Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well, that sucked

Not sure what to say. That sucked ass.

I know some people are gonna wanna blame the refs. And don't get me wrong, the refs were not good. Those early fouls on Anderson Varejao really really (really really) hurt.

But the refs aren't the guys missing free throws. They aren't the guys leaving shooters wide open. And they aren't the.. well, maybe they were standing around watching LeBron too.

The Cavs were out hustled, out rebounded and simply out played. Dwight Howard dominated (40 pts, 14 boards, 4 assists) and Orlando's role players continued to step up. Mickael Pietrus continued to play out of his mind (14pts, 4-7 3pt).

Obviously, this was a bad matchup for the Cavaliers. Delonte West is simply too small to guard Turkoglu. The Cavs don't have the low post presence to make them pay for playing a power forward who doens't rebound. And when the fourth and fifth options are knocking down seemingly every shot, it's gonna be hard to win.

I seriously thought the Cavs were gonna comeback with the way they started the second half. Mo and Delonte hit some shots and the Cavs had cut the lead to 10 about 6 minutes into the 3rd quarter. But they couldn't get enough stops to make a difference. The Cavs shot 44% from the floor and 45% from behind the arc. The offense wasn't great (LeBron had an off night) but it was passable. It was all the little things that beat 'em; they lost the battle of the boards 47-34, they allowed the Magic to shoot 46% from the floor and they shot a pathetic 11-22 from the foul line.

They flat-out got beat.

In the end, I have to wonder if dominating the first two rounds made a difference. On one hand, I think it's fairly obvious that Orlando grew up over the course of these playoffs. This Magic team had an epic second round match-up with the Celtics that went the full seven. They blew out the Celtics at home.

The Cavs did not have the experience of playing in those late game situations. This was basically Mo Williams' first real playoff series. He had the big Game 5 and he played pretty well in Game 6 too (17 pts, 6-12 FG, 3-4 3pt). Hell, I actually thought he should've taken the ball away from LeBron in the second half.

But at the end of the day, playing a few nailbiters won't make Delonte West any taller or Zydrunas Ilgauskas any faster.

(I'm interested to see what Orlando does against the Lakers. The Lakers have Kobe, Ariza and Odom to harass Turkoglu and Lewis (they won't be able to just shoot over 'em) and Pau Gasol could really punish Lewis inside. Plus, Andrew Bynum is big and quick enough (if anyone really is) to guard Howard one-on-one. One part of me would be pissed if Orlando got to the Finals and shot like shit. But another part would laugh my ass off.)

8 comments:

Dan W said...

I just wonder if we were really that blinded by this team all year, believing that Mo Williams was LeBron's second option and this was a championship caliber team.

The Cavs need a legitimate second scoring option and they need to build around players like James, Williams, and West. Obviously this is easier said than done, but if they don't do something for next season I don't see any reason for LeBron to stay here if Danny Ferry won't give him a second legitimate scoring option.

Ben said...

This is a team that won 66 ball games and lost to team that won 59. It's not like they're far away. The Cavs are still a better than most teams (for LeBron). And like I said, I think Mo probably plays better if he gets his feet wet in the early rounds.

They have to get some bigger wing players. The one good thing about losing to Orlando is that it probably won't result in a panic trade for Shaq. The Cavs need speed from their bigs and Shaq would just make things worse.

You're probably going to have to ask Delonte West to come off the bench. His height isn't a problem a lot, but it was a definite issue in this series.

Geoffrey said...

Orlando def won this series more so than the Cavs lost it. They finally put together their pieces. Howard had low post moves, and hit his free throws. their bench played great (Peitrus couldn't miss, Gortat should be starting somewhere), Lewis and Turkolu didn't miss in the last minute of the close games. This is an talented team that just started clicking.

I don't know if you can blame Mike Brown. Is it his fault that Z is too slow to guard Howard? Is it his fault that the only person that can guard either Lewis or Turkolu effectively is Lebron? Is it his fault even when we dropped off Peitrus, Alston, and Lee they still hit shots?

We had the lead at the end of game 1 and game 4, but rashard lewis hit ridiculous 3s: game one with 14 secs left, and game 4 with 6 seconds, SIX!

What sticks out now is that Cavs are still not talented enough. we saw it in the regular season, having a bad record against elite teams. No one on offense sans lebron creates a mismatch for the other team. I love Delonte, and he was by far the second best player for the Cavs in this series, but your not going to win a title with him being your second best player

Graham said...

I'm not sure Shaq wouldn't have helped. He still is more than capable of pushing Howard off the block and guarding him one one one, which is essential to beat the Magic. But that ship sailed so whatever.

They must get a big who can score in the post and some length on perimeter. Good luck with that Ferry.

We did overrate this team, which wasn't that difficult to do. But the lack of overall talent and athleticism was exposed against an elite team. In reality, we only add Mo Williams who is talented but not a #2, just as Rashard, Hedo, and others are not enough by themselves - it was the amount of talent on the Magic that was unstoppable. We need at the least another borderline all-star. Again, Ferry has his work cut out.

Brian said...

I don't buy the bad match-up theories.

They built huge leads in three separate games, changed the way they were playing when they had the leads, and then the leads were lost.

Orlando is a tough match-up for anyone, but if the Cavs had just kept going with what worked, they would've won this series.

There were definitive points where they almost went into a Prevention Offense. You could see the change clear as day.

That said, the value of a true dominant big man is now remembered by all, and Dwight sure did grow up fast this postseason.

Ben said...

Yes and no.

I agree that they played differently once they got those leads. The offense just died. LeBron would just dominate the ball at the top of the key and everyone else turned into spot up shooters.

However, I'm not entirely sure what the answer was on the defensive end.

Graham said...

I thought when the Cavs got off too those good starts it was a combination of the Cavs feeding off the crowd's energy and shooting well, and conversely, the Magic not shooting the ball well due to the opposing crowd.

Once things settled down, you realized it was only a matter of time until the game settled down, and the Magic took advantage of some serious mismatches.

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