Kobe Bryant doesn’t make that pass… Larry Hughes doesn’t hit that shot… LeBron found Delonte West in the corner for the game winning 3 with 5 seconds left. I’ll tell ya what, I’m much more comfortable having West take that shot rather than seeing Donyell Marshall and his big ass hoist it. West played a fantastic game; the big stat was the 5-8 from behind the arc, but I though his defense play a huge role throughout. West D’d up on Gilbert Arenas (and his bulky knee) and forced a miss on the final shot of the game.
LeBron… I mean, what else can you say? It’s gotten to the point where I’m not even cheering anymore, I’m just sitting laughing. That dunk in the lane? I’m giddy. His 35 foot bomb? I’m cackling with delight. It’s like I don’t even know how to process what he does. He’s unbelievable. James finished with 34 points, 12 boards and 7 assists. He was 11-25 from the floor but just 9-14 from the line. Those free throws may not matter against a team like the Wizards, but his percentage has to improve if they want to make it past 2nd round.
Boobie has got balls. Daniel Gibson was 4-7 from behind the arc, which led to his 12 points. I know at least two of his treys came as the shot clock was winding down and they all seemed to come in huuuuuuge spots. I love the way Gibson sticks his nose in there and he doesn’t back down; you can tell he’s got a ton of confidence in himself (and wouldn’t you, if you could shoot like that?). However, I still get more than a bit nervous when they have Gibson handle the ball for an extended period of time. The Cavs hit 13 treys, breaking their playoff record of 11.
The bigs (sans Varejao) played great. Ben Wallace had the type of game we’ve been expecting of him; 0 points, 12 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He was the enforcer that the Cavs hoped he’d be when they brought him in. Z was OK; he wasn’t spectacular or anything, but he finished with 9 points (4-8 FG) and 7 boards in 29 foul plagued minutes. Joe Smith was just 1-6, but he had a huge ‘and one’ put back with .3 seconds left in the 3rd quarter (which pushed the Cavalier lead from 4 to 7). And then there’s Varejao… I have no confidence in Andy right now. I don’t like the decisions he’s making with the ball (terrible shot selection, turnovers, etc) and he’s not being really effective on the defensive end.
Wally Szczerbiak never got started. Wally had just 6 points in 16 minutes of court time. He couldn’t stay on the court due to foul trouble, somehow he picked up 4 (the last one, a block, was horrendously bad).
I didn’t care for Eddie Jordan’s coaching decisions at all. Personally, I would’ve played Antonio Daniels much more often (despite his game tying shot, Arenas was killing them). He’s always kills the Cavs and the Wizards offense ran much more smooth when the Bowling Green alum was in the game. Plus, Daniels’ length really bothered both West and Gibson. If I was Jordan, I would’ve definitely gone to the hack-a-Wallace strategy late in the game; Washington was only down a couple possessions late and Cavs had Wallace in the game, why not foul him? If nothing else, force Brown to sub offense-defense or just take Wallace out of game completely.
DeShawn Stevenson is a punk. You know how some sports fans complain that the NBA is full of ‘me first thugs’ and showboaters? Well… Stevenson fits that bill. This guy celebrates after every basket, takes terrible shots and just flat out decked LeBron in the head (a 13-0 run ensued). He has absolutely no class and I almost feel sorry for Wizards fans for having to defend him. I mean, at least when Cleveland had Albert Belle, he was, you know, actually good. LeBron got his 5th foul with 3:00 to go and instead of going at James, the Wizards got to watch Stevenson hoist a contested 28 footer. Idiot.
I almost feel sorry for Wizards fans. When a crowd piles on a player, they’re supposed to choose a role player. Remember how Bulls fans went after James Posey after he decked Kirk Hinrich? You don’t taunt Kobe, D.Wade or LeBron (or Jordan or Reggie Miller, etc). You taunt the role players who aren’t used to the spotlight (like say… DeShawn Stevenson). Chanting “overrated” to a guy who led the league in scoring and has knocked your team out of the playoffs the last two seasons is just stupid. What the hell is wrong with you people?
You know who I do feel sorry for? Antawn Jamison. This guy busts his ass, puts up another 20-10 (23 and 11 actually) and he’s surrounded by idiots. My favorite part of the game, by far, was when ABC was playing audio clips from the mic’d up Jamison. They had this clip of him telling his team to rebound… really? At this point in the season Jamison has to remind his teammates to crash the boards? This is a pivotal game and Jamison is pleading with his teammates to help him out down low. I really hope he signs with the Suns in the offseason.
Please finish them off. I really don’t want to have to deal with Stevenson, Brenda Haywood and those dumb Wizards fans until next year’s inevitable first round match-up. You’re up 3-1, you’re going home- stomp on their throats. End it at home and give yourself time to rest up for the Celtics (or Hawks!) and get your guys healthy (I think they’ll need Sasha’s defense in the Celtics series, his length could