Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New York 97, Cleveland 93

Mother f%$#*@!! The Knicks? Again? Seriously? Without Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Steve Francis (for 90% of the game) and David Lee? This should never happen.

I love the stand around offense. 38% for the game. They had a critical possession late in the game that would've allowed the to take the lead and LeBron dribbled at the top of the key for 20 seconds and the hoisted a jumper. No one moved, no one cut, LeBron made no move towards the hoop- nada.

Fourth quarter rotation. It can't be a good sign that you're starting shooting guard hasn't played in the fourth quarter for two consecutive games this late in the season. Hughes had 8 points and 1 board while shooting 3-10. Awesome.

Eric Snow played the entire fourth again. I'm torn here; I'm am completely fine with benching Hughes when he's playing like this but at the same time... the Cavs were losing and they were having trouble scoring. Eric Snow isn't exactly the solution to those problems. The Cavs need Gibson to find his stroke soon, I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.

Move with out the ball, please. Z used one of my tricks in the third quarter. LeBron fed Z the ball on the block and just stood there. Z was waiting for him to cut but nothing was happening, so he started 'slyly' nodding his head towards the hoop trying to get LeBron to move. Finally LeBron cut and (surprise!) Z got him the ball. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but Sasha Pavlovic is the only wing player that consistently cuts while a big man has the ball. LeBron and Larry just stand there and wait to get the ball back; they'd get at least a few easy buckets every now and then.

Z started off hot, then faded. He had 11 points in the first quarter (he had 11 of the Cavaliers first 17 and he assisted on the two 3s) but he finished with just 18 and he missed a free throw late in the game that could've tied it (he was 6-7 overall). I bugs me to no end that they'll dump the ball to Z and just stand there watching him. Somebody move! The guy can pass the ball (he finished with 5 assists) so give him the option.

Z wasn't the only one who missed a critical free throw. LeBron had a chance to put the Cavs up 1 with 7 minutes to go, but he bricked both (in his defense, he did get decked the play before).

The refs stunk. Now, I don't want to put the blame on the refs, as the Cavs had no business losing this game. However, there were some terrible no calls (Larry on a break away, LeBron 2 or 3 times, Z getting hacked in the key, Gooden's hook getting 'blocked' from behind by Balkman and Varejao's dunk- and that's just off the top of my head (in addition to all the call that Pavs could've gotten. The refs hate that guy)). The refs were letting the Knicks play on and they took their licks on the Cavaliers (and LeBron. He got rocked a few times).

Can we run more plays for Sasha? Now there's a sentence I couldn't imagine typing 5 months ago. Lets review: Hughes played 27 minutes, took 10 shots and missed 7 (including 0-3 from beyond the arc). Sasha got 34 minutes and took just 8 shots and made 6 (incidentally all six were 3s). He's more efficient than Hughes, he takes better shots than Hughes and yet, Hughes gets more shots. I am confused.

This was one of those games where Gooden just didn't show up. 4 points, 7 boards in just 20 minutes. The Cavs could've really used ya Drew.

Lackadaisical play. All night. From everyone. Truth be told, the entire team looked out of it. No one really seemed too jazzed to play this game and everyone looked tired. Knicks were left open for jumpers (and they made quite a few), the offense seemed half-assed (at best) and besides Sasha, the treys weren't falling (LeBron 2-5, Marshall 1-4, Gibson and Hughes 0-3).

and finally...

You clinched a playoff berth, so what? Don't assume you have the 2 seed. The Cavs are only a game up on the Bulls, who they face in Chicago on Saturday night.


Erik said...

I don't want the Knicks in the first round. No way, no how.

My guess (nay, my assumption) is that a Knicks series would go seven heart-palpatating games and a Cavs win would be a 50-50 proposition at best.

I dread facing the Knicks and the Nets in the first round because I don't know if the Jekyll Cavs or the Hyde Cavs will show up.

With that in mind, maybe it would be better for the Cavs to cough up the second seed to Chicago and go in as the fifth seed. The fifth seed would mean home court against the Raptors, a series I think the Cavs could win with little trouble.

The only downside is the Cavs would have to face Detroit a round sooner, but hey, we can cross that bridge when we get to it.

Backward logic maybe, but remember, this is the Eastern Conference, where everything is messed up.

Ben said...

As much as those teams care me, I still think that the Cavs would wear 'em out over a 7 game series. Plus, they lack focus now, but it shouldn't be a problem in the playoffs (hell, it shouldn't be a problem now).

Having them back into the postseason, after being the 2 seed won't help anything.

graham said...

There is no question the Cavs need the two seed. They aren't a good road team, and while Knicks give them a game now and then, Cavs would win that series over 7 games.

Maybe it's the Clevelanditis within me, but if Cavs get the #5 seed and don't pull off a couple upsets in the playoffs (meaning if they don't ge to the ECF), I see a decent chance of Mike Brown being let go.

And, that means instability for the franchise, and that means seriously, it would be a major step backwards for the franchise, and I'm not sure it's one the Cavs can afford at this point.

On the other hand, doesn't it seem like last year's run was in some ways an unforeseen curse? Ferry/Gilber/Brown/fans bought into this team way too early because of the playoffs, when clearly they overachieved due to LeBron's ridiculous play. It was evident when Ferry only signed Pollard and Wesley that he thought this team just needed to "grow" a bit. Well, as it turns out, they will need to make some major moves to be a legit contender.

Ben said...

If the Cavs have a sub-par playoff run, I would not be surprised at all if Mike Brown is let go.

But here's the thing, if you're going to mess with/overhaul the team, now is the time to do it. LeBron just re-upped his deal, now's the time to make moves- he can't go anywhere for awhile.

Plus, they can't be scared to make moves just because LeBron won't like it. He's 22, he's a great player, but he's not the GM (and like I said, he won't be going anywhere too soon.

As for last offseason, the only thing I really disagreed with is the non-hiring of an offensive assistant (which I'd bet happens this time around). The other moves I don't mind and I really didn't want them to break the bank on a mediocre PG who's simply better than Snow.