There’s nothing that would fire me up more as a Cavs fan than to see LeBron James come out in Game Five and open on the defensive end against Rajon Rondo. Forget Paul Pierce, he practically asked out of Game Four when he fouled Shaq and intentionally picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter yesterday, and besides that he’s shooting 16 of 50 for the series. More on that later, but for now, let’s just also forget all this strategy talk for a minute as well. Forget game plans, forget x’s and o’s, and forget resting guys for offense on the defensive end. Throw away defensive schemes, hedging screens, ball-you-man, 1-3-1, and all that other rhetorical coaching garbage as well too while you’re at it. To me, this is beyond scouting reports at this point. This is – and should be – about pride for LeBron James right now. Are you the best player in the world, or no? If so, you cannot let the fourth best point guard in the NBA completely dominate, humiliate, and dismantle your team…not standing there watching the whole thing you can’t.
Rajon Rondo has been the most consistently dominant force in this Cavaliers – Celtics series, and that’s not right…
He’s gonna get his to be sure, but at some point along the way to triple doubles, 19 assists, and 18 rebound efforts, if you’re the best player on the planet, you have to get angry, demand that challenge, and shut that down yourself if nobody else on your team can. Mike Jordan wouldn’t have stood there watching BJ Armstrong get annihilated all game long, and even Kobe wasn’t going to stand there and continue to watch Derek Fisher get whiplash-ed trying to keep up with Russell Westbrook. LeBron James is the best athlete on the floor, voted to the All – Defensive Team, and just won his second MVP award. He can guard Rajon Rondo better than Anthony Parker can, and its time he did that.
Now I’m not saying LeBron is totally slacking on the defensive end thus far, because a lot of the reason Pierce has been non-existent to this point is because of LeBron. But not the whole reason. Pierce can’t do anything against James to be sure, but I wonder how much Pierce can really do against a guy like an Anthony Parker. I mean, he might get 29, but he’s not triple doubling AP with that point total. And if he does get a triple double, he’s not grabbing 18 boards, and he’s not dropping 19 dimes. And he might not even get 29. Truth is, it looks to me like Pierce wants nothing to do with this series, and I’d move LeBron off him now and take my chances.
Because if you don’t, chances are Rondo will continue to run circles around these Cavaliers like a 5 year old on redbull. I thought before the series started that the Cavs would concede the mismatch Rondo presented by attacking him with length on the perimeter and to an extent they have - however the length I pined for was Jamario Moon, as opposed to Anthony Parker. And while I’d still like to see Moon guard Rondo for stretches in relief of LeBron during Game Five, that’s not what I’m really saying here…..What I’m saying is I need to see that fire from LeBron James on both ends of the floor, right from the tip tomorrow. I need to see him come out in Game Five so disgusted by the way Rondo embarrassed him and his team that he can’t wait for the game to start because he can’t wait to start shutting him completely down and rendering him a non-factor. And I think his teammates need to see that too, because they take their cues from the guy who has his likeness hanging on a skyscraper just across the street from the arena. This team goes how LeBron goes, and there’s nothing going on with Pierce. The guy that needs stopped wears his headband upside down, and its time LeBron sends the message – to all parties involved here - that not only is he the guy to stop him, but it’s LeBron James himself that’s the truest of superstars in this series, and he’s got something for anybody who says otherwise.