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Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 at 11:12 am  |  30 responses

More Game 3

The NBA season ends in Cleveland

By Sam Rubenstein

It is sometime after 10 in the morning. Usually I’m up early writing something for this site, but not today. Blame the media hospitality area and my poor sense of direction. Lang and I were the only two people on the streets of Cleveland at 3:30 in the morning, wandering around trying to figure out where east becomes west. If I were to extend that to an NBA metaphor, I would say something about how in the 2007 NBA, east never meets west. West smothers the life out of east, and it’s not pretty.

Lang posted the live game notes he was working on during last night’s game, but since it’s the Finals, everything is bigger so you get double coverage. These are some supplemental thoughts, coming from someone that has never been to the NBA Finals before.

PREGAME:

There was excitement and electricity from the fans in the air. Let’s try to remember that. They had hope. And thousands of t-shirts with phrases like “Got Boobie? We do.” My favorite bootleg t-shirt of the day was a Cavalier uniform on the grim reaper. It turns out that it was some kind of tribute to SLAM art director Stephen Goggi’s favorite band, My Chemical Romance. I do not listen to their music, but I can tell you that the emotional feeling of this city right now is like being at the black parade.

Inside the locker rooms, the media throng earned its reputation as a throng. Not much personal space. Here’s your insider snitch report: Ira Newble walked by LeBron, and they gave each other a pound. No lingering hostility from the whole Darfur petition situation there.

Lang already wrote about this, but when I heard David Stern say “Holy Moses!” it was a great moment. Sometimes when you meet a public figure, they aren’t in character and it can be a letdown. Stern played the David Stern role perfectly. I haven’t been that impressed since I saw Redman smoking back to back to back blunts in the back of a rap club 10 years ago.

Our pre-game meal was full of laughter and overindulgence in free food. This is turning into a very dangerous trend.

We got to our seats just in time for the pre-game FIREBOMBS. The ovation when LeBron’s name announced was actually deafening. There were goosebumps. Great work there Cleveland fans!

THE GAME:

Yeah, well… Duncan missed long stretches with foul trouble, and other than a hot start he never did much himself. He set up teammates well, but didn’t have a dominating game. Manu did nothing for the first 47 minutes on offense. Tony Parker was spotty. Big Z was energetic and on the attack, trying to get Duncan into foul trouble. The Cavs were dominating the glass. LeBron was not afraid to attack Bruce Bowen, and throw a superstar elbow now and then. He also did a great job of finding wide open teammates behind the three point line.

So how did the Cavs lose this game?

Because their shooters could not shoot straight. BOOBIE! There is going to be a massive T-shirt bonfire later tonight. Now I know why there is a huge smoke stack outside of the hotel.

Something else that Lang mentioned quickly, that will not translate through writing, but needs to be brought up again: Fabrrrrrrrrrricccciooo Oberrrrrtto. Say that name to yourself with the deepest tone and most over the top R-rolling Spanish accent you can. We were begging for Oberto to score or pick up a foul or something just to hear the announcer say his name.

And so, the game came down to the Cavs having a chance to take the big shot. LeBron gave the ball up to Varaejo, expecting to get it back. A guy nicknamed “Sideshow” felt like with the season on the line in the NBA Finals, it might be a smart idea for a hustle and defense and charge-taking role player to attack one of the premier shot blockers in the game with 13 seconds left on the shot clock. The look on LeBron’s face was, dare I say, Jordanesque. I could feel the heat daggers burning into Anderson from the back row of the press box.

The Cavs had their chance to tie with a three. Bruce Bowen went to foul to send LeBron to the line and stop the Cavs from taking the three. The refs decided to just wrap up the inevitable early. He should have passed the ball to Donyell Marshall in the corner anyways. LeBron, so selfish taking that shot for himself. I am kidding. Guess what? The Spurs are the better team. Pretty funny that they didn’t call the foul when the Spurs were clearly fouling for strategy.

And finally a thought on Mike Brown’s coaching, which will use a Sopranos finale analogy. It’s like Mike Brown is David Chase and LeBron is the viewing public. Brown gives him a blank screen and it’s up to LeBron to figure it out for himself.

POSTGAME:

Lots of hanging around, seeing the faces you’d expect to see, drinking/eating for free, working hard. Vegas > Cleveland. Yeah I said it!!!

We’re going to practice in about an hour. Congrats to the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, although we’ve known they would be champions ever since game 5 against the Suns, which feels like about 8 months ago.

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  • tsmooth

    first

  • tike

    Yo Sam i like that Sopranons David Chase with Mike Brown…Nice….but the spurs are certainly the better team.

  • MacMittens

    If Danny Ferry the GM has any sense, he’d get ride of everyone but LeBron, and get guys like Mike Miller, Vlad Rad, Matt Carroll, and Jason Kapono. This way Lebron can still do it all, but average 15 to 20 dime and Mike Brown will still get credit he doesn’t deserve. No other player in the league can lead these group of “NBA” players to the Finals, all other superstars would have demanded a trade already even KG, these guys are that bad. Ricky Davis, Mike James and Randy Foye are an upgrade from ANYONE else they have on their roster not named The King.

  • OneShot

    We can only hope Boobie bounces back.

  • H to the izzo

    I would like to know more about the beef between Lang and Stern.Anybody want to start a pool to what Stern says next(assuming you run into him again)

  • Co Co

    Are you implying Andy isn’t a better option than LeBron?

  • http://espn.com Reggie Evans

    Mike Brown is funny looking.

  • http://espn.com Reggie Evans

    Also, sweet block of Duncan by LeBron in the 1Q. He left Duncan slapping/massaging his own head after the block as if to erase the memory of it.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    anyone watched the post game interview last night? TD was actually not a stiff, surprisingly. when asked if he feels lebron hasn’t been imposing himself more, timmy said “we are a pretty good defensive team. it doesn’t matter if he tries to impose more or not, we are gonna stay in front of him and stick with the game plan.”
    i thought cavs (or should i say lebrons) was gonna make it a more interesting final than pistons would, but turns out i was way wrong. cavs are just way too green. pistons would at least implode in a more intriging fashion.

  • Rod Strickland

    No way that guy is more over the top with the pronounciation of a Spanish name than ESPNEWS’ Kirk Gimenez. It is not possible.

  • Bryant Reeves

    Vegas>Cleveland. Spurs>Cavs. West>East. Slam’s coverage of NBA finals >>> ESPN + SI. Keep up the great work.

  • Boing Dynasty

    You know LeBron is sick of people saying hes not clutch when he says “i expected to get it back”, 3 times in less than 10 seconds.

  • The Bro Report

    worst finals ever … i think timmy is as bored as i am …

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    He expected to get it back? fine. Did sideshow expect to get the pass? can’t blame him for the lbj. you wanted the ball back you shouldn’t have passed the ball. rise up and take the shot, get fouled or miss but at least you know you did your best. that what kobe would have done (wwkd)

  • jon wiener

    i like the redman reference…beautiful. lebron got fouled, but did varejao really do that? i dvr’d like 4 times to make sure. my sister even flipped out

  • DubsGonDoIt

    I wish this post would have been more about witnessing Redman smoke 3 blunts back-to-back-to-back & less about the finals.

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

    RISE UP OUTTA HERE, i think mike brown have took the “defense wins chips” a little too seriously, although cavs did a good job on their defense, worth mentioning lebron getting timmy on his blind side[oooo "KING"james] & also they showed the lowest score ever frm both team combined in the finals[i forgot the teams]145, they jus cracked it by 2 pts. NICE. & Khalid[some say Khaled] i SO agree.

  • sixthman6

    Lebron wastes time, he always waits until crunch time to take over, or try to…he said after game 1 that he usually doesnt play well early in a series because he has to get a feel for the defense and then comes back with adjustments the next game…why can he not adjust from play to play? He would rather waste a whole game..

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Sam, you are one FUNNY dude. Laughed out loud three times in there. Which is also about how many times I laughed at your once-great baseball team during the Dodger-Met game that provided nice fodder when the Finals were in commercials.

  • rob stewart

    LeBron just looked like he really didn’t want to shoot it. Maybe because he missed his previous shot attempts. I know Kobe would have pulled the jumper anyway and made it. LeBron is still learning.

  • rbx

    Pop should just run plays for Mike Finley in the 2nd half of game 4. He might go for 50.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    I got a text message from a Mets fan friend during the game informing me of the backtobacktoback home runs. I liked it better when the Mets were doing that, not having it happen to them. Saw the highlight of Kuo showboating like Manny.
    I suppose LeBron should never have given that ball up. Especially not to Varaejo. But there were still 13 seconds on the shot clock. That was such a bad play all around.

  • http://espn.com Reggie Evans

    I expected to get it back.

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

    the real question is what kind of blunts was redman smoking? and did you help him…… get rid of the evidence???

  • Allenp

    Khalid’s right. that pass was stupid. he had the jumper in the lane when he made the fake to the middle. He passed because he was expecting a double team, not because it actually came. if they don’t double hard, you have to shoot that.

  • Noyd

    This Cavs team reminds me of the ’01 Sixers team, in that they each had one super star and a bunch of role players/scrubs surrounding him as well as a much better ovall opponent… Although E Snow at that time was in his prime defenively and could hit a jump shot 20% of the time, and Aaron McKie was 6th man of the year….Only difference is AI’s desire to win, which lead them to win one game…But, on the other hand, Lebron is only 22, so he should have a few more cracks at it…I was watching that ’01 game on ESPN classic this weekend, and AI had to have been the player with the most stamina ever to play the game…Sorry guys, just a Sixers fan reminiscing about the good ‘ole days…

  • Analboy

    Worst Finals ever ! The least Stern could do is give Lebron the Wade treatment.
    Truly this decade will go down as the time of the asteriskk champion!

  • Analboy

    Noyd – that Sixers team was pretty decent actually – one superstar and lots of pretty good defensive role players, which really is the only kind of role player that makes sense with Iverson as your superstar.

    LeBrons supporting cast isn’t that bad either – apart from the Spurs and the Suns (and Miami maybe) who’s got a better one ? Garnett ? Dirk ? Kobe ? Bosh ?

  • Chukaz

    New Mexico > Cleveland?
    I don’t think so. Damn you NM, land of sand.

  • tike

    STRAWBERRY PHILLIE, “BOTH TEAMS PLAY HARD”

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