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Wednesday (LeBron's last stand) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports Updated: May 12, 2010 - 8:34 AM

Though we're still stunned in large part by last night's NBA result -- Boston 120, Cleveland 88, in a critical Game 5 in Cleveland -- it has pushed us toward a number of conclusions:

*For all his greatness, there is a level LeBron just does not have. We've only seen one player at that level. And that, of course, is Michael Jordan. Did you know: during the Bulls' six championships runs, they won a total of 9 playoff series either 4-2 or 4-3. They were not just steamrolling opponents. They were winning the make-or-break Game 5s, 6s and 7s. It's hard for us to even fathom Jordan taken to the brink of elimination, at that point in his career, on his home court, with a 32 point loss. The closest we've seen to a duplication of Jordan's level is Kobe Bryant. But the 131-92 loss in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals still haunts. The translation is something everyone should already know is obvious: there are great players, and then there's MJ.

*Unless he can and his rag-tag, playoff-shrinking teammates can muster up some sort of magic in Game 6, you have seen LeBron James' final home game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His postgame demeanor suggested someone who has oddly already mentally checked out. We don't want it to be true, but we believe it's true.

*Never sleep on a veteran squad in the playoffs. Boston was in the weeds all year, battling this or that. But those 30-somethings can smell it. We believe they will finish off the Cavaliers and at least give the Magic an interesting series.

*Rajon Rondo is a beast and it's time we started appreciating him more. Yeah, there are holes in his game (can't make threes or free throws). But a competitive, rebounding point guard who shoots 50 percent from the field? That's a star.

*For the non-NBA folks, how long will it take for Twins hitters to have some serious gripes about the way the ball carries at Target Field? Will they be patient enough to wait for a warmup before passing final judgment?

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