We should have seen this coming, all the warning signs were there. But winning can cover up a lot of a team's flaws. And Cleveland has done a lot of winning - 66-16 in the regular season, undefeated through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Cavs looked like a lock to at least come out as the champions of the East, if not the champions of the "world".
So, what happened on the way to The King's coronation? The true Cavs team has showed up, that's what. It is true that this the best team that LeBron James has had since he can upon the scene, but that is more of a backhanded compliment than anything. The thought of Mo Williams as a solid second "star" on the team is laughable. Williams is apparently more concerned about listening to the sound of his own voice than the sound of the swish of the net after taking a shot. (As an angry aside, Williams and J.R. Smith need to SHUT THEIR MOUTHS. If your name is not LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, Chauncey or Carmelo, you have no business predicting victories. Since when do role players get to make such bold statements?).
So the fact that Cleveland is down 3-1 shouldn't come as a very big surprise. Orlando simply has more talent than the Cavs do. Dwight Howard is one of the best players in the League, Rashard Lewis is a two-time all-star still in his prime and Hedo Turkoglu could be the least-decorated best player in the League. What does LeBron have on his side? A borderline all-star in Williams (he only made it this season because a bunch of players got boo-boos and skipped the game) who is shooting under 40% these playoffs. The rest of the roster is dotted with washed up stars and role players. Not a recipe for a championship team. Or for keeping LeBron from jumping zip codes in 2010.
In fact, if Cleveland did win the title this season it would be the least talented team to take home the crown since Hakeem's 1995 Houston Rockets squad. Every other championship team since that time has had at least two stars to carry the load. Michael & Scottie. Tim & David. Tim & Tony & Manu. Shaq & Kobe. Shaq & Wade. Every team left in these playoffs, outside of Cleveland, has at least a couple of star players in place to diversify their attack. Cleveland has Mo Williams. And Delonte West. And Anderson Varejao. And it became quite apparent at the end of Game 4 that LeBron realizes that he has to try to do it all on his own. But it is a futile task, even for a talent like James - look no further than his turnovers and missed shots in overtime. So while James is a singular talent, that is exactly the problem - he's singular - he's only one man(child).
And with each Cleveland (and L.A.) loss, a little piece of David Stern dies.