Monday, May 18, 2009

Let's Do This

So here we go. The Cavs get to face a team that just dismantled the Celtics in a Game 7 in Boston.

The Cavs went 1-2 against Orlando this season, losing both games in Florida and winning their home contest. The last time they faced each other, this same Orlando team beat the Cavaliers 116-87.


While I'm still confident that the Cavaliers will win this series (I mean, seriously, who's gonna guard Mr. James?) I'm a little wary of this Magic squad. Do I trust them for a full seven games? No. But their 3 point shooters could get hot and allow the Magic to steal a game in Cleveland (conversely, if those shooters go cold, the Cavs should waltz).

While part of me is sad that we don't get a rematch of last year's conference semi-final, I am glad that the Cavs are going to have to face some adversity. If Boston had made it out of the 2nd round, the Cavs would've just steamrolled them. They were just too old, banged up and tired.

This Orlando team will pose some definite challenges for the Cavaliers and it's going to be interesting to see how they deal with it. They haven't had a nail biter all postseason, so they may be a bit rusty come crunch time.

But no matter, I fully expect the Cavs to win this series, maybe not handily, but convincingly nonetheless.


Erik said...

Howard is a beast, no doubt, but he's the only low-post guy the Cavs really have to worry about stopping for any length. Maybe Gortat in short spurts, but that's about it.

So Z, Andy, Smith and Wallace will have to tag-team on Howard, boxing him out, bodying him up in the post and denying his kickout passing lanes to the shooters.

Once you get past that, LBJ will likely have to stop Hedo. Hedo is a nice player, but LBJ should own that matchup. Turkoglu won't be able to keep LeBron in front of him consistently, which means a lot of help D from Howard and Lewis, and what should be a lot of inside looks for whoever gets left open. Andy is going to find himself wide open quite often in this series, methinks.

The Magic's guard corps bothers me most of all. They've torched the Cavs all season, Lee seems to neutralize Delonte, and Alston can limit Mo's open looks.

Due to the Magic's collective length, it appears Wally and Sasha might see extended minutes throughout the series, so they'd better be ready to D up and make some shots.

In the end, I'm taking Cavs in 7, because I don't think LeBron will let his team lose this series, and I don't think Orlando has enough horses to stop him over the span of seven games. But the Cavs will have to win at least one in Orlando, because I think Orlando will win at least one in Cleveland. And it might be Game 1.

Ben said...

its basically going to come down to how Orlando's shooters shoot. they can definitely win a few games if their shots are falling and Howard is an obvious matchup issue.

I think the Cavs can win in 6 and they could win in less if their defense stays true to form.

Lewis is gonna be a tough guard as well. He's a bit quick for Andy and Wallace.

At least this series should be interesting.

Graham said...

Hard not to be a bit concerned about a team that has beaten us 8 out of the last 11 times. But playoffs are a different matchup and James intensity is crazy right now. I agree though that some adversity might be good for them in the long run, and if they can't beat the Magic, well they don't deserve a title.

Agree with Erik about the Cavs possibly dropping game 1. I wouldnt' be surprised at all if Magic took that one, which would put a lot of pressure on the Cavs. I just can't see LeBron being denied though with his level of play at this point.

Ben said...

Who guards LeBron? Pietrus is probably their best bet but there will be times when Turkoglu will have to check him... LeBron should murder him.

Anonymous said...

I think the strategy is pretty simple.

1 - Take the ball at Josh Howard. When he is not in the game the Magic are not the same team and he does have a tendency to get in foul trouble, so hopefully the cavs have been working on their free throws in the layoff.

2 - Focus on locking down the perimeter. Let delonte and Mo be aggressive out there and force the mid range shot. I would rather give up a 15-18 ft two then the three ball.

3 - Make Howard work by using the whole big man rotation. Inside banging with Wallace, Running around with Andy, and making play inside/outside with Z. again I think the Celtics did a good job of this in the first few games of that series with Big Baby hitting those 12 footers that Z likes so much.

4 - Keep away from the Le-Iso offense and keep the ball movement up. The way we end up getting worked is if everyone stands around and we dont force Orlando's defense to have to rotate like crazy. Sounds like middle school basketball but when the cavs just stand around and watch its never good.