The expression on LeBron James’ face pretty much summed up the evening for Cleveland Cavaliers fans. As James was sitting on the bench during the closing minutes of the team’s 120-88 home loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup, the blank and disillusioned stares James was giving was that of a man unsure about his future.

With his free agency pending and maybe his last game in Cleveland, James’ 3-of-14 shooting, 15-point performance left a lot to be desired and a provided the ammo for a host of boos as the Cavaliers slumped off the court. After seeing their team lose by 18 points in their last home game, the fans obviously had a right to be upset.

“It’s not a big thing,” James said in the post game press conference about the fans booing. “We played awful, and they’ve got every right to boo us if they want to. No disrespect to the fans. They’ve seen us at our highest level and our lowest level. If they felt it was right to boo, so be it.”

One thing that has been clear so far in the series is that Boston has more firepower than Cleveland. The Celtics had six players in double-figures, led by Ray Allen’s 25 points and six three-pointers. Paul Pierce followed Allen’s efforts with 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

While the Celtics were scorching, the Cavs were tanking. Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams combined for 18 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Shaquille O’Neal led Cleveland with 21 points. Although the rest of his teammates struggled, the blame will fall much on James. James appeared uninterested for most of the night, often stalling on the perimeter away from the action. James’ sprained elbow has garnered much attention for the last few weeks but he has maintained his elbow is fine.

“I spoil a lot of people with my play,” James said. “When you have a bad game here or there, you’ve had three bad games in a seven-year career, then it’s easy to point that out. So you got to be better.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO