The Last Early Exit

Let me preface what I am about to write with this: I am no fan of Lebron. I respect him, and what he has accomplished, but I, admittedly, root against him. I tend toward the underdog, and Lebron has been the absolute opposite of that for most of his career.

That being said, he is the most phenomenal athlete I have witnessed since I began to comprehend sports. I mean, I watched MJ when I was a kid, but I can’t say I fully appreciated it like I can appreciate what Lebron does playoff game after playoff game.

When Lebron last missed the Finals, I was still in college and living in Kentucky. There have been a lot of posts centered around what life was like in 2010, so I won’t pile on here. I am more interested in what happened in the last elimination game that Lebron lost before the Finals.

Ok, the was rough…let’s look at May 13, 2010. The scene: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The situation: Lebron and the Cavaliers trailed the Boston Celtics three games to two. Or, more specifically, the original super team, the Boston Big Three, were poised to head to the Eastern Conference Finals with Lebron’s back against the wall. Boston won 94 – 85.

No surprise, Lebron turned in a triple-double in an elimination game. At the time, it was the sixth playoff trip-dub of his career. He scored 27 points, nabbed 19 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists. Earning his 2nd MVP and leading Cleveland to home court advantage did not get him into the Finals…or even the Conference Finals. Remember the narrative that Lebron can’t win the big one? Yeah…that aged well.

Lebron was quoted after that game as saying, “A friend of mine told me, ‘I guess you’ve got to go through a lot of nightmares before you realize your dream.’ That’s what’s going on for me individually right now.”

Earlier this season, when Lebron passed MJ for career points scored, he made an Instagram post to child-Lebron congratulating him on what he would accomplish in his career. Maybe he should have just DMed 2010-Lebron to cheer himself up? At any rate, thats water under the bridge.

Back to May 13, 2010. Raise your hand if you remember the starting five of the Cavs back then? Yeah…me neither. Mo Williams (would have guessed), Lebron, Antwan Jamison (forgot about him), Anthony Parker (him too), and Shaq (might have, wouldn’t have, totally couldn’t have guessed him). Mo Williams was the second-leading scorer with 22 points, Shaq had 11, and no one else scored in double figures. In fact, Jamario Moon (who could forget him…), was the only Cleveland player who finished in the positive in the plus/minus stat column (+5).

An iconic piece of memorabilia from that series was a poster Celtics fans held up from the seats of Lebron. It was in the style of Barack Obama’s “Change” poster…except it was Lebron and it said “Nope.” Two straight years he led the Cavs to the number-one overall seed in the playoffs and two straight years they exited early.

As anyone will remember, though, Lebron took his talents to South Beach the following season and shook off the stigma of never making it to the big stage…because he’s been there ever since.

Tuesday Thoughts

Happy Tuesday! Got a handful of random thoughts on my mind that would take a lot of effort to make into full posts, but look great in a list!

1. Matt Harvey makes his Great American Ballpark debut. I do not have tickets (going to see Deadpool 2, again) but I will be watching. My expectations have been low since he became a Red and, so far, I’ve not been disappointed. As far as this night, in a vacuum, I want to see him get a quality start. Give the loyal Reds fans a six-inning outing with three runs allowed, maybe pepper in some strikeouts, and walk nobody. I don’t ask for much, I feel.

2. The Reds begin a home series against the Pirates. Pittsburgh has surprised the experts around the league and held their own at the top of the Central Division for the first few months in the 2018 season, but the winds are changing. The Buccos’ sails don’t have that breeze pushing them forward, right now. The Jolly Roger sits stagnant in the water as they’ve dropped three-straight games, losing a four-game series to the lowly Padres while allowing them to score 21 runs during that set. Now they sit fourth in the division. This is music to the Reds ears as they dropped three of four in Pittsburgh back in the beginning of April, leading to the worst start in franchise history. Time for Cincy to shake off the bad juju and get back on some sort of track.

3. Lebron scores his tail off, getting 44 points, and the Cavs won by only nine points. I have been verbally saying this, but now I’ll put it on the internet, I think the Celtics win in seven.

4. Every sports fan’s favorite words, “Game Seven,” seem to happen a lot in hockey. The Caps and Lightning are going to do it on Wednesday and I love the storylines for this game. Tampa is 5-2 all-time in Game Sevens while DC is 4-11. The game is on the Lightning’s home ice and I’m thinking it’s going to be classic. Plus, Doc Emrick is on the call. That dude could announce paint peeling and I’d be enthralled. Best play-by-play guy in any sport.

5. I’ll get you out of here on this – Jim Harbaugh. The man has to be in the crosshairs of Michigan’s boosters. The Wolverines have tread water throughout his short tenure in Ann Arbor, but now the Maze and Blue have something that should push them over the top: a quarterback. Dude from Ole Miss, Shea Patterson, got his waiver to transfer out of the Rebels disfunction and onto a team he can play for right away, and Jimmy H got him. Patterson was a 5-Star recruit out of high school and threw for over 3,000 yards last season in ten games. This is going to have Michigan fans buzzing, but anyone with an objective point of view toward the Wolverines will be keeping their eye on Harbaugh. He hasn’t had a notable signal caller yet. Now that he does, will Michigan be in playoff contention, as they pine for every year, or will it be another year with a busted bowl game appearance? Jim, you have the floor.

Now go get you some tacos and make Tuesday great again for the first time.