Monday, April 26, 2010

Much more like it

This was the type of performance we've come to expect from our Cavaliers. Perhaps finally deciding that these Bulls weren't worthy of sharing the same court with them, something clicked in the last few minutes of the 2nd quarter for the Cavs. Two LeBron buzzer beaters (including this ridiculous pull-up jumper from half court to end the 3rd quarter) and a 37/12/11 line later, the Bulls found themselves in an insurmountable 3-1 series deficit. The Cavs will undoubtedly send Chicago packing for the summer in Game 5 at the Q tomorrow night.

So how did the Cavs turn things around so easily and cruise to such a lopsided win? Aside from LeBron's usual greatness there were a lot of other contributing factors. First, Antawn Jamison had his best playoff game yet as a Cavalier. His 24 points on a vast array of jumpers, floaters, and driving trick shots were a welcome sight - and yet another example of just how comfortable he has become since being dealt to the Cavs. His eye-popping +33 on the night was tops for the wine and gold.

The starting backcourt of AP and Mo also combined for 31 points. Any time you can get a solid game from Mo and throw in 12 points from Parker, it's highly unlikely the Cavs will lose. When you add that to LeBron's greatness and Jamison's big game, it is the complete offensive recipe for a blowout win. But the Cavs also showed some defensive tenacity that I haven't seen since the regular season, particularly in yesterday's 2nd half. Numerous trips for the Bulls resulted in one shot and out and they took the United Center crowd completely out of the game.

And it was an interesting day for the Cavalier big men. Shaq only played 17 minutes. Z only logged 3 minutes of mop-up duty at the end of the 4th quarter. Andy played 20 minutes, yet only grabbed 3 rebounds. And Mike Brown dusted off JJ Hickson, who notched 10 points in 17 minutes of energy-filled play. I wrote last week after the ugly Game 3 loss that the mini-controversy surrounding JJ's removal from the rotation was much ado about nothing. Now it appears he may have worked his way back into the mix, at least against smaller, quicker teams like the Bulls. And we all know what effect his inclusion may have against the plodding Celtics frontcourt in the next round. So strike my previous comments on the situation. Hickson may prove to be invaluable in certain matchups as we move along towards the ultimate prize. It's just good to know that guys like Z and Shaq seem to be on board with that final goal, however it may arrive.

Random notes:

  • I know I'm in the minority, but I love Mike Brown. He's done most everything correctly and professionally in what I would argue is the toughest, most thankless head coaching gig in the NBA. That said, why does he always seem to have this expression on his face?
  • The endless post-game coverage by FSN Ohio immediately following the national feed for these games is outstanding. A welcome treat for a Cavs junkie like me that can't get enough coverage. Absolutely love Fred McLeod's enthusiastic player interviews in the locker room where he just takes control of things from all the other media people. And including A.C. in the studio show is never a bad thing. He even dropped a "deep in the United Center" during the highlights and had everyone cracking up. More please.
  • Delonte West's baseline turnaround jumper from the post is absolutely money. Whenever he has a smaller defender on him he goes to this. He will hit a huge one of these at some later point in the playoffs.
  • Hubie Brown and Mike Tirico are possibly the only two national game commentators I can stomach. Luckily we got both of them in ABC's coverage yesterday.
  • On the flip side, we were forcefed the pathetic Jon Barry to provide some halftime "analysis." He actually referred to Delonte and/or Mo as "Mo West" and then later "David West" as he fumbled to get some inane thoughts out on camera. This guy is an absolute joke. I'm certain I could do a better job even though my dad isn't an NBA hall-of-famer.
  • Thank you TV schedule-makers for not making us wait forever for Game 5. I won't even begin to try to understand why the Lakers/Thunder have to wait until Tuesday to play their Game 5 (after playing Game 4 on Friday). Whatever. Go Cavs.

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