Tuesday, April 15

But I don't wanna lose!

The Cavaliers locked up first-round homecourt advantage against the Wizards (again) last night, with a 91-90 road win over the 76ers that featured a strange ending. I'd like to talk a bit about the game's conclusion and even more about the reaction to it.

Trailing by a point with four seconds to play, LeBron James took the ball rimward, was fouled by at least six Philly defenders (no call), and had his shot blocked. The ball fell to Devin Brown, who was semi-tackled by Samuel Delambert while putting up a short, errant shot as time expired. It appeared that the 76ers would win, but the referees ruled that Brown was indeed fouled with 0.2 seconds remaining and had thus earned two foul shots. Brown sank both of them, game, set, Cavs.

Let's be very clear on this next point: it was absolutely the right call, and the officials made it using the correct protocols. Black and white. There is no dispute of this.

That doesn't mean there wasn't Philly whining about it, though! Evoking shades of the Browns' win in Baltimore this past season, the decision brought out boos from the fans and complaints from the players and coaches, despite, I reiterate, being correct and fair. Like the Ravens, the Philly team left the playing area while the refs were sorting the matter out, as if taking their ball and going home (or, in Andre Miller's case, punting it) would make things better. As if the refs would rule the play in the Cavs' favor and then think, "well, the 76ers already left and it might bother them to have to come all the way back out - some of them might be in the hot tub already - so let's just forget about it." What a childish thing for the Philly players to do. I'm glad they had to stand there and watch Devin Brown dispatch them before heading back for good.

When the ruling was made, Philly coach Maurice Cheeks stormed around and called it "bullshit" while Philly fans booed. Sorry Mo, it was no such thing. Sorry Philly fans - you have nothing to boo other than Dalembert's regrettable foul. How presumptious of the spectators - like you even saw what happened! Accept it, and start training your eye-lasers on Devin Brown.

Granted, this play benefitted my team greatly, but I'd be writing this same article (only with far less glee) had it been the other way around. Of course, I think Mike Brown would have handled it with a bit more serenity, but who knows? The important thing is that the right call was made, so let's not lose sight of that.

The 76ers, of course, really, really lost sight of that. Let's get a couple of reactions:

Andre Miller: I thought the game was over.

I was taking off my ankle braces.
Shoulda waited.

We had the win
No you didn't.

but the refs brought us back and reviewed it. That's the decision they made.
...and it was the right one according to the NBA rule book? Maybe the reporter just missed that part. Anyone else? Andre Iguodala, your thoughts?

You feel like you just got seriously slapped in the face
Rick James: "What did the five fingers say to the face? Slap!"

It was like we had the 'W' and it was marked off.
Kinda like that, except you never had it. Coach Cheeks, you have a comical name - surely you can offer some perspective?

To be a winner, then a loser, that's pretty tough.
How would you know?

I wonder if any of the players simply said, "It was the right call and we lost," but the writers decided that wouldn't make good copy. I would love to have seen a player or coach show such honesty, but that's not typically how it goes when "controversy" is out and about.

Looking ahead, I'm excited about this series against the Wizards, in which one could make a good case for Washington being the favorite. They're healthy and motivated, and the Cavs have not been playing well. Still, the Wiz's incessant anti-Cavs and anti-LeBron trash talk (spearheaded by DeShawn Stevenson and Gilbert Arenas) will probably earn them a few monster performances from LBJ, who thrives on trash talk from opposing players and even fans. Hey, Wizards, maybe win something before trying to talk smack?


ernest said...

Man, playing the Bullets . . . er, Wizards yet again is ALMOST as unappealing as getting a root canal, being stuck in traffic, or watching Jonathan Papelbon in biker shorts and goggles perform his retarded celebration dance. Yes, I know there will be the dual pleasure of adding another zero to Agent Zero's resume while trying to guess how much food is trapped in Deshawn Stevenson's beard. But I'd rather have new blood, like the Eurotrash Raptors or the pesky gnat-like Sixers. Even playing the Hawks offers the possibility of the TV people showing old Spud Webb or Dominique Wilkins clips which I still always enjoy. Instead, I'll just have to try to make do with watching Terrence Howard once again looking very sad on the sidelines.

Nick said...

That's Terrence DASHON Howard to you. :)

Nick said...

I'm also getting sick of the Bullets, but many consider the Cavs the underdog this year, and it will feel good to see Stevenson and Arenas look like dopes.

Andy said...

It's hard out here for a coach