"I'm the voice of this team and Antawn is the spiritual and emotional leader so unless you hear it from one of us, keep it moving." - Caron Butler managing to be professional and gully all at the same time.
What a road win. Gil shuts it down for the season an hour before tip, but that's all right because Caron put this team on his back for 32, 9 and 5 including the game winner on Lebron. Tough Juice came out and got hot right from the start, hitting everything, and I mean everything. Maybe his most impressive play of the game was pinning Wally on the sideline right in front of the scorer's table, taking a swipe at the ball and knocking it loose only for Wally to recover it, then sliding to the inside where Scerbs was turning to rip him again, taking the ball this time and sprinting down the open floor for the layup and the foul for the three point play. Maybe he did it for Abe Pollin, maybe he did it to prove you do your talking on the floor, or maybe he hit the game winner because of the fresh straw he was chewing, but regardless of the motivation, Caron led by example to bring the series back to the VC on Friday for game 6. You make a man proud to have you on our team Tough Juice.
Before I get carried away gushing over Caron's performance last night, let's take a moment to talk about the officiating of the game and the national media's (read: ESPN) near unhealthy obsession with Lebron. For anyone who's ever read a single post of mine, it's pretty damn clear that I am not a Lebron fan. As I've previously stated, while I respect the dude for his game and his unparalleled athleticism, I do not enjoy his constant bitching and moaning to the refs or the way he tries to act like the Wiz rivalry doesn't bother him when it clearly does. But after some long thought, I've realized that half of this isn't his fault. A good share of the blame needs to be put solely on ESPN and and TNT.
In next year's dictionary if you look up dick riding, you might see a picture of TNT's broadcasting crew. During that whole Songaila phantom punch incident (Which by the way was a result of them getting tangled up, not D-song taking a swing. Go here for the bulletsforever.com extensive breakdown. Nice work Pradamaster.), the TNT broadcast was all over it, saying Songaila should've been tossed for "throwing a punch." Before a replay is even shown, Albert is screaming "HE THREW A PUNCH AT HIM, HE'S GONE!!!!" It didn't really help out that Lebron was acting like he just got into a Kanye level car crash the way he was nursing that jaw. Then, when the refs give the old double tech
Immediately after the game last night, I got online to see what ESPN.com had to say about the win. What am I greeted with on their front page when it loads? This bullshit. The Cavs lose a closeout game at home, Lebron misses the winner and that's the picture you put up on the front page? The only consolation to that is any Cavs fan who missed the game probably went on ESPN and immediately thought they had won. If you went to a non biased sports site, like say CBS Sportsline (who coincidentally host the greatest online fantasy football leagues ever), you'd be greeted with a front page that truly represents what happened. If ESPN's front page antics weren't enough, they let it infiltrate their formerly credible Daily Dime article, by listing Lebron as "Wednesday's Best." Caron put up nearly identical numbers, shot 50% from the field and hit the game winner, yet Lebron, who shot a sparkling 38% was the best of the night? Is this for real? So, in Lebron's defense (I can't believe I just typed that) a lot of my hate towards him has been generated by the media and officiating more than things he himself has done.
But enough with the hate. Let's all celebrate a legendary performance by the man they call Tough Juice, sit back, and enjoy the fact that the ride's still going and the train is coming back to DC. Unfortunately for myself, I'll be on a plane during game 6, off to the land of tight pants and weird haircuts (read: Europe) so I'm going to have to leave it in the hands of the rest of the Made 'em Jump braintrust to cover our eventual game 7 victory.
Yours in blood,
P.S. Lebron even travels in commercials.