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Hoop it up all week with SI.com's writers in the NBA Playoffs Blog, a daily journal of NBA commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
7:41 PM ET, 5/21/06

LeBron was sensational, but he needs help

Posted by Chris Mannix
At the risk of butchering the opening line of what was once a perfectly good show, after all the theatrics of the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs it's Detroit here we come, right back where we started from.

The reason the NBA is looking at its second consecutive Eastern Conference finals matchup between Detroit and Miami is simple: at the end of the day the two remain the conference's superior teams.

That's not to take anything away from LeBron James. King James was magnificent in his first postseason appearance, a remarkable opening act that will leave audiences salivating for sequels. At times he was like Michael, elevating above the rim for emphatic dunks or twisting layups; mentally he's becoming more and more like Mike, offering up cryptic comments that had Detroit's starters reaching for the nearest microphone to respond. Other times James was like Magic, drawing defenders -- sometimes three at a time -- to him and deftly distributing to his teammates.

But he had no help. Truly, LeBron was a one-man show this series. For what seems like the umpteenth night James was the only Cavaliers' starter to score in double figures and, if not for a valiant effort by the still mourning Larry Hughes (hearing Hughes speak of the loss of his brother, Justin, before the game gave a clear impression of how much he was struggling), James would have been the only player on his team to score more than eight. Eight points? Starters on a second-round playoff team can't score more than eight points?

Then there is Cavalier coach Mike Brown. While we are all amused by Pistons coach Flip Saunders, who at times this series looked like he might be pondering if his next check would come from the Pistons or the unemployment agency, it was Brown whose tactics -- or lack thereof -- should be questioned. While the Pistons were collecting five offensive rebounds in the final two minutes of Game 6 in Cleveland, Drew Gooden -- he of the 8.4 rebounds per game and 14.7 (eighth in the NBA) boards per 48 minutes -- was comfortably resting on the bench. I'm on record as saying the Cavs underutilize Zydrunas Ilgauskas who is, to borrow a phrase from colleague Chris Ballard, criminally underused offensively. But to have the robotic Z underneath for a crucial rebound while the feisty Gooden sits on the bench? Now that's criminal.

Cleveland has nothing to hang their heads about (save for the loss of another cover of SI, of course). Their season was an unqualified success. They witnessed the birth of a superstar and gained invaluable playoff experience for their core (James, Hughes, Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao). We hope Brown learned from his experience and will come back next season a better coach. But Cleveland must not rest on their laurels. Free agency beckons for Drew Gooden and the Cavs must make a decision. In a guard-rich draft a playmaking point guard must be the top priority for GM Danny Ferry. And somewhere out there the Cavs have to find a tough interior player, a la Charles Oakley, to stand next to LeBron. Of course, an extension for James goes without saying.

These are big decisions, ones that will go a long way toward determining whether this Cleveland bunch is on the road to being great or just traveling a path to very good.

Comments:

Posted: 8:21 PM   by xerowattbulb
Why are there only positive comments about James? Am I the only one that noticed that everytime a Piston didn't get a foul called on them when guarding him, he was angry and looked like a spoiled kid that was told no more ice cream? Didn't anyone else notice how he reacted to that offesive foul called against him in the fourth quarter (again, for the record, he acted like a child)? Or that when the game ended, and his team was shaking hands, giving dap, and hugging the Pistons in a show of good sportsmanship, he simply walked off the court as if a parent had taken his favorite toy away? This kid is an incredible player and an incredible athlete, no doubt, but why is he exempt from anything negative being said about him? He played a great game, and I'm sure will soon be stringing together championship honors (and rings), but treating him this way, as if he can do no wrong, will only hurt him. The Nike campaign, the emphasis the NBA puts on him, SI.com and every other sports website lacking to talk about the things that they would for SURE point out if anyone else were to do, this will all catch up with him at some point. He's great, he's not perfect, let's all be real about that.
Posted: 8:22 PM   by Anonymous
lebron gettin' no help is an understatement. damon jones couldn't hit a three if his leopard suit counted on it.

but give james credit for making it look so easy, but give the pistons even greater credit for playin real detroit defense-oriented basketball.

the heat better watch out.
Posted: 8:43 PM   by Anonymous
I can't imagine how anyone can think that detroit was the superior team. Cleveland manhandled them in games 3-6 and played them close in 2 and 7. The fact is that the pistons won this series on reputation. Never in my life have a seen any team get away with holds, pushes, shoves, elbows and just about anything else you can imagine on defensive reputation alone. Does anyone think that none of that cavs can hit a layup (including the best finisher in the nba)? how many "contested" shots ended up with the offensive player splattered on the baseline and the ball going the other way. All rep folks, cleveland should have one game 6 by at least ten, it should not have come down to a game 7.
Posted: 8:44 PM   by kevin
If Cleveland is serious about being a contender what they really need to do is trade LaBron James to Minnesota. Get the Big Ticket, their lottery pick and another player. Draft a point guard and kid from LSU with your first round picks. Resign Gooden and throw the rest of their cap space at Ben Wallace. Only then will they be a serious contender. LaBron James will simply never win a title. He is not a legit number one player. Watch the film, he is product of NBA officiating.
Posted: 9:06 PM   by Anonymous
Lebron's been great, there's no question about that, but why is he not critisized by the media for a lackluster 2nd half "must-win" game 7 against Detroit while Kobe was slammed the world over (for his play in the 2nd half of game 7 against Phoenix)? I personally think there is a general media/fan bias against Kobe and that's really sad. When Lebron loses (granted he got 1 round further than Kobe), he's praised and all sins are forgotten (granted rightfully so). But Bryant just can't seem to catch a break. It's sad, but I guess Kobe just can't win.
Posted: 9:16 PM   by Anonymous
The Cavs have made it this far. It is a feature that really surprised many people. I mean, forcing Pistons to play game 6 and 7. Expectedly the Cavs should be out by Game 5, but LeBron and Co. were simply sensational. LeBron is a super-superstar in the making. He is, like my brother says, the person I personally will be watching for the next few years of the NBA.

Give credit to the Cavs. Give credit to Danny Ferry for fitting in the right pieces around King James. Mike Brown, a rookie coach, should have learned much from this experience. LBJ and Co. - well, have to continue to improve and work as a team.
Posted: 9:18 PM   by Anonymous
Hey Chris, I'm glad that you wrote this column. You're right that Lebron needed help tonight and didn't get it. I'm also proud that you are finally giving Lebron credit. On May 10th, you said that the Cavs facing the Pistons would be like David fighting Goliath with a broken slingshot "in a wheelchair, wearing an eye patch" and asked if the Pistons could "win in 4." Although SI took down that article (I would love to know why by the way), it is my hope that you will remember that David that slew Goliath. Lebron is going to prove a lot of people wrong and when the time comes to judge him and the Cavs on if they can win a series, you will remember the first time that Lebron James faced the mighty Pistons. Sincerely, William T., Athens, Ohio
Posted: 9:24 PM   by Jonathan
Just chiming in to concur: LeBron needs a PG that can hold his own. You are not going to get to the Eastern Conference Finals with the ones they have now. No disrespect to them - they are both good players - but neither of them cause enough distraction to take some focus off number 23. When is the last time you saw someone leave coverage to challenge Eric Snow driving furiously down the lane?
Posted: 9:28 PM   by Anonymous
I agree with Chris that the Cavs could use some interior toughness. As far as the point goes, I think they should think about using Hughes there and finding a more reliable shooter to play the 2.
Posted: 9:28 PM   by Anonymous
many times in this series and also in this match, i have seen cleveland players just stand and watch Lebron dribble or struggle to find in way to the rim. If they are to improve their movement while the ball is not in their hands has to improve.
Posted: 9:28 PM   by Anonymous
As a Pistons fan, I'm very impressed with what I've seen out of Cleveland. I think that with this experience, guys like Varejo and Ilgauskas will be the reliable second and third wheels needed to take a critical game like this one in the future.
Posted: 10:06 PM   by Anonymous
Lebron is the future of the NBA? Thats gonna take a lot of help from Stern. Amazing that 5 guys can beat one. I wish the rest of the league good luck trying to beat the team concept. Deeeetroit team basketball!!!
Posted: 10:08 PM   by Anonymous
King James is great as an individual. Scoring against Detroit consistently is a tough thing to do. I can't wait to see Mr. Wade and Mr. O'Neal do their worst. Anybody got anything to say about Dallas poking holes in the Pistons D???
Posted: 10:12 PM   by Anonymous
I hope Detroit has enough left in its tank to stop San Antonio from scoring 100s of points against their "great" defense. Lebron is one person. Tim, Tony, and Manu WILL average at least 60 against that porous D!!!
Posted: 10:31 PM   by 24kobe
Sensational? James played selfish basketball. He was forcing up shots in the second half and did'nt look for his open teammates. He was clearly trying to win the game by himself and score a ton of points in the process. Too bad he could not hit an outside shot to save his life! He failed to utilize his supporting cast and that cost the caveliers the series. Please stop giving James a free pass.
Posted: 10:32 PM   by Anonymous
King James is going to be one of the greatest players in nba history. I have much respect for him... But He ran into a great TEAM. The Cavs will be force in time... But not today! Bring on Miami!!! Go Pistons!
Posted: 10:37 PM   by Trouble
LaBron is more hype than reality. I'm a long time fan who is embarrassed by the untrue protrayal of LaBron being "Great" and having a great series against the Pistons. Here is the reality about LaBron he hasn't won any high school, college or nba champships. Secondly he shot a poor 8-23 Game 4, worst 13-30 Game 5, little better than poor 8-20 Game 6 and a lack luster 11-24 in Game 7. Yet, Cleveland was able to win two of these games due to their veteran players. Please stop the hype and report news from a reality perceptive rather than perception. If you love the "Game" then let it reflect in reality of your stories.
Posted: 11:23 PM   by Anonymous
How come Lebron isn't getting the same type of heat that Kobe did? Yeah, Lebron took more shots in the second half but he also did very little to help them win. I think both their teams choked plain and simple.
Posted: 11:51 PM   by Anonymous
LeBron proved in his first playoff appearance facing the Wiz and later the Pistons that he has officially arrived! Bringing in the free agent class was thought to be one that would help the Cavs in the playoffs, but aside from minor production from Donyell Marshall the rest (Hughes and Jones) proved to be failures. Get LBJ some real help!!!
Posted: 12:26 AM   by Anonymous
The main problem with Blogs is the Fact that someone can say that Lebron is not a legit #1. Who is this "kevin" and what planet is he from?
Posted: 12:42 AM   by Anonymous
The Pistons are still capable of shutting anyone down when they put their efforts into it. It has been said that the Pistons fell in love with the quick jump shot this season...they lived by it, and they almost died by it. When it was all said and done, they returned to the thing that made them great to begin with...DEFENSE.

Judging by the comments here, I'm still amazed that the Pistons don't get enough credit for shutting down James. It's always "LeBron was tired, " or "He had no help from his teammates." James gets all the credit and is devoid of any blame. While the Pistons get little credit and are called "lucky," when they win.

Furthermore, I'm annoyed that "King James" was not called to task by ANYONE for his whining whenever he didn't get a call...since as a star, he gets the majority of the calls. He wasn't called to task for his lack of sportsmanship for not shaking hands at the end of the game either.

James is a great player...but he's not Michael Jordan...yet. He didn't make the players around him rise above, he didn't lead his team in the crucial game 7. Will he become that player....probably. He still needs to mature on the court.
Posted: 12:45 AM   by Anonymous
cleveland should thank their lucky stars they were even in the playoffs. Detroit over the Heat in 6 or less, mark my words.
Posted: 12:51 AM   by v4015
Nothing againist Detroit or team basketball. In fact, I am all for team play seeing how kids today only admire dunks and no-look passes. Don't get me wrong, I am no Cavs fan but simply from an entertainment stand point, I would've prefered to see the Cavs advance. Lebron vs D-wade would've been far more entertaining than any other piston slowing the game to a halt and grinding out wins scoring in the 70's or 80's. If I wanted to see team play, I'd go to a local high school or college to see a coach give heck to a kid for launching a 3 pointer on a fast break
Posted: 12:56 AM   by Anonymous
Come on! How can anyone criticize James after he single-handedly kept them in the game throughout the entire half. The only reason he was taking all those low-percentage shots in the second half is that nobody else was making them. Why should he pass to people who refuse to make shots? Now, of course, you can say that he didn't make them either. Regardless, he would have been no better off distributing the ball because they were missing wide open shots like it was practice and not a game 7. LeBron did the best he could with the clowns he was playing with.
Posted: 1:20 AM   by sk1
Trouble -- LeBron is all hype

Never won at the high school level ... except for the 2 state titles and 3 straight state title state title game appearances.

Never won at college ... also never went
Posted: 1:23 AM   by Anonymous
The difference between Kobe and LeBron was that Kobe gave up on the game (standing 40 feet from the bucket, not attacking against a soft defense. LeBron was overplayed and taken out of a game where his teammates did not make a SINGLE SOLITARY SHOT. LeBron set up 4 open shots in the first quarter and they were all clangs.
Posted: 1:39 AM   by Anonymous
Hey Trouble

You say LBJ hasn't ever won titles in the NBA, College, or HS? 3rd Year in NBA. Give him time Skipped College. Kobe doesn't have any college championships either. Lebron's St. Vincent/St. Mary HS team won 3 state titles while he attended.

Get your facts straight.
Posted: 2:13 AM   by Anonymous
To compare Kobe and Lebron in game 7 is ridiculous. The difference is that lebron was constantly double teamed and triple teamed and that is why he did not take a lot of shots. He passed up the ball whenever he was trapped. He did force a few shots but he is their only player and he had to. Kobe on the other hand was playing phoenix defense and was defended by one man who was constantly giving him room to shoot or drive by him when he was being overplayed. The difference between Kobe and lebron is that lebron was driving the ball inside and dishing it to other players = team basketball with effort. Kobe was left wide open most of the second half in game seven and yet forced passes to big men inside who were well guarded. He just stood on the three point line and passed inside = trying to prove the point of playing team basketball without any effort.
Posted: 2:27 AM   by Anonymous
Why is everyone comparing Lebron to Kobe? I mean, Kobe has been in the league for 10 yrs, compared to lebron's 3 yrs. Kobe has so much playoff experience that he should know better in a game 7 series. He has Phil Jackson as a coach too. I take my hat off to the Cavs for this playoff run. You guys didn't really expect a young team like the Cavs to beat the Pistons, right? I hope Miami can use their momentum to get past the Pistons.
Posted: 4:14 AM   by Robert Lewis
Hey, "Trouble" - why not do some research before saying LeBron won no championships. His freshman and sophomore year, St. V won the Ohio state basketball title. They lost in the finals his junior year, but came back his senior year, pushed their record to 24-1, and reclaimed the state title and the mythical national high school hoops championship awarded by USA Today.

He certainly didn't win any college championships --- cause he was already in the NBA!!!!
Posted: 4:44 AM   by Anonymous
What's with the comment about a better point guard? The fact of the matter is that Snow exposed Chauncy Billups a bit here. Billups is stronger than most point guards, but not Snow.

Did MJ have outstanding point guards for any of his title runs? Did the Lakers? Avery Johnson was never a spectacular point either. The Cavs need help, but the point is not where they need it, unless they think Snow is getting too old.
Posted: 4:45 AM   by Anonymous
Previous post should have stated "the Shaq led Lakers". Obviously Magic was an exceptional PG.
Posted: 5:34 AM   by Anonymous
Lebron just took the Pistons, the best team in the NBA, to a seventh game practically by him self. With no help from his teammates he dominated the best defensive team all while averaging jordanesque numbers. Did I mention that hes 21? When Jordan was that age he was still in college.
Posted: 7:20 AM   by Anonymous
Some of these comments are the stupidest things I've ever heard. LeBron not a number 1 player? Please. And one guy mentioned that he "cried" after fouls were called against him. Can you name one player on the pistons that didn't? Rasheed looked like he never heard of a foul until they were called against him.
Posted: 7:38 AM   by Anonymous
hate on Lebron some more why don't you...you posters are taking someone to task for not winning a championship at AGE 21!!! He just singlehanded lead an NBA team to a game 7 against a championship favorite with absolutely no help. For those that call him selfish...have you LOOKED at his teammates? I wouldn't pass it to them either, they're terrible. I cannot believe anyone can look at this series and say Lebron is overrated and will never win a championship...that's just hating, plain and simple.
Posted: 8:00 AM   by Peter
Since the Bulls won in the 90's, no team has won the championship without a dominating presence inside. The Cavs have a decent force inside in Z and a very good rebounder in Gooden. But it's all worthless if you don't give them more touches, especially for Z. Mike Brown should take some heat for not using Z, especially when LBJ was strugling in the second half of game 7. As good as LBJ was, he showed he's still a kid. He couldn't take over when it really mattered (with some of those games easily within reach), he still lacks that killer instinct that wins games in playoffs. Some teams are assembled to share an even workload between some very good players (like the Pistons), but the Cavs where assembled the same way the Bulls, Lakers, and the Spurs were (before Ginobili and Parker came in), with a decent supporting cast to keep it close, and a great player (or two) to take over in the fourth. LBJ wasn't up to the task, at least not yet.
Posted: 8:42 AM   by Anonymous
Yeah, Lebron sucks.

He couldn't even break down the triple team that guarded him.

He didn't overcome his inadequate team and embarrass the best team in the NBA by nearing sending them home.

He wasn't the primary concern of the pistons defensive gameplan.

He didn't complain to the refs as much as the veteran pistons did. I can't wait to watch tashon, rasheed, and richard hamilton complain about being called for a foul when all they did was slap across both arms of the driving player to get a steal. "What me foul? no sir, I am a 'good' defender, you don't call those." Oh wait that's right...I am not going to watch.

He didnt' put up numbers that were worthy of being compared to Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Micheal Jordan. But they are just mediocre players anyways, I am sure we wouldn't find anything worth noting if we compared his numbers to those of the historically elite.

He hasn't carried a universe of pressure on his back since highschool and directly into this series.

And he hasn't done all this with class and dignity.

Don't kid yourselves. Just don't kid yourselves about what he is doing here or you might miss it.
Get past the fact that you have a competitive rivally going with him and you might be witness yourself.

Otherwise take your complaints about how he asks for calls or walks off the court and watch your guys a little more closely. Every last one of them can't complain enough to the refs. The image of just about every piston lobbying for or against a call is imprinted in my memory - you try it and see if you cannot conjure up the image of one of five starters. It's is far too easy to do. (all of them far more mature then the 21 year old, I guess?) Lindsey Hunter flops every chance he gets. Rasheed makes guarantees then pouts when he is wrong. Ben Wallace will smack the ball perpendicular to shooter, hammering the back of the shooter's hand, and everyone will ooh and aw about his great block and defensive acumen.

And then take the fans who booed James as he left the court and sang the ubiquitous "goodbye," song as if they hadn't noticed that Lebron had nearly embarrassed the Best their team. The supposed best team in the NBA. OR perhaps they did these things because they specifically did notice. Wow, I hope that someday, Lebron, Cavs, and their fans can be so dignified and mature.

Don't kid yourselves about what Lebron has done here. Get past your disdain for him and you will see that he is impressive from top to bottom, on court and off. Then pay attention as it continues. He has yet to fall short of the hype that is garnered him - which makes him far from a media fabricated event.

It sure is fun to watch, and apparently everyone but you has noticed.
Posted: 8:51 AM   by Anonymous
what about the air balls that "king james" put up? a star might put up one a game, but if i remember correctly at one point in game 5 maybe(?) he had put up 4 air balls in the first half. he is an exceptional player, however i do believe he needs to mature a lot more in order to make better decisions in critical moments that will benifit the team more than himself.
Posted: 9:01 AM   by rensole
Cleveland is a boring one man team. Shame on Detroit for letting this series go so far. I concur with 24kobe. James wasn't even looking for open teammates in game 7. And there were quite a few of them.
Posted: 9:14 AM   by Anonymous
1. I'm glad the Pistons won... I was getting pretty tired of the WITNESS commercials every time out! It is true LBJ is good, but please... stop forcing him down our throats before he becomes another Kobe!

2. I've always said a TEAM beats a SUPERSTAR. Detroit proved it again. When they played like the team they are (with 4 All-Stars and a fifth in the making) they beat LBJ... It's hard to say they played against the Cavs when they didn't bother to show up and play.

3. I agree that LBJ not gretting the Pistons was classless. Magic would've done it, MJ would've done it. They both hated losing but they had class and respected the game too much to pull such stunts. But, when you're a spoiled brat not used to losing, or expecting everyone to bow down to you, it makes sense, right?

4. If Cleveland ever wants to beat the Pistons when it matters most, they need better role players. I'd say form the team they have now, save Gooden and Vareijao, and start getting rid of everybody else, especially Z, Hughes and Snow... and bring someone with some rings already who can help LBJ get there.
Posted: 9:21 AM   by Anonymous
what is wrong with people? LeBron is all hype? LeBron will never win anything? That's absolutely ridiculous! How can you average 30 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds, shoot 40+% fromthe floor, 70% from the line, and lead a lackluster team to a seven game series in the second round against the best team in the NBA, yet be all hype, and not be a winner. People should think about what they say before making their opinion known to the rest of the world.
Posted: 9:29 AM   by Anonymous
The obvious reason offered for the Cavs losing this game is that they couldn't score. This infact is true however the underlying and greater reason is the return of Larry Hughes. His return messed up their chemistry and guys who came up big in games 2-6, suddenly disappeared upon his return. Coincidence? I think not. Cavs management will have to rethink if Larry Hughes is the right Robin to LeBron James' Batman.
Posted: 9:40 AM   by Yaakov
I read some of the comments, and was slightly bemused by the slants of those who have already taken sides. I'd like to add a bit of non-biased (I don't particularly care for either team) observations:
1. The NBA referees are starting to play "favorites" for LBJ- charging, goaltending, traveling (it's easier to score it you can just run around with the ball in your hands), you name it-2 fouls the whole game out of a deserved 20. Reminds me a bit of MJ's old 14 step drives w/o a traveling call (I can think of at least 2 of his titles that were gained by the Zebras ignoring blatant flagrent fouls by MJ). I.E.- if they keep treating him as if he has more "rights" than the rest of the league, he may (even w/o playing any D)win a Championship in a year or two. However, if they enforce the rules equally, he'll either have to learn to play defense and develop his outside shot, etc., or be another Dominique (not another MJ)- fun to watch, period. Remember- Magic J only got away w/o playing D since he had a team that could have probably won w/o him anyway (Kareem, Worthy, ...)
2. The Pistons, although being a pretty annoying bunch of dolts (will RW ever stop his inane rambling?- for a seemingly intelligent person, he appears to enjoy placing his foot in his mouth, and then pretending that it's cool to have it there. And how does BW get a free ride after refusing to enter a game- this used to be suspension stuff) worked out that the team concept is the way to go. Until LBJ and his beholden "coach" have realized that 5 playing together is better than 1 minus 1 minus 1 minus 1 minus 1,they'll consistently blow the big game. E.G.- it's not a cardinal sin to work the ball inside and force the Wallace's into foul trouble. As I recall, IZ used to score a HECK of a lot more than he does today, and used to be the main force in the CC's (occasional)winning games- now, he just waits around for LBJ's leftovers.
3. Repeat after me- defense and teamwork win games. Defense and teamwork win games.
Posted: 9:42 AM   by Anonymous
Are people really comparing Kobe and Lebron as far as criticism received after their game 7s? Seriously??? To start, isn't Kobe first and foremost an offesive stud? Isn't that what he DOES....score points? To take 3 shots vs. Lebron's 9 already quashes the comparison. Then theres the fact that DETROIT PLAYS DEFENSE. Strong defense. Stilfling defense. When has Phoenix ever done such a thing? Lebron being held in check by Detroit is WAY less shocking than Kobe being held in check by the painfully defenseless Suns. Third, Kobe has been accused of quitting before, correct? So its not such a leap to think that he may have quit again. LBJ has never faced those accusations. Fourth...the Lakers COLLAPSED....allowing the Suns to do something only 8 other teams in NBA history had done: come back from a 3-1 deficit. They are GOING to face more criticism than a team that was never expected to even win a game in their series. THERE IS NO COMPARISON. So all you people salivating at the thought of Lebron getting blasted like Kobe did need to hang it up.
Posted: 9:55 AM   by Anonymous
The Cav's organisation has to take a page from the Bulls of the late 80's and get some help for LeBron if they are to get to the next level. They need players who will consistently make the shots when James is given double and triple coverage and it should be obvious that the current players with the exception of Hughes are simply not up to the task.
Posted: 10:05 AM   by Anonymous
Why is it when Lebron's temmates struggle people talk about how they didn't deliver but when Kobe's temmates struggle it's because Kobe didn't get them involved?
Posted: 10:06 AM   by Wolf
The "fan" who claims to love the "game", needs to get his facts straight before spouting off like a moron. Reality is that LeBron DID win 3 state High School Championships while at Akron St. Vincent St Mary's. Secondly, he obviously did not win any college championships becuase he did not need college. Finally, it is pretty evident that most of these "fans" have only seen LeBron play the last 2 or 3 games because they jump on bandwagons and think they actually know something about basketball when they don't. If you ask any past great NBA player who has watched LeBron play, they will tell you that he is the ultimate TEAM player who could and SHOULD try to score at will more often. People need to stop hating and actually just enjoy how good this kid actually is.
Posted: 10:07 AM   by Jason
ok.. first thing, saying that LeBron got no help is an understatment. They shot 22%, 9-41 that is even bad for Iverson. We cna put that aside for now. The refs were inconsistent at best. You gotta let these guys play in a game 7. As far as the critics of LeBron go, he had a bad second half. I am a life long Cavs fan, and this guy is our savior, our hopes rest on him. One thing that worries me, is that for the first time this year, I have noticed him passing up teamates and trying to do it himself. Granted, you cant blame him for it but he cant do it himself, even Jordan couldnt. They need better role players. Danny Ferry has shown that he knows how to build and this season was something to build on. And to take a couple of jabs at those who posted before me. First if Im not mistaken, LeBron one a few titles in High School. I lived 7 miles away at the same time. Obviously he hasnt won anything in college, that is a given, seeing as he didnt go. And they guy who talked about trading him, are you kidding, Cleveland we sell him the Browns to keep him in town for the remainder of his career, there is no way he will ever get traded. Plus Gooden, KG and Big Ben on the front line, sounds imposing but there would be too much congestion in the lanes and not enough speed. Wouldnt work.
Posted: 10:29 AM   by Anonymous
Want to talk about acting like a child? How about every Detroit whiner pleading like a baby to the refs after every call? The refs got shnookered in this one... and fell for the Pistons BS. The only reason LJ was popping shots from everywhere in the second half was because the rest of the team shot 20%, mostly from open shots, and Detroit's defense denied him options. Those who couldn't see that or figure it out obviously cannot add 2 plus 2 and come up with 4.
The only people who think LJ isn't great are the ones who worship at the Kobe altar. They just can't stand that someone might challenge their almighty Kobe, as if he were some kind of god. To quote LeBron, "It's only basketball."
Posted: 10:53 AM   by Anonymous
you guys should all be giving lebron a break. this is lebrons first playoff experience, and he managed to go into game 7 with the DETROIT PISTONS the best team in NBA. also considering hes only 21 and should only be a junior in college is what makes this kid so great. hes already one of the best if not THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA. but honestly, if the cavs want to win, they have to get people who can make shots and a decent poit guard. if the cavs are lucky, they may be able to pick up jordan farmar who can run the team and keep defense honest by hitting shots. otherwise they might have to go with rondo or lowry, who are both an upgrade from eric snow but they still cant hit shots. and of course they can always get gibson, who is still young and is a great 3-point shooter, but must learn to play the point. they should also look to trade or sign a rebounding specialist. so the team options are 3-point specialists, point guard who can make shots and run the team, and forward/center who rebounds. otherwise i think this cavaliers group is fantastic. if marshall can shooot like he did with the raptors, the cavaliers would be one of the premier teams for many years.

PG - J. Farmar/ K. Lowry/ R. Rondo/ D. Gibson (06 draft), E. Snow, D. Jones

SG - L. Hughes, R. Murray, A. Afflalo (07 draft)

SF - L. James, A. Pavlovic, I. Newble

PF - D. Gooden, D. Marshall

C - Z. Ilgauskas, A. Varejao, A. Henderson
Posted: 10:55 AM   by Anonymous
Somehow I always feel there is some kind of pushing from the league executives to make the games interesting. With all the talk about last year's games being boring and dull, league might have hinted the teams to let the big market team(Lakers,Clippers) or the man-child's team(Cavs) to get into the games which they have no chance of even remotely contesting. Or else, how could you even remotely explain Cavs going 7 games(with only 1 legit player) with the mighty Deeeetroit(which can now play either Defense or Offense to perfection). Had Pistons really played to their potential like in the 2nd half of game 7 or the first game of the series.. it would have been the most lopsided series not withstanding Bron Bron(and by the way.. this guy is a good player, but not really good enough yet to play against a team like Pistons or Spurs). All a marketing ploy guys.. just sheer marketing and nothing else.
Posted: 11:10 AM   by Lee
You guys bashing Lebron in the second half are moronic. His teammates shot under 20% for the game. That is why he was forcing up shots. The guy averages over 7 assists a game. That is more than Kobe or Jordan EVER averaged. The kid is 21. If you can't see greatness in him, you don't deserve to watch basketball. And the reason Kobe was bashed is because he DIDN'T go down shooting. He went down deferring to Luke Walton. Pathetic.
Posted: 11:30 AM   by Anonymous
What's this about LeBron needing help? He needs to help his guys more. He's playing with two former All-Stars and most of his team played worse with him this year than they've played in the past. LeBron is a very good player and may even be great, but if Kobe's selfish or making a point by his Game 7 performance, then LeBron just flat-out CHOKED.
Posted: 11:36 AM   by Anonymous
I agree that coaching lost the game. It was a mistake to not have Drew gooden along with Varejo in the game rather then Illgaskus. Rebounding lost this game.
Posted: 11:59 AM   by Anonymous
I don't understand how so many biased writers out there can blast Kobe Bryant for scoring 1 point in the second half of game 7 and his team gets blown out, and he gets called 'selfish', but Lebron scores 6 pts in the second half of game 7, his team gets blown out and what he needs is a better supporting cast??? Kobe doesn't need a better supporting cast???
It's embarassing that so many biased reporters are not called out on something as blatant as this.
Posted: 12:06 PM   by Anonymous
Guys lets face it, LeBron James had a phenominal playoff run. he wasn't good , he was great. Have we ever seen a 21 year old so talented? keep in mind in Kobe's 3rd year in the league he averaged 20 points in the regular season and was a failure in the post season. Compare that to King James, who averaged 31 points 7reb and 6 assists in the regular season and he manages to improve those numbers in the playoffs...(wow) The pistons should be greatful that they are moving on. If LeBron had more help in game 6 they would be home right now and the Caves would be facing the heat (and they know it). These are my critisisms of LeBron , 1- he has to improve his D, at times it looks like he's playing flag football out there, he needs to excell at both sides of the court like Michael did and Kobe does 2- he needs to fine tune the skill of knowing when to pass the ball or shoot the ball at the end of games . i thought he should have pulled up for the 3 at the end of game 6.. Lastly the Cavelar front office has to get better shooters around LeBron. The King is like Michael Jordan in the respect that he does not need another superstar around him. He just needs dependable shooters around him, Damon Jones and Doniell Marshal do do not fit the bill. Also I think the Larry Hughes experiment should be cut short.. Larry does not compliment LeBron well, he is a not a dependable shooter and he need the ball in his hands to be effective. It was also a bad look on The Rookie Coach's part to say the LeBron was too tired in the secound half of game 7. You can't put your star out to dry like that. what a classless thing to say..But when its all said and done the season for the Cavs exceeded our wildest expectations.. I have a feeling that Lebron will see many MVP trophies and NBA championship trophies in the future.. I have been a witness to greatness!
Posted: 12:41 PM   by Anonymous
IMO, the reason Kobe Bryant took more heat for his poor 2nd half game 7 performance than LeBron James is pretty obvious. LeBron James' errors were ones of comission - e.g., trying to do too much himself. However, he was simply doing what an elite athlete always tries to do: take over the game. In contrast, at crunch time, Bryant opted to let someone else carry the load.
Posted: 12:41 PM   by lakersgurl
I'm so angry and fed-up with everyone hailing everthing that "KING JAMES" does, while they bash everything Kobe does. They can make almost the same mistakes, but LeBron will get praised while Kobe gets nothing but negative comments his way. Can we get a fair treatment please?
Posted: 12:45 PM   by Anonymous
LeBron should have gone to college. NBA was a little too hasty desperately seeking their marketable hero. LeBron: file temporary resignation and go to college!
Posted: 12:53 PM   by cashman
why are so many quick to point out that Lebron should get ridiculed like Kobe. Hello???Lebron is 21. He is in his first playoff. Kobe is an experienced veteran with championships under his belt. You people who say Lebron should get the same negative treatment that Kobe got are crazy. Lebron did all this greatness in his first playoff and only third season. You haters will soon see the light whether you like it or not. Cashman, cleveland
Posted: 1:04 PM   by Anonymous
lebron always gets all the good comments and stuff yet other players, especially kobe bryant, don't. i mean, yes lebron's team mates weren't hitting anything and he took 9 shots to bring his team back. but they still lost man!he also committed 2 turnovers with no assists!talk about hype....
Posted: 1:04 PM   by Anonymous
To the tool named Kevin who said Lebron isn't a number one player....You're foolish. You're the kind of guy who would throw around big money to get someone like Kenyon Martin instead. Watch in 3 years when the Cavs with Lebron win it all. You're an ignorant man, so save you ignorant comments for another space.
Posted: 1:09 PM   by Anonymous
I have to laugh at the comments themselves to this article, espeically the guy that believes that Lebron acts like a spoiled kid without the ice cream. Lebron is not exempt from anything negative, which is good as it is that criticism that makes him better. I saw plenty of Pistons ranting and raving when called for a foul-its all part of the game. It seems Mr. Xerowattbulb is just that. Lebron is a 21 year old guy, and good game or bad, without him the Cavs would have been watching the playoffs on TV all this time. That alone is an answer to all the critics. Its a funny thing, the public is who has put Lebron on the pedestal, yet they thirst at the opportunity to knock him off.
Posted: 1:42 PM   by Anonymous
The comments about the Pistons "getting away" with stuff puzzle me. The Cavs, in general, and Lebron, in particular, were the beneficiaries of more phantom foul calls than any other team will get this whole playoffs. Lebron also got away with his share of hookings and travels (I think he actually took more steps on his drive from the top of the key early in the 3rd quarter of game 6 than he did with that game winner against the Wizards the week before.)

Calls were missed both ways, but I sure did not notice any Pistons favoritism.
Posted: 1:59 PM   by Neil
LeBron James is for real. That much is for certain. What strikes me is how similar his situation is to that of MJ's when he did not have Pippen on his team. He scored a ton of points, but lost to other teams in the playoffs. As soon as the Cavs add some real help for LeBron, the Cavs have the potential to reach the level of champions.
Posted: 2:14 PM   by Anonymous
Lebron might become great, one day. But not this year.

If he was so great this year then please answer these 2 Qs.

How did he shoot such a low percentage (44%) in the 2nd rd when he was allowed to lower his shoulder in games 4 and 5 and not be called for offensive fouls? Why was it so low when he was allowed to use his off arm and extend it away from his body to clear room in every game?

I would think that his percentage would be higher. Maybe he should have just played basketball (not football or roller derby) and left the rest up to the officials?

Here is something for those of you that think that Cleveland was robbed.
"Detroit's reputation won them the series."
It should not have been this close. Det won it. Cleve didn't. Why did a few of the games stay close? B/c Lebron's rep (how can you have one when you haven't done anything to date? Has he won any championships in the last 5 or 6 yrs? Had he made the playoffs b4 this yr? And yet he got away with things that accomplished vets and all-stars don't get away with (see above shooting %).
Posted: 2:22 PM   by Anonymous
Why is it when Lebron loses, he needs help and when Kobe loses there are no articles about him needing help despite having a worse team?
Posted: 2:31 PM   by Anonymous
Larry Hughes coming back seemed to be the downfall of the Cavs chance during the last game, too flashy, and not fundamental enough. Erik Snow has much more veteran playoff experience and leadership. And correct to the previous poster, that it was a crime literally to keep Gooden on the bench at that crucial time.
Posted: 2:48 PM   by Anonymous
lebron cant do it all. he took the best team in the leauge, to a game 7 by himself. mike didnt beat the pistons until he got help. the cavs need to go out get a pass first point gaurd and a defensive power forward.
I, for one, am sick to death of the instant and compulsory comparison to Jordan or Magic (Or Bird, depending on the pigment of the player's skin) whenever a player accomplishes anything positive. Kobe Bryant was actually criticized after his game-4-winning shot because he "was trying to look like MJ" with his fist-pump afterward (?!?!). Can LeBron simply look like LeBron when he's brilliant? Michael never had this kind of scrutiny or comparison placed on him except possibly with Dr. J, and to a much, much lesser extent. The budding stars of today will always fall short of the stars of the past because you're comparing complete careers to works-in-progress. Sports writers are doing an egregious disservice to the league by refusing to recover from this "debilitating Michael Jordan hangover". Also, Scoop Jackson's newest Page 2 article should be read by all.
Posted: 4:03 PM   by Anonymous
I've never bought into the whole Lebron ordeal, why? Because the media treats him like he's already won six rings. Granted he's a great player but I can name at least five other players that are just as good or maybe even better than James without the hype and referees' help. Someday he will get his but until then, he's just another great player in this league that are full of them. I'm a Kings fan and you can imagine how much I despise Kobe but seeing how Lebron gets away with stuff that Kobe's getting crucified for makes me sick. For all the Lebron fans, let's just hope the league can usher him to three championships.
Posted: 4:19 PM   by Anonymous
I think Xerowattbulb doesn't know what he's talking about in his post. We're talking about Game 7, GAME 7. Put yourself in LeBron's shoes for a second and think about you being mentally there, doing everything you possibly can, just look at the stats. You're getting NO help from your team (look at the stats again). Look at the game again if you must and see how most Cavs were just flat on their heels. Guys were just standing around watching what LeBron was going to do while LeBron was looking for someone to cut thru the middle while being double/triple teamed. And when LeBron hit a teammate for the open jumper... guess what, it was a big fat brick. Why was it easy for Pistons to win? All they had to do was shut down LeBron cuz no one else on the Cavs was a threat. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out. You know if you go out and play 7 games with all your heart, your heart is going to hurt when you were so close in winning. LeBron was the top scorer in the game! Despite being doubled/triple teamed.

And who said anything about being perfect? Not even Jordan was perfect. All Superstars had their shares of losses, even champions.

All I'm saying is the Cavs MUST draft/trade for better consistant players. A 2nd go to guy like Scottie Pippen and a solid rebounder like Dennis Rodman. Cavs already have a descent frontline.
Posted: 7:22 PM   by Killjoy
I'm disappointed, but not at all surprised, that some people still refuse to give the Pistons credit. What stuns me is that anyone who actually watches NBA games can honestly say that the refs "gave" the game to Detroit, when LeBron's best offensive weapon is his off-arm-clearout. He's a great player, but just like Jordan and other superstars who came before, we'll never know exactly how good he really is, because he's not playing by the same rules as the rest of the NBA, getting away with offensive fouls at a prodigious rate.

Maybe there's some hope in the fact that Shaq is often being called for offensive fouls when he uses his massive girth to shove defenders out of the way.
Posted: 8:00 PM   by Anonymous
whoa whoa whoa... lets not jump to conclusions. hughes and james co-existed great earlier in the season before hughes got hurt and upon his return at the end of the season. yea his return messed up the chemistry but thats common the game or two after a key player returns. give them another game and the cavs would have returned to form
Posted: 8:54 PM   by Anonymous
LeBron did a lot for the Cavs this series. What didn't do was take it to game 7 all by himself. He averaged roughly 30ppg, the Cavs scored roughly 80ppg. To suggest that Lebron won 3 games all by himself would be a disservice to the 50 points his teammates contributed in each win. Also, Lebron didn't play defense. He made Tayshaun Prince, a 14.1ppg scorer into a 22ppg scorer for the series. Lebron is also a turnover liability, having a game with seven and a game with 8. Maybe the Cavs would have won that series if Lebron had been like MJ and protected the ball and played defense, but he didn't, and he isn't like MJ.
Posted: 2:54 AM   by Anonymous
If Kobe had taken 20 shots in the 2nd half, the Lakers would still have lost. And the headlines would have read "Kobe reverts to Bad Habits, Doesnt Invlove Teamates, and Lakers Lose". He cant win. Whereas, it seems like LBJ cant lose. (And im a celtics fan).
Posted: 4:10 AM   by Anonymous
Bottom line is you probably cant win a championship built around LeBron the way they did it with Jordan. Look at champions over the last 20-30 years. Bar the winning Bulls teams of the 90's and the solid at all positions Pistons teams(late 80's and current), all champions have been built around big men. Celtics - the Big Three, Lakers 1 - Kareem, Lakers II - Shaq, Blazers - Walton, Sixers - Malone, Houston - Hakeem. The list goes on. Illgauskes aint going to be taking Bron anywhere. My advice is, dump everybody in Cleveland bar Lebron and maybe Larry Hughes, and try and get some quality big men. Ben Wallace, Garnett, Yao etc. Whatever it takes.
Posted: 5:11 AM   by Anonymous
Wow, so much hostility in this one. I can't even count how many different times comparisons between 'Bron and Kobe are in here. Both of these guys are the greatest and you would have to agree that this league is all about Kobe and Lebron. But let's give the Pistons a lot of credit for playing such great team defense. I think they're going to do a lot better against Miami. Anyways, for all the Kobe haters and also the Lebron skeptics, don't be surprised in the near future when we'll be seeing the Lakers and Cavs in the Finals for many years to come.

"Hatred can never be good for your health." Peace!
Posted: 10:27 AM   by Anonymous
I do have to say...Lebron is a good player. Not the best yet (he needs defense and a lower turnover rate) but very good. That's by NBA standards. By age standards, he is excellent. Pretty darn excellent. I've noticed that many of these comments try to correct what Lebron did...I can guarantee that the people writing them cannot come CLOSE to waht he accomplished. Yes he shot like four airballs in one half. Better for him to do it than for his teammates to do it. They don't even average in double figures. And game 7 not passing in the fourth quarter? Duh, I wouldn't pass either. Who would you pass it to...SNOW? Pssht...whatever. And a couple people here must have a screw loose in their head to point out Lebron's complaining about fouls and not get on all five pistons for complaining about fouls. Its basketball. That's what you do to try and get it turned over. The people who made those comments must have never played basketball. And another thing...after 6 games in a series, everybody was fouling. EVERYBODY...everybody was tired. What do you expect from them? I didn't see anybody comment on the play when Rasheed GRABBED LEBRON AROUND THE WAIST AS HE WENT UP...and then Rasheed gave the ref his "WHAT! I AIN'T FOUL NOBODY!!" face!! It was bad for him to walk off the court. Would you rather him be a hypocrite? I wouldn't. I'd rather him walk off then touch hands for the sake of "sportsmanship". The NBA does not exist for sportsmanship. It exists for basketball and teamwork. Pardon me for not wanting to shake the hands of the people who stood in the way of my national championship. If the Cavs had gotten ONE dependable shooter with LEbron...the CAVS WOULD HAVE WON...And with him getting calls in his favor...he's playing the game...its as psychological as it is physical...I guess he's smarter than everyone else and using the hype that surrounds his true ability to his advantage. Can you blame him? Geez. Give the 21-YEAR OLD a break. And another thing...if he ever decides to become a Bruce Bowen-esque defender...

He'll be better than MJ...
Posted: 3:01 PM   by Anonymous
LeBron is great. He will be greater in years to come if the gods are kind and major injuries stay away.

Still, he just isn't quite all that. Yet. He's got weaknesses and flaws. He's an immense talent, but don't act like he's got it all down and does everything right and never messes up. Point is, although he deserves credit for being a stud in most of the playoffs up to this point, he was a nonfactor in the most important half of basketball he's played in his life (2nd half of Det game 7). That doesn't make him a bad player, but it does mean he's not, and shouldn't be exempt from criticism. You can't give him all the credit when things are going well and none of the blame when things go badly.
Posted: 5:20 PM   by Lyndon
LeBron James, at 21, has proven he is the real thing. Does he have his faults? Of course! But the kid is developing at a rate unparalleled by any superstar at this age. With a more-experienced supporting cast, the LeBron James led Cavs will definitely be a force to be wreckoned with next season.
GET BEN WALLACE AND CLEVELAND WINS THE NEXT TWO OR THREE TITLES!!!!!

NUFF SAID....
Posted: 7:36 AM   by Anonymous
LeBron is a good player & may someday be great but he's just too overrated & it seems like the media & NBA just love to praise his strengths without really pointing out his obvious flaws. LeBron gets too much calls called in his favour. Anyone remember the Wizards series & it seems like the refs just want to give him an assist to greatness. I'd put LeBron someway behind Kobe, D. Wade & Paul Pierce as sensational players on the court.
Posted: 10:07 AM   by Anonymous
Mitch Winston, if Cleveland got Ben Wallace they wouldn't win a championship. They need scorers and shot-makers. Ben Wallace is horrible on all things offense except allyoops and put-back dunks. He airballs free-throws and he misses uncontested layups. Ben Wallace isn't what the Cavs need. Like the Lakers, they need someone like KG who can defend AND score or a shooter like JJ Redick if he falls to them in the draft (Hughes and James are all the slashers you need).
Posted: 4:55 PM   by Anonymous
MJ didn't win simply because Pippen arrived. Pippen was an above-average player at best (good defender, decent mid-range shot), but what really changed for MJ was his own game. Coming into the league, he was basically a slasher. Didn't play a lot of defense, didn't have a great jump shot. Through tireless effort, he became a good shooter and one of the best defenders in the league. Also his ability to make shots in the clutch is unmatched.

Also, having Phil Jackson as his coach certainly helped. Look at MJ's supporting cast in his championship years. Bill Wennington, Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley, BJ Armstrong, Steve Kerr, Scott Williams, Toni Kucoc, etc. Not exactly a stellar group. Put 1993 MJ and Phil Jackson with the current Cavs, and they could win.

The argument that Lebron simply doesn't have the supporting cast is pretty weak. Truly great players will elevate the games of those around them. Many of MJ's former teammates disappeared after MJ retired in 1998 (where are you, Luc Longley?). They were mediocre players, but he made them look respectable. Lebron has yet to reach that pinnacle in his career, and maybe he never will...
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