2009-10 Cavs— What Happened!?
I, and just about every Cavs fan or basketball fan for that matter, have been asking the question since the Cavs got bounced from the playoffs. What happened? The team that won 60+ games in back to back seasons, the team with the ‘Best Player in the NBA’, and the team who appeared poised for a title run lost in such a puzzling way in the SECOND round of the playoffs.
Even more shocking than the fact that the Cavs lost in the 2nd round, was the WAY they lost. Its been questioned and analyzed to death, but there are a few insights that local fans have heard whispers about, but they’ve been covered up by the main stream local & national media. I’m not going to rehash the details of the season & series, but I would like to take the opportunity to point some of the things that have been whispered for months and that some of you may or may not be aware of.
Game 2: The Cavs obviously looked very flat, unenthused, and had little to no intensity. While it hasn’t been reported by local or national media, it is a fact, that LeBron took the team out after the MVP ceremony in Akron (the night before game 2). While LeBron doesn’t typically drink much, if at all, being out until 5AM the night before a game certainly wouldn’t be the organization’s, coach’s or fan’s ideal situation for preparation for a playoff game. Unfortunately, this seems to be a fairly common occurrence in the NBA. Other NBA ‘Stars’ have been known to go out to various clubs the night before games (Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and countless others). Who knows how often this happened with the Cavs in the LeBron years and what impact it had on their performance in game 2, but it is certainly a potential answer for such a flat performance in such a critical game.
Gloria: We all know the rumors that LeBron found out about Gloria’s sexual relationship with Delonte West. For what it’s worth, I have a source who is a long-time sportswriter. Over the years, he came to be personal friends with a current Cavs player. He didnt go public with this information, so its not like he’s saying this for his own benefit. According to a conversation he had with the Cavs player, the rumors are 100% true. He says LeBron brought some food up to Gloria’s hotel room to surprise her and Delonte, in a towel, opened the door. LeBron and Gloria argued over it and ultimately Gloria said ‘I’m grown, I can do what I want and this doesnt concern you’. Understandably, LeBron was upset. But what is unacceptable to me, and most Cavs fans is the way he handled it on the court. Even before the infamous game 5, after his ridiculous performance in game 3, he seemed completely flat & disinterested. In Game 4, he was deferring way too many shots as his teammates struggled to keep the game close. The Cavs pulled within striking range and waited for their ‘King’ to take over in the 4th Quarter and close the game like he’d done so many times. He kept deferring and then….
Game 5: Ok, no details here. Its disgusting to Cavs fans and completely unacceptable. But a little more info from the sports writer source. The rumors of Shaq confronting LeBron are according to him, also true. At halftime after LeBron appeared completely disinterested, and with the entire team knowing about Gloria/Delonte, Shaq is said to have grabbed LeBron by his jersey and threw him up against the wall saying ‘don’t you dare fuck this up for us’. Obviously, Shaq’s attempt to be the leader that LeBron couldn’t be failed as the ‘King’ went on to have one of the worst playoff performances by an NBA ‘superstar’ in the history of the league. It seems to some that LeBron wasn’t just hurt and upset about his mom, but it was more of a ‘fuck the Cavs, I’m leaving, you betrayed me, and I’ll make sure we don’t win’ attitude.
Obviously, there are other questions that we need answered, but will probably never get those answers. Such as, why did the team quit playing late in game 6, why did Mike Brown quit coaching in game 6, when did LeBron decide to leave, etc.? But for those who haven’t heard some of these whispers, hopefully this will provide you with at least some insight as to the massive failure that was the Cav’s 2010 playoff run.