— Steffan Rhodri
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — We don’t expect President Rodrigo Duterte to single-handedly solve the myriad of problems we are facing today in the Philippines.
He isn’t superman who can put all the bad guys inside the calaboose (although he was the one who promised to get rid of the criminals in six months) in a specific period.
He isn’t LeBron James, 33, who can carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to a scintillating victory in any NBA finals even if he will use only one arm.
When we think that our president is like LeBron James, we lose psychologically or we end up frustrated.
When we think the president can succeed if key agencies and other branches of government will chip in and function effectively and efficiently, President Duterte’s work rate produces magical results.
How the LeBron James-inspired Cavaliers turned the tide and won the Eastern Conference championship after a dismal 0-2 start in the the best of seven series, should serve as a lesson to any leadership in and outside the hard court.
Before clinching the Eastern Conference championship in Game 7 for the Cavs’ eight straight trip to NBA finals on May 27, their Game 5 debacle against Boston Celtics was blamed heavily on their reliance on LeBron James, who played all 48 minutes, had the monster game the Cavs needed from him: 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Game 7 played in Boston.
Game 7 was won in the enemy court mainly because the Cavs realized the showdown against Boston Celtics shouldn’t be a one-man show.
I won’t pretend to be an expert NBA analyst, but here’s what happened, according to USA Today:
1. James had just enough help. George Hill and J.R. Smith were scoreless in the first quarter. Kyle Korver missed his first four three-pointers. Larry Nance Jr. collected three fouls and attempted an ill-advised three-pointer in his first four minutes on the court. It was an ugly start for the Cavs, who missed 13 of their first 14 three-point attempts, and trailed 35-23 with 8:52 left in the first quarter.
Cleveland looked exhausted and ill-suited to take Game 7 on the road. But the Cavs hung in there, cut Boston’s lead to 43-39 at halftime and had a 69-66 lead with 8:53 left in the fourth quarter.
Smith finished with 12 points, and Korver hit a necessary three-pointer. Tristan Thompson added 10 points and nine rebounds
2. Cavs go Green without Love. Cleveland All-Star forward-center Kevin Love missed Game 7 with concussion-like symptoms. He sustained the injury in the first quarter of Game 6 when he collided head to head with Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
His absence was felt. Though Love didn’t have a great series against the Celtics, he provided a scoring threat for which Boston had to account.
However, Jeff Green started in place of Love and delivered with 19 points and eight rebounds.
3. The old man and the rook. Rookie Jayson Tatum, who passed Elgin Baylor for third place on the rookie playoff scoring list, is a special player in the making.
He scored 13 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. Tatum had a dunk on LeBron James and followed it with a three-pointer giving Boston a 72-71 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He lived up to the moment.
Emblematic of this series, Al Horford played well at home and poorly on the road. He had 17 points.
However, Boston shot just 34.1 percent from the field and 17.9% on three-pointers.
4. Cavs three-point shooting. When Cleveland makes threes, it has a chance. When the Cavs don’t make threes, they’re in trouble, and that was the case in the first half of Game 7. Cleveland made just 2-for-17 three-pointers, including several open looks in the first two quarters.
But the Cavs made just enough threes– two more than Boston–despite shooting 25.7 percent from that distance.