Friday, April 23, 2010

Game 3 thoughts

Just some quick thoughts after the Cavs 108-106 loss in Game 3 last night:

  • I said that the Bulls would have to play a near-perfect game to get a win in this series. They basically did yesterday with a HUGE assist from the Cavs (more on that below). You had to know they would play better in the United Center and they did. Derrick Rose torched the Cavs "defense" and Kirk Hinrich was on fire, which helped the Bulls' cause a lot. A combined 58 points from their starting back court went a long way in deciding this one...
  • That said, the Cavs really handed this game to Chicago by first allowing 32 points in the first quarter... then showing no signs of life on defense for much of the rest of the game even after that initial embarrassment... also missing 10 free throws (a recurrent Achilles heel for this Cavs team all season long)... and finally just taking their 8th-seeded opponent far too lightly.
  • Now with the bad stuff out of the way, let's look at some positives... overall I honestly think this was a good thing to happen to this team. Last year's first two rounds (both uncompetitive sweeps) were far too short of actual playoff preparation for this team and may have had as much to do with the eventual ECF loss to the Magic as their hot shooting. Yes, it sucks losing any playoff game, but if we're going to lose one I'll take one like last night's wake-up call. Go back to the Magic's run through the playoffs last year... do you think it was a big deal that they dropped two games to a dreadful Sixers team? And before the bashing of the Cavs runs too far, keep in mind that the top-seeded almighty defending-champ-Lakers also lost last night to their 8th-seeded competition. All I'm trying to say is let's not overreact here - it's a marathon, not a sprint. I still say Cavs in 5.
  • And can we stop with the whining about JJ Hickson? Yes, he was solid in whatever role was asked of him this season. But Shaq is the starting center for this team and he NEEDS to be worked back into the flow. To me this is similar to the beginning of the regular season when Shaq looked a little lost out there while getting used to his new surroundings. And JJ Hickson isn't going to help keep Noah off the offensive glass. That's just not going to happen. JJ's time will come, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking he's some sort of savior. We knew going into this that one of these big men would be the odd man out. It happens to be JJ. End of story.
  • And in this age of TV dollar-driven scheduling, losses like last night's are further magnified as the wait for Game 4 extends to Sunday afternoon. I'm already tired of hearing the overanalysis and complaining and it hasn't even been 24 hours. This might be the first and only time I ever agree with Stan Van Gundy's blustery complaining. I HATE WAITING FOR THE NEXT GAME. Go Cavs.

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