Is LeBron’s legacy on the line tonight?

After the Game 5 debacle, national sports writers roasted King James for his performance in Cleveland after the 32 point beat-down. They asked questions: Was that LeBron’s last game in Cleveland? Does he have the desire to win? One particular article even mentioned LeBron’s growing role in college recruiting as a sign that his mind is not completely right.

Cleveland wants a ring, LeBron.

Whatever it may be, we can all agree that the Cavs, and James in particular, sucked in Game 5. They didn’t make shots, they still didn’t have an answer for Rajon Rondo, and they played no defense whatsoever.

Now, they face elimination. They face a second round exit as a number one seed that would surely mark the end of Mike Brown’s tenure. It might prompt trades and anything else seen as necessary to keep LeBron. And it might just mean the end of LeBron in Cleveland.

Boston’s veteran players know how to finish a series at home, and they know the importance of not going back to Cleveland for the all-deciding Game 7. They will bring their A game tonight. The real question is: will LeBron bring his?

It’s not a question of talent. It’s desire and the will to win. It’s time for James to put the entire city on his back tonight and win. He’s done it before (25 straight points against Detroit a few years back). Can he do it again? Otherwise, his time in Cleveland will be remembered as such: when his team was number one, LeBron failed to reach the NBA Finals.

Celtics vs Cavaliers Game 5

It may seem a little random for EJSIC to be previewing a single NBA Playoff game, but this post is more than just a preview. It’s a critique of the NBA’s best team (record wise) and their inability to close out the Celtics. The remaining playoff teams (Lakers, Suns, Magic) all swept their second round opponents and await the conclusion of this series.

Now, it would be wise to point out that the Cavs are facing a good team in the Celtics, the same Celts that won the NBA Championship two seasons ago. But the Cavs were dominant this season. The have league MVP LeBron James and a host of other role players and (former) all-stars.

What they don’t have is even more apparent in this series: an answer for Rajon Rondo. The former Kentucky Wildcat is quickly climbing the ladder of NBA point guard hierarchy with his play the last few seasons in May and June. He gained even more notoriety in game 4 of the series with his triple-double performance which helped the Celtics even the series at two games a piece.

All of this comes to one conclusion: the Cavaliers are in trouble. While the rest of the championship contenders are pulling out the brooms, Cleveland is lallygagging around with injury-prone veterans (and one young point guard). Can they salvage the series? Yes, starting with a win tonight (they really cannot afford to lose it either). They are supposed to be in the NBA Finals, a second round exit would not look good. They have the best player in the universe on their team, yet they struggle to put away the four seed.

If Cleveland wants to remove the stigma of being a championship-less city, they need the Cavaliers to play strong and finish this series in the next two games. It is essentially a three game series now, anything can happen.

When: Tonight, May 11 8 p.m. EST
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: TNT

NBA First Round Preview

The National Basketball Association has ended its regular season, and the fourteen month playoffs start tonight, April 17. EJSIC is previewing each of the first round series beginning with the Eastern Conference.

Eastern Conference
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1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs 8 Chicago Bulls – The Bulls squeaked into the playoffs with wins in their last two games. LeBron James is the front-runner MVP candidate, and the Cavs should win this series even without much from James. Cavs in 4.

2 Orlando Magic vs 7 Charlotte Bobcats – Superman Dwight Howard leads the reigning Eastern Conference champion Magic back to the playoffs against Larry Brown’s Bobcats. The Magic have Vince Carter this season to provide a bonafide scoring guard which should make them even more dangerous in a 7 game series. Magic in 5.

3 Atlanta Hawks vs 6 Milwaukee Bucks – The Hawks are a fun team to watch. Joe Johnson is a solid scorer while Josh Smith, Mike Bibby, et al provide complimentary highlights. Milwaukee is back in the playoffs with rookie sensation Brandon Jennings leading the charge. In the end, the Hawks have too much. Atlanta in 6.
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4 Boston Celtics vs 5 Miami Heat – The 2010 playoffs may be Miami’s best chance to keep superstar Dwyane Wade. If they show some promise, it may convince him to resign. However, they have to face a very veteran group in the Boston Celtic with Rajon Rondo quickly becoming one of the best point guards in the Association. I’m taking the Celts in 5.

Western Conference
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1 Los Angeles Lakers vs 8 Oklahoma City Thunder – As fun as the Hawks are to watch, the Thunder is even funner. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and James Harden all provide a young, talented backbone. The defending champion Lakers enter the playoffs stumbling a bit with injuries and sporadic play. Coach Phil Jackson created media attention by criticizing officials treatment of Kevin Durant. Lakers in 7.

2 Dallas Mavericks vs 7 San Antonio Spurs – One can never count out the Spurs because of their coaching and veteran leadership, but Dallas has been one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break. Richard Jefferson has not provided the spark many thought he would for San Antonio. Mavs in 5.

3 Phoenix Suns vs 6 Portland Trail Blazers – The Suns revitalized themselves late in the season by streaking up the standings to secure the third place spot. However, they have underachieved in the playoffs during the past few seasons. Portland continues the misery in 7 games.

4 Denver Nuggets vs 5 Utah Jazz – Denver struggled in the late season with the absence of coach George Karl who was diagnose with cancer in February. He is not expected back on the bench for the first round series which should concern Nugget fans. Utah wins in 7.