In which we examine whether LeBron James mysteriously not showing up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals was A) a convoluted response to being snubbed in the MVP voting by showing what the Cavaliers look like when he doesn't show up; B) a desperate attempt by the NBA to inject at least a little drama in its snoozefest playoffs by inducing LeBron and the Cavs to lay down for a night; or C) just one of those things that happens sometimes.
Much as it pains the Blob to have to do so, it votes "C."
I love me some conspiracy theories, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and you have to suck it up and admit as much. And so the Blob suspects Game 3 was just the Cavaliers deciding they could crank it down to idle and still whip the helpless Celtics -- and then finding out too late they couldn't.
LeBron trying to make a point about who's the real MVP?
Yeah, maybe, but it pretty hard to conceive someone as competitive as he is deliberately tanking a game to make some sort of nebulous point. Besides, the Cavs were still up 21 with 19 minutes to play. Seems like an odd way to go about tanking.
The same point applies to "B." First of all, it's impossible to imagine Adam Silver doing something as irresponsible and potentially ruinous to his league as handing LeBron and the Cavs a little under-the-table cash to throw a conference finals game. Yeah, the dreary parade of non-competitiveness in the playoffs so far isn't the sort of thing you build an ad campaign around (The NBA! It's fan-tastic for, you know, a quarter or two!), but it beats the calamity that would ensue if America discovered the whole deal was rigged.
Just look at NASCAR, which has been accused more than once of rigging races to fit a certain storyline, and has paid the price for it. Mind you, there's not an iota of evidence NASCAR has ever actually done that, but perception is frequently stronger than reality and far more difficult to alter once it gets some legs. And so there's this whole screwy notion out there that it's become a faster, louder version of pro wrestling -- and more than a few diehards have started turning it off because of that.
So, no, you can throw "B" out the window here, too.
Which leaves us with "C." Boring, I know.
Not as boring as these playoffs, mind you. But pretty boring.