(AP Photo/David Richard)
These Conference Finals just keep getting better. Four games, all decided by three points or less, all coming down to the final seconds. Now you can add to that a seriously historic game-winning shot by Lebron James.
Bill Simmons called it one of the 12 greatest shots in NBA history (he later downgraded it to Top 15), and while I suspect that is Bill simply being caught up in the moment, the more I think about it the more I find myself agreeing. It was a big shot for all kinds of reasons. Firstly it saved the series, because I don’t see the Cavs digging themselves out of a 0-2 hole against a team that has their measure. In essence, we were one second away from seeing Orlando in the Finals. Do you not find that a bit scary?
Second, it was a three. The reliability of Lebron’s three-point shooting has been questioned for years – it’s generally accepted that’s where you want to push him on the floor, where he can’t hurt you. I’m sure Coach Van Gundy would have lived with Lebron catching the ball beyond the arc with a second left. I certainly could, and said these exact words to my mate before that shot: “Only one second left, not enough time to dribble it, gotta catch and shoot… doesn’t exactly suit Lebron”. That’s the kind of perception-shifting effect this shot will have. Lebron misses that shot and we all pounce on him – “Lebron isn’t a three-point shooter, what was he thinking? Kobe would have made it”. But instead he makes it and we won’t doubt the reliability of Lebron’s three-ball any more – and neither will Lebron.
Heart-pounding heroics aside, I’d like to clearly state that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in trouble. Two games in a row now they have built big leads only for Orlando to reel them back in and take control of the game. The Magic have done this twice with Turkoglu and Lewis playing half-games, and Dwight having lots of bench time and foul-plagued minutes. Meanwhile Lebron has had to carry an epic load just for his team to remain competitive, and while I don’t doubt he is capable of that, history shows that load will inevitably weigh him down. This is going to be a long series. The Magic are going to win at least one of the next two at home, that means we will be going back to Orlando for Game 6, and if the first two games of this series are any indication, that could be a close-out game for them.
And then there’s the tech foul that should have been called on Mo Williams. If you didn’t see it, early in the first quarter after a whistle was blown for a foul, Mo Williams threw the ball hard at Dwight Howard in disgust. I suspect the refs didn’t see it because that is a blatant technical. I’ll be honest, I don’t know the exact rules pertaining to that kind of action, but when you can get tech’d for not throwing the ball back to the refs correctly, or throwing the ball into the floor too hard, I struggle to see how aiming at an opposition player doesn’t get you penalised. How is the league going to explain that one? Obviously with the game being decided by one point, it puts them in a very awkward position. Maybe that Lebron three sends the game into OT instead of winning it? Too many ifs, but I’ll be eagerly waiting to see how it unfolds.
3 votes – Lebron James. Next year that shot will be set to piano music in black and white for another commercial.
2 votes – Hedo Turkoglu. One second away from being the hero today.
1 votes – Rashard Lewis. Really tried hard to give this to a Cavs player, but just goes to show how much of a one-man show this has been
Back with a look at Game 2 of Lakers v Nuggets after I watch the Blues destroy Adelaide.