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LeBron Needs Help from non-LeBron Starters

Orlando, Fla. -- The Cavaliers (except LeBron James) played pretty poorly in game three of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Cleveland fans can’t help but to think about the overtime Game 5 against Detroit in 2007 back where LeBron, without any help from his teammates, scored the last 25 points or so. His streak began in the middle of the 4th quarter and lasted until the end of OT where we finally won. By we I mean LeBron. The whole time his teammates stood back and watched in awe as he literally carried the team on his shoulders to victory.

Well, as we have seen in the past, this can’t happen on a regular basis, it doesn’t work. Just like Kobe needed Shaq, Jordan needed Pippen/Rodman, the other Cavaliers have to make a better contribution, especially the 4 non-LeBron starters to take some heat off the superstar. This past 99-89 loss to the Magic in Game 3 brought back this timid form of play. I cut bench players some slack, but this is unacceptable play coming from starter-caliber players.

For example, 4 out of Orlando Magic’s starting 5 all scored a minimum of double digits in points, not to mention G Mickael Pietrus’ 16 coming off the bench. And where the one non-double digit starter (G Courtney Lee) lacked in points (9), he made up for with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. This was the Magic’s worst starter performance.

On the other side of the ball, Cleveland’s worst starter performance came from F/C Anderson Varejao who ended with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists and 1 steal. Having played only 20 minutes I understand the lower totals, but combined with his replacements, F Ben Wallace and F Joe Smith, the totals of the 3 still only came to 12 points, 14 rebounds, 0 assists, and 3 steals. Stats that are good for a power forward starter, but not 3 power forwards combined.

Other lopsided stats to consider: LeBron outscored all four co-starters 41-40, had 9 assists to their 7, shot 24 free throws vs. their 11, and tied them with 2 steals and 1 block. I understand that Mo Williams played decent considering his eye injury, but for the rest of the starters I am disgusted.

And speaking of Mo Williams, I read on the Associated Press’s website this morning his guarantee that the Cavaliers will take the series from the Magic. He said, “Guarantee we're going to win the series? Yeah, yeah. ... We are down 2-1. But there is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series.”

I agree that every Cavalier will say they are going to win this series, but actions speak louder than words. And until the 4 other non-LeBron starters stop expecting LeBron to do all the work for them, like in the Detroit series a few years back, than Cleveland is yet again headed for another inevitable disappointment.

mAtthewR

Sources:
Reference to 2007 series with Detroit from nba.fanhouse.com
Stats from ESPN.com
Quote from Associated Press

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