Monday, May 21, 2007

Cavs-Pistons Preview

I usually don't do a whole lot of game/series previews because (as you'll soon see) A) it's a lot work B) I'm lazy and C) it's pretty much useless to make predictions in regard to this Cavalier team. But since I start grad school this week (this morning was my first class actually) and I don't know how often I'll be able to blog (game recaps shouldn't be problem) I figure I should get some thoughts down while I have the time.

First, I'm going to just copy-paste a comment I made over at Yaysports (conserve my writing!):
It's almost completely useless to make predictions with this Cavs team. Cause honestly, you never really know what team will show up.

Will it be the team that feeds the big men, makes good cuts, plays the young kids and has a LeBron James that's motivated and takes the ball to the hole?


Will it be the team that ignores the big men, stands around, overplays the veterans and has a LeBron James that takes less shots than Larry Hughes?

That first team can beat anyone in the league, in any arena. That second team loses gets spanked by New Jersey at home in a closeout game.

There's no rhyme or reason to which team shows up. There's been big games where LeBron and co. kick ass and there's been big games where they fail to show a pulse (they also have failed to show up versus crappy teams as well, so we can't just say good defenses slow them down. They lose to the Knicks all the time).
I don't want to say that what the Pistons do won't matter, but the big thing will be what the Cavs allow the Pistons to do.

The Pistons are going to try to impose their will on the Cavs, which basically means they'll want to make LeBron give up the ball. They'll try to make the rest of the Cavaliers beat them.

The issue will be how much LeBron allows this to happen. This doesn't mean that LeBron simply needs to force shots, but he shouldn't be willing to give the ball to his teammates. Make the Pistons make you give the ball up (if that makes sense). He needs to force the issue (like the first quarter of Game 6 vs the Nets) and force the Pistons to go all out on defense.

A lot also depends on if Larry Hughes and co. can make shots. If Hughes gets hot and/or takes good shots the Cavs are much harder to beat. If Hughes plays like he did in Game 5 (just taking the open shots the Nets gave him) the Cavs will be in trouble (Coach Mike must realize if Larry 'has it' much quicker in this series, we can't have games of 3-17. If Larry's shot isn't falling Brown must insert Gibson or Pavlovic in order to take those shots).

As for the defensive end, as long as the Cavs play smart (fight through picks!) and give a solid effort, there shouldn't be too much of a problem. The Pistons are tough to guard, but when they want to be, the Cavs are a good defensive team. I'm not saying that the Cavs are going to shut down Detroit, but they should be able to hold their own.

So... a prediction... IF the Cavs give a solid effort every game and IF they play the right way then I think they can beat Detroit in six or seven games.

But from what they've showed me all season (bad losses and a lack of effort as recently as Game 5).... I hope I'm wrong, but I say the Pistons win in seven.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of grad school. Coincidently, I handed in my thesis this afternoon. Now I have time for more important things, such as blogging about Cleveland sports.

Enjoy school.

Ben said...

I'm glad I'm starting with a 2-week summer course.... seems like the smart way to go..