By Scott Morganroth
Now that the Los Angeles Lakers/Orlando Magic mismatch is over, it's time to reflect on what would have been.
The ultimate choke artists are the Cleveland Cavaliers! This is a team which had a chance to put itself in the record books with the Boston Celtics if they had won its last home game with a 41-1 record but decided to rest its players and settled for 39-2 by losing to the Philadelphia 76'ers 111-110 on April 15TH.
I'll bet that 41-1 record would have been a nice consolation prize for not winning a championship or at least have the right to face Kobe Bryant and compete for one.
Before the final home game, Lebron James took the microphone and told the Cleveland fans that he was looking forward to snapping the city's half century championship drought.
The Cavaliers had a false sense of security just by thinking a 66-16 record could coast to the NBA Finals.
Sweeping the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks meant nothing when the Orlando Magic took advantage of their overconfidence. Undoubtedly, home court advantage throughout the playoffs meant nothing since they didn't make it all the way through to the finals.
When James decided not to show sportsmanship by not shaking the Magic's players hands after the series was over then refused to speak to the media, this was classless. I'm sure he's been criticized plenty but I hope he learns from his infamous hat trick of overconfidence, sportsmanship and bad public relations.
I do believe that Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert is the one person who could deliver Cleveland a title. But Gilbert, who is from Farmington Hills, MI and used to advertise with the Pistons and did watch the perfect business model by the late William Davidson, won't do it with Ben Wallace.
Wallace isn't the same player former Pistons TV Play-By-Play Announcer Fred McLeod used to broadcast on the 2004 championship team. Wallace's defensive abilities never took his next two stops the Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers to the promised land. He is on the downside of his career.
I'm sure Coach of the Year Mike Brown knows it. But if one Wallace doesn't work, Rasheed Wallace is an unrestricted free agent and might come at a reasonable price. Another chance to land a former Piston for Gilbert could be quite tempting. Desperation can do many things especially with a long championship drought.
I'll bet Brown will attempt to protect Wallace like former Pistons Coach Larry Brown did and channel that intensity. If Rasheed can play some defense and hit few timely three pointers, he might actually get Cleveland fans to like him since he's had unpleasant things to say about them in the past.
But I guess for the time being, the only way we'll see a Bryant versus James match up is on video games until we them play on the court next season. We'll have a year to see if this mega ratings match up ever materializes.
Perhaps then, I'll watch more than 15 minutes of a finals series. But I'm probably not alone and if James is smart, he'll take the microphone and speak to the Cleveland fans in June and not April learning from his overconfidence experience.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scott Morganroth
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