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NBA Playoffs Celtics Cavs Game 5: Celtics dominate as LeBron James fails in the big time

May 11, 2010, 10:05 PM EDT

James_Oneal.jpgIf it’s true that the sports Gods hate the city of Cleveland, Ohio, tonight was an especially delectable act of maliciousness by the deities.

The Boston Celtics walked into Cleveland, dragged the Cleveland Cavaliers outside, and executed them as if they were a lottery team, 120-88.

LeBron James had 15 points on only 3 of 14 shooting, in what many will consider the worst single performance by an elite player in playoff history. James was defended, well, no doubt. The Celtics had plans for simply everything the Cavaliers tried to do. But James also simply missed everything. He was timid, constantly deferring in the first quarter, which set him up to be simply frozen. It was a rather pathetic performance from the MVP of the league, there’s just no way around it.

Meanwhile, this Celtics team looked very much like the championship team from 2008, simply unstoppable from every angle. They cut off every penetration angle, had huge performances from Ray Allen (25 points), and in the second half, Rajon Rondo (16 points, 7 assists), and the bench showed up as well. But Paul Pierce was the story, finally coming out of his slump to draw 21 points.

For Cleveland, the reality sets in that this may have been the last time Cavs fans see LeBron James in a Cavaliers uniform. This wretched performance may be the last time they see James as a member of their team, especially as the rest of the squad Danny Ferry assembled to support James consistently failed at every angle. Mo Williams could not light it up like he did in Game 1, and his defense on Ray Allen was simply laughable. Antawn Jamison was not the Rashard Lewis type stretch four they hoped. And Shaquille O’Neal had 21points, on 11 shots. They forced the ball to the old big guy time and time again, apparently thinking he was the way to salvation.

The Cavs went away from everything that has produced wins for them against Boston this season. Running and gunning? The Cavs walked their way into offensive sets watching the clock hit sometimes 10 seconds before executing.They habitually allowed Boston’s defense to set. And on their side of defense, the Cavs simply failed to defend anything. Glen Davis hit open jumpers. Rajon Rondo had his long-range game going, making him essentially unstoppable. And Pierce had everything working. The Celtics are hard to stop when all that is going, even when your best player, the best player, isn’t having himself the worst night of his playoff career.

Cleveland allowed a 130 efficiency for the Celtics, and mustered up only a 95 efficiency of their own. That’s an amazing differential in a home playoff game. In a bad way.

There will be questions about whether James “pouted” in this game because he was not allowed to guard Rajon Rondo. There will be questions about if James will ever be seen in a Cavs jersey again. There will be questions about curses and bad luck and LeBron’s legacy.

But the one thing there will be no question about is that the Cavaliers, as a team and as a franchise, now face oblivion in a Game 6 in Boston.

  1. Congratulator - May 12, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Your post is laughable. If it weren’t such blatant HATERISM I would provide playoff numbers to prove how misguided and untrue your statements are… but your post isn’t worth that. And furthermore, any basketball fan worth his or her salt knows otherwise. Yes, Kobe is great and clutch but so is LeBron. They have both had bad Playoff games. It’s like HATERS were just waiting in the wings for LeBron to give a performance considered not GREAT just to talk some nonsense. Don’t be mad because Kobe isn’t the unanimous “Greatest Player in the League” anymore… they can both be good. And both are great.

  2. Mick the Ripper - May 12, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Since when is 2 wins to 3 wins not putting up a fight. You are truly a bandwagon idiot, if the Cavs were swept that would be not putting up a fight.

  3. LakersFan - May 12, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    @Congratulator. Actually, I already ran the playoff numbers. You won’t see Kobe slacking in clutch games. He leaves it ALL on the floor — all of it — and has pride and heart and comes through in the clutch, when it matters.
    Wanna see your pathetic numbers for LeBron? Let’s just compare, shall we?
    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/
    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/
    Kobe is averaging 32 PPG in the semi’s …
    LeBron is averaging 26.8 in the semi’s …
    See this is the difference. Kobe STEPS UP his game, LeBron walks away like a loser. And I hate to mention this, but if LeBron was playing the the Western Conference, his numbers would be worse.
    Now go eat your stats for lunch. They speak for themselves.
    Like I said, the league MVP should be given out at the end of the season, because LeBron just choked where when it mattered.

  4. LakersFan - May 12, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    … and don’t tell me LeBron doesn’t have the support. He does. The Cavs don’t run an offense; it’s all 1 v 5 ball. Thier half-court offense is non exhistant. And that’s the difference between the Lakers and the Cavs. If Kobe is having an off night, he finds way to assist his TEAM. LeBron just folds.
    Kobe has the heart of a champion, LeBron has the heart of a loser. Four championship rings should be enough to tell you who is a better team, overall player.
    And if you come up with an sore elbow excuse, I’ll point you to a sprained ankle, a broken index finger on his shooting hand and a knee that needs surgury for Kobe, so don’t even go there!
    What I will give you is coaching, however. Mike Brown can’t manage a team and looks lost out there. Phil Jackson knows how to manage pros.

  5. Curious86 - May 12, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    I hope the Celtics can pull through because they have a real challenge with the Magics. Although I will admit I do not see the reason behind sports players getting paid so much money. I mean really 90 million dollars to put a ball through a hoop for 45 minutes. Wow. This world has really jacked up priorities. People dont like athletics attitudes but this is what America wants. We pay them to act a fool and pay them more when they do. How many of us watch the Lakers just waiting for Artest to fight again???

  6. luffy - May 12, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    100% agreed w/Lakersfan. Kobe is better and the problem in Cleveland is the coach. Mike Brown is just lucky that he has Lebron James in his team but he is the worst coach ever.
    They should get Larry Brown instead of Mike Brown…

  7. D's nuts - May 13, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    I think he was paid off to play so lousy…. he has more hart and skill then that… Not that it even matters…. either one of these teams would and one will get there ass’s handed to them when they meet the only undefeated team in the playoffs… The ( ORLANDO MAGIC )…… There playing is extravagant… All of this is meaningless… Thank you for your time and i expect the hating to begin now…

  8. youngcity_87 - May 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    lebron chokes in the playoffs every year and everytime the want to blame it on his lousy team…well his lousy team had the best record in the nba for the past two years…im just saying

  9. YOUNGCITY_87 - May 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    EXACTLY!

  10. johnnie - May 14, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    lebron da best in the nba

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