NBA, sports, things to love about Ohio

Things To Love About Ohio: LeBron James

Wandering Cleveland Rocks.

 

Craig Ehlo, you may now rest in peace.

(The Dreaded Chupacabra explains how it would have defended LeBron James over at our running NBA Playoffs discussion thread.)

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41 thoughts on “Things To Love About Ohio: LeBron James

  1. My sister was there, apparently close enough to hear Gloria James giving her R-rated critique of the refs’ performance. So, you know, that might trump my “I was at the double-OT Game 4 Bulls win in the first round” in our family’s Great Live 2009 Playoff Experiences hierarchy.

    As a Cubs fan and proud owner of a Craig Ehlo autograph, I appreciate your attempt to cut him some slack, but let’s have some perspective here. LeBron’s shot tied the series at one, instead of winning it outright. So in that sense Hedo was more like Chris Webber in this play:

    Now, I could certainly see Orlando’s spirit being crushed in a “drop three straight games by a combined ninety points” manner, but until that happens, and until the Cavs win the whole enchilada, Ehlo’s still on the hook.

    He’s got great hair, though, so that’s something.

  2. My point in bringing up the Cubs was this: Every time I’m watching a Cubs game on Fox or ESPN and a foul ball goes down the third base line, they mention Bartman, which begets talk of black cats, Leon Durham, goats, etc., etc., puke, vomit, etc.

    Every flippin’ time.

    Do they still talk about Bill Buckner? Nope. And why is that? The Sox have two Series rings.

    Let’s say the Magic man up and win the next two games. Do you think for a second they’re not going to bring out those Elway / Biner / MJ pictures? No chance. I hate that crap and am so sick of it, but that’s the reality.

    So while LBJ’s shot was incredible and unbelievable (it truly was), the only way the so-called curse or jinx or hex or whatever is lifted, the only way we’ll ever get back to discussing just the basketball game proper and not some stupid made-up hokum, the only way Craig Ehlo “rests in peace” is if the Cavs win the whole stinkin’ thing.

    I don’t like it myself, but that’s the facts, Jack.

  3. Valid points all, Scott. Perhaps we are rushing to judgment in wishing Craig Ehlo, finally, a peaceful death. But I, for one, don’t see Orlando winning this series, in spite of taking one in Cleveland, and in spite of rallying from huge deficits in both games. That’s why I think Ehlo can now rest in peace. Time will tell.

    Jordan’s shot also happened in 1989, two years before the the Bulls won the whole thing. So yes, this shot will resonate far more if LeBron and the Cavs win it all this year. It will be symbolic of an entire city’s respite from ghosts of Elway and MJ. But even if Cleveland merely wins the series, I think this shot at least negates the haunting image of Jordan over Ehlo. Getting rid of Elway and Byner will require 1) the Cavs winning the Finals, and, ideally, 2) the Browns beating the Broncos in the 2010 AFC Finals, crushing Elway’s miracle comeback from retirement when Byner, on two surgically repaired legs, runs for 403 yards and 8 touchdowns. This will be all the sweeter if Omar Vizquel and Jose Mesa are co-head coaches.

    This aside, the camera shot from behind LeBron is eerily similar to Jordan’s shot over Ehlo. Cavs fans can be forgiven for mentally transposing one over the other.

  4. Another fun game you can play while watching this clip: Spot Craig Sager and his 120 decibel sport coat racing onto the court from near the Magic bench. True story: I once saw Craig at the Miami airport. He’s tall.

  5. Again, I think the closer comparison is to Big Shot Rob’s 3 against the Kings (keeping the heavily favored Lakers from falling into a 3-1 hole headed back to Sac-town).

    I get your point, Stock, but I think we do BronBron a disservice by comparing him so much to MJ.

    We’ve never seen anyone like LBJ. He’s like Bo Jackson mixed with early Ken Griffey Jr. mixed with early Magic — which is to say, not at all like those other guys since he’s entirely unique.

    Trying to link his career trajectory to Jordan’s lacks imagination and takes the fun out of it. Let’s just enjoy this ride.

    [Oh, and the comparisons are a little unfair to MJ too.]

    I will end with this. Last night I was texting my sister back and forth since she was at the game. Shortly after halftime I got this one:

    “We just yelled to Craig Sager and he saluted us.”

    Huzzah!

  6. Having meditated upon your words for two days now, Mr. Guldin, and after watching Game Three last night in Orlando, I am willing to acknowledge I may have been hasty in pronouncing on Craig Ehlo a peaceful, forgotten death. You’re right: If the Cavs lose the series, LeBron’s heave won’t mean diddly. Until last night, I was convinced this wasn’t a very likely scenario. Now I’m not so sure. Does Mike Brown really want Zydrunas Ilgauskas — who has taken all of 76 three-pointers in his illustrious ten-year career — attempting three treys in one game? Particularly a playoff game? On the road? Mo Williams and Delonte West were the only Cavs besides LeBron to score in double digits, and they were a combined 10-of-26 (with 9 TOs). Furthermore, is Marcin Gortat the first NBA player ever to look exactly like his virtual likeness in NBA Live? Seriously, his head is all angles. It’s creepy. Also, Stan Van Gundy is offering 3.9% APR financing on any used Pontiacs. (But only if you act now!)

  7. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say if you’re getting 26 from Rafer Alston, you’re going to have a pretty decent shot at winning. I feel certain he called glass on that 3, by the way.

    Cleveland is playing pretty bad. I thought the fact that they made Mo Williams an All-Star this year was weak (remember, he only joined the squad after eight other guys contracted gonorrhea), but even still he was a vital component of their success this season. They lauded him as the long-lost bullseye shooter to catch LeBron’s perfect passes and convert them into manna from heaven. He’s playing pretty crappy right now. Even with the uptick in his points production tonight, he still only shot 5-of-15, and had a -5 plus/minus. Puke.

    And the fact that the Cavs have to wheel out the corpse of Ben Wallace for crunch-time possessions, I think, reveals something disturbing about the team.

    Still, this isn’t over. Stock, what do you think? Are you crushed that your prognosticating turned out to be pyrite?

  8. I share Yellow Thunder’s bafflement at this series, and especially games three and four.

    1) Cleveland is not playing well. I agree with Scott that Mo Williams — who had a very good season, although he should not have been an All-Star — is crapping all over the floor. Especially after guaranteeing a Game Four victory. You can do that with LeBron on your team, but you shouldn’t do that when you go out and deliver 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting and a +/- of -5.

    2) LeBron’s turnovers. What to make of 8 turnovers? Trying to do too much? Exhausted from all the minutes? Two of those TOs came in OT.

    3) I think Daniel Gibson is a punk, but the Cavs need a little of his swagger. Remember this guy two years ago? He went nuts. The only other guy for Cleveland who is willing to mix it up is Anderson Varejao. (Delonte West shows signs.) Scott is right: The corpse of Ben Wallace really shouldn’t be on the floor at crunch-time, if ever.

    4) Orlando is good, but not this good. Rafer Alston? Mickael Pietrus? Coach, you watched Pietrus at Golden State: What’s going on with this guy? I can’t stand his goofy head-nod every time he runs back down the court after hitting a jumper.

    5) Speaking of jumpers, the Magic shot 45% from beyond the arc last night. 45%! The same as in Game One! (And Game Two wasn’t far off.) While this can’t continue (can it?), Cleveland’s defense sure sucks. How many of those threes were open looks? Why does Delonte West keep going under screens when he’s guarding Hedo?

    I’m just confused.

  9. Good call on Boobie (wish I had a nickel for all the times I’ve heard that.) He could be to this series what Eddie House was to Game 7 of Bulls-Celts. Good shooter who remembers he’s a good shooter and starts shooting like it.

    Alston is good enough to make uncontested 3s, (really, everyone in the league should be), and they really did a poor job guarding him. Even after he had made two or three 3s, he was still getting ridiculously good looks. I’m talking, eight-feet-of-separation looks.

    As for LeBron’s turnovers, I blame Varejao. How DARE he.

    Do you think that LeBron is the new Shaq in terms of being the most difficult guy in the league to officiate? With his power and speed, it seems you could call a foul every time he takes it to the hoop (and the officials, for the most part, have taken that to heart), but you just as well could call HIM for barreling over guys half his size. The call with 0.5 in regulation was probably the right one, but it also looked like LeBron initiated contact with his elbow. Who knows.

  10. Almost every Orlando 3 was an eight-feet-of-separation look. I just didn’t expect Cleveland to be this soft on defense.

    Good analogy between LeBron and Shaq from an officiating perspective. I’d put Adonal Foyle in the same category.

    Also, The Onion addresses TNT’s failed efforts to market Hedo Turkoglu as a superstar.

  11. Watching Pietrus play good defense against LeBron, stroke timely 3’s, and generally play intelligently as a Warriors fan is like finding out your girlfriend who was waiting until marriage put out like a fire extinguisher with the next dude.

  12. Why doesn’t TNT deliver this kind of NBA commentary?

    Tad called it: Mickael Pietrus is this year’s James Posey.

    I’m happy to see he’ll be taking his stupid goofball head-nodding back to Orlando for Game Six.

    Predictions? Guarantees of victory? I’d like to note here that Anderson Varejao’s +/- tonight was +24. And that Rafer Alston apparently remembered he was actually Rafer Alston.

  13. How come I am still not on your GChat?

    Do you agree with Kenny’s assessment that LeBron won’t be able to be amazing for 2 more games? His turnovers are killing me.

  14. I thought you had to invite me to GChat. I’ve tried twice now and I keep getting a stupid pop-up blocker message. I interpreted this to be a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging from your metaphorical GChat doorknob indicating, you know … there was someone else in your life you wanted to GChat with.

    I don’t think Kenny should be underestimating LeBron. But I don’t think anyone should be overestimating Mike Brown, Mo Williams, Cleveland’s defensive rotations or Varejao & Z’s ability to stay out of foul trouble.

  15. I think Kenny has a point. I think SVG might have pulled a rope-a-dope tonight. LBJ standing at the top of the key while all of the other Cavs clear out and watch him score / create worked tonight. You tip your cap at the efficiency and historicity of the moment. Bravo, kind sir. And BRAVO.

    However, the bottom line is this is horrible, horrible offense. It just is. Tell me again how this is different from the crap Kobe pulls? More to the point, TELL ME AGAIN HOW THIS TEAM WON 66 GAMES. If all you have going for you is LBJ scoring or assisting on 95% of your crunch time buckets, you might want to check to see if the Sbarro at the mall in Solon is hiring, because your summer is approaching quickly, Ned.

    Nice game by Mo, though.

    1. I got a little carried away here. My bad. Of course the difference between the way that Kobe plays in general and what LeBron did last night is that LeBron’s coach ASKED him to play that way, while Kobe is just a decrepit human being with bats where a soul should be.

      1. I got a little carried away, as I did not mean to imply you 1) were a Kobe fan, or 2) thought LBJ was a decrepit human being with bats where a soul should be. I thought it was an interesting point, and — like, alas, Bill Walton — I was just trying to be provocative. Does this mean I too have bats where a soul should be?

        1. No way, man. Your soul is pure. It’s the shining light of a thousand suns. From your soul we have all received grace upon grace upon grace.

          Bill Walton is a boob.

  16. Here’s the thought that keeps me awake, though:

    What kind of refereeing are we going to see in Game 6? Is it going to recall that of Game 6, WCF, 2002?

    Is it? I have a baaaaaaaaaaaaad feeling about this…

  17. Ways to tell if Game 6, ECF, 2009 will be a replay of Game 6, WCF, 2002:

    – A brutal Anderson Varejao pick knocks Rafer Alston into a coma … and the foul is called on Alston! (Who later DIES!)

    – Hedo Turkoglu picks up a critical sixth foul … during the pre-game warm-ups!

    – A courtside David Stern pronounces a suspension-causing double technical foul on Dwight Howard … because magic goggles allow Stern to foresee the post-game presser when Howard will make critical remarks about the officiating!

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  18. Why are the Cavs slipping under screens on pick-and-rolls against Orlando? I haven’t seen defense that bad since Vore tried to guard me using Rony Seikaly in NBA Live.

  19. Coach, that’s atrocious. (Not your point, which is something a 7th grade JV coach should have spotted back in game one and addressed with his team.) The only thing you like better than meatballs at Sbarro is me using Seikaly to make your sorry NBA Live self ride up on deez.

    You know what I’m talking about.

  20. I hate to say it, but Scott — you were right on this one.

    I don’t know what’s left to say.

    Finals predictions?

  21. How about LeBron not shaking hands or talking to the media afterward? C’mon, LBJ. You might have had one of the best series ever, don’t go out like Isiah.

    Unfortunately, I think the Lakers are winning this, maybe in 5. But maybe — just maybe — the Magic have one more surprise in store. I think the stupid 2-3-2 format hurts their chances, though.

    What do you guys think?

  22. And Ben, you seem to think that whenever anyone but the Lakers or Spurs win, it’s a good end to the season. Would you still feel that way if Pietrus is doing his head bob during a championship parade?

    On that topic: Can we PLEASE pick one pronunciation of Pietrus and stick to it? Even Marv had three different versions. Pee-uh-tris, Pee-TRUS, PEE-tree-is. Is this really that much of a riddle?

  23. I would be willing to tolerate Pee-uh-tris’s head bob if it means Kobe doesn’t get another ring. But I would still hope Pee-TRUS trips during the victory parade and twists an ankle or something.

    I think Lakers in 6. I will be ecstatic if I’m wrong.

  24. Can’t we just call him Mikey Peaches? I mean, that’s his name. I’d totally go by Mikey Peaches.

    Or M-Peach. “OOOOOOOH, Kobe just got M-Peach’d!”

    1. I like this. Can we make it Mickey Peaches? The idea of a French dude with a mafia name, especially when he’s tall and dorky, makes me smile.

  25. Is it possible for both teams to lose in the Finals? I like how both of you avoided reference to my use of the term “mushroom stamping.”

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