NEW YORK — So, it’s Disneyland vs. Disney World, on Disney-owned ABC, no less, starting June 4 at the Staples Center with Phil Jackson going after his 10th title.
For the unaware, this is one more than Red Auerbach and three more than my local library.
Too bad Walt Disney, the Cavaliers and Doug Collins aren’t coherent to see it.
Game 6 of the Cleveland-Orlando series was the most anticlimactic close-out game since last season’s Game 6 in the NBA Finals in Boston. Unlike the Magic, the Cavs, having squandered 16-point and 23-point leads in Games 1 and 2, were unable to make the home team sweat after dropping from sight numerous times.
Their biggest mistake after intermission was continuing to feed LeBron, who noticeably lost his legs, touch, handle, swagger and jagged edge. Delonte West was the lone responsible competitor bent on doing right by his team.
And then there are those of you who got bent out of shape by James being disinclined to give a graveside eulogy.
Spare me the righteous anger; the same can be said squared about blowing off a press conference . . . though Lord knows how difficult it is for many members of the media actually to say what they saw, write what they feel, or rely on originality for a change.
What LeBron did show by not showing is how upset he was about losing, how much it bothered him to have his team’s fantasy run so convincingly wrecked and how nothing else matters but a ring ceremony and getting crowned.
So, excuse LeBron — almost always accessible and conscientious and agreeable and forthcoming — for caring so deeply. I’ll worry about him if he isolates himself for more than a one- or two-day mourning period, but it says here he earned the right many times over to keep his thoughts to himself.
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In all my years of covering the pros, I’ve never heard a league-leading team inundate an opponent with as much praise as the Cavs heaped on the Magic. Beginning after Game 2, maybe even Game 1, the eventual losers didn’t miss a chance to credit their oppressors in front of any microphone that might be open.
Clearly, Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu got into the Ohio Players heads. Mo Williams went so far as to admit after Game 5 his teammates were shell-shocked after the first two games . . . no doubt because they couldn’t shake the Magic after taking the aforementioned leads.
Indisputably, the Cavs instantly saw what we saw; nightmarish nonnegotiable mismatches galore . . . that now must be addressed in the offseason by GM Danny Ferry whose assets rapidly run dry once you get past LeBron, Williams and owner Daniel Gilbert’s willingness to money-chase a championship.
Despite being relieved of expiring contracts belonging to Wally Szczerbiak ($13.7 million), Eric Snow ($7.3 million), Joe Smith ($759,581) and Lorenzen Wright ($759,581) the Cavs remain well over the cap ($73 million) for 2009-2010 regardless of whether Anderson Varejao ($6.2 million) exercises an escape clause.
Surely LeBron is wondering how his bushed body, fatigued mind and scarred spirit can withstand another regular season of compensating for a multitude of malfunctioning components, some well past their prime, others whose growth plates closed long ago.
Does LeBron seriously see himself going through this torture one more time before the Cavs can set up business on the unloading dock (so long, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic) and restock their shelves with a supplementary superstar?
Clearly, LeBron wanted and needed time alone with his disappointment and dissatisfaction before being asked such questions, much less answer them.
Gee what a fluke; the Lakers spread out, run their offense through Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom and shred the Nuggets defense for countless unchallenged layups and jumpers in Games 5 and 6, many by predator Kobe Bryant who often found himself alone with just one defender to shame.
Kobe is Kong, overpowering, compelling and neurotic.
Gasol is L.A.’s centrifugal force minus the celebratory primal screams and beating on the chest.
When utilized correctly by Kobe and company, Pau provides unanswerable peculiarities only Howard may be able to nullify when they square off in the NBA Finals after Andrew Bynum sits down early and often in each game due to foulups.
Pau’s rare 1970s-like disposition and cache were the difference in strip-mining the Nuggets: So smooth on his feet, ballet-dancing left or right for baby hooks or turnaround springers; so poised peering over the defense before making the proper pass; so pristine from the line after getting hammered by nasty-as-rusty nails Nuggets.
Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.
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