Monday, May 28, 2007

LeBron Critics (and Pistons), Thwarted

Everyone will have to take a day off from beating on LeBron, because you can't quibble with 32-9-9, highlight reel plays, leadership, and the game-winning shot.

Here are other thoughts from the Cavs' 88-82 win in Game Three (sorry about missing Game Three of the Western Conference Finals, but I'm having a hard time remembering that it is happening).

Scarecrow Gets a Brain

I'm not exactly taking back any previous comments about Mike Brown, but at least he figured out tonight that Larry Hughes + Big Minutes = Loss. Playing Hughes sparingly and opting for Daniel Gibson saved Cleveland today. It seems so painfully obvious that Gibson is the better player. He's faster, is a better shooter, plays far better defense, and has more stones. I've said this about a dozen times already, but Hughes looks like a gifted wide receiver that got called out of the stands to play hoops. He can run and jump and has nice hands, but no feel at all for the game. He made three of the worst passes I've ever seen today (an alley-oop attempt for LeBron that nearly broke the backboard, a bounce pass off Z's feet, and a backdoor pass to James that hit him in the ankles) and all three were the product of having no "feel." Plus he can't shoot, doesn't understand the pick-and-roll, never knows when to attack and when to pass, and isn't much of a ballhandler. Throw in the fact that he thinks he is good (and therefore does a whole lot of ill-advised stuff) and he just kills Cleveland. Meanwhile, Gibson isn't just replacement value, but is actually becoming a good player. So good for Mike Brown for finally getting it. Whether it was Hughes' foot injury, a demand from James, or Brown just making the realization on his own, this was a huge development.

Billups the Anti Jerome James

Chauncey made a few shots late, but otherwise had yet another horrific game. His timing is not good as he's about to become a big free agent. I mean, he got benched in the second quarter for Flip Murray. Wow. His price tag is going down faster than my boy Zach Braff's after The Ex opened to $1.4 million last weekend.

Kerr Commits Larceny

How did Doug Collins feel tonight when Kerr stole his favorite bit of analysis? In case you missed it, Kerr attributed LeBron's improved mid-range shooting to "getting an early dunk on the break" which can "make those jumpers come easier." Anyone who watches a lot of hoops on TNT knows this is Collins' jam. He loves to talk about shooters getting to the line and getting dunks to open up the jumper. When Kerr broke this down it was followed by dead silence. No doubt that was stunned, confused silence on Doug's part.

LeBron Goes Off

Duh. You don't need me to point this out. But he really was amazing. Hit some crazy jumpers, dunked on people, made all the right decisions, pushed the ball, attacked the glass, continued to play overlooked defense, and really lead his team. My favorite moment is after he made a ridiculous step-back three, sprinted to the bench on the ensuing Detroit timeout, headed over to get his high gives, and then suddenly turned away to meet Daniel Gibson. I have no idea what he said, but it looked like he was pumping the rookie up, telling him what a great defensive play he had made, and giving Gibson all kinds of confidence. Great stuff. Also, I love that even when LeBron is making shots, getting to the rim, and having his way, he still makes the pass when it is open. He will make the skip pace to a shooter, the no-look to a cutter, or even the simple pseudo handoff to a pick-and-pop target. He's not at all interested in stepping outside what he feels is the right play and I love him for that. When you have teammates this crappy and are still willing to be team-first, that is great for basketball. Someday he is going to have good teammates and we are going to see some magic. Or some Magic. Either way, lets praise this guy for building good habits instead of slipping into the trap that ensnared T-Mac early in his career and gets Kobe into trouble from time to time.

Flip Saunders ... Fire Your Barber

Why on earth is Flip rocking that curly mullet? Normally I would let him off the hook because it is hard to see the back of one's own head, but he can see this on film. What is he thinking?


jsuns1 said...

great comment on Lebron and his unselfishness, even though his teammates are very weak.

Anonymous said...

I'm a suns fan, but if Lebron keeps this up, I think we could be watching
the Cavs in the finals. And yes the Pistons and Spurs aren't the most entertaining teams, but to see Lebron
takeover and get into the finals, I'd watch him.

jessica said...

Jazz vs Cavs Finals! Root for it people!

Anonymous said...

What, no comments on the Jazz/Spur game?