Cleveland Cavs Need Mo Williams to Shut Up and Produce

Robert Kleeman@@RobertKleemanSenior Analyst IMay 26, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 24:  Mo Williams #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the game against the Orlando Magic in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the the Amway Arena on May 24, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Picture LeBron James pandering and pleading on 600 West Amelia St., across from Orlando's Amway Arena with this sign: "Will work for scoring help."

He may not wear a scruffy beard, smell like the Dumpster in the rear of the local McDonald's, or face any financial uncertainty. He could, however, use some help on the court, and the one All Star who can give it to him is instead making foolish, perhaps dangerous predictions.

Cleveland guard Mo Williams guaranteed his Cavaliers would win the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday afternoon, despite trailing 2-1 in the seven-game match to the loaded Orlando Magic and losing the season series, 2-1.

"There is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series," he said.

In fairness to Williams, a reporter goaded him into that answer. It's on the Cavs' brick layer, though, for taking the bait.

Though averaging a respectable 17 points per game, Williams is shooting an abominable 32 percent from the field, swooshing just 18 of his 56 attempts.

His down-the-toilet three-point percentage is a major reason why the Cavaliers are struggling from distance.

The only thing Williams should be guaranteeing is that he will finally show up in tonight's game four as a championship-level sidekick. He possesses the talent, and obviously the mouth, but does he have the will?

The Cavaliers have no shot to win two more games if LeBron James must continue to outscore all of his teammates. James is serving the right dishes. His teammates are not devouring them.

Every time Williams clangs an open look, he puts more undue pressure on one of the game's transcendent talents.

When James has to be perfect, his imperfections seem larger than his Nike "Witness" poster adjacent to Quicken Loans Arena.

The runaway MVP missed five free throws in the fourth quarter of game three, missed seven-of-eight threes and could not deliver enough clutch scores to make the difference.

If the Cavaliers wanted LeBron James alone to carry them to the NBA Finals, they know now that he cannot do it without assistance.

Most of the talk after game two centered on Cleveland getting "The Shot" back. James had given the suffering fans a photo finish they should want to remember.

Forget Craig Ehlo and Michael Jordan, for now, dear Cavs fans.

Few people discussed that game's real story. Cleveland needed that miraculous shot after blowing a 23-point lead in the second half and almost choking again.

The Magic have zero reasons to be afraid of the 65-win Cavs. That Williams now promises a Cleveland victory only gives the presumed underdogs more bulletin board material.

Like they need it.

Orlando has won 10 of the last 14 meetings between the two ball clubs, and many of those have been wire-to-wire dominations. The Magic thumped the Cavs by 29 points at home in March.

Williams' prediction could prove costly if his team cannot deliver a more complete effort tonight.

For one, coach Mike Brown has no answer for the Dwight Howard-Hedo Turkoglu pick-and-roll. He has no answer for Dwight Howard, even with questionable calls limiting his minutes.

The Magic's long distance bombers are slaughtering the Cavs in transition, too.

Can anyone in wine and gold solve the Rashard Lewis, 22 points per game equation?

In this series, the league's top seed has often looked like LeBron James screen/roll right and left and a bunch of role players who need wide open looks to score.

Why should Orlando commit to consistent and hard double teams when it can still win despite James going for 40-plus points?

Cleveland shooters are not extracting the same open looks garnered against the inferior Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons.

Williams can remedy his stupid moment by showing up as he rarely has in these playoffs.

With his star teammate feeling the pressure from every angle and logging ridiculous minutes, it's time for Williams to act and play like a champion.

He can start by making that short walk across the street and telling James to put down that sign.

"I'm your help, LeBron," he should say.

James can only hope so.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.