May 13th, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Sports Update: LeBron James appears more MIA than MVP

Many critics have said LeBron James' performance tonight could have a large impact on his future as a free agent.

After playing one of the worst games of his career Tuesday while passively settling for jump shots as his Cavaliers were surrendering their home-court advantage in an unfathomable 120-88 Game 5 loss to the Celtics, the league MVP must now galvanize Cleveland to win Game 6.

So writes SI.com’s Ian Thomsen of LeBron James, the Cleveland star who looked more MIA than MVP two days ago in Cleveland. Given James can be a free agent this summer and potentially change the course of two franchises, the game in Boston tonight has unlimited implications for the futures of many in the league. It is the five-star highlight for sports fans tonight, an absolute must-watch game.

-Cavaliers at Celtics (8 p.m., ESPN)
Over the past 24 hours James has faced a level of criticism unlike any he has seen in his athletic life. Even NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar weighed in, saying James would have benefited from college and would have arrived in the NBA with "very polished" skills.

This particular Cleveland team was built to win a title and a second-round loss would be frankly inexcusable. It will also create even more of a cottage industry for speculation on what James will do as this summer as he becomes a free agent after the 2010 NBA playoffs.

For now he and his teammates have more immediate concerns: How do they stop the Celtics at home in an elimination game?

"When you look at Cleveland, you know you've got to stop LeBron," Celtics star Paul Pierce told SI.com following Game 5. "With us, we've got four or five guys who can lead using scoring, from me, Rondo, Ray, KG. You never know where it's going to come from and that's what makes us so dangerous."

-Yankees at Tigers (1:05 p.m., YES Network)
Yesterday’s rainy doubleheader at Comerica Park featured Jay-Z and Eminem hyping their upcoming home and home concerts at Yankee Stadium (Sept. 13) and Comerica (Sept. 2). The star power today comes from the pitchers on the mound: Yankee ace C.C. Sabathia (4-1) opposes Justin Verlander (3-2). Both pitchers finished among the top four in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2009.

BY THE NUMBERS

1993
Year the Montreal Canadians last made the Stanley Cup finals. Last night Montreal stunned Pittsburgh at home in Game 7 to win the Eastern Conference semifinal series, 4-3. They will play the winner of he Flyers-Bruins series for the opportunity to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

0-3
Record of LeBron James-led NBA teams when facing elimination on the road.

0
hits allowed by Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg last night over six innings. Strasburg was making his second start for the Syracuse Chiefs, a 4-0 victory over Norfolk.

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. pchocolate

    I agree lebron has carried his team a long way on his back, but i also think he is tired now he is one man and can't win the whole post season by himself. I also thinks he should leave cleavand he pretty much gave them everything he can but again he needs his team mates to help and they can't do that. So if clevand is going to be mad at anybody they should be mad at the rest of the team for being as horrible as they are..........

    May 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lex

    True that fuentedegracia. But the other argument is that there are so many sports where the guys that come in are mad young. For example, soccer, tennis, golf, and baseball. But nobody talks about those sports. Why is that?

    May 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Theres a difference between being a star and being a leader

    May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Donuts

    LeBron is talented, but he's been hyped up so much that himself fell for it. The real MVP isn't even Kobe, the true MVp for this season is Dwayne Wade. I hope Cleveland loses, LeBron needs to look up to folks like KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen who all have been on teams and stuck with them till they no longer could. Thats what makes Boston dangerous, that every single guy over there has heart, work ethics and talent. Talent gets you on the floor, Work Ethic and Heart gets you Championships.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael King

    Come on? Come on? Let's get one thing straight--he IS the MVP. That is why he is not deserving of a "break." He either leads his team to an NBA championship or this year is a bust. And if it were Dirk, Kobe, or Tim Duncan everyone would be saying the same thing. He has the better team on paper. but NONE of the CAVS have played like champions. Shaq, Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams have all been outplayed and outhustled. And LeBron has shown none of the spirit and fire to be a champion. They deserve to lose.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ed

    It's a TEAM sport..,the whole team wins or loses by their own efforts. The coach is responsable for sticking a boot up a player's a$$..don't blame it all on LBJ.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pchocolate

    i agree with you Michael King, but can he really do it by himself no he can not. he is one person someone even said up here there are five people on the floor at a time stop being selfish share the ball also they have to step to the plate and play like they suppose to so he wants to pass them the ball

    May 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe R.

    Maybe he was too busy practicing his dance moves – Bulls fan

    May 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pchocolate

    oh god......

    May 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pchocolate

    AND THE REAL MVP IS RONDO!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerome

    You Lebron haters are insane !! That kid does things on the court that nobody else in the league can do. I agree, Tuesday night's performance was strange to say the least, but I believe it's injury related. I think his performance in Game 3 took a lot out of him. He is, without question the best player in the league....bar none !!!! When his career is over he will have championship rings..no question about it. He just needs more talent around him. When he gets that he will get the bling.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. homer

    LBJ got step his game up...He is going to Miami and taking shaq..He's got to win tonight or he needs to give back the MVP..

    May 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pchocolate

    i agree homer give it back if he is not going to step his game up

    May 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rufus

    Cavs will win tonight and again on Sunday. Both will be close games but the Cavs will do it. James will show you.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eric

    True that basketball is team work, that's why Orlando gonna win this year, not kobie, not rolando, not BJ.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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