewYork? Was it just an off night for him where his teammates (outside Shaq) didn’t step up? Maybe we’re just overlooking the fact, the Celtics are good?

Whatever theory you subscribe to, Cavaliers owner Gilbert doesn’t really care. Losing he can handle, but two bad efforts in a row at him has him — and other Cleveland fans — frustrated. He explained how he felt to Brian Windhorst at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Our entire franchise has done everything in its power to put all of our players and its coaching staff in the best possible position to execute when it counts,” Gilbert said. “And to deliver to the highly supportive fans of Cleveland a proud, intense, impassioned all-out drive to achieve a championship…

“The last two home playoff losses and the manner in which we lost these games does not come close to being anywhere near the high expectations all of us have of our organization. Our fans and supporters deserve more…

“Above all, the fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as the entire franchise, deserve and need our players and coaches to dig deep within themselves,” Gilbert said.

I think he speaks for most Cleveland fans there. Just with a lot fewer swear works.

Understanding the intricacies of LeBron's Game 5 letdown


lebron celtics game 5.pngLeBron James had a rough Tuesday night. He shot 3-of-14 from the field as his team struggled to escape from under the heel of the Boston Celtics. Cleveland lost by 32 points on their home court, and when that happens to the best team in the league (record-wise, at least) boasting the best player in the league, the people will demand answers.

How could this happen? And why?

The how part is slightly easier to figure out, as behind LeBron’s very poor performance was a team of highly-paid bystanders. James had an off-night in terms of execution, focus, and effort, but this team is theoretically constructed to withstand that. In fact, plenty of players are being compensated very well to ensure that this very thing doesn’t happen. The acquisitions of Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison were supposed to make this situation avoidable, yet when James turned in a sub-par game on the Cavs home court, those teammates — which were rumored to be a championship-level cast — vanished as well.

For further analysis on that topic, I’ll defer to FanHouse’s Tom Ziller:

Completely putting the blame on LeBron here…masks very real issues. The Celtics play absurdly good defense and match up particularly well against James. Williams can’t guard a single person on the Boston roster. Jamison, O’Neal, Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas still aren’t comfortable with each other on offense or defense, and the Celtics’ scorers are hitting some tough shots in this series. It’s not like LeBron is shooting 3-14 against folding chairs. Boston had the league’s No. 5 defense this season, despite a year filled with injuries to key cogs. And with so few Cavaliers scoring with any efficiency, the Celtics have been able to send two good defenders at LeBron as soon as he makes his move. (Despite that, James had 12 free throws and seven assists Tuesday.)

On one hand, it’s tough to entirely blame those, like Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who set out to crucify James after they witnessed him make frequent defensive mistakes, float on the offensive end, and hoist his fair share of errant jumpers. He’s the best player in the sport, and he’s supposed to play accordingly in the playoffs.

Ziller notes that LeBron’s Game 5 isn’t as simple as many media reactions indicate, and he’s right; to deny the significance of Boston’s defensive brilliance and the futility of James’ teammates is to ignore a crucial part of the story here.

The Celtics are no slouches on the defensive end, and while their first round series against the Heat may not have provided the best example given Miami’s limited offense, the enduring effectiveness of Boston’s D over the course of the regular season is beyond commendable. There was no question they were going to turn basketball from play into work for LeBron, and they’ve done just that.

Ultimately, the best way to properly address James’ night may be to show rather than tell. Kevin Arnovitz did just that over at TrueHoop. Others could watch that very video and see  justification for their verbal lashings of LeBron, the pariah, but I see a guy that’s just completely out of sync. His passes were off to an irregular degree, his shooting troublesome, and his focus waning. It’s easy to maintain that focus when your team is in control of the game, but with neither the Cavs or LeBron clicking, he floated.

It happens. He deserves to be criticized for it, just not drawn and quartered. Being the best in the world doesn’t remove the possibility of having a bad game — mentally as well as physically — at an inopportune time, and that’s what we all witnessed last night.


So LeBron, what do you have to say for yourself?

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Last night was perplexing.

LeBron James was almost an afterthought in the Cavs offense. He missed some early jumpers, but rather than adjust and drive the lane (something he does better than anyone in the league) he was just floating around on the weakside, He was not aggressive and seemed disinterested. Was it the elbow? A mindset?

Hear it from the man himself. Although his press conference was not much better than his game.


Knicks fans only hope: Become Celtics fans for a night


Thumbnail image for LeBron_game4.jpgIntellectually, Knicks fans know LeBron James is not leaving Cleveland to help rebuild New York. He just applied to change his number next year — something he only needed to do if he stayed in Cleveland. New Yorkers’ heads tell them all hope is lost, despite the fact the Knicks hired a full time guy whose job is to recruit LeBron. Seriously. It still won’t be enough.

But in their hearts, they cannot fully give up hope. The flame may be small, but it is not out. Maybe, just maybe there is a way.

The one chance they have is for Boston to beat Cleveland — tonight and in game six. (Celtics fans don’t really want to risk a game seven in Cleveland). Our own John Krolik explains at Cavs the Blog:

(If the Celtics win the series) There is a high likelihood that LeBron James will leave. Not only has the team had trouble winning any game that LeBron did not dominate, but there doesn’t appear to be much of a core in place at the current moment. Shaq and Antawn Jamison aren’t getting any younger. Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, and J.J. Hickson are the supposed under-30 “core,” and they certainly haven’t been setting the world on fire. LeBron will take a long, hard look at a team that can potentially provide him with a true running mate or running mates, as well as a fresh start. As always, I have no idea if LeBron’s already made up his mind one way or another. But you have to imagine losing this series will influence his decision.

Frankly, LeBron has to see that the core in Cleveland has problems even if he stays. Credit the Cavs for spending and doing whatever they could to show LeBron they wanted to win, but this current lineup’s window is very small.

Knicks fans only hope is that the Celtics close it all together. Then LeBron reassess his options and decides “If I’m going to play for a crappy team anyway I might as well do that in New York.”

It’s a long shot, but that’s all Knicks fans have left. That little flicker of hope still in their hearts still burns.

Man wrongly imprisoned for 29 years to sit courtside for Cavaliers/Celtics Game 5


I can’t imagine what it would be like. I doubt, — no, I know I couldn’t handle spending 29 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit with the grace that Ray Towler did. He was happy upon his release. He was accused of a heinous crime (raping a 12- and 13-year-old) only to have DNA evidence prove he didn’t do the crime. And he was not bitter about it.

Towler is a better man than I; he deserves everything coming to him. The $1.4 million plus from the state for sure.

And two courtside Cavaliers tickets for Game Five against the Celtics, as the 64 and Counting and the Dispatch reported (via TrueHoop).

(Towler) had told The Dispatch on Tuesday that it was probably too much to ask to see LeBron James in person at a Cavaliers’ playoff game.

But it wasn’t. Tad Carper, Cavs vice president of communication, said yesterday that he would invite Towler and three guests to sit courtside for next week’s playoff game in Cleveland against the Boston Celtics.

Towler at first thought it was a joke. But as it sunk in, he beamed with more joy than when he learned he was being released.

Towler is a huge Cavs fan, who had followed the team closely from behind bars. Now he’ll see them in person up close, which doesn’t even begin to make up for anything he went through.

But credit the Cavaliers for making the gesture.