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Deb
06-03-2007, 10:35 AM
As LeBron grows up, teammates step up
http://msn.foxsports.com/id/6880136_7_2.jpg

Charley Rosen / FOXSports.com
Posted: 6 hours ago

In order to get behind the obvious headlines, let's zero in on some of the participants who played leading parts in the Cavs' 98-82 drubbing of the Pistons.

Rasheed Wallace started out like he owned the low-post and was poised to take Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Anderson Varejao or Drew Gooden to the cleaners.

But Rasheed couldn't maintain his edge, becoming distracted as soon as he missed his first shot (at 4:40 of the opening quarter) and the refs failed to call a foul on his defender (Varejao). From there, Wallace's game went into the toilet.

In the end, he wound up shooting only 5-for-14, scoring 11 points and accumulating as many technical fouls as rebounds (two each).

Think back with me...

After several seasons of registering superior numbers and inferior clutch performances in Portland, Rasheed played stupendously for a half-season after he was traded to Detroit in February of 2004. But he didn't play particularly well in the Pistons' ensuing run to the championship shooting a mere 41.3% and scoring 13 points per game. In his subsequent three seasons in Detroit, Wallace was a consistently undependable, moody malcontent who routinely argued with his teammates and his coaches whenever the Pistons didn't play well, though he did step up his play in the opening two games in the recently concluded series versus Cleveland.

Except for the instances noted above, Wallace has been the league's most underachieving player.

No surprise, then, when he lost what was left of his composure late in the deciding Game 6.

With the entire season on the line, Wallace simply wimped out.

Again.

And once again, he'll blame somebody else for his own miscues.

Chauncey Billups played like a no-star 3-for-7 FG, one assist and a mere nine points. He seemed profoundly disinterested all series long. It seems that Billups can't wait until July 1 when he's officially a free agent and has the opportunity to get as far away from Rasheed as possible.

Rip Hamilton tried to pick up the slack, going 10-for-20 for 29 points, but the majority of his points resulted from isos, and were more of a testament to his own earnest skills than to any team-wide coordinated offense.

These were not the kind of points that the Pistons' offense had to produce in order to establish the offensive rhythm necessary to beat the bigger, longer, stronger Cavs' defense.

Tayshaun Prince had a miserable game to cap off a miserable series.

For sure, defending LeBron had to wear him out to a certain degree, but like Hamilton, Prince was compelled to create his own scoring opportunities which isn't, and never was, his specialty. Especially not against stronger, bigger opponents.

It was Chris Webber who actually provided a hint of things to come early in the first quarter. That's when his gratuitous shove of Anderson gained him a technical.

The foul was as blatant as it was uncalled for. What it really was, however, was a demonstration of Webber's and his teammates' false bravado, which was a poor substitute for both genuine confidence and gut-level intensity.

Flip Saunders has to assume much of the blame for the Pistons' unexpected collapse. Yes, he finally succeeded in taking the ball out of LBJ's hands with a pesky "twelve" defense that doubled him at every turning. But the Pistons would have been much better served by sticking with this trapping 1-2-2 zone during the deciding portions of Game 5.

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Saunders can also be faulted for his stubborn insistence on playing matchup offense almost exclusively.

Detroit concentrated on various post-ups (they were 4-for-13 here, plus two free throws), as well as clear-outs (9-for-16, plus four free throws). The only adjustments they made in Game 6 were to have cutters flash down the middle when these individualistic schemes were either crowded or outright two-timed.

Big deal.

The Pistons used motion plays only three times, and scored only once. Perhaps Saunders shunned this type of offense because Larry Brown had used it so much (and with such great success).

Who knows?

In any case, Detroit's offense was stagnant and predictable. And the ball was rarely reversed.

And another brief dynasty bites the dust.

CLEVELAND

What could LeBron do for an encore after his incredible scoring heroics in Game 5?

How about a complete about-face that sacrificed his own scoring in favor of setting up his teammates.

He shot a mere 3-for-11 from the field, but was 14-for-19 from the stripe, pulled down 14 rebounds, dished out eight assists and notched 20 points.

With the Pistons' doubling him ASAP, LBJ concentrated on drawing as many defenders as would adhere to him before passing to open shooters.

In truth, his total of eight assists is misleading, only because several recipients ended up at the foul line, and he also executed numerous set-up passes that led to assists by someone else like Larry Hughes and Damon Jones, who had four each.

In other words, LeBron refused to force anything and, like a wizened veteran, took what the Pistons' defense gave him.

His play in Game 6, then, was equally as masterful as it had been in Game 5, but for other reasons. These include unselfishness, maturity, discipline, and above all, having unlimited faith in his teammates.

Bravo!

The man-child has officially become a master.

Young Daniel Gibson's sensational 3-point shooting (5-for-5) proved that LBJ's trust was well-placed.

If James is the King, then Gibson is the Crown Prince.

Mike Brown (and his staff) out-coached the more experienced Saunders from one end of the series to the other. He took full advantage of the overwhelming size and strength of his front-line players.

In Game 6, for example, the Cavs out-rebounded Detroit 53-33, including 16 to 6 on the offensive glass.

Brown also utilized Eric Snow's savvy defense in perfectly limited doses that maximized the veteran's effectiveness. Brown got Zydrunas Ilgauskas involved early in every game and reaped the benefits of Z-man's work on the offensive glass.

He wasn't afraid to plug Gibson into pressure situations. And he had Anderson Varejao on a short-enough leash so as to control the youngster's wild intensity.

Indeed, had the Cavs been tested more against Washington and New Jersey, they could easily have won Games 1 and 2.

PsychoWard
06-03-2007, 11:19 AM
very good read!! yeah i don't care what anyone says about lebron he is a great basketball player! he is one of the most unselfish player i have seen and still puts up huge points!!! cavs played outstanding in this series and will give the spurs a run for there money!!!

kgreen
06-03-2007, 06:19 PM
He is great. Lebron is this generations Michael Jordan. I mean look at the way he took over game 5. 43 points!

House of Steel
06-03-2007, 06:33 PM
LeBron is the most dynamic player since Michael Jordan in the NBA. It is amazing what he done for the Cavaliers. He is having fun doing what he loves to do everyday of his life, play basketball. He is playing out his dream to play for his hometown Cavaliers. The guy is simply an outstanding character and leader. For all he done for the city of Cleveland beyond the court, is outstanding. He is certainly is one great overall person in life. The teammates love him and look up to him as a leader. I think personally, you can't find a more complete nucleus to surround James with then this year's Cavaliers. I really, really want to see them Win it all, but I know in reality it just seems like the Finals got the Spurs written all over it. I am not going to stop believing and witnessing this miracle.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-03-2007, 08:03 PM
I'm a big Bulls fan and Michael Jordan is my alltime favorite athlete.....But what LeBron James did this post-season was just amazing.....Yes some of his teammates did step up but King James doesn't have a Scottie Pippen for a sidekick like MJ did....

I hope the Cavs win but I'm not counting on it....The Spurs have a great basketball team and have the championship experience....

Koopa
06-03-2007, 09:34 PM
for the love of god, will ppl stop comparing lebron to mj, they are not comparable players

lebron will never be the player mj was.......... lebron is the future of the nba, but it's not fair to him and mj that he gets compared to mj......... they don't even have the same kind of game, lebron can actually hit a three pointer......... no one will ever be the next mj............. and no one should want to......... be the next you........ the media and fans need to stop harping the comparison of mj

also....... when mj played the east was a lot harder then it is now......... lebron got to play a wizards team that was missing it's two best players in arenas and butler............... then he played a sorry nets team, vince carter was sucking big time against the raptors and against the cavs, the nets didn't have their real center cause ****ed his knee up in the regular season.......... and then he got to play a ben wallaceless pistons, and a pistons team coached by flip saunders, the same coach that couldn't even get out of the first round with kevin garnett for the longest time

and don't take this as a bash lebron post.......... i like lebron a lot, he's the future of the nba........ but he is no and never will be the next mj


also, lebron is not the most dynamic player in the league since mj, if you take all the off the court **** away, the best player in this league is kobe bryant, kobe is completely unstoppable, and does more with less, if kobe had the benefit of playing in the leastern confernece he'd gotten pretty deep into the playoffs too.......... also i hate kobe with a passion

and don't take this as i'm thinking the cavs will be a cake walk for the spurs.......... this is gonna be a good series mainly cause the cavs can play some defense.......... spurs in 6 is what i think.......... lebron will average about 33 points a game, cause the spurs will let him get his and stay on everyone else. like they did with the nuggets, suns, and jazz

BlitzburghRockCity
06-03-2007, 09:42 PM
Lebron is phenomenal and simply amazing but I don't think we can compare the kid to MJ until he's done something similar to what MJ accomplished. I mean after all Jordan built his legacy over the years in the league carrying his team surrounded by a sometimes just above average cast of players save for Pippen and some others here and there. He was a major factor in every championship. He was surrounded at times yes by some great players but overall he was the main guy that picked the Bulls up and carried them to greatness on his shoulders.

Lebron may one day have the type of career that Jordan had but it's way too early thttp://www.steeleraddicts.com/forum/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=115711
Edit/Delete Messageo compare anybody in the league now to Jordan.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-03-2007, 09:45 PM
Ok all I said was what LeBron James did this post-season was amazing and that he didn't have a Scottie Pippen type of a player as a sidekick...How is that comparing the two? Its not.....

As for MJ....Early on in his career yes MJ was a horrible 3 point shooter....But he worked on that part of his game and became a good 3 point shooter...I didn't say great but just good....He finished his career as a .327 3 point shooter...

Koopa
06-03-2007, 09:48 PM
Ok all I said was what LeBron James did this post-season was amazing and that he didn't have a Scottie Pippen type of a player as a sidekick...How is that comparing the two? Its not.....

As for MJ....Early on in his career yes MJ was a horrible 3 point shooter....But he worked on that part of his game and became a good 3 point shooter...I didn't say great but just good....He finished his career as a .327 3 point shooter...

just cause i post under you doesn't mean i'm replying to you lol, hos and kgreen were comparing lebron to mj

Black@Gold Forever32
06-03-2007, 09:54 PM
just cause i post under you doesn't mean i'm replying to you lol, hos and kgreen were comparing lebron to mj

I figured thats who you were talking to...Just making sure...:lol: Dude people are always going to compare great players to great players...Its part of sports and people just do it for fun....

House of Steel
06-03-2007, 10:30 PM
We all got different opinions, Koopa, I understand you got some sort of issue about it, nothing wrong with that. Like BGFr32 said, it is all a part of sports, the media does it. Sorry if it offends you.

Koopa
06-03-2007, 10:56 PM
it don't offend me, i just don't think it's fair to lebron, the media and fans need to just let him be the player he will become without always bringing up someone of a different era

oh and 32, lets hold off on the great talk, he's VERY VERY GOOD but not great just yet, you can't beconsidered great in just 4 seasons lol


damn i hate talking about lebron, i keep getting scared the refs are gonna **** over the spurs like they did the mavs to help wade win a ring.......

TEEMONT
06-04-2007, 12:50 AM
All I know is MJ didnt get the Bulls near the FInals in his first four seasons.....I think (I dont wtch much hoops).

House of Steel
06-04-2007, 12:58 AM
it don't offend me, i just don't think it's fair to lebron, the media and fans need to just let him be the player he will become without always bringing up someone of a different era

oh and 32, lets hold off on the great talk, he's VERY VERY GOOD but not great just yet, you can't beconsidered great in just 4 seasons lol


damn i hate talking about lebron, i keep getting scared the refs are gonna **** over the spurs like they did the mavs to help wade win a ring.......

Your right on that point all the way. Teemont, I am certainly sure your also correct on your theory. MJ came into the league in 1984, Chicago was on the losing end for the next three to four season if I am not mistaken. It wasn't til 1991 that Michael and company actually got the ball rolling to the Titles.

BlitzburghRockCity
06-04-2007, 02:19 AM
Lebron is making great strides each year in his career to date, he's only going to get better and better. This playoff experience will serve him well. The sky is the limit for this kid but he's no MJ just yet :lol:

Prosdo
06-04-2007, 02:45 AM
I have to agree. I like Lebron and he is very gifted, but he is no MJ. There is only one MJ and that's all there will ever be. Lebron will be a very good player and is making some improvements every year, but I just don't see him as being the next MJ.

Steelerlyn
06-04-2007, 02:49 AM
I think all the media needs to curtail talking about Lebron so much because it is setting him up to be better than he is ready to be....................MAYBE.............then again, MAYBE NOT.......I am so happy for the Cavs, their entire organization and also for the Cleveland fans. The finals will get huge ratings because the Cavs are in it and they will bring the NBA Finals trophy home to Cleveland.



Still a true fan...
DEE-TROIT BASKETBAAAALLL!

Black@Gold Forever32
06-04-2007, 03:10 PM
it don't offend me, i just don't think it's fair to lebron, the media and fans need to just let him be the player he will become without always bringing up someone of a different era

oh and 32, lets hold off on the great talk, he's VERY VERY GOOD but not great just yet, you can't beconsidered great in just 4 seasons lol


damn i hate talking about lebron, i keep getting scared the refs are gonna **** over the spurs like they did the mavs to help wade win a ring.......

I understand your point on holding off the great talk for LeBron...But Koopa, all you have to do is watch the guy and know he is a great talent that only comes around so often...He will go down as one of the alltime greats...

Koopa
06-04-2007, 05:21 PM
I understand your point on holding off the great talk for LeBron...But Koopa, all you have to do is watch the guy and know he is a great talent that only comes around so often...He will go down as one of the alltime greats...

yeah, he is an amazing player to watch, but one injury and he's goes from being the next mj to the next penny hardaway.......... so that's why i'm waiting till his career is over to consider him a great, right now all i can call him is the future of the nba

PsychoWard
06-04-2007, 10:45 PM
i agree lebron is no mj! thus far in lebron's career he has been great! he gets better every year and he makes his teamates better every year as well! how ever it is way to early to say he is like mj. do i think he is great yes. does some of the way he plays remind me of mj yes, but i also agree it is kinda unfair to lebron and everyone else to be compared to him. as long as he stays healthy there is no doubt that he will go down in nba history and from years to come the next generation will be compared to lebron.

BigDawg22
06-05-2007, 08:15 PM
Lebron is by far the best all around player in the league. (When he wants to play defense) I wouldn't want any other player in the league right now. I think it is fair to compare him to MJ because he is light years ahead of where MJ was when he was 22. Lebron does have to win some championships though, and I think this year might be number 1. The Cavs matchup very well against the Spurs. It's going to be a tight series.:bigthumb: