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Cleveland Cavaliers

Witness to history

By admin Published: June 1, 2007

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- What can I say about Game 6?  I pretty much used up all my adjectives in the paper.  I tried my best to put it in perspective in everything LeBron James has done in his career in a piece for ESPN.com.   What I can say is 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.


It was like four a half years ago that LeBron played his first game as a Cav in Detroit, a preseason tilt.  As a hazing ritual to the rookies, the Cavs veterans asked LeBron to lead them on the floor for pregame warmups.  They said go and out he ran with Jason Kapono while everyone stayed back in the tunnel and snickered at the two of them standing at midcourt alone.  Hard to get my head around him delivering this sort of milestone effort on the same floor.


So many other things, though, to discuss...


--I know this supposedly was all about LeBron and that's, like, so cool in this moment.  But some other Cavs did some stuff I want to mention.  1. Daniel Gibson's 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter (off a great LeBron feed) was massive for the team's mindset going into the fourth.  2. Eric Snow made two big steals when he came in the game in the fourth and it helped the Cavs stem the tide.  3. Sasha Pavlovic didn't play great, OK, but he had nine rebounds.  He was tied with LeBron for the team lead.  He got to a lot of key loose balls.  4. Anderson Varejao played some great 1-on-1 defense with Rasheed Wallace late in the game and overtime.  Sheed got a few hoops, but Andy made everything very tough on him.  5.  Mike Brown's decision to rest LeBron for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter -- just because he thought he needed it -- turned out to be huge because LeBron did need the extra energy.


--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.


--The Cavs missed six free throws in the fourth quarter.  I'll have you know I composed the start of a story about how those misses could be lamented like the Pistons' offensive rebounds at the end of Game 6 last year.  I guess not now.


--I don't want to hear anything from anyone about the calls.  In my opinion they all evened out.  By the way, Antonio McDyess' foul was suspension worthy but I don't think he'll get one.


--I'm not sure why the Pistons aren't challenging more shots around the rim.  Not having Ben Wallace is showing up big time in these situations.  Rasheed did it a little in Game 1 but hasn't since and I watched him, Prince and others stand by and watch as LeBron threw down dunk after dunk.  Maybe it is tired legs.  Maybe it is something else.


--Remember how I told you I was clued in about some potential chemisty cracks in the Pistons' locker room after Game 4?  Well, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes about some stuff going down in his story.  It's towards the end of the piece.  Of course, there's always going to be some trouble when you lose three straight playoff games.


That's all for now.  Oh, yeah, the Cavs have a chance to go to the Finals for the first time in team history with one more win.  We'll break that all down tomorrow.  It's 4:15 a.m. in Auburn Hills and I'm headed to bed.

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