In a speechless, cheerless, fatigued venue at downtown Boston, a Nightmare on Causeway Street embodied the worst-case scenario, forging a horror movie in a sporting town known for winning its fair share of titles in pro basketball.
Of the thousands sitting nervously in the stands, who stared in hopes of witnessing the resurgence of the Boston Celtics, observed a massacre when a believable evening turned into a pulverizing beat down.
It’s common to postulate that LeBron James is harmless and certain to botch at any given situation nursing a sore elbow, an injury downsizing his mental mindset to drive as if he’s invincible or limiting his ability to draw contact under the rim and be awarded a three-point opportunity.
The world is obligated to know LeBron’s next destination, if the Cleveland Cavaliers fail to win a title during his reign, just as the world is obsessed with the worldwide icon for his breathtaking exhibits and impact within a professional league of blossoming superstars.
He’s compared to Michael Jordan and wears his jersey No. 23, but what’s unique about James is that he’s a refined sporting figure and embraced globally.
Because he’s precautious about his bruised elbow, then maybe he’s not as effective or electric of dashing to the paint protecting himself of serve damage as it gradually heals, but it’s an understatement to discount James and the Cavs.
Any team can topple another team in one game, but purging them in an entire series is a whole different story.
For the everlasting failures and usual instincts of falling apart in critical situations, LeBron is attempting to win a championship in his hometown, healthy or unhealthy.
In recent years, the Celtics vs. Cavs is a renewal rivalry producing raw blood on the hardwood and could last seven games, depending whether the Celtics can avenge an embarrassing loss and recover to purge any nightmarish afterthoughts of relapsing before a home crowd.
After encountering a 104-86 loss in Game Two to Boston at home, it was vital to win one on the road and take a commanding lead in the series, despite blowing home court advantage.
Very quickly, the Cavs revitalized certainty with every reason to believe they can win a championship and increase a sense of happiness in a town that hasn’t experienced much triumph, but has suffered mockery with all the draining fiascoes smudging sensibility.
As expected, LeBron stepped onto the court with realization and led the Cavs. On this night, he played with heart and energy, demonstrating a crafty and savvy style of play in his arsenal of shots.
The Cavs also relied on their two-time MVP to attack with his body and set up teammates by making incredible passes on most possessions.
They rely more on his talent and upper body strength, in which James is unstoppable in dashing through the lanes and slashing inside to finish on the easy deuce, unless he’s battered with nagging pain of his banged up elbow.
He’s playing through an injury and still strives towards a title as an inestimable superstar embraced heavily in a good-natured town.
Although James has been nixed with a minor injury with prolonged publicity raising a level of concern, he appeared fine amid a limitless farce and reasserted his status Friday night when the powerfully built 6-8, 255-pound forward outplayed Boston single-handedly.
With all the dubious thoughts of James’ injury, it's almost inevitable to dismiss the Cavs, who dismantled the Celtics, 124-95, at the Garden, to hand Boston its worst home loss in playoff history.
So much for shamrocks, victory cigars or seas of green remaining in the stands, when the majority of Celtics’ faithful made their way to the nearest exit and stayed silent for much of the night.
Because of their poor outing, the rowdy fans even serenaded loud and unpleasant boos, disappointed of the staggering letdown and sudden turnaround. It’s too bad there are no refunds.
But no team desires ending the season for an early vacation and a fishing trip with Kenny and Charles, certainly not James and the Cavs, a championship-caliber franchise that is angling for a glorious prize.
They retaliated from a lousy Game Two, avoiding the careless lapses and bounced back with a conscious attitude in attaining its share of deference. His famous elbow injury wasn’t an ill-effect as cynical believers began doubting James' ability to guide the Cavs back to the NBA Finals.
Perhaps, it was misguided headlines when he showed off in a brilliant showpiece, exploding and silencing doubters in a hostile environment with a dazzling performance. He had the swagger to pulverize the Celtics in the conference semifinals, with clear evidence on why he’s the Most Valuable Player.
The world suddenly became curious of his response while battling an injury in the postseason, knowing he’s the superstar of a franchise that relies on his productivity. James scored 21 of his 38 points in the first quarter and summarized a demoralizing defeat, to implant a historical mark.
The Cavs record-setting 59.5 for points and field-goal percentage was the difference in their manhandling over the Celtics, who never had an answer or stood in the face or stopped a vintage James from pestering them.
For three days, he received plenty of rest and practiced without feeling pain in his elbow. On a star-studded evening, he played with emotion and knocked down jumpers without grimacing in pain. He delivered in a critical way and nailed eight of his 10 shots in the first quarter alone.
“We had three days to sit and feel the pressure and then bounce back,” said James. “Rest helped me and we were able to have a complete game.”
During an intense practice Thursday, he was evidently fine without grimacing in agony. He tried out a jump-shooting secession. And he wore a Kobe-like scowl on his face at game time, ready to lead his team to a different outcome unlike the other night when they were massively routed.
“It was a really important game for us; it was my mindset from the jump,” said James. “It started with me and everyone else saw my aggression.”
He was aggressive, indeed, by making 14 of 22 shots for driving to the rim. He also grabbed eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocks to finish off a well-rounded night. As it seems, the Cavs are unbeatable whenever his teammates compile points on the scoreboards.
Such as Antawn Jamison, who had a stellar game as a Cavalier, had 20 points with 12 rebounds and won the skirmish with Kevin Garnett. It was as if he was an undersized forward standing in the middle, when Jamison outhustled and frustrated KG.
By the end of the night, he settled for 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting, but more stunningly, he was held merely to four rebounds and a lone assist.
Finally, there was some life from Shaquille O’Neal, instead of producing rap lyrics. Though he’s aging, he produced 12 points with nine rebounds to add to the lopsided rebounding margin of 45-30 and points in the paint by a differential of 50-32.
Did you believe in LeBron? I did.
The scene reminded us not to discount the Cavs. It’s inevitable to wave farewell and rule out Cleveland. And with LeBron anything is possible, especially when his royal court comes to James' aid.