May 18, 2008


Another heartbreak in Boston (Terry Pluto, May 18, 2008, Cleveland plain-Dealer)

For Cleveland fans, it was more sports heartbreak in Boston.

You could see it on the face of Cavaliers star LeBron James as he marched off the parquet court of the new Boston TD Banknorth Garden. He held his head high as he bit down on his lower lip, as if he may have been fighting back a few tears. He didn't want to shake any hands or hear anyone say "Nice game."

All the Cavaliers star knew was the final score: Boston, 97-92, eliminating the Cavs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

James realized Boston was a heavy favorite in this game, that it was no accident the Celtics won 21 more games in the regular season. Or that home court is an overwhelming advantage (79-19 all time) in Game 7s. Or that the home teams had won 95 percent of the games in this year's second round of the playoffs.

James didn't want to hear that he scored 45 of his team's 92 points. Or that he played all but 72 seconds of this game, and the Cavs were outscored, 5-0, with him on the bench.

He tried to carry the hopes and dreams and even the fears of the city's fans on his wide shoulders, and nearly led the Cavs to what would have been the biggest upset of this year's playoffs.

They came close, but the only cigar lit was by former great Boston coach Red Auerbach in basketball heaven.

It's impossible to justify having so many teams make the playoffs when home court is so determinative.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2008 9:10 PM
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