by Craig Kwasniewski
LBJ lays in the game winner in overtime as Cleveland wins 121-120 in Game Five. I've been ripping LBJ enough earlier in this series and I have to give the man his due. He had the patience to take an inbounds pass and calmly drive to the bucket for a game winning lay-up. Many other "superstars" would catch and shoot immediately in a sort of hot-potato style of shot. LBJ saw the "defense" by Washington and attacked it.
That being said....
What the hell kind of defense was that D.C.?
LBJ drove in, around and through four "defenders" in under four seconds for a relatively easy lay-up! Everybody (including the Cavs
retarded "special" PA announcer) in the gym knew the ball was heading for LeBron for the final shot. So what does D.C. do? They single cover him with power forward Michael Ruffin. Yes, the same exact guy who LeBron travelled over for the game three winner. I guess not stopping LBJ in game three was enough to convince D.C. coach Eddie Jordan to match Ruffin on LBJ. Sure, why not guard one of the most dangerous players in the game with a slower, less athletic player. I'm sure he will deny the inbounds pass to LBJ alone. Well, not the case. LBJ got a virtual hand-off in the inbounds play. If everyone knows LBJ was getting the ball, why not double him up or at least have the help defense cheat over and force the inbound pass to another Cav.
Secondly, as soon as LBJ got the ball, he was able to drive along the baseline through three defenders. A basic defensive principle applies here: guard the line. Someone needed to literally have one foot out-of-bounds and stand his place and force LeBron away from the baseline toward the teeth of the defense. Instead, random Wiz defenders just let LBJ drive the baseline unimpeded.
Thirdly, what ever happened to the hard foul, or at least some kind of foul. I know the NBA is handing out suspensions for flagrant fouls, but a hard knock on LeBron as he's driving for a game winner would force the hand of the ref. At best, you get a non-call and a good chance of a missed shot. At worst, you have a young and playoff-inexperienced LBJ shooting freethrows with the game on the line. Who knows? Maybe he misses a few and the game ends differently.
It's playoff time D.C.! If you ever intend to make any noise this season you NEED to play some sort of token defense. This is not the 1980's where you had Denver-Dallas track-meets for playoff battles. This is the possession-by-possession hard-nosed low scoring playoffs.
Come now let's all try it: DEE-FENSE.... clap-clap DEE-FENSE.... clap-clap