LeBron James was so disappointed his Cleveland Cavaliers are out of the NBA playoffs, he immediately left the Amway Arena floor as soon as the final buzzer sounded, skipped the postgame news conference and rushed to the team bus without speaking to reporters.
It was an indication James feels that his Cavaliers, as they are currently constructed, do not have the right pieces to contend for a championship. Cleveland won 66 games during the regular season and James won MVP, but that is all for nothing because the Magic bounced the Cavs in six games and, at the end of the conference finals, The James Gang is still a one-man team.
Eric Snow, who now works for NBA TV, was disappointed his former teammate bypassed the mandatory media session. “He has to come out and talk. Enough said, Bron. You gotta come out and talk. You’re the leader of this team. You come out, you lead, you answer questions, represent your team like you’ve done all season long and you go back on the bus.”
Snow continued, “I know you’re upset; everyone is upset for you. But that’s what you have to do. That’s what leaders do. Leaders go out there and they do the things that are hard. The things that you don’t want to do. That’s what you come out there and get that done. You move on, set the example and the tone for your team to get by this and move on for next season.”
Cleveland coach Mike Brown blamed the loss to poor execution in crucial times. How about lack of talent? It’s the 800-pound elephant in the room that everyone, including Brown, seem to be ignoring.
“We had one goal in mind and we came up short. We came up short because we didn’t execute early on – on both ends of the floor,” Brown said. “It wasn’t about a lack of effort, it wasn’t about a lack of passion, it wasn’t about a lack of heart. Our guys have that. They displayed that the entire year.”
No one is questioning Cleveland’s effort. It’s amazing this team got this far for having so many flaws. They don’t have a consistent second scorer, they’re bench is very average at best and if Anderson Varejao gets in foul trouble, they don’t have a reliable power forward off the bench. Ben Wallace was nonexistent throughout the series and made a crucial mistake by getting picked off by Dwight Howard late in Game 4 that allowed Rashard Lewis an open look at a 3-point shot.
Though James – who averaged nearly 40 points per game, eight rebounds and eight assists during the series – will not publicly call anyone out, much of the blame points to Mo Williams. The Cavaliers point guard had a forgettable series and his unreliable jump shot kept a second and sometimes a third defender in James’ path. When Williams was asked if there was anything more he could have done in the series, he replied, “No.”
Even though Williams averaged a decent 18 points in the series, his 35% 3-point shooting was far below his playoff average. Williams also added extra pressure on himself by guaranteeing that the Cavaliers would advance to the NBA Finals. Big words for someone who has never done anything in the playoffs. We ain’t in Milwaukee anymore, Mo!
ESPN’s Chris Broussard brought up LeBron’s quick exit from the locker room to the bus, to which Williams responded by saying: “Obviously, you’re gonna be disappointed, obviously you’re gonna be hurting inside because you know that you had a team to get it done. And I can understand that disappointment because I’m feeling that same disappointment. At the end of the day, LeBron is a great professional. He’s a very intelligent basketball player. This is motivation and drive for him. I’m 110 percent sure that he’ll be alright.”
Williams continued, “Basically, it’s like you’re at Christmas time and you want that remote control car you’ve been beggin’ you’re mom the whole time. Christmas comes and you open up a present, you open up another present, another present and you never see that remote control car. You could have 10 presents, you don’t have that remote control car you’re gonna be sad and disappointed. But you’ll get over it.”
Funny how Williams would use the Christmas toy analogy because guess what LeBron will be wishing for during the offseason? A player who can help him win a championship.