That game was awful to watch all around. No one gets off the hook. The Cavs offense. The Cavs defense. The coaching. The refs. The dumb Pacer bench that was standing the entire ball game like some mid-major in March. The Fox Sports Net camera work (I know I'm particular, but when I watch a basketball game, I like to be able to see the entire play).
It takes a special kind of team to have a 16 point lead and proceed to lose by 10. Once the Cavs were up big in the first quarter, I turn to my dad and asked, "so what quarter do the Pacers tie it? Second, third or fourth?" My dad: "Third".
At this point, I'm pretty sure we can all predict how the game will go. The Cavs start off the game by going inside and getting involved. Drew Gooden starts off well and the Cavs spread the ball around and gain a decent sized lead. The other team realizes that the Cavs have decent size and decide to go small and for some reason Mike Brown does too. The Cavs small squad gets killed, because their small um... whats the word... oh. yeah. Suck. With a combination of James, Donyell Marshall, Gooden/Varejao and two out of the three point guards the Cavs lose their lead due to poor shot selection and lack of rebounding (because only Gooden/Varejao gives a shit about crashing the boards). Brown now decides to go back big, but by this time Z's feet have calcified and he commits some really dumb reach in fouls and is a non factor for the rest of the game. By this time the Cavs are either tied or behind and they've lost all the momentum and are shell shocked by the fact that they lost that big lead and they start forcing shots. The game is close and the Cavs win or lose depending on how much awesomeness LeBron pulls out of his ass.
And the scary thing is, the Cavs are probably the best team in the East right now. Well, maybe. After this loss, Orlando has the better record and the Cavs are tied with Detroit. I'd give Cleveland the slight edge, solely because of LeBron. What a conference...
They miss Larry Hughes much (muchmuchmuch) more than I thought they would. This David Wesley starting business has to end, he played terrible. Listen to Terry Pluto and start Damon Jones, Wesley has just been awful; too many forced jumpers, bad defense and a ton of turnovers- this has gone on long enough.
And more Boobie please. In Toronto, Brown played Gibson for the entire second quarter and crunch time in the fourth. On Friday, Gibson didn't play in the first half at all, though he did get some minutes in the third and fourth (9 over all). With Wesley not producing at all and Gibson showing some talent, Brown might be forced to play the rookie over the veteran (the horror!).
It also might be time to cut Donyell Marshall's minutes. When the Cavs go small, Marshall is usually out there with either Gooden or Varejao. This is not good, as Marshall tends to set up by the 3 while the other big man is left alone for rebounding. The Cavs tend to have no motion on offense and they hoist jumpers with only on man down low. This spectacularly fun to watch. Play Gooden and Varejao at the same time; the Cavs have enough jumpshooters on the floor anyway. I could've used more Gooden tonight; he had 15 points in the first half and finished the game with 17. Meanwhile, Marshall shot 0-3 from 3 point range and 1-6 overall.
For the love of all things holy, post up LeBron!! He's huge. Scott Williams calls him a freight train every 5 minutes or so; the man is large. He's also talented and can pass really well. Put him on the block, his worst attempt down there will be far better than those off balance jumpers he shoots with 14 seconds left on the shot clock.
I guess what I'm saying is, I'm pissed at Mike Brown. The Cavs are better than these teams that they're losing to. These aren't just games that are winnable, they're basically upsets. Teams are psyched to be playing and beating the Cavaliers (I believe I'm the first person ever to type that sequence of words) and the Cavs just aren't bringing the energy to the arena. That's coaching. Plus, the substitutions and floor combos weren't stellar either (I'm pretty sure we didn't need 22 minutes of Marshall tonight- or any minutes of Wesley). Also, he must give the worst halftime speeches- the Cavs only scored 9 points in the 3rd quarter. Ugh.
Remember when Sasha Pavlovic showed up? Like almost 2 weeks ago versus Boston? Yeah, they really could've used him during Larry's absence. Good times...
This was the first game all year I was actually upset with Z. I guess I would be considered a "Z backer"; I think in general he tries hard, played alright on offense, rebounds well and played decent defense (he blocks his share of shots). But today he got 3 or 4 ticky tack reach in fouls. That's just terrible.
The refs stunk. A lot of people (Fred McCleod for instance) would say the Cavs got the worst of the bad calls, but Indiana got some terrible calls as well. The Pacers just forced the issue by driving the ball, going inside and crashing the boards. The Cavs didn't really do any of these things (especially when the game got tight). But I can't say the refs weren't bad causes well, they sucked. On one particular drive, Snow got hammered (just fucking nailed) by Jermaine O'Neal and no foul was called. I mean, he was decked. It was probably the worst no-call I've ever seen.
Tomorrow's game could salvage this 4 game sin 5 night stretch. And by salvage, I mean a 2 and 2 record during a stretch in which they had a great shot to go 4-0. The Cavs are at home versus Philadelphia and I really hope they play a complete game from start to finish. Of course, Iverson went for 46 versus Chicago on Friday... I'd hate to see what he does versus Snow and Jones...