Tuesday, May 12, 2015

LeBron James makes winning basket in game four as the Cleveland Cavaliers are now tied 2-2 with the Chicago Bulls in Eastern Conference Semifinals, James is a true warrior, Game 5 is May 12 at 7 pm....By Cleveland Urban News.Com Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough

LeBron James

Cleveland Urban News.Com
Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough
By Karl Kimbrough, Cleveland Urban News.Com sportswriter (kimbrough@clevelandurbannews.com). Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Leaders In Black Digital News . Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com 

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Game four of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls came down to a last second shot, and LeBron James, an undisputed pro in its purest form, made that shot  (Editor's note: Game 5 is Tuesday, May 12 at 7 pm at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. It can be viewed on cable on TNT at 7 pm ET).

At the end of game three it was Bulls point guard Derrick Rose hitting a three point bank shot as the fourth quarter clock expired that sent  his Chicago fans home happy with a win. In game four, with just 1.5 seconds remaining in the game, Cavaliers superstar
LeBron James took his turn for the game winning shot. 

James was determined that he and his teammates win game four, an away game played on Sunday afternoon in Chicago, Illinois, home of the Chicago Bulls. For the game winning basket James received the in bounds pass from Matthew Dellavedova, and then shot a fade away jump shot from the left corner over the Bulls Jimmy Butler. And it was all net. This time, in game four, it was the Cavaliers and their fans who were celebrating a hard fought last second win, 86-84. This evened their best of seven series with the Bulls at two games each, and widened the competition for a semifinals win that both teams, and their coaches, direly want.

Surprisingly, the game winning shot that James took in game four was not the play that Cavalier's coach David Blatt drew up. When commenting to reporters after the game about the winning play, James said that he made the winning shot after convincing Blatt to simply let him take the ball and do his thing, win or lose. And Blatt was wise enough, and felt confident enough in his own right, even as a rookie coach,  to say okay.

"To be honest, the play that was drawn up, I scratched it, and I told coach, just give me the ball, and it's either going into overtime or I'm going to win it for us," said James at a media conference after game four.

James undoubtedly speaks like a true warrior. And it was that warrior like -mentality that put the Cavaliers in a position to win game four, a much needed win.

The Cavaliers limped into game four, literally, as starting point guard Kyrie Irving could barely run on his sprained foot and sore knee. Starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert was limited as well, after straining his groin in game two of the series. 

The Cavs were already playing without starting power forward Kevin Love, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs after having his dislocated shoulder surgically repaired. And as if that weren't enough, James crumbled to the court late in the third quarter after turning his ankle while driving to the basket against Rose. James laid on the floor grabbing for his ankle, wincing in pain. At that point the Cavaliers were already struggling mightily to score and finished the third quarter with a seven point deficit 61 to 68. But like his fellow injured teammates, James was not going to sit out. He kept playing and fighting through the pain. Cleveland made only two shots from the field in that third quarter, and were unable to generate any offense from their star players.

For the game James was a paltry 10 for 30 from the floor and four for four from the free throw line for 25 points but he made shots when they were most important, scoring eight in the fourth quarter. Irving and Shumpert struggled offensively as well, they were a combined three for 18 from the floor. With his injured foot and knee affecting his jump shot, Irving still courageously drove to the basket and attacked the Chicago defense several times, drawing fouls. Although he was only two for 10 from the floor Irving's drives to the basket put him at the free throw line where he sank eight of eight shots. The Cavaliers missed on 12 straight shots in the third quarter but managed to stay close to Chicago by out rebounding them 44 to 40.

The Cavaliers tough resilient mentality allowed the Bulls to push through their injuries and limitations to comeback in the fourth quarter and take the lead. Subordinate offense players Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov stepped up defensively and offensively as well. Coming into game four Thompson and Mozgov had averaged six and seven points respectively in the first three games of the series.

Thompson doubled his average, scoring 12 points along with pulling down seven rebounds. Mozgov had a very active game scoring 15 points with nine rebounds and three blocked shots. After being suspended for games one and two guard J. R. Smith, who is also nursing a sore ankle, gave the Cavs another double figure scorer with 13 points. Smith hit a number of big baskets in a timely fashion in the fourth quarter. In fact, Smith scored 11 of those 13 points when the Cavaliers needed them most, in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers battled defensively in game four and did not allow the Bulls to get into a rhythm offensively, holding Chicago to 36 percent shooting from the field for the game. 
The warrior- like effort is what Cleveland will need to win this series and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. They won't have much time to rehab, or  rest and heal their injuries. Likewise, Chicago played without All Star center Pau  in game four, who was out with a right hamstring strain that could keep him out again for Tuesdays game five. Also, Gasol replacement, Taj Gibson,  left game four with a knee injury and his status is uncertain as well.

With all of the injuries to key players on both teams, the winner of this seven game series will probably be the team that's best at fighting through pain, staying focused and
overcoming obstacles. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)