Thursday, May 31, 2007

If the Crown Fits ...

My Pool Man. Healdsburg, Ca. May 2007
Betcha didn't watch.

Betcha thought "fly-over" basketball wasn't your cup of tea. You're too busy following the Kobe saga, perhaps. Or maybe you're catching up on summer re-runs. If you weren't watching the Detroit-Cleveland Game 5 on TNT tonight, S.O.L. feels sorry for your ass.

Your friend is probably leaving you a voicemail right now saying how sick that game was. He's telling you how LeBron took over the game in the fourth quarter, how he scored his team's last 25 points, how three of his teammates fouled out and his boys were trailing by eight in the fourth and somehow, someway he managed to put his team on his back and lead them to victory. This is one time when the telling ain't gonna come close to the actual seeing.

You had to be there sitting in front of your flat screen, sport. Sorry for you if you weren't.

This game was crazy. Crazy. LeBron hit a few shots that were unstoppable. I mean seriously, how can you expect anyone short of nine feet tall to block a jumper when LeBron leaps off the floor and hangs there for days? You can't. It's crazy. And he didn't it again and again. Like the other team was just a mild annoyance.

How crazy? Down the stretch and in the overtimes (that's right there were two of those) there were four key moments when the Cavs had to score. It's simple: they don't get a basket, game over. That's all she wrote folks. Pistons get two games to get a return trip to the final.

And we're talking about a great defensive team in the Pistons. Not the kind of club you can waltz through the paint and, say, slam the ball through the hoop, right?

Shit, if you're LeBron James that's exactly what you do. Three times he faked and juked and jammed -- as easy if the Pistons just engraved a Dunk Anytime Invitation for him.

The other time, the hoop that won the game, was just a mortal's layup. If you don't take into account his lightening head fake, the underhanded scoop and double pump and finger tip action that spun the ball off the backboard and through the net. I ain't lying. Watch ESPN tonight and see for yourself.

LeBron finished with 48 points (18-for-33), nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. And as good as his numbers were, he should have had a half-dozen more assists. In fact, if Cleveland had anybody else who could score, LeBron would be looking at a nightly triple-double. I can't remember a player so young who got so far with so little talent at his side. But he's so good right now, he's overcoming his team's mistakes and even his coach's mistakes. And he can't be counted out against anybody, not even the waiting San Antonio Spurs, although they have a lot more weapons on offense then the Pistons do.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Tonight's game was a signature, career-defining moment for a player that was anointed before he even played one game in the NBA. Well, for once, the anointers got it right. This performance will be remembered for a long time.

Longer still if LeBron finishes what he started come Saturday. Yep, Cleveland's got just a 3-2 lead. You gotta close the deal, King James. This win won't mean shit unless they're talking about it (and you) in the NBA Finals.

Go claim your mantle, young man.

You have made believers out of all of us.


Undercover Black Man said...

I knew you'd deliver a rhapsody about this one, S.O.L.

I happened to focus on the game with about two minutes left in regulation. Lucky me, right?

I happened to be with a dude who was Detroit-born, and a serious fan of his home team.

And even he seemed to appreciate the greatness he was witnessing from LeBron.

I know I did.

rivervasquez said...

you sure can write, S.O.L. You know i don't even follow this stuff but how can I not feel it, the way you tell it? You need to go wide with your gift.