Links To The Present: May 12, 2010

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

IT’S NOT A FUN TIME TO BE A CAVS FAN

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

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47 Comments on "Links To The Present: May 12, 2010"

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David
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David
2010-05-13 6:27 pm EDT

Okay LeBron, you hit the threes, they have to respect it. NOW GO TO THE HOLE.

omnikaush
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omnikaush
2010-05-13 1:14 pm EDT

I still believe… Go Cavs!

Robin
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Robin
2010-05-13 1:01 pm EDT

Agreed Rich. Shaq-Perkins is a great matchup for Boston. Few guys defend Shaq better, and the other end is not so meaningful because they won’t run plays through Perkins. The only concern there is not losing him and giving up dunks. (And I don’t really see Shaq helping our team defense.)

Varejao looked much better in game 5. He NEEDS to play much more if we’re gonna compete. And I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Big Z out there as he can help open up the paint a little bit. Hickson can play if he rebounds and we run.

A loss tonight would be so tough because I’ve already mourned our season after game 5. My expectations are still low. But of course there is a part of me that refuses to believe we could go out like this. And if we do, it’s going to hurt just as much, all over again.

RBD
Guest
RBD
2010-05-13 12:43 pm EDT

Rich – you should be coaching this Cavs team. Or at least setting the rotations. As a Celtics fan, the things I’m most worried about are the things you’re suggesting here.

Rich
Guest
Rich
2010-05-13 12:08 pm EDT
The one thing we should see tonight, but won’t because MIke Brown is afraid to do it. Go small. Start Hickson for Shaq and Delonte for Parker and even Jamario for Mo and let LeBron run the point with Delonte occassionally hopping it. Our advantage over this Celtics team is speed and athletecism, and we aren’t using it at all. It was the advantage coming in. It’s how we torched them in February in Boston. However, I realize it won’t happen as I’ve been asking them to go small all year and Mike Brown is simply to afraid to play basketball an unconventional way. The reason this would work is because of the type of player Kendrick Perkins is. He will not punish you on offense even if guarded by a smaller man like Hickson. he doesn’t have the skill set. His big plus is on defense, but he is slow footed. Playing Shaq against him plays right into what Boston wants. Playing HIckson against him forces a speed and athletic mismatch on one end, and a size and strength mis match on the other except Kendrick Perkins isn’t good enough on offense to expose it. Just like the Celtics… Read more »
Chip P
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Chip P
2010-05-13 12:05 pm EDT

Anyone else recall the 2007 ALCS?

Time to return the favor to Boston… in front of their dirty, bandwagon fans.

Jarrod
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Jarrod
2010-05-13 11:47 am EDT
I’m not going to apologize for admitting that, if I were at game 5, I too would have booed. It’s one thing to get beat by a veteran club in the playoffs by a significant amount. It’s another to not show up, compete, or even play hard. Hearing Abbott compare this to those 90’s Blazer teams is a joke. Dude has no clue what it’s like being a fan of Cleveland sports. It’s been nothing but heartbreak for the past half-century, and finally… just finally when it seems like we have a real chance to win one, the team comes out and doesn’t even play hard. Games like this happen… statistically. But, there are certain vital signs you can check to see if there is any fire. 1) They were killed on the boards. The Cavs led the entire league in rebounding differential. The last two games they have been minus 16 on the boards. 2) They didn’t close out on shots. 2 years ago, we played this same team with younger legs and a supporting cast around LeBron that was half as talented as this group (Pavlovic, Gibson, and Szczerbiak were all getting significant minutes). That team competed. They… Read more »
comrade brad
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comrade brad
2010-05-13 11:12 am EDT

Those shots by LBJ weren’t even close — but if you play ball, that happens all the time. (Some of us more than others — Lebron less so than pretty much every other player.)

Point is, he kept forcing it up outside instead of driving, moving off the ball, and creating some havoc for defenders who have to watch him even when he’s not on. If your shot isn’t on, then just facilitate. If MB was a good coach (or, really, a coach) he’d have started running some post-ups for Twan, some PnRs and corner dives for Mo, etc. etc.

Co Co
Guest
2010-05-13 10:36 am EDT

Just out of curiosity, do any of you Cavs fans think Mike Brown should stop trying to force the issue with Shaq and just roll with the guys who got them to 61 wins? I know he’s played well in spurts, but if there’s the slightest chance chemistry is an issue, then maybe they should go back to the old rotation. What say you?

MAMBA24
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MAMBA24
2010-05-13 10:23 am EDT
****THE PRINCESS JIMMY SONG*** Princess Jimmy, Princess Jimmy, just one more time, let me see you Shimmy Please tell me, is there a chance, That for LTLF, you’ll do the Riverdance You don’t like it ,when you lose, I guess David Stern, don’t care who he screws. They all told you, you were the best, But Paula said, you’re a Freakin Pest One more time throw, smoke in the air, If you lose like MJ will you cut off all your hair I guess you’ll have to go back to the US team, if yoyu want to stay relevant I mean Maybe more Kobe, moves you can steal, Dosen’t matter you have no heart for the Kill I bought some Milk the other day, Saw your face on the carton, sid you’d run away Princess Jimmy please tell me, are you & Shaq still enjoying sweet Harmony. Get ready for the big blast, If you lose Shaq will tell you to taste his @zz. never thought that, it would end this way, Princess Jimmy have you nothing more to say. The sad thing, You know is true, All the world was a witness to your BOOBOO You put the wrap… Read more »
Sam
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Sam
2010-05-13 9:43 am EDT

Pete-I think the first quarter is the quarter. Then again, in game 5 it wasn’t until right after halftime that things went Pluto Nash.

Squiggles
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Squiggles
2010-05-13 9:01 am EDT

Simmons BS Report with Windy today (recorded yesterday) is freaking great. Windy rules.

Colin Zvosec
Guest
2010-05-13 8:51 am EDT

I just hope that there is no doubt in the outcome of the game by the time the last 4 minutes rolls around… whether that means the Cavs are winning or losing. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle a close game with what’s on the line here.

Pete
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Pete
2010-05-13 8:51 am EDT

Anyone feel like the game tonight will be one in the first quarter or first half. Like we either get rolling and get up and stay up, or Celtics do and we’re playing catch up again. If we get down early I feel like it might be over, given what our offensive production has looked like lately.

Eric
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Eric
2010-05-13 8:45 am EDT

The Daily Dime is analyzing Game 6 from noon ’til tip-off. It’s depressing knowing this could be the end of it all for Cleveland.

Vorax
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Vorax
2010-05-13 8:44 am EDT

Stern and Bron had better sleep well on their filthy lucre made from broken dreams and lies.

Benjamin
Guest
2010-05-13 8:35 am EDT

The game is bigger the LeBron. The Cleveland market will not generate as much revenue and does not have as much history as Lakers/Celtics. Control of the money is what’s up here. LeBron was issued a directive by “the powers that be” and he had to obey. He doesn’t know how to lose intentionally, that’s why it was so obvious if you’re paying attention.

Dave
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Dave
2010-05-13 8:24 am EDT

Teams up 3-2 may have gone on to win the series 80 ‘sum percent of the time, but 100% of the time, LeBron wasn’t on the other team.

Squiggles
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Squiggles
2010-05-13 8:11 am EDT

Release the effort. Seriously. Put something on the court other than a steaming pile of meh.

Nathan
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Nathan
2010-05-13 7:42 am EDT

Release The Kraken.

Pete
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Pete
2010-05-13 7:42 am EDT

IMO, you gotta watch. I couldn’t imagine sitting there knowing there was a game going on and not watching it. Could be a train wreck, could be something glorious. You lose more if you miss it and we win, than you do if you watch it and we lose.

p
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p
2010-05-13 6:52 am EDT

don’t watch it will be too painful. bye bye basketball in cleveland.

Chris UK
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Chris UK
2010-05-13 6:39 am EDT

I don’t know whether to watch the game or not tonight.

Should I watch and witness the depressing destruction of the Cavs as we know them or turn if off and potentially miss one of the greatest F-YOU come backs of all time.

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Robin
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Robin
2010-05-13 6:02 am EDT

Great job on the links, Tom. This has been an interesting time since pretty much every NBA writer has felt the need to weigh in. I was actually really impressed with Bill Simmons’ column. He always says a couple of bone-headed things (yes, the best PG is still Chris Paul or Deron Williams–and it’s Chris Paul), but in general he was just on.

And I just want to say for the record that I have no problem with the booing. You earn a bad reaction like that with a bad game. What you don’t earn is the condemnation of your whole personality/professionalism, and the (stated) permanent abandonment of fans.

Squiggles
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Squiggles
2010-05-13 5:57 am EDT

I’m starting to get pretty pumped about this game. I hate the NBA so much.

David
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David
2010-05-13 4:00 am EDT

Remember the commercial, about Lebron’s first game, and he just holds the ball and stands there, and everyone is staring at him…and then he laughs and starts to play basketball.

Now that that’s happened in REAL LIFE IN THE PLAYOFFS, PLEASE LAUGH AND START TO PLAY BASKETBALL…

Please tell me this is theatre. I WILL forgive you.

Good luck.

Colin Zvosec
Guest
2010-05-13 3:52 am EDT

Tonight’s game is going to have an odd feel to it. Normally, in this kind of situation, all the pressure would be on the home team to close out the higher seed, so that they won’t have to win the series on the road.

But after what Boston has done to Cleveland in Cleveland, I really don’t think the Celtics will feel any pressure at all.

We’ll see if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Joseph
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Joseph
2010-05-13 3:50 am EDT

The CAVS have tried to turn into this super serious, on a mission team in the playoffs. We are not the Spurs. We need to be loose and have fun. On the bench the dancing, the hand shakes…. That is a part of the SWAG that turns the team on…. The team cant win in super serious mode like everyone else. They should do what they did all season.

A.
Guest
A.
2010-05-13 1:52 am EDT

Yesterday I went to the get an x-ray in my knee, and my doctor, this nerdy looking guy, comes and immediately asks me: “Cleveland or Boston?” I reply “Cleveland”. And he just sighs and I am starting to fear that he will break down in tears as he recalls LeBron’s performance for the duration of the examination. This just goes to show how Bron playing terribly has affected many people all around the world. By the way, I live in France. Before I left he said “We must not lose faith, I believe he will come through for us in these next two games.” All I could do was smile and agree. I still don’t know how he knew that I was a basketball fan and more specifically a fan of one of those 2 teams. He must have a way of seeing people’s fandom, the same way he has the ability to see into people’s knees. Go Cavs!

TR
Guest
TR
2010-05-12 10:05 pm EDT

Flyers forced game 7 from 0-3 against the Bruins. Let’s help give Boston the worst sports weekend in history.

SoDark
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SoDark
2010-05-12 9:51 pm EDT

these past 27 hours had been the toughest 27hours in my life… A real painful torture for me, and probably lots of cavs fans as well.
Bodog odds have it at celtics -1, and i just placed a $500 bet on the celtics…
If Cavs win game 6, I would not even remember about losing the $500.
If Cavs ….lost……, I will buy myself an iPad. I will still be sad, but at least i will have an iPad…
If Celtics …..won…… by 1 pt, well, then i will know god hate cleveland as well as me.
I still believe that Cavs will win the championship this year, but having an iPad as an insurance help ease my mind a bit.
Hopefully i will find the courage to turn on my TV tomorrow.
ALL TOGETHER, CAVS FANS!!!!

Rich
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Rich
2010-05-12 9:42 pm EDT

This is such a wierd moment in time. I talked to people today who pay 0 attention to sports, and yet they knew all about the collapse last night. This game, and this day, have somehow resonated past just sports and into the mainstream of everything. This is LeBrons toughest hour by a long shot in his profressional career and his reponse tommorow night is going to be absolute must see tv. I personnally can’t wait. He either truly damages his reputation, or builds upon his legend. A monsterous game for LeBron James the likes o which we’ve never seen, and the entire country is wondering about it.

P.D.Parr
Guest
2010-05-12 9:37 pm EDT

Yeah, these articles kept coming today. I’m with Rich about the strangeness of the day. All morning I felt gloomy, and just as I was about to get out of it, Simmons unloads his retro-diary, and I’m back into it again. Great to hear others trying to keep the faith.

Eric
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Eric
2010-05-12 9:07 pm EDT

“believe-land”

Rich
Guest
Rich
2010-05-12 8:49 pm EDT

Yea I thought the Kelly Dwyer article was dumb. It’s ok for people on here to speculate, but for a journalist to speculate that a player is actually tanking the game is beyond stupid. Granted, we have seen this before. Kobe obviously did it against the Suns way back when.

Z-Money
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Z-Money
2010-05-12 8:44 pm EDT

The Kelly Dwyer article is so ridiculous I almost think it’s an attempt at sarcasm or facetiousness.

Z-Money
Guest
Z-Money
2010-05-12 8:41 pm EDT

As the good ol’ optimist on cavs.com always says
“keep the faith” cavs fans…

Chip P
Guest
Chip P
2010-05-12 7:58 pm EDT

It’s nice to hear the optimism from Cavs fans as the day has gone on — I suppose it’s because we have no other choice.

The drama that has unfolded from the “LeBacle” has lead into a big storyline — one that could unfold into an even bigger story IF the Cavaliers manage to knock of the Celtics in Boston. The Celtics that we hate, in front of their bandwagon fans that we hate. HELL YES.

So, let’s give this faith thing a try, for at least one game (for now).

GO CAVALIERS.

Rich
Guest
Rich
2010-05-12 7:57 pm EDT

I also suspect LeBron goes off. But the question we all need to be prepared to ask and asnwer is this: What if he doesn’t? Worse yet, what if he goes 2-10 and seems totally uninterested again? Will it be ok for the city of Cleveland to officially leave him out to dry? Should we forgive him? What? See, I’ve been preparing for that question since game 2, when I saw a LeBron I didn’t recognize..it’s only built up from there.

Robbie
Guest
2010-05-12 7:41 pm EDT

I’m with Abbott on this one. This series isn’t over, and if LeBron’s as great as we’ve made him out to be (and he is), I expect special things from him tomorrow and over the weekend.

Here’s an analysis of some of the side stories, legacy questions, Mike Freaking Brown, and more from SportsCasualties. Enjoy.

LeBron’s Vacant Throne

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
2010-05-12 7:18 pm EDT

It’s kind of exciting to see this form of drama unfold. A human tragedy is preparing to be told–as is a legend of odds overcome and demons vanquished. The ambivalence Cavs fans feel about Game 6 hinges on the equally possible propositions of tragedy and legend. People say they hate to see LeBron go out of Cleveland this way–and I say, is there any other way?

Todd (with a capital T)
Guest
Todd (with a capital T)
2010-05-12 7:16 pm EDT

J.A. Adande’s article was quite a shocker. Great research, Tom. You also captured the essence of most articles quite well in your quotations.

Rich
Guest
Rich
2010-05-12 6:38 pm EDT

But I gotta say to all those telling Cavs fans to be quiet and not question the guy: Please go re-read his post game transcript. Every answer he gave raised another eyebrow. How do I not question a guy who refuses to take any blame and instead makes fans out to be the bad guys for putting to much emphasis on one game. three bad games in seven years? I mean, does that not sound like a person who wasn’t really trying or didn’t really care or what? LeBron could have saved himself from this beatdown today if his post game comments had absorbed the blame, instead of deflecting it. He brought this on himself.

Chad Ford, we are not afraid of LeBron James. We will boo when it is deserved. It was deserved last night.

Juni
Guest
Juni
2010-05-12 6:37 pm EDT

This is the Cavs team we’ve got, and I’m not going to lose hope now. There’s no reason to give up yet- there’s no reason to give up until someone has won four games. Let me steal a line from Doc Rivers; how close can the series be after 5 games? Answer- 3-2. This is still doable. Well, that’s what I hope.

Rich
Guest
Rich
2010-05-12 6:31 pm EDT

This day has been so strange for me. I thought I’d be ready to call it quits on this team, but yet here I find myself regaining hope. All of the misery surrounding me only bolsters my misery and makes me feel like maybe this is it. this is when the misery of Cleveland sports has finally hit rock bottom, and maybe this is when we are finally rewarded for our faith. the series isn’t over. LeBron can immediately change the opinions of the entire basketball world in a single game, and I think he will do it.

Absolutely loved the multitide of articles today by 100 different people. It’s like every single NBA writer took last nights game personal and either are defending LeBron or blasting him. Never seen anything like it tbh.

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