In basketball, there are triple doubles and then there are triple doubles. Lebron James’ triple double last night (43 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists) falls into the latter category.
However, James’ Cleveland Cavaliers lost the game in overtime, 118-116, to the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony, drafted two picks behind James in 2003, had 40 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Cleveland, which had won its previous 13 games, played short-handed. Former all-star Antawn Jamison, traded to the Cavs by Washington on Wednesday, did not play. Neither did reserve Sebastian Telfair, who was also obtained on Wednesday. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, for whom the Cavs acquired Jamison, didn’t play either, of course, but many expect “Z” to re-sign with Cleveland after he negotiates a contract buy-out with Washington.
Cleveland had the best record in the NBA last year, but failed to make it to the NBA finals. Since then, they have added Shaquille O’Neal and now Jamison.
Jamison, if he stays healthy, could be the piece that puts Cleveland over the top. For Washington, he averaged 20,5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season. He can score from inside, outside, and medium range. Playing with Lebron, he should get plenty of open looks from all of the above.
All in all, it’s difficult to imagine Cleveland not making it to the finals this year; they were six games ahead in the Eastern Conference even before obtaining Jamison. A Cavaliers-Lakers final (featuring Lebron and Kobe) would have the potential to rival the old Celtics-Lakers showdowns (Bird and Magic) of the 1980s.
WHOOPS: Jamison shot 0-12 in his Cavs debut tonight, and Cleveland lost by17 to the middling Charlotte Bobcats.
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