LeBron’s Escape from L.A.

03.11.09 10 years ago 34 Comments

The end of Cavs/Clippers was equal parts unbelievable as well as completely, comically predictable. Dominating LeBron and crew from the get-go, L.A. led by 14 at halftime, by as much as 19 in the third quarter, and by 17 going into the fourth. But even with the Clips’ announcers ready to celebrate (“This is fun!” one of them blurted out in the second half), you just knew The other Six was going to drop eventually. And although LeBron (32 pts, 13 rebs, 11 asts) was struggling with his jumper all night (0-6 3PA), he sparked a 25-1 Cleveland run with his playmaking, defense and strong takes to the cup, and the Clippers’ lead withered away as you could feel the crowd embracing that familiar sense of dread. A Daniel Gibson three tied it with 1:50 on the clock, and after a Chris Kaman turnover, LeBron put the Cavs on top with a pair of free throws. Eric Gordon‘s Ezallian slip-and-fall on the next possession (“My neck and my back!”) seemed like the fitting way for the Clips to lose, but The Most Selfish Basketball Player in Clippers History hit a three to prolong the inevitable. Mo Williams put Cleveland back up with an open three, which put the Clippers in the one situation every one of their fans fears most: Six seconds left, one shot to win the game, and Mike Dunleavy Sr. with a whole timeout to draw up a terrible play … And what happened? First, like always, Dunleavy put ice-cold Steve Novak in the game (who hadn’t played since early in the second quarter) as the “decoy” who everyone knows won’t get the ball; then the “play” was an inbounds to Zach Randolph (20 pts, 12 rebs), who took a couple dribbles before launching a 30-footer that didn’t hit anything. Just embarrassing. After losing that game, would anyone blame the Clippers’ season ticket-holders for staging a mass walk-out? … It was the first time all year that Kaman, Marcus Camby and Z-Bo all suited up together, with Camby coming off the bench and Kaman generally carrying himself like a man who hasn’t played in several months … Anyone else find it strange that one of the rolling panels under the scorer’s table had big Commerce Casino ad on it? These are NBA refs we’re talking about … Just as high on the NBA Predictability Meter was the Pacers’ second-half performance against the Jazz. After Troy Murphy dropped SEVEN threes in the first 20 minutes, check out his entire shot chart for the rest of the game: two free throws, one missed three, one missed layup. That’s it. After looking like an NBA Jam character in the first half, Commander BONG seemed to be getting the freeze-out from — guess who? — T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack. But the sad part is, T.J. and Jarrett probably didn’t intentionally ignore anyone; they just don’t know how to not play like Capt. Jack Sparrow … Indiana hung in there with Utah well into the fourth quarter, but their youth and Utah’s experience eventually proved the difference. Andrei Kirilenko broke a tie with a three at the 7-minute mark, Paul Millsap gave Maceo Baston his own Hakeem-on-Admiral moment with a textbook up-and-under, Memo schooled Roy Hibbert into an and-one and another two-shot foul, and finally Kyle Korver delivered the dagger with a corner three that put the Jazz up double-digits and paved the way for their 12 straight win … The Bobcats, meanwhile, had their six-game win streak snapped in San Antonio when Roger Mason (21 pts) broke open a close game in the fourth with a trio of triples. Tim Duncan added 18 and 11 boards in the win … Other big stat lines from Tuesday: Larry Hughes posted 39 points and David Lee added 19 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Milwaukee; and Dirk Nowitzki scored 34 with 13 boards in a win over Phoenix, the Suns’ fifth straight loss … Gary Payton had the day off from the NBA TV studio show, leaving them with a crew of Cousin Ahmad, C-Webb and Sam Mitchell, with Mike Bibby added for a portion of the night. Not good. Mitchell called Deron Williams “Duh-RON” and seemed at least two seconds late reacting to everything (reminiscent of his coaching days) in between prolonged bouts of silence — but even he looked like Mike Epps in comparison to Bibby. We’re not even sure Bibby was awake/alive half the time he was on-air. Webber was trying desperately to carry everyone to something halfway entertaining, and Craig Sager’s cameo was hilarious, but otherwise it was rough … We’re out like the will of Clippers fans …

Around The Web