Monday, February 05, 2007

Detroit 90, Cleveland 78

Thank the lord for the Super Bowl. No one will be talking about this. It's almost as if this game never happened. What? Cavs lost to the Pistons? I think you're mistaken- hey look over there, two black head coaches!

So the Cavs lost to both the Pistons and the Heat? Fantastic. If the Miami game was a brutal wake up call on the differences between LeBron and DWade then the Detroit game showed the differences between a team like the Pistons and the Cavaliers. Good stretch of games...

LeBron played alright. Not great, but not awful. Average. Early on you could tell LeBron was focussed because he took to the ball to the rim and posted up. The Cavs always do stuff like that early on; get to the rim, get Z involved, post up LeBron, etc. But once the second half comes around, they either forget (again, what does Brown say during breaks and timeouts?) or, as the Pistons did, the other team adjusts and the Cavs have no answer.

Free throws? Can free throws be a problem if you don't take them? The Cavs were 6-9. Six outta nine. LeBron alone should get 9 free throws (he was just 2-3) let alone the team. But hey, at least they (and LeBron) shot better than 50%.... right? Little victories?

And the bench. Out of those 9 free throws a whopping 0 (zero!) came from the bench. The only guy on the bench that showed up was Sasha Pavlovic with 12 points and surprisingly solid defense. I know that Sasha is in the middle of one of his good swings right now, but I almost prefer him over Hughes at this point. Speaking of...

Hughes wasn't awful! Are we at the point where we're pointing out good games as opposed to bad ones? Instead of lamenting a bad game like, "man, Hughes was off tonight, only 4 points" Cavs fans are saying, "hey, Hughes wasn't that bad tonight he was 7-13 for 14 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists." Of course, he shot 0 free throws. Zero free throws. From your shooting guard. Fantastic.

Gibson was a non-factor. 2 points and 0 assists. He had a rough time going against Hamilton and Billups (not that Snow or Jones did much either). It was pretty obvious that Gibson was a rookie out there. Of course that's no excuse for the rest of the Cavs (nine free throws!? Come on!).

78 points isn't good, no matter who the point guard is. Sure, at this point I prefer Gibson over Snow, but I'm not sure it's a good thing that he's starting this year. The Cavs really shouldn't be needing to start a second round rookie. I will say I like the offense better when Gibson is out there. Also, around the time I get sick of Snow being out there, Brown pulls him. I like this. I find myself hating Snow less due to his reduced minutes.

Credit where credit is due. I'm not a big Bill Livingston fan but I like this quip:
People lay on the court, dressed as portions of hamburgers, while two fans raced each other to fetch fake toppings and condiments during a third-quarter timeout at The Q Sunday. A friend, looking on in puzzlement, asked, "When did the Cavaliers become Single-A baseball?"
Heh. I will say that the "Deee-troit turn-ov-er" line that the Cavs announcer dropped was completely lame. First of all, the Pistons were winning pretty handily at the time. If you wanna drop something like that, make sure your team is winning. Second, I hate that god damned "Deee-troit Bask-et-ball!!" crap and, while I know that you're mocking it, it's still annoying. It sounds like a tired attempt to be hip. It failed.

Dear Dan Gilbert: focus on getting a point guard and hiring Mark Price to teach free throws THEN worry about mocking the Pistons announcer. Also, Fred McLeod sucks.

What's with the lack of Varejao? Anderson was one of the key players in Cavs second round series against Detroit, so I'm wondering why he only got 13 minutes (only 17 vs Miami and 20 vs Charlotte). Are the Cavs showcasing Gooden? Or just giving Marshall more PT? Either way, I'd have liked to see Varejao out there a bit more.

Detroit is good. That's really the lesson to take away from this game. The Pistons are a better team. Their scoring is balanced, they share the ball and, I don't know if you're heard or not, but they communicate on defense. I still hate them.

and finally...

Tough schedule coming up. Sure, they're at home, but the Cavs are facing the Clippers on Wednesday, Miami again on Friday and next Sunday they're playing Kobe and the Lakers on ABC. Friday's game is also on national television, so it'd be nice to beat Kobe and Shaq... I don't want to say that these are 'must wins' but they've lost to the Suns (twice), the Heat and the Pistons on national TV recently. It'd be nice to beat a good team in front of a national audience.


Benny W said...

You know I love me some cavs, but Im really beginning to think this team is soft. Like Vlade getting hit and making it look he got clipped by a boeing 757 soft. Z, varajao, and marshall never dunk and its getting really annoying. It costs us points. Yesterday Z caught a bad shot by Drew then did a volleyball-like set as a shot instead of throwing it down. Varajao drove but instead of going up strong did a semi jump hook/weak ass effort of a move and webber/mcdyss gave him an absolute facial(which is pathetic because these guys have no knees and could qualify to play in a wheelchair league) Im aware of Zs foot trouble but does he actually have pain when trying to dunk? If he does, this is a moot point. No one else has an excuse besides a lack of effort, which seems to be blatently obvious at this point. LeBron is being entirely too selfish (enough of the driving into 4 people expecting a call. You arent gonna get it, especially against the pistons) I understand he might need to do this when the bench is playing badly, but still, you are wasting a possession doing that. I guess its better than marshall jacking up threes and andy hitting from 19 feet. FYI Andy, shoot that shit in practice, not in a damn game; wasted possession. They still cant stop backdoor cuts and they continue to go under screens and get lit up by pick and roll. And yes you can defend the pick and roll by having your big men comminicate when a switch is imminent. IE chris webber. Did you hear him miked up? He was directing fucking traffic out there. If any one person on our team could do that, we could stop good point guards. I have entirely too many beefs with this team and we are still almost guaranteed a 4+ seed given we have a somewhat easy schedule after next week. UGH.

Ben said...

It's kind of amazing, isn't it? When the Cavs click, they can hang with everyone. When they share the ball, play defense, take good shots and go inside. But when they aren't doing these things they look horrible. And lately, they haven't been doing the right things.

They can play so poorly but still are still a decent winning streak away from having the best record in the conference. This team baffles me.

Erik said...

LeBron had a couple of very telling comments after the game.

One, he as at a loss with this offense. He's starting to get fed up with this team not having an offensive identity. Who is to blame? The lack of a point guard? Or Mike Brown, who probably thought LeBron James and Larry Hughes was the only offensive identity this team needed?

Brown knows his defense, but it is clear that without the cushion of a full-strength LeBron, Brown is embarrassingly ill-prepared to be a head coach from an offensive standpoint.

Two, LeBron acknowledged that the the Pistons are tougher than last year because, instead of one-dimensional Ben Wallace, they now have Chris Webber. The Cavs had better hope that some other team can knock them off in the playoffs, because if the Cavs' road to the Finals goes through Detroit, it's curtains in four or five.

That starting lineup is beastly: Billups, Hamilton, Webber, Prince and Wallace. All of them can burn you for 20 or 30 in a given night.

The Pistons also know that the Cavs came seriously close to humiliating them in the playoffs. From now on, they will make it a point to keep the Cavs under their thumbs as much as possible. In other words, you will never see the Pistons caught napping against the Cavs in the foreseeable future.

If this status quo is kept, it is going to be a LONG time before the Cavs beat the Pistons again. Years, maybe.