Links To The Present: May 12, 2010

May 12th, 2010 by Tom Pestak

Brian Windhorst questions the Cavs mental toughness in his podcast

“LeBron, you have always gone out with fire in your eyes, your finger on the trigger. You have been willing to take the criticism, even when you knew the Cavs had not supplied you with much support.  This is the most talent that you’ve had in your seven years with the Cavs. But so far, this is the worst series that you and your team have ever played in the postseason. The three losses have been by a total of 60 points, including being outscored by 50 points in the last two home games!” [Terry Pluto’s Letter to LeBron]

“The last two home playoff losses and the manner in which we lost these games does not come close to being anywhere near the high expectations all of us have of our organization. Our fans and supporters deserve more.” [Dan Gilbert from Brian Windhorst’s Interview]

“It has further become problematic that James has been disengaged during the games. Not only has he fallen into the trap of “letting the game come to him,” but he’s been increasingly distant. In huddles he’s looking at the ceiling or into the distance. It is not the James anyone on the team knows and his teammates and coaches have seen it. More problematic, they can’t explain it and that is making the entire locker room uneasy. ” [Brian Windhorst’s Beat Blog]

Brian Windhorst and Mary Schmitt Boyer break down the Cavs stunning loss in game 5

“In the Cavs’ locker room, and next door in the team family room, and upstairs in the coaches’ and executive offices, people who know James well are trying to figure it out. The truth is James’ teammates have never seen him in this type of mood before, so passive and reactionary. Not the outgoing, over-the-top leader they have come to follow no matter how it might look on television.  James’ family and friends are just as shell-shocked, whispering and wondering what they can do to help.” [Brian Windhorst special to ESPN]

“Then Rondo played the game of his life, and Pierce/Allen caught fire in Game 5, and suddenly it was halftime and I was sitting there thinking, “Holy s—, are we about to murder professional basketball in Cleveland????”” [Bill Simmons on Game 5]

“That still wasn’t as bad as Kobe’s shutdown in the second half of a Game 7 in Phoenix three years ago, when he went into sleep mode like an unattended computer and took only three shots. And LeBron’s never gone three years without winning a playoff series, as Kobe did from 2005 through 2007.  Those are now viewed as minor deviations on the upward arc of Bryant’s career. Since then (or should we say, since the arrival of Pau Gasol), he has won a championship, an MVP award and is four victories away from making his third consecutive trip to the Finals. As much outcry as it caused at the time, the Game 7 in Phoenix will not dominate the career wrap-up, if it even appears at all.  Magic choked at the ends of Games 2, 4 and 7 in the 1984 Finals, yet the balance of his career is so weighted by winning that it’s his auto-tuned voice you hear throughout the latest NBA commercial. When it looked as though he wouldn’t be able to recover from that 1984 meltdown he came back to win three of the next four championships.” [J.A. Adande on LeBron]

“I don’t get involved in what owners say,” he said. “That’s how he feels. As players, we go out there and it’s not like we’re not giving a great effort or trying to play hard. It’s not like we go out in a game and say, ‘Let’s not play hard for the fans.’ When you lose bad like that, we hurt just as much as they hurt. But as professionals, we’ve just got to play a little better.” [LeBron James interview from AP]

“People are even saying that this puts the Kobe-LeBron debate to rest. My response to this: look at the stats at the beginning of this post! Have you forgotten how badly Bryant played vs. Boston in the Finals 2 years ago? After those games, especially the elimination game in which the Lakers were whooped 131-92, people were saying that Kobe’s legacy was “tarnished forever”… Fast forward a year, and he was an NBA champion again, legacy stronger than ever. I know we have a tendency to be shortsighted and reactionary as a culture, but the same people criticizing LeBron James today have to look no further than Kobe Bryant’s history to see that one bad game against a strong defense is hardly enough to ruin someone’s legacy.” [Neil Paine]

“But please, spare us the assertion that after one bad night we know James has always had a permanent flaw. It’s just absurd, and amazingly some of it’s coming from the faithful in Cleveland. Twitter, Internet comments, my e-mail inbox, Facebook, all are loaded to the gills with talk that he’s doomed to mediocrity, psychologically deficient or was intentionally tanking.  As if those 69 playoff contests and 548 regular-season games were the aberration, and this one horrible night was the truth. As if the guy who scored 25 straight against the Pistons in a similar situation needs a lecture, from Twitter, on embracing the challenge.  Somebody should make a big list of all those people who think they now know James is a doomed player, and we’ll revisit in a decade.” [Henry Abbott]

“The Cavs are certainly in trouble. Giving a team as strong as Boston this sort of opportunity is dangerous. But because Boston has that opportunity and because LeBron didn’t produce in a critical Game 5 doesn’t mean James is a fraud. That’s a facile, unnuanced way of looking at the situation. The world just ain’t that simple, and neither is LeBron.” [Tom Ziller – Fanhouse]

“Thus, the most logical conclusion is that the elbow was a major factor and that it affected LeBron mentally as much as physically. We have one other data point to support us: his track record in this series. Since Game 5 of the Chicago series, James’ effectiveness has correlated directly with how much rest he had between games.” [John Hollinger on LeBron]

“If LeBron leaves the team, runs away from what happened, he’s leaving himself to be permanently damaged, he’d be branded a quitter.  If the Cavs lose this series and he leaves town, Lebron will be branded a quitter.” [Brian Windhorst on WKNR (transcript compiled by FearTheSword)]

Chad Ford goes off on his Twitter Account


Tweets To The Present (Follow me @tompestak)

LeBron also talked about elbow, hinting about plans, severity: “The elbow is an issue I’ll deal with in the offseason.” #cavs [Brian Windhorst]

Let’s say LeBron James does have a serious elbow injury that he shouldn’t be playing through. Will everyone who ripped him today apologize? [Kevin Pelton]

Brown on being tuned out: I thought today was a good film session. We’ll see (if they tuned me out). [George M. Thomas]

Hang in there Cavs Fans. -TP