In the third quarter?
I’ve been watching the Cavs all season, listening to the critics knock The King as the Cavs stumbled through the regular season. They could never find an identity and it could be painful at times to watch them play. Then things seemed to come together near the end of the season and I was optimistic going into the playoffs. I kept thinking, “just wait for the playoffs. LeBron will silence all the critics and go NUTS.” He really didn’t need to do anything special against the Wizards and, against the Nets, Vince Carter helped out the Cavs’ cause plenty. So finally, LeBron has been given his chance to shine against Detroit. The final seconds of the first two games looked shakey. Should he have passed in Game 1? (Probably. Marshall was open, afterall.) Was he fouled in Game 2? (Yes, he was). Down 0-2, things were getting ugly.
Then Games 3 and 4 happened and The King has taken over, especially in the fourth quarter. He has gotten to the rim whenever he wants (that dunk over ‘Sheed was NASTY). Players are stepping up when they’ve had to: Drew Gooden has been big when it counts and Daniel Gibson is turning into an excellent player before our eyes (just like they pointed out over at Burnt Orange Nation). I get nervous when they have Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall (Old Man Donyell, if you will) in the lineup at the same time, but the Cavs have managed not to blow it when the “shooter lineup” is in the game. It still makes me nervous, but it isn’t not working, so I’ll go with the flow.
On the Detroit side, Chauncey has been playing unChauncey-like and Tayshaun Prince has been a scrub. Rasheed has been unstoppable and I don’t know why they haven’t been feeding him in the post with regularity, but I still don’t see him as a threat. He’s still got three games to get kicked out of, so I still have faith he’ll do it. And when is Chris Webber going to quit it with the faux snarl? Just let it go, man. Your wheels are getting old and it doesn’t scare anyone any more.
It really boils down to this: if the Cavs can play a competitive third quarter, they can steal Game 5. It’s no secret what the Pistons have been doing — bottle up LeBron at all costs and let the other four beat you. Unfortunately the Cavs have gone cold in the third and the Pistons’ third quarter gameplan is working. If Z can find his jumper or Sasha can hit a perimeter shot or someone other than LeBron can get into the paint, I think the Cavs can shock everyone and win Game 5. Someone just needs to drive the lane!
(Bonus points to the first reader to name the song with the reworded lyrics I used for the title of this post)