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Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 at 11:50 pm  |  108 responses

Links: NBA Finals Game Three Live Notes

Knives, The Commish…and the Spurs just keep pounding that rock.

by Lang Whitaker

CLEVELAND — About an hour before heading over to the arena for tonight’s Game Three, I was walking around downtown Cleveland with Russ, who’s in town on some SLAM business unrelated to the Finals. Anyway, we were crossing a busy downtown street when we looked down and noticed a huge cleaver on the ground. Serious. That thing was about 7-8 inches long. Russ took a picture of it, which we’ll post eventually. Very gangsta.

• Pregame, I finally managed to ask Drew Gooden about his shoes (AF25s), which I thought said “SOFT” on the Velcro strap. According to Drew, it doesn’t say “SOFT,” it says “90FT,” a reference to his playing hard for 90 feet. We argued about this for a while, because it really looks like SOFT. I’m still not convinced. He asked me if Mike Brown had put me up to asking about that.

• Former Cavs owner Gordon Gund was in the house. I wondered if he had to change his last name to “Q” when the arena changed names. Didn’t get to ask him.

• The Cavs have white towels waiting on every seat and have adopted “Rise Up!” as their postseason slogan. The white-out idea they stole from the Heat last year and “Rise Up” was the Atlanta Hawks regular-season slogan two years ago. Good of the Cavs to adopt the traditions of two Eastern Conference powerhouses.

• A while later, Sam and I were chatting with my main man (and fellow former ATLien) Andre Aldridge from NBA TV while waiting for an elevator to take us upstairs to the media dining area. As we were standing there waiting for a ride, a voice from behind said, “Holy Moses, is that NBA TV’s Andre Aldridge?”

We all turned around to find The Sternbot himself, David Stern, who was accompanied by a small, elite security team. As everyone stepped into the elevator, I ended up near the Commish and reached over to shake his hand. Dre wanted to make sure the Commish knew who I was.

“Commissioner Stern,” Dre began, “do you know La…”

“I know him,” Stern interjected, sternly.

“I’ve sat across from the Commissioner in his office,” I said. “We went toe to toe.”

“We have had…negotiations,” Stern said.

Meanwhile, Sam was still cracking up about Stern saying, “Holy Moses.”

• Worth noting: Boobie has milked his way into the starting lineup tonight.

• Spurs still win the tip. Cleveland can’t win anything these days.

• I’m pretty sure Darth Vader is the PA announcer at The Q. Guy has no flavor whatsoever. Deep voice.

• Spurs jump ahead 4-2. Crowd is rowdy, loud and proud. Refs tonight are Bernie Fryer, Bob Delaney and Danny “Kwesi” Crawford. Will be interesting to see if they let the crowd affect them.

• LeBron gets doubled on the wing and throws up a fadeaway three, which misses. He gets the ball back under the rim and makes a layup. 5-4, Cleveland. This is their first lead since…the Eastern Conference Finals?

• Oberto picks up his second foul with 7:30 to go, and Pop replaces him with Horry. Then Ginobili comes in off the bench, too. Not a bad one-two punch from the pine.

• Cleveland already has 10 boards, with 6:53 to play in the first. Pavlovic nails a long two to make it 9-6. The Cavs move ahead 11-9 before the first full timeout.

• This place is pretty loud tonight, and a lot of folks are in maroon, or wine as they say here. someone gave out blinking lights to the crowd, so everyone has little flashing lights stuck on their shirts.

• Tony Parker just took (and missed) a three.

• Sam and I spent the better part of the first 9 minutes of the game trying to get our friggin’ laptops online, and the crowd was going nuts throughout, so I figured the Cavs were putting on a little run. Then I just looked up and it’s 13-12, Cleveland. Right now Cleveland and San Antonio are tied with 3 assists per team. That’s been killing Cleveland through Games 1 and 2 — they haven’t been able to work the ball around and get easy shots.

• Bowen and Duncan have all the Spurs points.

• Bowen pump-fakes LeBron and gets him into the air, then leans into him and throws up a shot. Foul on Bron.

• Damon Jones just checked in, still in the first quarter. Mike Brown may as well have just announced over the PA system that he’s going to try and outrun Cleveland.

• 14-12, Cavs. LeBron catches on the baseline and doesn’t seem to know what to do, as the Spurs hedge defenders at him over and over. Finally he dumps it to Andy Varejao, who

• THE GREATEST POWER FORWARD OF ALL TIME just picked up his second foul, still in the first quarter. He is replaced by Sisqo Elson.

• 18-16, Cleveland, after one. Cavs have the lead, but Spurs own the tempo. Also, Manu and Ginobili have combined for 0 points thus far. Cleveland has controlled the paint — 8 offensive and 19 total boards, while San Antonio has just 1 offensive and 8 total boards.

• In between quarters, Ohio State coach Jim Tressell appears on the scoreboard and then the fans sing some kind of Ohio State song to the tune of “Hang On Sloopy.” We may be in 1964. SLAM cover man Greg Oden is in the house, too.

• The second quarter starts strange: The Cavs get a breakaway layup and LeBron carries the ball then kicks it out of bounds, and for some reason LeBron shoots four free throws and the Cavs get the ball back.

• Mark Jackson is shown on the TV hugging Peyton Manning. Sorry, Ben.

• Pop keeps shrinking the lineup, subbing in Michael Finley for Robert Horry.

• Whenever a Cavs player checks into the game, the HD scoreboard here shows an extreme close-up of the guy. It’s a little confusing.

• LeBron is going hard to the rack tonight. He’s got 7 and 4. Cavs are up 21-17. Next time down Bron misses a jumper but Zzz… wakes up for the first time all night and stuffs it home. 23-17.

• Tony Parker returns. Duncan is still on the bench.

• LeBron picks up his second foul with 10:14 to go in the second. A fan behind me starts screaming, “Don’t take him out, Mike! Don’t take him out!”

• As the 24-second clock expires, Bron fires up a shot that drops well after the buzzer. A good amount of the fans cheer wildly anyway. If you’re sitting next to someone who cheers after an obviously late shot or dunk, you know they’re not a real fan.

• Damon Jones! Li Ning! Ni How! That pushes the Cavs lead to 26-19.

• Pop’s got Elson at center, Bowen at PF, with Finley, Barry and Parker in. Mike Brown counters by playing Snow and Donkey Jones at the same time.

• Boobie has been covered up thus far.

• Tony Parker scores back-to-back baskets, and a moan goes up from the crowd.

• LeBron picks up his third foul on a questionable offensive call by Danny Crawford. LeBron loudly proclaims that the call is not only completely wrong, it is actually made of fecal matter.

• Duncan gets his third foul on the next play as he calmly watches Zzz… shoot a hook shot over him.

• Do you think the Cavs would be willing to play without LeBron if it meant the Spurs would play without Duncan? Not sure that’s a trade-off I’d be willing to make.

• Darth Vader introduces Bill Walton, Bill Russell, Patrick Ewing and Dr. J, who come out and stand in a line at halfcourt. Not sure if that’s actually Bill Russell or if it’s Greg Oden dipped in powdered sugar.

• 32-28, Cavs. 5 minutes to go in the first half.

• Tonight Rob Horry is running like his right shoulder is asleep.

• Brown keeps using his small lineup.

• When Oberto scores, for some reason Darth Vader adopts the thickest Spanish accent of all time to say his name. That was hilarious.

• Bones! Brent Barry nails a three to make it 38-33. Sasha Pavlovic then runs into a completely stationary Robert Horry, who falls slowly, like an oak tree, as the ball rolls away and back to San Antonio.

• I run out during a timeout to buy a drink and go for a medium Diet Coke, which costs me $5. At least I get a commemorative cup with that. The cup is sponsored by Cub Cadet.

• Lots of stuff here is sponsored. There’s a section of the scoreboard that simply shows how far ahead or behind the Cavs are at the time, for those fans who can’t do simple math. And that section is sponsored by a local Chevy dealer.

• 38-35, Cleveland. Oberto misses a jumper. Sam and I were praying that would go in just so we could hear Darth Vader say his name again.

• Robert Horry! Tie game with 26.2 seconds to go. The Cavs call a timeout so Mike Brown can figure out a way to not score before the half.

• They run a high pick and roll between Boobie and Drew Gooden. Boobie goes way too early and ends up shooting a layup off the bottom of the rim with about 12 seconds left on the clock. They could have left a little less time on the clock there.

• San Antonio gets it back and Damon Jones gives a foul with over 7 seconds left on the clock. Um, guys, maybe you want to wait a little longer before doing that? Give the Spurs a little less time to work with?

• Tony Parker crosses over Boobie Gibson and scores as the buzzer goes off. San Antonio leads 40-38 at the half. That was just unbelievably bad execution over that last 26 seconds from everyone associated with the Cavs, from the coach to the players. They should have gone into the half at the worst tied with San Antonio. Instead they’re down two and the crowd is mad quiet.

• Strange game. Almost a star-less first half. Duncan started hot but both he and LeBron finished on the bench. Parker had 8 in the second quarter. San Antonio started catching up on the rebounds, thought Cleveland still leads in total boards, 26-20. Two stats where San Antonio has significant advantages: 5-1 in three pointers made and 5-1 in steals.

• At halftime, Scot Pollard appears on the scoreboard and tells the kids in the crowd to do drugs.

• (Not really.)

• As the second half starts, the in-arena hype man grabs the mic and says, ‘Alright Cavs fans, the first half is over with. It’s a whole new ball game!” Not a very positive mental approach.

• Zzz… scores off the bat, then we get Fabricio Oberto and Tony Parker buckets on back to back trips. The crowd groans and Mike Brown calls a full timeout, just 1:22 into the third. I like the pre-emptive timeout, I guess, although you’d like to think you wouldn’t need to call one so soon after the halftime break.

• By the way, LeBron has 4 turnovers right now. The Spurs have 6.

• Out of the timeout the Spurs run another play for Zzz…. He misses a turnaround. Next time down they go to him again. Sam wonders if the Cavs are freezing out LeBron. I guess they’re trying to get that fourth foul on Duncan.

• Drew Gooden finally goes to the hole and scores. Zzz… dives on the floor and picks up a loose ball. He’s been totally energized. By the way, before the game Donyell Marshall said that Zzz… was “an assh*le…that’s what we call each other.”

• As I wrote that, Zzz… picked up an offensive foul.

• Fabricio Oberto needs some sort of hair control device, preferably a very wide headband.

• LeBron takes his first shot of the second half with 6:30 to go in the quarter. He makes it. the Spurs respond by getting a layup for the mellifluously named Fabricio Oberto. The Cavs then miss a shot and Tony Parker draws a foul on Drew Gooden. Two shots: makes, makes. 48-44, San Antonio, 5:40 to go in the third.

• The fans here are very fickle. One bad play and there’s groans from all over. I guess we should cut them some slack, because they have been through a lot through the years.

• Spurs are really spreading the floor well. Ginobili is lining up on offense out around halfcourt. Bowen bricks a three. Drew Gooden sinks a wild running hook to make it 48 all with 4:12 to go. Timeout, and the fans are back to cheering again.

• Where is Cavs part-owner Usher? Anyone seen him?

• Varejao takes a charge from Ginobili. Flopper vs. Flopper. That nearly caused a wrinkle in time. Varejao heads for the bench.

• Drew Gooden gets called for consecutive over-the-back calls while battling the awesomely-named Fabricio Oberto.

• Bones! Barry’s three makes it 51-48. Bron backs in and plows over about three defenders for a layup. A second later Bowen nails a three over Bron and while running back slides like the floor is made of ice. About 200 ballboys run out and towel off the court.

• That’s it for the third, with the Spurs ahead 55-50.

• Boobie is sucking: 1-for-9 and 0-for-4 from three. Zzz… is single-handedly keeping the Cavs in this. He has 12 points and 16 rebounds. The Cavs are 1-for-12 on threes.

• Between quarters they bring out the dunkers and trampolines, and it ends with something I’ve never seen before: A 17-foot ladder is set up and a guy climbs to the top — so he was way up there, his head near the shot clock — and he did a backflip off and dunked it on the way down to the cushioned mat.

• Bones! Brent Barry is the new Robert Horry. 58-50, Spurs, with 10:40 to go in the game. The 10:40 mark is sponsored by Quicken’s new tax software.

• Out of the timeout, Jacque Vaughn nearly saves steals a ball and goes flying headfirst out of bounds in a vain effort to save the ball. Duncan and Bones sprint over to help him up off the floor.

• Boobie nips the rim and misses another open three.

• Duncan off the glass. Ten point lead.

• Finally! The Cavs get Bron the ball and he attacks the rim, cutting it to an 8-point game. Seven after a free throw.

• Another loose ball, and Duncan and Zzz… end up on the floor. Duncan is really bad at picking up loose balls off the floor. Not so bad if that’s your only weakness.

• Gooden for two. Five point lead for San Antonio. I think we’ve hit San Antonio’s regular fourth quarter swoon. It’s 62-57, with 7:41 to go.

• Parker nails a long two over a Zzz… and Snow double-team. Gangsta.

• LeBron drives and gets body-checked to the ground. No call.

• Finley nails a three. Mike Finley is the new Brent Barry. 67-57, 6:36 to go. Timeout, Cavs. They re-play the LeBron getting hip-checked play on the scoreboard to get the fans riled up, and it works. These fans are very dependent on the scoreboard to know when to cheer.

• Sasha! He finally nails a three, Cleveland’s second of the night. 67-60, Spurs. Next play there’s a loose ball and Robert Horry tries to save it but instead throws it about ten rows deep at halfcourt.

• Out of the timeout, Bron drives the paint and gets a layup, and one. First foul on Bowen all night. 67-63, Cavs.

• Tony Parker misses a long two. Cleveland comes down and Drew Gooden gets doubled, and Tim Duncan just grabs the ball. Somehow Drew gets called for a foul.

• On the scoreboard they show a fan holding a sign that reads: Eva Is Fat. Really classy, Dan Gilbert.

• Bron gets a steal, throws it under to Varejao, who kind of knocks it out of bounds.

• Duncan misses a two, Bron misses a two, Parker misses a two, Bron misses a fadeaway three. 3:02 left, still 67-63.

• Nice play by Varejao, who knocks it away from Duncan in the post.

• LeBron drives and gets to the rim but can’t get the roll.

• Timeout, Spurs. Still leading 67-63, 2:26 to go. Nice — about two minutes of scoreless ball.

• Cavs get a steal out of the timeout after a lazy alley-oop from Manu. The Cavs run the only play that’s been running all night: a clear-out for Bron, who drives and gets tangled with Manu. Two shots: good, good. 67-65, Spurs, 1:55 to go.

• The Spurs come back and get it to Duncan in the post, who gets it outside and the Spurs rotate the ball back and forth around the perimeter. The Cavs actually rotate very well, and the Spurs get it back to Duncan inside. He’s fouled by Gooden, who picked up his sixth. Duncan to the line, always an adventure…good, good. 69-65, Spurs, 1:31 to go.

• By the way, Drew’s next-door neighbor in Orlando is Chris Kirkpatrick from N*Sync. He told me that pre-game.

• Bron gets an easy layup, quick. 69-67. Thanks to the feature on the scoreboard, I know the Cavs are down by two.

• Tony Parker! Mon dieu! He nails an offbalance three.

• Sasha! Something in another language! He nails a three. 72-70, 33 seconds to go.

• Steal by the Cavs! Down two. Clock running down. LeBron throws it to…Anderson Varejao? Varejao spins and shoots from his waist. Not sure he even caught the rim. Good grief.

• Manu grabs the board and gets fouled with 10.4 left. He makes one of two to make it 73-70. Timeout, 10.4 to go.

• OK, here we go. Damon Jones checks in. Cavs need a three to tie. Or maybe a two and a foul? They only have one 20-second timeout left. That’s what they do, as Bron gets an open layup.

• Inbounds to Manu, who’s fouled with 5.5 left. To the line. Good, good. 75-72. 5.5 left. Cavs use their last timeout.

• Everyone comes out for the final possession and Pop takes a 20 to set his defense. They get it in to Bron. I think Bowen tried to give a foul on him, but it wasn’t called. Bron misses the three, barely, and the Cavs lose, 75-72. Bron finished with 25, 8 and 7, but it wasn’t enough. The Spurs got a pretty even effort from everyone. And they just need one more win to take this thing back to Texas.

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  • Chukaz

    1st

  • J.C.

    they made it a game, and have a hope of taking 4. but a spurs title seems inevitable now.

  • Chukaz

    YEAH!!!!! That’s my first 1st!!!!!!!!
    CLEVELAND SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LeBRON JAMES SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Damn, is it me or the game wasn’t so boring?

  • sixthman6

    Lets not even mention that last foul by Bowen. Even if they call it a shooting foul theres a better chance i’ll win the lottery before the Cavs hit 3 straights FTs, stop SA with 3 secs left AND then win in OT..

  • Chukaz

    The series is over! The people of Cleveland should keep their $15,000 per seat and spend it on a used car. I hope next game is as entertaining.

  • sixthman6

    It was boring, i watched the last seconds closely, but only because i was hoping the cavs would go ahead by 1 with 3 seconds left only for the spurs to come back and win it at the buzzer..

  • Chukaz

    @sixthman – you have a point on the foul by Bowen, but the ref made the call that was better for the Cavs. Bron didn’t get foulded shooting a 3, thats the bottom line and the fould didn’t affect Brons shot. Bowen fouled than Bron took a dribble and pulled up. Bron shouldn’t be b*tchin’ about the call because if they would have called the foul you wouldn’t have a shot at winning.

  • mike

    did any one notice one of the refs under the basket grabbing his shoulder after the game? if anyone taped it, can you see how he got hurt?

  • Chukaz

    When is the league gonna suspend Bron for elbowing people. He was thrown a good 5 elbows since the ECF. It’s time for the Sternbot to step up and suspend Bron. He suspended Kobe multiple time during the regular season for elbowing people in the face and followed the rules when he suspended STAT and Diaw! Come on Sternbot make it happen.

  • Chukaz

    @Mike – I saw it and I think he got hit by a camaraman that was rooting for the Cavs like Tim Duncan. I wonder if Timmy was complaining to the officials for Bron not getting the call.

  • sixthman6

    I saw the ref holding his shoulder too, i figured jeff or mark would mention it, but they didn’t…maybe he just got bumped into and shook it off

  • deestarbuckz

    I am hurting right now… go cavs!!! Yet it still hurts…

  • sixthman6

    Lang, the rockets old mascot , Turbo, use to do that dunk all the time in the 90s (http://www.nba.com/rockets/mascot/turbo.html)….looks like Cleveland copies more than slogans and towels..

  • Chukaz

    What do you guys think of the Shawn Marion trade talk? I just hope that Marion DOESN’T get traded to the Lakers, unless is for Shammon Williams. I hope they don’t trade him to the Pistons for ‘Sheed cause he would probably screw up their running game.

  • sixthman6

    ok, i typed in the url and it still goes to awaiting moderation…i just mentioned how Turbo (rockets old mascot) did that same dunk in the 90s

  • AB_40

    chukaz? Elbowing? Have you ever played against 6-10 260 guys in the post, I have and that’s elbowing and working with you body.

    Ahw menn I missed the better half of the game once more, I fell asleep after a good one and a half quarter. You know when the spurs were behind ‘n all. I just checked the box score. But can anyone tell me, why one of the best physical specimen in the world settles for threes with a realy, realy, realy ugly jumper. Give the cavs a shooting coach please. So as I said shall be done:P. Either the cavs(lebron) goes crazy next thursday or the spurs are the 2007 nba champs(un thursday) they already were the champs when dallas was cut out of the first round and they beat phoenix 4-2… the eastern confrence was realy bad this year.

  • Chukaz

    Jeff and Mark didn’t mention it because they are jerks that don’t care about the officials. I will be surprised if they don’t tried to stab the refs later on tonight. They are cold blooded assasins like Bruce Bowen.

  • AZ

    LEBRON OBVIOUSLY GOT FOULED AT THE END OF THE GAME ON/BEFORE HIS 3. WHY IS NOONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?

  • mike

    about the refs shoulder, i watched the replays on espnnews and the camera man hit him with that huge camera as he ran onto the floor after the game.

  • Chukaz

    @AB – I have played with a guy how is about 6-8 and I know what you mean with using your body, but that’s not what I’m talkin’ about. In game 2 Bron drove the lane and elbowed Manu in the face. Today he elbowed Bruce Bowen in the face in order to get the ball, it was totally uncalled for. In the ECF agianst the Pistons, he elbowed Chris Webber on a Kobe-type follow thru. Sooner of later the Commish has to at least fine LeBron.

  • Ken

    mike, im pretty sure a camera guy rammed into him when they all rushed the floor. i saw him look at the camera guy, and some kind of gesture wave dealie.

    That or he was having a stroke.

  • mike

    the ref getting hurt reminded me of the time when no one noticed darko brake his hand in the last minute of Detroit’s championship game in 2004. he was boxing out during a free throw and as he raised his hands for the rebound, his right hand hit a laker’s elbow pretty hard. poor guy. while the piston’s are pouring champagne on each other, he is in the training room getting his hand looked at.

  • mike

    ken, stroke crossed my mind too. it would have been like the wedding party scene in “Tommy Boy” where tommy and his dad are singing kareokee and tommy’s dad grabs his chest and falls. do you think ABC would have covered it or ignored it?

  • Chukaz

    See that Mike? I knew it without having to watch it again. The Cavs have to give up now and start preparing for the draft. David Stern should address the media and tell them that he has decided to chance this series to a best of 5 series and that the Spurs are the ’07 NBA champs.

  • Chukaz

    Darko not being able to take part of the celebration is just fitting. It looks like Michael Finley will finally win a championship, but wouldn’t it be funny if the Spurs waived him a few seconds before they clinch the Championship?

  • Kwa

    I have resolved to not watchin till the last 1 and a half so i can watch Tony get mvp nd catch those 40 camera shots of Eva…
    Finals Suck Bring out the Broom or just Turn Varejo upside down

  • ForzaMilan

    Ah it’s over. Crap. And we probably will remember nothing of it, except Cavs-Det game 5.

    I seemed to get a sense that the other Cavs had more fun/energy playing with Bron not on the floor. Something has to be done about that (besides trading Bron, you deviant brothers).

    Congratulation Spurs. This may have been your easiest championship ever, but the most unsatisfying and least memorable playoffs ever. 06 spoiled us. and the first playoff team i ever rooted for was the Clutch city rockets. majestic expectations.

    I will STILL watch game 4, because I love the game of basketball because of and DESPITE the league.

  • mike

    What would be funny is Varejao taking the game into his own hands again and getting all backboard. I don’t watch the entire game, but when I do, all I see from Cleveland’s post is Ilgauskas, Gooden, and Varejao throwing up these falling away side over the shoulder one handers. It looks more like a fade-away shot put. Who is Cleveland’s big man coach?

  • mike

    If the spurs win, it will mean The Defending Champions (Miami) will be the team that lost to the team (chicago) that lost to the team (Detroit) that lost to the team (Cleveland) that lost to the Champions (spurs).

  • howard

    the next Nike ad should be “we are all witnesses of lebrooms.” Memo to Phil Knight, u can’t shove the global icon down our throats like he’s Hey-sus of Navareth. And SLAM, sorry ’bout the impending decrease of sales when y’all have to stick Ginofloppoli, euro Jake Steed, & Curious George on ur next cover.

  • sixthman6

    Stern should move the draft to tomorrow and allow cleveland to play their pick in the finals, maybe then they’ll only lose 4-1…but i wouldn’t be surprised if San Antonio’s pick scored 30 in game 4 to clinch it..

  • Carmen

    Lebron, please live up to your hype. we are all waiting to witness your greatness in the finals….please dont pass the ball to Anderson Varejao, who has less game than me, and i am a 5 ft 5, 17 yr old girl who just barely made the highschool team. STOP BEING SCARED AND TAKE THE DAMN SHOT!!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Lang, the Cavs led for a while in game 1. The Mark Jackson/Peyton Manning fest was a lowpoint in my fanship of Mark. And the “Eva is Fat” sign? So dumb. They should’ve made a sign that said “Eva is way too skinny.” Which would have been true, and hopefully hurtful enough that she’d consider putting on some weight.

  • Cheryl

    Loved the verb usage for all things Boobie! Pop and the team are refusing to talk about their strategy on Bron other than to say that they are making it hard for him whenever he catches the ball. I think the “secret” is that they are confusing the heck out of him because if you watch, he never really knows where the double team will come from or if he’ll get double teamed at all. I noticed it in game 3 and thought to watch more closely tonight. Bron will get the ball and hesitate to see where his defenders are before making a move to the basket or passing it off. This expends precious seconds, especially when the Spurs have made the pg spend almost all of the 8 seconds to get it past half court. By the time Bron makes his mind up to make a move, they’ve got like 5 seconds to get the shot off. Very shrewd, that Pop guy. And Lang, Stern always says things “sternly”… –ASPOV

  • Cheryl

    Anybody notice Wes in Greg Oden’s ear during a time out? I’m like, damn, dude gets around. Though Greg looked a little like “who IS this guy?

  • Dennis

    Well, either the Cavs will be the first to come back from an 0 – 3 deficit, or the Spurs get their fourth NBA title. Not wishing to be to presumptious, if the Spurs win, Bruce Bowen should be the Finals MVP. Defense all the time, 3′s on demand, and scoring when others forget how (pardoname Manu). Considering Lebron’s talent/hype, Bruce has to be considered a favorite for the honor.

  • Bryant Reeves

    boobie. milk. well played.

  • Holiday

    I so hope the Spurs team plane takes a dive on there way home, that is seriously how bad I hate this dirty @$$ team! At this point I would almost, and I do mean almost rather see Dallas win this thing, but not quite! Dirk = Eurotrash!!!! Ginobli = Dirtbag with nose of Gonzo like proportions! Eva = I’d hit it!!!

  • http://www.fortheloveofgodgivespurstheringalready+lakersdosomethinganddoitnow.com Jay

    so i like the part when in the 4th quarter, both teams were saying to each other “ill miss the next shot, if u miss it” & spurs would miss & cavs wud brick, & enjoy doing it, & then all of a sudden spurs wud jus hit and cavs get so madd tht they come back and well, attempt to hit and then they go to spurs “what i thought we was still playing” & spurs would go like no we are not our coach found out about it & hes really mad & cavs would be like yea well our coach thinks its funny & then spurs jus ignore cavs and take the win. then larry hughes gets mad cuz if he played this game[the game of missing shots], cavs would`ve atleast won something, not tht they didnt but i dont blame him, neither should u.

  • Chukaz

    @Holiday – don’t wish that kind of thing for the Spurs and Dirk does = Eurotrash, Ginobili does = Dirtbag with nose of Gonzo like proportions. And about eva I’d hit it as well. Eva ain’t fat, she’s phat!

  • SA

    I’ve been reading a bunch of articles on how the Spurs have no national appeal, and the crux of each article seems to be that the casual fans just don’t appreciate fundamental ball. But, after watching a ton of Spurs games this year, I can say that for me the reason I can’t stand them is that they are actually an annoying team to watch. They seemingly get tons of favorable calls, Parker finishes impossible shots without anyone laying one hard foul on him(imagine what the 80s pistons would do to this kid), and I can’t even begin to tell you what I think of the way Ginobli plays. It’s a completely frustrating experience to watch them play, not to mention the keebler elf in the stands that gets more camera time than anyone else.

  • Chukaz

    Is it me or Tim Duncan looks like a bigger, uncooler version of Juelz Santana?

  • Dennard

    Holiday quit hatin… I got news for you too, the Spurs are going to be back here next year too. Deal with it.

  • Chukaz

    There is one and only one reason why the NBA finals haven’t been better, Eva Longoria’s air time. Are you kidding me, I’ve seen her like 5 times total during the series. That just ain’t gonna cut it! That’s why we watch, ABC!!!!!! Put Eva on screen more an watch the ratings go thru the roof. She should be stripping or something during halftime.

  • Chukaz

    I hope Tony doesn’t get Finals MVP because it just wouldn’t be fair. A ring, the Finals MVP trophy, and Eva. That’s just not fair, if he wants Eva he should give up the MVP trophy.

  • Dark

    Mike Breen talks about how great the officiating crew and their abidance to changing rules way too damn much. Cannot stand that dude, and other Knicks fans probably feel the same. Replace him with Gus Johnson.

  • Holiday

    I respect the Spurs, I just can’t believe how many bull$h!t calls they got all through the playoffs! They really shouldn’t be in the Finals! and believe me as a Stockton to Malone Fan, I love the fundamentals, I use them alot being only 6’1 and 235lbs having to guard guy’s like anywhere from 6’4 to 7’2! It’s that strength baby!

  • http://www.wheeltoheal.com patrick

    my favorite play was when Varejao grabbed that board in the first quarter, took 2 dribbles up court at full speed, then, much like in high school ball, remembered he’s not supposed to bring it up and whipped it back to eric snow.

    or, maybe when bowen slapped tim duncan’s hand at midcourt after a bucket then fell down (i think he was trying to take out his legs?)

  • http://www.nba.com Both Teams Played Hard

    Not sure if that’s actually Bill Russell or if it’s Greg Oden dipped in powdered sugar.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Cheryl: Who is Wes? Also, thanks for the Boobie love. Maybe now everyone understands why Mike Brown wasn’t playing him so much.

  • j-bird

    @BothTeamsPlayedHard- I was thinking the same exact thing.

  • James

    In Cleveland on SLAM business not related to the finals? For God’s sake please tell me theres not going to be another LeBron cover?

  • Froggiestyle

    “or those fans who can’t do simple math” love it. oh and where’s my credit for the flop vs. flop call – as the only interesting subplot of the finals? j/k good ones Bros Whit and Rub

  • Kev

    @ Lang – what did you and Stern talk about in his office?
    @ Chuckaz – easy, guy….
    also, Bron said he was expecting the ball back from the Brazilian, and even with that ridiculous shot, he wasn’t even pissed….. I dunno, there’s definitely 2 ways to look at that, but i was sorta impressed

  • Tim Wilson

    What happened to Manu? Off day?

    http://www.jumplikevince.com

  • Boyd

    LBJ was fouled, but little do we know the NBA refs get the chair if any calls go against the Spurs. Anyone seen Joey Crawford lately? Thought not, he’s in a Texas dungeon fried to toast with a steaming sponge on his head. Lets look at the Spurs recipe for league assisted success:
    1 Meaningless season ending game, ref throws out Duncan, REF LOSES JOB !? What a precedent.
    2 Kicking All-NBA players in the (surgically repaired) legs, hitting MVP’s in the Bollocks, no ramifications, check.
    3 Wiping out said MVP then suspending said All-NBA player for running over to him, without so much as looking at a Spurs player, whilst also getting a vital role player suspended, thus playing out the pivotal game against a high-school sized team: check. (memo to Pop – be sure to get that beach house in the bahamas bought and paid for for Sterns summer break)
    4 Get same bollock kicking, leg swiping dirty bastard to push superstar player off balance, on a game winning 3, ON HIS OWN COURT, and live in the utter confidence that all whistles ill fall silent. Check. (memo to whole team, make sure David-Stern replica dildo is polished on the mantle-piece when he comes round in the offseason to pick up half of my salary for this year)

    So there we have it the recipe for success! Throw in a mind numbingly boring, but completely inoffensive genuine talent, how can you lose? Oh yeah, you can’t. The only good thing about all this is that Finley gets a chip, but jesus jones, this series is parlayzingly innane. Nice one Dave.

  • whooo!

    IF bron gets a 4-point play, what’s the difference between that and as slam affectionately calls him, “KNICK BAVETTA’s” call for LJ’s miracle 4pt play? to me, it looked like the refs wanted to give the players a chance to decide the game instead of the foul, and bron got fouled, then took a jump step left and fired a 3. so now it’s a big IF bron makes a 3, or IF bron makes 3 straight freethrows, and IF the spurs don’t score again to win the game, and IF the cavs can somehow hang on in overtime. that’s a lotta “if’s” to blame the refs for that play, no?

  • white hot eboy

    Can we be a bit realistic? The Cavs lucked themselves into the Eastern conference finals by playing two of the worst teams in the conference. They beat a really “off” Pistons team and earned respect in the last two games of that series. They are a horrible representive for EITHER conference. They’re team is iffy at best, and against the leagues best, they have shown NO fight at all. As bad as the Heat were this year, look at last years Finals were D-Wade would not let the Heat lose, and put the pressure on the officials to have him shoot so many free throws because he was AGGRESSIVE. Something BronBron has shown in one game. That does not get it done. This Cavs team is no dynasty in the making as some “experts” have claimed. This may have been Lebron’s only chance at a title (who know’s) and if it is, there is no one to blame but himself for not going ALL OUT like he did against the Pistons in game 5 of that series and cementing his legacy as the game’s best young player. After this series, the debate is still on.

  • Joel O’s

    It seems people are getting annoyed with the Spurs for being “boringly” good, to the point of hating them for it. But aren’t the Cavs making it easy for the Spurs by being so offensively gutless? Hear me out: besides a few um, FLASHES of Boobie, who else has stepped up with the guts to hit a big shot? How can veteran guys like Z, Gooden, Hughes, Donyell settle for just letting Lebron have all the pressure offensively? It takes guts to demand the ball and the responsibility come crunch time. Whatever the Cavs’ defensive prowess, their offensive inadequacy has just been horrible, just horrible to watch, and it stems from their role players being content to just give Bron the ball and have him take all the responsibility. What happened to the 20 ppg Hughes of just a year or two ago? Gooden’s “making it rain” shenanigans? For two people with such similar skill sets, but differing ages, why is Donyell so much less effective than Horry?

  • Joel O’s

    Could it be possible that the Lebron 48 point game over the Pistons has spoiled the Cavs’ supporting cast? That they’d rather stand around and give him the ball now, in hope that he catches fire and drops 50 on the Spurs? I certainly hope not, or Lebron is f*cked.

  • Joel O’s

    @white hot eboy:
    My point exactly: everyone, including the Cavs supporting cast, is implicitly hoping that Lebron just goes nuts and does his solo scoring thing in the 4th again.

  • SpaceshopJ

    If the Cavs don’t waive Varejao in the off season, i’ll never watch another Cavs game again. Or at least he should show up at Thursday’s game with a huge Lebron’s-hand-shaped blue/red hand print on his face. Remember when Shaq slapped Ostertag at that pre-game shootaround?? Exactly.

  • Carmen

    they are mistaking lebron for kobe….not gonna happen cavs bench! step up

  • Cheryl

    Eboy, my sentiments exactly. And I’ll say something else too (though, I’ve been holding back because I knew everyone here will say I’m biased): LeBron hasn’t shown me that he’s a thinking player either. DWade analyzes his opponent and figures out a way to adjust to the way he was being guarded. I mentioned earlier in this post, but it bears mentioning again: the Spurs are playing “guess when we’ll come w/the double” and Bron hesitates everytime. Wade would have figured that trick out and drove the basket until he was either fouled, forced to pass, or slammed it home. Without hesitation. That’s a calculated move. Bron has skills, but he is still immature as to the mental part of the game. Perhaps a few years in college would have worked this out, or perhaps we’ll find out later in their careers that Wade is just better.

  • German Reignman

    LeBron definitely has to stop his 1st quarter approach of “oh, I´ll let the game come to me to get my teammates involved” …. its 48 minutes till summerholidays, do something ….

  • whooo!

    to a certain effect, i feel like some of the criticisms against lebron are coming a lil hard considering the team he’s playing against, especially with his teammates sucking. HOWEVER, he’s shown potential flashes of greatness, and if everyone (slam included) is hyping this guy up as 2nd best in the league right now, having (one of) the greatest playoff performances ever and such, i think it’s only fair to question how great he really is right now. i feel like the guy needs to be doing everything possible right now to win. it hasn’t seemed like he’s ‘taking over the game’ for more than a couple plays this entire series, and that’s what the great ones do. jason kidd’s finals performances are examples of that, but bron’s is not. also, not only is he letting tony parker light him up, BRUCE BOWEN had as many pts as him till the end of 3.

  • whooo!

    iverson too… both kidd and iverson had no chance cuz their teams were overmatched so badly, but they cemented themselves as a force throughout their finals appearance. even without winning the series, you can still shine and dominate at least a game!

  • mark

    @boyd – Do you even believe one word of that garbage you wrote? Ridiculous – completely ridiculous. The NBA loses money with San Antonio in the finals. Stern hates that — Stern wanted a Phoenix and whoever finals.Rules are rules. I am not even going ot bother addressing your comments specifically becuase I know that you don’t believe what you wrote– you just swallowed some haterade and probably prefer the AND1 mix tape folks and think hotsauce is the greatest PG in the world.

  • mark

    Lebron is not the 2nd greatest player or the 2nd coming of anything. Lebron lost that game when he gave up the rock to Scary spice in the 4th and Scary threw up a dud.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    LeBron obviously was fouled by Bowen at the end of the game, but the refs did the right thing by letting the play continue. If you’re a Cavs fan, what would you rather have down three, LeBron stepping to the line for two with a few ticks left (and the Spurs having at least one time out left, I believe) or Bron getting a CLEAR look at a three? The LJ four-point play is irrelevant, since LeBron missed the shot—and since the foul was on the floor it would have been a two-shot foul anyway. Varejao’s inexplicably horrible drive hurt the Cavs way more than that alleged non-call. (I watched the game in a bar across the street from the Q—I’ll put up some sort of a post when I get back to NYC tonight—and that last quarter was rough.)

  • white hot eboy

    Cheryl, I agree with you about D-Wade’s thinking through the game, but I do have to give Lebron some leahway because D-Wade is also being coached by one of the game’s greatest minds while Lebron has a coach who really doesn’t “get” it. The only time Lebron looked effective last night was when he went into the post and used his size and that was only when Timmy was on the bench. If he’s effective doing something, the coach can then figure out a way to MAXIMIZE those opportunites no matter who is in the game. Put Big Z 20 feet out at from the basket and Lebron can post a side because Timmy has to respect that shot from Zzz. Mike Brown is terrible. The Sternbot’s experiment backfired by having Lebron in the Final’s thinking it would garner huge ratings. Obviously Lebron’s “worlwide” star stature is not quite there yet (maybe you need to win something young man) and you can bet most of the foreign viewers tuning in are looking to watch Mr. Parker, GINOBLI, etc. (does this Finals have the most foreign players ever in between the two teams?) and not because of the curiosty of the man-child.

  • Stringer Bell

    Lang, has anyone noted that Jeff Van Gundy is a brillaint announcer? No doubt, he was a good coach but he’s a great announcer! Is there anyway to prevent him from driving himself crazy by coaching again and instead force him to stay in the booth and become the broadcasting legend that he was meant to be? Wait a minute here…was I just riding JVG’s jock a little too much?

  • Rob W.

    maybe spurs pistons wouldn’t have been so bad after all. atleast there would be more games to watch.

  • http://www.myspace.com/bangonthetableproductions Alpha-bet

    It’s a lady who sits behind the Cavs bench @ San Antonio’s arena that got some big ass titties..

    That’s about the only thing I noticed about this series

  • Karan

    LeChoker

  • white hot eboy

    And again, like I said in the last series against the Pistons, I love Lebron’s game but the young man has to realize he IS the Cavs franchise, not Boobie, not Zzz, not Drew, not Larry, it’s Lebron’s game’s to win or lose, whether you like it or not. They were Mike’s games to win or lose when Black Jesus ran the league, and we know how he performed in those circumstances. So young man, appreciate your last Finals game tomorrow and savor it, because you may have a really hard time getting back there. Ask your boy D-Wade how the long summer is after not repeating.

  • illydiva

    What was up with Boobie taking free throws that he shouldn’t have in the first half and then LeBron getting the do-over?

  • Cheryl

    @Stringer, I mentioned that during the Jazz/Spurs series. JVG cracks me up. and the banter between he and Mark are pretty funny too (though without JVG, Mark is irritating). JVG is too funny when he remarks about how some guy’s mental lapses drive him,as a coach, crazy. But, yeah, I hope he stays in the booth and leaves coaching to his brother–who, by the way, has a pretty good sense of humor too.

  • Bishop

    Oh snap! Boobie milks, Boobie covered up, Boobie Sucking,Boobie nips! HA HA. Man I’m slow. Did I miss any?!

  • Stuie

    The more important issue is the fact that Boobie got fould on that 3 he took. A: He got hit on the arm. B: He got knocked down. lets say he makes all three foul shots. Wouldnt that change the cavs mindset. I mean the spurs 8 point lead would of be cut to 5 with a considerible amount of time left on the clock for a come back. The refs where probably thinking he wont make it anyways cause he was sucking but you never know.

  • Allenp

    Man, let’s be honest.

    Lebron should have never passed that ball to Sideshow. That was a horrible decision. Duncan didn’t even come on a true double and bron gave it up.
    He needed to make that shoulder fake to the middle and then rise up over Bowen in the lane for the jumper. You do not pass to arguably your second worst offensive player (shout out to my main man Snow) to create his own shot. No, that’ doesn’t work.

    And Whoo is right, Iverson averaged 35 in his shot against a Laker Juggernaut. Brown is averaging less than 20, and has been generally unimpressive. In fact, considering how bad he’s played, the fact that the three games have been fairly competetive either proves he has a decent supporting cast, or the Spurs do get bored with bad teams.

    And Boyd is a Phoenix crybaby.

  • steve

    Sounds like Stern might order a hit on you, Lang.

  • Hlop

    Jewish Mafia baby!

  • solly what

    not gonna lie— your columns during the finals have been completely hilarious. I live in NYC but am originally from San Antonio and you characterized our spirit/personality so well that reading your write ups the day after the games there I thought I had been there. Knowing your accurate portrayal of SA-Town makes reading this even more gratifying. Thanks and keep it up!!! I’m sad Mike Brown isn’t providing more games for us all to enjoy. GO SPURS GO!

  • Steve O

    @ LAng or Sam: Correct me if im wrong but isn’t a full length bball court 94 ft?? If so you should tell Drewey (thats a Ducktales joke) to change up his kicks.

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  • Myung

    Cold boobie.

  • j-bird

    For what its worth, I hate the spurs, david stern and stu jackson.

  • k.o.

    Lang u mentioned that clear-path foul at the start of the 2nd, where Boobie took the shots first and sank em both. Pop had complained to the refs who realized they messed up and so they took the points off and had Bron take his foul shots – and he missed one…isn’t there something in the rules to disallow something like this? granted Boobie wasn’t supposed to take the shots, but he did and they went in and none of the refs were aware enough to say ‘no no, Lebron has to shoot these’

    also, I keep hearing stories about Bron claiming he’s going to be more aggressive as the series goes on…so why the hell does he A) Never drive while the Spurs are still transitioning into defense AND
    B) Make silly passes to other Cavs in the dying minutes only to ask for the ball right back immediately.

  • Boobie

    Just call me Vag.

  • sixthman6

    @Russ, i understand what you mean by the “refs did the right thing”…but in the SA-Phoe series wouldnt not suspending Diaw and Stat be the “right thing” to do? I’m cool with either following rules to the letter or bending them depending on the situation, but its gotta be consistent. How can the NBA follow the rules in once case and not the other, especially on an obvious foul?

  • sixthman6

    and a court is 94 ft, maybe thats why Drew cant seem to operate closer than 4 feet on the offensive end..

  • rob stewart

    sixthman6, I was thinking the same thing. Drew Gooden must be one of those guys who doesn’t touch the lines when he is running suicides.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    The refs are ALWAYS making judgements when it comes to regular foul calls–otherwise entire teams would foul out before halftime and games would take six hours. It’s obvious that they feel-from the commissioner’s office on down to the referees–that the off-the-bench rule is one that is NOT open to interpretation. Period. Can we get off that topic, please? It’s over and done with. Kind of like the Cavs.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And given the way he was shooting last night, I thought that Boobie was fake.

  • sixthman6

    @russ, this situation is different from most judgment calls because its an obvious foul and the outcome of the game is on the line..not calling a foul when a guy slaps an arm in the backcourt in the 2nd qrtr is understandable, last night their no call puts the ref in the passenger’s seat with the spurs riding in the back. Maybe the Cavs rebound a missed FT and send it to OT or maybe they don’t, but its not for the refs to decide whats best for the Cavs at that point…..Stern has to keep them on a tighter leash

  • Allenp

    Please sixthman, you’re just itching to make a case for the Suns. The refs let contact go all the time. They make judgements.

    The commish and stu have enforced that rule the same for years, why should the Suns get a break?

  • Holiday

    I have a solution for everything wrong with nba! Impeach that Kike bastard David Stern, well its a real good start anyway!

  • nastruthomas

    the only thing is…that’s a lie, lebron didn’t take four straight free throws, boobie took the first two, and then they were nullified.

  • Holiday

    Yeah Allenp why give the suns or any other team for that matter a break, why even have a season or playoffs? Let’s just have a ceremony once a year and give the Spurs a ring and a hand shake!

  • Consiglieri

    The game wasn’t boring at all, it was just AWFUL, one of the most ugly games ever played. I think Eastern conference champion should have played against Western 6th or something like that. Cleveland is no close to be a real NBA finalist. SPURS were sucking al night, and they can’t win it, in CLEVELAND! Awful.

  • Consiglieri

    And the foul Bowen made to LBJ was a intend to make he go to the line to take only 2 free throws (he made de foul before LBJ start his shoot) and teherefore not giving him the chance to tie the game. The foul was obvious and intentional because it was better for the SPURS that way. In fact, when Bowen makes the foul and looks to the ref to call it, he leave LBJ to shoot without contesting… So, the non call was clearly against SPURS and could have give the CAVS the game (or at least a chance to agonize another 5 minutes).
    STOP WHINING, a much better TEAM in it’s wort night beat you. You should be in a corner, smoking and trying to forget. Don’t blame the refs for helping you if you can’t make the shoots.
    Sad but true.

  • sixthman6

    @ Allen P..I live in houston and am a rockets/spurs fan, so i’m definitely not trying to make a case for the Suns, I expected the Spurs to beat them anyway if it went 7…my point is the “judgement” calls are not always supposed to be made, especially not in the closing seconds of a game, just call what you see…i only brought up the Suns-SA series b/c the NBA made a big deal about how its about going by the book and not making a judgment call…as a basketball fan i don’t want to hear contradictions like that

  • sixthman6

    Another problem i see with this “judgment call” is what will happen next time…bowen didn’t accidently foul Lebron, the strategy was to intentionally foul, so if there is a similar situation later on Bowen is going to make sure Lebron hits the floor so the refs have no choice but to call it, then this brings on flagarant fouls, all because of these judgment calls, if refs don’t call weak intentional fouls then teams start fouling more aggressively..

  • laslo

    sixthman6: you are clueless. If the refs would have called the intentional effort on behalf of bowen, they would have called a two shot foul. The CAVS are imposters, THe playoffs should be reseeded regardless of Conferences. Who cares about east vs. west anyway? This is the year 2007, America doesn’t really work like that anymore. I rather see the best TWO teams go at it (or, at least, the two teams that survived a properly structured playoff), that way, when the SPURS win it all, you guys would stop complaining.
    GO SPURS GO – RING #4!

  • sixthman6

    How am i clueless? Because i dont let my emotions get in the way of my reasoning? Some people here argue based on who they like and want to win and therefore assume everyone argues the same way…but some people actually are fans of the game itself and just want to see it improved…

  • sixthman6

    I mentioned a shooting foul because i haven’t seen the replay and I remember JVG or mark saying it should have been and not because i wanted the Cavs to win…shooting foul or not my argument still stands because its based on the non-call and not what type of foul it should have been, i’m sure you thought (because of my post) that i was worried about Lebron getting fouled harder next time, but its an example, it could easily be TD next time, or anyone else, any team, and anytime in the future…

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