Let’s get this straight right now. I’m not jumping off the LeBron bandwagon after his 4-16 shooting performance and 6 turnovers in his first NBA Finals game. But King James showed some nervousness and was very tentative at the beginning of this game. He won’t admit it, but he did. James has started slow in several games during the playoffs and has gradually picked it as the game progressed. Well, against Bruce Bowen and the entire Spurs defense it never got going. Bowen is similar to that little piece of stuff that gets stuck in your teeth that you can’t get out without pulling that tooth out or picking at it until it bleeds. You know it’s there. It aggravates you, but it’s still there.
What LeBron needs to do to get rid of that stuff is attack it first. James has to start faster and be more aggressive than he’s ever been in the playoffs. The Spurs are a great defensive team when you let them dictate what the offense does. James let the Spurs dictate when he shot and passed the entire first half. I understand that you have to get your teammates involved. But this is the Finals, baby! This is when legends are born and made for years to come.
Granted, the role players of Cleveland need to step up and make plays and when your best second option is a rookie nicknamed Boobie picked in the second round then you might need to start making vacation plans. Daniel Gibson has been outstanding during the playoffs and has earned respect from everyone. But we are talking about the Spurs, people. They have big players who can rotate to open shooters unlike the Pistons with Chris Webber and Antonio McDyess. They have role players that play their roles unlike Flip Murray and Carlos Delfino. So this is a different type of series for the Cavs and Game 1 proved it.
Another observation from Game 1 is someone needs to slow down Tony Parker. He went for 27 points and 7 assists and I can’t remember how many TV shots of Eva Longoria we got Thursday night. Chauncey Billups struggled badly in the Conference Finals because he is primarily a jump shooter. Parker can shoot jump shots, but his focus is to get in the paint and cause havoc which he did. They even try to put LeBron on him. Bad move. LeBron is already trying to everything for his team on the offensive end. You can’t expect him to guard Parker and also be effective on the other end. Someone has to step up and slow him down. Who wants the challenge? Hughes, Gibson, Snow, Damon Jones (sorry; no way, Damon).
Again, I’m not leaving the King James fan club yet, because he has earn my respect to getting Cleveland to the NBA Finals. But if he doesn’t get that stuff out his teeth quick, this series will be as painful as a trip to the dentist for the Cavs.