Smack / May 8, 2009 / 4:59 am

LeBron: Looking for competition

LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

Following up all the drama and intrigue and controversy of Lakers vs. Rockets and Kobe vs. Ron-Ron and Derek Fisher‘s shoulder vs. Luis Scola‘s face, LeBron and the Cavs gave a long and kind of boring display — at the expense of the Hawks — that across-the-board domination can be pretty, well, boring. Cleveland has won every game this postseason by double digits, and the last four have been 20-piecings … Just like in Game One, LeBron (27 pts, 4 stls) tried to get the whole “competitive” part out of the way before halftime. He was attacking the basket early and often, getting to the line (cue the complaints about LBJ’s preferential ref treatment) and putting Cleveland up by 24 at the break when he drained a 35-foot triple in Mario West‘s face at the second-quarter buzzer … About three months ago, Dime’s Andrew Katz pointed out the Hawks’ penchant for switching on how they were getting torched because of it. Since then the Hawks have proven to be a pretty solid defensive team when they play straight-up, but last night they were back to the switching tactic and it hurt them. Several times ATL was caught in lose-lose situations like Zaza Pachulia guarding Delonte West, Solomon Jones guarding LeBron, and Othello Hunter guarding actual NBA players. Neither ended well. ‘Bron took Jones to the rack one time and caught a backwards dunk that was something out of Shawn Kemp‘s playbook. (Not his first Reign Man-like cram.) And with the Hawks’ bigs being drawn out to guard Cleveland’s perimeter players, no one was around — especially with Al Horford out injured — to protect the rim, and they gave up too many easy layups. One time in the second half, LeBron got into the lane, had time to bobble the ball, and still went up for a dunk with not a defender in sight … The Cavs stretched the lead to as much as 36 in the third quarter, and their starters sat out the fourth while the backups completed the piecing, 105-85 … More bad news for Atlanta: Joe Johnson (10 pts, 5-15 FG) rolled his ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return. He said in the post-game that he’s not gonna miss Game Three … Delonte also left in the third when he got poked in the eye, but reportedly won’t miss any time … With the series moving to Atlanta, it’s not over yet. The Hawks are a significantly better team at home, going 31-10 this regular season and 6-1 at Philips Arena the last two postseasons. They beat the Cavs once in Atlanta this year, and the home game they lost was decided on a questionable call (again in LeBron’s favor) at the end that allowed LBJ to win it at the line … Josh Smith is the worst: He’s been Stephon Urkell at home in these playoffs (20.2 ppg, 53% FG, 9.2 rpg) and Steve Urkel on the road (12.6 ppg, 30% FG, 6.4 rpg) … Today’s playoff schedule will have some notable absences: Rafer Alston (strong pimp hand) and Derek Fisher (imitating Ronnie Lott) were both suspended following their actions on Wednesday. Last time we checked, Phil Jackson hadn’t yet said who will start at PG for the Lakers against Houston, either Jordan Farmar or Shannon Brown. Farmar has been right next to Andrew Bynum on the M.I.A. list so far for L.A. Anthony Johnson should be starting for Orlando when they host the Celtics … Remember the article we had on Bynum needing to turn himself into an ornery motherf*cker for the Lakers to really reach their championship potential? Yesterday we dropped our list of the Top 25 Motherf*ckers of All-Time; dudes like Barkley, Moses Malone, X-Man and Rodman, the ones whose crosshairs you don’t want to end up in the middle of. Who was #1 on the list? Hint: He has a lot of championship rings … We’re out like Skip and Fish …

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  • the kid

    first. bitches.

  • the kid

    fuckin a. cavs are rolling over motherfuckers. i’m a celts fan, but i would almost rather have the magic play the cavs because i think the magic would put up a better fight (at least if they find some heart before these playoffs end). dwight would be patrolling the middle forcing lebron to shoot more, although when lebron’s on, he’s pretty much unstoppable. who do you guys think would give the cavs a tougher time?

    lakers were looking soft the other day. i know they’re legit, but the rockets give them problems. kobe had to work extra hard to get the lakers the win. we’ll see how they look in houston…

    tonight’s going to be a good basketball night. i’m pumped!

    shout out to chi-i. peace.

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    @ the kid.

    you are a lame.

    fisher being suspended and farmer potentially starting (and then potentially having a decent game) may be just what l.a. needs to get some major productivity out of him. that could be trouble for houston (and everybody that wouldn’t be mad at them winning the series-including me)

  • jp2506
  • ctkennedy

    joe johnson have offically dropped out of my top 20 players in the league now for sure he plays like he dont want it

  • YOUNGFED…”The new Camaro Pharoah”

    Cant wait till Lebron meets Kobe so K-Hova can so everybody who’s really king.

  • ERIC

    The Cavs are rolling over teams that would barely, if at all, make the playoffs in the West. These 2009 Cavs will have an easy, uninterrupted path to the finals…blew out a Detroit team in disarray that was declining from 6th in the East to 8th in the final month finishing below .500, smashing the Hawks with a gimpy Horford/Williams (and now Joe Johnson) and then will either face the Celtics (no KG) or the Magic (Lewis/Turk banged up). No one is mentioning the cakewalk the Cavs have in the East.

    The Lakers, on the otherhand, beat a Jazz squad that is superior to any East team (outside Cavs/Celts/Magic trio) in 5 games and now playing a Rockets team that is peaking (in contrast to Pistons declining and an injured Hawks team).

    All I am saying is that lets put all this in perspective. Cavs are an amazing team playing seriously inferior competition right now and will coast to the finals. Lakers have a much more difficult path so we cant annoint them West Champs until they get past threats like the Rockets & Nuggets. But at the same time we can’t say the Lakers are worse than the Cavs because they are having a harder time in the playoffs than the Cavs…look at who they are respectively playing!

    Here’s hoping to a competitive Eastern Conference Finals eventually and a competitive finals with the Cavs and whoever they play (hopefully vs. the Lakers).

  • that’s whats up

    when I saw the first post I thought to myself “that faggot ass has to be a Celtics fan”

    thanks for confirming that in the second post

  • dk

    @6 Your 100% correct. Idiots like #2 are saying Kobe had to try hard, Its the Western Confrence playofffs! The East rofl Fucking pussies… 75 % of the posters are morons and speak with thier assholes

  • that’s whats up

    Dirk’s got an “old lady”, and she has about 14, 15 names – not even stage names
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4150488

    Too bad Games 3 & 4 are not on the road. His home crowd won’t dog him

  • dk

    A day in the education of a Dime reader – ” How many quarters in a NBA basketball game ” reader, ” Um, one, fo, threes! Its THREE! ” , ” Look ma no hands, take picture! ” *drools*

  • dapro

    “Rafer Alston (strong pimp hand) and Derek Fisher (imitating Ronnie Lott) were both suspended following their actions on Wednesday”

    That line about Skip was hilarious. Everytime I see that clip of him slapping House, I think about Charlie Murphy on Chappelle Show

    “First of all, you don’t slap a man. Ok. I mean, even when slapping was fashionable, ya know, they did it in Paris, some guy would come up, “I challenge you to a duel.” They would have a gunfight after that, somebody had to go!

  • jzsmoove

    CLE would have a tougher time against HOU if they met in the Finals. LAL /DEN is a pretty even matchup if that happens, and entertaining basketball. The winner of that would also make for competitive bball against CLE. Notice how I have already resigned that CLE will come out the East. I hope ORL figures it put over BOS. Howard needs to start representin if he wants to be recognized as a great center. I’ll still give it CLE over ORL, 4-2.

  • QQ

    Can’t wait to see the Magic game tomorrow….

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • E$

    2 Ez for Lebron

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Houston Up!

    Bottom line tonight is Houston has to go up and stay up (pause) and not keep it close say around 5.

    I feel good about tonight’s game. Ok I feel great. Just the simple fact that the Rockets are still being talked about during the summer and in round 2 and no sweep, hanging with last year’s conference finals champs. Oh yea I feel great.

    Only thing is the whole Fisher being suspended might actucally be a blessing in disguise. Shannon Brown can straight up play, and will make better judgements with the ball. Farmer can shoot and has a knack for big plays. That does bother me some. Still Brooks will get by Farmer fast still I expect Brown to get the tick tonight and take full advantage of this.

    Laker fans should really be happy Fisher got suspended. You know they are going to be calling the game tight tonight which will probably make the score lower working in the Rockets favor.

    So is Rafer now “Pimp to my lou”?
    Dwight gets 20 and 20 tonight or 30 and 20 trust. Gonna straight thump Boston tonight. The one Boston will need to try and steal is game 4. Cause tonight off adrenaline alone Magic will come out nuts.

    GOD I certainly don’t mind if someone slaps Eddie House again. I’m just saying LORD. Amen.

  • doc

    Bron rolling through them cats.The Hawks stink all of a sudden because they playing Bron and them.Them cats tough.Nobody was saying the Hawks was soft when they wiped the floor with the so good Lakers earlier this year.Now they bitching.The west so tough.We got this team,we got that team.Dont switch up now.All year yall was gonna cripwalk to the chip now that other teams is punching yall in the mouth yall wanna get rational.@dK-number 2 stated facts.Kobe had to work hard as hell to win that game and he CANT win 4 games like that.He need somebody to step up and help or they going home.

  • doc

    Do yall remember saying the same East/West bullshit last year.The West is the toughest conference ever.Boston getting pushed 7 games in the East they not ready for the West.What happened?They sent the West home with sticks up they ass J Reed style.

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN

    Yes, I agree Cavaliers are smokin’ the EC. Now.

    There is still tons of ball left. Injuries and unexpected occurrences shift the whole landscape of the playoffs.

    The Cavs are puttin’ on an exhibition in TEAM BALL.
    They’re best players??? Lebron and two undersized guards.

    Their Bigs?? ANDY, Z, JOE, and BEN – These guys, well at least 3 of them, are PAST their prime.

    Their subs: Wally, Boobie, Sasha – give it all they got in their limited minutes.

    So yeah, it might be a cakewalk but it’s not a cakewalk because of a HUGE INFERIORITY VACUUM IN THE EC.
    No, because the Cavs roster seemingly is not as talented as other playoff ball clubs. It’s simply they play team ball with a chemistry unparalleled in any other club this season.

    They possess a “team” attitude all the way around. However, one player on their team is one of the best ever.
    By the way, I said “ever.”

    The Hawks were at the post conference basically at a lost for words. Even when they said the Cavs “did what they were supposed to by taking care of home court. Now we gotta go home and do the same.” You could tell by their facial expressions and body language, they have some DOUBT about actually doing that.

    Only two clubs in the West that made the playoffs gave the Cavs comp this year.
    And they happen to be playin’ each other right now.

    As much as I enjoy this years’ playoffs, it’s kinda cool to see a COMPLETE ANNIHILATION-I MEANT-MUTHAF***IN’ BASKETBALL CLINIC every once in a while.

    As much as I like the fights, the bickering, the hard fouls, the Bulls-Celtics, the Skip slap, role players becoming big shots, JR getting’ loose all crazy like, ‘Melo getting’ busy, Dirk trying his best to keep his clearly inferior team in the battle, Timmy and Tony tossed, the demise of the Pistons who by the way are the sole reason for the renaissance of “team ball,” the weird Hawks-Heat series, the suffocating D of Houston, the promise of the Blazers, the speed of Brooks, the disappointment in Oden, the ineptness of the Jazz…

    I like to see LEBRON at the top of the key with a refreshingly smooth handle, in the face of a double team, a breakdown dribble, a subtle hesitation move, then with FREIGHT TRAIN VELOCITY head straight to the cup for a REVERSE YAM.

    That’s the definition of BLOW-BY-AMAZING-NESS.
    His team, the definition of FOCUSED.

    2-Fold-Question for anyone:
    Does Lebron’s presence make the Cleveland Cavaliers a SUPERIOR squad? Or does his presence make the opposing team an INFERIOR squad?

  • dk

    @ doc

    Explain to me why the greatest player/finisher on the planet cant play like that for the next 20 games, give or take. Do you have a high fever. Kobe can carry the team and your moms to a chip

  • doc

    @dk-my moms?What the fuck do u be talking about.U got to be the dumbest motherfucker on here.When has he ever done it?He fucking 32 years old and u still talking about he can carry a team to a chip alone.U want me to explain why he cant get 40 for 20 straight games?Really?Because he fucking human with a head,legs,and arms not just some big dick waiting to get sucked which is what u obviously wanna do with the man.We talking facts on here not just dickriding whoever.U telling me I got high fever for some shit u said happens easy but the only problem it never happened yet.U just need to fall back.None of your posts be funny,AND u bring no content,why the fuck are u here.I dont even think u watch ball.U just one of them dudes who see a player score some buckets and think thats all it is.Believe me,u can critique Kobe game just like u could anybody elses who ever played the game.U been on here for a minute now and bring nothing to the table but.WHO SAID THAT ABOUT KOBE.YOUR MOTHERS AN ASS.KOBE IS THE BEST.WHOEVER SAID KOBE CANT CARRY A TEAM EVERY YEAR TO THE CHIP IS AN ASS.KOBE NEVER LOST HE GETS CHEATED.Man shut ya dumb ass up!

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    Hopefuly Hawks fans can shut the f*ck up about the Celtics run last year.

    Barkley called it. JJ is good, not great.

    Josh Smith or Mike Woodson, one of them has got to go. Smith don’t listen at all. His jumper is broke.

  • bsteezy3

    Super boring game last night (unless you’re a Cavs fan). In my opinion, they shouldn’t even have played the 4th quarter.

  • rell

    Right now I don’t see the Cavs facing any serious competition until the finals. ATL should have put up a better fight in these first 2 games but I am not shocked they are losing by 20+. I had a feeling they would get swept by the Cavs before the series started because of the way the Hawks played against the Heat. I can understand the Heat taking Atlanta to game 7 but I can’t understand how Atlanta lost 3 games by 15+ to the Heat. The Hawks have too much talent to be beaten this badly by the Heat. The blame in this series against goes to Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Mike Woodson. Josh Smith is to erratic. He should never have a game where he gets only 1 rebound. NEVER. I am now convince that Joe Johnson is not a #1. In order for the Hawks to be competitive, Joe have to put the team on his back which I don’t think he have the mentality to do. There is no help for Woodson because he is just a bad coach. It is time for Woodson to go and they should have went after Larry Brown last offseason.

    I hope the Celts can win tonight. Paul Pierce did not play alot of minutes last games so hopefully he will be a major factor tonight. If we are lucky to make it to the finals, I don’t see us being that much a challenge to Cleveland. Before the playoff started I thought we could take Cleveland to atleast 6 or 7 games without KG, but I don’t see that now. If Pierce was playing like he was in the last half of the regular season, I could see us giving Cleveland a challenge. But Pierce have been struggling with his shot this entire post season. So far Pierce have only had 2 good games this entire playoffs. This is unacceptable especially with Ray, Rondo, Big Baby, and Perks having a better playoff than he is.

  • doc

    @rell-u could look at it like this.Yall was saying the same thing about Ray Allen last year then he turned into gangbusters against LA.Maybe Pierce waiting for that big moment.

  • calvin brodus

    @QQ

    not to questions your fanhood or anything, but, the magic are playing tonight not tomorrow. i would think and magic man like yourself would know that.

    i really like dwight howard, but i think hes greatly underperforming in the celts series so far. honest question-why the fuck doesn’t he score more points? hes got kendrick fucking perkins on him most of the game! he should be able to get 30/20 on that dude. for being a self labeled “superman”, he should be putting up much bigger numbers in the boxscore.

    having said that, orl is a 4 point favorite tonight and im putting a fiddy on em. like I said above, howard is due.

    i should also note that orl has cost me more money this season than any other team. so a let down tonight wouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

    lakers are a 1.5 point dog. that’s tough one, but im putting my bread on the rox, mainly out of hope and optimism hou can go up 2-1. furthermore, ive come to hate the lakers over the past few weeks and i just can’t root for them, which always happens if i got paper on a squad.

    big ups to the cavs for keeping me paid!! they always make that internet monay. these days your money is far safer on a cavs bet than it is in a bank. for real. they should be called the cleveland coverers. they always got the spread buttered.

    HOME TEAMS TONIGHT!! MILE MAFUCKIN HIGH!!!

  • doc

    2snoop-dont fuck that money up on sweet ass orlando dog.Roll something up and think on it.

  • rell

    @doc
    I hope Pierce start to come on strong. This difference with this year and last year is we could afford Ray Allen struggling until the ECF because we had KG and a better bench with Posey, PJ, House, and Powe. I don’t think this year we can afford Pierce struggling for too long because we will get put out of the playoffs this round. Losing KG for the playoff affected our offense, defense and bench. I mean right now Scalabrine is our 6th man. If the Celts had came into the playoff healthy, I think our team could be stronger than last year. Rondo, Baby, and Perks have all improved, Powe and KG would have been healthy, and House and Allen are both playing better than last season.

    Paul Pierce is my favorite player on the Celts but if he doesn’t start playing better soon we will be eliminated against the Magic.

  • doc

    Yeah i feel that he cant wait until the chip like Ray he gotta start at least by Cleveland.They can get by Orlando playing a little soft because the Magic ALL THE WAY SOFT.Even they beast got bitch made tendicies sometimes.I never even seen Dwight tell another teamate what to do.How u gonna be a alpha dog if u cant even tell Martin Gortat to box the fuck out.

  • blazerjunkie

    Bynum will be a poor mans Erik Dampier, if he can ever stay healthy. Bynum is the only bigman in the last year and half to miss more games than Greg Oden due to injury.

  • LakeShow84

    Cant knock the Cavs on what they are doing.. Shit if it was us we would lose focus and let a team back in it but these Cavs are keeping the pedal down to the floor..

    Anyways i still say fuck em.. BIG game tonight Houston Fans!! will you guys wilt at the opportunity to go up 2-1 on us?? i dunno.. if we come out hot it could be a wrap.. Ron Ron shouldnt be yapping through the media.. Kobe might have to hit a couple of shots and run at him saying “you know who your talking about in the media?? im Kobe Bryant”..

    Kobe, Odom and Gasol should be good to go tonight and if Yao guards Gasol off top i am calling it a game.. The China man cant keep up with our Spaniard..

    Paging fucking Andrew Bynum! please report to the game!

  • rell

    This is one reason I feel the Magic can’t beat the Cavs. Dwight should be destroying Boston but I don’t feel he got the mentality to be the alpha dog on the court. Dwight on his worst day should have a minimum of 25 point every game. Boston on most possession is single covering Dwight with Perks. I am a huge Perks fan but there is no way Dwight should not be out playing Perks. Right now Dwight is averging 14pts, 17rebs, and 1.5 blocks in 40 minutes while Perks is averaging 11pts, 12.5rebs, and 2.5 blocks in 34 minutes. Basically it looks like if Perks played 40 minutes him and Dwight would cancel each other out.

    Van Gundy should also get alot of the blame. He should make his players force feed Dwight. When the Magic players penetrate in the lane off the dribble, many times Dwight would be wide open. Instead of passing to Dwight they pass it out for a 3 point attempt. Van Gundy is a good coach but he do not know how to coach big men.

  • rell

    My last post is @doc post #28.

  • K Dizzle

    For real, Lakeshow. AB needs to wake the phuck up. All we askin is make Yao work for his. Don’t even try to block his shot, but get physical with him. If we don’t gotta double team dude, shit gets so much easier.

    @ Hawk haters callin last year a mirage against the celts. Just a small reminder that they ain’t got Horford, Marv Williams and they lost Josh Childress cuz they were cheap. That’s a lotta firepower not playin. Y’all really expect Mario West and Solomon Jones to do anything? Last year, JJ was winnin games in the fourth with out of his mind displays, now he limpin, averagin Mike Finley numbers when the Hawks need at least his regular season numbers. Injuries robbin hoop fans of some good hoops this spring. Cleveland won’t even be tested til the ECF, which might actually be good for the opposition cuz everybody else scrappin and clawin in playoff games while Cleveland coastin thru some preseason intensity scrimmages. We’ll see…

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN

    RELL – Perk knows what he can and can’t do.
    That’s why he hits his lil’ baby j with ease. I digress…

    Dwight doesn’t know his limitations yet.

    You ever see him dribble. Teams know once Dwight gets the ball out of the paint, he’s not going to do much.

    Get the ball to Dwight. Right. It’s so easy. Even when they lob it over homies head, sometimes it’s a disaster.

    Dwight’s a BEAST. But my friend, he’s the only Magic player who’s a beast. He’s the ONLY one to fear in the post. You ever seen a full 48 minute Magic game???
    DWIGHT HUGS THE BLOCK.
    Hey, it’s a whole bunch of other hardwood on the floor. Make use of it.

    Dwight’s a young player.
    You can format a gameplan to limit the impact of Dwight.
    It’s certain things he can’t do but he does it anyway and there are certain things he can do but doesn’t.

    Van Gundy’s a “tendency-prone” coach…meaning his fellow coaches know his tendencies and are better equipped to form a strategy to counter his plans. Not that opposing coaches will always be successful.

    Orlando has been playing like this all year. If this was the NCAA tournament, they have a good a shot as anybody to win it all based off their LIGHTS OUT SHOOTING. But in a multi-game series, shots go cold and players grow accustomed to one another and coaching becomes that much more paramount in deciding who and who doesn’t win a ballgame.

  • Skeeter McGee

    I’m sorry but some of the stuff LeBron does during games I can’t even do on a videogame, it is that bananas! I mean when he starts swishing step-back 35-footers to beat the buzzer you might as well call it a night if you’re the other team. On top of it all, I can’t believe he is only 24 yrs. old!

    Random question that might only interest me:
    Does anyone know who the last player to win the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same year was? I think LeBron might the next person to achieve that considering he was 2nd in DPOY voting. If Dwight Howard has an injury plagued year (God forbid), I think Bron could do it.

    What do y’all think?

  • doc

    dime sorry but get off lebrons nuts. he had ONE FOUL LAST NIGHT. LETS SEE THE BLOCK HE HAD ON JOSH SMITH WHERE HE TACKLES HIM IN THE AIR and then smith’s insuing tech. of course no one mentions this as lebron won’t be called for shit the entire series. sorry but he would be in foul trouble every game if they called the series fair. wouldnt that make a difference? lebrons an average player

  • Dave

    Gee, gotta be loving your spot, team’s playing well, Artest is too much for anyone to handle and he isn’t afraid to put the team on his shoulders. I don’t think Shannon Brown will perform in Houston, he folded entirely in game 3 in Salt Lake and looked like a deer in the headlights so I’m thinking it’s either Kobe going for 50 and 15 assists and the Lakers winning, or more likely Kobe going for 30, shooting 47 shots, and the Rox winning by 10.

  • the cynic

    Lebron freight trained Josh Smith last night and J-Smooth got called for a foul. Lebron can do no wrong

    The Magic are going to get worked over tonight without Rafer. I still remember how bad the Magic were in the 4 or 5 games it took the Magic to transition from Jameer to Skip. Lakers won’t even know Fisher is off the court