After a week, or maybe even two, where the NBA playoffs seemed to be being played out to a rather dull script (Surprise – Spurs knock out Jazz in five games, surprise – Pistons take 2-0 series lead over Cavs without breaking a sweat) last night marked the twist in the tale. Hopefully it’s a turning point and not just a one-off.
Having evened the series at 2-2 by doing what NBA teams are supposed to do, winning at home, the Cavs turned up for last night’s game five at the Palace of Auburn Hills hoping to create an upset and take a 3-2 series lead over the Pistons. With most observers already predicting a Pistons win it was left to Lebron James to provide the superstar performance that would prove them wrong.
The 22 year old (makes you sick doesn’t it?) did not disappoint. The game went to double overtime. Lebron scored a playoff career high 48 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. That in itself pretty much qualifies it as a top drawer performance, but how about this: Lebron scored the Cavs’ final twenty-five points, and twenty-nine of their final thirty! Amazing.
I don’t want the Cavs to win the championship particularly, but out of the three teams that remain in the running I’ll be favouring the Lebron show.
In other news…
The Magic have managed to lure former Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan to Orlando for a reputed $6 million a year. The Gators have won the last two NCAA titles and clearly the Magic are hoping he can turn their fortunes around as well. With such a young team maybe a college coach was the right choice, despite the fact that historically they don’t make a good transition to the NBA.
The NBA will also likely be seeing another team turning to the run and gun style of the Phoenix Suns next season as the Suns’ assistant coach Mark Iavaroni moves to his new role as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. All well and good, but why does everyone want to play like the Suns? Okay, so it’s far more exciting to watch than a slow-down offense, but they still haven’t made any serious noise in the playoffs. The teams that win are the teams with defense; why isn’t everyone clamouring to play like the Spurs?
Well apparently the Pacers may want to. They’ve announced the hiring of Jim O’Brien as their new head coach, and apparently he’s a disciplinarian. Just as well they got rid of Stephen Jackson then…
I can’t help but think that after former Heat coach Stan van Gundy announced he wasn’t interested in the Pacers job the dysfunctional team have had to settle for O’Brien.
Oh, and apparently Kobe wants a trade (I managed to miss that one until Neil Holly told me). But actually he doesn’t. It’s just superstar posturing to try to force the Lakers front office into getting some proper support for him. One rumour, among many, is that Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum could be heading to Indiana in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal. Kobe and O’Neal version two, only this one wouldn’t be as good.