Here, from ESPN.com, is the most fascinating nugget from a series so devoid of fascination that some bloggers have taken to writing about me: In Game 3, the Hawks fared best against LeBron when they didn’t guard him.
According to ESPN, LBJ made five of six shots against Mo Evans, five of seven against Joe Johnson, three of four against Mike Bibby … but only one of five when uncovered! So there’s your answer, Woody. Forget matchups. Forget double-teams. Just let him go. Really, how many more points can he score that way? Didn’t he just get 47 of his team’s 97?
From Paul Newberry’s Associated Press game story — I’ve said it before, but here it is again: Newberry, based in Atlanta, is the best AP writer in the country — is this priceless quote from LBJ: “There’s only a few guys in this league that can get into a zone like that, and I’m blessed to be one of those guys.”
For the record, LeBron is not the best player I’ve ever seen. But he is the second-best player I’ve ever seen. The best would be Zaza Pachulia. (OK, I’m lying about that.) Speaking of whom:
On his highly recommended Hawks blog Hoopinion, Bret LaGree assigns the blame for Zaza’s Game 3 ejection squarely where it belongs — on Zaza. Writes LaGree: “Pachulia’s reaction was completely uncalled for. Saying the right things after the game does not have anywhere near the equivalent value of doing those things during the game.”
(Speaking of Zaza: Perhaps he was just in a rush — the link is from Waiting For Next Year, a Cavs’ blog — to get to this postgame party. And what is it about Atlanta and postgame parties, anyway?)
More LaGree: “I suspect [Saturday] was Atlanta’s best chance to win a game.”
On SI.com, Bill Trocchi offers the same grim outlook: Cavs in four.
And this sobering Game 3 truth from The Human Highlight Blog: “[James] and his teammates came into the ATL and took everyone’s best shot — and still won by 15.”
Not everyone, however, is impressed by Cleveland’s utter domination of these playoffs. As you might expect, the contrarian is Gregg Doyel of CBSsports.com, who believes the Cavs aren’t good enough to win the NBA championship. I would respectfully disagree. I believe these Cavs are better than last season’s Celtics. I believe these Cavs will indeed win it all. But don’t tell any of my friends in Cleveland I said that.
On ESPN.com’s Insider (requires registration), Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus offers a bunch of numbers that suggest the Braves aren’t going to make the playoffs. And which team, per Jaffe’s cipherin’, is apt to take the NL East? The Mets? Nope. The Phillies.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
From whom the Braves just took another road series. Whom the Braves, for all their early underperformance, trail by one game.
And here, from ESPN’s Inside Edge (link requires registration), is a scouting report on Derek Lowe, who’ll pitch against the Mets, who chose not to sign Lowe over the winter, tonight. The Inside pitch: Lowe is inducing fewer ground balls than in seasons past but is striking out more batters.
Covering the Falcons’ minicamp for CBSsports.com, Pete Prisco offered this prognosis for the new man Tony Gonzalez: “[He] will win his first playoff game with the Falcons, and he just might help them do more than that.”
More from Pistol Pete, as he’s known in the trade: “I don’t usually condone trading second-round picks for 33-year-old players, but this one I can understand. Gonzalez is a weapon in the middle of the field, which will help [Matt] Ryan grow, but he’s also going to help show the right way for a young team.”
Take it from a semi-professonal aggregator: It’s a strange sensation when you boot up the ol’ laptop in Cleveland’s ramshackle ritzy airport to find you’ve been aggregated.
Apparently my on-air appearance with the self-appointed Mayor of the City of Champions — I now know his name to be Bill Martin, though I assume he isn’t the Bill Martin who played for Georgetown in the ’80s — was deemed noteworthy by a host of Web sites. I was edified to see myself described as “a nerdish-looking writer” on BallHype and to find the video itself on The Big Lead and CursedCleveland.com and Deadspin, and to find links to said video on SI.com, Fan IQ and USA Today.
I even found my name on the Washington Wizards’ blog Truth About It, which also provided the video found below. A little history: It was compiled by Cleveland comedian Mike Polk, who, according to Cleveland Magazine, received death threats. So apparently I got off easy.
Watch Polk’s video. I think you’ll enjoy it. I know I did.