“Desperate times, call for desperate measure”
“A man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.”
“You’ll have to rob Peter, to pay Paul.”
“A man’s gotta eat.”
Alright, the last one is from Trailer Park Boys, but by now you might know where I’m going here. Those are everyday phrases used for having to make do with what life gives us.
Every day we make plans. Long term and short, and every day we take steps towards completing those plans. Most days, things go according to those plans. Some days, they don’t.
That’s life in The Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 5 was magnificent. A memorable performance of a walking legend doing what he does best, coupled with an up-and-comer trying to fulfill the expectations laid on him since he came to the league. Both LeBron and Kyrie looked like two of the league’s best on Monday night.
Yet after we walked out of the studio and out from the afterglow at 10am Tuesday, there was a question that sat in the pits of Lima and I’s stomach: Can they do it again?
Many tweeted and called to say “no.”
The Finals is a place where everyone goes in with a plan. On Monday night, things changed. They’ll have to change again tonight if the Cavs are to force a Game 7.
All year, and throughout the postseason, the Cavs have tried to spread the wealth. For the most part it’s worked. In the post season, games wrapped up under little duress. It wasn’t just LeBron or Kyrie at the podium in the post game, Channing Frye sat down for questions. JR Smith made an appearance. Kevin Love’s name was called by the PR guys to sit in the spotlight. Things were working out great.
Then The Finals began. You and I both knew things would change. They did. But were they really for the worse?
Examine Games 1 & 2. Both had opportunities for the Cavs, and both became blowouts. Cleveland tried to spread it out to every player to find points, only to find disappointment. It was explainable. Role players on the road in a hostile environment. Kyrie not living up to the spotlight. LeBron trying to take over only to find turnovers.
Then examine the last three games. One a Cavs blowout, and two battles that saw each team run away in the end. Game 5 though was different.
Sometimes life intervenes for us. We have to try to cut a corner to make things better next month. Maybe we call the electric company to see if we can work something out, cause that new job starts in a month, and I’m just a few days short on this paycheck. We all have to leave our comfort zone from time to time. The Cavs did just that in Game 5.
Faced with elimination on the road, Kyrie brought the ball up the floor and dribbled away. LeBron forced the issue on drives through the lane. James took threes. Kyrie took threes. And Monday night, they went down.
Two stars, doing what needs to be done to live another day. It’s the “calling the electric company to see if they’ll work with you” of the NBA.
We have no idea what’s to come over the offseason for the Cavs. You can bet with confidence that a move will happen somewhere, and it could dramatically change the makeup of the organization, and alter the future in ways we just can’t imagine now.
LeBron and Kyrie aren’t dummies. They both know that, but Monday night they “had to do what they had to do.”
Hope tonight that they won’t have to again. That they can put away hero ball for a game while Kevin Love finds his rhythm in front of the Cleveland faithful. JR lays pipe yet again. Matthew Dellavedova can push past whatever injury that we can see him laboring through, and the Cavs can win with that team effort that made the end of last regular season so great, and the end of the last season so heartbreaking.
Make no mistake though. If the cast of Cavs fill the void in Game 6, you’ll have a strong chance to see that hero ball in Game 7.
They’ll try to get everyone involved early, but if it comes down to it, LeBron and Kyrie are the ones with the expectations, and the most to gain, and the most to lose.
For LeBron, you’ve said it to yourself and to your buddies at the bar many times. For Kyrie, it’s a life changing accomplishment that instantly validates him to fans and the league the world over.
If it comes down to it, they’ll do it. They’ll play hero ball. Because they have to, to live.
You may not like it, but you’ll have to do it. And judging from Monday, my God can it be fun.
First things first though.