Six Point Swing: How Game Five Turned From Bad to Franchise-Derailing

Sam TothContributor IIIMay 12, 2010

I hope LeBron James and the Cavaliers prove me wrong. I would want nothing more than them to win the next one in Boston, come back to Cleveland and win Game Seven for all those fans they disappointed tonight.

Hell, the Atlanta Hawks did it after losing Game Five at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. So there is still a chance, right?

But as optimistic as I like to be, I just cannot shake the feeling that there is a better chance of Spencer Pratt becoming a likable human being. (For those fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with Pratt, you've got a better chance of finding a monkey typing Hamlet.)

LeBron James and the Cavaliers played with little heart and even less regard to the hopes and dreams of city of Cleveland. They mailed it in this game. Gave up. And it was inexcusable.

This was a six point game at half time. Six points. At home. How were they not fired up to come out, play some dominant defense, take the lead and pump up the crowd? Six points was all it had to take.

What happens?

Six points—for the Celtics, courtesy of Ray Allen within the first 30 seconds to open the second half.

All it would have taken was a measly six points to get back into the game. Unfortunately, all it took was a measly six points to completely deflate the Cavaliers.

One couldn't help but feel the air deflate from not just the Cavalier team, but from the entire Cavalier Nation.

We knew the weight of this game. It isn't just about a playoff game. It isn't just about a season on the line. It's about all of that, but there is one more crucial element: It's about LeBron.

He who lifted the franchise to all time highs, has the unwieldy ability to send it all crashing down. I couldn't help but get that feeling last night.

And I wasn't the only one.

I knew it was a possibility, but when Mike Fratello claimed on broadcast that "this could be LeBron James last game as a Cavalier in this stadium," my stomach dropped lower than Tay Zonday's voice . I didn't want to fathom it.

This couldn't really be his last performance in Cleveland as a Cavalier, right? The storybook of one of the greatest NBA players to live doesn't end its chapter in Cleveland on a 3-14 from the field performance, right?

As much as I don't want to believe it, it remains a possibility. And Brian Windhorst agrees, tweeting: "Can't dodge the feeling that the fallout from this night and effort could be felt for years. That's the reality."

We can harp all we want about who is to blame and why for this atrocious performance. LeBron? Shaq? Mo? Mike Brown? The Refs? Austin Carr? Moondog? Not wearing your lucky shirt?

Doesn't matter.

All that matters is that the team gave up on themselves this game with complete disregard to the people of Cleveland that care so much about them.

The stakes are real now. These next two games are a must win. For this series, and something bigger.

I just hope LeBron and the Cavaliers can prove me wrong.

And boy, how I'd love to be wrong.

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