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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. Paula - May 12, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    come on James, you can do it
    Just Do It

  2. Marty - May 12, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    I’ve been a Celtics fan since the early sixties. I hope they will move on, but this series isn’t over. Keep going, Celts!

  3. C.G. - May 12, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    Hey Matt,
    In the second paragraph you use the word simply three times in as many sentences. I think it may be time to buy a thesaurus. I’m just saying.

  4. LakersFan - May 12, 2010 at 1:51 AM

    You jackasses voted for him for MVP. Kobe deserved it. This is another example of why the MVP shouldn’t be given out until the last game of the finals.
    No heart. No drive. No shot. His numbers in the playoffs — where it matters — suck. His averages are in the gutter. No consistency.
    Cavs play 1 v 5 basketball. It’s a team sport. Another year without a ring. Bye, bye LeBron.

  5. doc - May 12, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    just stop compareing james and kobe to jordan at the end of day these players will never come close 6 nba championship 6 mvp with center name luke longly he rule a decade

  6. Rob - May 12, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    Agree 100%.

  7. Ed - May 12, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Did a forth grader write this? Seriously. Dude, you are a terrible writer.

  8. San Clemente Jedi - May 12, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    King james lol more like Queen James.
    Also Ed I think you meant fourth grade. :-)

  9. lasdfasf - May 12, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    Well said. Welll SAIIID.

  10. Simply - May 12, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Simply the fact that lebron simply gave up hope is simple to see that he simply doesnt want to stay in clevland, its all really simply simple if you look at it.

  11. JDUBB - May 12, 2010 at 4:22 AM

    Does anybody use spell check anymore?
    Here’s the bottom line, James does not have the experience it takes to move on. If he want’s a ring, he’s going to have to move on to a team that he can play with not carry.
    I’d love to see Kobe and Lebron go head to head, at this point that does not seem feasible. Looks like a repeat of last year.
    Go Lakers!!!
    Fishy your an idiot! Compare the stats to the rest of the league, they both blow everybody out. Idiota!

  12. luffy - May 12, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    hey doc, you’re so stupid, who’s comparing who to Jordan? shut up dumbass, I think you’re reading the wrong article…
    hey fishy, I think you’re one low-class, stupid, alcoholic dude who’s a frustrated basketball player that’s why you’re jealous to those ballers you’ve mentioned? Watch your words THUG!!!
    Lebron is a good player,MVP btw, just another bad night for Lebron. I’m a Laker fan and I agree that the MVP should be given to Kobe and for anyone who’s thinking Lebron has an injured elbow, ELBOW MY A$$! Enough of the lame excuses…

  13. luffy - May 12, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Perhaps if the Cavs lose to the Celts in this series, Lebron might not even go for a vacation in Cleveland. He should go to Chicago, that’s a better core and plus he has Noah, the one who hasn’t heard anyone say he wants to go in Cleveland for a vacation. LOL!

  14. Rob - May 12, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    LeBron has got an attitude problem.

  15. JDUBB - May 12, 2010 at 5:52 AM

    Rob, I agree with you on this. Meglomaniac. Something cracked that skull last night. Celtics? Cavs? Maybe he finally realized that he hails from Cleveland. Noah was right Cleveland sucks.

  16. davidly - May 12, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    I have an idea for the frustrated Cav fan:
    Enjoy having the MVP. Stop thinking in terms that dictate your frustration. Keep James in town, retool every few years and make a run at a title. If you win it, great. If not, enjoy the thrill of the games you get to see your hometown hero play. Contrary to popular spastic-dementia-like sport prognosticating – *winning isn’t everything.
    “If you’re not first, you’re last!”
    Ricky Bobby’s dad in Talladega Nights

  17. Rob - May 12, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Will Lebron become the Alexander Ovechkin of the NBA? A choker that never wins the big one?

  18. g_lish61 - May 12, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    A forth grader, Ed? And your knocking the writer, come on dude!

  19. bighead 66 - May 12, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    Simply put, Lebron is the Tony Romo of the NBA. He’s everybody’s boy all year long, the best offensive player, does things no one else can do blah blah blah. And then come the playoffs where they choke. He is called the “Chosen One” & “King James” but it seems the Crown is made of cardboard from a Burger King Happy Meal !!

  20. G_lish61 - May 12, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    Go Lakers, Go Celtics! It’s the best match-up for the Finals. And yes the LAKERS will take it!!!!!

  21. Former Sports Fan - May 12, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    Cleveland has had enough great regular season coaches and managers. You can now add Mike Brown to the list of Marty Schottenheimer, Lenny Wilkens and Mike Hargrove. They all get you to the dance but leave before the party is over.
    30 years of rooting for mediocrity has finally wore out its welcome and all these overpaid idiots can get their support from the rest of the fans that are stupid enough to pay their salaries.
    Lived in and around Cleveland all my life and I truly believe there is some kind of curse against being the big winner, the number one. Hell, when the casino is built why would anyone gamble there, you can’t win big in Cleveland. Lebron has his out and he is going to take.
    Goooooo Tribe, no wait…..Goooooo Browns……damn….Go to hell!

  22. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    Hey look, I’m no Shaq fan, but why the cheap shot at him? 21 points on 11 shots? Any time your point total comes close to DOUBLE your shot total, that’s the ultimate in “efficiency”. I think he’s so far over-the-hill, he’s almost back on level ground, but at least last night, he was efficient if not dominant like he thinks he still is / can be. LeBron on the other hand… yeah, he’s the “best player” in the league… sure he is.

  23. DK - May 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    wow! I guess too expensive words against great players who has done something in their playing careers. At least you can’t say that Kobe was disinterested in most recent matches and always looked as part of the team. But Lebron did in this game. I guess the match was lost in his mind even before 3rd quarter has begun.

  24. JonJon - May 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    I think Lebron deserves this beating, remember refusing to shake Orlando magics players after the got whip last year. The cavs is an arrogant team with a arrogant elite plater in LeBron. He is the best player in the season but he will never win a championship at all. Look at how his team taunt other teams when they are winning. Lebron will never ever win a championship… He doesn’t have the quality of Jordan, bird, magic, kobe and shaw during his prime…to win and to save his team….

  25. curseland - May 12, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    the fumble; the shot; 1 inning away from the championship; the river on fire & Tim Couch; Cleveland = land of disappontment and burning water.

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