By Craig Kwasniewski
Hey well he IS the MVP and as THE MVP, you SHOULD save your teams collective arses.... but not this way. LeBron wanting to defend Rajon Rondo on for game 5 is a bad idea. No actually it's a stupid idea and I have four reasons why:
1 - LeBron's not that great of an on-the-ball defender to contain Rondo from the get go. There's a huge differemce between locking down a defender one-on-one in latter moments of a game versus going at him the entire 48. Does LeBron have the ability to go at Rondo every single possession? Is he willing to pick him out right at the change of possession and shadow him the full court for the entire game? I've seen LeBron pick his spots and chose to shut down his man in spurts, but it's a different mentality and pacing to continue that the whole game. LeBron's a freak on nature on offense, but does he have the necessary defensive mindset?
2 - Cleveland uses LeBron as a roving shot blocker, this changes their entire defensive scheme. A funny thing happened along the way of all those highlight-chasing blocks. NOBODY wants to be on ESPN being on the receiving end. The Cavs put LeBron on the weakest defender and utilize him as a roving shot-blocker and it works. Did you see how every Celtics' drive has their players' head on a swivel expecting a block? I literally can't stand the play because it's so fundamentally wrong, but it works. It gets the crow pumped and the opposition freaked out. That's not happening if LeBron is on Rondo.
3 - Hey there's that guy Paul Pierce. LeBron and Pierce have been matched up most of the first four games and Pierce is obviously paying for it. Equal parts LeBron's defense, defending LeBron and wear and tear Paul Pierce is nowhere near the player that was the 2008 Finals MVP. He looks tired, old and lost. BUT...he's still got a great game left and the Celtics still call his number down the stretch. Anthony Parker isn't strong enough for Pierce, and Mo Williams is too small. I can see Pierce getting back into the flow of the game with LeBron on Rondo. The last thing the Cavs need is a hot/confident Pierce with a Game 5 on the line.
4 - Game 3. The Cavs rolled the Celtics because LeBron came out aggressive on the offensive end and the entire roster fed off his energy. Actually is was more than a roll, it was the worst home playoff defeat in that storied franchise's history. This ain't about Rondo's dominance. The Cavs have won before with Rondo putting up some fierce numbers. No, this is about how much the Cavs feed off LeBron's offense. Quite simply, use the exact gameplan from Game 3 and the Cavs should win easily.
Cleveland is too good to panic right now. This is what separates championship teams from the rest of the pack, the ability to weather these moments. Yes, Rondo had a monster Game 4 to even up the series but the key was that the Big Three did not. Let Rondo get his but more importantly, LeBron NEEDS to get his. If two of the Big Three (or maybe a Sheed) get untracked tonight, the Cavs are in serious trouble. Stick to what got you here and you'll be fine.