Seems like I'll have to eat at least a bit of crow for a few minutes this morning, although I'll do it happily.
I've spent most of the end of the regular season and opening week of the playoffs ripping on the Cavs for the fact that they appear to be attempting to travel deep into the playoffs with two members of the legendary 2006-07 Celtics in their starting five.
Yesterday, one of them came up absolutely huge as the Cavs took a commanding 3-1 series lead in Washington.
Delonte West, that, sir, was a job well done.
The story of the end of the game was of course that West buried the game-winning trey with 5.4 seconds on the clock. What was a lot easier to forget was the fact that the man had been coming up big all afternoon 7-for-12 from the field, 5-or-8 from deep, 5 assists, 3 steals, 4 turnovers, 21 points.
As usual, West didn't play like a natural point guard -- not much dribble penetration, plenty of deference to his top swingman in running the offense, too many turnovers, lots of drifting on the perimeter to take threes off kick-outs -- but he did just about everything the Cavs have been asking of him: Play reasonable defense, don't completely murder the team offensively, take and make shots when they are there.
West did all of that and earned himself the hero's label for the day (well, if you discount the fact that LeBron's 34 points allowed the Cavs to be in that situation in the first place).
A year ago, it was nearly impossible to imagine Delonte West sinking a buzzer-beating winner in a playoff game. Much as I'm no Cavs fan, it's fun to see such a likable dude get a chance to get the job done on the big stage and even more fun to see him capitalize on that opportunity. Good work, Delonte.