Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Friday, May 14, 2010

LeBron's legacy on the line in must-win situation

Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The boos were loud.

And why not?

This is not what the fans signed up for.

No one can win a title by himself. In 2007, LeBron James willed this team past the Pistons and into the NBA finals. The Cavs were no match for the Spurs and easily swept away.

Spanning the last three years, the roster has been rebuilt.

You can’t win a championship with Larry Hughes, Damon Jones, Sasha Pavlovic, Eric Snow and Ira Newble.

Using owner Dan Gilbert home loan money, Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry brought in a roster worthy of the King.

Mo Williams. Shaq. Antwan Jamison. All obtained for almost nothing.

With 2007 main cogs, Z and Boobie relegated to mostly the bench, effective role players like Delonte West, Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker were brought in to fill gaps.

The last two seasons, the Cavs had the best record in basketball and for the second straight year something is seriously wrong.

Maybe last you tipped your cap to the Magic. Maybe you could say there were the better team. The matchup was against the Cavs. A perfect storm did them in.

The Celtics are not a better team than the Cavs. They might be former champions, but they only reason they had a chance to win this series was if the Cavs let them in.

Game 2 was embarrassing. How could the Cavs not come to play? In Game 4, the Cavs had a chance to step on the Celtics’ neck and they let Boston off the ground.

But last night?

What was that?

Is LeBron hurt? Maybe so, but even that can’t explain what happened.

Is there so much pressure on LeBron’s teammates that they simply choked?

The King took only four shots in the first half. He missed them all.

At the half, you hoped that LeBron would put on a cape and save his teammates as he has done before. Instead, it seemed like he shrieked from the moment. And his teammates depending on him froze and disappeared.

By the time LeBron made a shot, the game was over. Not even Teen Wolf could have saved the Cavs at that point.

This is the type of loss that destroys fans. All of our worst fears were laid out early and we had to watch them come true during a painful second half.

There is a lot of blame to spread for this loss.

For Mike Brown to play Z and Gibson in the fourth quarter to me smelled of panic. Refusing to go small with J.J. Hickson, Andy Varejao seems weird to me.

A lot of LeBron’s teammates disappeared.

But like it or not the majority has to go on LeBron’s shoulders. In the first half, it did not take long for national websites to ask if this was LeBron’s last home game in Cleveland.

Texts came from friends asking if LeBron had already left and signed with New York.

If indeed this was LeBron’s final home game and there is little evidence that this team has the heart to win a elimination game in Boston — sadly it will erase all the good memories he has brought to this town.

This game will forever leave a bad taste.

Someone told me this loss will turn the fans on LeBron and he will use that as an excuse to leave.

If that’s true. It will show his true character. It will expose him as a fraud king.

I would like to hope he is something else. I would like to believe LeBron can win a Game 6 in Boston and move the team onto the next round. And even if the team falls short, he would remain in Cleveland with unfinished business.

Because if he leaves he can never be his hero Michael Jordan.

Everyone has always said that LeBron makes his teammates better. Not so much in this series.

LeBron was given enough to beat the Celtics. He failed miserably in Game 5.

Can he inspire his teammates to win in city where the Cavs are 2-12 in the playoffs? Could he erase all momentum and pull out two games to continue a quest for the title this town has waited so long for?

If he wants to be the King, he has no choice.