Posted on: June 1, 2009 2:15 am

LeBron lost this series? I don't think so.

After a day to think about what I had just seen, and a day of ESPN trying to paint the picture in our heads, I was trying to decide how the Cavaliers actually lost that series to the Magic. The thing about that series is that it was completely possible for the Magic to win 4-1 if LeBron didn't make that sick shot at the buzzer in Game 2. ESPN and a bunch of newspaper columnists seem to think that LeBron lost that series because he didn't take over the game enough throughout the series. Does that constitute "losing the series" for the team? I'm not so sure.

I'm going to say that the Cavaliers' defense lost that series for them. The Magic were averaging over 100 points per game, and in the playoffs if you're going to have success you can't have that. Defense wins championships, not individual efforts. And lets face it, the Magic are a darn good basketball team. Think about what you have to defend when you are playing the Magic. You can play straight up man and run the risk of Dwight Howard imposing his will against your big guys in the paint. Alright, so to combat this you double Howard in the post. What does he do? He kicks it out and they pass it around to the open man who drains the 3-pointer. The Magic have shown in the playoffs a terrific ability to shoot from beyond the arc, and cetainly in pressure situations. Turkoglu has shot about 15 percentage points BETTER on the road than at home from behind the line. All you can do is hope that they have a poor shooting night.

That's your best-case-scenario. The Cavaliers, however, didn't commit to playing defense whatsoever in Game 6. Too many plays I saw easy looks at the basket. Too many bad fouls in the paint. How can your best defending big guy come out of the came 1:30 in with two fouls? Now I have to say that 24 points is hardly LeBron's best offensive effort, especially against Howard's 40, but when the team comes out with a lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball you can't blame one player in-particular.

So in conclusion, LeBron James alone did not lose this series for the Cavaliers, the defense did. However, LeBron James did not win this series for the Cavaliers. That is the difference between LeBron and MJ.

Quick Hits:
- I want to salute the efforts of Robin Soderling in his match today at the French Open, taking down world number 1 Rafael Nadal on his "home court" at Roland Garros. What a fantastic exhibition of tennis and an absolutely overpowering game today. We always wondered what it would take to de-throne the once-undefeated Nadal on clay, and especially at the Open, and today we witnessed it. Even though his 31-match win streak at the French Open is finished, we all have to take a step back and think about what we have witnessed over the past four years. This kid comes in and wins not only 31 matches in a row, but his FIRST 31 matches at the French Open before actually losing one. And better yet, until today he had never dropped 2 sets in one of those matches. He still has not played a 5-set match at the French Open. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back at Wimbledon, but one thing is for sure: We are in the midst of two of the greatest tennis players to live in their prime: Nadal and Federer.

- Watch for the Red Wings to take the Stanley Cup Finals in 5 games. They are far and away the best team in the NHL this year, and their dominant play so far has backed them up.

Posted on: May 27, 2009 1:14 am

NBA Playoffs

I don't care how much or how little you like the NBA, if you haven't been watching all of the games of the conference finals you're missing the greatest professional basketball that has been around in the last decade. You have superstars one-upping each other, and each game has come down to the wire (almost).

Lets start in Orlando with Game 4 tonight. The Magic are doing a great job of putting a little tear in David Stern's perfect storyline for the year. So far in this series, all four games have been decided by single digits, one game going to overtime, and buzzer beaters all over the place. This latest game was probably the most physical of the series, and we are witnessing Dwight Howard just absolutely manhandle the Cavaliers' big men.
Oh and then there is LeBron James. Is there anything this man can not do with a basketball? He just seems to hit from everywhere, and when the jump shots aren't falling if there is an open spot in the lane he'll find it and get right up to the basket. Meanwhile Dwight Howard is leading his team to the series lead, averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds in this postseason.

In Denver, Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets are giving Kobe a run for their money. I don't see how the Lakers lose this series, but I fully expect it to go 7 games. Kobe has a big game 1, and Melo answers in game 2. Lakers steal game 3 on the road and the Nuggets come out and absolutely dominate in game 4. Call and answer. The only problem is that after game 7, there won't be an answer for one team. This is a good series, watch Anderson off the bench for the Nuggets. He'll be the hidden key if the Nuggets want to move on.

Quick Hits:
- Zack Greinke is absolutely blowing my mind with his pitching this year. Here's a guy with 5 complete games, and has only allowed 1 ER in any given game all season. His ERA is below 1 right now. Absolutely without a doubt the most dominant player in the league right now. If you aren't watching you should start.

- The Rays collapsed last night against the Indians, blowing a 10-0 lead and giving up 7 in the 9th to lost it 11-10. It is looking more and more as if the Rays are going to have been a 1-hit wonder, especially if the Blue Jays continue to be up there in the Wild Card hunt.

- If you haven't watched the video of Cornell's collapse to Syracuse in the final 5 minutes of the lacrosse national championship, you need to check that out. Insane stuff right there.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com