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With everything on the line…

 

A Sporting Viewpoint: Game 7 showed Cavs not there yet

 

By Jim Horvath 

          Did you watch Game 7 of the NBA Finals last night? I did, and a big dose of reality hit me like a ton of bricks as the Lakers rallied to top Boston for their second-straight title.

          The Cavaliers – LeBron James or no LeBron James – are nowhere near capable of the level of play showed last night in Los Angeles.

          With everything on the line, the Lakers and Celtics went each other like their lives depended on it. With everything on the line, players were drawing charges, diving for loose balls, running down long rebounds and taking the ball to the hoop…strong. Yes, there were some 3-pointers going up, but most of the time plays resulted in determined drives and equally determined defensive stands.

          I mean, even Rasheed Wallace was posting up low and taking the ball to the rack. When’s the last time we saw that in crunch time from a Cavaliers team?

          Let’s go back in time and remember what we saw from our guys in wine and gold.

          With everything on the line, the Cavaliers were content to sit back and chuck up 3-pointers. With everything on the line, the Cavs were allowing uncontested drives to the basket, letting the other team pick up the loose balls and getting mauled on the offensive glass.

          Worst than that, with everything on the line, the Cavs were content to run out over a minute of the clock at the end of the game with a deficit of less than 10 points.

          With everything on the line, Delonte West was nowhere to be found. With everything on the line, players were disappearing left and right, including you-know-who.

          Last night, Kobe Bryant wasn’t at his best. But he made up for it with tenacious defense and a strong showing on the boards with 15 rebounds. Those are the two phases of the game a player can control, so Bryant went to those when he was going a disastrous 6-of-24 from the floor.

          Other players stepped up. Ron Artest had one of his best games of the playoffs with 20 points, many of those during the Lakers’ second-half rally. And Pau Gasol was a madman who was not going to be denied inside: 19 points and 18 rebounds, not to mention a big block on Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter.

          Several Celtic players were putting it all on the line as well. Rajon Rondo showed that he could thrust the dagger into any team, not just the Cavaliers.

          With everything on the line last night, players stepped up and gave it their all.

          Can the Cavaliers look themselves in the mirror and say the same thing?

          I think we all know the answer to that one.

 

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