Expect to see a different Lebron James tonight when the Cavaliers face the Celtics for game 3 of the East semi finals.
Lebron James set records of ineffectiveness the past two games.
He shot 8-for-42 and his19-percent average is the worst for the first two games of a series by a player with 30 attempts since Joe Fulks shot 17.6 percent in 1948 with the Philadelphia Warriors.
And it is the worst of any two consecutive playoff games by a player attempting 40 shots since Tom Heinsohn was 8-for-41 in 1961 with Boston.
Coach Mike Brown has pointed back at James and told him to be more aggressive, to stop hesitating.
“There are times when he’s wide open, and you can’t be in this league and be wide open and not want to take those shots,” Brown said. “He’s got to keep stepping in and taking them.
“If he’s open, I want him to take the shot. I could sit here and say, ‘I want you to attack the rim on every possession.’ That’s easy and the right thing to say. But if he’s open, which he was in Game 2, he’s got to step up and shoot it without hesitating or thinking about the shot at all.
“And if he misses five in a row, I want him to take the sixth one the next time down.”
“I think LeBron is surprising himself,” forward Wally Szczerbiak said. “I don’t think he’s ever had two games like this. But the poor guy’s got so much on his shoulders. He’s got to carry the weight of the team, the weight of the offense, and he’s got everyone pointing fingers at him and trying to stop him.”
Game 3 bullets:
– If James wants to find the root of his problems, he should turn his focus toward Joe Johnson. It was the star guardâ€™s scoring surge in Atlantaâ€™s first-round series, after all, that forced the Câ€™s to alter their defensive approach, which has since transferred to James.
Ray Allen said the Celtics are in â€œfamiliar territoryâ€ after keying their defense on Johnson to vanquish the upstart Hawks.
â€œWe spent a lot of days on pick-and-rolls at the top of the key,â€ he said. â€œAtlanta used Michael Bibby a lot, so it put (Rajon) Rondo in the screens and he and I both in the screens, and we hadnâ€™t done that all year, so now we kind of know what to expect and, most importantly, the bigs behind are in the same situations. So we talk about what we did in Atlanta, weâ€™re now doing here with LeBron, so weâ€™re in familiar territory.â€
– The return home worked for the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, and the Cavs are hoping a similar turnaround is in the cards for them.
â€œWe will have our crowd on our side, which will be nice,â€ Wally Szczerbiak said. â€œHopefully our energy will be a lot better, and hopefully weâ€™ll get more loose balls.â€
Not to mention a little home support.
â€œHomecourt has always been good for us,â€ LeBron James said. â€œSo weâ€™re going to use the crowd, and we just have to continue to keep our heads up on offense.â€
– Experience is in favor of the cavaliers
Guard Daniel Gibson said that experience against the Pistons will help the Cavs against the Celtics.
”If you haven’t been in this situation before, you might be a little bit discouraged the way things are going, but knowing the series isn’t over until a team wins four games and knowing that you’ve been in that situation before and done it before, that’s a great factor in relying on that experience,” he said.
Brown said the playoff experience the team has gleaned in the past couple of seasons should help, also.
”If you can have that kind of experience of what we went through last year and what we went through the year before, I think it will help out,” he said. ”And the one thing it does for our team, truly does for our team, is tell us that no series is over until someone has won four games.”
– Idea from The Painted Area, D’Antoni in Cleveland
As much talk as there is about whether D’Antoni is the best fit in Chicago or Toronto or New York or Dallas, doesn’t he actually make the most sense in Cleveland? Is there any team that *needs* to be relentlessly fast breaking more than the Cavs?
Yeah, sure, they’d still need the right point guard to make it go, but when you have possibly the greatest fast-break finisher in basketball history, I say you’ve got a pretty decent building block to start with.
Idea from CavsNews to Danny Ferry and Gilbert, hire D’Antoni as a head coach and Mike Brown as defense specialist.
Think about it, D’Antoni is “offensive genius” as Lebron James said. Combine that with defense and you will have a fun and killer team that will dominate for years.