With no games on the schedule and only tonight’s Celtics/Cavs Game 6 to look forward to, LeBron James was at the center of the basketball world’s attention as everybody tried to make sense of just what the hell happened to the game’s biggest superstar when he choked in the biggest game of his season … At any time Wednesday you could have gone to any sports website, and 85% of them would’ve had LeBron as the top story. When they weren’t signing the death certificate on the King’s reign as a clutch player, they were stamping his plane ticket out of Cleveland, or playing doctor regarding LBJ’s elbow. Or it went the complete opposite direction: Excusing Game 5 as just one bad night, trying to talk Cleveland fans off the ledge that their guy isn’t going anywhere, or presuming he’ll ignore any elbow pain to drop 50 in tonight’s crucial Game 6 … After a lot of arguing (with a little yelling) in the Dime office, naturally we couldn’t come to a consensus as a team. There are only four things on which we could all agree: (1) LeBron’s bad game was more the exception than the rule; (2) It’s not going to be completely his fault is the Cavs lose this series; (3) You’ll never be able to convince a signed-and-sealed LeBron hater that it’s not completely LeBron’s fault; and (4) If the Cavs lose, the chances ‘Bron signs with another team this summer increase over whatever they were going into the playoffs … Oh, and there’s this other team that will be on the court, some dudes wearing green and white. Paul Pierce finally found his scoring rhythm in Game 5, so if he and Ray Allen are hitting again, Cleveland is in trouble. This is where Mo Williams‘ defensive shortcomings become a real problem. Mike Brown has to use some combination of Mo, LeBron, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon and Delonte West to contain Pierce, Ray and Rajon Rondo. Mo has to be on the court to spread the floor and knock down shots, only he can’t handle any of Boston’s perimeter guys defensively … Either way, LeBron HAS TO play a good game. F*ck the elbow, f*ck the crowd, f*ck the pressure (so says Stephen Jackson), f*ck the coaching, f*ck the refs. There won’t be any leeway or excuses for LeBron if he doesn’t come through with a W … One guy who’s grateful for LeBron stealing all the headlines is Dwyane Wade. He has some serious drama in his life right now. On top of the messy divorce trial coming up later this summer, Wade’s estranged wife filed a lawsuit against his girl, Gabrielle Union, then yesterday the ex turned herself in on a warrant for no-showing a court date for the divorce. And you thought being an NBA superstar pulling down eight figures a year and waking up next to Gabby Union every morning would be the perfect life, huh? … Remember Shaheen Holloway? He was a McDonald’s All-American PG back in ’96 who starred at Seton Hall (still the school’s all-time assists leader) but was always overshadowed in the Big East during the Khalid El-Amin era. Holloway just got hired as the top assistant under new Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard. The Pirates were .500 in the Big East last season, and have a solid foundation coming back in mad bomber Jeremy Hazell — think Wayne Ellington with a perma-green light and J.R. Smith‘s conscience — and pro prospect forward Herb Pope, each of whom pulled their name out of the Draft before the deadline … Putting together a list of the NBA’s Top 5 Poster Dunks from this season was tough, so we stuck Dime rookie Rey Jefferson with the job. Derrick Rose, Carmelo and D-Wade are among those making a cameo. Check out the list and give us your Top 5 … We’re out like excuses …
Smack / May 13, 2010 / 5:03 am
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