Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cavs Lose to Wizards

Thoughts on last nights game:

Drew Gooden played out of his mind. This the crux of the Drew Gooden issue. He'll put up games like this where you think he's 'got it'. Then he'll disapear for a few games. But he played well last, I hope he can keep it up.

LeBron did not. The Wizards confused him and rattled him. LeBron just played bad, he looked like a playoff rookie. This was probably the worst game I've seen LeBron play in his entire career.

LeBron's pass to Varejao should've never happened. Sure, LeBron shouldn't have thrown to Anderson in that situation. But the Cavs just got the gift of all gifts with two missed free throws at the other end. Instead of being down 5, they were down 3 with a chance to tie. For the life of me I don't understand why Mike Brown didn't call a time out. They needed a score. NEEDED. Why not call a timeout and set up a play. They didn't need a 3, they needed a bucket, and running a set play would've been nice.

Supporting cast didn't support. Z was 3-13. Hughes was 5-16. Murray was 1-8. Snow was 2-6 and Marshall 1-3. Gooden was the only guy who shot well, with a out of this world 11-12. I think it's time for Damon Jones to get a little bit more playing time, and for Flip Murray to sit for a little bit. Murray hasn't shot well, passed well or rebounded well in either of these two games.

They missed too many gimmes. LeBron missed a breakaway dunk. And a layup. And a post move/layup. And he got fouled weakly and missed the 'and 1' layup. Murray also missed a layup. The Cavs had their chances. They make these and it is a different ball game.

Z is underused. I know a lot of people hate Z, and they'll point to his 3-13 performance as proof that the Cavs got him the ball and he didn't deliver. Sure, did Z play well? Only Drew Gooden played well yesterday.I wonder if these people have ever played center before. When you play center, your shots depend on other players, it sucks. You have to post up, and call for the ball, and if no one passes to you, you're not shooting. As a center, you need to know the ball is coming to you. When you're not getting the ball with a certain amount of consistency, you tend to rush your shots. Because if you have no idea when the ball is coming back, once you do get it, you're shooting (and you don't care if it's a bad shot, by this time you just want to shoot). This doesn't help anyone. Z's jumper was off last night, he missed some shots badly. But I still don't understand why, when the Cavs are having trouble scoring, why the Cavs don't run a LeBron and Z pick and fade. That 12-15 foot shot is practically a layup for Z. (Am I giving Z an easy way out, maybe, but I've played in games where the offense is shooting poorly and I'm only touching the ball once every 5 possesions or so. And then when I do, I'm forcing shit cause I want to contribute. Where if I get the ball regularly, I can pass it out and hit cutter and all types of shit. So I understand how a center can get frustrated out there and take/force bad shots).

Too many jumpshots. Too many possesions the Wizards dared the Cavs to shoot jumpers, and they did. And missed. A lot of these were early in the 24 second clock. Sometimes the team forgets to drive to the hole or forgets they have a 7-3 guy with a nice array (no one said they were pretty) of post moves. LeBron isn't excused from this either. Too many times he'll dribble around the top of the key, no passes, no cuts and then he'll settle for a jumper. I remember a possesion where Murray just dribbled the ball for the entire time and then shot it. These offensive sets are offensive.

2 charge calls on LeBron changed the game. This is related to the previous paragraph, but those two charges on LeBron altered how the rest of game was going to be played. The first call was a good call, LeBron did run over Jefferies. But the second call was bullshit. First of all, Jefferies wasn't close to being set. Second of all, I though in the NBA superstars got the calls, back to back charges on LeBron, giving him four fouls in the third? What the hell? (I'm only partially serious- late in the game, Arenas gave Hughes a forearm, pushed him over, dribbled over him and was tripped by the guy he pushed down. Foul called, on Hughes). But the second charge changed everything, it was LeBron's fourth foul, so he had to sit. If changed how James played the rest of way, he was shooting jump shots from there on out.

Cavs didn't adjust (and still can't counter a counter punch). They were up 15 early and the Wizards made a 13-0 run to end the first. This happened a lot this year, the Cavs would make a run early (punch) and take a lead (first quarter/half) and the opposing team looked out of it. Then the other team would adjust and make a run of their own (counter punch) and the Cavs would never recover(the Kings game comes to mind). Same thing happened last night. The Wizards adjusted their defense and the Cavs never countered. They never made the Wizards change anything again.

For how bad they played (and they played awful), the Cavs had a shot to tie late in the game. If you're looking for some silve lining: Your team star and leader had 10 turnovers and shot 7-25, your shooting guard combined to shoot 6-23 and your center shot 3-13. As a team you had no movement on offense and played poorly on defense and yet you only lost by 5 points. Sure, it sucks losing a home playoff game. And sure, this game would've put you up 2-0. But the Cavs proved tonight that they can play like shit and still have a shot to tie it at the end (which they blew anyways).

Playoffs start now. Charles Barkely always says that a playoff series doesn't start until someone loses a home game. Well guess what Cavs, it starts now.

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