Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Jersey 83, Cleveland 72

That was a perfect storm of suck. What is there to say? The crowd sucked ass, Mike Brown was awful, the refs were terrible, the offense was horrible, the defense was non-existent, the rebounding was awful, LeBron was bad and Larry Hughes was unbelievably gawd-awful. Did I miss anything? I don't even know where begin, so I'll just go down my makeshift list and see where the rage takes me.

The crowd, thanks for showing up guys. Jesus tap dancing Christ, do you guys even give a shit? Cleveland hasn't been to the Conference Finals since 1992. '92! Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance- you know those guys. The Cavs "glory days". The high point of the franchise. How are you not excited for this? The crowd was listless from the beginning and they stayed that way for the entire game (I can't blame them for the whole game, at some point the team should give you something to cheer about). And I'm extremely disappointed by the lack of Mikki Moore booing. This is a guy who flops, takes cheap shots at players and looks like a mule. Can we not heckle him? I'm pretty sure my dead dog was louder than The Q tonight. Disgraceful. This is what happens when you price out average fans. Or maybe Cleveland fans just suck ass. All I know is that I'm ashamed of the performance put forth.

Coach Brown, what the hell are you doing? First of all, he said that he didn't feel he needed to give his team a big rah-rah pep talk before the game. This is a team that has coasted all year and Brown really felt that he didn't have to get them pumped up? Really? That is just dumb. As for game management, I have so many questions: How do you not get at least one technical foul? How is your sports coat still on and not torn up? What does Larry Hughes have to do to get himself taken out of the game? Why is Donyell Marshall shooting so much? Why is Donyell Marshall playing? Why no post plays for Z? Why did Z sit so long in the second half? Why no angry timeout during the Nets run to start the third? Why not keep Eric Snow in late (instead of Hughes), can Snow really shoot worse than Hughes (3-17 for the game)? Why did Gibson sit so long? Look, all I wanted is for the team to show some life. If the players don't, it's up to the coaching staff to recognize the situation and sub in some players who are going to try. I loved having Snow and Gibson out there, but they should've been in earlier and oftener(?) (Gibson especially, cause at least he can shoot and help cut into the lead). As the coach you have to do something to send the message your club that this is unacceptable. At the very least, ride the hot hands. Get Hughes to stop shooting get Z the ball down low (one of 'em was 3-17 and the other was 6-8, you figure it out).

That game was terribly officiated. Just to be clear, in no way shape or form am I blaming this game on the refs. The Cavs lacked heart, hustle, talent, brains, brawns, stamina, energy, toughness, savvy, style, substance, tacos, heart, hustle, talent, dexterity, love and skills in Game 5. They stunk it up, there's no denying it. But the refs were not good at all. I really don't know what's a foul at this point. LeBron drives on a fast break, gets tripped and there is no call. James and Sasha can get knocked to the ground and there are no calls. Richard Jefferson falls on the ground, rolls around there's no travel (but there was a kick ball way after the fact). Sasha Pavlovic fouls Mikki Moore on a fast break, goes for the ball, with no shoving or head contact and he gets a flagrant foul. The Cavs were called for a myriad of offense fouls early on and it changed the way they conducted themselves afterwards (if you don't think that affected the offense, you're kidding yourself). Again, should the Cavs and LeBron have fought through it? Hell yes. But they received no favors from the zebras this night.

72 points. There is no reason that should happen. Ever. Larry Hughes: 3-17. LeBron James: 5-14. Drew Gooden: 2-7. Sasha Pavlovic: 3-8. Donyell Marshall: 0-7. Daniel Gibson: 3-7. Zydrunas Ilgauskas: 6-8. Go back and look at those numbers. I'll wait. Done? Good. Can anyone guess what I wanted to see? Post play? Maybe? Zydrunas was the only starter who looked like he gave a damn out there and he only got 8 shots (and he sat from the 4 minute mark in the third until the 7 minute mark in the fourth. So... angry...). I just don't understand what's going on. Z can take anyone on this Nets team (and he's shown it) and yet Brown stands by while Hughes jacks up jumper after jumper. Meanwhile, James is extremely tentative in driving the lane with authority (possibly because of the threat of cheap charges) and the Cavs find no way to open up the floor. Yes, James was doubled all night and the lane was packed, I'm aware of this. But he has to go down firing. If the Cavs are going to lose this way, I'd like to see him shoot the ball 25 times. Would it have worked out? I dunno. All I do know is that I expected more from him and the rest Cavaliers during a closeout game at home and they didn't deliver.

At some point you guys have to guard Mikki Moore. Moore only had 14 points (on 6-12 shooting) but I'm pretty sure that he didn't have a hand in his face all evening. He took his time shooting wide open jumpers. And what's deal with allowing Bostjan Nachbar three 3s in the first quarter FROM THE SAME EXACT SPOT. It's one thing if they just let him shoot treys without running him off his spot. That's bad, but maybe the Nets had good ball rotation or something. But allowing the guy three wide open jumpers from the exact same spot is inexcusable. My brother calls him the White Donyell Marshall- he has no off the dribble move and all he does is shoot jumpers; run him off his spot! The Nets 'only' shot 48% from the floor, but that includes a fourth quarter where they made just one field goal. Before that they were shooting around 60%. Ugh.

If Larry Hughes starts next season on this roster, I'm going to go insane. 7 points on 17 shots. I'm done. I've had enough. I can take the 3-17, I really can. I knew coming in that he couldn't shoot. But he was supposed to bring other things, right? Skills like defense, rebounding, some PG ability? Right? Anyone? He gets lost on defense (when Carter drive and Z show, Larry has to rotate to Moore/Collins. He doesn't). He doesn't box out (Kidd simply runs towards the lane while Hughes stands there. I know Kidd is a great rebounder, but at some point you just have to locate him and attempt to box him out once the shot goes up). He doesn't handle the ball well (part of this is due to the Cavs sorry state at the point, but it doesn't excuse the complete lack of an entry pass "skill". My lord, can we try bouncing the ball?) He can't shoot, he won't drive (cause he can't finish) and he missed two 'crucial' free throws that could've cut the deficit to 14 with 6:52 to go. Plus he eats babies. Alive.

and finally...

Great, back to Jersey. In the best of situations, no one wants to go to Jersey. But to play Game 6 after you blew Game 5 at home? Ouch. I'm on the edge of my seat just waiting for this game. The Cavs-Nets series has everything: apathetic home crowds, stars coming up short in big moments, terrible shooting (the first field goal of the final period came with 5:09 to go) and awful officiating- it really is the battle of who could care less. When the best part of this series is the ongoing Sasha Pavlovic-Mikki Moore feud, you have a problem. Eastern Conference basketball! Whoo hoo!


Brian said...

That's my thing - I don't want t have to watch any more games between these two teams!

Ben said...

I know, I want Cavs-Pistons Part II or as it's known in Cleveland: The Greatest Second Round Loss Ever in the History of the World Part II

Michael Beckwith said...

Seriously, has Mike Brown noticed Mikki Moore has looked like a poor man's Patrick Ewing this series???

How about putting a man on him so he can revert back to being Mikki Moore already!

graham said...

Couple thoughts:
- This was the worst effort by any Cleveland team that I can remember. I'm only 25 but I can't think of such a pathetic effort. Even the Browns care.
- You're gonna see Hughes in a Cavs jersey next year because after nights like these, what GM would sign or trade for this guy and his contract?
- I'm glad you touched on the crowd. It is sad that certain people get to go these sporting events and others who love the game don't.
- Brown was absolutely horrible. If Cavs lose this series, I think he will and should be fired. You covered just about how awful he was tonight. But one more thing: He's a terrible motivator. The Cavs are consistently not mentally ready for games and this is in part a reflection of Brown. Get your team to give a shit once in a while. Reggie Miller indirectly ripped him for not caring about that tonight.
- LeBron needs to bring it a lot harder than he has lately (although if we had shooters he probably wouldn't have struggled so much). Gibson should definitely play more, he hustles, plays D, and can't shoot the ball.
- Finally, I'll end on a good note. I thought Snow showed a lot of heart tonight and what a great presence he can be. He sparked this team and ignited a fire late in the game, even though it was too late. He demonstrated why he's still in the NBA and respected around the league. The guy's got heart, period. I vow not to rip Eric Snow again, no matter what.

Ben said...

Say what you will about Snow but at least he tried. You can't say the same for everyone else.

If the Cavs lose this series, Brown has to be fired, right? You don't blow a 3-1 lead while having home court AND laying an egg in the Game 5 close out and still keep your job, right? His team wasn't prepared for this game nor the third quarter (and they weren't prepared for the third in Game 3 either).

- Poor Man's Patrick Ewing? Moore is making jumpers.

Joel said...

I checked in with the game after a class last night and lo, what sights did my eyes see! 1-15 shooting from Mr. Hughes, while LBJ had attempted 7 shots. I reached my breaking point with Hughes early this season, but that just might be my braking point with Mike Brown.

graham said...

Brown apparently has little respect among players or something.

Perhaps, that's not the best way to describe it, but why IS Hughes still shooting when he's 1-15? It doesn't make sense. Tell him to stop shooting or take him out of the game! We probably might win that game if Hughes shots go to Pavlovic, James, Gibson, Gooden, Z, or anyone else other than Donyell f#%*in' Marshall.

Also, I'll be stunned if they don't bring in an offensive mind to help this team out. Gilbert/Ferry don't have the luxury of waiting to see if Brown will eventually understand the offensive side of the game when we have one of the most explosive players in the NBA.

Erik said...

That was a purely putrid effort put forth last night, but let's not assume the Titanic is sinking because the bathtub sprung a leak.

After watching this team all season, haven't we become accustomed to this? For whatever reason, the Cavs, every now and then, don't seem to give a rat's ass no matter the gravity of the game. Personally, I'll chalk it up to them thinking they had the series clinched when they won Game 4. It's typical Cavs, really.

I don't think it's Mike Brown's fault anymore. I used to. But after hearing LeBron's "It's only basketball, I have a family to look after" comments following the game, it only reinforced to me that Brown can yell and scream all he wants to, but LeBron and Larry Hughes will play smart and play hard when they want to. No other time.

You will see Hughes in a Cavs uniform next season, not only because of his contract, but because Brown would go to war to keep intact the Hughes/Sasha/LeBron big lineup that has provided the defense to get to this point.

Remember, Brown is only as smart or as stupid as the result of the last game.

Ben said...

Ferry is going to do something this offseason.

At the very (very very very very very)least he's going to hire an offensive assistant.

I can't imagine the Cavs starting next season with the same point guard situation. Something is going to happen on that front.

It's obvious to anyone who watches this team that Sasha's game compliments LeBron's much more than Larry's does.

And I know that the Cavs go through these stretches, but at some point that is coaching. Brown has done a lot of good, he's gotten this team to play defense (and that's no small thing) but if they lose this series... after being up 3-1... I dunno.

As for LeBron's comments about family and stuff. I don't blame him, he's right. The mother of his child (and 8 months pregnant) gets taken to the hospital? I can't hold him at fault for the lack of focus. Does it excuse the crappy first half? No.