This is a league of stars.

Finally something cool happens after the second round.


At 6/01/2007 12:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

Just fucking epic.

At 6/01/2007 12:01 AM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

If you cross me
You will die

Hopefully LeBron realizes how great he is when he tries, and therefore tries all the time. Amazing.

At 6/01/2007 12:02 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

If they win the series, everyone will remember, but if they lose, only a few will. I can't wait to hear the post game comments from the guys.

At 6/01/2007 12:05 AM, Blogger Dex said...

As one of the most ridiculously biased Piston fans in existence....

God. Damn.

That was ridiculous.

I'm not even mad. Was that even real? Is he even human? Just fuckin amazing.

At 6/01/2007 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched this entire game via a 220k chinese feed on sopcast. the 30 pixels of lebron i could distinguish could simply not be denid

At 6/01/2007 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..where does the And1 mixtape tour end and the NBA begin? it was one of the most incredible performances of all time; the best ballet. but i'd still rather watch the suns. sorry.

At 6/01/2007 12:12 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Chuck: "He's a raging inferno at this point.... He already burned down the Palace, he burned down the Silverdome, he burned down Joe Louis Arena!"

At 6/01/2007 12:12 AM, Anonymous aug said...

Flip Saunders might be the worst coach of all time. I've played against a 11-12 yr old youth league cavs before. When it comes to crunch time, you have to double team him outside the 3 point line to the point where he has to pass the ball to someone, then you put prince on him really tight to where he can't get the ball back or gets it back with 5 on the shot clock. I mean, if flip can't realize that varejao and snow can't shoot and just double team lebron with whoever is guarding them. I was screaming at the tv all 4th and overtimes and i'm glad charles barkley was just as dumbfounded. I think i might have to rethink my "mike brown is the worst coach in the nba" theory. Congratulations flip.

What a game though. Geez.

At 6/01/2007 12:20 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

The Spirit possessed LeBron tonight. This is, IMO, just as amazing as Kobe's 81. I mean . . . Ah, man. I don't even know what to say anymore.

At 6/01/2007 12:21 AM, Anonymous ronald james davis said...

i agree. this series seals flip saunders' fate as a front office lifer, or as an assistant coach on any of the texas teams. at least mike brown has the common sense to just step back and let audie murphy be audie fucking murphy

At 6/01/2007 12:39 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

Goddamn, if ESPN australia doesn't replay this game tonight when I get home from work, I will be very, very upset that I didn't record it live. who the hell scores 29 of a team's final 30? Does this mean that Bron could maybe go near Kobe's 81 if he actually gave it a go?

At 6/01/2007 12:42 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

I have one more thing to say: What the fuck was that?

At 6/01/2007 12:43 AM, Blogger Andrew said...


ESPN Australia is NOT replaying this game.

I want to say many words that I am not sure will be published. Many times over. I can't believe I forgot to record this. Grrr.

At 6/01/2007 12:49 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/01/2007 12:50 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Holy shit, an Aug appearance! Welcome back vet. The performances of Brown and Flip tonight was agonizing to watch. Simmons nailed it with the "canceling wits" line. Tonight (actually this whole series) Flip validated everything Dr. LIC has said about him for years, to the point that I'm even willing to overlook the Good Doctor's genius Jazz over Spurs pick.

I can't see Pop ever losing a series against Mike Brown, but if Bowen gets pwned by thick 3's like Bonzi and Melo, I don't know how many Bron can drop on him. And don't forget that Hank Egan was Pop's assistant going back to his Air Force days. This will be closer than you think.

At 6/01/2007 12:50 AM, Anonymous Shawn said...

I got a little tired of the "why didn't they take the ball out of his hands" argument from Charles and Kenny. Hey, Chuck, why didn't you guys take the ball out of Jordan's hands in Game 4 of the 93 finals when he scored 55? Why not take it out of his hands in the fourth quarter of Game 6 when he scored every point but the last Paxson jumper?

When the greats get it going like that, taking the ball out of their hands is impossible. Kobe, Lebron, Wade, McGrady, they can simply drive around most double teams out on the perimter and still take the ridiculous threes or long 2s over both guys.

Although, I still don't think LeBron could reach 81. I mean, he was still 33 short and played 10 more minutes.

At 6/01/2007 12:52 AM, Blogger Sergio said...

I am glad that Flip Saunders is providing new insight into why KG never got out of the first round.

Still, big ups to LeBron. Early 90's Shaq has been reborn as a 6'8, 260-pound guard. There is no containing him!

At 6/01/2007 12:57 AM, Blogger Marcus said...

Aug, what game were you watching? The Pistons were double (and triple) teaming him outside the 3-point line. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered.

But Jesus, what a bunch of scrubs around him. If he has to do this thing every night his career will be very short. He's not 6'6, 215, like Jordan in the day. He's 255 pounds, and attacking the hoop 45+ minutes a game gets tiring. His legs will be dead on Saturday, and if the rest of the team doesn't come through the Cavs will go down.

At 6/01/2007 12:57 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Kind of appropriate to show Blade II after the first round. I mean, Nomak and everything.

At 6/01/2007 1:04 AM, Blogger Marcus said...

We are all witnesses.

At 6/01/2007 1:04 AM, Blogger shoefly said...

That 3 he hit to tie it in the second overtime was unfucking real. No way could they lose after that.

This really is the reason I love sports. To see will manifest into flesh. It's astonishing that men can do such things.

I mean, that was just incredible. 25 points consecutively doesn't even begin to describe the way it was all Lebron. His teamates were negative value on the offensive end, never seem a team so afraid. Never seen a one man band like that before.

My God, I'm going to have a tough time getting to sleep.

At 6/01/2007 1:08 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

"Although, I still don't think LeBron could reach 81. I mean, he was still 33 short and played 10 more minutes."

True, but (as far as I can tell without having seen a second of the action myself) he sort of took over in the third and forth... I'm thinking that if he kept this up for an entire game i.e. quit dropping the 8-9 dimes that he gives out, he could regularly put up KB's numbers... as has been regularly been posted on FD - this is a league of potential... Bron Bron could, potentially, go for rather large scores, once he gets sick of passing to hughes for another missed jumper...

At 6/01/2007 1:17 AM, Anonymous Millions said...

That game was astonishing. As jaw dropping of an individual perfromance as we may ever see in the playoffs. Everyone knows that LeBron is the truth. But the King cannot be excused for taking nights off during the season. When he stops doing that--and I'm sure he will--we'll get him prepped for the NBA Rushmore.

At 6/01/2007 2:24 AM, Blogger T. said...

We are all witnesses.

Even those of us watching sopcasts of CCTV5 at work in China.

At 6/01/2007 2:48 AM, Blogger Nate said...

Anon 12:07: Rather watch the Suns? Come on now. They are not that damn entertaining. And you can tell this by the reaction that Kobe, LeBron, or Wade going off has on basketball fans as a whole. The Phoenix suns have never been able to wow us in that fashion. Defense and halfcourt execution has and always will be the key to winning titles in the NBA. That's why the Suns will never so much as sniff an NBA championship. In ten years, that Suns team is going to be no more relevant than the 80s Nuggets. So let's stop talking about them, okay.

In regards to LeBron, the craziest thing about him is that he is doing this without really making any improvements on his game since he came in the league. His jumpers gotten a bit better, but outside of that, he hasn't really improved anything. He still is a marginal free throw shooter, and still needs to develop a mid-range and mid post game. If he's already that good without developing his game. Imagine how unstoppable he'd be if he was able to add to his game a bit.

At 6/01/2007 10:51 AM, Blogger R.G. said...

What are you all talking about? What did I miss?

At 6/01/2007 11:06 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

nate, i think you're pretty much on point saying that lebron hasn't really improved very much. that's just a testament to how amazingly good he was at age 18 (or even age 16). he came into the league with that insane athleticism and strength, court vision, and uncanny basketball IQ. his shot hasn't so much as improved, but become more consistent. he still has moments when he shoots off balance for no reason and has that little hitch in his shot. his stupid 22-footer (stupid because he had to take it--mike brown's fault) with the cavs up 2 was like that. still, i don't really know what he could do better other than make better decisions and develop his post game a little bit. otherwise, he's got everything you could ever want out of a basketball player.

At 6/01/2007 11:41 AM, Anonymous aug said...

I'm just gonna say, they were not double teaming him outside the 3 line. Watch the nbatv replay today. They flash doubled on the pick and roll but that's it. That's not what i'm talking about. It's not hard to take it out of lebron's hands. Fuck, if i was coaching i'd get that shit done. Look at what the mavericks did in the only game they beat the warriors(why avery didn't do this more is beyond me): As soon as lebron crosses half court, you hard double trap him. He is going to have to pass the ball off. Then you stick prince on him who can defend pretty well the 28ft post up play with 10 seconds on the shot clock. The pistons did this every once in awhile and every time they did it was a turnover or missed shot. Remember the varejao block and pavlovic misses? Watch how they played lebron on those plays. Also, when lebron had to chuck bad distance shots, watch how the pistons played their defense that possession. I'm still not sure why they don't make lebron work on the defensive end either.

I love the excitement but this series is agonizing. For people like brick that read this blog 1-2 years ago, you probably know how i like my basketball. It's not that i don't like flash and style(i loved early 06 suns and late 05 suns to death) but i mainly love good coaching and good basketball. I don't love screaming at my TV because mike brown and flip are idiots. I don't like the spurs because they're "right way", i like them because they're good and watching greatness is a thing of beauty.

I'm not bashing lebron, but i don't want him to beat the pistons at all. I want him to fail this season hard and score 15ppg the last 2 games. He's not there yet. I want him to fail and hit the gym hard for a change and work on his defense, learning how to shoot consistantly instead of catching fire randomly and going 1-8 from 3 other times and learn how to play winning basketball. It all begins with the coach who needs to use lebron as a scorer instead of a playmaker. In 2 years(i think) hughes' contract will be done, the cavs can get a piece or two around lebron that compliment him(he doesn't need another all star), and a new coach. Then i want him to light the world on fire and i'll be able to die a happy man.

At 6/01/2007 11:52 AM, Anonymous aug said...

Recluse, don't forget about defense. Look at big time playoff guys. Kobe, MJ, Duncan, shaq, drobinson, hakeem, kidd, malone, pippen, etc... Those guys have all been 1st or 2nd team defense a few times. The only person who i can think of that doesn't play much defense(except for weakside blocks and steals which don't count as defense) is wade, and that was just the weirdest finals i'd ever seen.

Nate hit the nail on the head of why i was absolutely in love with lebron from 18-20 and have actually disliked him from 21-22. Imagine if he improved his game? It's not gonna happen anytime soon though. He's so used to being amazing and everyone telling him that his game is perfect(save for shooting the last shot). His coach seems to just give him the ball and have everyone stand there instead of running plays for him like that little high post ilgauskus play where lebron ran off his shoulder to get the pass and a layup. I just don't see any work ethic from lebron, he seems perfectly content with himself.

Not to mention his actions with team USA the past year has made me dislike him. According to team usa coaches, lebron is basically a team cancer on the court and not only that, he doesn't want to play this summer in the low profile qualifying games. I bet he'll be begging to play next year though when it's the olympics and he can get big multi million dollar international advertising deals though. Team usa just needs to take deron williams, kobe, melo, brand and bosh with gil, and amare off the bench and just destroy the world (if they can get a good coach). I'm really excited that lebron might be permanently off team usa.

At 6/01/2007 12:01 PM, Anonymous gelatimouse said...

Last night was Bron's Bar Mitzvah, for sure

At 6/01/2007 12:27 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I am pretty much with aug on this one. They weren't playing bad defense, but they needed to overcommit on Lebron in OT.

Most of the double-teams came only after Varejao ran a pick-and-roll, thus bringing the second defender.

That's a whole lot different than running traps at Lebron as soon as crosses half-court.

What Lebron did was still otherworldly though. The Pistons didn't adjust, but that's because they're already such a fundamentally sound defensive team. I don't think it occurred to them that they would have to resort to some sort of gimmick or ploy, because normally that leads to breakdowns and easy buckets. But at some point last night they should have realized that that was their best chance at winning. (which again speaks to the greatness of Lebron last night.)

At 6/01/2007 1:05 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

One of the things that's been interesting to me from the last two games is seeing what LeBron has been working on, actually.

We've seen the turnaround jumper, floaters, and mid-range jump shots.

He's also reconstructed his foul shot twice, just this season, and it's much improved in the playoffs.

That he hasn't perfected those yet doesn't mean that he hasn't been working on them.

What I don't understand is why we haven't seen any of that until this deep into the playoffs. LBJ has to take some of the blame for not just going where he wants on the floor and demanding the ball (risking the wrath of additional labeling as a spoiled child). But I mostly blame Mike Brown. It's like he's not even aware of what Bron can has been doing in the gym.

And maybe it's just me, but I've been extremely impressed with LBJ's individual defense in the playoffs (and the season). Tayshaun has barely been a presence in this series, and from what I've seen, that's mostly Bron's work.

At 6/01/2007 1:09 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

I also agree with aug, as far as LeBron's game goes. Without taking anything away from his performance last night, how often is his jumper as deadly as Kobe's? It was an amazing run but I'm skeptical as to how easily it could be repeated or even approached. Of course it's ludicrous that he can drop 26-7-7 or so just coasting with an iffy jump shot, a limited mid-range/post game and no offensive game plan to help him out. Also he's just not a pure shooter; I don't doubt that he will gain more consistency with time as other scorers do but I have a hard time seeing him ever frequently having nights where his jumper is half that lethal.

Jordan, for example, had one of the best post-up games the NBA has ever seen. Sometimes people forget that despite not ever having a traditionally dominant big the Bulls never lacked for post scoring. It was just done by MJ and to a lesser extent Pippen. It's not as if it would be the end of the world if LeBron didn't develop some versatility in his game but if he did it would make him literally unstoppable.

He has all the tools to be a lockdown defender as well. I'm surprised that, given that the only thing Mike Brown seems to be able to do is inspire his players to put effort into defending, he hasn't been able to better instill defensive fundamentals and awareness in LeBron.

I'm fairly sure that he'll win multiple titles and MVPs before all is said and done. I just can't envision his team, if they do close out the Pistons, giving the Spurs any trouble this year.

At 6/01/2007 1:14 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

About what we all WITNESSED last night:

1) Flip Saunders = Moron. How do you not make someone, anyone, other then LBJ make a shot in overtime and double overtime? My pity for KG runs deeper then it did before last night. Who knew he was that handicapped all those years by such a terrible playoff game coach?

2) I refuse to call another man Boobie. I'm a grown-ass man dawg.

3) I was geeked when LBJ did Maxiel all dirty with the crossover in the 4th, but there wasn't any point during that game where I thought I was watching something historical. C'mon. Most of those step back jumpers were bad shots (because of bad offense), the buckets at the hoop were bad defense by DET (it was obvious someone was supposed to be helping on the weakside), however, the last bucket was the TRUTH.

4) We run better offense in my weekly pickup game then the Pistons do during crunch-time.

5) Maybe I'm jaded, I've watched Kobe do sick things every single night for the past 9 years.

At 6/01/2007 1:20 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

Mr Six: You're right that LeBron showed off two or three nice post moves last night. I wasn't claiming that he wasn't working his game, just saying he needs to get it to the point where those turnarounds, floaters, etc. are a regular part of his repertoire so he doesn't wind up dribbling around the perimeter looking lost before hoisting up terrible shots on so many possessions.

I'm not saying he's been playing horrible defense but I think it's a matter Prince shooting poorly more than anything else. His defense isn't like Carmelo-bad right now, but it could be a lot better. While I realize he expends a ton of energy on offense there's no reason that with his length, quickness and strength his team shouldn't be able to turn to him to shut down an opponent's best scorer for a possession or two at crucial moments of games. Right now the idea of LeBron trying to check a Michael Redd or Arenas is laughable and it shouldn't be given his talent.

At 6/01/2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I have no problem with people saying that Bron Bron doesn't have a varied arsenal, that his post game isn't well developed, etc.

It's saying that he isn't working on it with which I disagree. Maybe I'm just seeing what I want, but I see plenty of evidence that he is working on those things. (I'm sure many get tire of hearing this, but ...) He is still just a fourth-year player with no college experience. It takes time to develop a skill game. I see signs that he's putting in that time. He has to keep working, and he needs a coach who can figure out how to take advantage of those developing skills.

I do, however, agree that he's not a natural shooter ... all the more reason for him to put in that work

At 6/01/2007 2:00 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

This conversation's probably moved on to the new entry today so I'll take most of my comments over there, but for my boy Sean I have to tell you I'm impressed as hell. That is why I've been so disappointed with LeBron, cause he had that in him and instead played the way he did this season. Last night was epic. Bad defense from Detroit and bad offense from Cleveland, but LeBron just elevated to the sky with what he did.

I did want to speak on whether LeBron could get to 81 or not. I don't think he or anyone else really could simply because one of the main reasons Kobe was able to do it is because Kobe's got that awful decision-making streak in him that allowed him to jack up all those ridiculous heat-check threes and outside shots in the first couple seconds of the shot clock in that game. Nobody else even tries to do anything like that, but Kobe attempts those shots a lot (which is not a good thing, cause usually they don't all go in like they did that night). Even LeBron last night got a lot of his points driving to the rim. Go back and watch Kobe's 81 point game in the 2nd half when he got 55 of those 81 points and you'll see he just started jacking shots from all over the perimeter as soon as the ball was passed to him (until Toronto just started fouling him over and over). Nobody else other than maybe Gilbert on an especially crazy day goes that far outside the offense to take shots like those for such an extended period of time.

At 6/01/2007 2:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I think the reason Lebron hasn't better developed these other aspects of his game, is ironically the burden and expectations that have been placed on him at the tender age of 22.

Who at 22 has such a refined, developed game? No one.

Lebron James is not perceived as the future savior of the franchise, he's already being expected to take the Cavs deep into the playoffs. He's already the guy with the promotional deals and all that jazz. He has to win every game NOW, not 5 years from now when he's just entering his physical prime. He passed up a shot and gave his teammate a wide open 3 to win the game in Game 1, and his teammate (a 3 point shooter, not just some random guy) missed. Suddenly there are headlines about how he's not a big game player, doesn't want the ball in the clutch, blah blah blah.

He doesn't have the luxury of just being a scorer (like Kobe and MJ), just pleasing the crowd, or gradually learning the game. I know my logic is not quite sound, but I feel like the kid is being rushed onto center stage so quickly, it makes it harder to say 'this season/offseason I'm going to work on my post game' or some other individual aspect. He has to be everything right NOW. He's 22, he needs a bit of time to feel out his game, how it fits in the NBA, and what he should work on every offseason to best improve his play.

I mean people are still criticizing him in this thread, after having one of the all-time greatest playoff performances at age 22. Like BECAUSE he had such a great game, he should actually be BETTER.

The Cavs are brutally bad without him, and with him they are 1 game from reaching the NBA Finals. Whatever valid complaints may be made about his defense, or shooting, or whatever...please don't lose touch of that big picture. At the age of 22, he's willing the Cavaliers into the Finals. ON THE WHOLE he must be doing things right, right?

At 6/01/2007 2:19 PM, Blogger Marcus said...

It's kind of amazing that even after that performance, you still the haters coming out. I guess some people watch sports just because it offers a convenient focus for their desire to whine about something. If LBJ put on a cape and actually started flying around the building, would that be enough?

If you have actually watched Lebron consistently (as opposed to just whining about his hype), you can see that in these playoffs (and toward the end of the regular season), he has been trying to work on his post and midrange game. I agree that it's odd that he has waited until now to start to unveil that, but he has, you know, a pretty crowded schedule.

Also, it is bleedingly obvious to anyone who has actually watched Lebron that he is a FAR better defender than he was 2 years ago. He's consistently stayed in front of Prince, and singlehandedly shut him down a few times.

As for how hard he works: he weighs 255 pounds, plays a an active penetrating perimeter game, and has led the NBA in minutes for the past three years I believe (might be 2 years). This is completely historically unprecedented for a player his size (for reference, Magic weighed 225 pounds at his age). Do you want him to actually die of a coronary on the court? Would that be enough?

At 6/01/2007 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yup marcus-

The most overlooked stat re: Lebron is that he puts in more minutes + absorbs more punishment than just about any other superstar in the Leauge outside of Philly's Iverson

If he did what he did last night...over 82 games...over his 40-46 mpg...he'd be done by age 30

At 6/01/2007 3:04 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

You guys are probably right. If James can do that against a defensive team like Detroit, then he's like early Jordan and Shaq and just is unstoppable as is and doesn't really need to add anything to his game. Eventually he'll need something of a post game when he gets older and can't simply rely on his insane athleticism, but he's got years before that happens. He's definitely learning as he goes and it's incredible to watch. I'm sure like everyone else I felt last night like we should expect to see some truly incredible playoff moments from this guy for a long, long time.

By the way, this picture is incredible.

At 6/01/2007 3:32 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Yup, the way he went in for that last layup was marvelous.

At 6/01/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I think what really separates him from the other star wing guys (Kobe, Tracy, Wade) is his strength. He seems just as quick (or quicker) than those other guys, and simply cannot be outmuscled. It's easy to say Detroit shouldn't let him into the paint so easily, it's another when the guy doing it is a horse just as big and strong as the Pistons big men. He doesn't have the body control of say Kobe (no one does), but he's close to those guys anyways.

And he's a great passer.

I would love to see him spend each offseason working on another aspect of his game though, because teams inevitably adjust. As others have said, his game is not perfect. If the Cavs can just win the next game though, I think Lebron will taste the glory (even if they lose in the Finals), and realize what he needs to do.

I am looking forward to a Cav-SA series, and watching Bowen try to cover him man-to-man. Bowen can out-physical some other guys, but Lebron will put him on his ass if Bowen tries to cut him off, and get the blocking call. He's not to be bothered by the likes of him.

(I wish they wouldn't let all these marquee guys take 3 steps though, it's ugly. I don't blame the players for taking the steps because the refs are giving it to them, and why not dunk after picking up your dribble at the top of the key?)

At 6/01/2007 4:30 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

Marcus: Please, spare us the frantic indignation. No one's trying to deny that LeBron's peformance last night was transcendant. No one is, at least in this thread, criticizing his work ethic or his effort.

All we're saying is that if, in addition to his unparalleled physical tools and court vision, he were to develop other aspects of his game he would be that much better. Is he working on these aspects? It would appear so, but they're still unrefined. Since he's a 22 yr old who skipped college ball and has a massive amount of responsiblity on his shoulders that's not very surprising. So when one makes the criticism that he wasted far too many possessions this season dribbling or holding the ball until the end of the shot clock and then hoisting up terrible, off-balance contested shots there are many qualifiers. Clearly Mike Brown should shoulder a large portion of the blame for that as well, but if LBJ was able to consistenly go to, for example, a post game then he wouldn't get stuck forcing up so many bricks. However great he was last night his shot is still iffy as often as not, although it's improved; look at how many times through the first 3 games that the Pistons either let him toss up bricks (the same shots that were falling last night) or funneled him into shot-blocking bigs.

I think a valid argument could be made that if he didn't spend so much time focusing on realizing his goal of becoming a global makerkting icon and, you know, kicking it with Warren Buffet then he'd have more time to work on his game. But MJ managed it, LeBron is still putting up near-MVP numbers and it's his business anyways so I'm not going to make it.

There's a difference between being a hater and not drinking the Kool Aid. There's a reason it was so frustrating to watch LeBron play for a huge chunk of the regular season.

And to answer your question, no, I wouldn't be satisfied if he put on a cape and started flying around. Not until he can fly around the Earth hella fast and make it spin backwards in order to reverse time.

At 6/01/2007 4:40 PM, Blogger Steve said...

"I think a valid argument could be made that if he didn't spend so much time focusing on realizing his goal of becoming a global makerkting icon and, you know, kicking it with Warren Buffet then he'd have more time to work on his game. But MJ managed it, LeBron is still putting up near-MVP numbers and it's his business anyways so I'm not going to make it."

In general I agree with your post- he's not PERFECT. But at what age did MJ 'manage' this? There were plenty of MJ snipers early in his career, with heavier accusations too- ballhog, bad teammate, etc.

I think on the whole, his development is proceeding about as expected (could be faster, could be worse considering how bad the rest of the Cavs are.)

On a side note, I don't think the Pistons would've let LBJ post up in crunch time. He would've been swarmed as soon as the ball reached him. As it was, he was able to size up the D on the perimeter since the Pistons were putting ZERO pressure on him, and he ended up getting just as many layups and dunks in crunchtime as he was forced to take tough shots.

There was definitely 1 bad possession near the end of the first overtime, when LBJ shot an airball. But that was 1 possession out of so many others.

At 6/01/2007 5:02 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

steve: I meant that MJ managed in the sense that he eventually overcame all the doubters/criticism to win all his rings and simultaneously become perhaps the single most iconic marketing tool of the 90s. I think comparing their games is kind of suspect but LeBron is certainly Jordan's heir as far as that goes (with Wade as a distant second).

Once again, I understand that he's already one the best players in the league and that he's improving. If he wins a title or two without adding anything to his game, good for him. I don't think he will but I could be wrong.

When I refer to endless awful possessions a good number of those shots he put up and made were still bad shots. He just sank them. If he demonstrates that he can consistently, and not just for one or two nights, hit all those end of the shot clock fadeaways then they'll no longer be bad shots but until then those aren't good possesions. Look, he made them, good for him. I just don't think he can do so at will and that, more often than not, his team will lose if he's putting numerous contested, off-balance shots.

At 6/01/2007 5:04 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

One of the reasons Kobe is who he is today is because early in his career he used to take each summer and single out one aspect of his game and focus on just making that part so much better. One summer it was sinking 2,000 jumpshots every day (sinking, not attempting), one summer it was his defense, another summer it was developing his left hand, yet another it was working on his bank shot. This is why Kobe has no real hole in his game, and the only thing that holds him up is his decision-making and crappy teammates.

LeBron, on the other hand, is much more unstoppable driving to the rim than Kobe ever was, simply due to LeBron's bulk (while still having the explosiveness that Kobe's always had). In many ways this makes LeBron like Shaq, in that he may not really need to develop much else, since a dunk is always guaranteed points while a jumper is not, regardless of how good a shooter you are. If LeBron had the all-around game that Kobe or late-career Jordan had, LeBron would be so otherworldly it would be scary, but for now he's apparently content to dominate with his bread and butter moves that can not be stopped.

At 6/01/2007 5:08 PM, Blogger Marcus said...

Rusty: I've been watching LBJ for years, and I'm as aware of the holes in his game as anyone. I'm sure I've spent more time watching him aimlessly dribble away half of the shot clock 30 feet away from the basket than you have. The problem used to be a lot worse than it is now.

But I'm also getting kind of tired of watching him rise to the occasion again and again, and seeing people just come up with new reasons to criticize him. The hype has been more of a burden than a benefit to him. The truth is that at age 22 he's exceeded expectations, he's exceeded the hype, and worked hard to do it. So maybe people should take a moment to sit back and appreciate that.

At 6/01/2007 6:34 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I'm questioning lebron mainly for the team usa stuff. Lebron won't win a title as is. He's not as big a team player as his assists show. Assists have more to do with your role in the offense than being unselfish. Of course he's going to get a guaranteed 6-7 assists when the ball is in his hands constantly and is the only person making passes. That's not his role. He needs to be a scorer and needs to be with a coach that realizes that.

The poster earlier who runs better offense in his pickup games is right. I had my 11 year old team running a really poor man's motion and triangle before. Just in practice though for fun because in games little kids freak out and forget everything.

Someone explain this to me. If the pistons normally have such an efficient offense running the motion sets and off the ball screens with mid range jumpers, why do they always decide to go to rasheed in the post every single time in the closing minutes? It doesn't work, hasn't flip realized that? I don't know.

THIS IS A LEAGUE OF COACHING. Despite the free darko anthem for the past 2 years, i'm sorry to say. Good coaching makes for much more exciting to watch basketball. Really good passing and offense looks a lot better than "22 heave(to steal a line from simmons)". Speaking of simmons, wasn't it nice to see one of the best articles from him in the past 3 years the other day with the reasons to watch the series?


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