LeBron James Bullets

June, 1, 2007
  • Full Court: "The playoffs have been saved."
  • A whole mess of highlights. (UPDATE: Every bucket of his 25 straight, and notice that if James had missed that last layup, Anderson Varejao almost certainly would have slammed home the game-winner.)
  • Great game story. And more from the Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst: "I've watched LeBron play roughly 500 games in person from places like Rehobeth Beach, Del., to Sapporo, Japan, to Bakersfield, Calif., to something like 17 times at the Palace of Auburn Hills now. Never have a seen a performance like that from him and never have I seen him be so calm. He wasn't demonstrative and making all those primal faces, he was just coldly killing the Pistons. It isn't often you know you are experiencing history at the moment it is happening. It doesn't matter which team you cover as a journalist or which team you root for as a fan, there was no way you could watch LeBron score 25 straight points and think you weren't being given a gift of an experience."
  • Windhorst also adds: "Say what you will about LeBron passing in crunch time, but it directly affected the way this series has played out. With 3-point shooters on the floor, the Pistons are respecting them and the defense is becoming so much more spread out. You could see it as LeBron drove for those two dunks at the end of regulation, there was space. Also, go back and watch the replay of his big shot at the end of Game 3 with 16 seconds left. He's going 1-on-1 with Tayshaun Prince there. Want to know why? Because in the zone, Rasheed flashed to the corner to prepare to cover Gibson thinking LeBron might pass."
  • A list of the greatest moments in NBA playoff history. Please debate where this fits. To me, if it had been in an elimination game, or the Finals, it would be top 10. As it is, you might be able to squeeze it into the top 20.
  • Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "Amass every superlative ever used in describing a clutch playoff performance, and it would still fall a few adjectives shy of accurately portraying LeBron James' legendary, yes, legendary effort in what was already a memorable night at the Palace. The King did it without his court, pushing the Pistons to the brink of another playoff disaster in a 109-107, double-overtime thriller. The Pistons spent everything they had, fired every weapon in their arsenal, and it still wasn't enough to offset James' singular brilliance. James scored 29 of the Cavaliers' last 30 points. Michael never did that. Neither did Bird. All Cleveland coach Mike Brown could say afterward was 'Wow.'"
  • ESPN's Chris Sheridan: "He's so good, he might have a half-dozen more performances like this one before he hangs 'em up. But when all is said and done, this 48-point outburst may just go down as the greatest of them all, the night when King James was oh so worthy of wearing the crown of being the game's greatest young player."
  • For all his heroics, the Cavaliers outscored the Pistons by just two when LeBron James was on the floor. However, when Donyell Marshall was playing, Cleveland was an astonishing +21. Marshall was splitting time with Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was -20. Seems like the smaller lineup was way more effective on this night.
  • Would LeBron James have gotten those dunks if Ben Wallace was in red and blue?
  • An email from Bryce, a Blazer fan: "LeBron's performance has me wondering whether Portland would not be better off taking the prolific scorer in Durant over the sure fire pick everyone is stating Oden will be. I myself was pulling hard for Oden but after watching that performance by LeBron, I have to seriously reconsider. It made me think, will Oden ever score 40+ points in a playoff battle or obtain that killer instinct needed to knock the opposing team down possession after possession? My guess is, probably not. Up until now, Oden's recent statement (and I must paraphrase) stating that he is a better pick because he led his team to the championship had me believing in him. But now I'm left wondering, what would Durant have done in the NCAA tourney if he had a player (Mike Conley Jr.) on his team who could go as high as third in the draft. Honestly, I don't think Oden would even be in this conversation."
  • The Pistons are seeing the enemy in the mirror. Chris McCosky writes in the Detroit News: "There were signs all game that the Pistons were battling themselves. Webber, after firing up a bad shot and picking up his fourth foul, yelled to the bench, apparently at assistant coach Ron Harper, 'Just let me play my game. Let me play my game.' Later, Billups and Hamilton appeared to have a brief discussion over who would shoot a technical foul free throw. Hamilton had made five straight at that point, Billups had missed two. Billups kept the ball and missed the free throw. Then, to compound the problem, he fired up a rushed three-pointer. Wallace was angry, apparently at coach Flip Saunders, for his decision to go small for a stretch against the Cavaliers. Saunders did that because Antonio McDyess had been ejected. Between the third and fourth quarters, Wallace and assistant Dave Cowens engaged in a fairly animated discussion. Mostly Cowens was listening to Wallace's complaints about the strategy. Wallace later got peeved with Billups for a couple of his decisions. It was a long way from team harmony."
  • The statistical experts at Knickerblogger: "I believe that it is extremely rare to be able to truthfully claim that a single player, for all practical purposes, won or lost a game. Thursday night was one of those rare occasions."
  • Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys, on the Fanhouse: "LeBron scored roughly 48 bajillion points tonight, including the last 25 gazillion for the Cavs. He looked dead tired during his post-game talk with Craig Sager. Cleveland goes up 3-2 in the series, and I want to throw up. Count on hearing about LeBron's performance tonight for roughly, oh I don't know, forever."
  • FreeDarko, talked off the ledge: "Allow me to set the scene for you. I am still in Oklahoma. Slightly less homicidal after a bang-up record day, but still wish I were stranded in an abandoned boxcar on an island made of chipped teeth. As the fourth
    quarter is set to begin, I send out an email effectively ending FreeDarko, at least for the time being. I'm tired, this season let me down big-time (seeing the LeBron's only brings me wist), and I've never considered blogging the heart and soul of my creative hustle. And then, it happens. You may think that god sent this game to save the playoffs, or the NBA, or the networks. But on the seriously flat and total, He did it for me. For us."
  • Deadspin: "It was a video game move, something that doesn't seem fair or governable by the laws we usually subscribe ourselves to. ... We're officially a little scared now."
  • Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski: "The Cavs have won three straight tight games and lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 Saturday night in Cleveland. It's the same pattern as a year ago, when the Pistons rallied to take the series. But this is different because James looks so much different."
  • Clipperblog: "I know that the zone has served the Flip Saunders well, but in a situation like the one Detroit faced -- having to extinguish the most historically unconscious blitz in recent memory -- you have to be able to exert better control over your defense. When you're in a man-to-man, who collapses and when they collapse is a decision of the individual and not the system. When you have good individual defenders as the Pistons do, that's an advantage you want."
  • Kenny Smith on TNT last night: "The reason why it was so spectacular is because it was the 'moments' ... It was single overtime, it was double overtime, it was get us back in the game, help us get in the game, stop us on (defense). It was everything that you asked for that he gave you."
  • Charles Barkley on TNT last night: "Now that the Pistons know what the Cavaliers are all about, it's too late."
  • Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon-Journal: "This game became a test of wills, a game for the ages. James won the game with 2.2 seconds left in the second overtime, when he drove through most of the Pistons' defense for a power layup. Brown marveled at how James often was bumped, pushed and grabbed on some of his drives -- no fouls were called -- yet he never became discouraged. It was the type of performance that reminds fans of Michael Jordan in his prime. The difference is this time, it was the Cavs who had a No. 23 on their side, and the opponents were helpless against him. James seems to be sending everyone a message: This was his moment; the Cavs are coming into their own; the best really is yet to come. And it could be as soon as Saturday night."
  • UPDATE: Wise LeBron: "Don't let player haters bring you down."
  • UDPATE: Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys: "Can Detroit flip the script? I don't have a clue anymore. When the Pistons lost Game 4, we said, 'Daniel Gibson won't score another 21 points in Game 5,' and 'Drew Gooden won't keep hitting so many clutch shots.' We said things like, 'Eff this, let's not lose because the supporting cast beat us. Let's quit double-teaming LeBron and leaving everyone else open, let's see what some ol' fashion man-to-man defense can do.' You know what it does? It lets a guy score 48 points, including every single point for the Cavs in two overtimes! Midway through the final quarter, LeBron took over the game, scoring 29 of his team's final 30 points. On his winning bucket in double-OT, he beat Chauncey off the dribble and slid past every single player that dared pretend they'd slow him down. I firmly believe if the Pistons had their entire roster in the paint, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer on the blocks and Chieck Samb standing under the basket with both of his hands poking up through the bottom of the rim that LeBron James still would have scored that bucket!"
  • UPDATE: YAYsports!: "If you're from Cleveland, you know what that meant and how it felt and what it was. Actually, if you're from Cleveland, you probably don't know what that meant or what it was."
  • UPDATE: It was like a rec-league game.
  • UPDATE: Basketbawful: "I had been this close to giving up on the NBA playoffs this year, ever since David Stern decided that zero tolerance really meant zero fun. I was fading, but Lebron was standing there with the defibrillator, ready to perform CPR. Thank the mercy of all-mighty Zeus, I watched the game, I recorded it, I burned it to DVD (with, uh, the express written consent of the NBA, of course). And every time I start to get a little down on the state of the NBA, I'm going to pull it out and watch it. Thanks for proving me wrong, LeBron."



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