For all the longtime Project readers, you would know that in the early stages I had a running gag where I would insult Flip Saunders on a daily basis. It was funny only because his poor coaching is just so true. However once the playoffs started I left him off the hook. I was blinded by Detroit’s past success. They faced a team in the first round that had no chance and a team in the second round that simply was not ready. I should have seen this coming. Last year they played horrible at the worst possible time and watched as a superstar (D-Wade) demolished them. This year they were doing the same thing…it is just LeBron has taken over.
There are not too many words that can describe LeBron’s performance last night in Game 5, and in all honesty I am just not nearly good enough to even try and do it justice. Those are the nights where you remember why you’re a fan of the game. That’s LeBron James…that is the guy who had all the ‘Witnesses’. That was King James on full display last night. And the frustrating part is we all knew he had that kind of greatness in him. Last night he just exploded.
But to me there is something just as stunning as LeBron dropping damn near 50 or scoring Cleveland’s last 25 points. It is the fact that the Detroit Pistons blew a 7-point lead with 3:15 left in the 4th quarter. That is simply unacceptable…it never should have come to LeBron going off but the Pistons just let it go. It was all missed shots and turnovers for the Pistons during that stretch. I don’t think too many people are going to mention that fact, instead gushing over LeBron (well deserved).
At the end of the day though, Cleveland still has to put Detroit away. Last year they were in this very same position and could not get the job done. Detroit has been down 3-2 twice before and have pulled out the win. In their eyes all they have to do is win Game 6. I would not count the Pistons out quite yet. I said this when Utah got their one win and I will say it now; no one else on Cleveland really stepped up to the plate and changed the game. “Well they didn’t have to they had LeBron James”. This I know, but you have to realize that their coach is far from an offensive genius. For LeBron to go off for 48 in Cleveland’s offense takes a superhuman effort, one which he gave in Game 5. Will he have another one in him? Will his teammates be able to match the desperation of the Pistons? Gibson had 11 and Z had 16…no one else in double figures. Meanwhile, Chauncey Billups finally showed up this series and the starters for Detroit seemed to be in a rhythm they had yet to reach this series. Luckily for Detroit the idiot coaches cancel each other out. If it goes to 7 Detroit is winning.
Yeah I said it…also, there is a looooot of gushing over LeBron James. He had an amazing performance last night. But I refuse to demonize or deify him. I am definitely not going to do it here, I will leave that to the media and everyone else. Because you know what…why would I put him on a pedestal after last nights performance and then have him stink it up in Game 6 and tear him right back down? That has never really made sense to me. Because I know in my heart if the Cavs blow Game 6 and LeBron has an ‘ok’ game exactly what I would say. He was phenomenal but when people start saying stuff like this;
“What LeBron James did Thursday night in the Eastern Conference finals was not Jordanesque. It was Mike to a max not even he reached.”
…Then it just crosses over into the ridiculous realm for me. Stop comparing anyone to MJ. There is and never will be anyone greater than MJ, Bird and Magic so stop comparing them. I take that kind of stuff personnally.
- Coup what happened to your ‘youth-movement in coaching’ argument? The Pacers hired Jim O’Brien?? I’m scratching my head on that one. Also, I fully condemn the Orlando Magic. Thumbs up to Billy Donovan for getting while the getting was good, but thumbs down to the Magic. You hired a coach to get your team back to the playoffs. You had Brian Hill who did his job, has proven himself as a coach and has already even been to the Finals as a head coach. Yet you fire him and replace him with someone who has absolutely zero experience coaching in the NBA. This has recipe for disaster written all over it, more because of Orlando’s poor karma then Billy Donovan. How is he going to manage the egos? I’ve seen Florida’s All-Access of practice on SportsCenter…he is a perfect college coach. Will it translate? I don’t think so…it never does. Tim Floyd….Pitino…you see where this is going.
- No more Steve Kerr on TNT; apparently he is about to be the president and GM of the Suns. I think that is a great move for Phoenix, now D’Antoni won’t have to be trying to make moves.
- Chauncey Billups is not exactly making the best case for free agency. I also still believe he has forever ruined the NBA Finals MVP lineage. I mean seriously, when I am a kid and one of my kids are on my lap reading about NBA history what am I going to say when it goes “Dad who is Chauncey Billups?”
- This article is about potential draft choices and their experiences in Philly. Al Thornton has the best answer.
- Underrated fact that no one is talking about; the Deron/Boozer vs. European feud that could shake the Jazz up. I think they’re one and done.