Links: SLAM Un-Covers

by May 29, 2009

by Lang Whitaker

So I think Stan Van Gundy finally just sent someone to double-team LeBron.

Just remember: Two years ago in the Conference Finals against Detroit, the Pistons were tied 2-2 with the Cavs, when LeBron took over in Game 5 and scored the last 25 points for Cleveland, including 29 of Cleveland’s last 30.

Then last night, in Game 5, LeBron brought the Cavs back from down 8 in the fourth to win. This included a run in the third and fourth where Bron either scored or assisted on 32 consecutive Cavs points. Again, LeBron scored or assisted on 32 consecutive Cavs points.

And just the heck of it, he scored one-on-one against Mickael Pietrus about five times in a row.

Bron finished with 37, 14 and 12, the first player to post at least 37, 14 and 12 in a Playoff game since Oscar Robertson in 1963.

(And in case you’re dumb and you had any doubts about LeBron’s strength, consider the play last night where Bron drove into Dwight Howard and they collided in mid-air for Howard’s sixth foul. Howard flew back about five feet on that play. Yes, Bron had a head of steam going, but if I ran into Dwight Howard going full speed, I’m pretty sure I’d hit the deck and Dwight wouldn’t move. LeBron went through Dwight Howard like he was Shawn Bradley.)

All day yesterday on Twitter, I saw a steady stream of notes and comments about LeBron—that he was choking, that he was overrated, that Kobe’s better than him. These were all wrong. I’ve been saying this the last few months but I think it bears repeating: LeBron is playing the most complete basketball we’ve seen in the NBA since Michael Jordan. Love him or hate him, he’s amazing.

Because the Lakers played so well in Game 5, and because the Lakers are more experienced and have a more talented team, one through twelve, than Denver, I’m going to pick Denver to win Game 6 tonight. The Lakers have been so maddeningly inconsistent that I have no idea what to expect tonight, other than they’ll probably do what I don’t expect them to do. I think they might win tonight, catch Denver off-guard and come out firing. So Denver will probably win by 20.

• Russ posted this on Twitter (via someone and retweeting someone, etcetera and so on), and it’s pretty great…

• Not much else to talk about today, except for this bright idea I had late last night. Next week we’ll be debuting the latest cover of SLAM, when we drop SLAM issue 130. Of course, I can’t talk about who the new cover of SLAM is going to feature. But I can talk about who is not going to be on the cover of SLAM 130.

So this morning I came up with a couple of mock rejected cover concepts for SLAM 130, and our creative director, Melissa Brennan, put these together for us.

Again, here are three covers of SLAM 130 that you will not see on newsstands. I’ll try to do this each month just before our new covers drop…