CLEVELAND - MAY 11: Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to get around the defense of Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
To say more than is absolutely necessary about tonight's game against the Celtics would be an exercise in futility. There was nothing good to be seen tonight, with the exception, I suppose, of Shaquille O'Neal stepping forward with a pretty good game. In fact, the big man had 21 points to lead the Cavaliers. But, as I said in the game thread, when Shaq is your leading scorer at this stage of his career in any game, you've got some major problems.
So tonight I will dispense with numbers and percentages, and will instead ask about one thing that does not show in any box-score or stat-sheet...
I saw a Celtics team tonight that knew what had to be done, who came in to a frenzied environment and took not only the fans, but the Cavaliers, completely out of the game. As I also said in the game thread, I saw the heart of a champion tonight, and unfortunately, it was in the team with the green jerseys.
Do the Cavs have that kind of heart? I would like to think that they do. I would like to think that Cleveland will go into Boston on Thursday night, into that same frenzied, hostile environment, and send a message that we are not going to go down quietly, that although we have not, collectively, won any championships, that does not mean that we do not have the heart to become a champion.
But that message has to be sent on Thursday. There is no more room for error, there is no chance of bouncing back from another loss, it is now or it is nothing, and if the message is not sent Thursday, it will be October or November before any more messages can be sent...and, whether we want to think about it now or not, the messengers might not be the same by then.
Heart. That is all that is left, and it will be shown now, or other hearts will hurt, or be angry, or break.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost tonight. The Cleveland Cavaliers must win their next two games or the season is over. That is all that needs to be said, or thought about, for the next two days.
C'mon Cavs, got to make it happen!