Gilbert's Arena

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's finally time to address Game 5

Okay, I think I’m starting to pull myself together, so it’s finally time for a few thoughts about Game 5. Then I am putting it past me and looking forward to Game 6 in DC and Game 7 back in Cleveland…

1) Antawn Jamison… didn’t you play 6th grade basketball??? Didn’t your grade school coaches ever teach you to put your freaking foot on the baseline?! Use the sideline as a defender! Cut off the baseline! Good god, man. That was the perfect baseline trap, James would have been screwed.

2) Why in the hell did Gilbert decide that it was a good idea to launch a contested 70-footer after LeBron's layup in OT? Why didn’t we call a freaking timeout, move the ball to half-court, and run a play for a good look at the game-winner? And it wasn’t just Arenas’ fault. Why did Jamison inbound the ball? He’s a veteran guy. He should know better. He never should have picked up the ball. He should have been too busy calling a timeout.

3) I know it’s kind of odd for me to finally be asking this question at this point, given all that I already know about Gilbert, but is he COMPLETELY insane?

First, from Mike Wise in the Post:

It was late, going on 12:30 a.m., so late that LeBron James had already showered and was putting baby powder on his big toes. The Cleveland Cavaliers' locker room was emptying out when one of the most unlikely people walked in… Gilbert Arenas…

"Yo, that was my Game 5," Arenas said to James. "You took my Game 5. I had my speech prepared and everything after the game. And you done messed up everything."

James kept his head down, smiling to himself… He seemed stunned that Arenas would come over to affectionately badger him after such a rough loss -- a loss that left Washington one game from elimination.

Arenas wouldn't let the ribbing go as he waited for Hughes to dress.

"I was going to be Mr. Game 5, I was going to be perfect in Game 5s," said Arenas, who deadened the United Center a year ago in Game 5 with a last-second jump shot that all but ended Chicago's season. "You took that game from me. That was my game."

There were only a few people left in the locker room, and Hughes finally let out an uncomfortable laugh, as if he wanted James to know Arenas was having fun while also letting his friend know that his attempt at humor did not go unnoticed.

Arenas kept going, motioning toward Hughes putting on a pair of nylon mesh shorts -- Wizards shorts.

"Man, he has got to be fined," Arenas said. "Somebody fine him in here right now. You see this?"

James kept dressing and smiling while not completely acknowledging Arenas. He almost seemed deferential to the veteran player in his own locker room.

Seriously, what the hell goes on in this guy’s mind?

And further to the point, some quotes from Gil on ESPN.COM:

(Arenas) recounted his unorthodox decision to visit the Cavaliers' locker room after Wednesday's game. He said he delivered two messages -- good-naturedly, of course.

"You go in there and you tell them, 'We did good tonight,"' Arenas said. "'This is exciting; this is good basketball. Even though y'all won, we played our hearts out, and we'll see y'all when you come down."'

But he didn't stop there. He wanted James and Co. to know that his "Mr. Game 5" plans had been blown to bits.

"I knew somehow I was going to get the last shot," Arenas said. "It worked that way with 3.6 seconds left, and LeBron messed it up, so I had to give him a piece of my mind. 'You messed up my Mr. Game 5. Now I've got to wait all the way until next year to be called Mr. Game 5.' Jerry West has Mr. Clutch. I wanted Mr. Game 5. ... I was going to have T-shirts made, too."

And just how did the Cavaliers react to all this? Arenas said they looked at him as if he was an "idiot."

"Like usual," Arenas said. "Larry Hughes laughing."

Really Gilbert? Why would they look at you like you’re an idiot? Was it because you were already designing your post-game t-shirt in your head instead of checking to see if we had any timeouts left?

But you DID drop 44. I still love you.

4) "We could have had this series 4-1, when you look at it," Gilbert Arenas said. "That's two game-winners that's been hit, but that's what happens. It's been a good, exciting series. When I think it about, I'm like, 'We're better than them.' We just have to go out and put this team away."

If we had played better defense Wednesday night, we wouldn't have had to worry about game-winners. Eric Snow sucks, but even he's not going to miss uncontested lay-ups. We can win with LeBron dropping 40, but not with Snow, Hughes, and Murray combining for 54.

5) This series REALLY deserves to go seven. It might destroy my soul in the process, rendering me emotionless and unfeeling, but the basketball in this series has been so incredible, the battle between Arenas and James so entertaining, and the teams so closely matched, that this series HAS to go seven. In a similar vein, The Cavalier over at YAYSPORTS! has a really great piece about the competitive nature of this series, his desire to see a Game 7 even though he really should want the Cavs to win in 6, and the ghosts of the past that still haunt Cavs fans. It’s definitely worth a read (even for Zards fans, despite the repeated disclaimers from The Cavalier).

Game 6: Friday night at 8:00pm on ESPN


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