|News » Don't gang up on quiet James 2009-06-02|
|Don't gang up on quiet James 2009-06-02|
The biggest mistake the Cavaliers made in Game 6 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals was not freezing out LeBron James after intermission. He'd lost his legs, touch, rhythm, handle, swagger and jagged edge. Even his tats appeared exhausted. And then there were the courtside cops and podium police who got all indignant over LeBron bolting the premises without extending insincere congratulations to the Magic (Dwyane Wade of the Heat also left the court without shaking hands with the victorious Hawks earlier in the playoffs) or meeting the press for the obligatory graveside eulogy.
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This just in: The LeBron puppet walked off the set in a huff without saying anything to Kermit the Frog.
So, we're down to a duet: Lakers vs. Magic, Disneyland vs. Disney World (on Disney-owned ABC, no less), for the right to fondle Larry O'Brien's trophy.
Too bad Walt (The Original Frozen One) Disney, Doug Collins and Charles Barkley aren't coherent to see it.
I can't guarantee who's gonna get crowned, but I can say for sure LeBron won't be congratulating the winner -- and I can assure you nobody looks better in a velour sweatsuit than Stan Van Gundy.
If the Story of O is to experience a happy ending, I suggest deep-sixing the deep-dishing until establishing Dwight Howard (sad to think the last one to stop Superman was Incri-Nate Robinson) in the low docks and ground game. The Magic were at their best in Game 6 due to dedicated defense, plentiful attacks on the basket and small number of drive-by, mid-air kick-outs. I strongly recommend the recurrence of this recipe despite the knowledge they stiffed L.A. Lore 2-2 in the regular season on the strength of draining from the great divide.
When the teams met in late December in Orlando, the Magic won 106-103 on 12-for-30 shooting from 3-point range. In the rematch three weeks later at the Office Supply Center, the Magic (109-103) came from behind, in large part by going 12-28 from Candyland.
It should be noted that Jameer Nelson (possibly returning from February shoulder surgery), who had 15 fourth-quarter points in Game 2, could become the X-Factor.
If I'm a Lakers fan, I have no doubt the Zen Hen, Phil Jackson, will have Rafer Alston's man and Anthony Johnson's man rotating in time to inhibit Howard's spin-dry cycle. Keeping him off the offensive glass for a jamboree of put-backs is the responsibility of Wilt Chamberlain.
If Los Angeles rebounds and defends like it did in the fourth quarter of Game 5 vs. the Nuggets and throughout Game 6 . . . and Kobe Bryant channels the offense through the bigs . . . and resists a personal challenge to torment LeBron's tormentor, Mickael Pietrus . . . and plays honest at the other end; no floating on Courtney Lee . . . I selfishly predict the Lakers in five grunt-and-grind halfcourt games.
Should the Magic split the first two and the Lakers carry out but half of the above necessities, L.A. in six.
Just wondering: If Patrick Ewing gets a ring with Orlando, does that finally validate Dave Checketts' genius?
Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 2, 2009