As my faithful readers know, I don't regularly post on the weekend. Too busy, too much time I actually get to spend with the Mrs., too much fun stuff to do. But when something extraordinary happens, I believe it is necessary to let everyone know the impact and the sheer extraordinary-ness that has occurred.
Last night I got to see about 2 plays in the Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game. But I saw the only play so far in the series that matters. Let's see if I can set the stage for y'all:
Cleveland has the best home record just about ever in the regular season. They have steamrolled through the playoffs going 8-0 in the first 2 rounds and winning every game by double digits. Cleveland has the best player in the world in Lebron James (LBJ from now on... I'm stealing from the Sports Guy, but who cares) and is not sure how long the home grown product is going to stick in town. The summer of 2010 is when LBJ is a free agent along with a slew of other young superstars waiting to go on to bigger things. If they want any chance of keeping him, they need to win; they need to win a championship.
Game 1 against Orlando was the epitome of Cleveland sports. The hype, the belief, the excitement, subsequently followed up with the disappointment, the shame and feeling of hopelessness.
How could a team with the best player in the world, the best home court record ever, and the experience of being there before lose to a team without their starting point guard, a coach who looks like Ron Jeremy and only one superstar who is too nice and can't make a shot further from 5 feet from the basket? (I'm asking the question too. I don't get it.)
The Cavs talked like they were confident after game 1. They knew what they had to do and they were determined. Game 2 comes along and in the first half it looks like it is over. Cleveland with a 23 point lead. Welcome back Cleveland, the series is yours for the taking.
Not so fast.
With a barage of 3's and hustle, the Magic pull some magic and not only come back, but take a 2 point lead with 1 second left in the fourth quarter. The air is dead in Cleveland. The bars are full of people swearing, saying how they've seen it before and there is no hope for the city. Ever. Not even Lebron, the best player alive. He's gone in 2010.
Except they didn't count on seeing something they had never seen before. The Cavs tried to run an inbounds play that isolated Lebron on an alley oop because he is a freak of an athlete and can jump over buildings.
Too bad the Magic knew it was coming (ok, everyone did but when your coach looks like a porn star, you can never be sure) and defended it well.
It looked as though Cleveland may not even get the ball in. Lebron was figured out and Mo Williams (the 2nd best scoring option) was throwing the ball in.
Then Lebron changed direction, going away from the basket. Mo saw him because LBJ was the only option. He wasn't looking anywhere else. Mo passed it in to a fading away LBJ. With one second left his only option was to shoot. He's not the best shooter in the world. He has missed before. Plenty. Except this time, the best player in the world did something he had yet to do.
He buried the shot.
Big deal. People hit game winners all the time.
LBJ has too.
But not like this.
If he missed that shot, all hope in the city would be lost. The Cavs would not have been able to recover. The series would be over and Lebron would be lost in 2010. Guaranteed. Lebron has been dominant, but he has not truely been clutch.
That shot was so monumental, it most likely changed the outcome of the series. That shot most likely won the series for Cleveland. That shot made it possible for LBJ to go for a title. That shot made it possible for LBJ to repeat next year. That shot made it possible for LBJ to go down in history as not only one of the greatest athletes of all time, but also the most clutch player of all time.
That shot could concievable change the landscape of the NBA for the next decade. I'm not kidding. If Lebron wins the series, then wins the NBA title, he might stay in Cleveland. He might make a dynasty that we have yet to see from one player. The NBA title repeats have been about multiple greats on one team.
Shaq and Kobe.
MJ and Scottie.
Olajuwan and Robert Horry (ok, bad example).
The Lakers and Celts of the 70's and 80's had a slew of stars.
But no one has been able to dominate solo.
Is it possible that a star player takes a pay cut to go to Cleveland to be guaranteed a title with LBJ?
The ramifications of one shot by one player in one game will not be able to be judged for years. But it could be the biggest shot in the history of the NBA. It could change the future beyond anyone's imagination.
LBJ took a series with one shot.
We are all witnesses. (yes, I know its cheesy to steal that slogan but it works so well.)
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