In just one game, LeBron James' legacy took a monstrous fall.
It may have only been one game, but it was the biggest game of the season for Cleveland, and maybe the biggest game of LeBron's career. However, LeBron was a total no show! I'm still convinced that was not LeBron James wearing number 23 for the Cleveland Cavaliers last night.
That guy wearing number 23 last night was not aggressive, showed no emotion, and no intensity. The guy looked lost, like he had never been on a basketball court before. The guy was dribbling the ball off his feet! We know the elbow is just fine; he proved that in Game Three.
So what was LeBron's problem?
Yes, we have to give the Celtics a lot of credit. They did a great job of defending James and closing the inside.
With that said, this is LeBron we are talking about.
His jump shot last night was just God awful. He had many great looks, but he wasn't even close on most of his shots. James didn't score his first field goal until halfway through the third quarter, and that was on a break away dunk. He finished just 3-14 for 15 points! LeBron shot the ball just 14 times in the biggest game of the series? Two of the three field goals were lay ins!
Cleveland started out strong. They led 23-20 at the end of one. They jumped up to a 29-21 lead early in the second quarter. The Cavs had Boston's back against the wall at home. Instead of maybe LeBron taking over, Boston went on a 16-0 run on the road at Quicken Loans Arena! That is just totally unacceptable!
LeBron looked to be just trying to get his teammates involved. That's great, but only to a certain point. There was a time when the two time MVP should have taken over, but it never happened.
Boston was only up by six points at half, even with James failing to hit from the floor. Cleveland was far from out of it.
Unfortunately, the second half was ugly. Boston outscored Cleveland 70-44 in the second half.
I think it's safe to say now: LeBron is not who we thought he was. He's no longer the "King". He's not the savior or the next Michael Jordan. After last night's performance, LeBron should be stripped of his MVP award.
Last night was just unacceptable for LeBron or any MVP. If the award can't be taken away, James should have just came out and gave it Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant.
It's ridiculous to think that LeBron could win a championship simply by himself, but he's come close. In 2007 he single handily took the Cavs to the NBA Finals, highlighted by his 25 consecutive points in Game 5 vs. Detroit. After that round, Cleveland then went on to get swept by San Antonio.
In 2008, LeBron was a couple of shots away from upsetting these same Boston Celtics in a Game 7 at Boston.
Of course last year, LeBron and the Cavs seemingly ran into a brick wall when they were ousted by the Orlando Magic.
But this season LeBron had the best supporting cast of his career. It's easy to say now that the Celtics are just a better team than Cleveland, but by a 32 point margin on Cleveland's home court? Boston just might be better now than in 2008. They're healthy and Rondo is far and away the most improved player in the game, probably even one of the top five best players in the NBA.
I've said it before, give Doc Rivers a lot of credit. His team faced many injuries and struggled throughout the season. He kept the team just above water, knowing all they had to do was play .500 basketball and they'd be in the playoffs. Now they're peaking at the perfect time.
We measure greatness by championships. Last night showed us that LeBron James does not have the determination, the willingness, or the killer instinct to be a champion. We saw Jordan, Olajuwon, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, and Wade take their teams and the pressure on their backs and will them to victory.
After this season, James will still be ringless. A ring may seem farther away from LeBron now than ever.
As of now, LeBron fits in the same category as Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash. All remarkable NBA players, but just not champions.
Dare I say it, but LeBron's not much different than what a healthy Tracy McGrady could have become.
Just how bad was LeBron's performance last night?
Nobody is giving Cleveland any kind of chance of winning Game Six on the road. LeBron has one final chance to win back respect, but nobody sees it happening. Where LeBron will play next year is already the most popular question today, not "Can Cleveland win Game Six?"
Now the misery continues for the city Cleveland. LeBron will most likely be out and Head Coach Mike Brown is done. The franchise is dead, and they still have a Game Six to play on Thursday. Even by some miracle (yes, it's come to that) the Cavs are able to come back and win this series, there's no way Cleveland is getting by Orlando.
Last night could have even cost LeBron a lot of money. Do you think the Knicks and Bulls might be a little skeptical of LeBron's capabilities? They might both be gunning for Dwayne Wade now.