Reporter - "Why should the fans feel confident about winning Game 6?"
LeBron James - "They got me!"
That was part of the exchange yesterday after the Cavaliers practice and film session. It put to bed the nightmare of Game 5 and started the preparation of a win-or-go-home scenario tonight in Boston. The Cavaliers have always followed LeBron's lead, and now is no exception. He is confident and always has been. Most nights he is able to back up his confidence with numbers few have seen before. The question now is can he physically back up what he is saying. The answer is anyone's guess.
I've said from the get-go that the elbow injury, if there is one, does not explain much of what has gone on at times during the series against the Celtics. In all honesty, the Cavaliers have been struggling with chemistry since the playoffs began, trying to re-incorporate Shaquille O`Neal into the rotation while bringing Zydrunas Ilgauskas back as well. It has been a struggle as minutes and rotations have taken their toll on the roster.
It is hard to argue with the numbers, however, when speaking of LeBron and any possible injury. When LeBron have extra rest - the Cavaliers had 4 days off after the Bulls series, then again prior to Game 3 against Boston, LeBron has been the best player on the planet - 36.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7 assists.
When the Cavaliers get just one day of rest - the case for Games 2, 4 and 5 - the numbers are much more mortal - 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Decent, but not MVP-like.
Humor me for a second. Could LeBron have taken it easy on the court Tuesday Night, knowing tow things - The Cavaliers need him to play huge tonight and the Cavaliers will get an extra day between Game 6 and a possible Game 7 on Sunday? Far-fetched, I know, but when given rest and treatment LeBron is a scoring machine - unstoppable.
Add to that his comments and attitude. Does LeBron know something we do not? He has already said he'll do whatever it takes tonight, including playing all 48-minutes if necessary. Does he know that by protecting his arm for much of a Game 5 blowout that he'll feel strong tonight?
Don't get confused. I am not saying LeBron tanked it on Tuesday. Far from it. We have seen it in the past - LeBron is non-aggressive for the first 3 quarters then turns it on in the 4th. The rest of the Cavaliers were awful - minus Shaq - and the Celtics had everyone going. That is hard to beat even if LeBron is having a good night. What I am saying is, I wonder if LeBron saw what was happening too - Ray Allen, KG, Paul Pierce, Rondo - all going off having big nights. Why get beaten and battered at that point?
Perhaps my out-of--the-box thinking is a bit too far-fetched. It sure as hell beats regurgitating the same things we have seen from most in the media. Whatever is happening, whatever the reality, the Cavaliers know they have to win a game. Tonight's game. We'll worry about tomorrow later.