Look, obviously I’m disappointed about what happened in Cleveland, but it’s not the end of the world. The Cavaliers did not get eliminated Wednesday night. Now they just HAVE to win a game in Orlando, whereas before, it would have been nice if they did.
A couple observations from the game:
-The Cavaliers primary problem wasn’t offense, it was defense. Specifically defense on the perimeter players (primarily Rashard Lewis). Cleveland can let Dwight Howard get his -- well, “let” isn’t the right word, but it’s not terrible if Howard is scoring a lot. The Magic aren’t as good when they’re running their offense through him. They need to figure out something on Lewis. Maybe it’s playing LeBron at the four and going semi-small, to neutralize Lewis’s impact (you can’t go too small, otherwise Turkoglu will go off).
-I love that LeBron gets his teammates involved, and I love that he trusts them in key situations, but he HAS to take that shot at the end of the game. Particularly, when he gets under the basket with just a few seconds left, he has to realize that Dwight Howard is already out of the game, and the worst thing that happens if he goes up with the ball is he gets fouled, makes one of two free throws, and the game goes into overtime.
-That said, Delonte West had just made that same wide open shot from the corner a minute earlier, and has made it multiple times in the past season and a half. Also, even after the miss, the Cavaliers won the ensuing jump ball, and Mo Williams got a great look at the basket, and nearly won the game for Cleveland. Yes, I believe Williams got fouled on that last shot, but you’re NEVER going to get that call in an NBA game, so I’m not mad about that. I’m mad about Cleveland’s second half defense, which was atrocious.
-It came in a loss, so the impact is lessened, but take another look at LeBron’s final stat line: 49 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals. That’s nuts. He also shot 66.7% from the field and 50.0% from three-point range. His postseason PER is now an absurd 43.39, which is 17 points higher than any player still playing this postseason. If the Cavs do win this series, and eventually the title, a statue in Cleveland won’t be enough. Rename the arena, the team, hell, the city, after him. They can be the Jamesville LeBrons, playing their home games at King James’s Palace, 1 Chosen Ave, Jamesville, OH (and my offer from 2007 is reinstated -- if the LeBrons win the title, I’ll get a 23 tattoo).