The Celtics/Cavaliers second round NBA playoff series seems increasingly to be a referendum on one player - LeBron James. No matter the outcome of a particular game, the discussion afterwards is always about LeBron.
Now, being the transcendent superstar that he is, this attention is somewhat understood, yet it is unfair to the other participants in this series. In this age of instant analysis and opinion from the media, it seems everyone wants to weigh in and give their take on LeBron.
When the Celtics won game two, the broadcast crew seemed to devote the entire second half of the telecast to LeBron’s supposed elbow injury. The days in between games two and three were non-stop LeBron elbow talk. (LeBron’s elbow even got its own Twitter account.) When James was dominating in a Cavaliers rout in game three, the telecast instead focused on the all-time greatness of James.
With the Celtics having taken games four and five, talk is back again to LeBron’s elbow, but also about his maturity and ability to lead a team. Some are already saying that he’s played his last game in Cleveland as a member of the Cavs. As the media is wont to do when it comes to superstars, most of the “analysis” about this series is on LeBron, and not on the nine other players on the court during the game.
However, the series is not over yet. The Cavaliers are still capable of coming back to win this series - the Celtics did have a 3-2 lead in the second round last year too, before dropping games six and seven to the Magic - and if they do win the series, much of the talk from the last paragraph will be forgotten. That’s because it’s just talk. Media rushing to judgement, yet changing their tune as quickly as they came up with the original “take.”
I’ve read a little criticism of Mo Williams and his inability to stay with Rajon Rondo, but he’s been about the only Cavalier to feel some heat in this series. What about the rest of LeBron’s “supporting cast?” Shouldn’t they be catching some heat as well?
How about some praise for the Celtics - a team most “experts” gave little chance in this series. I saw one ESPN expert roundup with the predictions of all their NBA staff, and every single one in the graphic picked the Cavs. According to most of those same experts right now, the Celtics aren’t winning this series, they’re just ahead because LeBron is injured. He certainly didn’t look injured in game three, a performance that really casts doubt on just how mch that elbow is really bothering the Cleveland star.
This is disrespect, plain and simple. Coming into the playoffs, the Celtics hadn’t done a whole lot to earn respect this season, but their first round performance coupled with their play in this series should earn them something more than the “LeBron’s elbow is injured so the the Celtics are winning” attitude that is prevalent among many right now.
As I said before, if the Cavs come back and win the next two games, all the talk will come back full circle to how great LeBron is - but a thousand times more.
Don’t these guys ever tire of playing this game?