The Cleveland Cavaliers quit on their fans, their city, and themselves at the end of their final game of the season.
With a minute remaining in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, they showed their true lack of heart.
Given an opportunity to stop the clock and give themselves a chance to make a comeback, they let the clock run out. Ball in hand with a chance to rush down the floor and score quickly, they jogged.
It wasn’t that they lost, its how they lost.
No effort. No determination.
They looked like a pathetic shell of the team that dominated the entire league during the regular season.
In some ways the defeat symbolized everything the franchise has always traditionally been: sad.
After all, they were pretty embarrassing when Michael Jordan posterized them for eternity. Yet, that was different. With Jordan they were the victims of a great player who was just too good for them.
What happened in Game 6 was unlike what Jordan did to them. This time they were the victims of a great player who wasn’t great enough.
A king unworthy of the throne handed to him.
LeBron James’ numbers were fine. He had a nifty little triple-double as he’s done a number of times before. 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists read his box score stats.
Unfortunately for James, those numbers don’t mean much.
Here is the only number that should matter to James going into the offseason: Zero.
Zero championships. Zero NBA Finals victories. Zero NBA Finals MVPs.
When it become clear that the Cavaliers were done, the Boston Celtics fans added insult to injury with their chant to James.
New York Knicks! New York Knicks!
Are you sure you want him, New York? At least the other summer free agent star in Dwyane Wade has shown he can win a title when given a Shaquille O’Neal to play with.
James’ stat line doesn’t tell the whole story. He took 21 shots, and missed 13 of them. He also turned the ball over 9 times, more than the entire Celtics’ starting line-up combined.
The game was fairly close at halftime, despite James’ lackadaisical play. In the first half he missed eight of his first 12 shots and turned the ball over four times. He hardly went to the basket with his right hand.
Ultimately, the Cavs fell to the over-the-hill Celtics 94-85 to lose the series in six games.
The Celtics were written off by every major media outlet going into the playoffs. They struggled down the stretch of the playoffs and landed a No. 4 seed in the East. Most assumed it was a certain death sentence seeing as it forced them to meet the Cavs in the second round.
The Cavaliers now go into a very uncertain offseason where they face potentially losing James to free agency. At least that’s what the headline will be.
The real headline on every paper should be this: What more can Cleveland do?
James has a ton of talent around him. Even the team’s owner has said this much.
“The King” has always found his fans blaming his supporting cast for his failures. That excuse doesn’t work anymore. His teammates are far too talented now.
What more can the Cavaliers do?