I feel sorry for Cleveland sometimes. I really do. It’s my kind heart. I think I wrote a post about it once, what to make of these sports cities where they just wait for the next terrible thing to happen. Even though they fall one team short of the four teams worth of misery that we suffered through in Philly for 25 years, Cleveland can hold its own with any town. The Browns. The Indians. That basically sums it up. The saving grace for the last several years has been LeBron. They seemed fated to win the lottery for him, and up to this point I’d say LeBron has exceeded expectations in every category except winning titles. Is that his hump to get over? The team’s? The city’s?
The Cavs lost game five at home on Tuesday night, and while I didn’t catch much of the blowout, the early reactions indicate that LeBron had a terrible night at the least opportune time. Maybe someone can explain to me what is going on in this series. The same two teams are playing all these games, right? A few nights back in game 3, on the Celtics home court, the Cavs won by 29. Tuesday night they lose by 32 at home. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. This is a close series, but none of the actual games are close? What is going on with the Cavs?
The supporting cast has to shoulder a lot of the blame here, don’t they? The Celtics are riding Rondo, who is channeling Oscar Robertson, but they have a couple of options, more than one guy to carry the load. Cleveland has been working on this for years, and as recently as late this season they added Antawn Jamison. The Cavs never win, though, when LeBron has an off night. They never even seem to be in the game. Contrast that with the pedestrian effort that Boston has gotten out of Paul Pierce for most of the series, yet they still lead 3-2. Is that the fault of the other eleven guys, or someone else? Maybe Mike Brown is at fault. I have to admit, this guy reminds me of Boris the Bullet Dodger. He dodges bullets, Avi. He also maybe should have been fired when the Cavs pulled this the last time? Or the time before that?
LeBron has to man up, though. I don’t know if he’s hurting, or what, but 15 points on 3-14 shooting in a critical game five? That can’t happen. Not by the guy who is going to be the best player ever. It’s a little odd to me that everyone has projected championships for LeBron. The inevitability of that team finally winning the title. Even before tonight, as a casual observer I had my doubts. Could they get by Orlando? What about the teams out West? As it turns out, they’re in the fight of their life against the Celts. I don’t see a reason to be optimistic, do you?
So, this could have been it for LeBron in Cleveland. If free agency ends up taking him to New York, Chicago, wherever, this could be the last performance in front of the home faithful. What a way to go out. I always thought that LeBron would stay, but if he did leave I didn’t feel he was breaking any unwritten obligation. Cleveland was tortured, yes, but they weren’t owed anything. But I think they’re owed better than what they got Tuesday. We’ll see if LeBron can make amends.