Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jumpoff In Orlando

Mo Williams didn't exactly shoulder the burden of leader, something Reggie Miller heavily urged him to do via the airwaves last night.

The onus has been on Lebron, despite his presence in the passing lanes (how about that swift no-look, around the back pass to that sideshow Bob looking motherfucker Varejao!), to score those crucial, timely buckets.

Cleveland stuck to the script again last night.

The Cavs certainly needed some more Mo to supplement Lebron's high-flying and clutch theatrics.

Williams has yet to put his stamp on a game this series, one which has watched his field goal percentage dip, significantly.

He hasn't been the same player who operated offense, proving the goldfish can't swim with the sharks en route to an 8-0 cruise through the first two rounds.

At the end of the night, it didn't even matter.

There was no stopping Magic, who gutted out a 116-114 thriller behind a clutch, quick-strike three-pointer from Rashard Lewis and an overtime session featuring Dwight Howard's beasting.

It ended with two defenders swarming James' last second attempt from just inside half court.

Mo Will dropped 18 points on just 5-of-15 shooting, and King James (who must prove the world is still his by bouncing back guns-a-blazin' and scoring a Game 5 win) poured in a game-high 44 points. LBJ has averaged 42.5 points the last two games, 44.6 in the Cavs' three losses.

The 6-foot-8 wunderkind is averaging 36 points and seven dimes in the 2009 NBA playoffs.

The NBA needs this like a frat kid needs a six pack.

With a black cloud hovering over virtually every major sport, we desperately needed an action-packed, better buckle up for this ride-brand of playoff basketball.

NBA fans have not witnessed this kind of pressure-cooking, down to the wire, eyeball-to-eyeball blood feuds in quite some time.

When all is said and done, the league will have enjoyed perhaps the most intriguing, entertaining, intensity-bleeding and nailbiting playoffs of the 2000s.

The Finals are still a ways away, I know.

Yet the 2009 playoffs may have eclipsed the excitement, adrenaline rush and the instant chills we felt in 2006 and 2000.

Just think about the earth-scorching Boston/Chicago series.

When else have we seen a first-round matchup with that much extra juice, extra-curricular activity, and constant swings of the momentum pendulum?

Joakim Noah even admitted it...He was real tight with Big Baby when the two were in high school, and Big Baby used to chill at his house all the time back in the day. Both players did not acknowledge each other during the series, according to Noah.

They came in on the business boat.

The Warriors/Mavs 2007 series is a significant argument for the GOAT first round series, but Bulls/Beantown had more juice than Florida.

The basketball world, of course, is still praying for a Lebron/Kobe showdown in the NBA finals. A high-tide matchup of that ilk has the potency to stop God's green earth from spinning on its axis.

It would generate excitement throughout the Universe, as two mythic monster-slayers who manufacture points with their eyes closed put on the show of the century.

Doesn't look like our wish will be granted.

Oh well.

Melo is finally blessing us with the accurate account of himself, something the masses have anticipated since his one-and-done, me against the world showcase at Syracuse.

A glossy-smooth superstar who told his Team USA teammates not to sleep on the Nuggets last summer, Melo's superior scoring and playmaking has finally legged deep into playoff territory.

Denver's well-oiled offensive machine and the Magic's inside-outside prowess (Howard is a beast and he has a handful of snipers he can kick it to on the perimeter) have made us pay for sitting on them.

They've shamed us for treating Lebron and Kobe as our heavenly fathers, heavily hyping them up while Howard and Melo were doing serious work.

Last night, however, Lebron's eye-popping performance was buried under a barrage of three-pointers and Dwight Howard's overtime dominance.

Orlando torched the nets to the tune of 17-for-38 shooting from the great beyond. Rafer Alston embraced the "Skip" within him, burying 6 three-pointers as Orlando surged ahead.

Alston, the New York City product who left a lasting legacy on the streetball circuit, painted the Orlando hardwood in Rucker Park spray paint.

For Skip, who revived a career seemingly headed nowhere six years ago, this was his defining moment.

Now, Orlando has a commanding 3-1 lead, gutting into the chances of a Kobe/Lebron finals. Only eight teams have come roaring back from such a deficit.