Will the Cavaliers make it to the NBA Finals?

May 07, 2010

It hinges on sore joint

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Only LeBron's right elbow knows for sure.

For months, Danny Ferry thought he had cobbled together a roster that could win even with one hand tied behind its back. But when that hand is attached to the balkiest elbow this side of Andy Pettitte, there have to be concerns.

Everything in Cleveland is designed around James creating sufficient elbow room to allow Mo Williams to attack from the perimeter and Shaquille O'Neal to work with room in the lane.

The only statistic that matters at this point for the Cavaliers is range of motion. The greater the range of motion, the higher the degree of difficulty for an opponent to keep James from his appointed rounds in the NBA Finals.

For now, it's all about the bends, as the pressure builds in Cleveland.

iwinderman@tribune.com

Not a magical ending

Brian Schmitz

Orlando Sentinel

I can tell you that ABC and its junior partner, the NBA, are fingering rosary beads and praying for LeBron's Cavs to face Kobe's Lakers.

Nobody has cheered like this for a couple to make it since Laverne and Shirley ( Google it, kids).

Sorry, David Stern and network honchos. The Cavs will again lose to the Magic, sending LeBron on a free-agent tour – and putting Cleveland on suicide watch.

LeBron can win 61 games during the season with a bunch of great guys. But he needs a superstar sidekick to reach the title game (a 2005 model Shaq Diesel would have helped).

Happy hunting, King James.

bschmitz@tribune.com

A new pick, like Magic

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

Before somebody demands I buy stock in some waffle house chain, this is only the second time all season I shave changed my playoff predictions. Before the season, I picked the Lakers and Celtics to meet in the NBA Finals.

Sometime during the season, I revised that matchup to the Lakers and Cavaliers. And now … get me rewrite again: It's Lakers and Magic, for sure. Write it down in erasable ink.

LeBron James' elbow is hurting, Shaq is no longer Kryptonite to Dwight Howard's Superman act and the Magic possess too many perimeter threats for them all to have an off night in the same game. Howard is becoming one of those classic big men who doesn't receive enough credit for how skilled — and game-changing —he is. He's beyond a defensive force. And I also like Stan Van Gundy over Mike Brown at coach.

Orlando will also be rested after warming up with the junior varsity Hawks in this round, while the Cavaliers do battle with those Celtics.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

Hard to defend pick

Broderick Turner

Los Angeles Times

If LeBron James' strained elbow and bone bruise in his right elbow remain an issue and he indeed is hurt, no, the Cavaliers won't reach the NBA Finals.

But if James is over the injury and he plays like the MVP he was during the regular season, the Cavaliers can play for the NBA championship.

Another concern is the Cavs' poor defense. If they start playing defense as they did in the regular season, there's no reason to think they can't reach the NBA Finals. But if the Cavaliers can't find a way to keep the Celtics' Rajon Rondo from destroying them in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Cavaliers many not even make it to the conference finals, let alone the NBA Finals.

baturner@tribune.com

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