Ep. 571: Cavastrophe

On today’s show, Skeets and Tas are just as flabbergasted as you are. Celtics 120, Cavaliers 88. Did that really just happen? And, more importantly, who’s to blame? Is this one all on LeBron, as a majority of the media claims? What about Mike Brown’s weird substitutions? Or Mo Williams’ laugh out loud “defense”? Or, hey, here’s a novel idea: maybe it’s because the C’s were on fire. Lots to talk/yell about it. Chime in below.

(Reminder: Don’t forget to make your TBJ Book-Off picks.)

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Comments (37)

  1. “He should just sign with Miami, put up his absurd numbers, and let Dwyane Wade provide the spine and balls for his team. “

  2. Take dat haters we going for dat title number 18 yameen!!!!

  3. Note: Our “only five close games” comment is a little off. We’ve actually had 11 playoff games (out of 66) that were decided by four points or less. Still pretty bad.

  4. “Did you have a rough time last night? ”

    “You know who’s gonna have a rough time? Whoever makes it to the Conf. Finals against the Magic.” – LOL Tas! Very true.

    The Cavs- Celtics series is wack. No one has mentioned that they both have set records for worst Playoff loss at home. They’ve done it in a week and these franchises are like 100 years old combined. (and thats the Skeeto-Stat-of the niiiite, Yea!)

  5. Watching last nights game I questioned again the practice of handing out MVP, COY etc before the playoffs are over. To me the wanker of the game was definitely Brown. You can’t go into a locker room at half and not smack some sense into your team. dribble dribble bad jump shot, look at me I’m on tv basketball from the Cavs with a 3 stars looking badly in need of B vitamins. Credit the Celtics for playing with passion for 4 quarters. Glad you mentioned the lack of West and Hickson playing time. All that being said, neither of these teams are going to beat the Magic. Boston is the tougher matchup for Orlando. Good luck with the tires Tas, I had a string of flats a couple years ago. Never any fun!

  6. The most surprising part of the LeBron-related brouhaha is that anyone can manage to be surprised at all.

    1. 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron storms off and proceeds to act like a petulant, horrifyingly ungracious 5-year-old after his team loses to the Magic. (For the record, LeBron played an excellent series–his teammates were no-shows. Also for the record, even the sociopathic Kobe Bryant faced the media graciously after his team was embarrassed in the 2008 Finals.)
    2. LeBron announces, in a not-untypical display of egomania, that he will deign to enter the 2010 dunk contest. LeBron later reneges, acting curiously as though he had not committed to compete, and instead citing the devolution of the dunk contest as reason for his non-participation. Clearly the dunk contest is not fit for the King.
    3. LeBron dances a jig while his team beats the Bulls, apparently unaware of how unbecoming his behavior appears to any onlookers.
    4. LeBron blithly proclaims that, should he so desire, he could easily lead the league in scoring each and every season–he simply is not worried about it. In so doing, LeBron neatly manages to both (i) insult and disregard a bevy of talented scorers who also happen to be capable of leading the league in scoring (including Kobe, Wade, and Durant–each of whom have led the league in scoring in years in which LeBron has played), and (ii) give himself an excuse should he happen to fall short of that feat.
    5. LeBron, having determined the media to be insufficiently attentive to him, unnecessarily shoots a left-handed free-throw in Game 5 of his first-round series against the Bulls. LeBron later blames this on an injured right elbow–an injury LeBron claims to have had for a month, even though (i) he has never mentioned it before, (ii) Mike Brown seems curiously unaware of it, and (iii) such an injury would have been a sensible reason for resting LeBron at the regular season’s end, but was never cited as a reason for his DNPs. This yields–as LeBron had to have known it would–a media firestorm about LeBron’s health, producing exactly the desired results: a swarm of attention; and a ready-made excuse (propounded, of course, by the frenzied reporters and not by the upstanding LeBron) for any struggles that might ensue.
    6. Entering last night’s Game 5 against the Celtics, LeBron had played 9 games in the 2010 Playoffs. He had played hard in exactly 2 of them: Game 4 against the Bulls and Game 3 against the Celtics.

    Given the rather extensive history, what we saw last night can’t register as anything more than mildly surprising.

  7. Favorite quote from Rivers! We haven’t done anything yet. Just 3 games, we have to win 4! The Garden is going to roar! Get ready!

  8. How about Mike Brown getting the Hack-a-Perk going with 4:45 left and down 22. That was probably in his top 5 coaching moves of the night.

  9. That loss is all on Lebron, his mentality was just poor and has been for a long time. Think about it, wade played his ass off with less talent then Lebron. Kobe has shot poorly in his first few games but still played his heart out and led his team to a win then turned it on to sweep. Mvp has gone to the wrong guy in my opinion, yeah i still think this series isn’t over and Lebron is a complete beast but damn start caring dude. i cant believe Kobe was third in Mvp voting I’ve never seen him not show up to play, whether it be the first game of the season or the last.

  10. JONES!

    If Boston can win game 6, do you think this spells the end for LBJ in Cleveland? Even if it doesn’t make him leave, I’m sure he will be thinking about it a lot harder. Especially after hearing those post-game comments, holy ballsack.

  11. LBJ is out of cleveland officially after this game…. cavs will win the series thanks solely on the will power and effort u will see LBJ exert… then i think u see orlando beat them in 5 in conference finals… Cleveland will return to the position they held about 9-10 years ago: last…. thats my prediction

  12. It froze halfway thru the segment. Sigh. 22nd on TBJ Book-Off! __________yay

  13. Bravo AJR. Been saying this for years. Lebron wants to be talked about and treated like the Kobes and the Jordans of the world, then start acting like them. MJ never let his team take a night off, especially in the playoffs, and if they did he just carried them to a W himself. That said, this series is far from over. Still rooting for the Celts, but an angry Lebron should scare everyone in Boston.

  14. Has anyone considered that maybe LeBron is “tanking” (or at least not giving 100%) so that he has an excuse to leave Cleveland once this series ends?

  15. La/Phoenix is on Monday because they want a game on every night of the week.

  16. AJR, dead on. couldnt agree more. lebron should stop acting like a titty-baby and win something already. that said, i would still take him on my team any day of the week.

  17. I can’t really dispute anything AJR wrote up there. And seeing all that stuff together in one post really made it begin to sink in for me just how selfish and immature LeBron has been.

    That said, it’s crazy to suggest that he wasn’t the MVP of this regular season. That’s all that award stands for. After all, there is a separate award for the Finals MVP.

  18. What do you guys think about this theory:

    Lebron saw how Kobe could have subpar games (against OKC) and the Lakers could still win those games; he saw how Dwight Howard could play like sh!t for an entire series and the Magic were still able to sweep the Bobcats, and so he thinks to himself…hmmm…let me have a crappy game and let’s see what my supporting cast can do…and guess what…they did nothing!!

    Lebron has every right to test his suppoting cast, he’s going to be stuck with them for a while.

  19. The Cavs are dead……

    LeBron on Rondo is a foolish idea. If you put your best defender on him, the other scorers are going to take advantage of the mismatches.

  20. LeBron’s play last night was very weird. Wish I could understand it. He’s been one of my favorite players the last few years, but I really hate to see a guy not care in a game like that. I really want to see him come out swinging in game 6.

    To me, the Celtics have looked like the overall better team over the course of the series. (In hindsight, they looked better in the first round too.) This is partly because the Cavs’ additions to their roster have been exposed as ineffective in th playoffs.

    The other thing is, I think the Celtics are much healthier and focused than they were in the regular season. Garnett might be too old to be able to abuse guys as badly as he abuses Jamison, but he’s also playing much better than he was in the second half of the regular season. He’s not as noticeably old. This makes a big difference for the Celtics. He scores, he draws double teams to create plays for teammates, and he defends better. The same kind of thing is true of Peirce, who looked very old to me for a lot of the second half of the season, but who played well against Miami. He’s obviously struggled against LeBron, but I think that’s more a function of LeBron. After the Miami series, and now the first 6 games of this series, I think the Celtics are a bit like the Spurs, getting healthy and finding their rhythm at the right time. We should start discounting their poor and inconsistent play in the second half of the regular season.

    One more thing about the Cavs: has any team ever had any many big name frontcourt players without having any really effective frontcourt pairings (except maybe LeBron/Hickson)? Jamison is a stretch/perimeter PF. In theory, he should work alongside Shaq, creating space in the paint for him. But in practice, neither of those guys can really control the defensive glass anymore. I’m not sure if this lineup was especially responsible, but the Celtics–one of the worst rebounding teams in the league in the regular season–sure seemed to get a lot of second-chance points last night. I can’t think of any combo of either of those guys with Varejao, Big Z, or Hickson that I really expect to produce all that much.

  21. Some great posts… the TBJ Army is sharp!

    The playoffs start now… LeBron facing elimination, a dominant Magic team waiting in the wings, a classic battle starting on the West Coast. Buckle up!

  22. I agree with skeets, i still don’t think this series is over. I think there will be a game seven that’s better than lakers v. jazz (game 3)

  23. It’s something I’ve thought for a while. I have no doubt that LeBron is the best player in the game right now, and potentially the best of all time. The man can do amazing things on the court, some of which we’ve never seen before in the same person.

    The Greatest? Not even close. And what gives it away for me is this.

    Ask Kobe what he wants most of all, and the answer is “to win. To win Championships. To be the greatest basketball player ever.”

    Ask LeBron what he wants, the answer is “to be a billionaire. To be a global icon.”

    For LeBron, basketball is a means to an end. For Kobe, and a bunch of other great players, basketball is the end in and of itself.

    And that’s why I will support Kobe, for all his shortcomings (and there are many), over LeBron every time.

  24. Cavs starting lineup needs to be
    PG – LBJ
    SG – Parker
    SF – Jamison
    PF- Varejao
    C – Hickson
    And as Barkley always says, they need to speed up the tempo of the game.
    The real playoffs start now! Awesome.

  25. Just to add on to some stuff AJR said: Don’t forget about the incident with Nike and the confiscation of the tape where some kid dunked on him. I know this is on Nike as well as Lebron, but Lebron could’ve told Nike to post the video. Instead, he freaked out and allowed Nike to hide it like it was some secret that no one could no about.

  26. “broad shoulders” lol you are obsessed with lebron, tas.

  27. I just finished drinking after that debacle.

  28. Lebron plain and simple just doesnt have that killer instict all of the greats had. And without a killer instict u cannot win an NBA championship. Weather its the best player on your team that has it and wills the rest of the team to victory or the team/coach have it as a whole. I think Lebron has it in him but for some reason it wont come out. Maybe its because everyone kisses his ass including his coach to where he feels he has nothing to prove, That or its that he is already a rich mo fo. But Kobe is too and you dont see him giving up like that(especially not in no game 5 at home). Idk. I hope game 6 is a wake up call for Lebron, altough I doubt it and C’s still win in 6.

  29. Haha, Tas looked pretty pissed. Still having a hard time admitting he was way off the mark predicting a “one-sided” series which the Cavaliers would “dominate.” Now he says Varejao would “dominate” in a match-up with Garnett. Might need to check the meaning of that word in the dictionary.

  30. it’s just another playoff game! I think the cavs are gonna win the next game. talk about close games in the playoffs, still the lakers are the only team to watch. they had a great series vs thunders, the jazz kept it close for 3 games, all the other playoff series are boring. I want to see a lakers-celtics rematch!

  31. How are the Celtics going to beat the Cavs if they probably aren’t even good enough to beat the Heat?

  32. “How are the Celtics going to beat the Cavs if they probably aren’t even good enough to beat the Heat?”

    Was this comment posted 3 weeks ago and was somehow stuck in cyberspace until today?

  33. I was mocking the Jones hosts, who kept saying the Heat could maybe take the Celtics.

  34. @ Maki – “dominate” may have been the wrong word but when Andy played KG in game 5, I believe Garnett was 1-for-3, ’cause Varejao actually pushes KG out of his comfort zone, is close to his height, gets physical, etc. “Plays playoff D” is maybe what I should’ve said.

  35. Predictably, people are going way overboard with their criticisms of LeBron. Humans seem to give more weight to the last thing they saw than they give to the 99 observations before the last.

    LeBron has tons of killer instinct. That’s how he single-handedly beat Detroit in 2007. He’s come up huge in the playoffs throughout his career and has given his team a high level of playoff success–high considering how poor the rest of the team is.

    To say that Kobe, or MJ, or whoever “would never do this” is just false. Read Adande, Simmons, or Abbott over at espn (not that I highly recommend them, but just to get the evidence). Many of the greats had games just as bad as this in the playoffs, and sometimes in elimination games for their teams.

    I’m not trying to let LeBron off the hook. He didn’t just have a bad game, he didn’t show up at all. Fans should be disappointed with him. But to jump to conclusions about how great a player he is and whether he can win a championship and what his career will turn out like on the basis of one bad game (in a series he hasn’t lost) is something you do only if you’re already really biased against him.

  36. @pastrypride: Agreed, it’s impossible to make any predictions about where LeBron’s career might go. He’s clearly the most talented player in the game, and he’s only 25. He could go on to win a half dozen championships and Game 5 would become nothing more than a hiccup. I think where Adande and Abbott miss the mark (and as you rightly point out) is that LeBron didn’t just have an off shooting night, or even hust a lousy game. He didn’t try. At all. From the opening tip. Adande tries to draw comparisons to Kobe’s refusal to shoot in the second half of Game 7 against the Suns a few years ago, but he misses the boat. That was the second half of a monster blow-out by the Suns against a woeful Lakers team that had wildly overachieved to that point. Once the Suns had put the series away, Bryant decided to deliver an eff you to his teammates. (Not to condone Kobe’s behavior, it was a shameful prima donna act.) But Kobe didn’t fail to show up from the outset in a crucial plaoff game at home. (Also, despite what some (Hollinger, Abbott) are arguing, LeBron’s alleged elbow injury does NOT explain Game 5. It may explain why his jumper was off, but it certainly doesn’t explain his refusal to try in any area of the game.)

    This may be an aberration caused by any number of things (locker room tension, a desire to leave Cleveland, a coach-killing maneuver, etc.), and LeBron may move past this and go on to be the greatest of the greats that some expect. But given LeBron’s unquestioned status as the league’s foremost diva over the last couple of seasons, it’s not at all surprising (any more than Kobe’s actions from a few years back were surprising). What’s worse, LeBron seems to take umbrage at the idea that anyone would dare try to compete with him. Whereas the all-time greats turn competition into fuel, LeBron has of late seemed to pout when others truly challenge him. We saw it last year against Orlando, and we’re seeing it now against Boston. Unlike Bird’s locker-room tirade in the 1984 Finals or Jordan’s refusal to give his teammates the summer off after losing in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semis, LeBron follows up Game 5 with the calmly uttered, utterly staggering assertion that it was only the third bad game he had played in his seven-year career, making it easy for onlookers to pick on. Again, he’s only 25, and he’s got limitless talent. But that attitude doesn’t come from a winner.

  37. @Tas – Credit where due. Of the defenders matching up on Garnett this series, Varejao did the best job by far. I’m amazed Brown didn’t give him more minutes in that role throughout the series. Actually, I’m not amazed.

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