It may have been expected that LeBron James would somehow be involved in the Eastern Conference Finals this year, but the Celtics showed all those who doubted them, that they deserved to be there Sunday. Boston handed the Magic their first loss of the post-season, with a 92-88 victory on the Magic’s home court in Orlando.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers had everything working properly as they dismantled the Suns with a lesson in how to run the triangle offense effectively. Kobe Bryant, despite rumors of a bum knee, finished with 40 points, his sixth consecutive game with thirty or more. Lamar Odom also added 19 points and 19 rebounds as the Lakers won 128-107.
Check out the sneakers from the first games of the Conference Finals below.
Keving Garnett in the adidas TS Supernatural Commander PE.
Rajon Rando wearing the Nike Hyperfuse.
Ray Allen in the Jordan Icons PE drives past Matt Barnes in the adidas TS Supernatural Commander.
Grant Hill in the Nike Hyperize.
Steve Nash in the Nike Cradle Rock Low.
Derek Fisher in the Nike Zoom Kobe V iD.
Lamar Odom in the Nike Zoom Kobe V iD.
Pau Gasol in the Nike Hyperize, drives past Amare Stuodemire in the Nike KD II.
Kobe Bryant dunks in the Nike Zoom Kobe V.
A closer look at Kobe Bryant’s Nike Zoom Kobe V.
Shock? Sadness? Disappointment? All three of those words apply to the general feeling in Cleveland today. A city that has been hit with so many heartbreaking sports defeats has suffered their latest. Last night, the Boston Celtics eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers from the NBA Playoffs with a 94-85 win in the TD Garden. Behind another fantastic performance from point guard Rajon Rondo, the Celtics were once again able to extend a close halftime lead and make the James Gang play a game of comeback.
Early, Cavaliers looked like an improved team from the squad that took the court in game 5. LeBron was more aggressive, Mo Williams had his best outing of the series, and Anderson Varejao frustrated the Celtics with his scrappy play. Even with this improved play, Cleveland committed several costly turnovers that usually translated to points for Boston off Rajon Rondo fast breaks. Despite the fact that Cleveland still didn’t look much like the team that secured the NBA’s best regular season record, they were only down 2 at the half. A very manageable margin for the Cavs.
That proved to be true when Cleveland reclaimed the lead to start the second half on a Shaq layup and Anthony Parker three-pointer. The lead was short-lived though, as Boston got big plays from Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett to push their own lead to 12 with 2:15 left to play in the 3rd. Cleveland started the 4th quarter with a 9 point deficit to make up, which was quickly cut to 4 when LeBron hit back-to-back pull up three-pointers. There was an eerie feeling in the building as if a sleeping giant had awoken. However, the Celtics showed championship resilience, weathered LeBron’s storm, and pushed the lead back to 14. When all was said and done, the Celtics won by a 94-85 margin and started mentally preparing for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.
For LeBron, this summer will be career defining. As Nick pointed out yesterday, his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers is now finished. Will he stay in Cleveland and try to bring a NBA championship back to his hometown? Will he bolt to New York to play under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden? Will he take his show to Chicago, and try to follow in the legendary footsteps of Michael Jordan? Is there an unexpected destination that will surprise us all? Stay tuned. This one is far from over, folks.
images via Yahoo
LeBron James has essentially been the savior for Cleveland professional sports ever since the Cavaliers were lucky enough to land him with the first pick in the draft in 2003. All throughout the season there has been speculation from everyone under the sun that the superstar is ready to head for the Big Apple as soon as he hits free agency at the end of the season.
With the Cavs facing elimination against the Celtics tonight, basketball fans will be glued to the game in a couple hours, hoping to see what’s next for King James. While Cleveland fans hope for a game seven, and some new life in the step of their prized possession, New York fans are hoping LeBron’s poor performance in game five was an early sign that he is tired of The Forest City.
For those out there questioning LeBron’s commitment, remember you can count the number of bad games he has had on one hand. For seven years in the league, that’s a very silencing statistic, even to the loudest of down-talkers.
LeBron is a competitor who hates to lose. Not even the temptations of one of the world’s most impressive cities can change that. LeBron wants to win, and a bad game is no reason to question that.
How important is LeBron James to the city of Cleveland, or maybe more importantly, to the NBA?
First remember, no matter what he chooses to do at the end of the season, LeBron will go on to be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Regardless of where he chooses to play, he will continue to be one of the best in the league. Great players have succeeded by both sticking with their team (think Michael Jordan in Chicago), and by choosing to move to a bigger market (think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaving Milwaukee).
For Cleveland and its fans, life without LeBron would be hard to swallow. This season would likely feel like a repeat of the 1992 playoffs, the recovery time just might take a little longer. It would however create a new disdain and rivalry with the Knicks.
Then consider, that the best thing for the NBA as a whole would likely be a cross country rivalry between the two biggest stages in the US, Los Angeles and New York, LeBron versus Kobe, Knicks versus Lakers.
Or maybe all of this speculation is exactly that, and despite all the anticipation and doubters, it is simply a game. Albeit a game basketball fans won’t want to miss.
With three of the four NBA Playoff series already finished up in lopsided victories, the Cavaliers and Celtics have become the focus of more than just the basketball world. LeBron and the Cavaliers seem to be crumbling apart while the veteran team from Boston seems to be calmly marching on to victory. Will it be the Celtics or the Cavaliers?
Whichever team you cheer for in the NBA, adidas Originals has Court Series Track Jackets that are a great way to show support for your team during these cool spring evenings.
Available now: adidas Originals NBA Court Series Track Jacket
Looking like a heavyweight fighter after a 12 round bout with his biggest opponent, Steve Nash finally led the Suns past the San Antonio Spurs in a playoff series. In ten of the last nineteen seasons these two teams have met in the playoffs, yet Phoenix had never beaten the Spurs with Nash at the helm. That changed Sunday, as Nash took an elbow to the right eye from Tim Duncan that left him viewing the game through one eye for much of the second half. Despite the injury, Nash looked like the MVP of old as the Suns completed the four game sweep of the Spurs, and now await the outcome of the Lakers versus Jazz series, which is also looking like a sweep is in the future.
In the East, Rajon Rondo led the Celtics past the Cavaliers in Boston to even up the series at two games apiece. Rondo finished with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, a number only matched by two other players in NBA Playoff history — Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain. Down in Atlanta, the Hawks looked to hand the Orlando Magic their first loss of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, but the Magic aren’t quite ready to lose. Orlando won by 30 and will look to finish off the Hawks tonight in game four of the series.
Josh Smith shoots a jump hook wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Commander PE.
Mike Bibby shoots a jumper while wearing the Jordan CP3.III PE over Jameer Nelson, wearing the Reebok Takin’ Krazy II.
Dwight Howard shoots over Josh Smith, both wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Commander PE.
Rashard Lewis in the Nike Air Max A Lot, defended by Joe Johnson in the Jordan Jumpman Pro.
Kobe Bryant shoots a floater in the Nike Zoom Kobe V Playoff.
Carlos Boozer, wearing the Nike Air Max Hyperize PE, battles with Pau Gasol in the Nike Hyperize PE.
Amare Stoudemire (left) in the Nike KD II.
Steve Nash in the Nike Cradle Rock Low.
Kevin Garnett in the adidas TS Supernatural Commander PE.
Glenn Davis celebrating in the Air Jordan 9 Anniversary Edition.
LeBron James in the Nike LeBron VII PS.
Entertainer John Legend, an Ohio native, came out to watch the Cavs wearing the Jordan L’Style One.