Support Our Advertisers


Entries in Boston Celtics (5)


How ESPN Has Ruined The Cavs-Celtics Series

One Great Season

When I left my apartment to pick up some food about a half hour before game time, Stuart Scott was teasing his typically annoyed ESPN audience with, "Stay tuned for what will be the most important game in the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers."

When I returned 20 minutes later, he was throwing to colleague Michael Wilbon, who was far, far away from the Boston-Cleveland game, getting ready to explain "what tonight's Game 6 will mean for LeBron's legacy."


+ GAME 6 PREVIEW: What The Cavs Need To Do To Win
+ LEBRON JAMES: How Great Is He?
+ TWITTER RECAP: Who Said What About The Game 5 Debacle?
+ TWITTER RECAP: Who Said What About Game 4?
+ WHO'S BETTER: Kobe Or LeBron?

The legacy of a 25-year-old basketball player who's about halfway into his prime and barely a third of the way through his career overall?

Working at home all day every day means I get to have ESPN on all day long, which in many ways is a good thing. I obviously get to stay up to date on the day's sports news and so forth, but the overkill is truly disgusting. You take the good with the bad, I guess.

When I used to work at FOX, I heard from several reliable co-workers, including one who claimed she was on the distribution list, that there was some electronic directive emailed out from the top reaches of the company every morning, emphasizing what the day's talking points were to be. Translation: Let's pound Obama for this, or let's praise Palin for that.

I've got to think the high-level folks in Bristol do the same thing, because the LeBron's-last-game-in-Cleveland talk earned a mere mention on "SportsCenter" Tuesday morning, but such speculation -- and until July 1 that's all it will be -- has since ramped up to a level unprecedented even by ESPN's norms. In fact, Jimmy Clausen's pre-draft and draft-night coverage are starting to get a little jealous.

So while I'll be rooting for my Cavs for the next couple of hours, a small -- very small -- piece of me will be relieved if they lose because the postseason hype will be overwith. All that remains to be seen is where LeBron signs over the summer, and I can't imagine ESPN will cover that story too much.


The 4 Things The Cavs Must Do To Win Game 6

Rajon Rondo, LeBron James

Win In Boston Would
Force Game 7 In Cleveland

One Great Season

It's amazing how one weak performance by the world's greatest basketball player has set off a deluge of anti-Cleveland sentiment around the sports world.

But that's the nature of sports media, thanks in large part to ESPN, Frank Isola and of course, Twitter and the blogosphere.

30 THOUSAND HELPERS: Look Who's Donated!

Before we plan our LeBron James goodbye party, however, there's still the matter of tonight's Game 6 in Boston. Some think there's no way the Celtics let the Cavs off the hook, while others are expecting an eruption of Mt. LBJ, forcing a Game 7 back in Cleveland on Sunday that the Cavs couldn't possibly lose, right?

Whatever your opinion about this series or LeBron's NBA future, below are the facts, the four things Cleveland must do to win tonight and push the series to a final game.

+ Play team basketball -- The Cavs have won many games with James dominating while his teammates stand around and watch (see: the last seven years). That can't happen tonight. James needs to attack early like he did in Game 3 at Boston, but his supporting cast needs to be just as aggressive. Ball movement, sharing the basketball, finding the open man and playing good, active, team defense are imperative.

+ Play desperate basketball -- This time of year you hear "desperate hockey," but you don't hear the "desperate" tag as often in basketball because hoopsters don't think it's macho. Whatever. People like Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams need to be aggressive, enthusiastic and even physical. No sense saving their energy for another game because without a win tonight, there won't be any.

+ Play physical basketball -- Shaquille O'Neal has probably given more on the offensive end than was expected in this series, but he's still not even grabbing six rebounds per game. He and Anderson Varejao, and hopefully Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson, need to keep Boston off the offensive glass. And I'm not only talking about rebounding. I'm talking about an elbow here or a hip check there. I know it's hard to change your personality for one game in May, but it's worth trying.

+ Play with mental toughness -- The last time the Cavs faced elimination in Boston was just two years ago in the same conference semifinal round. The Cavs came up short in Game 7, but it was close, and I'd like to think the Cavs have improved more than the Celtics since then. Cleveland can't think about the fear of elimination. Instead, for inspiration, the Cavs should consider the reward for a win tonight -- a Game 7 in their own barn on Sunday, with all the momentum behind them.


LeBron James: How Great Is He?

LeBron James

Huge Opportunity For
Redemption Awaits In
Thursday's Game 6

One Great Season

Through the first four games of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Cavs and Celtics, it wasn't even clear that the greatest player on the planet was the best player in the series. Rajon Rondo had carried Boston to both of its wins in much the same way LeBron James has carried Cleveland for seven years.

The King is largely regarded as the best player in the NBA, but after Tuesday night's perplexing Game 5 in which James scored only 15 points and looked almost entirely disinterested in an embarrassing loss to the Celtics, there are questions upon questions.

WHO'S BETTER: Kobe Or LeBron?

One question I've asked people over the years is whether winning is a skill like ballhandling and shooting are. It's a very subjective topic, and if the answer is yes, than maybe Kobe Bryant -- not LeBron -- is the best player on the planet.

And speaking of Kobe and the guy both he and James were compared to upon their respective entries into the NBA -- Michael Jordan -- there are certain things about Bryant and Jordan that I see far less often in James. The ability to find and step on an opponent's jugular is chief among those differences.

Where LeBron is capable of doing something great every time he touches the ball, Jordan just was great every night he stepped on the floor. People forgot about their lofty expectations of Jordan's greatness because when he was at his peak, never once did he not embody it.

Kobe, though not quite Jordan-esque in that regard -- nobody is -- remains far ahead of LeBron when it comes to being great.

Michael Jordan

What makes it difficult to watch LeBron sometimes isn't the mediocre Game 4 or the abysmal Game 5, but the shortcomings contained within those performances that actually show their ugly heads frequently.

Sometimes James' shot selection isn't great. And on other occasions, shot selection is OK, but the actual result is grotesque. Three times Tuesday night James got good looks from 20-22 feet, yet his efforts were almost air balls, barely scraping rim before bouncing into a Boston player's hands. And sometimes the out-of-control ballhandling will yield a sloppy turnover here or there. Great players don't perform like that.

As Thursday's Game 6 in Boston approaches, there are countless scenarios being talked about in the blogosphere, but I'm only considering these two:

+ LeBron has a huge opportunity to silence the many, many critics with a performance for the ages that sends the series back to Cleveland for Game 7.

+ The Cavs are put out of their misery by a better Boston team and the countdown begins toward the day LeBron decides to stay in Cleveland or take his quest for a championship to Chicago or New York.

What do you think will happen?


Celtics Clobber Cavs; Was It LeBron's Last Game In Cleveland?

LeBron James

LBJ, Cavs Feel Harsh
Wrath Of Twitterverse

One Great Season


Not much else can be said about Tuesday's Game 5 between the Cavs and Celtics, won easily and embarrassingly by the visitors in green.

That is, if you're a Cleveland native and die-hard sports fan from Ohio, where a major professional world championship trophy hasn't been paraded around the state's northeast corner in, well, a long time.

And according to trustworthy news sources on Twitter, one won't be seen in Cleveland for, well, a long time.

Follow | Subscribe | Donate

LeBron James' performance was dismal when it needed to be dominant, prompting the easy question about the King's future in Cleveland. Was that his last game in Cleveland?

Personally, regardless of the outcome of this series or any other series the Cavs might play in this postseason, I think James will extend his contract in Cleveland. I wrote a month or two ago that playing in New York is no better than playing in his home state. Sightseeing and fine dining are great, but LeBron is trying to win basketball championships.

And if Boston bounces the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semifinals, especially after Tuesday's ugly Game 5 in front of the home friendlies, do you think an ultra-competitive guy like James would be able to live with himself for not even coming close to finishing what he started in his own backyard?

During and after the game, especially when the Celtics started to run away with it in the second half, the Twitterverse got a little harsh on LeBron and the Cavs. Here's a sampling below:

@JerodMSF: "It is amazing come nut-cutting time watching the difference between a champion and a pretender. Boston showing why they won two years ago."

@MikeAmmo: "I'm not talking about the blowout, even when down a bit the crowd got totally uptight, depressed and deflated. That's on LeBron."

@Rachel_Nichols: "Fans courtside asking me if this is LeBron's last home game as a Cav. A couple of them teary."

@microtony: "At least LeBron can find comfort in all those times MJ let his team lose by 30. In the playoffs. At home."

@ClevelandFrowns: "The more embarrassing his playoff flop, the HARDER it will be for LeBron to leave. I don't understand the opposite argument."

@Chris_Broussard: "No question that if healthy and not old, Boston has more talent than Cavs. LJ supposed to make up for that deficit, but that's a lot to ask."

@ChrisMannixSI: "Question: would the Cavs be a different team with Stoudemire instead of Jamison and Hickson? It's going to be asked."

@sportsguy33: "The 'Kobe is better than LeBron' demo is reacting right now like Don Shula's house after the Tyree Catch."

@sharapovasthigh: "Wow, can't believe this score. This is what I think it takes for LeBron to leave Cleveland."

@EdgeofSports: "Never been speechless in my life. I'm Speechless about LeBron's absence of game tonight. Maybe Gund should pay to have Jay-Z court side."


Cavs-Celtics: Who's Saying What?

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo Carries
Boston To Game 4 Win

One Great Season

Less than 48 hours after the Cavs torched the Celtics in Boston, the Cleveland team that so many people thought was a strong contender to win an NBA championship assembled a performance Sunday that was at times as flat as its embarrassing Game 2 loss.

And just when you thought Rajon Rondo couldn't hurt the Cavs any more than he had in the first three games, the Celtics' point guard played out of his mind in a 97-87 win that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2. Game 5 is Tuesday in Cleveland.

Rondo had 29 points, 18 assists and 13 rebounds in 47 minutes Sunday. Here are some other notes:

+ Antawn Jamison is not getting it done. His numbers aren't bad, but he rarely plays with passion. J.J. Hickson is more aggressive and was enjoying a fine second season in Cleveland until the Cavs picked up Jamison at the trading deadline, forcing Hickson to the bench.

Follow | Subscribe | Donate

+ The Celtics are playing with more heart. Sure the series is tied, 2-2, and it looks like each team will win its next home game to set up a Game 7 in Cleveland next weekend, but Boston is just two years removed from an NBA championship and still has most of that nucleus in tact. The Big 3 certainly are collectively older and slower, but a Game 7 -- even on the road -- scares me because that Boston team is a proud one.

+ I give Danny Ferry credit for trying to put the proper pieces around LeBron James the last couple of years, but this hardly looks like Michael Jordan's first championship team with the Bulls. Jamison is no Scottie Pippen, Mo Williams is inconsistent and Shaq will need to give more than 21 minutes and six rebounds if Cleveland wants to advance.

+ Cavs coach Mike Brown should have given some other guys -- Ilgauskas, Moon, Powe, Gibson -- more minutes in Friday's Game 3 blowout.

+ The problem still in LeBron's game is his sometimes erratic play. Jordan seemed to cherish the basketball more. Even Kobe doesn't throw the ball away as much or take as many bad shots. But James does follow up sub-standard games with excellent ones, so expect some electricity in Cleveland on Tuesday. LBJ followed his three previous lowest-scoring outputs this postseason (24, 19, 24) with 40, 35 and 38, respectively. He scored only 22 today.

And here's what some people were saying on Twitter after the Boston victory:

@sportsguy33: "Triple-double for Rondo in 3 quarters. After this 2010 playoffs performance his nickname should be 'The Big One.'"

@SI_PeterKing: "Just home from seeing Rondo the Magnificent beat the Cavs. Careful now. I might have to reconsider my diffidence for the NBA."

@PDcavsinsider: "Terry Pluto and I keep asking Mike Brown how the Cavs could play with such lack of fire and he basically keeps saying 'I don't know.'"

@GESmithJr: "I hope Mo Williams' mother has a bad mother's day."

@MikeAmmo: "It's not an overreaction by Cavs fans when you visibly SEE the lack of effort/focus."

@JamilSmith: "You know how much I love the Cavaliers. But they played today like they had rollover points from Friday's deluge. Frustrating."

@MrTrpleDouble10: "Once paul pierce returns from carbonite hibernation things could get interesting."

@celtsfan33: "All I can say is HOLY COW. What a GREAT GAME by the CELTICS. All Rajon Rondo - all Passion!!"

@Adel_C: "Um...If Rondo had the confidence to launch threes, I don't even want to know how much of a nightmare it'd be for the opposition."

@jalenrose: "(Esp in the playoffs)Celts Rondo has become the most all around productive PG in the NBA! (pts/rebs/assts/defense/wins/title etc)"