Shortly after Golden State disemboweled Cleveland one hundred thirteen to ninety-one in the first game of the NBA finals, Dan Gilbert stood at half court of the Coliseum Arena in Oakland, alternately raging and weeping, and pulled a cell phone from his pants pocket and said, “Please, LeBron, come talk to me right away.”
In a couple of minutes LeBron emerged from the dressing room, stepped to center court, and pointed at security guards to escort Gilbert and him toward an exit leading to a small room. LeBron closed the door, and the summit meeting began.
“We’ve gotta do something,” Gilbert said.
“I just scored twenty-eight points, ripped fifteen rebounds, and passed for eight assists.”
“Yes, but you also had eight turnovers, and your all-world counterpart, Kevin Durant, scorched you and your teammates with thirty-eight points, many scored while our defenders parted the sea like Moses and gave him uncontested dunks. He’s quite good enough even when guarded, LeBron. You guys have to tighten up. The Warriors certainly played excellent defense, that’s why our Cavs only hit thirty-five percent from the field. We simply must have more help immediately.”
“Easy, Dan. Last year we got way down but came back.”
“I’m sure you, as a basketball scientist, understand there was something overwhelming and grim about our loss tonight. We simply can’t win beat this team in a seven game series. I therefore intend to act. I’d suit up myself but at age fifty-five and only five-foot-six, I’m probably not the solution. I’ve therefore resolved to bring in Karl-Anthony Towns for game two and beyond.”
“You know that’s not possible. The rosters are set, and the Minnesota Timberwolves would never part with Towns. In a couple of years, or whenever the hour glass kicks my ass, Towns is likely to be the best player in the world.”
“I’m not talking about getting him full-time, just for this series. If we have a prolific scorer and rebounder at center, I think we can beat the Warriors.”
“I know neither (commissioner) Adam Silver nor the Warriors will agree,” said James
“I’m going to offer them three billion, half my fortune.”
“Don’t be foolish. We had twenty turnovers tonight to their four. That’s why they got twenty more shots and twice as many assists. If we handle the ball properly and play much better defense, we’ll have a chance in game two.”