“I go for the winning play,”  LeBron James said after last night’s 79-76 Game 1 loss in Motown. “If two guys come at you and your teammate is open, then give it up. Simple as that.” Makes sense on paper, but public and media alike expect King James to be more than A Witness in a Christopher Russo Big Spot. But beyond the final moments of Monday’s Eastern Conference battle, the Plain-Dealer’s Bud Shaw is trying to figure out how one of the game’s top stars never went to the foul line.

Kid, Wise, Business, Athlete – none of the LeBrons managed to find his way to the free-throw line on a night of too much sharing and caring on the part of the Cavaliers’ best player.

Don’t blame the refs for Detroit’s 79-76 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. They let both teams play. James got mugged on one or two drives – at least that’s the story he ought to tell after flipping one layup attempt over the backboard. But they also once let him remove the ball from Richard Hamilton’s hands via Hamilton’s headband.

“That’s surprising to me,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said of James’ inability to get to the line.

More surprising is how little offense the Cavaliers run to get James the ball in scoring situations. Too often he gets it with precious seconds gone from the shot clock and is asked to part the Red Sea.

James didn’t complain about the non-foul calls or question when Rasheed Wallace (seven blocks) turned into the Human Eraser. He didn’t get to the basket enough to be a convincing victim.

He may be the resident superstar of the playoffs, but the legacy of the Pistons’ teamwork and success – five consecutive conference finals – means James isn’t going to get the automatic foul call every time he sets his GPS for the basket.

That’s the playoffs. When you take three shots in the fourth quarter, what can you say?

Sohu.com has characterized Jeff Van Gundy as responsible for Yao Ming’s “humiliating” first round exit. So much for CSTB’s investment in Jeff V.G. t-shirts in the Far East, then.