Archive for May 12th, 2010

LeBron James playing passively in Cavs playoff losses to Celtics

The basketball world has noticed that LeBron James isn’t playing with his usual fire in the second round NBA playoffs series between the Cavaliers and Celtics.

Especially in the Cavs losses.

LeBron’s squad is now down 3 games to 2 in the best-of-7 series.

Is his right elbow more of an issue than previously thought? Or:

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, writing at LeBron James, reports:

How can you allow your team to lose 120-88 on your home court as you did to Boston in Tuesday’s Game 5? Certainly, you couldn’t win it yourself. But early in the game, you seemed resigned to the worst, taking only 14 shots and being outplayed and outhustled by Paul Pierce.

In the Cavs’ three losses, you have attempted only 18, 15 and 14 shots.

Where is the LeBron James who went down firing in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, averaging 38 points in this six games against Orlando?

Or the LeBron James who fired up 20-25-23-24 shots in the last four games of the 2008 series against the Celtics. Or the LeBron James who scored 45 in that Game 7 loss in Boston?

Or how about the LeBron James who had a miserable ordeal in the four-game sweep by San Antonio in 2007, but still put up 16-21-23-30 shots? In 2006 when the Cavs were eliminated 79-61 in a Game 7 at Detroit, you were 11-of-24 from the field for 27 points.

LeBron, you have always gone out with fire in your eyes, your finger on the trigger. You have been willing to take the criticism, even when you know that the Cavs had not supplied you with much support.

The world will tune in Thursday night for Game 6 in Boston.

Nick Collison has right knee surgery

Nick Collison has right knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Nick Collison underwent successful arthroscopic surgery yesterday on his right knee.

The seven-year veteran averaged 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 75 games this season for the Thunder.

Collison will begin rehabilitation immediately and is expected to resume his off-season training later this summer.

The AP reports:

Celtics shock Cavs with 32-point win

Ray Allen scored 25 points, Rajon Rondo scored all of his 16 in the second half and the Celtics, once thought too old to challenge for another title, beat James and the Cavs 120-88 in Game 5 on Tuesday night to move within one win of knocking the league’s top team from the playoffs.

Paul Pierce added 21 and Kevin Garnett 18 for the Celtics, who handed the Cavs their worst home playoff loss in history and can end Cleveland’s season with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night…

LeBron James, on the verge of an expected trip into free agency on July 1, had an atrocious game. He scored 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting, a startling outing for the 25-year-old who has been playing with a sprained elbow. He refused to use his injury as an excuse…

Rondo, coming off a 29-point, 18-rebound, 13-assist performance in Game 4, was held without a point in the first half as the Cavs concentrated their defense on stopping the point guard from penetrating into the paint. He finally got loose in the third, scoring 12 as the Celtics opened a 21-point lead…

James missed his first seven shots before he got loose on a leak-out dunk with 6:15 left in the third.

The Cavs led 29-21 when, with Rondo on the bench, Boston’s Big Three of Allen, Garnett and Pierce did all the scoring in a 16-0 run that put the Celtics ahead by eight.

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:

The Cavs trailed just 50-44 at halftime, but that changed at the onset of the third quarter. Allen came out and made two consecutive 3-point shots to quickly double the lead to 12 points.

With Allen heating up, Brown sent guard Anthony Parker out on him and put Mo Williams back on Rondo. Rondo went directly at Williams to the tune of eight quick points before Brown called a timeout. After the timeout, Williams disappeared for the remainder of the third quarter, along with the Cavs’ hopes for winning the game.

”We have to do a better job with our team defense,” Brown said. ”Mo had gotten beaten a couple times, but there were a couple of times when we didn’t play the right defense behind him.”

The blame is not solely on Williams; there’s plenty to go around. After Tuesday’s game, there has to be a question about James’ health. After enduring a miserable Game 4, if he were true to form, he would return to inflict damage on the Celtics in Game 5. That wasn’t the case.

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