BronSolo Facing Elimination

Not sure if you guys happened to catch LeBron James's interview after the Cleveland Cavaliers lost, 116-114, to the Orlando Magic last night. But I saw something that I've never seen before. James has lost playoff games and been on the verge of losing playoff series before, but the could-be King looked downright frustrated, agitated and irritated as he sat at the podium.


How is this happening? (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

His usually unflappable calm -- remember when he said during last season's Eastern Conference semifinals that "A LeBron James team is never desperate?" -- was replaced by non-stop twitching and swaying. He looked uncomfortable. And he very well should be.

The same Cavaliers who blitzed through the NBA to 66 wins and swept both Detroit and Atlanta are on the verge of going out in five games to the Orlando Magic -- and adding more misery to a city that knows dejection. The team that spent all season as a model of unity and togetherness; the group that took silly, imaginary family pictures before games, all of a sudden seems splintered. It's now James and everybody else.

With his team down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, James said, "We are looking forward to the challenge. I know I am. I'm up for the challenge, and I think my play, my leadership has spoke for that. So I will be ready, and I think our guys will be ready also."

Does that sound like someone who has confidence in his crew? He thinks, because he really can't be sure. James's supporting cast hasn't done much to take pressure off of him. His teammates have turned into fourth-quarter witnesses, standing around and watching a sublime talent operate. Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy has done an excellent job of incorporating some James Rules, letting the MVP go off and taking everyone else out of the game.

The Cavaliers spent so much time whining about Mo Williams being snubbed for the all-star team until a series of injuries finally opened the door for him. But Williams is having a forgettable series, both on the court and with his blathering.

After the Cavaliers lost Game 3, Williams was all over the place, complaining about giving the Magic too much respect on one end, and explaining how the Magic presented matchup problems. Then, he decided to make the situation worse on Monday by "guaranteeing" that the Cavaliers would win the series. He had 18 points last night, but he was scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime. That's not going to get it done.

James delivered the one win for the Cavaliers with that incredible, buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 2. He was handed the chance to force overtime on a very suspect call with 0.5 seconds remaining, when he tripped and charged head first into Mickael Pietrus, who tried everything in his power to back out of his way. After James made the free throws to tie the game, I got several text messages from friends who thought the fix was in. I was scratching my head, too. The call was terrible, but I understand superstars get borderline calls in the final seconds. My first thought, however, was: When was James going to shoot the ball, actually? He fell down with less than a second left and had yet to look at the rim. If Cleveland won the game after that call, you would have seen conspiracy theorists going berserk for a long time.

Then, he hurt his team with his late-game decision-making. James hit a ridiculous three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in the overtime, but he had three turnovers in the extra frame, most of which were the result of lazy passes (the time he threw the ball of Howard's knee and another when he tried to force a fastbreak pass to Delonte West, even when he had a potential breakaway dunk). He had eight turnovers overall and perhaps was tired, which is understandable, since he played the entire second half and overtime.

"The ball is in my hand a lot, and I may have a few turnovers. That happens. But I have to figure out how to not have eight. Eight is unacceptable for me," James said. "Fatigue has nothing to do with it."

On the other hand, the Cavaliers would not be in these games if not for James putting together one of the best individual performances in a single playoff series. He has scored 169 points, the most by any player in the first four games of the conference finals. James is averaging an incredible 42.3 points, 7.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds on 50.9 percent shooting. But therein also lies part of the problem. If someone is rolling that well, why take the ball out of his hands?

One more loss to Orlando, and the ball will be out of James's hands until November. And, Cavaliers fans will have to sweat out an entire season worrying about whether James will take his ball and run out of Cleveland.

By Michael Lee |  May 27, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
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Comments

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Hahahahahah. Great blog entry, Mr. Lee.

Watching LeDoosh (aka LeWhiner, aka L'Entitled, aka L'Ego) lose is almost as good as watching the Wiz win. Go Magic!

Posted by: EGTuna | May 27, 2009 9:23 AM

This is great! I guess they will need a Dwight Howard puppet for the finals! A LaBron James team doesn't get deperate. IT GETS ELIMINATED!!!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Posted by: bigherb | May 27, 2009 9:58 AM

Oh My! "The team that spent all season as a model of unity and togetherness; the group that took silly, imaginary family pictures before games, all of a sudden seems splintered." Mr. Lee you are in rare form today sir!

I've been telling my friends this for the past few weeks. People down Kobe for criticizing his teamates and pushing them to perform and praise Lebron as the ultimate team player. Now reality is setting in that those guys just aren't that good! HAHA! $20 Chinese food!

Posted by: BillEmm | May 27, 2009 10:12 AM

Latravel's crab dribble not working? Maybe he should have his mom and coach tell the refs to give him more calls at the end of the game. I will definately be watching this crybaby get eliminated next game.

Posted by: Fontana1 | May 27, 2009 10:21 AM

Watching LeBron and the Cavs lose heartbreakers has been very fun.
1964. The last time Cleveland won a title (in the pre Super Bowl era.)

Posted by: jeremybozz | May 27, 2009 10:30 AM

This is absolutely fantastic. The dream matchup is almost certainly not to occur. Can you imagine how Lebron feels and hopefully soon to be Kobe. Wooow!

The anointed one is short on the oil, and Kobe is even more chagrined that he still might not get a Ring without Shaq. Though Kobe is at a loss why the anointed one is being anointed anyway, for he thinks he still is King.

It could not be written any better. And Boston...poor Boston.

I for one do think that a Denver Orlando series would be quite a championship for me many reasons. Superman Lives. George Karl and Carmelo finally get some respect. Mr. Big Shot. Patrick Ewing.

And next year, the Wizards will be a new force in the East to be rekoned with. It can't get any better than this.

And while I'm at it, if Lebron bolts from Cleveland and dosen't land a Coach that has championship pedigree, he could end up being just another high flying Dominique Wilkins.

Wooow!

The King??? Not quite yet.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 10:32 AM

Hard to say that a guy that's putting up those numbers is hurting his team. But James's poor decision making with the ball killed the Cavaliers late in the 4th and in overtime last night.

It would have been worse had the ref's not bailed him out a couple of times last night. Shame on Superman for throwing his chest into LeBron's off hand elbow!

He's truely one of the world's most talented players, but all of the fawning about his leadership and maturity this year has been a little hard to stomach when the guy makes statements like his "clone me" riff. Would each Clone get to have his own ball?

He reminds me some of a young Kobe, only difference is Kobe had Shaq to ride on his coat tails to three titles. LeBron's pretty much on his own, but the question is; If LeBron had a strong supporting cast, would he trust them to take shots that wouldn't credit him with the jawdropping assist?

Brown started the game off with an effective strategy, get LeBron in the post and off the ball some. Ball movement and scoring balance improved, and Cleveland looked much crisper in the first half.

As the game wore on LeBron went back to dominating the ball, and Cleveland squandered some chances to put the game away with poor shot selection and turnovers.

Most of those plays were LeBron's mistakes, the guy needs to become a great team leader and not just a great player.

When Cleveland's player's talk about LeBron being option A,B,C, & D at the end of game 2, that's not playing Championship Ball. How many times did the likes Kerr or Purdue take game winners in the Bulls' 6 title runs?

I think this is what Flip and Sam Cassell are trying to talk to Gil about, the importance of leadership...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 27, 2009 10:32 AM

This is absolutely fantastic. The dream matchup is almost certainly not to occur. Can you imagine how Lebron feels and hopefully soon to be Kobe. Wooow!

The anointed one is short on the oil, and Kobe is even more chagrined that he still might not get a Ring without Shaq. Though Kobe is at a loss why the anointed one is being anointed anyway, for he thinks he still is King.

It could not be written any better. And Boston...poor Boston.

I for one do think that a Denver Orlando series would be quite a championship for me many reasons. Superman Lives. George Karl and Carmelo finally get some respect. Mr. Big Shot. Patrick Ewing.

And next year, the Wizards will be a new force in the East to be rekoned with. It can't get any better than this.

And while I'm at it, if Lebron bolts from Cleveland and dosen't land a Coach that has championship pedigree, he could end up being just another high flying Dominique Wilkins.

Wooow!

The King??? Not quite yet.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 10:32 AM

Don't know how that posted twice.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 10:39 AM

Hey Larry, Have you noticed that the team that has defended, and used their defense to spring the action and run a little, has won just about every game?

That's what I mean when I talk about fast breaking, Championship Basketball. The league actually has a couple of teams in the conference finals that are willing to run a little. They've forced the Muppet/Stars to respond with a chrisper pace as well.

There's actually being some basketball played that's fun to watch instead of crawl ball.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 27, 2009 10:41 AM

It is kinda funny watching and reading all the comments by commentators. In the past, when Kobe scored 40 points and the team lost, people would say Kobe shot too much. But when LeBron scored 40 point, and the team lost, people would say LeBron did not get enough help from his teammates!

Well, with Gasol, Kobe probably has better teammates than LeBron, but people have been saying that even before Gasol joining Lakers.

Posted by: sagaliba | May 27, 2009 10:45 AM

It seems when it comes to the NBA, a team with a dominant center can always beat a team with a great perimeter player. Jordan never really had to go up against that in the playoffs. Ewing does not count.

Posted by: lavar609 | May 27, 2009 10:46 AM

I’m really enjoying this but I’m not ready to say it’s over yet. I’m fully expecting one of those games where Orlando can’t get a call in Cleveland. Hopefully Dwight Howard doesn’t get involved in anything, because him getting suspended for one game would be turn the whole series around. Then I would have flashbacks of Darius Songalia from last year and have to go back to my therapist lol.

Posted by: bryan1976 | May 27, 2009 10:48 AM

If the NBA actually thought about it, this is very good for the League. Billups is right when he said everyone wants to see a "Lebron vs Kobe" finals. It's good to see how the game's best could possibly expand beyond the chosen favorites. I'd be happy watching a Magic vs Nuggets final series

Posted by: BenThere | May 27, 2009 10:51 AM

"It seems when it comes to the NBA, a team with a dominant center can always beat a team with a great perimeter player. Jordan never really had to go up against that in the playoffs. Ewing does not count.Posted by: lavar609"

I wouldn't go that far. Teams with great perimeter play routinely beat teams with outstanding centers (by the way, Ewing does too count, and so does David Robinson.) But it is striking how many championship teams have been built around great big men -- particularly those multi-title teams. Detroit and Chicago would be an exception in my mind.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 27, 2009 10:51 AM

I sure wish Gil had been there to whisper in James' ear after that last missed shot.

LJ is a great player but despite his improvement in late game situations, he's not the closer that Kobe is or Gil was/is.

Posted by: original_mark | May 27, 2009 11:04 AM

I just like when teams win by playing as a team. I hate to watch an entire game of isolations by a star player. I would much rather see Orlando and Denver than Kobe and LeBron jacking up 80 combined shots a game.

Posted by: bryan1976 | May 27, 2009 11:04 AM

Mike Brown should be washing LBJ's drawls for getting him this coach of the year award. This guy is the poster boy for grasping at straws. he's clueless. no mins for pavlovic yesterday and big mins for wally after the game 3 no mins for wally big mins for pavlo. I know they're strugglin, but it's just unbelievable offense coming from a team cleveland though they could defend. List the x,y,z factors or Pietrus,Alston,and Lee as key contributors to the magics great offensive production.Howard has under 30, turkey under 20 Lewis under 20 and they still score 116. that's alot from guys that no one counted on to score for orlando, except maybe magic fans. LBJs turnovers hurt the cavs last night, but the magic have been scoring more than the cavs have allowed all playoffs(85ppg) consistently. It's either bad defensr or great offense. I say more of the latter but the d is pretty bad at times.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 27, 2009 11:06 AM

If not for the fact that the Magic might win despite the league trying to set up Kobe/LeBron, this series would be impossible to watch.

The Magic get NO calls. Even Varejao gets away with undercutting Howard in the last second and the refs swallow their whistles. LeBron is allowed to get a head of steam up and barrel into the lane and if doesn't get a shot off, he gets a foul called. The officiating is almost WWF-bad.

I'm half expecting Varejao to distract the referees while LeBron hits Dwight Howard over the head with a chair or bangs Howard's face into the turnbuckle (basket support).

The NBA, where amazingly bad officiating happens.

Posted by: original_mark | May 27, 2009 11:11 AM

As a Wizard fan, I too am enjoying seeing the Cavs catch this smack down. On the other hand, Orlando is in our division, so I take this pleasure with a grain of salt.

Watching the Cavs play also makes it clear why Danny Ferry tried so hard to pull the trade for the very expensive Antawn Jamison. The King as no court, just jesters.

Posted by: bozomoeman | May 27, 2009 11:14 AM

the undercutt on the oop isn't as bad as you make it mark. u expect the refs to whistle on a lob pass, where neither player has jumped yet and both are creating contact. u want that call to put howard on the line with .5 sec. At least bron dribbled to the basket with the ball and the intent to shoot when pietrus "fouled him", there's too many variables involved to call a foul on a lob with .5 in the fourth. But if u wanted that call for dwight, then i guess you wanted the foul for bron on the ot 3 pointer?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 27, 2009 11:17 AM

This is just the most fun I've had watching basketball in a long, long time! There is NOTHING better than seeing LeBron's playoff hopes and dreams shattered. And that stupid flopper Sideshow Bob, too! GO MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm a believer!

Yeah, Gil is a MUCH better closer than LeBron. Oh well...

Posted by: gdiddy7 | May 27, 2009 11:19 AM

Do assistant coaches always draw up the plays for their teams during the fourth quarter of a must win game , excuse me, guaranteed win game? Brown seems overmatched and outcoached by Ron Van Jeremy of all people.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 27, 2009 11:20 AM

Lecrybaby and the whimpettes(cavs) losing is just as sweet as tony h0m0 and cowgirls losing.

but...on some "amazing ishh" dont be suprised if they win 3 in a row. just to stir more drama and add to the legacy of the NBA's 'king' and thier dream match-up

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 27, 2009 11:22 AM

In watching this series I am reminded that Pietrius was a free agent last summer, and as far as I can remember, I never heard any rumors that the Wiz were interested in signing him. Why is that? It's not like he suddenly became a good player. He showed considerable promise while he was in Golden State. He would have been a nice fit on the 2009-10 wiz.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | May 27, 2009 11:23 AM

What a wonderful Eastern Conference Finals for Wiz fans! I'm sure LeBron is going to be making a fuss for a new running mate other than Mo Will. Don't forget ZardsFan1, Wiz took Jarvis Hayes ahead of Pietrus in the 2003 draft. I wonder how Pietrus would've turned out here....

Posted by: t-train | May 27, 2009 11:35 AM

That's what happens when you gloat about things and minimize your opponents abilities. Did Cleveland ever give the Wizards credit for extending them in the first wiz/cav series #1. All they said was LeBron didn't travel. Stuff like that. Then when they beat the wiz without Gil and Caron in series #2, all they said was they "swept the wiz". Series #3 with a 1-legged Gil, it was "look what we did to the wiz 3 years in a row". "The wiz are not a rivals."

You end up with a star that expects all calls to go his way and fakes like he was shot everytime someone touches him. Hell no he can't play in the NFL. Get the f__K outta here. Not respecting other teams. Thinking you are better than you are. You ain't sh_t. Why don't they be "guitar-heroing" now. Overrating your team and underrating others.

Your boy is annointed all right. Yeah he is super-duper-talented. A great player. One of if not the ultimate best all-time. But, the only person annointing LeBron is LeBron and Stern. 2 clowns.

Be careful, LeBron could end up being exposed like Mike Tyson. He gonna do what Kobe regrets doing. Kobe still wanting to win without Shaq. He ain't smelled a ring since Shaq. See, Shaq aint stupid. He hooked up with Wade and got one. LeBron is seeing what superstar he can play with so he can get his ring.

And then, why is Danny Ferry mentioned as Exec of the Year? Signing Mo Williams ain't help nothing. And Joe Smith. Joe Smith aint do nothing but beg out of his contract so he can ride LeBrons d_ck for a ring. Look at all the depth of cleveland. Huge frontline. They can't play. They are who wiz fans knew they were. Overrated as a team! A Stern creation.

Pooofffff. They gone and won't make it to June.

Give me Orlando and Denver. I want to see some un-Stern-appreciated, un-Stern-annointed, get off my d_ck Stern teams.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 27, 2009 11:50 AM

Mo Williams should've never been an all-star in the first place. This is making the season that much better.

Posted by: CBell29 | May 27, 2009 11:51 AM

Don't think Pietrius is an FA next season. According to this site, he is sih=gned till 10/11.
http://hoopshype.com/salaries/orlando.htm

There are several notable FAs in this playoff, e.g.,

Magic: Gortat, Turkoglu.
Lakers: Odom, Ariza, Brown.
Niggets: Anderson, Smith, Kleiza.
Celtics: Davis, Powe.

Posted by: sagaliba | May 27, 2009 11:51 AM

The Denver Niggets? LOL

Posted by: uptownjive | May 27, 2009 12:13 PM

Not much Cleveland love lost here and, I gotta say, a bit of Wiz delusion.

EGTuna - Lebron losing is "almost as good as watching the Wiz win?" If that's your criteria, you have not had much good coming your way, given that the Wiz won barely more than Lebron lost during reg. season (19W vs. 16L).

I know Lebron's definitely got some ego that can get tiresome (hey if you like modesty, the NBA is not your league). And I know he had some bad turnovers last night, but he can also be a terrific player to watch, going to the rack, or hitting crazy last minute 3s.

It just feels like anything can happen when he has the ball... I think you've got to give the man credit, whether or not you want the Cavs to advance.

Oh, and let me add to the list, let's see... Ewing doesn't count, Robinson doesn't count, Olajuwon doesn't count, Shaq doesn't count... any other "dominant centers" we need to exclude to make that Jordan comment work?

Posted by: JefComment | May 27, 2009 12:16 PM

We are all witnesses--to LeTravel and the "Crab"aliers getting bounced from this series. This is better than Christmas. GO WIZARDS!!!

Posted by: thebone | May 27, 2009 12:17 PM

sagaliba,
good info. Who do you like for the wiz on that list?

Kleiza would be a great 6th man, and Ariza has been impressive. I'm not sure the Wiz have any money, and if they have a vet minimum, it'll will probably push them over the salary cap. Given that fact, a sign and trade is the only way to pick up a player.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | May 27, 2009 12:18 PM

Hey Larry, Have you noticed that the team that has defended, and used their defense to spring the action and run a little, has won just about every game?

That's what I mean when I talk about fast breaking, Championship Basketball. The league actually has a couple of teams in the conference finals that are willing to run a little. They've forced the Muppet/Stars to respond with a chrisper pace as well.

There's actually being some basketball played that's fun to watch instead of crawl ball.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 27, 2009 10:41 AM

Yes, GM and I am loving every bit of it. I remember way back when I used to talk about Offense first and the Defense Guru's jumped all over me because they thought I was only talking Offense.

Offense with no Defense is like that Sunday suit, I mentioned, but Defense with no Offense is a train wreck.

Thats why I kept emphasizing Offense first for the Wizards this season, because we really had neither.

This is a good example of playing Defense because your primary goal it to outscore your opponent. Offense first. Loving It.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 12:23 PM

"Offense with no Defense is like that Sunday suit, I mentioned, but Defense with no Offense is a train wreck. "

Which might mean something if anyone was ever preaching "defense with no offense." But, of course, no one ever was. Of course you need both. But defense comes first, because defense can fuel offense. It doesn't work the other way around.

"This is a good example of playing Defense because your primary goal it to outscore your opponent. Offense first."

Nonsense. If you play defense to create offense then, by definition, you're playing defense first.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 27, 2009 12:29 PM

Great offense trumps great defense, especially under today's rules. That does not mean that the wiz don't need to play defense. Part of defense is like rebounding, desire. To me, when I played, defense and rebounding were the most fun part of the game.

The problem with defense in organized ball is that it is impacted by refereeing. The wizards/bullets have played for years knowing that they will not get the benefit of doubt on calls. Psycologically, they play defense like if I breathe to much, I will get into foul trouble. There is a tentativeness on the defensive end that needs to be dealt with as well as a commitment to play it.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 27, 2009 12:37 PM

Yeah, that's the problem with Wiz defense, it's the refs. If there wuz no ref'n they'd be playin' D like there wuz no tomorrah!

Posted by: JefComment | May 27, 2009 12:48 PM

Is anyone else completely fed up with the refereeing in these games. THese guys think they are the main attraction. Howard shows a little emotion after a basket and gets t-d up. James drives and trips on his own feet and a foul is called on the magic. Howard gets taken down and no call. James puts his shoulder and head down and drives, bowls over 2 Magic and gets a blocking call. Its really absurd after awhile. And you can barely have one full possession with these guys blowing their whistles. I've never seen so many fouls called. They are the absolute worst.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 1:05 PM

@doveline

Say they rescind the tech against Howard last night, will they rescind the made free-throw? What would the league do if orlando lost in regulation by 1 point?

The NFL, they would at least apologize, see San Diego's fumble-recovery that was disallowed that caused the chargers the game last year. Stern and his pride and hidden agendas would not allow him to say anything if it resulted in a team losing cause of a bad call.

The NBA will probably rescind the tech against Howard. If Orlando had lost by 1 point, they wouldn't.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 27, 2009 1:13 PM

And Mike, if you came up with that nickname (BronSolo), you're a genius!

Posted by: CBell29 | May 27, 2009 1:23 PM

>>@doveline
Say they rescind the tech against Howard last night, will they rescind the made free-throw? What would the league do if orlando lost in regulation by 1 point?

Yea. And even though it was only 1 free throw, it could have been 2. It set off a chain reaction as another T was immediately called against Ewing. And god forbid anyone question the mighty refs. Hey will I get fined $25K for writing this. What a bunch of baloney. THese guys should be available to talk after the game. What are they the Pope or something. They make all these absurd calls which affect the game as much as the playing but they don't have to say a word. What a joke.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 1:24 PM

ZardsFan1, Pietrus is a guy that I wanted to pick up for this team and I mentioned it. I guess Ernie must have missed my post ;)

He's bigger than DS, shoots 3's better than DS and is a better defender. He would fit PERFECTLY next to Gil.

Posted by: original_mark | May 27, 2009 1:40 PM

I think The coache need take to the responsiblity of cavs. loss. James was playing every minute, he has 7 assist and 7 turnovers, The so called point gard has 2 assist.The team is constracted with a wrong notion of defense 1st.I like that part but in a team who has a 7.3 tall center and multiple shooters why on earth james has to play as a point? why he has to gard Alston? why he is not playing off of the ball? what is wrong if he gets the majority of the shoot from posting? he could have could have send Haward to the bench for more minutes than they tried to do.Mo william is acuired just for shooting?Instade of signing they should have acquried a pure point gard who can play defense.The other problem with the cavs is too much energy to make james MVP, may be the coache was looking for that.The starters are extremily fatiuged, could not sustain the 35-40 minutes game, thanks for double digit win in the 1sr two rounds of the playoff and the 15 win run in the regular season.Bad coaching, see you in new york james.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 27, 2009 1:47 PM

Anyone else notice that the guy drawing up the last defensive and offensive plays for the Cavs wasn't the head coach. If the head coach doesn't draw up any plays, what exactly does he do-- advise on foul shots? And this is a coach of the year?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 1:53 PM

ZardsFan1,

Don't think Wiz will be in FA market due to money issues. Even for sign and trade, who can Wiz trade? The ones that occupy the cap space (Etan, James), other teams are not interested; the ones that other teams may be interested (Blatche, Young), cannot not free up much cap space.

To trade Etan and/or James, Wiz is more likely to take in an over-priced longer term contract. The plausible scenario would be for Wizards to package either Etan or James together with either Young or Blatche, and depends on who you try to get, throw the draft pick in the mix as well..

Draft pick alone may not do the job, because I think anyone on that list (with the exception of Brown, whom Wizards are probably not interested) will probably demand more money than a rookie #5 pick!

Posted by: sagaliba | May 27, 2009 1:55 PM

I haven't heard most of Barkley's comments but I hope he is talking about how poorly the refs are calling the games. I noticed that the commentators sometimes mention calls that they think are 'close' but they always stop short of actually saying that it was a bad call.
When Chauncey stepped out on his late 3 pointer, they said that it should not have been allowed but they never call out the refs. If a player can get vilified for a flagrant elbow, why can't the refs catch some heat when they screw up?

I have never seen so many bad calls in crucial situations before. From Varejao undercutting DH to LeBron tripping over his feet to a foul being called on Howard on a clean block of a 3 pointer the other night, it's gotten ridiculous.

Stern, even if you finagle LJ vs. Kobe in the Finals, I think it's tainted. Of course he'll get record ratings anyway so what does it matter really what we think?

Posted by: original_mark | May 27, 2009 1:58 PM

It's great to see the magic playing with the heart that they have showed in beating the mr. can i get a witness and his entourage of refs, the calls last night were truly heinous yet again, I completely understand the best players getting the nod on the majority of calls, but the treatment of lebron would make dwade's and kobe's calls look like they're deshawn, every player in the league has to deal with contact that is not a foul, sometimes contact can be both guys hitting each as hard as they can but if the position is such that neither was a clear aggressor it is not a foul this rule does not apply to lebron, any contact he receives is whistled and if he loses the ball you'd better start shining david stern's shoes. Does lebron know that there is only one ball, and for his squad he is the primary facilitator, mo is a shooter on this team and lebron is the point forward who needs to ensure mo,delonte, and z get good looks while ben and sideshow only get passes for dunks, right now lebron likes watching himself stutter and hoist rainbows way too much to earn W's, glad he's as classless as can be with his "I'm the team that won 66 and they're the guys that lost 16 mentality", true leadership from the king

Posted by: bford1kb | May 27, 2009 2:10 PM

I've read several posts that championship teams generally have dominant centers and that the Bulls were the exception to this rule. Although the Bulls didn't have a true "dominant" center, their championship teams did have dominant interior play. Let's not forget about Dennis Rodman and even Horace Grant before that. Those guys were beasts in the paint (except offensively). Coupled with servicable centers such as Cartwright and Longley, the Bulls had more than enough strong interior play to complement the best SG/SF tandem in league history (Jordan/Pippen). Having a dominant center is certainly nice, but I think having team depth at the PF/C positions is perhaps more valuable come playoff time (see Ewing and David Robinson before Tim Duncan came along).

Which brings me to the Cavs-Magic series. They do not have any depth at the PF/C position and it is hurting them tremendously. Their lack of a defensive presence underneath is the reason why they are down 3-1. Varejao is their best post player which speaks volumes. The Cavs simply don't have the horses to be physical in the paint, which is a necessity this late in the season. I'm not surprised at all that the Cavs are struggling. The playoffs are all about match ups and, quite frankly, the Cavs don't match up well against the Magic and probably wouldn't match up well in a 7 game series with the Lakers' front court (Gasol/Bynum/Odom) either.

Posted by: tgravely1977 | May 27, 2009 2:11 PM

BronSolo forced me to rise from the computer chair and give a hardy standing o, well done, misery loves company, welcome Mr. Solo

Posted by: bford1kb | May 27, 2009 2:14 PM

Man the Magic must be exhausted from having to play 2 teams per night--the Cavs and the Refs. Oops sorry NBA do I have a right to say that?
BTW when did the NBA become the bball equivalent of the IRS or the Mafia. And why do the media just go along for the ride?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 2:27 PM

which brings up hints of gambling & point spreads. Remember, there was only 1 rogue referee.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 27, 2009 2:38 PM

Nonsense. If you play defense to create offense then, by definition, you're playing defense first.
Posted by: kalo_rama | May 27, 2009 12:29 PM


spoken like a true Pistons fan... Kal what would u think of us acquiring Tayshaun?

Posted by: prescrunk | May 27, 2009 2:41 PM

I'm starting to believe more in the NBA conspiracy theory after last night's horribly officiated game. The game should never have gone to OT as there was simply no foul on LeBron at the end of regulation. Equally as bad was the taunting call on Dwight Howard which now exposes Orlando to his being suspended if one of Cleveland's hatchet men (take your pick) is able to goad him into a double technical.

The Magic are clearly the more well balanced team and it has show throughout the series. Without LeBron's miracle shot in Game 2, this series is already over. The Cavs supporting cast is proving to be very suspect. I don't see the Nuggets or Lakes having any problem with a team who's next best 3 players are Mo Williams, Delonte West, and Z. Give LeBron his kudos for carrying the Cavs this far, but Cleveland will need some poor officiating and/or a suspension to Dwight Howard to win this series.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 27, 2009 2:43 PM

"playing great defense to create offense, thus you are playing offense first"

can be countered by the best way to slow a fastbreak is to make the team take the ball out after a made-shot, thus are you playing great offense?

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 27, 2009 2:47 PM

right now lebron likes watching himself stutter and hoist rainbows way too much to earn W's, glad he's as classless as can be with his "I'm the team that won 66 and they're the guys that lost 16 mentality", true leadership from the king
Posted by: bford1kb | May 27, 2009 2:10 PM

omg OWNED

Posted by: prescrunk | May 27, 2009 3:02 PM

BTW that blocking call against the Magic at the end of regulation if you look at it was actually a physical impossibility. The Magic defender was almost running side by side with James. And then when flying forward away from James. Unless James initiated the contact it would have been physically impossible for the Magic defender to go hurling in the direction he did. And if the Magic defender had initiated the contact James would have been knocked sideways or backward instead of falling forward the way he did simply because he tripped on his own feet.
James trips and goes boom and theres a call. Howard gets literally tackled but no call. Seriously??????

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 3:03 PM

This is a little off topic but, is Dahntay Jones the West Coast version of DeShawn Stevenson?

Posted by: CBell29 | May 27, 2009 3:13 PM

I love how jones is playing kobe but even better is the way that kobe has responded to it by saying "it's good defense" and embracing the physicality of playoff basketball, he doesn't seem to care about the whistles unlike a certain mistake by the lake star

Posted by: bford1kb | May 27, 2009 3:26 PM

OK, here it is. The inevitable. People keep telling me how Lebron is ALREADY the best ever. Better than Jordan. How soon they forget. (or, in some cases, never saw) I keep saying, the only person in the league to COMPARE to Jordan is Kobe. But Lebron lacks the killer instinct of both of them. And what sets Jordan apart is he made his teammates better. Lebron doesn't. Oh, he gets them shots, sends them nice passes. But he doesn't lift their games. They don't have the confidence to hit the game winner a la Kerr/Paxson/Hodges/Armstrong etc. etc. Lebron is more worried about how popular his pregame performance will be on YouTube than about getting his guys in gear. Jordan's teammates not only respected him, but feared him as well. Not so with LBJ. In fact, without that fear factor, and WITH the way he's been trumpeting himself lately, ("We could guard their forwards if we could clone me"), he may be on the borderline of alienating his teammates. I wouldn't be surprised to see a game of hot potato break out, them throwing the ball back to him as soon as he gives it up, nobody else wanting to take a shot. Next game Orlando 98 Lebron 44.

Posted by: CJHutch7673 | May 27, 2009 3:27 PM

I had to take the time to read a couple of the responses on here regarding Lebron. There seem to be alot of bitter Wizards fans on here. Now I will rout for the Wizards but I'm not fan of that group. The posts seem to be of the variety that would come from a group of fans that know they root for a losing squad with losing mentality. I'm sure plenty of you actually believe that the season would have been drastically different had Gilbert been healthy all season. Well next season we shall all get to see.

**** I’M NOT A CAVS FAN****

To waste your time rooting against Lebron, because of what? Because the Cavs eliminated the Bullets from the playoffs? Because the Cavs dominated the Wizards when it counted? Ok, they did beat Cleveland twice this year. Besides that, what's the point? Oh, because DeYawn Stevenson said Lebron's overrated? This from a guy who averages 10 a game, makes a 3 and waves it in front of his face. Can't feel his face. Couldn't feel his hand last year either because that jumper was off all year!

Ok, now back to the Wizards. They wasted a year trying to get Blake Griffin. Serves them right to be honest. It's a spring ritual that the Wizards pick 5 - 8 in the draft. Truthfully it's doesn't matter where they pick because they always pick the bad apple either way. If they had the 1st pick they would've picked Thabeet anyway. Ernie would've said they needed a center because they have Antwan at the PF and he's been productive for them. At least this way you get saved from the heartache and pain. They'll take Harden and you won't expect much and you won't get much.

I want all of you to ask yourself if you really believe the Wizards will be any good next year. Be Truthful. They might be 6th next year in the East. And that's before someone out maneuvers Ernie in the free agency market.

Here's my list:

1. Cavs
2. Magic
3. Celtics
4. Heat
5. Hawks
6. Bulls
7. Wizards
8. Knicks
*The top 3 can flip-flop but those are the best 3 in the East period!*

WHERE'S THE CAKE!!!

Posted by: BigTee13 | May 27, 2009 3:27 PM

I love it when LeBronny James loses.

I was extremely happy that the Wizards lost in the lottery.

The top 5 picks will be - in this order

1 - Tyler Hansbrough - North Carolina
2 - Danny Green - North Carolina
3 - Ty Lawson - North Carolina
4 - Blake Griffin - Oklahoma
5 - Wayne Ellington - North Carolina

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record this upcoming season
- No NCAA Bid
- No NIT Bid

Maryland football will finish with a 2 - 10 record.

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels - NCAA Champs


Posted by: hclark1 | May 27, 2009 3:32 PM

WHERE'S THE CAKE!!!Posted by: BigTee13

Dude disliking James has nothing to do with the Wizards stinking. I just don't like his whining game, his I can't make it off the court after game 1 because I've got a boo boo on my leg and the camera is on me so I've got to faint.
If the Cavs can beat the Magic so be it. Fine. But to have the Refs cheating to get it done, that's plain sad.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 3:34 PM

Oh and yes James did blatently travel on the winning basket against the Wiz a couple years ago in the playoffs but of course they didn't call it or the Wiz advance.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 3:35 PM

I don't see how people keep inferring that the Wizards were TRYING to get Griffin. Of course they would've like to have him, but do you really think they were tanking games? C'mon. Did you watch the season? Jamison was top 5 in minutes played, Butler top 10. You don't play your over 30 $50million dollar man, and your best player when he's hurt if you're tanking games. Personally, I would've rather seen them sit those guys a little more. They suffered from terrible coaching. I don't even think Tapscott knew who he was going to put in next. When Haywood came back, how come we never saw a Haywood/Blatche/McGee front line? How come we never saw Young/Crit/McGuire/McGee get free reign? Those guys couldn't get any confidence up. One mistake, they were yanked.
Will the Wizards be better than The Cavs and Magic next year? No. But they could be better than Boston. They already can beat them head to head. Now Garnett's a BIG ?, Allen's playing on old man knees, and Pierce will be slowing down as well. The only thing keeping the Wizards from finishing top 4 is themselves. Can they stay healthy AND commit to playing 'D'. 1-12 they are as talented as any team in the conference with Arenas healthy. OK, 1-11. DeJawin's gotta go.

Posted by: CJHutch7673 | May 27, 2009 4:08 PM

>>kobe has responded to it by saying "it's good defense" and embracing the physicality of playoff basketball, he doesn't seem to care about the whistles unlike a certain mistake by the lake star Posted by: bford1kb

You're kidding right? Kobe glares at the Refs every time they dare whistle him, which btw is hardly ever. He can elbow someone in the face and get a blocking call on the opponent.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 27, 2009 4:13 PM

This is a little off topic but, is Dahntay Jones the West Coast version of DeShawn Stevenson?
Posted by: CBell29 | May 27, 2009 3:13 PM

go play in traffic a$sh0le

Posted by: prescrunk | May 27, 2009 4:45 PM

Couldn't feel his hand last year either because that jumper was off all year!
Posted by: BigTee13 | May 27, 2009 3:27 PM

you too

Posted by: prescrunk | May 27, 2009 4:49 PM

1) Lebron doesn't know what leadership is, and he's too egotistical to learn.

2) Lebron would be much better in the NFL as a running back (a la Bo Jackson) than as a one-man show on the New York Knicks.

3) Enough with the commercials.

Posted by: Izman | May 27, 2009 4:56 PM

Response to CJHutch7673 -

You're predicting too much with Boston's players. Let's take the hypothetical with what you said. Ray and Paul are both slowing down I agree. I would guess to say that KG will be back. The Wizards are the only ones with players having their knee injuries misdiagnosed.

Don't you think that Anwtan is getting long in the tooth? Also Caron, I wouldn't necessarily classify him as an iron-man.

Back to your Boston notion. If Boston has a Big 3, and the Wizards have a Big 3. Who are the Wizards Rondo and Perkins?

The thing is the Wizards have been standing pat with the idea that they have a Big 3 for the last 3 years now. The Wizards need to have someone on their team that is the ONE first. Don't say Gilbert. He's not the answer. He doesn't know how to lead and doesn't seem to want to. They should have signed and traded him last year. Don't say it couldn't happen because a good GM could pull it off.


Posted by: BigTee13 | May 27, 2009 4:59 PM

JefComment
It just feels like anything can happen when he has the ball... I think you've got to give the man credit, whether or not you want the Cavs to advance.
_________________________________________

You're right. Anything can happen when LeTravel has the ball. He can crab-travel, throw a horrific fast-break pass to Delonte West, get hooked by the refs, or even get FACED by Dwight Howard in crunch time.

Posted by: EGTuna | May 27, 2009 5:04 PM

On the last play in regulation, the refs let Sideshow Bob wrestle Dwight Howard to the floor to prevent him from getting a tip-in. If Howard had done that to LeBaby, you can bet they would have called a foul and sent him to the line for a game-winner. The refs seem totally intimidated by LeBaby and the Nike-Vitamin Water-TNT-NBA marketing machine.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | May 27, 2009 5:22 PM

"The thing is the Wizards have been standing pat with the idea that they have a Big 3 for the last 3 years now. The Wizards need to have someone on their team that is the ONE first. Don't say Gilbert. He's not the answer. He doesn't know how to lead and doesn't seem to want to. They should have signed and traded him last year. Don't say it couldn't happen because a good GM could pull it off.Posted by: BigTee1"

Don'tcha love people like this? 'Answer this question! NO, not that answer!! Now answer this other question!!! NO NOT THAT ANSWER, either!!!!'

Posted by: Samson151 | May 27, 2009 5:53 PM

tgravely1977: "Having a dominant center is certainly nice, but I think having team depth at the PF/C positions is perhaps more valuable come playoff time (see Ewing and David Robinson before Tim Duncan came along)."

If you're talking about playoffs, seems to me that the Magic have a dominant center but not much behind him.

The other big guys on the Magic: Tony Battie has averaged 6 minutes a game, 3.6 rebounds, .32 blocks. In this series, Gortat is averaging 12 minutes, 3.3 rebounds, and .47 blocks. Adonal Foyle hasn't played. Rashard Lewis is listed as a PF on the roster but he's jacking up jump shots, averaging less than 5 boards, and has zero blocks.

Doesn't that directly contradict your point?

Cleveland has good depth inside, but no dominant big man. Also contradicts your point, no?

tgravely1977: "Which brings me to the Cavs-Magic series. They do not have any depth at the PF/C position and it is hurting them tremendously."

But... but... aren't the Cavs getting toasted by a team with no depth at the PF/C position?

tgrave: "...the Cavs don't match up well against the Magic and probably wouldn't match up well in a 7 game series with the Lakers' front court (Gasol/Bynum/Odom) either."

The Cavs are losing because they can't hit an outside shot.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 27, 2009 6:24 PM

I heard the Wiz have put their 1st round pick and Jamison for Boozer on the table.

Posted by: ptp23 | May 27, 2009 7:58 PM

psps: "I heard the Wiz have put their 1st round pick and Jamison for Boozer on the table."

I heard that too, except it was a bottle of Jameson's for a boozer.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 27, 2009 8:35 PM

no that is a just a baseless guess. Boozer is not better than jamison. He is free to sign to any team if he does not like the offer.We do not need to slow the game in washington, it should be a fast game ,with some pick and roll, perimeter defenssive machup and rebounding, mainly on the offenssive side that could put washington in a better shape. boozer is too slow, if he comes here the team will be confused until he get injured, exactly the same as in elton Brand situation.
wiz need to stay with the core or send all of them some where and start to rebuild for a new ownner.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 27, 2009 8:36 PM

On the Cavs sudden inability to hit a 3 pointer -- in Game 4 they were 6 for 17, the Magic went 17 of 38.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 27, 2009 8:49 PM

When Jamison retires, he will go down in history as the least respected Bullets/Wizards star. Why do people keep trying to trade away the one position we have settled with no problems? Ok, if it was one on one, his defense can be discussed, but in a team setting, he can score 30 if you want 30, 15 if you only need that from him that night, he is a double double machine, and he is coordinated! He doesn't need to dribble twice between the rebound and putback, and in fact, his putback is as fast or faster and as smooth or smoother than anyone in the league. When he eventually retires or otherwise leaves, we are all going to miss those smooth putbacks, the best we have seen in a generation. Although the owner respects him greatly, why did the team give away 1.5 million Arenas jerseys and 100,000 Butler jerseys without ever giving away a Jamison jersey? Anyway, while Jamison is aging, he offer the perfect transition from a current allstar to the next generation, over the course of a few more seasons. Jamison represents experience, dedication, leadership, AND points and rebounds in large numbers. There are a million possible Wiz trades, but Jamison for an even up trade does not seem to make sense. If Grunfeld were to even entertain a Jamison trade, it is going to involve an absolutely stunning side-effect of some type.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | May 27, 2009 8:52 PM

I would like some reflection on this question - I'm no conspiracy nut, but...after I climbed off the floor and back into my chair following the 0.5 second "foul" on Lebron, I got ready for the sportcaster analysis of the play - but they blew it off without comment!!! Now I am a big Wizards fan and despite my Cleveland relatives, I'm like the next guy in DC who enjoys rooting against Lebron when not rooting for the Wizards. But I figured I would get some in-depth discussion from the announcers on how a defender moving sideways and backwards away from a driving player could get called for a defensive foul when the driving player falls into the defender. I figured there was some obscure point or rule interpretation I was missing (seriously; I'm not being sarcastic). But the announcers did not seem to even consider or analyze the play in the slightest! It got me thinking about the angle of a "script" or "fix". Why wouldn't the announcers take advantage of a fascinating play to have some discussion? To either analyze it as a bad or questionable call, OR to explain why it was correct afterall. The fact that it was a bad call is a minor issue - but the fact that it seemed to be politically incorrect to discuss or analyze the play, despite being the direct cause for overtime and possibly a game-changer, seems suspicious to say the least.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | May 27, 2009 9:03 PM

I posted in another thread last night how bad that last second call was on LeBron. Wow! He stubbed his own foot on the ground bc he was so out of control going to the hole. Pietrus was actually not even touching him before he started falling. Was actually a good foot from him at the time. Am I surprised he got the call? Hell no. I am surprised that Collins calling the game and other media completely glossed over that terrible call. And the NBA wonders why there are so many conspiracy theories?

Made the OT that much sweeter, but it should have been over in regulation!

Hey Michael,

We had an exchange a year or so ago about the Magic frontline. I was arguing how they would be a tough group, great rebounding etc... And you made the argument that although they had height that Turk and Lewis were soft etc etc. Well, I'll take those three over any other frontline in the NBA! A matchup nightmare across the board! And they are destroying the supposedly rugged Cav frontline!

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 27, 2009 9:43 PM

The loss of THIS series may send LeBRON to N.Y. Stay tuned.

Posted by: glawrence007 | May 27, 2009 10:01 PM

Saunders, Cassel, now Marbury?

Marbury Could Land With Wizards
Stephon Marbury | Celtics
Stephon Marbury, according to a source, was contacting Flip Saunders almost on a daily basis during the postseason and there is a chance that Marbury could be reunited with his first professional coach (okay, second after Bobby Cremins) next season.

Saunders is now the head coach of the Washington Wizards and would strongly considering adding Marbury to the roster if there is a vacancy. The biggest hurdle for Marbury is that Mike James and Javaris Crittenton are both under contract. -- New York Daily News

Posted by: cballer | May 27, 2009 10:29 PM

"Offense with no Defense is like that Sunday suit, I mentioned, but Defense with no Offense is a train wreck. "

Which might mean something if anyone was ever preaching "defense with no offense." But, of course, no one ever was. Of course you need both. But defense comes first, because defense can fuel offense. It doesn't work the other way around.

"This is a good example of playing Defense because your primary goal it to outscore your opponent. Offense first."

Nonsense. If you play defense to create offense then, by definition, you're playing defense first.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 27, 2009 12:29 PM

Thats all good Kalo, but you miss one huge subtlety in my whole argument about Offense First. And I've known this all along but a some think just playing good Defense is the key, but its not so.

The subtlety is in order to become a very good Offensive Team, you must understand and play very good Defense. You can emphasize Defense first, but it will never make you a good Offensive Team. It only makes you a good Defensive Team.

But if you emphasize Offense first, the only way to be really good at Offense, you must also learn Defense.

You see its really a logical approach to the game, for at the end of the day you must have more points that your opponents.

You must score more than your opponent and to consistently do that, you have to be better at scoring, and one surefire way to achieve that is to control the ball which leads to Defense and stopping your opponent more than he stops you.

You play Defense so at the end of the day your scoring is more than your opponent.

But, you believe learning how to be a good Defensive Team will make you a better Offensive Team. I do not. The Utah Jazz has always been a Defense first Team and have never won a Ring.

I believe that if you put Offense first and if you really become a good or great Offensive Team you will discover along the way that it cannot, and wouldnot have been achieved without also becoming good at Defense.

Simply put you can become a good Defensive Team and still suck at Offense.

But you can never be a good Offensive Team without Defense.

Hence is why I say Offense first, cause you can't do it without Defense.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 10:31 PM

"Saunders, Cassel, now Marbury?

Marbury Could Land With Wizards
Stephon Marbury | Celtics
Stephon Marbury, according to a source, was contacting Flip Saunders almost on a daily basis during the postseason and there is a chance that Marbury could be reunited with his first professional coach (okay, second after Bobby Cremins) next season.

Saunders is now the head coach of the Washington Wizards and would strongly considering adding Marbury to the roster if there is a vacancy. The biggest hurdle for Marbury is that Mike James and Javaris Crittenton are both under contract. -- New York Daily News

Posted by: cballer | May 27, 2009 10:29 PM "

I got the scoop on this a long time ago.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 27, 2009 10:37 PM

BronSolo is a fabulous nickname. Props to Michael Lee, or whoever cooked that one up.

Posted by: mr91 | May 27, 2009 10:53 PM

Nonsense. If you play defense to create offense then, by definition, you're playing defense first.
Posted by: kalo_rama | May 27, 2009 12:29 PM


spoken like a true Pistons fan... Kal what would u think of us acquiring Tayshaun?

Posted by: prescrunk | May 27, 2009 2:41 PM

The Detroit Bad Boys were a superior Offensive Team as well. Hell, Bill Lambier would make you cry hitting them flat footed jumpers from the top of the key as well as mauling your butt in the paint.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 27, 2009 11:02 PM

More bad officiating in the game tonight. The Lakers are mauling the Nuggets and rarely getting called. Yeah, the Lakers are outplaying them, but the calls are very iffy and Van Gundy says the officiating has been great? I just counted 4/5 bad calls in the last 3 mins of the game.

Sorry, but if you body block someone when your out of position and happen to get it clean up top...That is a foul!!!

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 27, 2009 11:40 PM

Jeez, watching how well these final four teams are playing shows just how far the Wiz are from contending. Songalia, Blatche, Critt, Dixon, Haywood, James, Mcghee, Mcguire, Pech, Stevenson and Young would not make it on the floor were they on any of these teams. Jamison might, Butler would and Arenas, well, who knows, I can hardly remember his game anymore. All of these teams are stacked not only with talent, but depth, size and athleticism. These players are pounding the *ell out of each other, and guys like Young and Blatche wouldn't last a quarter. To contend, you must be at least 8 players deep, and by my count, we are about 3 or 4. This is why we must rebuild with our two picks, rather than trade for a single vet, who will still leave us well short of contention while mortgaging our future.

Posted by: SammyT1 | May 28, 2009 2:11 AM

This is very good!
http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: suesue8709 | May 28, 2009 5:50 AM

Just one last word on the Cavs 3 point debacle: during the regular season, they shot an exceptional 39.3% from outside the arc. Their opponents 33.3%.

During the playoffs, they've shot 31.4%, their opponents 36.4%.

For a team that relies on the 3 pointer as much as Cleveland did all season, that's pretty much the whole story.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2009 7:30 AM

Offense vs. Defense. Which comes first?

Interesting, Detroit players from the Bad Boys era were just talking about Chuck Daley after he died. They were talking about how they were a great OFFENSIVE team when Chuck took over. Chuck came in and slowly turned them into a great defensive team as well. But in Detroit the offensive ability came first.

MJ was winning scoring titles and put up 63 points in the Boston Garden before he ever won a title. When Jordan and the Bulls became great defenders the titles started coming. The offensive ability was there first and then they became great defenders. But MJ never stopped being a great scorer.

Lebron came into the league as the hands down worst defender I've ever seen as a rookie. Now he's a great defender, but the Cav's are getting beat because of a lack of offensive balance. LeBron is a great player first and foremost because of his offense.

The Cavaliers are struggling in this series because of lack of offense. One reason that they're getting burned defensively is a lack of respect that the Magic has for the offensive ability of the Cav's power forwards. Turkalou and Lewis are sneaking out on the shot time after time and getting easy buckets on the break.

That's because of a lack of offense by the Cav's, not poor defense.

There was a really good point made on here earlier that is well worth repeating; "easiest way to stop the opposing team's fast break is to MAKE a basket". Wish I'd have said that myself.

This "defense first" idea is somewhat amusing. All great coaches teach that defense and offense are extensions of each other.

But when you learn the game, what skills are taught first? I don't care how good of a defender you are, if you can't perform basic offensive skills you're pretty much worthless on the court. Not many teams can win playing 4 on 5 on offense.

Ruffin would be a prime example of that.

But a team can cover for the defensive weaknesses of a player if he makes up for it on the offensive end of the court.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 28, 2009 9:15 AM

"Posted by: flohrtv | May 28, 2009 9:15 AM"

Sure, offense comes first. But at some point you have to graduate. Detroit didn't win by continuing to preach offense simply because 'offense comes first.' Jordan wasn't winning titles by attempting to turn his 60 pt games into 70 pt games. Lebron didn't win his MVP by jumping on the 'offense first' movement this past offseason. Make no mistake about it, those teams and individuals put themselves in the next echelon by concentrating defensively.

Offense may come first.

But defense is the final piece.

Posted by: psps23 | May 28, 2009 10:07 AM

SammyT1
Astute observation.
I too hope the Wizzies are paying attention to the Playoffs. The support players need to up their game along with the big 4 if we will make it past another playoff early exit.

Posted by: VBFan | May 28, 2009 10:16 AM

Offense first? Defense first?

Nah.

First, you need luck. #1 pick in 2003. #1 pick in 2004. Bynum isn't Kwame. Pau Gasol trade. Chauncey Billups trade. Birdman can still fly. Productive players from late first round of the draft. Productive players from the second round of the draft.

The Wizards didn't get lucky in the draft lottery. What other rolls of the dice can we take? What can we get with the #5? Can we trade any of our 2010 expiring contracts to get useful players?

Posted by: yop32 | May 28, 2009 10:36 AM

"Songalia, Blatche, Critt, Dixon, Haywood, James, Mcghee, Mcguire, Pech, Stevenson and Young would not make it on the floor were they on any of these teams. Jamison might, Butler would and Arenas, well, who knows, I can hardly remember his game anymore."

Haywood would be an immediate upgrade over every big Cleveland has, LA could use him too, and he'd get time over Gortat and possibly Nene. Jamison would be a much better fit for Cleveland, not just offensively, but defensively in guarding Rashard Lewis (difficult as it is to believe Jamison being an asset defensively). Obviously a healthy Butler and Arenas would play for any one of these teams.

After that, we have a bunch of young guys who may or may not parallel certain players in the future, depending on how they progress. McGee could be like Chris Andersen. Blatche could be like Lamar Odom. Nick Young could be like JR Smith. McGuire could be like Dahntay Jones. Obviously, they have a ways to go, but the ability is there for all those guys. And a year can make a world of difference for some of these young players.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. But I do agree on keeping the pick.

Posted by: psps23 | May 28, 2009 10:41 AM

psps23, My point is that you have to have offensive talent, AND get those players to buy into a defensive system.

This year's Cleveland team is an example of a team with a lot of players who are offensively challenged. LeBron is trying to carry them offensively on his back.

The more he does that, the more one dimensional the Cav's get, he's scored 40 three times and they've lost every game.

The Magic are running on the Cav's because they have no fear of some of the players offensive ability. Guys are releasing or cheating out early on the shot. Lewis is fast, but he's getting a jump on the break because Varejao is no offensive threat.

Any coach would rather have players that can put the ball in the hoop first.

Cleveland's problems would explain why they were so hot to pick up Jamison at the trade deadline. All that said, Cleveland's guys start to drop some three's and they could still win this series.

So if they pick up the offense they could still win this thing...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 28, 2009 11:28 AM

gm: "MJ was winning scoring titles and put up 63 points in the Boston Garden before he ever won a title. When Jordan and the Bulls became great defenders the titles started coming. The offensive ability was there first and then they became great defenders. But MJ never stopped being a great scorer."

I'd argue that learning to play defense wasn't the key to the Bulls' titles. Learning to play together was.

It's been observed by more knowledgeable persons than me that teams that rely disproportionately on one player, suffer in the playoffs -- because opponents slow the game down and key on that player. If you're an opposing coach, you long for that. The more frustrated the superstar gets, the easier he is to contain.

But in practice, it's only when the Star decides to dial back his scoring, let others into the flow of the offense, and maybe even play a little team defense, that the other guys step up.

We've watched Zeke Thomas learn that, and Jordan, and Kobe, and Shaq, and possibly we'll watch LeBron learn it too.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2009 12:33 PM

"This year's Cleveland team is an example of a team with a lot of players who are offensively challenged."

Are they offensively challenged, or is Orlando just superior defensively? They certainly didn't look that challenged against Atlanta or Detroit.

Individually (offensively speaking) I'd take Mo Williams over Rafer Alston. I'd take Delonte West over Courtney Lee. Obviously Lebron reigns over Hedo Turkoglu. Rashard is clearly an upgrade over Varejao, and Howard over Big Z. Booby Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, and Wally Sczerbiak are all clearly shooters, while Pietrus provides the same offensively for Orlando.

Offensively, these teams are very evenly matched, as individuals go.

Defensively and tactically, Orlando reigns supreme. That's where the difference is. Cleveland is not offensively challenged. They're offensive challenged against this defense, which forces highly contested threes and lock down defending on the shooters not named Lebron. While Cleveland is determined to help, rotate, and collapse, Orlando is determined to stay at home (other than Howard), and tell themselves "if Lebron beats us, so be it, but nobody else will."

Posted by: psps23 | May 28, 2009 12:37 PM

psps: "Cleveland is not offensively challenged. They're offensive challenged against this defense, which forces highly contested threes and lock down defending on the shooters not named Lebron."

Actually they've been off in terms of outside shooting and perimeter defense since the playoffs began. This is a team, remember, that converted 39.3% of its opportunities behind the arc during the entire regular 81 game season. Their opponents, meanwhile, hit only 33% of their outside shots.

In the playoffs, that's reversed. The Cavs are shooting only .314 from outside, while their opponents have hit .364.

Great defense? Could be a factor, if you believe Orlando is that good a defensive club. But what happened to Cleveland's perimeter defense?


Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2009 1:59 PM

Sammy,

Ummm...what this postseason proves is that the Wiz are not that far away if healthy and that is without doubt. Just read Wilbon's column or watch with your own eyes about the flawed nature of every one of these teams. Sure the Wiz have flaws too, but they also have 3 all-star caliber players, a legit center, and a talented, if a bit young, bench.

And, yeah, Orlando, Boston, Cleveland will be at the top of the conference next year in all likelyhood. But, Cleveland has also proved that Atlanta and the rest of the East are just pretenders. So, those making comments that the East is this greatly improved conference where the Wiz, even as currently constructed, would struggle to make the playoffs are delusional. They could easily be a 4th seed and would give any of the top three some problems in the playoffs i.e. 6 game series.

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 28, 2009 2:52 PM

"Ummm...what this postseason proves is that the Wiz are not that far away if healthy and that is without doubt."

It doesn't come close to proving anything of the kind. If it proves anything (and I'm not convinced it does, at least not anything that matters) it's either that (A) the Nuggets and Magic are much better than anyone gave them credit for or (B) that the Lakers and Cavs aren't quite as good as everyone game them credit for. Neither of those things says anything of value or substance about how good the Wizards will be next year. And how good they'll be next season is all that matters. How good they may have been at the midpoint of a season that's a couple of years years past is utterly irrelevant.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 28, 2009 2:55 PM

I take back my Haywood comment. He would likely share time with Nene on the Nuggets, could probably sub for Howard on Orlando, provided they had the lead and needed his shot blocking skills (Gortat would be in if they were behind). But he wouldn't crack the pine in Cleveland behind Ilgauskas, Varajoa or Ben Wallace, or the Lakers behind Bynum or Gasol... or even Odom, who sometimes plays at C when they go small. At any rate, all of these teams exhibit a level of size, D toughness and athleticism that is an entire professional division above the Wiz as currently constituted. A previous talkbacker astutely observed that some of our young guys may become those players. That may be, but as it stands now, we have a mountain to climb. There is a wide chasm between teams that make the playoffs, and the top four teams who can bruise, bang and are loaded in A-grade talent eight deep. Adding a vet will make us a jump-shooting team plus one, enough to perhaps (a big 'perhaps' after a 19-win season) sneak into the playoffs, but not enough to make any proverbial noise. Sometimes I think Wiz fans remember how well our team played in the regular season a couple years back and don't realize how different the game is at the end of the playoffs. That team and our current one would get slaughtered against any of these teams.

Posted by: SammyT1 | May 28, 2009 8:38 PM

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