Monday, March 30, 2009

The records keep falling

I'm running out of superlatives to use for the Cavaliers. It has truly been a magical season so far and I'm hoping the ride doesn't end until somewhere around June 18th (the last possible day for the Finals to end). They finished up another outstanding weekend with two more easy wins at the Q. The first was on Friday night with a 107-85 dispatching (highlights) of the Timberwolves. Then they followed that up yesterday afternoon with a 102-74 thumping (highlights) of the Dallas Mavericks. In the process they notched their 12th straight victory (yet another franchise record) and their 60th win.

The recipe for the final 9 games: wins & rest for everyone

They were outscored 30-20 by the Mavericks in the first quarter and it honestly would have been worse if not for a buzzer-beating three-pointer by of all people, Joe Smith. After sleepwalking through that slow start, the Cavs really poured it on in fashion that was reminiscent of all the early season drubbings they were handing out at the Q. They outscored the Mavericks 82-44 the rest of the way and sprinted to another fun win. It was almost too fun, aside from a couple of scares in which LeBron was left crumpled in a heap on the floor. The first came on a vicious dunk in the 2nd quarter in which he was slightly undercut and took a hard spill. The second came in the third quarter when he plowed into a referee as he was racing back down the court on defense. These are the type of tense moments we really don't need with just nine games left before the playoffs start.

The goal from here on out should be to protect the #1 overall seed for the playoffs, but to do so with caution. We don't need any injuries to derail such a great season so far. The team now has a firmer grasp of home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs, thanks to the Lakers slipping yesterday in Atlanta. So the margin for error is a little greater, and hopefully so too is the opportunity to rest some key players. Most of the starters were able to rest for almost the entire 4th quarter yesterday afternoon. Let's hope that's a trend that is able to continue. The guys hit the hardwood again tomorrow night when the once-mighty Pistons pay a visit to the Q, in what could possibly be a preview of the 1 vs. 8 matchup in the playoffs. Go Cavs.