The Cleveland Cavaliers are facing something that they had yet to run into to date in the 2010 NBA Season, adversity.
Amidst an embarrassing Game 5 defeat at home at the hands of the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers are now faced with a win-or-go-home situation on the road in Game 6.
NBA MVP LeBron James had a particularly poor effort in Game 5, connecting on just 3 of 14 from the floor, while tabbing on 15 points on the night during the 120-88 loss. The 32-point defeat was the worst in the history of the franchise at home.
The loss did not make anyone in Cleveland happy, including team owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert sounded off on Tuesday expressing his displeasure with what he felt was a lack of effort of his team.
“The last two home playoff losses and the manner in which we lost these games does not come close to being anywhere near the high expectations all of us have of our organization,” Gilbert remarked of the Game 5 loss “Our fans and supporters deserve more.”
Gilbert was court-side for the performance, that saw James fail to make a field goal until the third quarter, going the entire first half without connecting from the floor.
By the end of the game, the arena was nearly empty, with only approximately 4,000 people remaining amongst boos.
“It’s not a big thing,” James said in a post-game interview. “We played awful, and they’ve got every right to boo us if they want to. No disrespect to the fans. They’ve seen us at our highest level and our lowest level. If they felt it was right to boo, so be it.”
James was on the bench for the final four minutes.
“I spoil a lot of people with my play,” James remarked. “When you have a bad game here or there, you’ve had three bad games in a seven-year career, then it’s easy to point that out. So you got to be better.”
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be out there and be the best player on the court, and when I’m not I feel bad for myself because I’m not going out there and doing the things I can do. But I don’t hang my head low or make any excuses about anything that may be going on, because that’s not the type of player or person I am.”
Game 6 will be played in Boston on Thursday night as the Cavaliers face elimination and need a victory to force Game 7 back in Cleveland.
Gilbert believes that his team can get it done and expects the team to play much better on Thursday.
We have to ask ourselves two questions,” Gilbert said. “Will we remember who we are and choose to impose our will on our opponent for the remainder of this series and beyond? And how much do we want it? I believe in our players, our coaching staff and our entire franchise. This series is not over.”
Cleveland’s odds have dropped dramatically on Online Sportsbooks to win the 2010 NBA Championship, now at 11/2.