Monday, April 30, 2007

Cleveland 97, Washington 90

Least dominant sweep ever? I thought the Cavs did pretty well, but you know they'll get flak for not blowing out the Wizards, right? The Cavs never looked particularly dominant but it was almost like they were toying with Washington. Sure, you can have Jamison get hot and Jarvis Hayes hit a few 3s, but once the fourth quarter starts, we're just going to calmly put you away.

Lots of contributors, but none went by 'Sasha'. I was hoping Pavlovic's big 3 at the end of game 3 would calm his nerves and set him straight, but it didn't happen. He picked up some cheap, dumb fouls (though this time Drew Gooden fouled Jamison on a 3) and never seemed comfortable on offense (0 points, 1 board, 3 assists).

This meant Daniel Gibson got some playing time (which I always love). 28 minutes in fact. During crunch time I was thinking to myself how great it was that Brown was trusting Gibson out there, but then I realized that it's mostly because Pavlovic was playing like crap. Oh, well. At least he had Gibson out there instead of Snow. Boobie hit two 3s and finished with 8 points (and he only got lost on defense once!).

LeBron struggled from the field but more than made up for it at the line. LBJ shot a Larry Hughes-esque 8-22 but he kept attacking (and attacking and attacking) the Wizards D, netting trips to the line. LeBron shot 17 free throws and made 14 of 'em (at one point he was 10-10). Did he attack all game? No, there was a lull in the third period where the Cavs decided to hoist jumpers (shocking, I know) but for the most part, LeBron kept the pressure on Washington's D. He finished with a quiet 31 points (14 points from the line will do that), 11 boards (not so quiet) and 7 assists.

I was also impressed with LeBron's non-scoring activities. He was flying in for rebounds, playing tough D and passing extremely well. His shot wasn't falling and he didn't try to force anything (well, too often) and he was more than happy to let Z and Larry do the heavy lifting in crunch time.

Z and Hughes had 18 of the Cavs last 20 points. Z had a monster game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 19(!) boards- I was actually bummed that Brown kept subbing him out offense-defense at the end, I would've loved to see the big man notch a 20-20. Hughes shot just 5-13 (anyone really surprised?) but 3 of those 5 came in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the game. He hit some clutch 'no-no-no-yes!' jumpers, drew some fouls and hit his freebies (8-8 for the game and 4-4 in the fourth). Despite the fact that the Cavs haven't looked that good so far, having Z and Larry step up is huge.

Antawn Jamison is awesome. I really have nothing else to add, but he needs to be more than a 3rd option on a team. The man can flat out score.

It was nice to see some bench production. Gibson hit two 3s, Marshall played 5 minutes and hit a trey (he also got a 3 seconds call on a 5 second camp out) and Snow had a decent 16 minutes (which the perfect amount of time for Eric Snow). The only problem is that Andy hasn't been particularly good this series. Maybe he was just a bad matchup for Washington's quick, perimeter big men (most jump shooting guys) but he never seemed to get going. He actually looked slow out there (he also made some dumb decisions on offense- bad jumpers and risky passes). They only scored 13 points as a unit, but it was nice that they came in and stretched the D just a little.

Hey Fox Sports, it's the playoffs, get it together. We missed at least two baskets by the Wizards because they were showing replays that didn't matter. Show the game! We also had a critical late possession entirely shot from the far baseline. I'm not sure which I hate more, ABC's camera on a string thing or FSNOhio's love for the baseline cam. We don't care about new angles, we just want to see the entire play. Is that really too much to ask?

and finally...

New Jersey or Toronto? I'd much rather face the Raptors, but that is looking less and less likely (they barely showed up in game 4). The Nets aren't a good matchup for the Cavaliers, what with Kidd, Carter and Jefferson (Kidd scares me, the Cavs don't really guard point guards well). The sweep is nice because not only did they not waste any games, but they've bought themselves some time to scout/prepare for both teams (especially if Toronto wins another game).


graham said...

Sasha really has to start showing up if the Cavs want to go far. Everytime he goes into one of these slumps, I get concerned he won't show up again til next year like he's done in the past.

I really hope he comes back around for the Cavs sake. I doubt they could beat the Pistons or Bulls without him scoring anywhere from 10-15 pts. a game.

Ben said...

As long as Brown keeps starting him and keeps giving him some kind of PT I think... It's when Brown throws up his hands and sends Sasha to bench that we need to be concerned

jdog4484 said...

It is Sasha's first postseason, so its not that big of a surprise that he has struggled.

I think the criticism of Brown is warranted most of the time, so lets give the guy some credit. The offense looked good for the most part, mostly cuz Lebron and Larry aren't jacking up bad shots. Also we also have an idea of how to get Z involved, whether its in the post or off of screens. and I also think the strategy of using Drew to attack Jamison was smart, cuz a) jamison can't guard anyone and b) it tired him down the stretch, which Windhorst points out. Also look at the free throws! Brown is doing something right.

My favorite play last night? when a long rebound went to Lebron at the 3 point line, he hestitated for a second, then realized that he wasn't in rhythm and it wouldn't have been a good shot, so he passed it to Larry who caught it in rhythm and knocked down a 3. All this in a tight ball game. Lets see Kobe do that.

By the way, hey DeShawn Stevenson STOP SHOOTING. god damn that was bad. And its not like he decided that he should try to drive to the basket, he figured he'd keep chucking, not that i am complaining

BW said...

Here at the office we got a pool going for the eventual Nets-Cavs series. So far I got a tally of Nets 5 Cavs 2. 4 of the 5 picking the Nets have them in 6! I also saw Roger Brown picked the Nets to beat us in 6. Im not sure why all the hate towards the Cavs (outside of us not blowing the wiz out) We have home court which is huge and split the series vs the nets in the regular season. That and we have a big man in Z. I know the Raps have Bosh, but he doesnt have as smooth a post game as Z and not nearly good at o-boards/tips. Anyone else think Z is going to have a monster series vs the nets? Ilgauskas had good numbers (and ridiculous offensive efficiencey) against them. The only knock was getting into foul trouble which he has improved upon in the past month.

Not unlike the Bulls, the Nets simply rely on jumpshots. See what happens which Vince OR Jefferson have a Larry like game; the nets cant win. The cavs on the other hand have the luxury of playing a 2-3 guard at the point which alloys larry to be more productive on both ends of the court. If Larry or Lebron are off as far as shooting, we can still win by feeding Z and Gooden. Compare our PG situation: Yeah, Kidd is unbelievable and better over all then Hughes, but look at how they impact the game: Kidd MUST faciliate the offense/run the break for the Nets to be effective. The same is not true of Hughes, yes he runs the point but its much more adlib than Kidds role simply because we can run the offense through guys other than Hughes. Kidds situation is similar to Steve Nashs. Look what happens when they are out of the game. Their teams get out of synch and are worlds apart when riding the bench. If the Nets prevail vs the Raps, Im calling the Cavs beat them in 5 led by Z and Lebron flicking the "on" switch.

Ben said...

The Cavs should beat New Jersey, though I still don't care for the matchup.

If they make the Nets actually guard Z (instead of taking him out cause the Nets 'went small') the Cavs should be in good shape offensively.

This is there series where Eric Snow matters. They'll stick him on Carter (once Sasha gets his two fouls) and Snow will actually be useful.

Erik said...

The upcoming series is also important for the Cavs to finish as soon as possible.

It will be nice for the team to get 3-5 days of rest before the Nets (I'm assuming) come to town. But the series they're really going to need to rest up for is the conference finals.

Facing Chicago or Detroit is going to be a hard, physical meat grinder of a series. As it is, the Pistons-Bulls series is probably going to go seven intense games. The Cavs need to finish off the Nets in five or six and hope that the Pistons and Bulls beat the crap out of each other for seven.

I'm not rooting for a winner in the Detroit-Chicago series. I'm just rooting for a lot of overtime games.

BW said...

The way detroit is clicking on defense, I do not think it is a reach that they could beat Chicago in 5 or 6. Chitown was Taylor made for Miami because Wade was the only X factor that could stop the Bulls. All Chicago had to do was run high pick and rolls on Wade to tire him and that shoulder out and thats exactly what they did. While it does seem the Bulls never flinched after falling to the 5 seed, Detroit has proven they can stop jump shooting teams who push the break. Riley overexaggerated a bit much when he deemed the Bulls were on the verge of greatness after the game 4 loss. The Bulls will have to have their absolute A game both offensively and more important, defensively if they wish to oust the pistons. That withstanding, I do think a Bulls series win over Detroit would be infinitely beneficial to the cavs if we make it out of the second.

Also, I completely agree with Erik on the series going for 7 games with lots of OT. How bout a Billups high ankle sprain or Rasheed plays McHale to Luol Deng's Rambis?