A little dishing on sports


I would like to use this broad forum (What up, Fat Al?) to thank LeBron James for using last night’s game to bolster my recent post in which I was fairly critical of Frank Isola’s position that he would take Kobe over LeBron.  Now, the post was primarily targeted at the idea that Kobe is single-minded in his pursuit of championships – which I still believe is absurd – while LeBron is not particularly committed.  And obviously, one bad game is not going to undo my opinions after observing the man for the last seven years.

But my gosh, what a stinker LeBron put up last night!  I am willing to accept that after the epic beatdown he handed the Celtics in game 3 that they were able to make adjustments and keep him in relative check in Boston in game 4.  But how does one explain last night’s game in which deep into the 2nd quarter, LeBron was zero for three from the floor?  How does the league’s best player allow himself to get only three shots (plus a couple of unofficial shot attempts on plays where he got fouled) at the rim in a game his team is losing?  I’m all for staying within the team concept and trusting the gameplan and your teammates, but LeBron has got to be more assertive in getting his team going.

The easy explanation is that his elbow is bothering him more than he is letting on.  Of course, this feeds directly into Isola’s point that he can use the elbow as an alibi for poor performance in a big moment.  For the record, that still doesn’t make sense to me, given that LeBron is no rookie; he has already led his team through a number of tough games and series, including getting a ragtag bunch into the 2007 Finals.  I have to say, though, I saw a disturbing lack of urgency from LeBron last night.  The game actually reminded me of Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, when Kobe seemed resigned to defeat at the hands of the same Celtics team that is now tormenting the King.  Maybe it’s not health at all.  Maybe it’s that when the Celtics are healthy and they toss egos aside, they are a maddening defense to crack for a team so reliant on one superstar player.  Maybe LeBron knows that slapping together Shaq, Jamison and a bunch of other pieces just isn’t good enough to beat a determined team clicking on all cylinders.

Maybe LeBron realizes that he’s gone as far as he can with this group of teammates and that it’s time to move on to a team and a city that’s big enough to play alongside him as he scales formidable challenges.  Maybe LeBron is already picturing himself in the orange and blue, exiting the tunnel to thunderous applause as 19,763 root, root, root him on to victory.  Maybe LeBron is already a New York Knick and all that iss left his to get his signature on the contract.

I can hope, can’t I?

Just one thing, though, LeBron.  That 3-for-14 crap ain’t gonna play in New York City, so you better step it up.  Frank Isola’s going to be watching you closely.


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