- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To hear Cavaliers coach Mike Brown tell it, the Wizards have morphed into the Darth Vaders of this series.

They are a nasty bunch. Mean, too. And evil.

After Game 1, Brown hit the table with force several times in succession to demonstrate what the despicable Wizards are doing to LeBron James.

They are just hammering the poor guy. It was a small miracle that James was able to show up to Game 2.

But show up he did. And incredibly, he did not show up with a limp or in a full-body cast. In fact, he looked extremely healthy.

Yet after Game 2, Brown reiterated his James-induced health concerns, mostly because of all the vile things the Wizards have perpetrated against the Nike pitchman in the first two games of the series.

Brown said: “Washington has come out and said, ‘Hey, they’re going to hit LeBron. They’re going to hit LeBron. They’re going to hit LeBron.’ You can’t have grown men saying, ‘I’m going to go hit somebody.’ If that’s the case, we, the NBA and the officials cannot allow anything to get out of hand, and they have to keep control over the game on both sides.”

It should be pointed out that Brown expressed this grave worry after the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards by 30 points.

It also should be pointed out that the best blow delivered in the series so far was the one James administered to Andray Blatche in Game 1. It was a James-inspired forearm to Blatche’s jaw that the three referees apparently missed, just as they miss the hop, skip and jump that James sometimes employs on his way to the basket.

Brown is no different from most of Cleveland. Brown and Cleveland all fear that one day James will take his show to New York, Chicago, Boston or Los Angeles, and then the city slowly will recede into Lake Erie out of civic indifference.

The NBA is inclined to indulge James because of his marketing power.

It probably is not too farfetched to concede that James has become the face of the NBA. Kobe Bryant always will have the woman from Colorado stuffed in his baggage, and Shaquille O’Neal is showing his years.

Perhaps Brown, if only to ease his worry, should call the United Nations before Game 3 tomorrow night and alert the do-nothing body of the Wizards’ human rights violations. At least there will be 20,000 light blue helmets in attendance to stand idly by while the Wizards try to maim and injure James.

The metamorphosis of the Wizards into the wicked beasts of the Southeast Division would be comical if they were not trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Wizards came into the series as a highly skilled, finesse-oriented team. Now they are roving bandits who have not showered in months.

Brown has talked so much of the perceived horrors of the Wizards that perhaps he truly believes they somehow are channeling the Bad Boys of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

He has so skewed the defensive intent of the Wizards that he possibly believes they are wearing brass knuckles on the floor.

All Eddie Jordan has told his players is to be willing to surrender a foul at the basket if James beats the defense on the perimeter. That is a fairly understandable strategy because of James’ .712 shooting percentage at the free throw line during the regular season.

Jordan has not ordered his players to hit James over the head with a sledgehammer or commit any of the acts that Brown imagines.

This is not to endorse the notion the referees are persuaded by Brown’s fantasy.

They are persuaded by the dictates of the league office, which in turn is persuaded by the marketing power of James.

So he is not the Chosen One. He is the Bubble Player.

And woe to the player who karate chops his head in the manner of Anderson Varejao taking down Blatche in Game 2.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide