Windhorst Perfectly Captures the Fans Let-Down

12 05 2010

Game Five was such a let down, it took the sports blog/forum/commenter world by storm. Everyone and their mother had written some sort of reactionary piece expressing their frustration with the Cavalier performance. Myself included.

Such hotheaded venting, combined with the audible boo’s from the home crowd, led many from outside of Cleveland to wonder:

You know about King James... Meet King Windy.

a) Are the Cavs fans spoiled? b) Is he not allowed one bad game? c) Have they turned on LeBron?

The answer to those, hopefully, are: a) No, you jerk. b) Of course he’s allowed to have a bad game and c) No. At least I hope not.

In a special to ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer perfectly captures what is bothering Cavalier fans:

“Those numbers [LBJ’s Game 5 Statline] are not why James’ performances have been shocking. Is it his nonchalant attitude that mixes with tentative play when he is trying to make something happen? That is what will be remembered for years and what has thrown so many of his supporters off guard.

It’s throwing passes into teammates’ feet or over their heads, the kind of lack of focus James never shows at this level. When he turns the ball over, it’s usually because of his aggressiveness — trying to squeeze in a pass or losing the ball in a crowd when fighting into a double- or triple-team.

It’s standing quietly on the weak side of offensive plays, waiting to see if the ball will come to him while his team is down on the scoreboard, as if he was biding his time in the second quarter of a game in mid-February on a long road trip.

It’s staring into space during huddles instead of giving instructions to teammates or advice to coaches.

It’s going back to biting his nails, a habit he thought he’d kicked a year ago. It’s no longer wearing his finest suits to games to show off his expensive wardrobe to the cameras, as was his custom.

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 may look on television.

James’ family and friends are just as shell-shocked, whispering and wondering what they can do to help.

The coaches, especially Mike Brown, who is suddenly on the hot seat after back-to-back winning seasons, are looking at things in game film that they’ve never seen from the MVP.”

Now, to revisit the questions:

  • No, we’re not spoiled. As fans, we just expect a certain level of effort and intensity out of respect for how much we have invested to the team.
  • Yes, LeBron is allowed a bad game. If he cannot make a jumper, that is OK. Kevin Durant had a terrible game against the Lakers in Game Six. He couldn’t make a jumper, but he didn’t go down without a fight. He kept swinging, shooting jumper after jumper. Driving to the lane time and time again, getting points from the free-throw line. LeBron didn’t just have a bad game. He had a passive and uninspired game, which will always be worse.
  • No, I, for one, have not turned on LeBron. He has given far too much and played far too well for this city and this team for me to turn on him after one game. It’s not even a question. I just hope everyone else has the same common sense.

Having said all that, this series still isn’t over.

If we can win Thursday in Boston (Don’t think we can? Well here’s 10 Reasons Why We Can from Only In Cleveland), then it comes down to a win or go home, at home. LeBron can have a sweet, sweet shot at redemption in front of his home crowd that has loved him so much.

And if they can rebound after that loss, come back and win two huge games, then the Cavaliers will have some a fearsome amount of momentum heading into Orlando.

Believeland.

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One response

13 05 2010
dan

Lebron sucks!!!!! overrated spoiled ass kid, hes good cus the rest of the team sucks

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