"Plus I Got A Whole City To Hold Down..."
5.8 The Cooler

LeBron: Looking for competition

By 05.08.09
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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